Tuesday, June 29, 2021

29th June 2021

 Sitting here drinking my morning coffee feeling rather blue.  The little cat went yesterday, I have the scars to prove it also an aching left hand.  But guilt and sadness aside, I would rather he have a home and food then to be left here hungry and lonely.  I caught him as he fled to the top of the curtain and boy did he show his true feral nature.  So farewell to Green Eyes.

Also the boys (they are really grown up men of course) have taken down and wrapped the Two Carp Leaping the Bridge painting and the wall space looks very bare, it now sits in the guest room alongside their boxes. But hopefully they will keep it in the family.

And as images float through F/B reminded me this morning about Duloe stone Circle, it is small and made of quartz stone and rather exquisite.

What other news?  Wally the Walrus is still flippering around the coast, stopped off at the Scilly Isles, clambering into people's boats for a snooze and making himself at home.  He has even made brief visits to Europe as well, he is well looked after by all who meet him, they say he might have drifted down on an ice floe.  He is causing some havoc  though, bless him.  Will someone hire a boat and transfer him back to where he came from I wonder.  Wales Online.

Friday, June 25, 2021

25th June 2021

The problem at heart is not the sausages you get from Sainsbury’s but the porkies that we all get, home and abroad, from Downing Street.”  Chris Patten

A good Conservative in my books but perhaps  a surface judgement on my part.  He must feel anguished now as Hong Kong goes under the boot of the Chinese government (Governor of Hong Kong 1992-1997) but in my day he was the member of parliament for Bath.

Today the boys come to take some things into storage in London, I suspect the Japanese furniture will go, I have left Paul's clothes for them to take what they may.  The big white bear sits on the hall table, either he will go with them for Leo or will be sat on the dustbin next Wednesday - free to good home.

They are interviewing Richard Wilson on the radio at the moment - Desert Island Discs, and his series of 'One Foot in the Grave' but he says there is only one foot in the grave the other is still in the world!  He has Roberta Flack's - The First Time I saw your face which of course reduces me to tears but then Peter Maxwell Davies - Farewell to Stromness has the mood music for all those Scottish Islands I will never visit. 

Today is grey and rainy, I was going to clean the car out for taking it to the garage to sell.  How on earth do you remove dog hairs from those carpets for goodness sake, I have tried sticky tape, which works to a point but there is still a few thousand left Lucy!!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

24th June 2021

 Got my camera working this morning, and wandered down the roses.  Abundantly they flower must be the rain.  But I have not expended one iota of work on this bed, and it is perfectly happy. The other bed has buttercups extraordinaire but I have faith in the cranesbill that they will hold their own and as my friend says, it will soon not be your problem anymore.  Pollen count is high and I cannot stop sneezing.

In fact I should have lingered on the Ceanothus at the end, for one thing I have noticed this year is the lack of bumblebees.  On the above shrub you can see honeybees, and the white tailed bumblebee but that is the only type of bee I have seen in the garden.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021


"Nobody has really challenged the Government in a ruthless and meticulous way that has struck home.”" Dorothy Byrne.

How do you get your news?  Maybe you would describe me as leftwing, but what I want from news is truth.  Every morning I hear the BBC Today's programme give out the news with a dry and impersonal nature but I do not necessarily believe them or the politicians that are interviewed.  

I go to my favourite newspaper, the Guardian, I read Marian Hyde and John Crace for humour over politics but clever words do not make a truth and have no effect on people such as BJ.  I turn to Paul Waugh of the 'Waugh War Zone', he potters around on other people's blogs and analysis's in a fair way.  Andrew Neil's new, and I have to say this, rightwing radio programme, is already getting the thumbs down.

On the television I turn to Channel 4 for what I believe is good, local and world wide truth, but I see there is a plot afoot to undermine it in some way, similar to the need to take the BBC down.

We wander from day to day in a blizzard of changing circumstance, Brexit is now only coming to the fore as the pandemic in this country slips away.

I know in parliament that there are people called to account for their behaviour, Cummings being the latest, but we need our Prime Minister up on the charge of blatant footling around in a role he should not be in.  However many lies he tells, they should be called in, do not let him rest on us coming through the pandemic with flying colours - we didn't. And now as they, the Cabinet, blunder and flounder their way through Brexit remember to spread your reading.....

Monday, June 21, 2021

21st June 2021 - Happy Solstice everyone


Paul Nash - Landscape of the Summer Solstice

A Happy Solstice to everyone, sadly there is no sun to spread its rays over these few days when we welcome  Midsummer.

Barred from Stonehenge on this day a few people got in as the police and security men stood rather aimlessly around.  In all the reclaiming of Stonehenge and Avebury by the neodruids for ritual purposes it is still banned.  I have no alliance to either side, only to record its event. 

All over the country people will be making their way to stone circles and barrows, some to worship at the stones, others to make discoveries as to whether there are such things as alignments in the landscapes.  Does it matter, I think not, the stones have existed through the centuries, the people but temporary flocks of birds passing through.

Photos taken from the Evening Standard

What actually intrigues me is why has not these latest gatherings  not translated into a proper religion.  Are their garments ridiculous? feathers in hair and fire tricks do not a temple make. Scientifically we have explanations as to how this Earth exists, we can look outward into space and name the constellations and planets.  Are we trying to capture the wonder of prehistoric man as he gazed out to the stars and just tried to make sense of it all?

English Heritage look on Stonehenge as a great cash cow, it is eye wateringly expensive to go in and see the stones but they usually allow free access on this particular day, sadly the sun did not rise in the East and their was no live coverage either of the site.

One day my question why people need a belief in 'otherness' will be answered but the enigmatic Stonehenge stones will not answer!

Two essays on the subject;

Circling Stones

Druids - Notes

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The 'Old Wife' and the weather

This song always comes to mind when people talk of weather.  Fairytales and history give our lives some magic.  A blast from the past Richard Burton singing Camelot.  1978 what a long time ago.

"It's true! It's true! The crown has made it  clear,
The climate must be perfect all the year."

And another video from my two favourite Yorkshire men, this time about the 'old woman'. the hag,  or Cailleach that belongs to myth and legend and who has probably pottered down from the prehistoric, when maybe women had superior powers and ruled but did not quite fit the image of a young nubile woman.
You can find her in the mountain shapes and I once read a book about Tibet where in their mythology the male mountain dominated the female lake.  

You can find the Goddess at Callanish in the soft shapes of a line of hills 'The Old Woman of the moors' and you can find her on Yorkshire Moors as the 'Old Wife of the Moors.'  Suspend belief for a short while and remember her ;)

Taken from a Margaret Curtis site who spent all her years studying the great Callanish stones and  has now  become old.

Many years ago I belonged to an online blog called Heritage Action and whilst scouting around for Callanish found this long and articulate article by Tombo.  I never met him, or even know his name but spoke to him on forums.  The article is a plea to save what is left of the prehistoric remains that are part of our countryside.  Roads, railways and quarries cut through these remains, many a prehistoric stone lies under Victorian roads.  But his arguments as to how we interpret civilisation against barbarism is very enlightening.  The harm that Christianity has done to history is well known, patriarchy subdued the female, till now when we can look back at the literature and art women created under the thumb of so called civilised society.  

Saturday, June 19, 2021

19th June 2021

As I read the news yesterday there was this young lad stating simply that he had only used cash twice this year, and that really all he used was a card to get everything.  Then, maybe in the same article, an old man sitting at a table without food and drink and the customers questioning why?  Simply put he did not have a Smart phone with the necessary app for ordering.  The changeover to a cashless society will cause complications sadly and it is at the bottom of society this will be felt more keenly.  I am not sure even how to find an app or use it.

The woman from the moving firm came down a couple of days ago, here it will be bank transfer, something I do easily.  She came I presume to measure the miles (85 miles) and what was taken and to judge whether I needed a small van or larger one.  Jen totted up the furniture I was taking, so I will have to keep within the bounds, we discussed storage and decided on the storage unit with the larger lift for taking my stuff.  Storage is a bit of a worry, for instance I just took up some new knitting, but where are my size 4 needles, which box for goodness sake?

As things disappear into boxes they disappear from my mind and always I question do I really need that. Next weekend Paul's boys come down with a van to take some of his stuff, all the furniture will probably have to go to some sort of charity such as St.Catherine, a hospice, they have retail shops selling larger items.

It rains at night leaving the garden slightly damp, I haven't put many photos on my blogs recently, probably because I have been playing round with the cameras on my phone and tab.  But the rose 'Rosamunda' has put forth a lovely stripey rose and the other rose bushes are putting forth their pink blushes, against the blue of the ceanothus.

The kitchen door is open for the cat, she always comes in in the morning and winds himself round my legs till I get cross.  If one day my blog does not appear it will be because he has tripped me to an untimely death.  Outside all of the bustling bird life chatters to itself.  The starlings have a nest under the pub roof with noisy young. The sparrows flit around the stone driveway like so many leaves.  Thrushes and blackbirds haunt the lawns for grubs, finches and all members of the tit family fly through and the woodpecker is to be seen hanging from the nut receptacle.

In this photo you will see the problem of creeping buttercup that has hit this bed with such fury.  Last year I spent battling three large Virginia creepers on the fence, it is almost as bad as Russian Vine, so giving up gardening will be a relief.  When it becomes a battlefield give up!

This is such a warm spot in the garden the ceanothus enjoys it with its back to the wall.

The Jam and Jerusalem rose got sick this year, looks like yellow jaundice ;), but I have cut the heart out of it and hopefully it will recover.  The one below is as prolific as ever.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Skipping from one thought to another!

Coals to Newcastle or what? Yes I am talking about the deal with Australia, do we really need more meat in this country in the form of cattle and sheep? Cross farmer on Farming Today was venting his anger on the trade deal this government has made with Australia, pushing out the better environmental standards that British farmers have.

Then surprise, surprise, the Liberal Democrats have won a seat over the Conservatives in Buckinghamshire.  These things do happen of course, unexpected political party wins and it is very British to vote for a different party when we see the need to give the presiding government a jump start into reality.

Not so good news, ageing is a built in genetic fault, this made me laugh because it is such an obvious fact, we are just living longer of course because of better resources.

Then there is that rare wild orchid, extinct in this country, but has been found on  a London roof, 15 specimens have been found.

Rising like a phoenix

Jennie remembered the Neolithic young child laid on a swan's wing in death the other week, and it brought to mind the poem by Gary Snyder...

Under the Hills near the Moravia River

She lay there midst

Mammoth, reindeer, and wolf bones;

Diadem of fox teeth round her brow

Ocher under her hips

26,640 plus or minus 110 years before "now".

Burnt reindeer-pelvis bone bits

in her mouth,

Bones of two men lying by her side,

one each side.

I am  listening to Underland by Robert Macfarlane at the moment and he begins in the first chapter with wonderful words about the Neolithic hand prints found inside caves.  How the ochre is blown gently from the hand to reveal the print on the cave wall.  How far we have come and yet hardly at all, us humans ;) Care and love in the Neanderthal period, you know those people that were different from us, though, I will whisper this quietly, we all have some Neanderthal in us.

Snyder got it wrong, they were in fact three males that lay there you can read about it here, but even so, the ceremony of burial strikes one as so civilised.

Paleolithic Art Masterpieces - Chauvet Cave.

Werner Herzog's - Cave of Forgotten Dreams video is no longer free but somehow he managed to capture the exhilarating experience of the Chauvet Cave with its vast art works that leave you humbled by their vivid representation.

Old Blog; The Ice Age Exhibition at the British Museum

Thursday, June 17, 2021

17th June 2021

 I have finished listening to Nomadland, not going to review it.  The author wrote as a journalist documenting the stories of individual people who took to the road.  American of course, and this takes us through states, camping sites, long journeys and people who are mostly women.

Just watched the short trailer of the film, and know before I would ever watch the film, that it would be romanticised to a degree.  How you can romanticise working at Amazon I find hard to imagine though. Reality dictates that when changes arises in our lives we do something about it.  Here, the frailties of the economy in America in 2008 when jobs were lost and mortgages called in, set people on a different road, exciting maybe but moving all the time in a variety of campers must have been hard.  They talk of friendliness amongst the campers, the sharing of times together, but no hot baths or proper loo facilities were probably part of the package.  Living on  inadequate social security pay, work was also important and boy was it hard at Amazon.

There was a story, a link that ran through, this was Linda, a friend of the author Jessica Bruder.  Linda's goal is to buy some land and build an 'earthship' the idea of which  was founded  in America.  I would like to see a follow-up film, in the building of this but there again, the lone 'pioneers' of the Green movement in America are thin on the ground.

America is a large country, you just could not take to the road in Britain, camping all year round is not allowed and would be pretty miserable in our climate anyway but the book allows you a glimpse of another side of America and is definitely a way to tackle a problem of being 'houseless'

Welcome rain greets me in the garden, grey skies though as well.  My new glasses, both pairs are scratch free and open the world a little more, I had anti-glare as well which is a great help against the sun.

And a tune to go with it, rather aptly it has just been playing on Radio 3.  Sung by Peggy Seeger, do you remember Pete Seeger and 'Little Boxes', all such a long time ago!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

16th June 2021

 Great kerfuffles in the garden, the young crows are finding their wings.  Already two bangs against the kitchen window tells me that they have yet to learn about glass, but they shake themselves and once more take off for the garage roof and fence.  The cat comes indoors he is not brave enough to face the ranks of indignant crow parents.

Today I must pick up my glasses from Malton, last time I drove along there Openreach had the road up into the town with big traffic jams at either end. Road mending is a jolly jape don't you know.  There come the 'new road' layers, next come the various utilities and dig into this beautiful virgin surface creating potholes almost before the tarmac is dry.  The enormous farm traffic help as well, wearing away the edge of the tarmac from the verge so deep runnels will appear to fill with water in winter and create great ponds across the lanes.

Two things float into my mind as I read through the blogs this morning.  Tom Stephenson picture of an old tractor reminds me of holidays in Wales on a farm as a child.  The car for the farm, would always sit on bricks, tyres removed, this is what I remember of course.  The little old tractor would be used for going anywhere.  I remember the farmer taking me down to tidy the grave of parents at the chapel in the tractor.  And I being horrified at the way he dug casually into the grave with me scared stiff he would uncover the bones of the incumbent.  No one had told me six foot down is the measure of death.

The other thing was Weaver's recollection of childhood toys.  I loved the mechanical aspect of creating words with my John Bull printing set, words welcome us into a world of magic from which we can never stop learning.  It brings back the memory of Tom my eldest grandchild toddling round the sitting room pointing at the television and saying BBC and then finding it in the Radio Times.  His love of words already there, and his excited reaction out in the pushchair as he recognised words on shops and the underneath of lorries.

Yesterday was Wombleton recycling centre.  Yes the Wombles live down the road, well at least at the pub!  You approach our very small recycling centre down a long dead end lane.  It is immaculately kept, you could eat your breakfast off the ground, no kidding.  The two men in charge are drinking coffee by the gate, I am ushered in, don't dare put anything in the wrong receptacle.  He takes my old computer and the enormous cooking pot I have kept chicken feed in the last few years. Books go into the cardboard and paper stuff, I throw a perfectly good bag of books in there without a single guilty thought going through my head.  The small television also meets its end in the electrical goods.  Paul liked televisions, we had an enormous 'Smart' one in the sitting room, too big to take on my next journey and there is a smaller one in the guest room, but it is not very smart though!!

Time to get ready...

Monday, June 14, 2021

14th June 2021

All the King's Men?

So what do I see today;  Charming photo of the Queen with the Bidens, afternoon tea at Windsor Castle.  Joe Biden has a laid back charm, he has fitted in easily between the leaders, Johnson has hosted the party well in Cornwall and what will come out of the meetings with Merkel and Macron remains to be seen.

Beach pictures of happy Johnson family with Jill Biden, all photo opportunities for the family album and the over top security has kept any bad business away.  The Biden's were late for church but the vicar Father Philip Dyson said...

“I think the G7 has been such a great occasion. The scripture readings were appropriate because it was about creation and climate, and things growing, so it absolutely suited the occasion.”

He added that the scriptures were not selected “by choice”, adding: “It’s just the way it always is. The word of God always fits in.”

Somehow the ordinariness of it all was sweet.  Will the world get changed though? I cannot answer that.

Escapees growing near Butser Farm, Wiki entry.

Now for a word which I always fall in love with year after year, Hesperis Matronalis, or Dame's Violet or even Sweet rocket.  It appears in the garden every year, sweet smelling white clusters of what I think of as a wild flower, but only because it is an escapee into the countryside.

Note: White tailed bumblebees in ceanothus, bright yellow pollen whereas the honeybees are pale yellow.

Yesterday was my youngest grandchild's birthday, Lillie was 15 years old, and is again in lockdown from her school.  Todmorden is experiencing a wave of the Delta variant.  It looks like we will not be reopening on the 21st June as figures rise once more.

I had forgotten this piece of news in the Guardian here, it is about stopping the use of gun clubs in the beautiful Esk valley.  The Tibetan monastery near Eskdalemuir has started a petition against  two applications for gun shooting clubs in the valley.  It is indeed a quiet and peaceful place, in fact given one of my nine lives I might have entered this monastery as a nun, even if it was only to work in the garden producing vegetables. The only thing keeping me back though was the shaved head style.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

13th June 2021 - Gumb


What remains of Daniel Gumb's cave.

Yesterday I was thinking about Daniel Gumb and his elegant carvings on gravestones.  Daniel lived on Bodmin Moor in North Cornwall literally on the moor in a cave with quite a few children.  I had hunted out 

The Hurler circles are large. Seen in the mist and the stones become humanlike

information on him, and there was plenty for this mathematician who carved geometry on top of the cave.  This 18th century poor man, made the most of what he had, and lived his life, truly inspirational.

The gray and stony moor his family looked out on.

Bodmin Moor is bleak, I met this moor one very rainy day as Paul and I drove down to stay for a few days.  We arrived at the little village of Minions and drove into the small car park with the rain literally pissing down.  I leapt out of the car much to Paul's anguish about the rain and walked to see the famous three circles of the Hurlers with the tor in the distance.  Stone circles have a magic, even in the rain, they stand for thousands of years, drawing you close as you enter their mystery.  We design everything square but once the circle ruled, copying the sun and moon these two objects in the sky that dictated the lives of our prehistoric ancestors.

St.Melor's Church, Linkinhorne

Daniel must have walked through them as well as he made his way back from the village to his cave home, where no taxes were paid.  An artistic rebel he made his life what he wanted it to be.


A genius amongst the grave stones?

We went to the church in Linkinhorne, where you can find some of his carved gravestones.  The experience was highlighted by the great owl that suddenly flew past chased by crows I think, obviously had intentions on the young, it was April and cold!

His carving is delicate and yet the Celtic swirls remind you that he must have swallowed reams of knowledge from books that he got from the clergy when he was a boy.  His Euclid equation carved on the top of the great flat stone that topped the cave, here atop his mansion he would sit and contemplate the stars and presumably just think.

Previous blog

I suppose he came to mind because I am listening to Nomadland, different people in a different era, forced by economic circumstance to wander America and work for the likes of Amazon.  Choice has been made to live their lives as seen fit for purpose. 

Poverty or wealth afflicts us all, have you ever thought of winning the lottery, but think of all the work entailed if you won.  How to distribute equally, who to give it to.  In the end you only need a roof over your head, warmth and food the rest is just surplus to requirements.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

12th June 2021

The assembled

collecting the day in politics

Johnson summed up in a sentence “Sure, I made a promise. But you weren’t meant to take that literally.”


Macron smooching with Biden  I love this video, slightly awkward leaders social distancing for a photo opportunity, see there is a bit of feminine input in the crowd. 

Biden's warmth extends to Europe for goodness sake ;)

A little bit of home news, just to spike non-stop political news.  Yesterday phoned up a person in Slingsby who is willing to take my half wild/half tame cat on.  It is a smallholding with another two cats, by agreement I can keep him for another two weeks.

The bantams are already at another farm.  Green eyes still small but very vocal as always.  He is sitting in the sun by the table at the moment.

To be continued....

Friday, June 11, 2021

Catching up on news


Lilibet;  Pretty nickname, but a proper name? The naming of the new baby of Harry and Meghan has 'family tradition' written all over it, though I notice Meghan's family have been left out.  Well it is a royal side show that will be lived out in the press, but I guess when that little girl grows up she will be cross with her name.

Starbuck shortages;  They have only owned up to oat milk, I just knew that when veganism hit the streets there would not be enough almond or oat milk to go around.  First world problem of course.  Create a new fad and you will run out of the necessary items.  Wait till the world gets hotter and the coffee bean crops fail then there will be a revolution.

G7 Summit 2021;  They are all arriving in planes, well maybe it is convenient for most world leaders flying to an island, but Johnson who took a private jet could have taken the train down to Cornwall.  Note I did not say drive, anyone who has been to Cornwall will know the state of the busy roads and especially the A30 means delays.  Thousands of police comb the coastal paths round St. Ives and the hotel and there seems to be a warship patrolling out to sea. 

Why Cornwall? at the farthest tip of the British Isles, this slightly rebellious county who would be quite happy with independence.  The coast walk round the Carbis Hotel is swarming with police, the tourists in this small pretty town must be on tenterhooks as they are refused access to beaches.

Saint Ives.

"Legal Purism" Another new term to remake the words of an agreement which is going astray.  This was said by Lord Frost to the EU.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Nothing quite beats this time of the year

Blue skies and  trees that shine with almost an iridescent green in the light of a beautiful morning.  Even as I stooped to spray the weeds on the drive could not help but be captured by the beauty of the day.
Rod and his wife had mown the lawns yesterday, four dustbins full he said, the grass ever fecund, holds the dew of the early morning, although in one spot of the lawn there must be an underground spring.
Snail shells crunch underneath my feet and the thrush ignores me as it potters around.  Goldfinch in the yew tree are feeding their young and balance on the wire just outside the window.

Gone are the cloud of buttercups, the hawkbit, and clover nothing now but shorn grass.  But the roses are breaking buds, the lavender has a silver sheen as the buds start to appear.


Monday, June 7, 2021

7th June 2021 - Hob Hole

I came across this video yesterday, let us say it comes from our 'Modern Antiquarians' fascinated by the world of folklore and stones.  Anyway it is a long story set against the backdrop of Yorkshire.  Stories of giants throwing the stones around, or walking down to the river to drink are part of the folklore of Yorkshire.  This seems to be a much later medieval story that has fallen through the centuries.  And according to the storyteller has echoes of the Scandinavian history that once existed in Yorkshire when the Vikings roamed and conquered.

Sunday, June 6, 2021



Yesterday as I was packing stuff, and the memories of the Chinese tea cups and embroidered silk cloth of the dragon floated into my thoughts and how they had come into the possession of myself.  I thought how it must have been like to travel to an exotic country like China in the 19th Century.

Then I remembered our visit to the town of Bietigheim-Bissingen in Germany several years ago when Paul took back six scrolls he had conserved.  They had been in the studio for years ready to go but the museum had never called for them back and then suddenly they wanted to make a ceremony of bringing them back to the town.  

So one cold January day we flew to Germany in the midst of snow with two large suitcases with the scrolls inside.  We arrived about midnight, Paul was fussing about the key lock we would find at the hotel, would it work?  Then we found that the suitcases would not go in any of the taxis, until one man eventually managed it.

We were treated so kindly by the people of the town, the Mayor introduced to his ideas for what he wanted, we had people take us round and in those few days saw a lot.  But in the museum I came across the man who had collected those scrolls, he had been the physician to the Japanese Emperor at the time - Erwin Balz 1849-1913

One of the photos in the museum captures Erwin riding in a cart and the photos reveal a Japan totally different from today's modern world.

Ceremony is part of Japanese culture,  the unrolling of a scroll, perhaps for winter or spring is traditional.  I have found most of these scrolls scary, if not ugly of the gods, but it is perhaps because I love landscape and not portraiture.

This Japanese garden is perhaps a place of remembrance, in one photo I have the green of the bamboo shines out against the black and white image of the snow and rocks.

It was very cold

Saturday, June 5, 2021

5th June 2021

Worryingly  views to my blog have doubled in the last two days, why I don't know, was it the tea set I put on the other day, now elsewhere at Age Concern.  Or is there a criminal element out there?

So something innocuous, this time the cascading blooms of wisteria at Hylands House near Chelmsford, which came through as a memory on F/B.

It is funny how memories come up for yesterday whilst packing a problem arose.  I have the most delicate Chinese tea cups with painted Wisteria fronds hanging down given by my first MIL.  The old black box in which they kept, lined with red silk has several gaps where a couple of cups have been broken.  The box will not fit into the medium cardboard boxes I have, do I buy more? delivery is expensive  Why do we hang on to these things, my reason one of the grandchildren may want to inherit it.

The cups have lasted for a long time, from the 19th century at least, there is also a beautiful silk piano cloth, embroidered with a great dragon and chrysanthemum flowers, the embroidery thread grey now with age but still beautiful.  

Packing has been about choices, there I was ready to stride out into another future with less possessions, but I realise I need all the plates, mugs and bowls for family meals....  


Friday, June 4, 2021

A thought


The Roman Hadrian's Wall taken from English Heritage

There is  news that makes you think. The following article is by a forensic pathologist.  Who questioned the fate of the immigrants who die as the result of fleeing their countries.  In cheap boats they are packed in, their money taken by callous men, and when these overloaded boats founder and sink, it is only luck that they are saved by a passing ship.


She asked a simple question, how do you record and name these people when they are dead and so she has started tracking down those minute pieces of evidence that will give shape and form to an identity.  Mostly young men, but men that have mothers and fathers, girl friends and wives.  We are shocked by the body of a little girl who lies on a beach, thrown up as so much flotsam, yet  countless young lives in hope of a better life are shattered, death is the final outcome.

I think in this country we have a callous indifference to them, illegal immigrants (already I am naming and shaming with my words) face a tough time in detention centres.  Our attitude to them says they are a nuisance, send them back to the countries where they came from. Economic migrants say others, just after our jobs, though weirdly enough we are experiencing too many jobs and not enough people to fill them at the moment.

The answer of course does not lie in people fleeing their countries because of corrupt and brutal regimes, and politically this is what we have to address.  Contemplate those coffins, think of the hopes, dreams, ambitions of those that lie there.  As she says in the article many of these immigrants have the same sort of stuff in their pockets as our teenage children.

How will it all end? Hadrian built a wall to keep the tribes at bay, the trouble is today we can't build walls against prejudice and corruption. We have only our actions to negate the corruption in this world.

Interestingly the following book article shows that the Hadrian Wall was built by people from Syria, Iraq and Algiers.  The Romans conquered by force and of course by persuasion and coercion, but they definitely got the hang of living with others.  


When Syrians, Algerians and Iraqis patrolled Hadrian's Wall

In praise of.......

Conrad Opper, my daughter's grandfather
Happy Times;

From the year 2011 an old blog, brought forward because as we near the time of Father's day, it is time to remember my daughter's grandfather Con, and Lotta of course, their kindness as I went through the grief of widowhood and they went through the grief of losing their youngest son.  And to outline the 'Swiss connection' for YP I have had through the years.

I have come to the conclusion that my/our country's European connection is important, I will always be a remainer, and this has been due to my Swiss family connections and a gentle man who would never hurt anyone.  He was a bureaucrat at the end of his career but his tales of building schools, pissing on the wheels of his old car as he drove through the jungle, and the snake calmly curled up under the baby's cot are memories of a past life for them.


Red Geraniums and Chateau Chillon

"Yesterday I received an email from my son-in-law (now ex) with the itinerary for their trip to Switzerland in August, just under a 1000 miles from Whitby to Vevey. 

 It will be a great experience for the children, travelling through France and they all have their passports ready.  Switzerland is a lovely country, steep sided mountains whose grassy meadows are grazed by large beige coloured cows in summer, their bells clonking away.  When I was there they used to bring the beasts down from the summer grazing through the villages decorated with flowers.  All of this  reminded me of my late father-in-law's excruciatingly bad poem he wrote, as he names the villages and towns, I remember drives he took with my daughter and myself up into the mountains for afternoon tea, the fillet de perche restaurant down by the lake, (an upmarket fish and chips) and the lake itself, often so calm but when storms arose (and they came quickly over the mountains) it would become quite dangerous, and the ferry boat across the lake to France would not be able to land its passengers.  

He and my mother-in-law  had lost their youngest son, and I a young husband, and the ties between my daughter and my sister-in-laws has always been very strong.  So the children when they arrive will be able to follow my daughter's childhood; travel in the little train up into the mountain, passing Leni's small chalet with its pretty garden in Blonay just under the chateau there.  Leni is long dead, though she lived to a venerable old age, and sparred, mostly over bridge, with my mother-in- law Lotta.

Con worked for Unesco for most of his working life, it took the family to many places, but they retired in Blonay, to Lotta's house eventually. So to the poem, Territet just by Montreux it had the English church where Con was a church warden, the vicar would often come to Sunday lunch and to be plagued by the ridiculous tricks Marc (Karen's cousin) and Con played on him, false cakes, false poops and jumping mustard pots are the ones I can remember, the vicar strangely enough got quite cross, but you can see Con's very 'englishness' in the way he writes, Lotta on the other hand was Dutch, and very precise in running her household.  There should be a poem by Byron on the Chateau de Chillon, there is a little island opposite which if I remember rightly was given to Queen Victoria, so is English territory...

The Tourist's Lament by C.J.Opper

A rainy evening in Vevey,
Fills me with intense dismay,
The faded splendours of Montreux
Leave me feeling rather blue;
And if we must stick to verity,
I don't go overboard on Territet.
And, I must say,
Whoever got hooked on La Tour de Peilz?
For Corsier, Blonay, Chebres and Corseaux,
I'm unequally unmoved or even more so;
If there's a place I'd rather not be on
Its the top of the tower of the Chateau de Chillon.
In Southend they would'nt have the cheek to serve,
That cupper tea we got at Villeneuve
We got fish and chips just beside the church
But you have to ask for fillet de perche.
So..... you just ask your mother why we're here,

When we might have been on Wigan Pier.