Thursday, April 22, 2021

22nd April 2021


Today is Earth Day, a recognition of this beautiful planet we live on, and which unfortunately we are in the process of destroying unless quick and direct action is taken.  There is a slow awakening that the problem of climate change is indeed happening and our world leaders are slowly moving forward.  The virus in a weird way has helped, questioning why the virus would move from animals into our human system has shown that the cutting down of wild places forcing animals into our zones of living and also eating these unfortunate creatures has helped play a role.  Science fights back, but occasionally we are on the back foot, as now in India where the Covid virus has mushroomed and 200,000 deaths a day are happening and there just is not enough medical care and oxygen to help those suffering.

It may be happening in a distant country far away, but our lax strictures over travel could easily bring it to our country, somehow keeping the economy running is seen as more important than the death of citizens.  Brazil under its leader Bolsonaro has committed this policy, as has the present leader of India.

But enough, I am waiting for the cartoon of Boris Johnson having his phone confiscated!  Listening to an interesting programme on 'slow food' this morning and the presenter mentioned the fact that the 10 richest people own half of the world's wealth.  Is Dyson fast tracking to Johnson by phone the way we are going to be run in this country?  The sight of Starmer spitting out 'sleaze, sleaze, sleaze' yesterday in the house was not as funny as expected and Johnson's furious face seemed to hold the same message.

A picture emerged in my mind, of some of these badass politicians sitting on a heap of money doling it out to friends and family happily, but luckily those sitting on the side lines are beginning to call them out.


A friend in the village bought me some beautiful yellow roses yesterday, so a happy note as we chatted on the doorstep.  Their brightness reflected spring and the sun.  In the afternoon drove to the vets to pay the bill, fairly reasonable.  Then went to the new Co-op to potter around.  They haven't quite filled all the shelves but it was such a pleasure to wander around a shop again!  The girl on the till was so bright and cheerful, apparently her first day on the job, I wished her well for the future and went away glad of her optimism.

Slow food

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

21st April 2021


Thomas Musgrave Fox.  He has the painting wrong, only 4 men and one woman survived, her two children were drowned.

For those in Peril on the Sea

Pat on her blog has asked for heroes/heroines to remember.  And my mind went back to childhood, Florence Nightingale and Grace Darling came to mind in my storybooks.

But Grace's heroic rescuing of survivors in Forfarshire, Scotland brought also to mind another heroic act that happened in 1881 when the ship 'The Visitor' was in trouble in winter.  It happened in Robin Hood's Bay, but the only lifeboat was in Whitby, a distance of 6 miles roughly. So with 200 men clearing the snow ahead of the boat which was pulled by 18 horses, they hauled the lifeboat over the snow, in about two hours and were able to rescue the people on The Visitor on their second attempt.

Henry Freeman was the coxswain at the time, his history can be found at the Whitby Museum.

Prince Philip had the hymn sung at his funeral service, a reminder I think that as a country we are surrounded by the sea which can be very rough at times.  Walk the Pembrokeshire coast and look down on drowned boats, and yet people were brave enough to face up to these terrible seas, lose their lives maybe just to rescue fellow human beings.

The house is empty, everything I did Lucy would be there, so there are a lot of tears at the moment but I shall keep busy with such recollections as above.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

20th April 2021

My darling Lucy has gone to the supposedly happy hunting ground in the sky, though she preferred to be in the house and not in the garden. Another stroke on Sunday left her helpless and so on Monday I booked her into the vet.

It was all very peaceful, she snored on the back seat of the car as we went.  You can have your animal euthanised in the car or outside on a trolley at our vets.  So the vet lifted her very gently on to the trolley inserted a catheter, and after the initial tranquilliser, the final act was injected and she slipped away almost immediately.  I have always been at this final act of death for my animals, a solemn and sad experience but relief at the painless end to life.  She will be individually cremated and her ashes brought back to the garden and spread underneath the roses and join her master. 

She was to be the first dog  that Paul had had, and he would have stuck with her to the end even though she could go psychotic every so often as memories of her past flooded her mind.  Apart from these occasional episodes she enjoyed her life and especially her home.  Indifferent to walks, she was the mistress of habit.  Always doing the same thing every day which included barking at the window that overlooked the churchyard as I drank my coffee.  Was she telling them to stay put?  Always found to have a soft toy in her mouth when greeting people at the door with a wagging tail.

She was a pretty cocker spaniel, and won hearts, as she won my heart when I first espied her photo at the Dog's Trust, and put in a bid for her.  Her owners were having to get rid of her because they were living in a rented house and had to lock her up in a shed every evening, this is what turned her mind I think, so we would have very rare hours of a behaviour that was troubling as she paced the house and knocked over things.  She came to us with a broken piece of pottery, which was said was her favourite toy and as we drove back from Thirsk, we stopped at Sutton Bank and shared our one packet of sandwiches with her.  That is why we have a large print of this magical place over the fireplace.

She was 14 years old this year and had had a good life but I shall miss her terribly, a good companion in this time of the pandemic.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Less rather then more

Yesterday: I drove to Pickering for my second jab at 2.30.  The volunteers were superb, ushered into the municipal car park, then walked through the surgery's car park and then through one of two doors of our separate towns. All efficient no waiting around, nurses going through the routine with bright manners.  We should be thankful to those people who volunteer to stand around and look after us.

Driving home I made the driveway just before the one minute silence and sat there in the company of the garden.  I had noticed a cyclist had also stopped a bit further up the road, and a delivery van also pulled up at the entrance, for that brief moment of remembrance. 

It makes me wonder as a republican, whether having a royal family at the head of our country is probably the best solution for us.

The service was beautiful in its simplicity, and yet took in all the values of a very historical country.  I had never been terribly interested in castles, and though we had passed Windsor Castle on our journeys from South to North, it had never made much of an impression.

Choir of St. George by Charles Wild 1818

But the fan vaulted roof of King George's Chapel reminds you of all the hard work labourers and masons had done through the centuries.  Starting with the motte and bailey of The Tower in the 12th century it had flourished into an overly designed castle with the chapel a handsome addition.  I also notice that, that a Victorian architect, Harold Brakespear, whose articles on the Abbey's of Wiltshire I often read about when doing a course on archaeology was instrumental in restoring it.

The development of a castle from a motte and bailey

The funeral was dignified, and will represent through later history, the Time when we went through the Pandemic.  For there sat the queen, so forlorn by herself at the end of the choir chairs, that you wept for her loss.  The chosen family of 30 people were resplendent in black, there black face masks utilitarian in choice.  A thoroughly dignified and beautiful service.

Now for the chatter, did the two sons make up? Will Prince Andrew escape the shadow of darkness that engulfs his behaviour. But perhaps we all will remember the Duke Of Edinburgh for his lifetime service to the country and Queen Elizabeth rather than mull around the gossip of an American actor and their spouses!  Rather look at the Fell ponies, as Phillip wished them to be there at his funeral.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

17th April 2021

And on this day?  Something Radio 4 does every morning as they look back on the history of one particular day.

Jo will ring the church bells twice, first before Prince Phillip's funeral service and then before the one minute silence.  Unfortunately I shall be queuing in Pickering for my second vaccination but I can watch later on.

I am happy for him that he planned his own funeral, the Land Rover, the wool coffin, he made an ecological statement even in his death, not wanting a State burial.

I was going to write, once more! about Garn Wynda cromlech, situated on a rocky outcrop above a village looking out to sea.  It is hidden in the jumble of rocks, but all along this Pembrokeshire coastline such cromlechs are to be found.  One of the things I notice about other people who go to see it they always start from the village, whereas I travelled along an old grassy  path from a lane.  It was interesting to see two derelict houses along the way and an old school deserted sitting alone in a field, and thinking about the people who must once have attended the school.

It looks towards the sea and you will often find these old burial places strategically placed in the landscape with a view.  The above Victorian plate shows the tall pointy rock above as does my photo.  The writer thought that it was dedicated to a god, but he was right on one level, you can locate the triangle capstone in the landscape beneath it.

Makes you think how we have not progressed very far with our own  gravestones and obelisks.

One theory for stones, tall and straight - phallic, the triangular shape - female.  This can be seen, if you believe that is, along the Avenue at Avebury.  But funnily enough down in Cornwall amongst the stone circles you will find the odd female triangle stone as well.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Wayland's Smithy

 My mind is like those many faceted silver balls of light that glittered in the dance hall that turned as we danced when I was young.  Those days it was The Twist but now multiple memories float past....  Yesterday they were talking about grief and apparently I seem to be going through this last phase of memories always popping up.  I am sure Facebook encourages it for it pops up memories every now and then, yesterday was Wayland's Smithy. 


Falling in love with its stories embellished over the ages, this Neolithic tomb has acquired a Scandinavian tale to add to its mystery, I have read a children's story about it, the White Horse of Uffington nearby galloping along the Ridgeway bringing those frightening figures from the dark.  But Wayland the smith according to the legend would shoe your horse if you but left him a coin at the tomb.

I went several times along the long path to this place, actually restored by archaeologists in the 1960s, it lies, rather beautifully amongst the trees.  I remember once there was a pagan ceremony for scattering the ashes of a megalithic person.  I took my son Mark along with flowers I had picked from the garden.  People scattered along the Ridgeway Path, till we came to Wayland, the rain had started by then and everyone sheltered under the tree, I remember sitting next to a youngish shy man, who saw himself as the Guardian of Wayland, his nickname was 'Wysefool'.  He also died a couple of years later sadly but he loved the place.

I had taken my rather reluctant son on this walk to emphasis that one could have a happy ending to life as the ashes are scattered around in nature.  The ashes of the person we scattered her nickname was 'Treaclechops', a brilliant writer, Paul always admired her work.

In the nature of memories and writing, the whole scene becomes vivid and yet whatever I remember of that damp wet day as we all sat under the trees and chattered, it was good.

As was the day I came alone, as I often did, my family were not great walkers, though now, both children walk for relaxation, you see world I did have some influence ;)

The day I came alone with Moss is caught in this photograph, he is sitting under a tree, see his beloved ball is there to.  I had sat on the ground for a long time, inhaling the atmosphere and meditating and he wants to move on and chase his ball.  The golden Autumn leaves of the beech trees tells us the time of year.

Perhaps it was that day or another, but as we walked along the path, ahead I could see a man behaving strangely, he kept jumping off the path disappear for second or two and then jump back on the path.  Dilemma, what to do, be brave said I continue walking, Moss was always a good defending dog.  I drew abreast of the man smiled and said hello, he laughing, said 'don't worry my dog is in the woods  and I have to keep checking him'.  Fears ungrounded.

I would carry on writing but coffee is calling and I am happy that I was able to write today, perhaps that is what it is all about writing the memories away.

Thursday, April 15, 2021


 What to write about, meandered round the blogs and giggled here and there.  Had a moment of memory failure yesterday morning.  Put the soup on and then went to my computer and forgot.  Some time later the smoke alarms went off, their shrill piercing hurting my ears.  Doors thrown open to the outside, pot put on the surface in the kitchen where it blistered the top.  Nigel from over the road yelling from the back door, are you alright, I saw smoke coming out.  Thank goodness for neighbours who keep an eye on you.  All became calm in the end.

American troops are leaving Afghanistan but is it to the fate of the Taliban I wonder?  Should not have watched 'Dispatches' rerun on Channel 4 yesterday.  A religion so strictly observed that the lives of the women are so undermined that we should weep with frustration.  Horrible scenes in the football stadium, as another face of patriarchal religion  showed its strength to obedience by making killing a spectator's sport.

Perhaps all that lying and corruption we are listening to at the moment in our own government maybe be a better option, but what choices we have to make.  Does it not make you wonder though that in tolerating a prime minister that lies, we are also part of the problem in allowing it?

As my father-in-law used to say years ago as the family sat round the dining table.  He would threw the napkin over his head S.I.D. S.I.Dsometimes I despair, sometimes I despair as the family argued over religion and politics.

When you look at the television programmes all you see is people tarting up their homes, chefs cooking things, stupid nonsense programmes on getting married to strangers and yet in the outside world terrible atrocities to other citizens of the world, it doesn't make sense.

Yes Pat I know, we should leave politics at the front door of our blogs ;)

 Think I will go and find some magic mushrooms!


And in doing so visited Mirk Mire Moor and Wheeldale Moor

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


 Today I have been looking through old photos and remembering my young grandchildren as they grew up.

Tempestuous Matilda, always bright and clever, but always ready to argue. She looked lovely in her 'prom' dress, skinny and blonde, now working on a difficult course of fashion, she wants to be a journalist, lost in London somewhere, along with her brother Ben who is also into  fashion retail.

Ben, quiet after he had grown out of his early years demanding that we stop at Whitby station on the way back from shopping to see the train come in, the wait could be interminable, they were few and far between.

Tom, the oldest,  gentle and quiet, those early days in Bath, as he turned the sitting room into a giant tent with all the chairs and the 'Brum' tape playing in the background over and over again until it got replaced by 'Toy Story'.   He hated going for a walk with my two dogs and I had to bribe him with a bun from the bakery on the way back.  The day, when with his mother, we were walking up on the downs.  Wandering along he screamed loudly, they could have heard him back to Bath.  It was a flat thistle he had trodden on, thinking he had been bitten.

Lastly, Lillie the youngest, always left at the dinner table, because it took her hours to eat her meal, the 6 peas she was supposed to eat as VEGETABLES still sitting there. She does better now at 14 years, but I miss her grinding the coffee in the machine as she has done in our house since 3 years old, standing on a stool over the coffee pot.  She is the sensible one of the four and will probably be a teacher.

In fact of course I miss them all, three have fledged to university and their visits home will be scarce and the last year has been particularly poignant with only myself for company, and Lucy of course.

This and that

 Just been drinking my coffee as I listened to 'Life Scientific', the person interviewed was Professor Dame Theresa Marteau, and she was talking about behavioural changes to help towards keeping disease and obesity at bay.  Little things we already know, small plate size, smaller wine glasses, lift doors that are slow to open thereby making you take the stairs.

I remembered the daily visits I took to York hospital and the people I saw there.  There were quite a lot of over large middle aged men about in the wards, and my mind said they have been indulging through their lives without counting the cost, I thought it was wrong to put such a heavy burden on the NHS.  (No pun intended;)

Now this can be seen as a righteous thought and totally unworthy, and I am sure the caring community of nurses did not judge that way.  But an odd incident happened.  One day travelling up in the lift there was a nurse wheeling an obese man in a wheelchair.  On his lap were all the things you are not supposed to eat, crisps, lots of chocolate bar and drinks.  He must have caught the drift of my look, for he looked straight into my eyes and seemed to challenge me to say something.  Coward as always I didn't but just smiled to move the moment away.

Today I learn that thousands have been in touch with the BBC moaning about the overall coverage of the death of Phillip and not being able to see their favourite programmes - God forbid!

Perhaps we should all grow up and actually see what is happening in the outside world before we moan about temporary loss of television programmes.  There was an interesting programme last night on something I mentioned the other day - the plight of delivery people and the use of contract less jobs leaving them to the vagaries of the market.  Sorry can't help my need to get cross....

Monday, April 12, 2021



Fantasy Gothic -  Gormenghast

I have come to the end of my Audible reading of 'Gormenghast' part 1.  20 hours of speech.  Thoroughly enjoyed, though must admit would wander off occasionally as things had to be done.

The story has always intrigued me, the characters are often quite ugly and cruel, Steerpike especially so, as he manipulates himself through the various levels of ceremony that grind through this enormous castle.  You are never quite sure what Mervyn Peake is saying.  Is it a reflection of the society he finds himself in when he wrote the book? 

The movement of tradition and wieldy government that still exists in our society, is he mocking his characters and us with their nastiness?  The third book looked towards a modern future, but what I remember of it, it was still miserable about the state of humanity.  He had other books planned but Parkinson's Disease intervened and he died at the early age of 58 years old.

His storytelling can be put alongside, Lewis and Tolkien, that time when literature was written in a rich vein of imagination, but the length of  Peake's tales would put most people off.

So what next, I have marked George Elliot's 'Middlemarch' there is a  book by Elly Griffiths - 'The Stone Circle'.  Phil Rickman - For the Hell of It' and of course Thomas Hardy and Macfarlane, already too many books marked off in my wish list.  Also note that these Audio Reads, cost a lot when not reduced by Amazon's so called 'sale price'.

Today on the news they were discussing the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh next Saturday, and how people were grumbling about not being allowed to gather, either on that day or this week.  We are always back to freedom as far as some people are concerned.  Freedom to transmit the virus?   He arranged the detail of his own funeral, and I would expect his strong character would have stipulated not many people.  In the end our death belongs to family and friends not to the wider world.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday and snow

Surprise, surprise, as I opened the curtains this morning, snow greeted me gently falling to earth, the early morning sun bathing everything in a warm light.

Words come to mind Hildegarde's "a feather on the breathe of God". Those white feathers that flutter down from the pigeons as they fly past.  And then from the Iliad poem, "the words fell down like snowflakes" and you can just imagine them melting into the ground.  But enough it is falling thickly now - April weather!


I had a delivery on Friday from Morrison's, now I have no complaint with them, not even in the substitutions but one thing irked - plastic bags.  Then this Friday, this paper bag stood proud on the top of the box.  I looked at the delivery man with shock, but I only saw it on the news this morning that Morrisons was getting rid of plastics, that was quick!  He explained that what they were hoping is that we would have shopping bags ready to offload from the yellow boxes, so as I slung everything onto the carpet, with Lucy chewing up the beans in the background, note to myself - remember to have the big sturdy Co-op  bags for the next delivery.

It promises a lot

And another granny moment: Whilst sorting what goes and what gets given away, the teddy bear did not get the chop.  For it reminded me years ago of a small Tom (he is now in his 20s) dragging this bear along Bath Station.  His mother loaded down with luggage and a pushchair refused to carry it for him and said it would be left behind.  So a very sulky three year old pulled the bear along the ground in a bad mood.

Friday, April 9, 2021

A familiar face has left this world

Sad news today, Prince Phillip slipping away before he reached his 100th birthday.  He was always there, occasionally letting slip a politically wrong sentence but we expected no less from him and laughed gently. And when they come to write his biography they will be there, those slips of speech, one of the 'old guard'.  But he has been the Queen's consort for a very long time, doing his duty as she has  with loyalty and dignity.

For a time early on in her reign he was the champion of the environment, he never quite had a place in changing things but his son Charles carried on the work.

It will be a great loss for the Queen, and my sympathy goes out to her but she has many great grandchildren too keep her amused and I am sure, for I can feel a pricking in my thumbs, that his passing will be mourned by thousands of people, even now as they bring flowers to Windsor Castle. 

A rose for Prince Phillip of the United Kingdom.  Or Duke of Edinburgh.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A small rant

So the billionaires are doing well according to Forbes, whereas the Deliveroo employees not so.  Another company that swirls around in the useless world of the internet has met a sharp barrier of  rejection on its shares, as people begin to think, more ethically, maybe?  Deliveroo delivers food, mainly by bike, according to adverts, so it is probably why you don't see these young people travelling country lanes.

To put it less politely if you can't be arsed to get off the aforesaid, some poor person for a pittance will deliver you a meal of some description.  Well on the back of the successful Uber call, when 70,000 had certain conditions such as holiday pay and a pension, plus a national living wage.  The Deliveroo employees are striking today for similar conditions.

You can make big profits on the backs of the slave labour of the young, or some poor middle-aged man with his only asset a car to drive people around with. 

There seems to be three types of people around in the class system, those that can afford the little luxuries of life, the really, really rich class, and the poor, who can't afford to rent or eat properly.

There is the silly arguments in the media about flags behind Conservative members of parliament, plus of course the obligatory picture of the Queen, which is neither here nor there.  Though the question being asked is the party developing right wing fascism undertones may be of interest to some. 

But to return to food, in amongst all the wretched television I watch (yes I know) there are adverts for food, food, and more food prepared elsewhere. For elderly people (excellent) food for slimmers (maybe), but when you come in exhausted from work there is a nice little array of spices and sauces to put on the steak (you hopefully have in the fridge) and the rest of the stuff.

It is as if society has taken a downward plunge into nothingness.  Food programmes dominate the screen, food in all shapes and sizes can be delivered to your door according to adverts.  Is anyone in this country not living on the earnings of renting and service industry actually making something.  Anything??

End of rant from a would be socialist. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Intangible/anima mundi


Falling in love with words.  Intangible, something you can't quite touch but it is there it lingers on the air or in a pattern that has faded, the smell of a rose will remind you as it fades..  I would marry intangible with anima mundi, (world soul) everything interrelated and interconnected.

So where am I going as the fingers touch the alphabet before me.  Well firstly, reading Joanne Noragon on her work with looms and Tom Stephenson on the attributes of the proper use of lime.

In Japan there is the idea of Intangible Cultural Heritage,  Paul when he was in Japan on a business trip in 2009 with a client, took photos for me of the looms at the Nisigin Textile Center.  In fact living with Paul taught me that craft work is important, it would take time before you actually became an expert, in fact you were always learning.  I have often mentioned the Aged Paste cycle which takes ten years to happen.  Each year the great pot is taken out the old water replaced by new.  I have photos of the indigo dyers, stirring their pots of indigo, a miraculous process taking place as the dyed garments are brought up into the air and the oxygen  turns a different colour into that deep blue.

You can find the world in these two words, the prehistoric stones we both loved, the old churches we visited, the sheer physical beauty of the natural world and that craft work which takes time and love.  

Paul lost his love for conservation it took its toll on knees and eyes but his love of Japan never diminished.  Looking through old blogs, and suddenly I remember he collected 'stuff'.  Must be all up on the rafters of the garage.  The heavy Japanese fireman's uniforms, you soaked the fabric before they tackled the fire.  There was the butcher's aprons marked with their names.  The glass topped trays of minerals and dyes which I can't find but two of the boxes could be under a piece of heavy furniture. 

So I shall delve amongst my old blogs for reminders of the thing I have mentioned and spend a happy hour or two visiting the past.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Notes for Easter

Good Friday.  The church bell has rung at 2.0.clock, the vicar stands outside the church dressed in white with a mask, she is working in the dying world of British Christian faith, maybe 6 people will turn up but probably fewer.  In my mind the time of 3.30 hovers this is when Jesus dies on the cross.  I remember as a school girl in classroom waiting for this event one Good Friday, and lo and behold the skies darkened - it was a storm of course, but even so! That day I almost believed.....

Which leads me to when Christianity came to these isles.  First of all it came in the form of Celtic saints proselytising, Rome slowly accepted this new young faith and it migrated over to Britain, though Ireland was probably the first to feel its touch.  

The original church was called The Celtic Church it designated the period before Catholicism took hold in the form of Rome's interference.  This was agreed at the Synod of Whitby 664 AD, so it was goodbye to Irish monks and welcome Catholicism, it was Easter dates that finalised the changeover. We had lost Roman over lordship in the year 410, and we entered what was called the 'Dark Ages'.  Though this must be taken with a pinch of salt, written records around the following four centuries were just thin on the ground.

It can be traced through letters from the popes to their bishops in this country, on how to tame the pagans!

Timeline;  Augustine of Canterbury was a monk who became the first archbishop of Canterbury in 597 AD.  After this the conversion  (601) of the Anglo-Saxon Kentish King Aethelberht.  Pope Gregory (540 to 604) had intended that Augustine become the metropolitan archbishop of the South of England.  It was Aethelberht's daughter who took the challenge of Christianity to the North when she married a Northern king.

Correspondence of how Christianity overcame paganism.

Letter from Gregory taken to England by Mellitus;

When almighty god has brought you to our most reverend brother Bishop Augustine, tell him what I have decided after long deliberation about the English people, namely that the idol temples (fana idolurum) of that race should by no means be destroyed, but the idols in them. Take holy water and sprinkle it in these shrines, build altars and place relics in them. For if the shrines are well built, it is essential that they should be changed from the worship of devils (cultu daemonum) to the service of the true god. When these people see that their shrines are not destroyed they will be able to banish error from their hearts and be more ready to come to the places they are familiar with, but now recognizing and worshipping the true god.

And then there is this answer from Gregory to a letter from Augustine;

Because they (the English) are in the habit of slaughtering much cattle as sacrifices to devils, some solemnity ought to be given in exchange for this. So on the day of the dedication or the festivals of the holy martyrs, whose relics are deposited there, let them make themselves huts from the branches of trees around the churches which have been converted out of shrines, and let them celebrate the solemnity with religious feast.
Do not let them sacrifice animals to the devil, but let them slaughter animals for their own food to the praise of god, and let them give thanks to the giver of things for his bountiful provision.

4th Century - Martin of Tours

As bishop, Martin set to enthusiastically ordering the destruction of pagan temples, altars and sculptures. Scholars suggest the following account may indicate the depth of the Druidic folk religion in relation to the veneer of Roman classical culture in the area:
"[W]hen in a certain village he had demolished a very ancient temple, and had set about cutting down a pine-tree, which stood close to the temple, the chief priest of that place, and a crowd of other heathens began to oppose him; and these people, though under the influence of the Lord, they had been quiet while the temple was being overthrown, could not patiently allow the tree to be cut down".
In one instance, the pagans agreed to fell their sacred fir tree, if Martin would stand directly in its path. He did so, and it miraculously missed him. Sulpicius, a classically educated aristocrat, related this anecdote with dramatic details, as a set piece. Sulpicius could not have failed to know the incident the Roman poet Horace recalls in several Odes, of his narrow escape from a falling tree.

The felling of 'sacred trees' in Ireland is documented in the old  Celtic tales, and I have often wondered if the tree carried on the shoulders of the Celtic soldiers on the Gundestrup cauldron, is a sacred tree won from their enemy.

Gundestrup Cauldron

 Happy Easter to everyone. xxx

Taken from The Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

And perhaps a spoken poem from R.S.Thomas, who always delights me with his dismal view of life, especially as he was a vicar but found it difficult in his belief of God.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Friday 2nd April2021


The flowering currant has burst into flower with attendant bees.  It was one of the first plants I became aware of as a child, the sharp pungent smell always invoking the large back garden of childhood.

Yesterday an Easter card through the post jolted me into realisation that life was slowly returning to normal.  The monthly treats on offer, was the garden at Helmsley Castle, The irises at Lastingham and the Arboretum at Castle Howard. A whole group of people that had been lost in the time of the pandemic.

Talked to my daughter on the phone for about an hour as we discussed the future, two grandchildren at Uni in London, one at school in Todmorden and one furloughed in Manchester, and my daughter of course also furloughed in Tod as well, all this to change on the 12th April when people can enjoy more freedom.

The first thing I notice from blogs and elsewhere is that people have become frightened of going out, we have become settled in our homes, finding entertainment where we can, insecurity has set in.

People are winding their lives around the 12th April. When offering some craft books to our local library I was told to wait after the date and suddenly I can just see hordes of people taking to the streets, charity shops piled high with the stuff we have sorted out over this long period.

Plastics are in short supply, I think we should be grateful for that, less in the sea. So also  shipping containers for transporting stuff and just lets hope that there will be stricter rules for shipping live animals by sea it is a disgrace that they die onboard for lack of food and water. Life is beginning to unfold in a different manner.

A friend whilst travelling back from Whitby spied a white tailed sea eagle over the moors, she was so excited about it.  It seems that these great birds are moving further down our coast, there are supposed to be two over the moors. That is one treat the pandemic has brought us, the realisation that the creatures of air and land are important in the general life of us all.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

31st March


The statue of Boudicca at Westminster

Talking about religion, war and women

"On the shore stood the opposing army with its dense array of armed warriors, while between the ranks dashed women, in black attire like the Furies, with hair dishevelled, waving brands. All around, the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven, and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight, so that, as if their limbs were paralysed, they stood motionless, and exposed to wounds. Then urged by their general's appeals and mutual encouragements not to quail before a troop of frenzied women, they bore the standards onwards, smote down all resistance, and wrapped the foe in the flames of his own brands. A force was next set over the conquered, and their groves, devoted to inhuman superstitions, were destroyed. They deemed it indeed a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives and to consult their deities through human entrails."

Tacitus on the Roman Raid of Anglesey

You could almost say Tacitus writes like anything found in the rag papers, such as the Sun and the Mirror...... and the Telegraph!

 I always conflate Boudicca with the raging Druidic furies on Anglesey as the Romans defeated them,  sadly, just one of the many defeats this island has taken.  But Druidism if it did exist, though not so much in this country, but in Ireland and that part of the European continent that adjoins the sea we share, was seen as an evil force that stood behind the restless Iron Age natives of many tribes that occupied Britain.

Turning to Boudicca, stripped and whipped whilst her daughters were raped by the Roman soldiers the anguish was too much for her and she raised an army against the invaders, again sadly she was defeated with her poorly led army against the more methodical tactics of the Roman.

Summed up neatly, no lessons in the names of the tribes that dominated England, nor am I going to lacerate the Romans with verbal cruelty - it just was.

I would bring parallels with the discussion of women's role in society today and yes we are still talking about rape 2000 years later! But I think women are slowly but surely getting there now, and I really do not admire Boudicca for her warlike action.

No what sparked these thoughts, is religion, YP put his foot in where others would not, and we all expressed our feelings.  Well I threw out two books on the 'old gods' the pagan Celtic gods so beloved by Boudicca and the Romans, Christianity did not come to Britain till later on.  Both books written funnily enough by women Miranda Aldhouse-Green and Anne Ross.

I always enjoyed wandering through these gods of the woods, hunting, water and war.  They lay  in the earth till discovered by archaeologists they represent  superstitious belief systems.  You can find them all over the world but for some reason two religions have dominated, Christianity and Islam, I belong to neither but am quite happy in the bounds of nature's chaos.

Paul was an admirer of Boudica, he also joked that as an Anglo-Saxon his heritage came from Saxon royalty.  He was not nationalistic though.

As an aside;  Minerva Roman goddess of many skills including crafts was also sold by the Romans to the native population of Bath or Aqua Sulis, with the local goddess Sulis, sometimes it is good to hedge ones bets when it comes to the gods!  


See old blogs.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Tuesday 30th March - Almost the end of the Month

 The curtains are drawn against the bright sunlight, a couple of days of good weather, we are blessed.  The narcissus in the pots just outside the window have broken free of their sheaths and their pale lemon welcomes the sun. The double petalled pink primrose has also broken cover as has the dark red, but edged with gold  - primula. Spring flowers pass by quickly heralding the season but not stopping long.

At the end of the garden, the pink/red flowers of the flowering currant stand in relief against the evergreen dark leaves of the ceanothus (Californian lilac) and I look forward to that powdery blue it will display later on.

Book reading;  I do not read, or listen now, to a lot of stuff.  My brain refuses to regurgitate any more facts, knowledge or the learning of it is there, to be picked up as the memories flood through my thinking.  A friend brought back Frostquake by Juliet Nicholson she had borrowed and we both agreed that this particular recollection of the year 1962 did not actually match up with our remembering of it.  Though in hindsight it was a good  historic timeline.

Have been listening to Gormenghast via my phone.  Pound created a disreputable bunch of characters when he wrote the book but as I listen what captures my mind is the sheer volume of description the author gave to the book.  So that I am walking with Fuchsia as she wanders around the wastelands that surround the great castle, or pondering on the great horizontal tree that grows from the side of the castle and the two batty sisters that occupy the Room of the Roots.

Where was Pound going with all this dreamt up nonsense, or maybe it has some sort of significance.  We are left with Lewis, Tolkein and Ezra Pound great fairy tales, written roughly around the same time - what inspired it all?

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday 28th - Time

It is that time of year and yes I never touch the car clock and still have to find the instructions for the cooker.  And of course our bodies react to old time not the forced imposition of a specific new time.  The wind is blowing gustily outside, shrubs and trees rock and the sound is loud.  Now comes the decision should I have coffee an hour earlier or wait?
There is a funny photo on F/B.  It shows a small canal boat stuck across the canal in imitation of the larger 'Ever Given' cargo ship.  The wording goes....

BREAKING NEWS : Yorkshire holds it breath as main shipping route to pork pie Shops is blocked !!

Fred Slathwaite , Captain of the vessel, said “ One minute we were fine , then a gust of wind caught us !!”
“Yorkshire is expected to loose as much as £3.45 a day until the carnage can be cleared , which could potentially take weeks to clear “ a spokesman said .

Yes I know my sense of humour is pathetic, but I do so love the droll humour of the British people. If you were to ask me what I have found different through the years I have lived it is in interpretation of the funny side of life. We who were raised on 'That was the week that was', Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, The Goons, and Monty Python see the stratospheres of our society through different eyes to our young folk. It boils down to a simple equation 'we can't take life seriously' or at least the lives of the people round us. And here I must add, also the politicians, through the needle picking eye of the media nothing is sacred nowadays.

Six minutes of nonsense pub talk.....

What it boils down to of course is that we have lost our respect for authoritarian figures, the realisation that they are as stupid and fallible as we are is hard to swallow.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday and spring

Guess what I found on the lawn yesterday a violet, it must have hopped over the church wall and seeded itself.  The lawn is in fact the remnants of an old field, so it also has bluebells as well as Hawkweed.

Well today with the early sun shining brightly through the window I write about an old love.  No not any romantic recollections but the early wild flowers of spring.  I have an unconscious habit of waiting on arrival of spring, not for the common daffodil but the little violet. Most people name them as dog violets, but in my book Margery Blamey, has two pages of these little gems.

Perhaps Heartsease will tempt you, or dwarf pansy, Marsh violet or the yellow wood violet.  There they all are lurking on marshes, mountains and woods, their little genes adapting to the world they find themselves in.

Margery Blamey

Turning to Grigson and he quotes Shakespeare 'the black or purple violets or March Violets of the Garden'.  He also mentions the smell of the sweet violet,  scent suggesting sex and mentions once more 'The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestry, somewhere in America I believe.  I will quote at the end how this tapestry is interpreted and it will introduce to the stories that flowers can tell.

But first, technical joy.  My Iphone is starting to reveal its wonders to me.  Firstly, after consultation with my son, that I owned an android?? I managed to put Audible on it and can now wander around and listen to stories.  It also seems a better camera than my old one, but I have not learnt how to transfer photos from it to my computer, only that I need to use a USB cable - whole drawerful somewhere!

Yesterday a table top magnifying glass arrived, to help with sewing and my knitting so old age here I come well kitted out........... There was a marvellous short video of Sheila Hancock discussing how being alone through this crisis had affected her - madness??

'The captured Unicorn lies within a fence, tethered as a symbol of consummation, to the pomegranate tree of fertility.  round the white Unicorn row various plants of sex; Bistort, Lords and Ladies, Early Purple Orcis, Bluebells and Viola Odorata.'

Profile of Pascal Soriot - CEO of AstraZeneca this morning

Friday, March 26, 2021

More bits and pieces.

William Hogarth - The March of the soldiers to Finchley

Hogarth may have popped his clogs, but you can rely on John Crace to see the funny side of things. What am I talking about?  Well it is Sir John Walker and his speech of freedom over a pint of milk.  I think he needs to buff up his essay writing and join the threads together, because he did not quite make sense but I am sure he was sincere.

David and Goliath comes to mind.  Ever Given stuck in the mud of the Suez Canal.  Our need to ship everything around the world comes with a cost, enormous boats a bit like the enormous lorries we see on our tiny lanes.  Just read that it is cheaper to send salmon to fillet (from Scotland) to China then it is to do it at home !!!

What else, well maybe China will stop doing the dirty work of filleting salmon, as now it has put a list of British politicians on a sanction list of people who maliciously spread lies and disinformationI am not being trite here but Tibet of course comes to mind as the plight of the Uyghurs locked up in detention camps is highlighted by news of some calling this genocide.

It must be frightening to stand up for your principals against such countries as China and Russia, as their methods of getting even result in painful deaths.

The daffodils are blowing in a strong wind, except those in the shelter of the church wall.  The school bus goes by too pick up the children and my little cat is starting to respond to me touching him, so not all is bad ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Things picked up from the news

I don't want to frighten you first thing in the morning but doesn't the poor love look haggard, running a country is not  easy.  And then, to release on the news that  
"The reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed, my friends." 

Though the words may have been taken out of context, foot and mouth come to mind.  For the moment I will allow Johnson to rest on his laurels about vaccination, but the EU have made a mess of it. But then I read that as far as the EU is concerned we have become a third rate country, no longer able to call the shots, see below....

No one is measuring the UK-shaped hole in Europe.

On that score, Johnson’s consequential victory was not the defeat of enthusiastic pro-Europeans, who had not been a dominant cultural force, but the annihilation of rational Eurosceptics. It was the banishment of moderate Tories and the scorching of earth beneath anyone who could see flaws in the EU but wanted to address them from the inside, because membership still served the national interest. The extinction of that tribe is a tragedy for British politics, but it is also a loss to the rest of Europe. And the cost has yet to be counted.  Rafael Behr is a Guardian columnist


And then there is of course the protest action against the bill going through parliament and the Bristol protest, which of course will only unite those for the bill.

“The loose and lazy way this legislation is drafted would make a dictator blush. Protests will be noisy, protests will disrupt and no matter how offensive we may find the issue at their heart, the right to protest should be protected.”

Perhaps when the pandemic slowly slides to a halt we should look at different views.  Rachel Reeves (Labour) writes in a heartfelt manner in the Newstatesman last week.  But I am not sure I can trust the Labour party not to skewer itself on its own politics.