Wednesday, April 28, 2021

28th April 2021

 We have had showers, the ground is still dry of course but even seeing rain gladdens the heart.  It means I can scatter Lucy's ashes over the rose bed in one of the showers.  Selfishly I want another old spaniel to replace her, it will not be of course, my life will take a different turn in which animals will probably not figure.

Well pottering about in family history, and wondering why my grandfather and father do not have birth certificates is answered easily.  Both were born in Antwerp, Belgium,  but it leaves the puzzle of two of my siblings, Peter and Barry who were definitely brought up in this country and yet I can't find birth certificates for them.

Yesterday picking up the ashes, a prescription, and putting petrol in the car, almost forgotten how to do that! Then delivering a load of knitting plus craft books to the charity shop gave me a feeling of jobs well done.

Rod and his wife came to mow the lawns, they seem out of sync at the moment, turning up on odd days.  They pointed out all the moss the crows are throwing off the roof, almost a frenzy of work.  The young must be born and they are desperate for food.

Not one p******** word spoke so far ;) but in choosing the Police Commissioner for the area yesterday's voting paper, guess who I gave a miss to?

Memory from F/B, two hens and the brood.  Whitby is the mecca of the North.  sometimes I miss it, especially the little cottage tucked away so safely in a yard.  The following photo is the entrance to Paul's favourite pub, it served beer from Tadcaster I think.  It was a pub for the old regulars each day as they took their customary seats.

There was a charming old lady each time we went there, she would sip her glass of wine whilst pretending to read her magazine in the corner table.  Always ready to talk.

Market Hall

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Moral vacuums

"Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper." 

Lying, someone is being accused of it all the time now.  But our exuberant prime minister carries on in his silly mode of slightly antiquated language and jovial bonhomie and promising all; he was a journalist after all.  Does such behaviour reflect our own jaundiced views of politicians.  But why do we stand for it, will the people vote him out of power when the next general election comes along, or will we condescend to allow him power because he is such a bundle of fun on the media scene.

When, actually, does the blame stop and we take constructive action? Not allow the media to whittle away for weeks in gossip, a thoroughly Southern attitude by the middle class, who are more interested in the sofa Carrie Symonds has bought for No.10 Downing Street.

From what I have read she seems a good influence, the power behind the throne but surely governance is not a game but a duty?  The cat and dog fight between Cummings and Symonds has been lit by more rumours.  It is a sad reflection on our human personality that we are always quick to take revenge on others who do not agree with us.

We are witnessing at the moment a terrible catastrophe in India as the pandemic hits the country with vicious force, another leader, Modi, who took the wrong decision in allowing people to gather together and now they are paying a terrible price.  

Leaders come to the fore in popularity on what they promise, sadly the promises never gets realised.  

I read Hilaire Belloc when young, also Lear of course, their nonsense seems so apt today ;). The person reciting the poem is delicious, like me he remembers one poem from childhood that he learnt, I learnt the 'Owl and the Pussycat'....

Monday, April 26, 2021

26th April 2021 - family history

Me and Peter, my brother at the time

Well I am on a wild goose chase at the moment, blame it on YP and names.  I have never been happy with my name Thelma, in Greek it means Will or Volition.  Well you could say I have moved through life with some sort of pace but definitely not violently but  more like a slow tortoise, never sure where I am going.  I also have a religious middle name (secret) as my Jewish grandfather wanted that aspect of life out of our lives I think.

Discussing this with my daughter and she also claims that she doesn't like her name either, blames it on the decade (1960s) in which she was born.  But I believe we cannot change first names, surnames of course we can. During this discussion by the way we talked about the grandchildren choosing their surnames, and one has thoughts of picking up my maiden surname - yikes...

So a brief history, I was born as a result of a liaison between my father and a delightfully named mother called Betsey Louisa Colclough, who given my age now is I presume dead.  Now this is a point of contention, was it luck that I was officially adopted by my paternal grandfather, I did not have a particularly happy childhood, but I was brought up in a middle class aura, having what I wanted in the way of large dogs and ponies!!

I still ponder what if I had stayed with my real mother, though she had given birth as a single mother and it would have been extremely difficult for her in the times when babies were practically forcibly taken from single mothers, how different my life would have been. I would have grown up in a completely different environment.  That little egg that escaped to the real world outside was already experiencing fate and how it would alter my circumstances.  

That I have never traced this family is due to laziness and not wanting to end up in a knot of another family, you never know the outcome after all!  And I am by nature a solitary person, too much input and I go to pieces.

Well I went on MyHeritage and found the parents of my second stepmother, who had always treated me as a granddaughter.  It was lovely to see their names and remember their little terraced house, typical of the time, outside loo, one cold water tap in the kitchen.  I can still feel the dark green velvet curtain that covered the stair door and the piano in the living room, on which I learnt to play 'God Save the Queen' with two fingers.  At the back of their house in Wednesbury was a park, and I would often bike round it on my tricycle, completely happy in this world of green.

I doubt if I shall find evidence of my second family, it is not really important after all.

Friday, April 23, 2021

23rd April 2021 -Time flies

Bluebells from several years ago, Blakes Wood, Essex.  I have never found the equivalent down here in North Yorkshire, though like ghosts they appear along the verge sides and in the garden. The scent of bluebells in a dark wood, the iridescent blue lighting up the fresh green plants. a tad better than the clouds of wild garlic flowers pungent smell!

What so news?  The 'rat' Cummings has surfaced.  I just love the way those in power turn on each other, remember to delete your emails by the way.  Stirring up trouble would of course be his main thrust, a game of politics.  Cameron/Greensill will run for a few weeks, the morality of having 'the ear' of the incumbent prime minister discussed, debated and then sadly it will all go on as usual. 

Funny thing I heard yesterday was a reference to Dyson as a 'moral vacuum'.  I have always been warned not to buy one of his expensive vacuums as they give up the ghost fairly quickly. 

Which reminds me of the 'Henry' vacuum I saw in an article the other day, Henry looking rather down and miserable sitting in a corner in the new American style media room that cost a fortune and now is not to be used.  Could it be that Johnson is rather fed up of the job of Prime Minister and has decided that a presidential role is not for him... Wasn't it Cummings who initiated the media room?

Last night with tab in hand I listened to a Sounds Radio 4 programme of the 'History of Knitting', earliest evidence from Egypt.  It is on record that weaving took place in the Bronze Age, but of knitting there is no evidence.  Though given their wattle fencing and fishing nets there must have been some inkling of it.  It can be traced through European medieval paintings though, and it was a sad fact that Queen Elizabeth 1st stopped the first knitting machine's registration because it did not produce the fine silk stockings of France.  Must find an article on that...

There is a wealth to watch or listen to on all the media to hand.  Greta Thunberg on Earth Day, rubbishing the leaders and their sanctimonious promises of what they are going to do.  God that girl speaks direct to the camera, one cannot but admire her spirit.

I also watch the French 'Arte' programmes and caught a small series of philosophy gems.  Well as the music on radio3 comes to a crashing halt (why do they play such terrible music?) I shall move on to household chores....

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.