Friday, January 31, 2020

Friday 31st - So ring out the bells?

Well the day has arrived, though of course nothing will show as we go into the transition phase this year.  Well the meal went well yesterday evening.  Jo is going to ring the bells at 11 o clock tonight in the church, our time, to celebrate our independence from Europe. She never changes the time on her watch in true British style.  
As I said the meal went well, we sat in a packed horseshoe round the room, noisy, people chattering and bursts of laughter.  The carvery is well organised, table by table we go into the inner bar, Harriet cuts great slices of meat for the plate, and then buffet style people help themselves to vegetables, roast and new potatoes, swollen Yorkshire puds and a vat of gravy.  There is always a vegetarian lasagne for us so-called vegetarians, though in truth I am a flexitarian.  Some people eat huge amounts of food, going back for seconds.  The puddings are always welcome, though again large.  On our table three puddings went the round of 8 people.  Strawberry cheesecake, a toffee one and a rice pudding, said to be the best rice pudding ever.
David stood up and in his best town crier voice, called 'order', 'order', silencing us all, but he had only one notice to proclaim,  watercolour painting at the Mission Hall in Marton and that from Rosina. 
The village is changing I sat opposite the new people that had arrived in the cottage over the road, whilst the attached bungalow is also being renovated for its owner to move back in.  She has three foxhounds, and the other people are waiting for a beagle pup to arrive - so a lot of barking might be on the books in the future. 
I love the way generations of farming people sit amongst the suburbias, the farmers large and fresh-faced, whilst their elderly parents sit content in their world of retirement.  Change happens almost on an invisible note, I note those against the new wedding venue on the farm over the bridge are not at the meal, but Rosina agrees with me, we shall see what happens without making judgement, and as she says, there would have been more uproar if a pig unit would have been established.....

Thursday, January 30, 2020


Go on throw it!
Barrows or roses? One of the things I have experienced up here in North Yorkshire, is the phrase 'God's Own Country'.  Which I have always thought to mean its the best place in England.  Well for a start, your wild flower yield is low, I have never seen any wild orchids as I saw on the hills round Bath, or as many wild flowers and I am beginning to miss them as spring beckons invitingly round the corner.
My companion on walks was Moss, sadly Lucy dislikes walks, she hangs behind me going and only when we get to the spot where we turn, she does her twirl of joy and hauls me back home. To get back to Moss, a sensible dog to take on walks, he always knew the way back as I wandered haphazardly round prehistoric sites, or trying to find a way past a herd of bullocks.  Moss is long gone but the photos are still there.

One of my early walks was from the house up the Lansdown Hill behind Weston village was to Beckford's Tower. William Beckford (1760-1844) a strange character, rich of course, but given to grandiose ideas such as building Fonthill Abbey, unfortunately the tower there fell down several times.  He bought several farms round the Lansdown and then made a lane through the fields to the gold topped Beckford's tower.  When he died his daughter sold the place to a publican, but eventually it became a cemetery.  In spring violets and primroses are to be found, its Victorian atmosphere has to be seen to be appreciated.  Beckford's grave was a barrow mound surrounded by a ditch.
The walk up the Lansdown early morning would find deer browsing along the  hedgerows, and slightly later  a couple of MOD workers off to work at the top.

I think this was a memorial to a young daughter born in a different country.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

29th January 2020

Yesterday I wrote a blog about my past life which I then withdrew because I do not like being unhappy, so today I will write about usual things. 
Yesterday was the conclusion of selling tickets for the Carvery meal tomorrow, Thursday, a sigh of relief for me.  We now have the numbers and most of the money, Harriet will now roast the meats and two vegetarian meals, her delicious lasagne, of which I will have one.  I am trying to get people to email as well, and it slowly produced results.  Jo never reads the emails and I went round to her yesterday, she was out working in her garden. It was freezing cold and she chatters non-stop, but she has Iris reticulata coming out, so for all those who are despairing of winter never ending, daffodils are push through the earth, and all the spring flowers are happily erupting above ground, and I even saw a photo with tulips pushing through the snow, which is on the high ground up here in the North.
Went into Kirkbymoorside yesterday, to drop a cheque of at the post office, they offer a generous service of forwarding cheques to the banks.  I can't praise the Post Office enough for being there for all those people who are unable to travel to far off banks, now that they have closed local branches.  Also for a prompt postal service, ordered wool on Friday and it arrived the next day.
After that, to pick up my fairly newly bought Vax vacuum cleaner, which had a problem.  Thankful for our local shop which mends things, and sells white goods.  After that, a shop at the Coop, staggering back with the heavy stuff, which included  a lot of vegetables and fruit.
A last call at the farm depot to get some dog biscuits for Lucy, her 'lite' biscuits were not there but apparently you can buy 'lite' type biscuits for working dogs who have put on weight.  Why? was my first reaction if they are working.  But decided Lucy had never worked in her life, so 'Senior' would have to do..
And now for that which seems to be in the news.  Firstly, Wuhan, someone put a lovely photo of a Chinese bed in Wuhan, and the realisation that the world over we are all the same, but by just appearing in the news the word Wuhan will always remind us of that nasty virus we are all panicking about.
Secondly, Huawei, the new system of 5G network that everyone is saying we should not have but apparently is already established, and it would be an expensive undertaking to change.
And thirdly, a Chinese artist I do not understand Weiwei, millions of sunflowers, or...........................

Bang 2013 Ai Weiwei
So I go back to an old friend, who always makes me smile....

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

28th January 2020

Yesterday was such a sad day, as stories poured out on the radio about the terrible hell hole of Auschwitz.  Manufactured industrial killing, I am sure someone said that. When I put up Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy', it was a refutation of cruelty that the human race so often takes part in, I was looking at the different faces that took so much joy in the music.  We are moved by art, music and architecture and yet that base cruelty of the human race flares up everywhere.  We are quick to find fault, to lay a label at someone's feet, and if anything yesterday's ceremony must not become part of history but must always stay there, out of the corner of our eyes we see, we remember the terrible cruelty.
Everyone has a tale to tell, my grandfather was Jewish and English born in the East End, but my upbringing in the Catholic faith is a reminder that he would not acknowledge it.  He fled from Belgium where he was working and with his wife Catherine, as the Germans approached.  He told the tale of driving the new car with a mattress on the top for protection, and with a little pekinese dog snuggled inside Catherine's fur coat.  They managed to get on a boat to England and from there he built his life.  I was formally adopted by them, my entrance into the world the result of a 'liaison' of his son, who was in the RAF and a person, my mother, who I have never looked up, for reasons that at the time  such a birth made you illegitimate.
Grandfather grew quite wealthy, he was a clever engineer.  But my childhood was blighted by such people as I see today, who are quite willing to denigrate a group of people into trash.  So I heard, as a child, that such people as myself were born  'no good', parents would never be of 'good stock'.  I see people like that today, small minded, ready to judge others badly and no compassion.  But  I also saw in that video the goodness that is the human spirit, the melding of races.
When I was about 9 years old, Catherine had died not long after coming to England, my grandfather took me back to Brussels to visit a lawyer, and at the time to claim my inheritance.  The house in Belgium belonged to Catherine and legally I became her heir.  The house had been in the hands of a collaborator at the time and of course the trials and sorting out of properties took time.  I remember going to the property, it had a small lake with a boat on it and I am sure the man rowed me around.
Well it is not quite the fairy story ending, I never received my inheritance, it was to go into a small family firm called 'Nicor'* which was run by my natural father.
Great secrecy in my family about my beginnings, it all resided in a black box which was snatched by my father and the fact that I was adopted I only learnt at the age of 27 years old, on the death of my grandfather, and received my adoption papers.
When I saw the film 2001 - A Space Odyssey, and that black monolith turning in space, it reminded me at the time  of the black box that held so many secrets in my life.  Things never to be known. So history is a teacher of what has happened, what may happen and how we should approach our thinking.

*Nicor means    The nicor was a great water-dwelling monster of the dragonish or sea-serpent type.  I love that dragons appeared so early in my life.
Found here

Wryd; Last night I woke about 1. 0. clock to a noise, it sounded like the car engine being started.  Going to the window I saw two shadowy figures climbing over the church wall.  Did I dream it? Nothing has gone, everything is in place. Grabbed a wooden club just to be sure ;)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Saturday, January 25, 2020

saturday 27th January

Can you find me?
The little feral kitten that has adopted us.  First time this morning I was allowed to get so close, the trust happened yesterday.  Green eyes was fast asleep in the sun in this little hollow yesterday as I came to put biscuits out for her/he.  Eyes opened, but she did not run away, one step nearer to catching her I suppose.

The weather will turn bleak today, rain and wind, so a happy photo of summer. An Essex church by the river with the honeyed scent of cow parsley to be imagined.

It is counting the birds in your garden today for an hour.  Well my first impression was the 'mew' of the buzzard in the sky above with the angry chatter of the crows as they sought to drive him from their territory.

A Russian painter caught my eye yesterday, why I don't know, perhaps it was the way she had captured the straight lines of planting, or not.

Zinaida Yevgenyevna Serebriakova  1884-1967

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Thought for the day

“Celebrations of the voyage to America by a bunch of religious persecutees, chancers, adventurers and fugitives from justice in 1620. Commemorations being held in multiple UK towns and cities, including Boston (Lincolnshire), Barnstaple, villages in Nottinghamshire and the two English ports that figured most highly in the Mayflower story – Plymouth and Dartmouth.

Just loved this paragraph from the Guardian email this morning.  They were asking what people were predicting for the future, and of course the 400 year anniversary (16th September 2020) of the sailing of the Mayflower from these shores.  Now this is tongue in cheek American readers, but could you not lay the blame for your present president on the follies of these English adventurers, though I know he has a Scottish background, people that sailed away to the New Country?

Our language is still represented in your country, as in Australia, though I am always having arguments with the American dictionary that invades my blog, and demands that I leave the 'u' out or replace an 's' with a 'z'.

The religious 'persecutees' were often referred to as dissenters, not only did we find the Catholic church wanting, but also the Church of England further broke down into a variety of different but similar faiths, as the built heritage of chapels testify.
About half the people on the Mayflower were dissenters, the others left for a better life, the Cope family (of whom I have written a lot) left Avebury and went on to become a wealthy dynasty, they were Quakers.

 Though this prediction may be nearer the truth......

"Vanishing island nations (sea rise); Rebellion of US military against Trump orders; Rivers of blood provoked by anti-minority bigotry; Collapse of South African state/society; Failure of prosperous nations to abate famines with mass starvation (weather, kleptocracy, etc.)"

The question must be asked is the human race gloom-doomers, always predicting terrible things happening, or could we squeeze ourselves from the latest mess.  Slender, young Greta Thunberg, has definitely more eye appeal than the WASP incumbent president of the USA.

And a further thought, if more women were in  powerful places, rather than the middle-aged white haired males that dot the media I read, would we be in safer hands?

What sparked the white haired male must have been Jamie Dibon..

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

21st January

The Parish Meeting;  Well you would never pick me to write up the minutes, my instinct to measure and judge what is being said is not what is required.
So yesterday evening in the church at an informal meeting as to the proposed wedding venue at the farm over the bridge I veered from saying bravo to the farmer's wife for starting out on such a gamble and yet siding with all those people who said that noise and traffic would be the death of the village.
The opposing factor have built up half a dozen vocal contributors.  Starting with a very good speech, by our terrorist specialist, who said when he came back from abroad, he did not want the tranquil silence when sitting out in his garden to be broken by loud music.  Yet several of of the opponents owned holiday cottages on their land, so businesses were conducted in the village. 
My attention focused on the farmers there, R, whose farm is at the top of the hill stood by the wedding venue idea, another faction of this farming family were opposed to it.
Defending one's point of view is a very emotional act, you need to calm down and act with tolerance, this is what the first speaker had done, setting the tone. So very English of course, watching this adjustment of local farmers to suburban incomers into a village, that was not so long ago a place of self-sufficiency.  The cry went up what about house prices? And being the socialist that I am cursed this obsession with money, but there again it stretches to territory as well.
The majority decision at the last meeting had been that people had accepted the wedding venue, or indeed had no opinion on it.  So where did we arrive at last night, well the planning officer had accepted the restructuring of the barns, tomorrow I think it will go through at a council meeting.  
11 0 clock is the time called for music to stop in line with the pub, car parking is still an issue, bat and owl boxes would be put in place.  No balloons or those silly floating lanterns that do damage to birds.  Yes it is arguing about the nitty-gritty which ended it all.  One speech, three minutes long, is all the opponents have at the council meeting which seems a bit unfair.  But they have all sent emails of objections.

Our village in 1950
When out selling tickets on Sunday for the Carvery, I talked to one of the people in those cottages.  He asked me how A had got on painting the ceiling.  I had felt embarrassed a bit about choosing her to do the job and not him, as he was also a decorator.  but he said he did not mind at all and had actually taught A at Leeds and was interested in her work, well I gave her a glowing reference.... 

Monday, January 20, 2020


I have run out of words to write and so the magpie resurfaces and hunts among her own words and blogs to find herself once more.  I found Jan Morris, Robert Macfarlane and Paul to enlighten me along the way.  It is like wandering off the path and forgetting who you are.
Lanyon Quoit in Cornwall

In their lichened, faceted faces By Jan Morris

In their lichened,

faceted faces we see our lineaments; in their

solitariness, our loneliness, or our need to be

alone; in their gregariousness, our

congregational temper; in their alignment,

our deviousness; in their poised mass, our

fragility; in their rootedness, our

deracination; in their age, our ephemerality;

and in their naked outfacing of time and the

elements, a valuable lesson in patient dissent.

On words: An answer given by my darling Paul on transience.............................
Not really picking holes folks :-) I just believe that, as words are the main way we communicate with each other, it’s incumbent on us to try to understand exactly what we’re saying when we use one. Also that others have the *same* understanding of the word. I’ve used the word ‘understanding’ twice there – it’s one of my favourite words. Literally to ‘stand under’ to receive from above (from a teacher, a parent a deity). And that’s just our Anglo-Saxon way of expressing the ‘understanding’ idea – in other cultures the way of expressing the idea is different again. In Japanese it’s wakarimashita – literally ‘I have divided’. In other words I’ve ‘divided’ from you what you have told me and now I ‘understand’ :-)
And that’s only two words for one concept – imagine what it’s like when it’s whole sentences in a multitude of languages... ahh... give us the gift of tongues.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday 19th January



English Romanticism:  The words 'caressing watercresses' pottered through my mind, and so I went and looked at the images, and chose the above image to gather my thoughts for there is not much happening really. 
Watercress belongs to the south and its chalk clean rivers with brown trout to keep the watercress company on your plate and some burnt butter and almonds of course.  It is actually called nasturtium officinale, and of course both types of this plant eaten give a peppery taste and belong to the mustard family.  I suppose the warning must go with it, do not pick in the wild where there are cattle because it has the unfortunate habit of having liver flukes growing on it.
I have moved away from the caressing watercresses, and perhaps the  boy in the painting should be nearer the river for that is where the watercress grows on the shallow banks.
Mary Dawson Elwell 1874-1952 The Landing in Summer
Almost a photographic image and attention to detail, I belong to a F/B group about women artists and I am always surprised at how remarkably good they are.  In this it is the straight lines of rugs and pictures on the wall that capture the imagination, she had the good fortune to be wealthy and definitely had a 'room of her own'.   Mary Dawson Elwell ..... and then the photo that raised just a little smile ;) It came with the following words, attributed to Einstein but there is some doubt about that. It is so easy to mock sadly.

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits

Coffee to be made and bread to go in the oven.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday 17th January

Things tackled:  Alison is painting the ceiling in the sitting room, she finishes today and then curtains, paintings and everything will be put back in its place. It is such a long room, the work had to be done because of the shower leaking water from above before Xmas. She has managed to knockout half a dozen bulbs in the overhead lights.  Lucy has taken the whole situation quite calmly.  Before Alison turned to decorating, she was a dog groomer, and Lucy has been under her hand. Ali, as she likes to be called, has done a great job, well apart from using a wet rag on the lights and was the head of that old Egyptian little statue already broken?
I quite enjoy the 'undressed' look of the room, though living in this house brings home to me it needs a family, not one solitary person chasing around its empty rooms.
Also phoned the Cats Protection Charity for a trap to catch the mother cat and kitten so that they can be neutered.  This morning I had just come in from letting the bantams out, and the white head of the feral cat popped over the church wall looking for food, and then the little kitten came bounding up, so I put biscuits out. No news on the trap though.
Need to pluck up courage to go out on this grey and rainy day for shopping but perhaps not!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday 16th January

Human beings have overrun the world. We’re replacing the wild with the tame." David Attenborough this morning.

Though I never turned green skinned like those medieval Norfolk children, I have always been 'green' in thinking.  So yesterday as I read articles I noticed one saying billions of bees will die in America in the production of Almond milk for Vegans.  I have actually questioned in my own mind whether to buy this milk, and then said no because the thought of rendering billions of nuts to milk so that I can feel virtuous about not drinking dairy milk seems a step too far.  When I analysis, first thing up, bees die anyway, but of course in the monoculture of some of the farming in North America, when miles of the same vegetable/fruit are attended to by people in protective suits and masks, I know why the bees are dying.  It is an artificial way of growing food with herbicides, pesticides, single crops etc.
We live longer lives, create more humans, scientifically we manipulate our food growing, introduce into the world more harmful fossil fuels that change the structure of our finely balanced natural Earth, and then go into Climate Emergency (here I use the Guardian interpretation) but of course with many of our 'elders' Climate Denial.  Again I don't know the answer.
So yesterday I listened to Larry Korn, on the pioneering work of Masanobu Fukuoka.  A Japanese farmer who allowed his planted field of vegetables to run wild, and his trees to produce fruit without the added help of pesticides.  In fact I have his book, written way back in the 1970s. By allowing the rotted squashes and wheat/rice to regenerate the next year by leaving them on the ground and not ploughing.  There are three videos.

I have always taken green ways of living with a sort of feeling that no it will not work for the large amount of humans that live on this planet, but also knowing that the way we farm at the moment is unsustainable.  We create the catastrophe, and then have to find a way out of it.

For instance the use of nitrogen......

Nitrogen at higher levels causes a loss of certain plant species, depletion of soil nutrients, death of fish and aquatic organisms, and contamination of drinking water.

Take a walk down any lane in the country and see the loss of wild flowers because of spray from the adjacent farm land has allowed the stronger plants like nettles to grow, there is a tangible imbalance when we fight the so called weeds.

There is a story about a Japanese fisherman.  He is sitting quietly on the shore mending his net.  Along comes a business man, sits down beside him.  Asks him why is he not out fishing, the fisherman replies he has caught enough for the day.  The business man then goes on to say catch more fish, more profit, bigger nets, larger boat and you will be RICH and HAPPY.  The fisherman says but I am happy now with what I have.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Looking back at the cottage

Mary disapproved of painting this modern stable door blue

Top bedroom, had two cupboards which were so useful

Looking out onto the yard

The middle bedroom
The sheets got washed and ironed by a laundry, which also squashed all fastenings to my duvet covers.

Loved this little cupboard, still have it with some shelves on top.

Living with a small space

Work in progress

There was no bread oven behind that little door sadly

 The kitchen was left as it was minus the tartan carpet.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tuesday 14th January

A trailer to a film about three children and two donkeys. Probably a bit sentimental like the 'Railway Children' but its landscape of the North Yorkshire moors should be captivating. See the ruined abbey above the headland at Whitby. The old steam railway as it smokes its way though the narrow valley of the moors, the purple heather that lights up the dingy appearance of the moors, then remember the pale sky blue harebells and cotton grass fluttering in the wind.
Whitby has a magic all its own, full of people in summer, it's Victorian overly religious feel with all the churches that dot the town. There were donkeys on the beach when I first came to Yorkshire.
To experience Whitby, your nose will pick up the smell of fish and chips, the cry of the seagulls as they raid this palatable fare.  Here is the penny machines of old, there is the jet museum, full of the black art of jewellery.  Alleyways lead to pokey little cottages beloved of the holiday home brigade.  And of course the Gothic element, who can forget Dracula pacing about in St.Mary's churchyard.  Forgot, he is a fictional character, I remember Paul standing on the other side of the water judging whether the heroine could hear the goings on in the church yard across the quay.
I owned a  cottage once, next door Jim and Mary (going slightly mad) she would push complaining letters through the door about the noise made of building works that went on in 'Pottery Cottage'  as she only got up at 10.0am. Up the steps that lead to another cottage lived Fraser in a sort of basement flat with the clutter of his vagabond life stacked neatly outside.  These were our neighbours, the family would creep by them unsure of their heavy Yorkshire accents and Fraser's Scottish one.
I loved that little 18th cottage facing on to its small yard, opposite the windows of an estate agent.  It was tiny with those steep stairs up to the two bedrooms, the great stack of the fireplace running through the house, the coffin drop in the cupboard.  Think about it, if you died in your bed, those stairs were useless, I remember someone getting stuck behind a double mattress on a turn of the steps and everyone collapsing into sheer  laughter as we tried to solve the problem.
Maybe a blog of how it was transformed from the moment we first saw it, with a terrible tartan carpet on the floor and a bathroom that could have come from the 1970s into its present shape.  When sold I left the beds and furniture in situ, also the curtains from Habitat but not my settee which they wanted!.  

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday 13th January

"I am staring at the monolith from below the sacred hill altar.  It is much easier to get a perspective without that huge church against my butt.  From here, the mound dwarfs the church, as it should.
Rudston is an eerie place, built precariously on an ancient past of true psychedelic intensity.  Each village along the Gypsey Race has some tale to tell. But here it pitches in to tell some awesome and unorthodox mystery.  If Avebury is the Great Reconciler, then where are the cursuses?  Rudston and its environment fits well with the Avebury complex:  The chalk, the flint, the vast earth monuments, the disregard for time and perspective, all caught up in these enormous civic monuments".....Julian Cope, The Modern Antiquarian

The Rudston Monolith
The Rudston Monolith, to be found in The Yorkshire Wolds.  A prehistoric stone so large but still in the end dominated by the church. A clear expression of what the christian church thought of paganism, though in actual fact it could also be interpreted as two religions lying side by side.  It was cold that day it was Valentine's day, and this was our treat.
The stone was dragged from about 25 miles away from the Scarborough coast, and stands on a hill, there are four cursuses tracks (long gone archaeology) leading to the bottom of the hill in the village of Rudston, and also the wonderfully named Gypsey Race river.  Called that apparently because of its winding course.  Here quite straight as it goes through the village.

Julian Cope  says of this area that it had many barrows and prehistoric stones but all removed over time by the farmers.  History sinks into itself, fine traces appear above ground.  The very fact of a village here reminds us that 'ownership' of land goes through the ages. We question why, and then note the river that runs through a valley, a settlement place.  As time passes by building crumbles as new ones take their place. 
You have only to see it today on 'Escape to the Country' barns have been transformed into high ceiling sitting rooms, with the obligatory island in the middle of the kitchen.  Old Roman houses, long since fallen, will have evidence of Iron Age oysters shucked in the corner, as someone long ago sought the shelter of these old walls. 
I started with Julian Cope, singer, writer and occasionally high on drugs.  But when he wrote the Modern Antiquarian, he broke the stultifying jargon of an archaeologist written report.  He saw prehistory through different eyes, noting the 'sacredness' of long gone archaeological features, it seems to me that in worrying about the non-existent cursuses at Avebury, he forgets the great West Kennet Avenue, which surely fulfils the purpose.

A message from my daughter flashes in the right hand corner, "Mum all is well here" thank goodness says I.  Then as I read, see she has pre-empted a decision about an invitation for me about going to Switzerland.  But she is right hens and dog need thinking about, though I do love Switzerland and perhaps would like to see my two ex-sister-in-laws.

Brexit has been superseded by a royal couple calling for out. Go for it says I, these two young people can make their own decisions, and the 'firm' must learn to change in this  different world.

The Winterbourne at Avebury.  Another 'sacred' river

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Passing things

Passing things means that they will disappear in time, as I pull together the past.
Benet's Abbey by John Cotman
Castle Acre Priory
Before Paul, I was married for 27 years to someone who taught archaeology and also conducted digs in the summer months.  It was not a happy marriage and that is all I will say on it.  But it is what a part of my life was about.  Churches became more of a hobby in the last few years, but my diploma rested on my thesis about Wiltshire Abbeys.  I became fascinated by them, I wandered with the Victorian writer Harold Brakespeare amongst the ruins,  Stanley Abbey near Calne, Lacock Abbey, Malmsbury and Bradenstoke to name but a handful.
They seemed to be the first self-sufficient communities that prospered, then went the way of all projects, on the road to capitalism.  They were taken apart by an arrogant king, who made a law to fit his marital affiliations, and then destroyed the abbeys because they became powerful in the land.
Ruins are strong symbols of human history, that is why I am so intrigued by them, they represent failure of course, but their grace as they fall into rack and ruin captures the heart.  The ivy clinging to the stone is now ripped off in our modern world, but the Victorians loved the gloom and creative element of tumbling stone and wild flower. 
That is why I saw the John Cotman painting as an interesting juxtaposition of a later windmill built into the ruins of an abbey, and will look up its history.  (Someone with a more practical vision had built a windmill in the middle of this early abbey in Norfolk.  Built in 1725 but by 1740 was used as a drainage mill.)

Well I spent four summer years working at Castle Acre Priory, scraping, drawing and eventually doing the wages and dealing with the problems of about 40 diggers in the summer months.  We excavated the round brewery  building, next to an inlet of water, now dry that was also excavated by digger, this channel would have brought goods to the abbey by boat.
From camping on site with those wretched blue mobile loos and a shower in the old medieval barn, from which we had to cross a sandy floor and ruined the effect of a clean shower.
When married, it was a cottage along a long farm track, moving a couple of grazing tethered goats from the track (my job, I used to throw my arms around their necks and tug) and then finding a tiny shrew in the bed the first night. 
In the last year, baby in pram and my daughter, I reigned in the shed unable to draw, dealing with problems and money, people always wanted money before wage day. 
I shall put one last photo, my daughter will not be too pleased, but in this photo are old faces that I remember from this time.  Waterstone's restaurant in Bath.

The Swiss family connection was there, Annabel and Marc, Granny, associated friends, Leni Heaton, Florine and Eugene Katz, Karen's American godmother.
Then Bath friends, Henry and Valerie Cliffe, John and Thea Lewis.  At the back Jane and Tony, Jim and his wife, two digging friends, Jean, and Ron's family.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Wolf Moon tonight

For reference this is an American interpretation of names I believe.

Friday 10th January

The English Oak - Quercus Alba borrowed from Shutterstock

"There are tens of billions of known kinds of organic molecules. Yet only fifty of them are used for the essential activities of life. The same patterns are employed over and over again, conservatively, ingeniously for different functions. And at the very heart of life on Earth - the proteins that control cell chemistry, and the nucleic acids that that carry the hereditary instructions - we find these molecules to be essentially identical in all the plants and animals. An oak tree and I are made of the same stuff. If you go far enough back, we have a common ancestor." - Carl Sagan, Cosmos

But...........humans have way too much emotional output into life, and my crusading spirit was rather broken last night as the barriers came down on talking to each other.

The goats have been eaten said I, but those self same goats had escaped into neighbouring gardens and BUTTED the patio doors, never to be forgiven, must be a Yorkshire trait says the chuckle in my mind. 
It seems that when you start to dislike someone/family, every little grievance mounts up and gets stored, people become close-minded never WANTING to see another way of life. 

But things were arrived at in general good humour.  Jo does not like barbecues, why, simply because the food is served too early, so we agree on half an hour later. There is also a treasure hunt to be made in the summer, everyone ending up in the pub of course.

Boundaries are discussed, who owns the fencing and hedging on their side, David and Jill have just had someone to cut the large pine trees, but the farmer says it is only to... was it the Sycamore tree? Those wicked holidaymakers over New Year in the holiday home, lit fireworks in the front garden, not good for Charlie, 20 year old pony and the blind sheep.  This is village history in the making, it has probably always been like this, the small minutiae of life, since the village began.

Walking back from the pub, keen eyed Jill spots my newly planted primroses, weren't there at lunchtime says she, I had planted them in the afternoon.  Her husband offers to cut the hawthorns on this side of the fence, always kind, but I say will do it myself, except all Paul's saws are wibbly-wobbly Japanese ones and I need to buy a decent pruning one.

So what has been happening in the rest of the world?  Caught on the news this morning that just under a million people are sleeping outside in case of after shocks of the Puerto Rico earthquake there. The plane that crashed was almost certainly brought down by Iranian missiles .. Actions do definitely have Consequences Mr Trump and Iran - the innocent loss of life which all war brings on its tail.  Then of course to beat all the serious news, there is a rupture in the Royal family, well it keeps us entertained does it not.