Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year everyone

 So on the brink of the old year we are about to step into something different??  Well a voice rings out 'be ready to leave at 9.30, today we are going to visit Heptonstall.   Hopefully it is not flooded in Hebden Bridge, the town we must go through. The  flood alarm went off last night.  Perhaps there will be cake and tea as well as grave stones!

Yesterday our handsome male guest, he prefers that name by the way, must give him a little flip of the heart... arrived and cooked  delicious spiced chickpea patties.  Lillie went a scouts walk out of the valley and up to the moors, came back soaking wet but happy with her new walking boots.

I picked two memes which made me smile this morning, the second is the 'aftermath' of the Christmas holiday.  Recycling teeters on top of the washing machine which itself sits on the entrance down to the black hole of Calcutta, or the cellars.  Evacuation of humidifier last night and fingers crossed the pump works if it does flood.

Like birthdays, Christmas days and New Year Eve, it never feels different when the day takes its festival name, only the turn over of the calendar will tell us different.

And to Paul who made me so happy for the last few years, and who always read my blog to see what I was thinking.  It may be another year without you but you are still there deep in my heart.

So Happy New Year everyone - lets keep blogging.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Dedicated Followers of Fashion!


Raw music but tells of happier times.  When the young vied with each other to out dress.  Pat finds the High Street lacking, but then the weather is awful as well.  Those in anoraks are just wearing 'sensible' and cheap I can hear my daughter muttering who owns a wardrobe of beautiful clothes.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

28th December 2021

I read a lot of blogs, from one I took this view of the 'Woke Society', he is by the way 100% left in his thinking, so I was somewhat surprised to read his version of this controversial word.  My own reaction to it is that we interpret as we see fit and according to our own biases.  Yet I can see in his analysis the thinking of younger people, who have not as yet learnt to be tolerant.  Woke in fact has become a catch-all phrase to describe something you don't like at the moment, and by being 'correct' in the eyes of your equals and group.  I think he pinpoints it in "diversity of thought is not". After all how can you have a discussion when you are not allowed to speak!

Woke Identity - Identity Politics

  • Society is intrinsically racist/sexist/patriarchal and colonialist and must be destroyed in its present state.
  • Inclusion and diversity of appearance is good, diversity of thought is not.
  • Class politics is unimportant, and so is the 20th century.
  • Wrong think must be punished, for which there will be no forgiveness.
  • If you disagree with any of these thoughts you are a fascist, racist, white supremacist, Nazi.
  •  taken from here:  Left in New Zealand
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Today I saw that E.O.Wilson had died this month at the age of 92 years old.  You may ask who is he, and I would reply famous for the study of ants and making the environment a better place for all the species that are finding it difficult to thrive..  I only ever bought one book of his, and, truth here,  found it dull but it is this painstaking scientific studies that open the world to us and make it possible for us to battle against the onward tide of plastic into our oceans and our degradation of land.

Monday, December 27, 2021

"Dance me to the children who are asking to be born"

“Migration” is a central concept in both population genetics and archaeology, but its meaning has evolved in divergent ways in the course of the development of these disciplines.  Population geneticists use “migration” to refer to any movement of genetic material from one region to another which would see even low-level symmetrical exchanges of mates between adjacent communities as representing migration, while archaeologists restrict its use to processes that result in significant demographic change due to permanent translocation of people from one region to another. In European archaeology, discussions of prehistoric migrations have become fraught due to the ways in which theories of migration were exploited politically in the early-mid twentieth century, when movement of large numbers of people over short times was sometimes argued to be a primary mechanism for the spread of ethnic groups and archaeological reconstructions of such events were used to justify claims on territory."  taken from here

A Christmas thought:  Betsey Louisa who was my biological mother.

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I was a 'war baby' and then whilst my granddaughter was sifting through her respective ancestors she had put  the name of my birth mother on the tree.  It resulted in a surprised query from a member of another family - how can that be?

Correspondent followed,  and it worked out that my mother had been staying with her sister in Wolverhampton at the time of my birth, facts merged and my notional half brother informed me that there were seven siblings I had never met, I had been accepted.

I was as a baby adopted by my patriarchal grandfather and his Belgium wife Catherine, my father never actually acknowledging me had married someone else after my birth.  Those were the times. I wrote to B and he sent me photos of the family, but we had decided not to pursue the relationship so late on in life.

So surprise yesterday when he sent a Christmas message, and another one this morning, in answer back, it sent me thinking.  Apparently I have my mother's eyes and dimples and she at Xmas always collected great quantities of food (similar in this house).

Betsey Louisa

DNA is the in thing on these Ancestry sites, and as a present my daughter has received a kit for Xmas. I have little time for chasing my own history, we have arrived, nothing can alter the facts.  There is general teasing as to what this kit will find out.  I know I only had two children, after all I was born in a time when babies were taken from their mothers and back street abortionists existed - you were careful!

What is more interesting is the waves of immigration that happened over the centuries and the information that is coming out.  From Lucy's time we evolved according to the records but the Brexiteers never accounted for immigration, this makes me laugh.  Our bloodlines are from that continent next door.

I know my mother was Irish, she made the journey across the sea just like those prehistoric persons I imagined trekking across the Preseli Hills.  There is enormous movement of people around the world, at the moment, climate change, economic difficulties and as always war.  They don't really want to be on the move, they want a democratic home country and a home to live in with their families.

Anecdotal story; Listening to the radio the other day and this story came up.  Again someone had sent off their DNA to learn of their genes.  One other person also popped up as well, so the woman got in touch with the man, who really wasn't interested but what had turned up in the test was that their was a Jewish element in the blood test, which he denied as ridiculous.  And so began, by the woman, a tracing of history as to why this particular gene had appeared.  Well both people were born after the war, and their fathers had come back, physically ill and obviously not able to produce fertile sperm.  So the mothers had gone to a Mayfair clinic and had artificial sperm injected.  But, and this where it gets interesting, the donor was the doctor's husband.  The study eventually revealed that there was somewhere between 50 and 60 siblings born of this man and they have now formed a whatsapp group.  Remember the bible - and Adam begat ...........................................

Cheddar Man.   Born 10,000 years ago, he may come as a surprise!  Read about him here.

World's oldest family tree revealed

Science unknots so much fascinating information, humans are intensely curious but perhaps Darwin started a train of thought that will lead us to true understanding and hopefully compassion when we look on those helpless people wandering the world at the moment.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

26th December 2021

How was Christmas? Wonderful, noisy of course with four young adults, the meal was perfect as my daughter rushed around the kitchen, and Ben did not quite eat the 15 Yorkshire puddings, he claimed he could.  

At one stage I broke down in the morning because our guest brought beer to the party, and as I glanced at the bottle nearest to me, its label was the Japanese beer. - Asahi.  Sending a stabbing arrow of sadness through my heart.  For you can guess who often went out of his way to find it in pubs.  But  tears pass and as my daughter said it was as if Paul was also here, a bit like the robin who visits to those saddened by the death of a loved one.  

Presents galore, tea and biscuits from Fortnum and Mason, Coffee from Liberty and Tom (up North) got me Betty's tea and patisserie.  My daughter bought me a wallet, which you can't read my debit card through and tanning done by vegetable tanning.  God those vegans get in everywhere;) Also I now own a quiche tin or two, a favourite of mine but nothing to cook it in here. Not forgetting Lillie's calendar, because I can't seem to keep track of everything in a busy household.

From the presents you can gather that I like my coffee and tea, either freshly ground or loose in the pot for tea.  They are a lovely bunch of children, making their way through life and this was the first time for many years we had celebrated Xmas together.  Also of course my daughter kept in touch with the Swiss side who were also gathered together for a meal, as photos shot from either side.

Last of course was the dog Teddy who had a brilliant Christmas, helping himself to two packets of biscuits and smashing a glass dome under which resided a nativity scene.  Presents were slightly chewed as well but they remained unscathed.

Friday, December 24, 2021

24th December 2021

I stood on the doorstep yesterday, smiling sweetly, for the photo the delivery driver was taking.  Another parcel delivered safely, though of course then had an email from my son, mum have you picked up the parcel.  This from the Post Office.  Yes of course I had, another bit of paper gone missing. Dozens of parcels has gone through the household and I am definitely looking forward to AFTER Xmas.

So what made me smile yesterday, was it this sweet little card from Leo, specially printed by proud dad of his artistic attainments.  Leo is Paul's grandson, I have a whole ream of photos when Paul went up to visit him in London.  Paul was so happy, though he always wanted them to come down to the cottage to see the animals, sheep in the field, old Lucy and the hens.  Leofric, what a strange name my daughter said, but Paul suggested it and he named his children with old Anglo-Saxon names and Kennard and Yuki use the shortened version - Leo. Old English names changed slightly to modern use.

As my third grandchild arrived yesterday, seemingly in a solid relationship, the talk turned to baby names.  I mean he was surrounded by four females!  Matilda had the most to say on the subject and we discussed growing up with a name that parents have given us as children and probably taking the names from the current personalities.

Bored children yesterday in my room

Matilda is dithering around changing her surname so that her initials will strike the right note as a journalist (though god help her children when she names them).

They are singing the dirge like hymn 'Emmanuel' on radio 3 at the moment and my mind immediately races back to a very cold church in Albrighton, where we as convent girls would trek to practise singing, again and again, this hymn at Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Not quite the day before Xmas

Inversion over Bath

Outside I have just heard the Canadian geese fly overhead to patrol the canal, there is also the sound of the refuse collectors clearing the rubbish.  These are the unsung people who make our lives go round, we sing the praises of nurses and doctors but there is a whole tranche of people who need to be thanked for the service they do for the community.

Wild garlic scenting the air

The house slowly fills up, today it will be Tom, tomorrow Ben, the Omicron hovers like a dragon in the sky waiting to strike, as friends of both of them trigger the virus or don't.  But I listen to 'positive' news, will make my New Resolutions too write of what people are doing to offset the doom and gloom we are experiencing.  Blame some of it on the weather of course as we breeze past the darkest day.

Yorkshire beck

Rebecca Solnit seems to be taken to the heart of the Guardian, and is doing podcasts of what we can do rather than sit on our backsides and moan.  I note from the BBC there is a lot of falling out amongst families as the news and then their values impact on relationships between older parents and the younger generation.  All I will say is stop contemplating your navel buttons!  There is far more terrible stuff happening outside in the real world.

Ruined building

Virginia Woolf - a Room of Ones Own - is what I am listening to at the moment.  Love the way she potters around in her mind, mulling over the thoughts that filter through, whilst at the same time walking and being aware of her surroundings.  I find the same habit of  seeing people and wanting to follow them and see how their lives unfold, but that of course is impossible.  A few words spoke to me yesterday, it is from Christina Rossetti poem, The Birthday - the metaphor for me is how we grow old, heavy with memories, though in actual fact she is waiting for her love.

My heart is like an apple tree,  

The boughs bent heavy,

thickset with fruit

A Rowan tree.  Plant them for the winter birds who visit.

And lastly, music, the tribute to 'Lost Words'. Blessing.

 Blessings on all those that walk the Earth. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Greetings


Merry Christmas and a brighter New Year

Love from Thelma xxx

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

"The sun flowered briefly on the stone."

A video specially made for Winter Solstice of Maes Howe Chambered Cairn on Orkney.  This 5000 year old Neolithic monument also has the sun shining down the passageway.  Explanation by a professor about the tomb, interesting expert on the many runes that have been carved on the walls. Also poem which recited in the dialect was very special.

The video keeps starting 15 minutes in, so go back to the beginning.

And then there is Tolkien  taken from Tom Bombadil............

Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing,
Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains!
Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty!
Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,
Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.

Happy Winter Solstice

May the Light be with you:  Today, instead of Stonehenge and its gathering, a much more distinctive arrival of the Turning of the Year.  This at Newgrange in Ireland where the sun finds its way down a long passageway to illuminate  it.

Already we are unsettled by this new variant of the Covid virus.  Omicron rushes through the population with indecent haste.  The government holds fast that we will have a Christmas, but each and everyone one of us must make our own decision. 

My granddaughter came back yesterday from visiting her friend and flatmate in Manchester, worried that they would both not be able to make it  back to London, and that she would have to spend a couple of months in Tod.  She mentioned two cases of Covid, one of a 12 year old and one of primary school age that she had heard of.

So it is a clever bugger this virus, we need to take the precautions the scientists are telling us but enjoy the festival of Christmas, just less hugging ;)

And if you want stories to wile away the hours.  Binnorie and Gelert will be found here

Monday, December 20, 2021

Rainbow Plates?

Rainbow plates: I bought these plates because they were pretty, and then was informed by my granddaughter they represented the notion of Rainbow people who exist and go under the acronym of  LGBTIQ.  Now firstly let me stress I do not know the complicated relationship in which gender issues have splayed out.  All I had bought was some plates. 

 Apparently the colours of the rainbow have been painted wrongly says GD L,  be that as it may.  But having bought another two so we had six, GD M dropped one yesterday.  L who is very practical went and bought another two immediately and I thought what a sweet gesture, so that we can all have the same plate on Xmas day.

I am 'woke' to many things, especially social injustice, and how the world operates but such things as gender displacement has passed me by.  The girls will talk of boys wearing skirts, M especially as she studies at a fashion university, saying they can come in in all manner of things.

Thinking about in my day, mini-skirts, crocheted dresses (yes mentioned in crochet lesson;), and the boys with hairstyles and clothes that I giggle at now days, what I see is of course the young in their 'peacock' mood, showing off to the opposite sex.  But as far as LGBTIQ is concerned experimentation in their sexual role in society until one day they arrive at a point of who they are.  Though I think that there could be a more scientific logical reason for sex change.

I love watching the two sisters together, sometimes the temperature boils over the top another time loving acts for each other stresses the strong underlying bond.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Sunday - Day of the Sun

Today I heard an intriguing story on the radio.  When Father Christmas was 'executed'.  The Catholic cathedral of Dijon was witness and assassin to this in 1950.  They, the canons, took an effigy of Father Christmas, hung him and then burnt him in front of  many children.

Why you may ask: Perhaps it is because Catholicism is a strict religion in fear of the pagan element of this festival.  For the return of the sun was part of the celebration.  Nowadays the festival it is just a hodge-podge of commercialism, with children writing lists of what they want.  But do the children know that in Rome round the time of Saturnalia, children were offered as sacrifices for a good harvest year.  So maybe they have every right to demand compensation.  

The story told this morning finished with the happy note, that the town council would have none of this nonsense, and declared that Father Christmas would address the children at 6 0 clock from the roof of the Town Council building.  France is of course a secular country, but it is interesting to see how stories weave themselves round each other.

Taken from;

Levi Strauss and the Execution of Father Christmas

Uncommon Ground

Saturday, December 18, 2021

18th December 2021

Duloe stone circle in Cornwall

This morning in my comments there was a spam comment, a long one selling tablets for suicide.  Well I have never had one of those before, quickly deleted it, don't want it in the public eye.  Shocking is of course the word you would use but heat seeking? to anyone who feels low.

Listening to Jodo Mitchell at the moment, thank you 'Rumours of Peace'. Still love the 'Yellow Taxi' and thinking about how she wrote the songs trying to express herself as a modern feminist?

This is also what my granddaughter said of herself yesterday, she doesn't cook either as a feminist.  Practical granny, are you going to starve then?  We conjure up all sort of notions in our heads and then find the world will not play ball ;)

With two girls at home, the airwaves are filled with music, Xmas songs, someone has found a whole channel on Heart dedicated to all those terrible songs of the past .

I note Cro has ventured on a slippery slope of questioning the world as it is seen  through the eyes of the younger generation.  Fatal of course.  History is often built on lies and adjustment, that is why there are so many historians trying to root through to the truth.

Avebury stones on a cold morning

So what photos today? standing stones maybe telling of longevity, that the stones keeping a watch on the world remind us of our frailty.  Pause for a thought, is the next wave of Omicron serious, will there be other waves of different variants, have we been overcome by a superior force?  No it is not funny I know.

My daughter writes a large food list for the coming event of family gathering, only just realising that Handsome Guest, (he will have a name one day,) has a car which can carry everything! joy.  No lines of children hauling heavy bags from Lidl or Morrisons, you have to giggle occasionally.

Big Yellow Taxi

Friday, December 17, 2021

17th December 2021 "How did I end up in Yorkshire?"

I am so glad living in this country that we know how to use the vote.  Spectacularly in this latest by-election when the Tories got slammed in the voting booth for a government that leaves a lot to be desired.  We unite as one and put a Liberal in.  If Boris thinks he can run a country on his crooked manoeuvring - the lesson is learnt.

But for now I find solace amongst my photos,  in the happy faces of family and friends, tomorrow is Paul's birthday and I come across a picture of him lying on a bed laughing at me as I gingerly pick my way around the distinctly grubby carpet of a Travel Lodge.

He always demanded an expensive present, a trip somewhere, this time Stonehenge (in the cold of winter for goodness sake).  The grand opening of the new Stonehenge centre, with its funny little trail of carts to take you down to the stones,  In the damp and gloom of the weather, we wander round the circle, I gather photos of the Pagans, who are (as always) protesting about free entrance, it was raining and they look ridiculous in their long white robes.

Soon it will be Solstice, the time of the sun standing still and then the slow process back to summer.  

Who was it that taught me about the cult of paganism, to look at the world with wide open eyes and not be taken in by any  cult.  Professor Ronald Hutton, with the professionalism of a true scholar in his book 'Mistletoe and Blood'.  It is wise to remember that we love the drama of a religion, the stories that cluster around, especially the one we are approaching.  I have never quite worked out the modern day cults, for there are the nature followers as well, but they rarely do harm and appeal to the inner being as well.  But for others, the 25th December is not the celebration day but the 21st December when the light begins to return.

Paul was very mystical, at one time he wanted his ashes symbolically scattered over Silbury Hill but then fell in love with Yorkshire and the village we lived in and chose the little Japanese Bodhisattva goddess in the garden instead.  Happiness to him was sitting on the bench in the front garden on a sunny warm evening and drinking a beer.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

16th December 2021


Diary through the pandemic We live in interesting times let it be said.  My worry the last few days has been listening for parcels delivered, we are almost there, except for Lillie's bag from France, they keep giving different messages to its arrival.  Funny thing happened yesterday evening, my son emailed that he had a mysterious parcel for me delivered to his home.  My mind flies along scams for I know all my parcels and  not this one.  I get up in the middle of the night and look at my emails.  Another email, sorry Mum it was the fudge I ordered you, I put on the wrong address.

Do I always consider the worst outcome? Today the by-election, the Tories are hopeful they will scrape through with a reduced majority.  I saw a funny video by 'Led by Donkeys' with Ted Hasting taking down Cressida Dick, this countries sharp wits are already winding up to take down the government.

Today is the day of Lillie's play, we all have been issued with tickets but I don't think I will be going, though apparently all the social distancing and ventilation has been adhered to.  She is also on tenterhooks about her bid for a place abroad next year, probably Africa, a government scheme.  I think there are four from her school applying, I hate to think of her disappointed but we will see.

So hurry on Xmas so we can get on the other side of it and into calmer waters.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

15th December 2021

A funny thing happened on the way back from shopping at Lidl.  I stopped the traffic.  No of course not in that way but by dropping my purse in the middle of the crossing.  Horns honked at the kind man at the head of the queue who held the traffic back, a passing van shouted out Oi love, you dropped your purse.  How did it happen? lousy newish Lidl bag had come adrift at the seam, allowing my heavy purse to seamlessly fall through!

But my walk along the canal was refreshing, geese, both white and Canadian, plus ducks eyed me up and down for food.  I am somewhat bereft of birds.  I hear each morning the blackbird singing its heart out, the jackdaws sit on the eaves of the houses round here and squawk.  The other day I saw a robin for the first time and also a little grey wagtail, bobbing his way down the street. 

I heard this morning that the greenfinch is disappearing because of a disease transmitted through their feeding stations - wash, clean, sterilise. In the night, because I did not sleep well, listened to a podcast.  The interviewee was Robert Macfarlane at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire.  He talked about the 'Spells' book, no not a book to cast spells but memories of words.

Matilda is coming home this afternoon from London, already a message from my daughter, that her friend she shares a flat with has just tested positive, so Matilda must first take a test when she comes into the house, though her last test was negative. Both my daughter and I have had the booster, mine two weeks ago, we missed the rush thank goodness. When will it end?

Tuesday, December 14, 2021


Yesterday news summed up succinctly by someone on social media

"In case you missed it. Today's cock up. They gave the NHS 4 hours warning that they'd need to do 1 million boosters a day, the booking website crashed cos nobody thought to upgrade it, and we ran out of lateral flow tests within 3 hours. Vote better."

Not forgetting of course that Johnson decided to go all presidential and gave a statement out of government and the realms of parliament. He's got balls that man!

Returning to Xmas festivities. I am anchored to the house for the opening of the door to the many parcels that keep appearing. Today it is UPL? with no tracking device apparently, so it is an all day affair.

Yesterday the book I had ordered for my son was gently rejected and he said mum could I have these two books instead. So to my Amazon account I ventured to authorise return and the ordering of two new books. A flutter of emails and now he has the necessary information to take the first book down to Spar at Chelsea Road, the mention of which shot a pang of homesickness through my heart. The world is weird why take an Amazon parcel down to the supermarket?

It was funny yesterday, a white van parked outside the house, so I was on alert but then a washing machine was unloaded with great difficulty, and my heart began to sink at the thought of having to refuse it and it being uploaded again. Luckily it went further down the street.

My heart goes out to all those delivery drivers, rushing from one place to another, many from other countries as well. Look at the tracking sometime, 93 call in places for one, it is disgraceful. Before your finger presses down on 'buy' think about it, and I also include my family here. (And me of course)

Sunday, December 12, 2021


15.33 and it is getting dark, I keep hearing the whistle of a steam engine, surely not.  Lillie is out posting Christmas cards for the scouts and it is just Teddy and me.

Finished listening to 'The Mountain' by Nan Shepherd and have now got 'Wanderlust' by Rebecca Solnit on my computer, different style and different thoughts but I won't say anything for I know Tasker has this book on his list.  

An annual subscription from my son yesterday to Audible means I have a dozen books to choose from, Amazon has given me the 12 in one go. Of The Mountain book, listening to it read, has given me a different version of how I came to it in the first place and Macfarlane's summing up at the end helped.  Though there is a niggle in my mind about secondary opinions  on the original book.

I have been thinking about internet Xmas cards, some are already arriving in my email.  Tried doing a video one but it did not work, then came across this summer one, white buddleia with butterflies.....

Plant as many buddleia bushes as you can for the butterflies, they need the nectar.  My birthday comes after Xmas, and made to choose the other day as to what I wanted, I suggested a visit to a garden centre.  You can walk along the canal in summer to it, it is only a couple of miles but we shall take the bus and have a meal there.  I have a need for African Violets at the moment, and Barnhaven primroses, double petalled of course.  And hopefully when spring comes around I will find the pale lemon of the wild primrose here.

My son said yesterday but mum you no longer have a garden, but my mind hops round the gardening done in the town, no beautiful old fashioned roses from David Beale's roses do I spy, can I plant one somewhere ;)

I love 'painted' roses, they go against the formality of a perfectly formed rose and blossom with their colour and irregularity.

Laura Keunssberg and the BBC article -  Is Boris Johnson Going to Implode

Saturday, December 11, 2021

11th December 2021

Thrift or Sea pink. Courtesy of of Lara Howe

Don't hold your breath but things might change, and I am not talking about Omicron but the searchlight that is being focussed on our leader.  At last 'liar, liar' is getting through, his need to treat Britain as a personal fiefdom where he can change the laws is at last being questioned.  No more can he laugh his way through each disaster.

We should welcome other things, the Monarch butterflies are making an appearance, bison are being moved back into Britain to 'rewild' it's not all bad.

Thrift (Dig in, Dig in)

But today, some music soft and gentle, evoking the sea shore, composed for the book 'Lost Words' and 'Spell Songs' it reminds me that there are still empty places in the world.


Thursday, December 9, 2021

9th December 2021

Time has adjusted to my clock, I knew the world would come round to my way of thinking.  It chimes in perfect harmony with actual time, though sadly it is a tad slow.  No expensive visits to clockmakers round here but its bell like chimes breaks the silence, though I have been playing the music of Leonard Cohen and Kate Bush.  Melanie came on the other day, my daughter said your favourite music mum, assailed as she was as a child by me constantly playing her record.  Slightly gone off Melanie, though she is still remembered.

Well another pig's ear last night, a diversionary tactic no less but the mistakes keep charging in, soon our illustrious leader will have no where too hide soon.  It is a long haul this Covid Affair, here in Tod people cannot access the internet of the doctor's surgery, it has been out for months.  Hanging on to the phone is their only option.

I have been debating a holiday either in Keswick in the Lake District, partly because it is near to Castle Rigg stone circle, the one large ring I have never seen or maybe Berwick in Northumberland, there is a good holiday review in the Guardian, going by train and using buses once there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

8th December 2021


My daughter is panicking about the coming event, seven round the table and only an Aga to cook on.  Lists are being drawn up for when the children come down, money splayed out, I quite like the idea of 'secret santa' first time I have come across it.  

Today will be about food, the world is changing, supermarkets are stocking more and more vegetarian/vegan food as we slowly change our diets. Yes I know all of you carnivores out there will be shaking your heads but it is cruel to send all those animals to the slaughter - have a heart, and don't tell me about the need for milk/butter/cheese, I already know!

Yesterday I went to our local organic shop Tod Almighty, and perused the frozen stuff on offer, and no I don't want meat lookalikes or things that have the taste and texture of chicken.  I want my burgers made from beans or lentils with vegetables and nuts, but these old fashioned vegetarian things belong to the past sadly.

I am allergic to Quorn, not particularly enamoured of tofu,  unless marinated in a good sauce, and Soya has the same blandness as tofu, in fact  all these so called vegetarian substitutes are just like cardboard ready to soak up any passing flavour.

Anybody been to that party which dominates the airways at the moment and causes me to swear with such fury.  Was there even a party does it b***** well matter anyway.

Monday, December 6, 2021

6th December 2021 -Tamamushi Beetle

A small itch at the back of my mind about the boxes of Japanese samples of plant dyes and minerals that had disappeared has been worrying me. Basically when I left the cottage for the boys to take over, I could not see where they had been put and it worried me. I knew they were somewhere in my blogs but did not know the right title I had put them under, till I thought of the Tamamushi beetle, and of course the search was over. 

The whole thing came up over the weekend, Lillie my granddaughter wanted to write about an 'artefact' for school.  There is her granny still into archaeology and Paul collector of everything under the sun so she asks me.  I have a file of Paul's  photos of his 'collection'. 

Little Japanese gods jostle for attention with Roman glass and Saxon weaving whorls. He had accumulated a great deal and I left it to his sons to take what they needed to pass on maybe to little Leo, Paul's grandson, and his Japanese inheritance.  Paul's study was a mass of stuff, handmade papers, reams of books on art, all very specialist, but what to do with them?
As both sons work in London, one is an artist and works for a gallery they seemed the best to work it all out.  I know they have been taking carloads up to town.

Though I love the living landscape, objects or artefacts seem to me lifeless and not being particularly house proud the thought of picking everything up to dust underneath never appeals.  My daughter when we were leaving the cottage swept up all the things on the windowsill in the kitchen to remind me of the life once lived.  So now I have a little Japanese god, a butter dish and an incense bowl sitting here, plus a small wooden box that looks very reliquary and take able to school.

Inheritance or is it memorabilia? Can we store it via the computer I wonder.  There is only one problem, the transfer of the file to Lillie, here I am working with my big computer and typeface whereas the rest of the family work on tiny Apple phones, with seemingly a dozen things working at once and my email demands ZIP for files.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

5th December 2021 - A joyous Sound

 Yesterday tears welled in me as memories came back from the past. David had emailed could they cut the holly for the church for the coming Xmas.  Such memories are pushed well back, should they spring to mind I think of other things.

David and Jo, in their 80s have been together since meeting as children in India. He so tall, and of the old school, and she so small and talkative.  There she would be at the back door come for a chat, and I would help her off with her boots and for a couple of hours we would talk.  Often it was about the feral cats in the village, Jo had taken four kittens in they lived in their barn alongside the camper van they had.

David was the town crier for Malton, resplendent in his blue jacket and cockade hat, he would ring the bell and give out his declaration.  He did it in our village as well, I have photographs somewhere, he had to do it twice for I was late at the time.  

Jo would ring the bells of the church for any auspicious occasion, and would ask did we mind if she rang the bell at midnight.  Never I said, for it never worries me waking at night, I will listen out for the many barn owls, or maybe they were other owls, does it matter the naming of things?

The holly tree is by the small old building at the foot of the church wall, it was  next to our garden, and Paul was very protective of it, as he was of the whole village, and this was appreciated by many people.

The building had its own history, the village lock up in earlier times. The cottage had been built on the small pasture field next to the church. The field had had a small stable in it for a pony and before that had been the village butchers shop?  Everyone still remembered the field as the place the annual barbecue happened, though newcomers will not have any idea.    Yes I did find some bones as I dug holes for my roses.

Returning to David and Jo, from their barn was a flag pole, and the union jack would fly occasionally, and then the Welsh flag telling us they had gone down to their Welsh cottage.  Solid Brits, no I never asked about Brexit knowing we would be worlds apart.

I had had news that the first person to greet us into the village had died a few days ago.  I remember Peter Smith standing on the doorstep with a small box of tomatoes, graciously welcoming us, he was the church warden at the time and we met many people from being next to the church.  Talking to them as they tended their dead.

The saddest case was right outside to be seen from the side window, a young lad who had hung himself in his grandfather's pigeon loft on the other side of our house. His grave was always full of flowers as the family looked after him, keeping him alive in their memory and I think a younger sibling would come, often on an evening, to sit by the grave and talk to him.  Death is not always miserable.

And as it is Sunday Jo ringing the bells to call the meagre congregation to worship, not many sadly... Sorry about my terrible video making but you will see the holly tree and building.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

4th December 2021

 In the darkness of these winter days my mind plays around with odd thoughts.  Listening to Macfarlane in Landmarks and I find he has read all the books I have.  Trying to find  out what it is that makes writers tick. 

What do we experience on our walking out into nature, do we slip off ourselves and allow the spiritual uplift of the scenery to take hold of our bodies.  We relax into the world, some go on physical journeys of 'wellness' but does that inner being we call spirit meet up with wider nature I wonder.  We become One.

Well yesterday as I listened to Macfarlane's musings on two authors I had read, the thought trickled through that not only do female/male interpretations colour our views but also the writing.  The first Richard Jefferies, (1848-1887) an incurable romantic of the countryside, I had read 'Bevis' and 'After London'.  This latter book is a futuristic mythic tale, he has centred it on a great lake on a dystopic landscape, where you walk on the bone dust of people.  

The lake which actually covers a greater part of England in the story, is the much smaller Coate Lake near Swindon, where he roamed freely from his farmhouse home in childhood.  Paul and I walked round it, in those heady days when we first met and he showed me where he had lived.  We visited the little museum with the reconstruction of Jefferies bedroom and the old grandfather clock that had ticked his way through his childhood.  

Bevis on the other hand was a tale of childhood lived by this lake but both captured the absolute joy that Jeffries expressed on the wonders of the natural world.  An ecstatic mood of sheer oneness. There are passages in my blogs that I still come across that thrill with their intensity.

 Macfarlane notes that Jefferies would count the number of wild flowers he would find down his street in the suburbs of London, counting as many as 60 at one go but already realising that they were condemned by the encroachment of our civilisation.  Jefferies minutely observed everything but his life was cut short by tuberculosis and exhaustion.

The other author was female, Jacquetta Hawkes, (1910-1996) another romantic but a mind devoted also to archaeology.  The first woman to study the subject.  I loved her book on the Prehistory of  Britain, her writing was also subtly and emotionally wrought but Macfarlane remembers her for the book 'The Land'.  A strange book, he says of it that she was in an emotional state between the divorce of her first husband Christopher Hawkes and her marriage to the author J.B.Priestley.

She starts the book with the cameo of her lying down in her garden in London, and not in this instance looking to the stars but feeling the billions of years beneath her opening up to that fiery ball we sit upon. It is perhaps that archaeology gave her that love of the solidity of rock, changing from liquid to solid.  Something you will see as you walk any coast, the layers vertical or horizontal strata. Telling of the moment that Earth formed amongst the flames and fire of volcanic rock.

Macfarlane tackled two emotionally gifted authors in the chapter, stressing though that the writing of 'The Land' came from that moment of upset in divorce and remarriage whereas the treatment of Jefferies emotional state is not a given moment of his temperament which must have at times figured on a dramatic religious nature......

Friday, December 3, 2021



  "No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”   Virginia Woolf


Chelmsford River, fringed by meadowsweet, the good days of summer, spikes of yellow irises, bulrushes and that mess of green exuberance that tells of nature's bounty.  And of course, the green slime that collects on top and the baby dabchick that can just about walk on it.

The luxuriant fall of a wayward hawthorn allowed to grow treelike.  Its blossoms cascade down promising fruit for the Autumn.

Solva harbour when the tide is out.  The blackness of the rock, covered in seaweed and molluscs.

Yesterday I listened to Macfarlane's Landmarks, it is a mixture of glossaries of local words for the infinite changing landscape and chapters on writers.  Yesterday it was Roger Deakins and wild swimming.  But also he mentioned Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton, the word Autumn passed through my mind, an instance of recognition.  But it only came to me this morning - The Last Wolf.  The story I had found in their book 'Reliquiae' in their Corbel Press

Though perhaps their offerings of prose and poems left me somewhat slightly dull of mind, but on reading a blog on Virginia Woolf once more she puts another thought down on page...... 

"the eyes of others are our prison; their thoughts our cages"