Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday - 31 January 2021

Sunday morning and I listen to radio 3, for its 'sounds' which can be everything from a tropical jungle to bird song early morning.  Today it was shards of ice dripping from the leaves of a tree/shrub, does it matter.  Now I am listening to Maxwell Davies's - Farewell to Stromness, video down below. Gentle and soothing it is Sunday. 

Someone has offered me a video of 'The Dig' this morning, a friend in Cornwall, which is sweet of him.  I am not sure I want to watch it though, my memories of going to Sutton Hoo are part of my past.  Roy has Netflix and has taped it off, haven't heard from him for a long time, but the family are doing fine in Cornwall.

Have been baking this morning, bread of course and a tea bread loaf, which my little flock enjoys, that means bantams and Lucy.  I make it without butter but then thickly buttered when eaten, it goes with coffee.  Lucy watches me making the coffee, and then she knows the moment when the cupboard door is opened and she comes and stands near waiting for her slice.  I miss Lillie my youngest granddaughter making the coffee, from an early age she would stand on a chair and carefully blend the beans and then brush the coffee into the filter.  Now she doesn't have to stand on a chair!

As for my vaccination, I have recovered from a day of aches and pains, but just read somewhere it is worse on the second injection!  But then we read so much on the internet it is difficult to focus.  Europe has rescinded Article 16 against Northern Ireland, which was rather drastic at the time and we can only hope that sharing the vaccine with everyone will be for the future.  Have you read about 'GameStop' takeover by young millennials.  Won't give you the Guardian link but I have just subscribed to the paper as I realise buying papers is so non-U now.

Redditors aren't cheating, they're joining a party Wall Street insiders have been enjoying for years. Don't shut them down...maybe sue them for copyright infringement instead!! We've learned nothing from 2008. Jon Stewart on Twitter account

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Saturday, 30th January

Well I have had my first vaccination, but managed to almost miss it.  Thought it was at Kirkbymoorside surgery but no it was at Pickering Surgery.  So a fast drive to Lidls'  and then having to find the surgery on the right the receptionist had said, and I joined the queue.  Yes when I get my second vaccination the first thing I will do is have my hearing and eyesight checked.  Desperately need more glasses.

Actually did not feel too well last night, I think side effects from the jab moved in, a cup of tea and some paracetamol this morning half helped it but sleeping a bit longer also helped.

I had planned on doing some shopping in Kirkby but of course didn't, so I shall have to eke out my milk to Monday, whenn I get a delivery of stuff.  I notice that several things are going on 'maximum allowed'. Only one bag of flour, pasta, same of peppers, tomatoes and there seems a dearth of fruit.

I notice in all these Trussell food banks, there is a basic delivery of pasta, tomato sauce, tinned soup and then breakfast things but I wonder how much fruit is given, so much depends on the kind acts of other shops giving away their fruit and vegetables.  Debby has tackled the problem in her part of the world by talking about prepared, ready to cook food for casseroles.  It made me realise that I could give away the two micro-waves which I never use, but they will probably need an electrician to give them the once over.

It is Imbolc or Candlemass on Monday, the 'quickening of the year' when slowly we return to lambing and snowdrops. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday 29th January 2021

Well I am not a Netflix fan and we had never taken out a subscription to Sky or even Amazon as a matter of principle, i.e. lining rich men's pockets with even more money.  I have tried Netflix in the past but found looking for a decent film hard work or perhaps I have not the patience to sit still for a long time.

So my choice has been thrown back on 'freeview' which has a choice of our regular tv shows.  So I explore what really interests me. 

First off, is the 'Investigation', this true story though dramatised to a fictional story is about 'The Submarine Man' and is set in Denmark.  Cleverly done, we do not meet the murderer at any stage but it is the forensic evidence that brings closure on his conviction.  That is where my interest lies, the slow process of evaluating the evidence till there can be no mistake, which is needed under Danish law. It was the wretched murder of the journalist Kim Wall, in the homemade submarine and then the cutting of the body up and throwing into the sea.  Much of the drama lay with the divers at sea and the calculations of wind and current, it was a lesson in how clever the human mind is at working things out. 

Next, 'Finding Alice'  Original in the sense that it is about a 'smart house' and burying the body of her beloved husband in the garden.  It is not particularly humorous but as the opening scene unfolds with the wife, hunting round her beautifully cupboarded kitchen with nothing on the kitchen surfaces.  She sinks in despair against one of them "where's the bloody fridge?" she asks and in that she encompasses our bright Western world creating a modern kitchen.  You know the one I am talking about, the one that flows into the living area, so that the family can all be together! Just think about it.

Lastly, 'The Pembrokeshire Murders' which is of course another true story.  Again the forensic evidence gets the killer. Played beautifully by Keith Allen, who turns this way and that like a weasel, trying to implicate his son as the murderer, and then in the final scene when he is led away having been found guilty - a really nasty case.

So I wait for the next series, but the importation of new series from  Scandinavia, Italy and France surely expands our world.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Thursday 28th January 2021


Thursday: And the heavy sound of rain on the kitchen roof.  But it is at least warmer.  There is so much sadness in the air, Auschwitz once more tells us to remember the cruelty of the past.  Then there is the daily death toll as the virus moves through our population.  Read a wretched report about idiot people, Covid deniers who made their way into hospital/hospitals to confront the poor nurses and doctors and argue the toss.  We will need the army out on the street soon, no, only kidding.  Get my vaccination tomorrow.

Our doctor's surgery, is very well protected, voice opened at the door, with sanitiser inside, and then socially distanced from the reception desk you are given your orders to which ever waiting room.

I should be more cheerful this morning but the rain doesn't help, the river has still not risen which is a plus point.  Lucy is the cheerful one, in her 14th year, she still bounces around like a youngster, often falling flat but it doesn't worry her.  Her feet are hairy Hobbit feet but must keep her pads warm.  After her supposed strokes she is starting to eat better, demanding a slice of toast for breakfast and a lunch meal of noodles or pasta and then there is tea of course ;) can't keep a greedy dog down for long.

The first photo is taken on a summer's day in Cornwall, we were at Paul's cousin cottage staying there for a couple of days in their new extension and sleeping in a gallery above the room. They had the ideal rural life so many want, hens in the garden, a vegetable garden and a pretty remote village, called I believe Ruan Lanihorne. All I can remember of our trips down to Cornwall was that the sun was rather tardy in coming out!

I am wittering on waiting for it to become daylight so that I can let out the bantams, the little cat won't be round till it stops raining.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tuesday 26th January 22021

Good News:  Biden is rolling back some of the environmental laws that Trump broke for his billionaire friends.   In fact Biden is unsigning quite a few.

Bad News:   Brexit is as bad as we expected.  If I see that grinning face of Farage whittling on I shall truly contemplate murder.  I despise that man and his stupidity.  There again Boris Johnson hardly gets a vote from me or a nod of approval.  There is something inane about the man.  He finds words for the occasion but the emptiness lurks at the back.  He postures, but unfortunately his imitation of a prime minister doesn't work.

Yesterday I filled in a survey from Newcastle University on the pros and cons of conventional gas against unconventional gas, i.e. fracking.  I am still wondering if I answered the questions properly.

If you remember fracking was tried just down the road at Kirkby Misperton but protest and the fact that financing was unobtainable, except from an American company, stopped the extraction and protestors were happy.  But there is a bias in the survey that suddenly struck me.  It mentioned money being given to those that lived in the area of exploitation, (originally £10,000 a household).  Sweet bribery which never happened. It asked about the small shocks of earthquakes and had it happened.  Kevin Hollincrake our local conservative MP was all for fracking, and I don't think has changed his mind.  So was this the thin edge of the wedge, slowly being thrust for the return of fracking I wonder, every time I see a helicopter patrolling the fields, if exploration is taking place and if local opposition can fight it off. 

Looking at the environmental ravages that America has to face off in the Sierra Club article, puts the below quote in a light that we must be forever vigilant in the face of unscrupulous businessmen and politicians. 

Quote of the day: “We never win. If someone pours the concrete for a dam, they’ve won. If I save Glen Canyon, I haven’t won. I’ve just got a stay of execution.”  Ex director of Sierre Club

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Saturday 23rd January 2021

 Thank goodness for magical invisible things that fly through the air and pass unseen into our modern technology! Yes I have mastered my new phone.  It took some time, I needed a new Sim card, when it arrived I could not fit it, then it broke down to the smallest of its sizes and just about fitted.  Then what to do? it was blank had no connection to the outside world, so I sorted through my emails from Vodaphone and found a number for it. Duly went to their site, filled in the number and waited for the magic to happen, as  data was transferred from my old phone to the new.  All this had me sceptical, not believing it would happen, but it did.  Now I have an all dancing, all singing new phone which works happily.  Able to answer the messages from people in the village that I was alright and not flooded out.

I am not sure it is a blessing by the way, talking to my daughter we discussed the robotic nature of phoning nowadays.  Mechanical voices, mechanical music keeps us away from real people, so mornings and afternoons are whittled away when we try to answer problems in our lives.  Banks who have now a third degree in shuffling you through to your bank, sending numbers to be captured.  Remember just before Xmas when my credit card was assaulted? Or those large parcels to an unknown person arrived and I had to negotiate their redelivery?  Now the bank has my voice recorded and the phone my finger print - where is this world going to?

Today listening to 'Open Country' early on, they talked about fenestration and how windows opened our world as we imprisoned inside looked out on the natural world. Well I sit in Paul's old chair and look out on this tree, and the large yew that brushes the house on this side.

Bird life in the tree is of course the Jackdaws, this is their home, you can see them in the branches.  They nest every year in the holes, even now since the sun has shone the last two days they are showing interest in nesting.  The squirrels inspect the holes but know better than to go against the Jackdaws.  I occasionally see tree creepers on the bark, and underneath on the wire that runs along the wall, the small birds, the robin bounces fiercely, territorial in his puffed up chest. Blue tits more shyly as they fly up into the yews sheltering boughs and just the occasional finch or goldcrest.  

One more thing, an eight minute video of 'slow', watch out for the story of Eyam, the plague village, in the middle.

English Life in Lockdown

Taken from 'Down to Earth'

Friday, January 22, 2021

22nd January 2021

Peaking: What do I mean by that, anyone living in Britain will understand, the rivers that grace our land, are in full flow, sweeping down a bridge in one area, sweeping across roads, flooding rail lines and worst of all into people's home's.  Given that we are supposed to isolate, hundreds of people have to leave their homes and find accommodation elsewhere, luckily hotels are empty.

Down the road from me the town of Malton waiting for the peak, has the River Derwent rushing through, pumps are employed to pump some of the water out so that the houses are not flooded once more.  York is waiting for its peak from the River Foss, so far has escaped most flooding but the peak will happen early morning.

Round here with our River Seven, well I would not try the back lanes down to a town either, the lanes flood intermittently, and getting out of the drive on to a flooded road is not really sensible at all.  At the end of the drive, the water is still knee deep on the road, a man passed by yesterday, wading through in his expensive wellies. Apparently he was testing the water to go to Malton, luckily the road seems closed, there has hardly been any traffic except the occasional large lorry.

But of course we are on the flat of Pickering Vale, and the water levels in the fields around are creating vast shallow lakes.  I notice that Nigel's small flock is on his last bit of green field, as well as Rachel's sheep on hummocks of little green islands from the back window of this house.

But of course my daughter's area always has the full force of flooding because of the narrow Calder valley.  Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and the village of Walsden experience flooding.  She lives in a Victorian terrace with  a basement and had a pump put in several years ago.  Apparently it did start up the other night but no sign of water coming up yet.  

So spare a thought for all those people who every so often experience devastating flooding of their homes and they once more set out to clear wet stinking furniture from their homes and start the whole sorry business of cleaning up.

Previous flooding at Mytholmroyd

Thursday, January 21, 2021

21st January 2021 - hallelujah

Dreams; I don't normally remember them, unless they are frightening and turn into nightmares which wake me up.  But last night a dream which did indeed wake me up had a sequence of happenings.  My daughter had bought me one of those expensive pillows at Xmas in the hope that I would not react so physically to my; falling out of bed for a start!

So the dream opened with my purse, I opened it and inside was a live butterfly which fluttered out into some rubbish, so I retrieved it and placed it carefully back in my purse.. It happened in a messy garage and I thought I shall tidy this space.  But then I walked out into the garden of this house.  Green lawn on a hill with great old trees and gnarled bark.  The land fell down to a foaming river and as I walked down to it I saw my half brother skipping alongside.  He made his way down the rocks to the river, and I, in great fear that he would end up in the river called his name.  Which of course woke me up.  Symbolism may be in this jumble, I have no family from my past, they went one way I went another on the death of my first husband.  But their fate still haunts me obviously.

Well the Inauguration went well, a good speech, I bet many people in America heaved a sigh of relief, as did the rest of the world.  It will be hard going of course, promises cannot always be kept but I am sure there is a feeling of hope and optimism in the air.

Harrowing television programmes on the overworked nurses and doctors in the NHS, how can they go on day after day with so much misery happening in front of them.  And then we have the deniers of Covid demonstrating outside the hospitals - FFS, who do we blame for ignorant, stupid thinking?

Now I shall switch to  Radio 3 for music and some sanity, they are still talking about that man, perhaps instead I shall listen to Leonard Cohen and Hallelujah ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wednesday 20th January 2021

 On this Day; Trump leaves the White House, whether to create more mayhem elsewhere I don't know.  I shall leave it to Tom Degan to ear splittingly vent his last anger, and maybe Tom Stephenson.  But for now the rains beat down, there is flooding on the road outside and I can't fit my sim card into the new phone!

River levels have just missed by a few centimetres topping the four metre figure, and it says the water is falling slightly.  When I look outside to the back fields, I can see the river gently lapping the top of the banks, and imagine a great elephant swimming through and the water overflowing, Archimedes' principle of displacement.

It is dark but already there is a car stuck outside the pub, engine drowned maybe? A Bata tanker, they deliver oil and animal feed, and always start work early, drove through the water and then reversed back to see if the driver was alright but he seemed alright and was probably just keeping his eye on the car.  There is just a dip in the road, and then the road rises past the church, those church builders always knew where to build on higher ground.

And so to the Sim card, just slightly bigger than its container in the phone, why is life so difficult? Can I get in touch with anyone to tackle it.................

Well in actual fact there was two cars stuck in the water, both going in different directions, the recovery men have recovered them now!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Monday 18th January

Everyone is dreaming about breaks and holidays. So where would I go? and the answer came swiftly, back to Wales to visit Solva, St. Davids and St. Non.  Visiting the old saints on this headland, looking out to St. Brides Bay.

Years of wandering along with old Moss, up the path overlooking Solva, the sweet smell of wild honeysuckle to remind me.  I always used to stay in a holiday cottage in the middle of nowhere.  But when I looked at a cottage near the Prescili Hills, the price quite shook me.  I expect we shall all be fleeing to the countryside when travelling is allowed.  When I took Paul to visit this favourite place we stayed at the Cambrian Inn a couple of times, the food was good and we took our American friends there.

I found my old blogs on the saints, why was I so captivated by them I wonder.  Probably to do with the landscape, which though it changes over the centuries still holds the memories of the past.

Paul and I were going to go to the Lake District a couple of years ago, somewhere I have never been, to me it looked very touristy and crowded but beautiful of course.  But Solva was one of the places I would have happily moved to. Paul liked it at Middle Mill, an old weaving mill now, the small hamlet of houses is very picturesque.  He had ideas about making paper there because the river Solva that ran through was so clean.

Past dreams, that was what the couple in that Canadian island home was talking about, we all have different dreams.  We dream ourselves out of the lives we live in now, not perhaps a good thing at all.

And to get back to normal things, the man from Morrison's comes this morning, and I have to get in touch with Vodaphone, because my old Sim card will not fit in my new phone!

The Bishop's Palace at St. Davids

Sunday, January 17, 2021



Tiny Homes.  I have always wanted to live in a small eco-friendly home, it is an idea that has developed in America but not so much in this country.  True you can buy one of these holiday homes near the sea but winter dwelling is normally forbidden, and I have a feeling they are not well insulated.

Not so sure about the above video either, old hippies in Canada making their dream come true but rather a lot of space messily apportioned would be my first criticism.  But when all said and done an achievement to create an appropriate 'space' for themselves.  It reminds me of the prehistoric crannogs you will find in the lochs of Scotland.  A defensive home situated in water instead of on land.

Reproduction  and visitor's centre of prehistoric crannog

 Ikea has created a small, movable house, unfortunately with Ikea furniture in it though, not my first choice of furniture.  It makes sense for single living, a warm space to live in with all those chores required of a larger house blown away in the wind. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday 16th January

No getting on my high horse today, a gentle canter only. Yesterday I took the plunge and ordered my Iphone.  First of all I got in touch with my internet provider, just down the road, which is housed in an old manor house, they look a friendly bunch of people.

Light covering of snow

Well Selwyn said yes I could use my new phone in the village with ease and asked why I wanted to know.  Explained complete ignorance about reception and not having my youngest grandchild to hand to explain things.  So it comes on Monday, someone in the village has offered to set it up, but I am just grateful to keep my old number.  The breaking point came yesterday morning, a crappy line, wandering from window to window and then outside for a conversation with my daughter.

Filled in birthdays on the calendar, and noticed that yesterday was Leo's birthday, so how to get a card to him.  Jacquie Lawson helped though I know most people I know don't welcome her cards - but it is  the thought that counts. Anyway I got a nice photo back of him doing a thumbs up, so one little heart was pleased.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Thursday 14th January 2021

Do you remember school dinners?  Plain, unsalted and the lack of butter was abysmal.  At convent, lettuce with the livestock still crawling through.  Our school  dinners when I was a child were plain and unappetising but I concede a point here, probably healthier to what is on offer in the supermarkets today.

Yesterday those terrible pictures of what is being offered to our poorer children left many dumbstruck.  Welcome back to the Victorian age, the bare necessities of life figured.  Two carrots, two potatoes, 3 apples, lump of cheese,  and various other bits and bobs. Yes you and I could make a meal out of that but the insult to the mothers and children is hard to stomach.

I went online to France to see what French children's school meal may look like, very different of course.  Nutritionally balanced, attractive to look at (a tired old carrot does not inspire much creativity), and filling.  Well we are a long way from this pleasant trayful, and I am sure the argument to prise our children away from the wrong type of food, think pizzas, chips, crisps and sweets etc, will take a long time, Jamie Oliver tried it when the schools were used, but............

The argument is of course to allow mothers the cash or food vouchers to make their own choices, and not allow the private sector to interpret (through their profits) a diet that is laughable.  The companies are now being drawn over the  hot coals of public scrutiny.  But surely, we could have got this right?

It is snowing, a winter wonderland, though cold, even the little cat came in for a few minutes this morning but his natural scared nature got the better of him.

Contrasted with Welsh meal box for 3 people for 2 weeks

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tuesday 12th January

 What to write about, my mood shifts between crossness and optimism.  Watched the 1944 film 'Cantebury Tales' directed by Powell and Pressburger.  It's symbolism somewhat obscured but its gentle story - who would put glue on young female's hair today I wonder ?  There was a gentle subtle tenderness as the three young people, all from different backgrounds follow their goals through the film.  It reminded me with its landscapes shorn of the clutter we find in our country today of books I have on my shelf about the countryside of the 1940s.  A complete contrast to the fields of sugar beet that will sadly have the dreaded 'neonicotinoids' that kill our bees we see today.  Arguments for and against later on.

An enjoyable film, it reminded me that once whilst doing a course at Bath Spa university we had watched French films of the 1930s with two very young lecturers (up their own a****).  Shame I never stayed to do the 1940s.  What I found with all these early films is an extraordinary vividness of what life was like then, and it captures the simplicity of the human race, and how things have changed.  And yes we are still simplistic in our thinking, but we would never talk about 'village idiots' now! Our grandchildren would descend down on us 'politically incorrect', they would wag admonishing figures at us.

I also watched a Greta Thunberg documentary, a mite of a girl, sent out against the forces of the world.  She is brave, tackling the 'white old men', their pomposity in meeting her made me laugh at their need to be part of the discussion on Climate Change.  Of course they will do nothing about it they have far more important things to do (such as?) She has problems but is shielded by her parents but I wonder if this crusade will not mark her mentally for life.  No matter how you go against the crowd they will always beat back.  But slowly she winds the clock forward to show that we have to actually acknowledge that the natural world is  changing, could we halt it? or will Lovelock's Cyberbots rule instead?

So neonicotinoids; (did they actually invent that name so we could not spell it?). Well, kick Brexit under the table, are we reverting to farming practices that the EU have ruled out.   The argument for using the aforesaid insecticide (on the seed) of sugar beet, is that the aphids, which transferred a disease, were at 'bomb' levels last year and need to be tackled.  There are restrictions of course on its use, two thirds only, no sowing of same crop for a specific time, or the growing of wild plants anywhere near (the contaminated ground?) for a certain length of time either.  Monoculture take heed, we need all those different environments to sustain a healthy Earth, that is why preaching  'extinction' as David Attenborough is doing is a reality not some fashionable essay.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday and first flights.

In the odd corner they lurk or maybe in the dark recesses of your wardrobe waiting for spring to reappear.  But they are there, ladybirds or butterflies will appear one morning.

So yesterday, I turned the radiator on in my 'craft room' a rather refined term for an untidy room where I keep my bits and pieces. Abandoned by the way because Lucy cannot bear me being out of sight upstairs.  There on the sunny window in the warmth a butterfly fluttering to get out. I decided that it must stay, and my usual revival kit for bees and butterflies, is a piece of cotton wool soaked in water and a dab of honey which I duly did and the little one feasted. Since disappeared, hopefully behind the curtains.

Yesterday I watched the film' Black Narcissus' the story written by Rumer Godden, who wrote over 60 books in her lifetime.  The film was filmed in the studios of Pinewood, all the backdrops of the Himalayas painted and the strange palace reconstructed in the studios.  If you don't know the story it is about a group of nuns sent to teach local children at this palace. There is a dark undercurrent of eroticism that runs through the story, making it in 1947 a film that was somewhat censored. Here I might add the eroticism is beautifully concealed in the acting but since there is a new reproduction of the story by the BBC, it will probably be more explicit. What caught my eye is that it really looked as if it was taking place in a real palace in India.  

This must be the second or third time I have seen it, and the bell scene has always remained in my memory.  Films punch a fleeting memory every now and then.

Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Strauss on 'Simple Gifts' heard this morning on the Sunday programme 'Something Understood' which was on crafting.  In mentioning knitting as a very soothing craft, apparently the rhythm of the needles knitting the wool helps stop high blood pressure and strokes.  So is that why old ladies live longer than old men? No it is not thought for the day, only a wind-up. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Saturday 9th January 2021

It is early morning, as we lie in the low lying York district, no snow, only wet sleety globules fall from the sky.  Further down the road from Pickering to Whitby has been closed, as it always is, the drive over the moors becomes too dangerous.

 I emptied the bag of wool which arrived yesterday ordered for the next blanket I am knitting, it lay in a pile on the floor and I wondered had I gone too far.  But slow is the word I would choose to pace my life to now.  For the less I ask of the environment the more I give back.

The frosted glitter of the frozen lawn is beautiful, the birds still sing even if it is minus 2 degrees and this year there will still be bees to pollinate the foxgloves.


Something that made me happy this morning was finding out that my eldest grandson Tom, who works in PR in Manchester but has been furloughed, has constructed a blog on keeping fit.  He has always been an enthusiasts for sport but now he seems to want to pass on his knowledge after completing a course.

An ecstatic welcome for Tom from his sister on return from uni.

And lastly, did you ever come across 'The Whole Earth Catalogu', in the days of the 1970s when some of us were green, and believed, or at least took on board Lovelock's theory of 'Gaia.  I had come to a truth earlier than this that the world worked through 'homeostasis'* it was already a fact in my brain. Simply put you would only have to contemplate a tree and its environment to understand that all living things are connected for their functioning

The first cover of The Whole Earth Catalogu

The Blue Earth, 50 years ago and more,  we were introduced to this concept, but the majority of people chose to look away and busy themselves with their lives.  Lovelock may be a speculative predictor, but as the living life of our planet disappears because of our over consumption, than perhaps slowing down our 'needs' may become a goal to be achieved, and not just in old age!

*the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes

Refs; Thanks to Carruthers for introducing me to Living Dharma.  Reading links takes up a helluva time though!

Novacene by James Lovelock

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Thursday 7th January 2021

Surreal is not the word, my thoughts and good wishes to America through this tumultuous time.

And something my son sent me this morning, in 'classic' mode for him, "I know it is your birthday around this time of year but I don't remember the exact date. So happy birthday - whether early or belated!"

It is soft, slow music the type he remembered me playing on my records (do you remember them?) when he was young, so let me introduce you to the Norwegian  'Last Spring by Bugge Wesseltoft & Henning Kraggerud'

Listen to its slow pace and forget the news hysteria, which has toppled  the virus and Brexit from the headlines, nothing lasts....

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Sunnier days - Plough Monday

 "There was a slight hoarfrost that night, and the moon, though not more than half full, threw a spirited and enticing brightness upon the fantastic figures of the mumming band, whose plumes and ribbons rustled in their walk like autumn leaves. Their path was not over Rainbarrow now, but down a valley which left that ancient elevation a little to the east. The bottom of the vale was green to a width of ten yards or thereabouts, and the shining facets of frost upon the blades of grass seemed to move on with the shadows of those they surrounded. The masses of furze and heath to the right and left were dark as ever; a mere half-moon was powerless to silver such sable features as theirs."
The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy

The Goathland Plough Stot Ceremony of 1973;  For those who do not know Goathland of Yorkshire fame with its railway station and claim to fame through the old TV show 'Heartbeat', this was an annual ceremony performed in the village in 1973 in this small video.  You have to understand that it is pure and beautiful in its performance.  Giggle you may, but on that foggy morning everyone dressed up and put on a 'Mummer's' performance that even Thomas Hardy would be proud of.  The little pub shown near the end is still there, though doesn't receive many visitors because you have to walk from Goathland for a mile along the narrow lane for there is no place to park a car by the pub. It is a pleasant walk though and takes you to Beck Hole.

The Birch Hall Inn near Goathland.

We need the sunny days of summer and those little lanes that dive unexpectedly to valley bottoms and becks that cross the road in a watery splash as the car drives through.  Also the lanes will be full of that exotic creature, bred for killing, the pheasant and you must drive slowly unless you want one for a dinner, but I expect that would be called poaching!

The word 'Stot' rang a bell in my memory.  And on thinking back remembered I had to go and buy a 'stottie' for someone in the family.  It turned out to be a very large bap with a choice of fillings from Bothams the bakers. Looking up the word it says "a kind of coarse bread made from spare scraps of white dough".  Though it can also be called a stottie cake and measuring 30 centimetres in diameter but must have originated from the ploughing of the 'stot'.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tuesday 5th January 2021

 Well here we go again, I wonder how long this lockdown will go on for.  How long will the viruses mutate leaving us for years unsure?  Humankind has smashed the barrier of  the natural world.  We have multiplied pushing other species to extinction.  Clever enough to produce vaccinations but not clever enough to stop an exploding world population.  Parallels can be drawn with the virus, who let free on the world mutates happily as we try to stop it.  Only we don't mutate, we just learn by experience that our actions can often be very destructive, we are one step behind not in front unfortunately.

I've got a cold, well I think it is a cold ;) can't be sure though! So a certain amount of gloom and despair might affect my writing.  The weather balances between sunshine and showers, there is a sogginess to the garden but I take to my spinning wheel for calmness, and to fill in the time this morning before I start to order an iphone.  In other words something that will replace the terrible mobile I have.  Not sure a cleverer phone will be any better, or the fact that the multiple safety guards my bank puts up will be overriden but still, technology rules.

My birthday next weekend, my daughter says don't refuse any parcels that might come via the post.  I have treated myself to some wool for crochetng another blanket, crocheting squares is a mindless activity though you have to follow a pattern of course but it all becomes automatic in the end.

Coffee calls, the crows are grumbling in the trees, I wonder what they think of winter, in their world of course bird flu isn't on the menu.

Yesterday I was reading from Aubrey Burl's 'Prehistoric Avebury' a little story caught my eye.  It was about 'Dr.Toope' I think in the 17th century, who on finding rows of skeletons by the Sanctuary stone circle, had taken the bones and ground them up for medicine.  Now I am not too sure whether they were prehistoric or much later Saxon bones, but I doubt very much they were a cure.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Saturday and Eskdalemuir

On the radio this morning they said that Eskdalemuir was the coldest place in Scotland at minus 5 degrees.  I expect most people have not heard of the place but I jumped up and remembered it for we had been in June 2018 and stayed in this little village, rather rundown but with two stone circles up the road.  We had gone because Paul had wanted to see the Buddhist monastery once more and deliver some books for their library.

I was rather disappointed in the monastery, it had large buildings to house those who wanted a quiet retreat and its layout confused me.  We had both gone into the temple separately because Paul wanted my reaction.  It had an extraordinary colourful interior, might find something on the net, full of gold leaf and paintings.  Lavish is what I would call it.  There was, at first this humanlike person sitting on a tall chair, I honestly thought it was a statue, for I stared a couple of minutes and it did not move. Yes it was a human meditating, so still though.

Taken from the  Kagyu Samye Ling site

I have often thought what it would be like to live in this backwater, nearest town is a long drive and obviously very cold.  We stayed in wooden huts, kitted out as self sufficient apartments, think the one next door was let to a monk.

It was good accommodation, you had a welcoming tray of food on arrival and in summer was an ideal place to stay, though there were midges.

Scotland is wild and beautiful, lots of landscape and managed forests which are not so appealing but coming from England one notes that houses are so far apart in the countryside,  anyway a few photos.......

Since listening to the weather, they say we are in for some cold weather in the coming days, so have been out to get a few logs!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Friday the 1st of January

Silbury Hill in its watery field

A Happy New Year everyone.  Now the following will probably be of only interest to me. But........ yesterday I fell down a rabbit hole.  Don't take that literally of course, strumming fingers on the internet produced a small treasure box of videos and a brilliant blog called 'Inexpensive Progress'.  The videos capture the period of Edward Bawden, Paul and John Nash, and Eric Ravilious and wife Tirzah.

Here is someone ready to track down books, prints and paintings and put them all in one place, thank you Robjn Cantus, though I'm sure that is not your real name.  But you have to put in a lot of exploring in the menu on his site, it is richly rewarded though.  Take this video, of Penguin book covers and village life in Great Bardfield, Essex By Edward Bawden, and you are whisked back to village life.

Also this village brought Grayson Perry into the world, and a lovely little story of him being a paper boy, describing the great bulk of the Telegraph papers he delivered compared to the couple of Guardian paper he delivered, may set the scene on the political views of the village.

But what started all this?  I have a long and abiding interest in Silbury Hill, this mega prehistoric mound, and someone on a forum mentioned the restoration of the mound in 2007.  

Silbury had been excavated in the 1800 century by Dean Merewether, thereby creating a tunnel, which had collapsed during this century, leaving a large hole on the top of the hill.  Skanska was the firm contracted to repair the damage, and so along with a team of archaeologists from English Heritage work began.  Also  in the 1960s Professor Richard Atkinson had also tunnelled into the hill, see BBC news here.  His video (on BBC site) is a delight of posh BBC accent, though unfortunately the link does not work. 

Almost at the end of the long rabbit burrow as it narrows my search, it brought to mind Paul Nash's painting of Silbury Hill, he also fell in love with Avebury and there is an interesting video on his now more famous megalithic works of painting.

Paul Nash - Silbury Hill

You can see a little house at the foot of the hill, not sure if that wasn't a garage, for inside the tunnel when excavated there was a load of old tyres.

There is one small story still to tell, for inside near the centre a rounded central area was found, stones around, 'string' or woven grass, a central place.  Well these stones were taken out and dumped near the entrance. And I always remember Paul wanting to climb over the five bar gate to retrieve one.  Innocently I asked do you want a leg over and that inimitable smile of his as he turned and grinned at my naivety will always be part of the memories.

The 'heart' of Silbury is perhaps the most important part, what 'sacred' role had it played as it was built? was it initially built on a small barrow, the flora was examined minutely and you will see the results of the wild flowers found here.  There is of course the myth of the king buried with gold as well.  A gold life sized stature of King Sil astride his golden horse, but then there always has to be a myth.

My last painting of Silbury Hill, is by David Inshaw of the Brotherhood of Ruralists group, to be found at one stage in Wellow, 8 miles from Bath. 

Silbury on a starry night.