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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

23rd March 2021

Today is a day of retrospection,  an anniversary in which we remember the people who have died from that wretched virus.  Notice in the Guardian that there is already a book about it.  Written by two journalists from The Times, so it has some pedigree but of course it is quite to soon  to look back and judge the state.  Perhaps we should be judging our way of governing the country.  One thing I find to praise, and who doesn't, is the selflessness of doctors, nurses and workers in the country who have worked through this pandemic.  We owe a duty of responsibility to them to care for their welfare (and wages).

This morning, having got up early to bake bread and make soup I can see the fencing going up.  The men started yesterday, they have machinery to knock the posts in and already the wire gleams in the sun.  Got a bit worried yesterday, as they cut branches off the large multiple stems of the old hawthorn but went out and spoke to them.  He seemed glad to see me and reassured that he was not cutting my old friend down.  At least it has shut the crows up in their eyries which they have been renewing they are absent and I can now listen to the real dawn chorus without their horrible croaking.

It struck me this morning that most of my food is prepared by me.  Baking bread, tea bread with coffee and soup for lunch.  Lucy shares it all, my slimming diet I call her, for she eats my toast, half my tea bread slice and likes a small bowl of soup. Her afternoon meals is a bowlful of noodles. Eaten just like the romantic meal of the 'Lady and the Tramp' when they shared a bowlful of spaghetti, though I don't share her noodles but feed them with a fork.

Back to sorting, whenever I think my life has been quiet, sorting through correspondence on parts of my life remind me that I was always doing something at some stage.  

Failures of State - Arbuthnott and Calvert

Monday, March 22, 2021

22nd March 2021

The day has dawned full of sunshine, but just before the sun woke up, there was that apricot glow and as the mists rose gently from the land,  the 'awakening of Earth' became a reality.  Enough of that, forget drear news, concentrate on people doing something as you can see in the video below, John D Liu exploring the art of regenerating the ecology of over-used landscapes, so that they become once more fertile and green.  Note also that the Chinese have also had a hand in this.

Sikkim, India

The first story that came to my attention a few days ago was the small territory of Sikkim in India, where the government had funded a return to 100% organic growing of food. Just like that, do we hear anything about it? No, we have our noses stuck  in the perambulations of Europe's political force, whereas there are definitely other things happening on other continents. 

'Crush their butts', came to mind as I lay in my hot bath this morning, taken from an early blog   an introduction to Smokey Bear blog in which the sentiment of keeping the fight going and not giving up is the goal to achieve.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Faded flowers


Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

A sense of melancholia also.  We come to the end and still take joy in the beauty of bird song, the plant buds as they appear in the dark soil in Spring. We take pleasure in the small duties of life.  The making of coffee, toast for the dog this morning as Lucy stands by the counter waiting for the toaster to pop her slice.  She is wobbly on her legs but still breaks into a run even though her legs will occasionally give way.  Soon a decision must be made for her but for the moment she is happy with her life, as long as it is predictable.

Why this thinking, well they had a Wabi-sabi programme this morning when I woke up, missed most of it but John Gray's blog on churchyards made me think.

Living next to a graveyard.  It doesn't hurt of course and not frightening at all. At the moment the one next door is full of flowers for Mother's Day, the dead are always remembered, the graves tended and most of the inmates have reached a good old age.

Except for the lad who took his own life.  His brother was sitting by him yesterday writing something in a notebook, he hides behind the bamboo grass but I notice him as I pass.  This lad that has gone is so loved, his grave is filled with flowers as close relatives tend it each week.

Now then, is how it starts, grief meets the challenge of love and love conquerors, he lives in their hearts for evermore.

A sad blog perhaps for Sunday but also one of hope as spring dawns, we should always look forward, think less of ourselves but more of others.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Blessings to everyone on this nominal first day of Spring

And to the woodpecker whose tapping on the trees greets me every morning, I can also taste the excitement of the coming season.

Let us start with writings that are positive, this from the Paul Waugh Zone

"In his 1947 essay, The English People, George Orwell tried to conceive of a tourist visiting the country for the first time. “Our imaginary foreign observer would certainly be struck by our gentleness: by the orderly behaviour of English crowds, the lack of pushing and quarrelling, the willingness to form queues,” he wrote.

Well, this is what I have seen either when I had my jab, or television programmes, we do things with good grace and chatter those inanities we are so good at.  I expect it can be different in some parts of the country, but we have mostly gone out and sat and stood obediently whilst good people in yellow jackets tell us what to do. And it seems to be paying results. Also I did not know that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was a non-profit endeavour either. Rock on science!

One of my resolutions or actions for the future has to be to listen to British Classical books read out to me, the reason I joined Audible books, though I notice you only get one credit a month, but slowly stack your library.  Thomas Hardy (The Return of the Native) is on the wish list as is The Woodlanders, also George Elliott's Mill on the Floss.  George Orwell will be there as well.

On a more mundane level, my cardboard boxes arrived yesterday, and once I had mastered the art of making a square box, secure at the bottom, I started to fill two.  My books are plastic bagged, one of the no-no of getting one's shopping delivered from Morrison's is an excess of plastic bags but for the moment I am not grumbling.  The books are easier to throw away, shock and horror I can see on many faces but I do not read much fiction, all my books have followed my interests through life.  I bet I can even reduce my cookery books to two.

Watching television last night,  the programme Pilgrimage to Istanbul was fascinating, a hodge podge of people, such as Edwina Curry, Adrian Chiles and Fatima Whitbread, plus others whose names I cannot spell.  Mim is a beautiful person. 

Such a disparate group of people and beliefs but exploring their ideas on the road.  The scenery was magnificent and I am sure they take a car sometimes but a courageous long journey and some stunning architecture and friendly people.  As far as pilgrimage in this country goes, we seem only to have Walsingham and Canterbury routes.

And a taste of camping to keep you amused.

Friday, March 19, 2021

19th March 2021

"Therefore you would never hang up a chrysanthemum scroll in spring, it would always be cherry blossom. So in a typical teahouse or room, the scroll would hang maybe just for the afternoon tea ceremony and then rolled and put away for years, so different to our Western culture of hanging pictures on the wall for years and years. I wouldn't mind a teahouse in the garden, utter simplicity, no furniture, a mat on the floor and peace and quiet bliss."

This I wrote some years ago when we lived in Chelmsford and there was a Japanese cherry blossom tree in the garden.  Paul would warm some Saki wine up and then we would choose the little cups for drinking and then, after pouring each other's drink toast the tree.

Well tomorrow the 20th March is the Vernal Equinox, but also the start of the  festival of Cherry blossom in Japan.  My preference is of course Celtic, just greeting the changing of the seasons and the new growth of the year.

Funnily enough when looking for a poem in Grigson's The Cherry Tree, I find a lot of Shakespeare and Robert Herrick, but perhaps Housman captures the first sight of the blossoms.....

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands above the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

Sadly my two cherry trees still hold fast to their buds, but there are wild cherry trees down the road, sour tiny red cherries later in the year, if you can pick any after the birds have scoffed the lot.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Thursday 18th March 2021

BBC radio 3 has just played The Lark Ascending' by Vaughan Williams a capture of an England that is long gone but which has never been surpassed.  It reminds me of the skylark's song over the Bath Downs, rising into the air, spiralling upwards, as they try to draw you away from their precious nests.

The weather is so cold and grey that it is difficult to face life with hope for the summer.  Murrmurrs made me smile this morning, as she so often does.  Her intelligent but funny writings are a good read.  Irene, my neighbour, who came round to deliver Morrison's dog biscuits for Lucy the other day, (Lucy is a choosy bitch) and won't eat any other than these.  To get back to what I was going to say, we both agreed that the latest scare as to blood clots was a risk one should be prepared to take as it is for the greater good of the community we get our jabs.  Funny old business the EU trying to grab our vaccines, and yet we hear that Astro-Zeneca jab which is supposed (and not yet been proved) to cause the clot and which several countries are refusing on very shallow findings are the ones the EU president wants to grab. a 'shot across the bows' is how we interpret it.

Murrmurr mentions the polio sugar lump we had to take as children  and the rest of the vaccines we have had over the years.  Well I had the sugar lump, but went down later with what looked like polio, all I can remember is the doctors coming to visit me like some prize exhibition.  High temperature, pains in my limbs but I got better in the end.

The fact of the matter is living is a dangerous occupation, we don't expect to be struck down but our bodies undergo a fair bit of use, and then there is always the unexpected of course, something fell from Space the other day and landed upon someone's drive, it could easily have hit a person but did not.

And here is a poem, picked up along the way.  I am sure Pat will like it and Yorkshire Pudding as well.

This photo is a favourite, taken by the wild Rowan trees that grow along the beck at Wheeldale.

Rabbiting" Richard Armer:

"You don’t grow old in Yorkshire.
The Dales are ageless too.
You’ll walk amongst the heather, drift into a different age.
The gorse and bracken timeless they free you from the cage.
The rivers, streams and tarns will forever fill your dreams.
So take a walk up the fell and be a child for good.
A day amongst the Yorkshire wild will leave you feeling how you should."

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Old photos - culling and wandering

Yesterday I spent a long time thinking about  friends who lived in a tiny terraced cottage in Pucklechurch.  Tiny and narrow it was, always terribly untidy, books flowed everywhere, the two dogs sprawled on the settee and a log fire burnt beautifully and it was such a warm and friendly place.

Sybil and Roy walking the dogs

They were friends from my second marriage, and the talk was often about archaeology, the subject my ex husband taught and practiced.  I remember another person joining the conversation one afternoon, she had the 'sight' and saw things such as colours that wove round a prehistoric barrow at Avebury.  All probably a nonsense.

The narrow winding garden

Sybil's narrow long garden was beautiful, it had a bench and table in the middle  and here we would sit in summer.  Strangely I remember one afternoon we dug a grave for her big hound who had just died and the bench must have covered the site.  I can't remember the dog's name, only that Sybil had sat at the top of the stairs with the dog leaning against her as he gently died.  They adored their dogs.

The terraced cottages were miner cottages from the past the defunct colliery somewhere in the undergrowth of a wood.  The farm road down to them, brought you into a space where cars (Some old and defunct) were parked and a row of sheds.  A path wound down the front of the houses and people would pass the window, there was also a path at the back of the gardens.  There was something idyllic about these cottages lost in the valley. 

I notice from Google maps that they are building new estates further on, Bristol of course is not too far away.  Sad as the countryside is chipped away.

I took them on a camping holiday down to Solva one year.  There I was with my dog and tent and there they were with an enormous amount of stuff in their estate car.  We never left the camping field before lunchtime, things would be sorted time and time again, things lost, it all took a great deal of time and I fretted impatiently.

But it was a good holiday I took them round the sites and the weather kept clear.

Nine Wells walk down to the little bay

Carew Castle

The Bishop's Palace. St Davids.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Uncomfortable happenings

Sarah Everard, that pretty gentle woman was kidnapped off the street and murdered.  There was anger and shock and it stimulated a vigil in the name of women to protest against the violence that a few  men commit against women.

The argument now turns on the point of a pin, were the police too rough on the people it arrested.  It is important, legislation is to be debated as to protesting on the streets.  

Society has changed, we focus on the individual crime and victim and then the debate begins.  It gets lost in murky waters along the way.  Protest can and will often start out peaceful, but there are always a few hotheads, and also a virtuous feeling of righteousness that breaks the surface and then the trouble begins.  The police take action against the people.  We live in a peaceful country, we do not undergo the draconian measures that the people of Mynamar are going though at this moment; see here on the CNN news or of course in Hong Kong, as China, probably behind the military coup in Mynamar, also comes down with heavy laws.

The protest at the moment is round the violence that women suffer from men, also and if you read the Marina Hyde article below, the senseless misogyny young women meet on the street.  That is the hatred, a few men spit at women. It is an almost impossible task to change an attitude that has persisted for decades, most of us live uneventful lives with loving partners who respect us, how can we be part of this movement?

Marina Hyde was just walking to pick up her son from school on a pleasant afternoon, and was not physically touched just verbally assaulted.  There is no law, or if you do complain, it can only be added to a long list that will not be investigated.  

Perhaps the problem could be addressed through social media, but we all know that it gives the real trolls something to fight against and neither wins. Somehow equality is always on the back foot and what these young women seek will be achieved probably in the future under the slow attrition of attitude.

And now I shall go back to listening on Audible Books, my first free book, to the fantastical world of Gormenghast - Titus Groan, 20 hours of story!

“I’m talking to you. Fucking turn round.” Marina Hyde - Guardian article

Friday, March 12, 2021

Did you know?

that Charles and Anne would not have been called Prince or Princess, because they were the offspring of a daughter but it was Queen Elizabeth's father George, who changed the rules. 

This rule would have meant that Prince Charles and Princess Anne would not, from birth, have had royal status or be called Prince and Princess, as they were the children of the daughter of the sovereign. So immediately prior to the birth of Princess Elizabeth's first child, King George VI issued letters patent dated 22 October 1948 declaring that Princess Elizabeth's children with Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh would take royal status and be called Prince or Princess from birth.  Wiki entry

I am puzzling over entitlement to royal title.  Somewhere there is a long list of who ascends to the throne, rather like the angels outside Bath abbey's exterior who make their way to heaven up the ladders.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0"

Madam Petulant, for this is what I will call Meghan, was upset about her first child not being called a prince.  Now as we all know titles are nonsense but just there to give us some confidence.  We also know 'blue blood' does not exist unless in aliens.

It was Carruthers who started all this, my mind went on a wander as the thought of Prince Harry calling on his forces in Sussex to take the throne.  I mean until we became civilised we were a nation of small countries and warring was a constant pastime.  The War of the Roses, Lancaster v York, still in my mind rumbles down the ages.  We still have a South/North divide as well.  By the way Harry has America on his side and they have bigger weapons.  Okay I am joking, but frictions between the royals needs keeping an eye on.

Read this politically more adult view of where as a country we should be going, devolution/regionalisation call it what you will.  

Alternative Political Cartography - A more rational union.  To be found on the Landscapism blog

The other did you know, concerns young sea slugs who can detach their heads from their bodies and grow a new body, now that is something humans can't do.

Image by Sayaka Mitoh

A rather beautiful sea slug the article can be found here

Friday 12th March 2021


Well in like a lamb out like a lion.  Only reversed of course, and we are now heading for the middle of the month, you know what I am talking about - the weather.  So perhaps the end of the month will be quiet?

Amazon left a parcel on my doorstep, son's Mother's day present.  He emailed the photo of it on the front porch - technology!  Just seen on the news that the Royal Mail is thinking of going big in parcels as well, also delivering on Sundays.  Have absolute trust in the Royal Mail delivering some of my parcels, think it must be the longevity of the institution.  A foolish British pride.

In all that wind yesterday, Rod and his wife came and mowed the lawns. Looks a bit crappy, and I feel guilty because really lawns should be left to look like wildlife meadows as Monty Don says.  But then this is the occupation of this couple and their 'bread and butter'.  Rod left me with a problem, since the death of the church warden and the closing of the church, no one has come through from the church to give him the contract for this year's mowing the grave yard.  I know he mentions this for me to do something about it, so maybe I shall have to phone the previous church warden and see what happens.

I want to get rid of lots of books, looked at Zippit and see their prices are very low for once read immaculate hardbacks that I am not going down that route, neither Ebay.  But will charity shops take all of my books I wonder.

Must let the bantams out, already released a blackbird caught up in one of the runs and being chased back and forth by the cat.  Released safely and cat fed!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wednesday 10th March

My small ramblings seem to pull in a large audience - scary ;) Today is the day of lesser news though.  Major Biden has been sent home in disgrace for biting a security guard.  In fact both Biden's dogs have been sent home, they did not like the White House and all its formality of people and lifts.

Piers Morgan has also been sent off home for ranting a tad too much over the latest royal happening, I think his 'bestie' is Rupert Murdoch so no worry of a job there then and apparently he has a healthy bank balance.

As does Prince Harry by the way, he forgot to mention that his mother left him a tidy sum, easily enough to take him over this present hump of poverty he claims against.

All I will say on this  is think of the children as they grow up, H&M (wasn't there a shop called that?) are not creating a good future for their children, they will grow up and learn to read for goodness sake the muddles their parents have created.

The Queen's strong and patient hand has come down on the whole affair luckily.  Though not a royalist, I do think several states of authority is much the better way of looking after the country.

Yesterday I did not watch 'The Interview' but instead Panorama on Racism, it is something I have never taken much notice of. Except of course to applaud the way more and more Black and Asian faces appear in the media.  For me people are just people but putting oneself in the body of a black person and walking through the snubs of the day by white people and it is hell.  The words 'White Privilege' is one that struck home.  

I cannot understand why some  people cannot accept people of other races, wasn't there a song about 'coffee coloured people' and aren't those children of mixed parentage beautiful?  I see them on television, as roving journalists, actresses and commentators on the ills of society.  We are an evolving nation.

I am waiting for a call from my doctor on the blood test.  Nervous of course, not about the results but whether I will be able to answer the wretched smart phone I now own... phew

But as an aside saw this video of the Pope and loved the simplicity of his philosophy, for 'pray' substitute 'empathy' and smile as this little girl dances round on the stage as he makes a speech.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Game Change

A Banksy to go on the market for the NHS .  It should sell for a couple of  million pounds.  The original he donated to Southampton Hospital, and they will keep a replicate copy of it.  He is a social observer that through his art brings to light current issues.  Love to see him tackle the nonsense that is going through the press at the moment at the terrible lives rich royals lead!

Yesterday Rachel came with two bunches of tulips, M&S best, she must have been shopping in York.  I do so envy people who go out and face the pandemic.  It was my reward for informing them of the sheep in the grave yard.  They had meant to put post and rail up on this part of the field but had been stopped by the sad case of the young boy who had hung himself, as the fencing would have been at the back of the shed where it happened.  I write this not to just get words on the paper but for the detail such as a sad death has on a community.  They are a closed group the little colony that lives round the pub and yet there is sadness at this loss of life.  A headstone went up recently with words that were both beautiful and uplifting, and last week many roses were brought to the grave by family, their remembrance sweet and touching.  I see all this because Aaron's grave is just outside the side window. He is not forgotten.

So in the drizzle yesterday Lucy and I walked round the churchyard, to see if the sheep had eaten any daffodils, they had not of course, I spied the little bank of primroses spreading, and primroses being very promiscuous there was also pink and white primroses.  The small, once fashionable, Tete a Tete  holds sway on newer graves, whereas the older larger daffodils elsewhere.

the spots are rain not tears;)

Thinking about blogs this morning, I would like to see a couple of changes.  We are very good at sarcasm and irony in this country, but our words may on the surface look rude and offensive, well I would like to see these words outlined in a different way in the text. 


Monday, March 8, 2021

Monday 8th March

 Catching up and recording.  Well this morning took the car in for a service and ended up with different  service car to my Kia.  Drove the Vauxhall home and then found I could not reverse, the gear refused to change. Sat on the drive worrying as usual then phoned the garage up, there is a button under the gear stick he said laughing, sure enough found the gear.

That was not the only thing to happen early morning, went out to let the hens out, and all Rachel's sheep were peering at me over the church wall, they had escaped!  Still early, went round to Rachels and rang the bell, disturbing their two dogs who set off barking.  Everyone obviously still in bed  but Rachel appeared at the bedroom window, and I explained that the church gates were shut but I thought daffodils might be poisonous to sheep and as I left for the garage they were rounding up their little flock, who are very tame of course.

The bantams are to go next weekend, Rosina phoned up and said could they come and collect last weekend but it was a bit rushed, so her farmer husband will come down with a trailer and take the runs, coop and hens.  The cat will be sad of course. But then her fate must be decided as well.  

I have just seen a lovely little terraced house in Mytholmroyd to rent but realise it is too early too move, and could I live in a town/village with such a difficult name to pronounce let alone spell?  My son has offered to up the rent payment to a tidy sum for Bath, but all I have seen is shabby little apartments at the top of the Georgian houses....

So I continue to sort books, trying not to throw out everything, the daffodils on the table in front of me are dying.  There is some sort of miracle that takes place with the tightly budded flowers you buy, then you pop them into a vase of water and they open within the day.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Friday 5th March 2021

The days roll on, the news changes and we are once more faced with the spice of the young royals.  Greed seems their motivation, the need to make money and refute the charges that are being brought against them.  All so ill timed, well maybe not, after all we are living in a different time.  Also, the Sussexes'  are not particularly bright and greed seems a powerful motivation at the moment.  Though some dreams fall to Earth.  Think Elon Musk and his rockets (the rich fleeing the Earth after messing it up?) which have burst into flames, so our young royals better be careful bathing in the warm slime of news.

Elon Musk's latest rocket exploding on impact. 


Yesterday had my annual medical MOT.  Did not exactly pass with flying colours, but my blood pressure is still in the rather broad band allowed, always been high and my weight has shot up a tad (grin).  She took blood, hate that, have to look away it was fairly painless.  Needles don't hurt anymore, look at those old black and white films with needles as thick as a pencil stub and be grateful we live with fine needles now.

My little cat seems to have vanished, as he is always around the hens, I  think either he has been locked in somewhere, or poisoned by presumably rat poison.  I have never seen the two other cats that I went to such pains to catch and have neutered either.  Living in the country and I think rat poison is probably used quite extensively.

My friend is complaining about moles in the church yard (not the ones that spy) no those little brown coated ones,  she is worried they may make it into her garden.  I remember the cruel traps that the mole catcher used to put down up on the Bath downs.   We actually do have a mole catcher round here.  I remember him once coming into the pub, a dapper little man dressed very beautifully in old fashioned clothes with gaiters, he was such a shock but given the nature of his trade, the clothes somehow made up for it. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Wednesday 3rd March

Dublin nuns dancing

Something to cheer the morning up, it is  going the rounds in social media.  Nuns in Dublin dancing to 'cheer people up'.  Not River Dance of course but happy, contented nuns and monks dancing. Click on link and scroll down to video. Taken from Classical FM

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Tuesday 2nd March

 The following is a repeat of a blog I wrote in 2008, though I have taken the news item out, news always moves on.  I think the hare was painted by Jane Tomlinson and an Easter card.  I have two hare prints on the wall, the original paintings by Colin Blanchard but have always wanted the one, now out of print, of harebells and hare.  Could find the Durer painting, but I have written so much about hares that it would take me ages to find the blog.  The other saint story I love is about the cuckoo flying in at Easter and then dying exhausted on the saint's day of another Welsh church.

Hares are one of my favourite creatures, sometimes I see them out when walking, once Moss gave chase up on the racecourse, they both did the mile in record time, the hare winning of course.

Pennant Church, or Saint Melangell's church

But the card also brought to mind the lovely story of Saint Melangell and her little hare. She was the daughter of King Cufwlch and Ethni of Ireland and she fled to Wales to escape a forced marriage. She settled in Pennant at the head of a valley, and whilst one day sitting in a clearing she heard the sound of a hunt, dogs and horses galloping up the valley. This was Prince Brochwael of Powys hunting hares. As she sat a hare came into the clearing and Melangell hid it in the sleeve of her dress to protect it. When it peeped out the dogs fled, and so the Prince gave her the land on which he hunted, and she lived at Pennant for another 37 years and no animal was killed in her sanctuary. Hares were known as wyn bach Melangell or Melangell's little lambs, and to kill a hare was an act of sacrilege.

This story is taken from "The Book of Welsh Saints" T.D. Breverton, and there are other versions of the tale. But at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant near Llangynog is probably the site of her foundation, because on the church's medieval rood-screen are little hares.

Of course it must not be forgotten that the term Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre as Bede states here;

The English Months. In olden time the English people – for it did not seem fitting to me that I should speak of other nations' observance of the year and yet be silent about my own nation's – calculated their months according to the course of the moon. Hence after the manner of the Hebrews and the Greeks, [the months] take their name from the moon, for the moon is called mona and the month monath. The first month, which the Latins call January, is Giuli; February is called Sol-monath; March Hreth-monath; April, Eostur-monath; May Thrimilchi... Eostur-monath has a name which is now translated Paschal month, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. (Eostur-monath, qui nunc paschalis mensis interpretatur, quondam a dea illorum quae Eostre vocabatur et cui in illo festa celebrabant nomen habuit.) Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-
honoured name of the old observance.

So much of christianity's myths lay on the back of old gods and stories, and Easter is a prime example, this spring festival has as much to do with the dawn rising earlier each day heralding the new growing season than it has to do with Christ being hung on a cross for our sins. A story created and used for so many centuries by the priests to bring people to their own particular version of religion.

Albrecht Durer's Young Hare