Saturday, July 31, 2021


Lillie and I went to the market yesterday afternoon, with her flaming red hair she is not unsurprisingly eye-catching.  People admire the colour she has spent so much time over the last two days and it is stunning. We sat and drank good coffee and I bought some coffee beans from a whole host of tins, not sure what to pick I asked for strongish and slightly sweet flavour.  Normally I go for 4 strength from the supermarket.

The market is truly old fashioned at least three butchers and small stalls of everything else.  We went into the ironmongers, packed tight with everything under the sun, I wanted a rubber bath mat for the oversized  bath my daughter has, which I have great trouble getting out of.....

Took time to photo some flowers along the way, there is alongside the canal mounds of yellow cone flowers, and lots of Canadian geese, who find an easy living as people throw them food.  A great bed of herbs winds it scented thyme way to the market, only I can't smell it only imagine crumpled between my fingers.

Do I miss the garden, yes and no.  For a great guilt was beginning to stir that I was not keeping on top of the weeds, so to be able to walk past the flowers and herbs and not be responsible gives me a great sense of relief.

Well the Stonehenge Tunnel has finally hit the wall of not being built, after all that money thrown at the discussion, the judge ruled "an error of law" had been made in not taking the longer tunnel into account.  Alongside the Unesco threats of disbanding several heritage sites in Britain.  Stonehenge can still be viewed from the busy A303 by passing holidaymakers (for free).  Given the fact that pollution from cars is a factor in climate change, and we will all be changing to silent electric cars perhaps the Stonehenge Tunnel had already become redundant anyway.

Yesterday I read something from the Dalai Lama, wish I had kept it, he said there were two things that led to negativity. The first one was of course the self, the me, me, me attitude,  but the other negativity attitude was something to do with reality in front of us not existing, wish Paul was here to explain.

I know the beautiful greenness of the trees is not what is there but something else.  But if our reality only exists because our brains have formed the world in front of us to our own conceptual thought, is my seeing so different from anyone else's?

And to add to yesterday's blog, 'Meanderings' came up on my Word Press site, I see from my emails that you have to pay for this site.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Words evoke - Greensted Church

Words evoke magic and happy times and memories of places you may never visit again but lie like protected jewels in the heart.

 "The 51 timber planks you see here today date from about 1060, although excavations undertaken in the chancel in 1960 revealed the existence of two earlier timber structures dating from the 6th, and 7th centuries, around the time that St. Cedd began his work of converting the Saxons to Christianity. The church bears witness to the work of Saxon, Norman, Tudor and Victorian builders who variously extended, repaired and restored the building over the ages. In 1848/9 the church underwent severe restoration works, and in 1990 works were undertaken to stabilise the church as it stands today, whilst in 2005 the spire was completely re-shingled in Oak."

I thought of the title and the inspiration came, Sue of Suffolk and her churches, why don't I go over some of the happiest times in my life and potter around the churches Paul and I would visit.  By the time we got to Yorkshire Paul had got tired of church visiting, but in those first few years he happily drove me for these explorations into the countryside.

So the church that I have copied the words from above is from the wooden Anglo-Saxon Essex church at Greensted, beautifully preserved in Victorian times, a gem that sits in the countryside amongst green fields.

History has so many jewels to pick from but I chose the Anglo-Saxon period. The Prittlewell Saxon burial where the first  glimmerings of Paganism was being overtaken by Christianity in the burial of a king.  I loved the way religions clashed in the minds of the sons as they buried their father, pagan tributes but also two gold crosses.

Greensted Church is a peaceful place to visit on a sunny afternoon, the table of jams and chutneys greet you when you open the door, the wooden interior slightly unusual in our Norman stone churches are decorated with favourite topics of old England, the sheaves, the crown, etc.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Flicking through the news

 The Marble Arch mound.  True meaning of a folly, or pouring your money down a large shaft? or up into the air whichever takes your fancy.

I am sure the intention was good but Councillor Rachel Robathan will have a hard task selling the mound and does it not put the rather  formal Marble Arches' nose out of joint? 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

27th July 2021 - shopping

Photo courtesy of Visit Manchester

Manchester, for the shopping trip took second place, to the vastness of the city. A place of tall buildings and side streets.  We went to the Arndale Mall and I was slightly overwhelmed by it all.  Big shops, tons of stuff, we did M&S, Selfridges and Zara not forgetting the Japanese shop that did natural materials such as cotton, silk and linen.

I now own three over shirts kitted out with pretty lace vests, this is what my daughter decided was 'me'.  She treated me to all the shopping saying she was so glad to finally have me around.  

I was fascinated by the designs, M&S is predictable of course, but Zara had lots of tall young skinny females swanning around, the styles from Japanese silk to large collars, frills and ruffs.  Young toddlers were wheeled around in their buggies, drink in hand and a tablet to follow the latest cartoon to keep them amused.

One thing stands out starkly, there are beggars who come up quickly but disappear just as quickly. Also what I took to be a load of rubbish outside one shop, turned out to be a homeless female beneath a large black tarpaulin, one eye peering out on the thronging world that walked by  next to her face.  There is always that quandary, what to do, we all walk past of course, for there is a whole lifetime to workout for that poor woman, she presents the face of need and we must do something about it, but what?

We eventually picked Lillie up from her nail appointment and went in search of lunch.  Do not search for food at lunch time! Forty-five minute wait in one restaurant we had pinpointed, we decided to look elsewhere and went through the fish market, surfaces covered with gleaming silver fish and of course every sea food under the sun to a restaurant there but full once more.  It was only after we turned down a side street and found an empty pub that we managed to get something to eat, it was delicious, a pile of mushrooms, halloumi cheese and salad on brioche.

Shopping is an extravagance, highlighted by the two gleaming Porsches that stood outside one store, did someone mention £40,000 for one and compares cruelly with someone sleeping on the street. Two ends of society and apparently the rich get richer and the poor poorer and we allow it!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

25th July 2021

A quick note on today's events.  Today was Ben's birthday, 21 years old and celebrating his birthday in London.  But surprise, surprise my eldest grandson Tom came down from Manchester convinced that there was to be a birthday party in Todmorden and he was missing out.  It was lovely to see him again, healthy and tanned he is teaching at a gym a couple of days a week and three days he does his PR job.

There was the usual family chatter, in which things were joked about

Probably at Vevey

Goth week at Whitby

Growing up into a teenager

Back from Uni and Xmas at Chelmsford

This photo shows the joy that Lillie felt when she first saw him after a long stint at university in London, jumping into his arms, they have always had a close bond.  Today, now with red hair and 15 years old, she explained to him the ancestry she has been collecting.  Apparently they are related to Earl Grey, yes that tea, and wondering where the royalties went!

It brings back so many memories, mostly of Whitby and their house there.  Whilst their mother worked the little ones would go to Sally's house and she would take them down to her beach hut to play on the sand.

He is a grown up lad now, just as caring as when he was young, and perfectly happy in his life.  My daughter was over the moon to see him, as was I.  He has turned into a good young man.

The four of them playing mini golf at Ruswarp

Saturday, July 24, 2021

24th July 2021

 Yesterday was retrospective, and I am quite happy to go pottering around in the past.  Living as one did in Wiltshire and then North Somerset, you  had the three great stone circles on your doorstep.  Stonehenge, Avebury and then Stanton Drew circle, which I shall leave for another day.

But on what is now home ground I will write about.  Mostly during the day I am on my own so I talk to the dog Teddy and Alexa, not that I get much back!  Alexa can be a bit of a bitch, not always doing what I ask her to, this morning in response to my request for radio 4 she kept muttering about SW2 radio was unobtainable but eventually complied.  Teddy on the other hand nicked a packet of cereals yesterday and ate the lot.  I am always being warned that most foods will give him an upset stomach but he seems to have survived.

Pottered round the indoor market yesterday, there is an outdoor one as well, three butchers under its roof which I was surprised to see, butchers have become a rarity and a real old ironmongers, do so wish I had not left my camera behind.  Lillie has school holidays from now on and is taking me to the library some time today.

She has been studying the ancestry of her great grandfather, who is called in the family the 'royal bastard', they have narrowed his mother down to a daughter of the nobility but his royalty seems somewhat in dispute!  Anyway a book arrived the other day about a pair of sisters which gives some information.

It reminded me of their great grandmother, who also has some sort of blue blood in her veins and which I came to an abrupt end, when someone from Holland/Austria got in touch and I felt I was stepping into someone else's family.  You can tell ancestry is not my favourite subject..

Apparently the person in question was a cousin and mentioned that the family wealth had come from shipping, it had dribbled down the ages to their granny.. and since quietly disappeared.

Watching people pass out of the window, I saw three genuine hippies walk past yesterday, and also either an Imam or a Jewish Orthodox person.  Such things as you know by now fascinate me, such ignorance on what is what needs a bit of fast learning.  Daughter went for a meal with her best friend last night to a 'gay' pub in Hebden.  I swallow her stories wholesale, she is a font of knowledge on today's modern culture.

Need to study the Unitarian church which I notice dominates the little square nearby,...

Cheering news on Brexit ;(  it is not all down to the 'ping'

another video...

Friday, July 23, 2021

23rd July 2021

Sliding through the blogs this morning, I saw the Neolithic West Kennett Long Barrow featured alongside Herzog and I wondered what he would have made of  this enormous monument to prehistory.  It doesn't get on to the seven great wonders of the world,  But it stands alone high on the downs of Wiltshire looking down on that other great monument Silbury Hill. 

Prehistoric landscapes are strangely preserved because of the enormous weight of the stones moved by prehistoric man, an extraordinary feat of strength and togetherness.  A geological wonder, as those who have argued that the source of the bluestones  in Wales ending up in  the ring of stones at Stonehenge will testify.

The 'closed' fa├žade, like a redundant temple it faces the sun.

The long length of it, cut by a farmer's need to get to his fields and of course archaeological excavations.

It snakes down a slight hill like a dragon, actually it faces towards The Sanctuary stone circle and The Ridgeway path.  The Sanctuary stone circle has long since disappeared and the stones replaced by concrete markers.  But of course, there is the stone Avenue, paired females and males either side? which starts the opposite side, but a landscape wherein paths are created to take you from one place to another, a pilgrimage.

The Avenue leads to the Avebury stone circles, a monument that holds the first inklings of a great open-air cathedral building to a long gone belief system.  The massive stones of Avebury have an artistic merit of great size and beauty, a labour of love enshrined in the great ditch that surround them.

Avebury Stone Circle

The beginnings of 'being civilised' creating a society, beliefs, farming the land but they still had time to create and they took the sarsen stone in the surrounding country and probably formed the circle from the sun's shape above.  I remember one cold January at midnight, when Paul and I stood by the Cove stones at Avebury and looked up at the moon with its craters and crevices etched on its surface, it is at these moments you can almost be with these early people in their wonderment at the black space of the universe around them.  Trying so hard to make sense of it all, copying in stone what they saw.

Swallowhead Spring

I had wandered many times by the Swallowhead spring with its old willow tree draping its branches into the water and wondered about the people who come to decorate it with their pieces of tat.  Are these modern creatures trying to create the same moment or are they seeking their own belief and redemption.

I put it down to nature worship in a fraught world, humans must always turn to something outside themselves for reassurance.

The Cove Stones, there were three at one time, massive giants.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

21st July 2021

 First adventure of the day;  There are problems with a leaking shower and the plumber is not coming till tomorrow.  So my daughter turned the water off last night and then back on again this morning.  This entails going down into the basement and as she had already left for work I volunteered to shut off the water.  

The basement is an intriguing place, covers the entire floor level of the terraced house and has about four rooms.  Sadly it can never be converted you have only to see the level of the water stain on the wall.  There is a pump to drain the flood water when it comes in and a dryer that is permanently on.

So I ascended the concrete steps into its dungeon like atmosphere, and eventually found the water tap which was in the coal annexe with its shoot for the coal from the road.  Hooks hang from the ceiling in one roof, meat maybe, the house must be late Victorian.

But this is one of the hazards of living in Tod as it is called, flooding. It was once  only a village until the revolution of canal, rail and industry came to tether the town to the modern world.  For me the town has rather a grim face, or perhaps a grime covered face but has a viaduct for the train when it comes into town, which is pretty often for you are connected to all the Northern cities.

Flipping through the historic photographs as one is apt to do ;) I notice flooding is a regular occurrence on the flat land in the town, when the water overflows it comes down the sides of the valley to join the torrent of the river/canal below.

Fire and flood are hitting the world now as our climate changes but it is perhaps wise to understand how our towns came into being and to alter our building habits.



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

And so the day begins

I sit here, writing in 'Nanum Gothic' by the way, pale and grey it is like a thin drawing pen.  The dog, Teddy is sleeping on the bed behind me, and I am worried a bit, for Teddy often goes round clad in a nappy, he is incontinent at age 13 years old, a black sleek whippet with a grey face and not much sense between his two ears.

The house has an eclectic mix of furniture, paintings and loads of cacti everywhere!  The kitchen has a Mexican theme, bright and colourful,  Frida pokes her face in and there are graceful depictions of Mary, mother of Jesus.  No, religion does not grace this house but it is a particular hobby of my daughter to collect.  An Aga stove in the kitchen keeps the house warm and the water boiling hot but not particularly welcome at the present time.

Once I hankered after an Aga, they were so 'in' at one time, the heart of the kitchen, etc, etc.  Great heavy beasts of course, I am worried this one will fall to the basement below.  It takes about 15 minutes to boil the pretty pink kettle, and toast is a bit of hit and miss affair but the ovens look good.

I am trying to place their point of popularity, could it be the Laura Ashley time when women played with the pretty flowered patterns of material and went round dressed in long skirts, a sort of walking folk's art of self sufficiency on the farm.

Those days have gone, as has Laura Ashley, who slipped on the floor of her very gracious house and broke her neck.  Fashions change, my daughter can mark most fashions by age and time, her knowledge of makers and materials leaves me quiet, no wonder my granddaughter is setting off into the world of fashion.

Anyway I have fallen into her hands and am being 'redone', or at least smartened up, an M&S visit next Monday, an argument is already starting over what I should wear in the future!  I am living with people who go to nail shops, it seems to me a waste of time but someone will glue extension nails to your original ones, and then you can go around with any length of nail.  You can see not many gardeners live in towns ;) 

Must admit I have left myself short of clothes, no waterproof or jacket, but I did remember my umbrella. Shoes are another problem, all packed away, all 3 pairs of them, I don't acquire stuff like others do.

Dominic Cummings is spilling the beans again, nothing like an old bitter friend turned foe to demolish our prime minister, and who better than the po-faced astringent Cummings?   So welcome freedom day, luckily we are all arriving at our own interpretation of freedom as to how we want to dice with death.

Monday, July 19, 2021

19th July 2021

 Making an appearance.  So all those days in the solitary confinement of my home has gone, I moved into society yesterday.

It all started early morning when my daughter read on her phone that all train tickets were booked, we had three trains to catch.  We will just 'fly it' she said and take our chances.  Lovely lad in the taxi took us to Malton and luckily there was a train man on the station handing out tickets from the ticket machine.  As we sat two men appeared, Karen recognised them from Whitby, they were on their way to Leeds to watch the cricket, and everyone caught up on  several years of news.

One thing which was funny, my daughter who is a cacti collector argued that we should take my large cacti in the kitchen and she wrapped it into clothes because of the spines.  Luckily she gave up on bringing it and as I later found out she had bought all the little things from the kitchen sill.  So Japanese butter dish, wooden garlic box and small vases for holding single flowers came and now decorate Matilda's bedroom in which I sleep.  But unfortunately I have left my camera behind.

Hauling our bags and one suitcase up and down bridges and lifts at both York and Leeds were the only problem, seats there were, of course half the seats are empty due to the pandemic but everyone settled quietly in their allotted space.  

I am always intrigued by the people around me and on this particular Sunday it was races of many colours and it was fascinating to see the ticket collector calmly spend minutes with young people who had to pay for their tickets and of course produce appropriate cards, he explained everything patiently.  Apparently the ticket system had gone down but there was no chaos.

I know this calls for grumbles from a certain spectrum of our society but hush it was managed well.

I sleep in a young Matilda's bedroom.  Kate Moss takes pride of place over the fireplace, and the walls are very 'avante garde' with black and white  framed fashion photos.  

Now off to Lidl to shop, haven't been to Lidl for probably 18 months but having hauled all my coffee making stuff now need coffee beans.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

17th July 2021

 Yesterday was tinged with sadness as I said good bye to my good friend in the village.  She has always been on the doorstep, offering help and chatting away.  We will probably never see each other again but vow to keep in touch.  There are the things we laughed at, a middle aged couple, suburban born and bred, who moaned about the pheasants, could not some one keep them quiet for goodness sake - as if.  They are still complaining but this time about the noise of the environmentally friendly house that is being built next door to them.  There are those that complain and those that let the world swish by without a thought in their head..

We remembered 'screaming K', Paul had nicknamed her that after having an unnerving phone call about the 'rights of way' footpath that bounded her garden, which had upset her.  After all it was only the village volunteers wanting to clear the path but the right of way was established by a group of walkers coming through anyway.  Legally I believe public footpaths have to be walked once a year.

My daughter told me a funny story the other day, a young student had come into the shop and said whilst out shopping she had joined a protest march.  Except she could not work out why everyone was staring at her, then noticed that no one was wearing a mask but she was, she had joined an anti-mask protest wearing a mask!  

Nothing much to write about to day so I shall leave you with a photo of Coetan Arthur cromlech, facing Carn Llidi, amongst the jumble of rocks on the headland of St.Davids.

Friday, July 16, 2021

16th July 2021

 Are we all ready for 'levelling up', you too could be a millionaire in Johnson's fairy land, but I wish he would put  a bit more flesh on the bones of the skeleton of Great Britain! I am not being politically  miserable this morning, after all there are worse things on the horizon.  As we watch with horror Germany and associated countries reel under terrible floods, whilst across the world the West coast of America burns its forests in temperatures that are obscene, it is well to keep our feet on the grounds of reason.  Which is Climate Change by the way, read Murrmurs serious thoughts for once.

So where did my England go?  Danny Boyle got a lovely story going in the Olympics 2012 Games, the drums beat loud and clear, thousands joined in the play-acting of our history.  The grind of the industrial revolution, that made places like Todmorden houses black and grim, or was it the coal, which was dug out of the ground in the dark and dangerous mines to fuel heating and industrial work.  Does it matter, we have inherited the aftermath, our planet works for humans at 21 % oxygen so I believe, keeping that balance has now become imperative.

Who is the hero of the hour?  Gareth Southgate, standing by his team and consoling them and showing us a way to behave in our 'Rainbow Culture' which is just shorthand for saying  we are a multicultural country, just watch the homage to the NHS, it starts at 50 minutes in for an understanding of this. 

As Boyle so poignantly pointed out we do things well, theatre, music, dancing and work, Britain often and does act like a team in spite of government.  The pandemic has taught us that and we should do well to remember it.

So enjoy the music, the uplifting history, as we fought our way through each period, and remember it is not us who inherit but our children and grandchildren, they are the keepers of the future. 

You can view it on Youtube, just hit the appropriate button ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2021

15th July 2021

 The remains of a headache still potter around  in my head but as Paul said once a long time ago you never get those migraines with me now, and there is the blessing, age has  also brought relief from them.

So dear Government, salt and sugar taxes proposed, could you not actually tax the supermarkets for buying junk food in the first place?  And while giving people prescription for free fresh vegetables and fruit, could you not give them more money to buy it.  Isn't there a little stigma attached? Benevolent government sticks in the craw sometimes but it is a first move.

It is rather marvellous that such a lot of news is rolling through, we are beginning to look at our relationship with history as well - Englishness Evolves.  You have seen it in the books we read, or television programmes, a sense of being 'top dog' if you are English, well maybe things should change to reflect the Asian and Black culture we see in this country at this precise moment.  Wales, and Scotland are slowly pulling away from England, they want to find their own identity.  We unit as a whole but segment in our different cultures.  

There is a minor revolt going on, the government says one thing, masks are not mandatory, mayors in the different cities say masks are mandatory in close contact areas such as transport and shops. And when did mayors get to tell us what to do, has the role become political? Remember that olde English world of tri-shaped hats and great gold necklaces the mayors wore for special occasions? all down the pothole of history.

The world is a fascinating place, there is definitely a sense of disorder and chaos taking over, probably because there are too many of us and I shall revert to a much quieter life of taking 'the dogs' a virtual walk every morning on F/B as these three lovely springer spaniels rush around without a care in the world.

You can find them on F/B

All that is left to take in my big bag, is the coffee grinder, tablet and camera.  Funnily enough as the two young men took the last of the boxes, I said perhaps I should vacuum there, he almost brought it back, but then the thought of me on the train station carrying a vacuum cleaner got me giggling and I refused the offer.


Food strategy calls for £3bn sugar and salt tax to improve UK’s diet

addenda... It is my son's birthday today, he is 40 years old, how did I remember that he said.  MyHeritage said I emailed me yesterday.  We got talking as you do on the phone, he wanted me to go back into his father's back history, so something to do.  

He mentioned that I had a Jewish background, my background would leave you in despair for it is so complicated by the four marriages of my grandfather!  I was able to tell him with a flourish of pride that I am European, my grandfather having come from Belgium and fled during the second world war to England.  He and his wife Catherine, left behind their home, their new car on the quay with a mattress on top (bombs?) to flee to England with one little Pekinese snuggled in Catherine's fur coat. I was the result of a liaison between his older son and a young woman but was officially adopted by grandfather and Catherine, who sadly died a couple of years later.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Just a video ;)

 Removal van arrived, 40 minutes and it is gone! Goodbye belongings for awhile!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

13th July 2021

 It is grey and dull this morning and also the music, Beethoven - Pastoral Symphony, has a dirge like mood to it.  The presenter on Radio 3 is at Jervaulx Abbey, a Cistercian abbey and he is talking about the River Ure.

He reminds me that I haven't packed 'The Ruined Abbeys of England' a well researched 19th century book by an American and I am not sure I have the room or inclination to pack it because it is falling apart. 

It seems so many years ago when I fell in love with the abbeys of this country, the Cistercian Order always intrigued me.  Going out into the wilds, of the countryside, a few monks came up to Yorkshire, to lead austere lives in the praise of their god.  Funnily enough I have just seen an article on abandoned gods in Hong Kong.  Someone has carefully collected them and now they grace a hillside above the city, thousands of them.  Unwanted but taken care of.

The reason Radio 3 is at this abbey is for the river though, and it reminds me of Julian Cope and his essay on the sacredness of the Ure-Swale Plateau, an important sacred prehistoric land.  Within its bounds you will find the tall 'Devil's Stone, outside Harrogate somewhere and also of course the lined up Thornborough Henges, telling of a time thousands of years ago when different gods were worshipped.  But do we know that???

I take the book from Paul's bookcase and remember his astonishment at my casual way with books.  I laugh to myself, for he was quite right keeping a book in its original hardcover casing will increase its value whereas I threw the casing away for my book and gave it to a charity shop.  How did my untidy nature live with such a tidy man, only love can tell.  Our natures slowly molded round each other.  If he is out there somewhere in the universe he would be reading what I am writing  now as he did when alive, for he said, I can only find out what you are thinking by what you write.  So indulge me for this moment when an old happy  photo comes to mind at Eskdalemuir.

So which book will I choose? The Modern Antiquarian by Julian Cope or the Ruined Abbeys of England, and as I write remember someone who wrote poetry that Paul collected, Gordon Kingston who lived in Ireland. Will try and find those words!!

And here it is!! first the inspirational words of Julian Cope, don't gag by the way;)

"Atop Knap Hill I eat my snot
For 'tis the only food I got"

And then Gordon's poem......................


Their presence

‘Neath Adam’s Grave I push “large chips”
down through my teeth and grasping lips...

Didn’t Strabo state that ancients ate
Their fathers’ bodies on a plate;
And drank the fluid that now gets hid
In a silver cup, under a silver lid?
Somehow their presence is up here still;
Watching me watching, on the hill.

Adam's Grave, atop its hill. Prehistoric Neolithic barrow on the way to Pewsey.

Knap Hill on a misty morning, Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure

Monday, July 12, 2021

12th July 2021

Commiserations to everyone who gets involved in football. Prince George's face said it all, alongside his mother and father they all looked miserable when the game finally came to an end.  One thing I would say, they would go home in a chauffeured car, for many football fans and others it is the trains that they have to go home on with drunken rioting men, not a pleasant experience.

But to other things, Mia Tarney - artist, her work borders on a realistic art almost too sharp to bear, but take pleasure in her paintings of flowers on this summer morning.  She was born in 1973 and therefore I cannot show a painting, isn't it a 75 year copyright rule from date of death?

I have kept my moving boxes to 20, and the last one awaits it fill. Scared, yes of course of this new adventure, but also looking forward, a positive attitude of mind.  Life has not quite finished with me yet, though I am exhausted by the turns it has taken but hopefully in a good mental state and fairly physically active I will potter into this last throw of the dice.

I would still like to have a mad old spaniel to wander around with me, giving up my animals was hard, the car went without a backward glance.  Read about Max the springer spaniel and his companions here, and rejoice in their absolute zest for life.  Not sure about Springer spaniels, rather bouncy creatures by the look of them, but just give me an old merled black and white spaniel and I promise too care for him/her.

I have just noticed in my photos that it was Paul Nash's anniversary yesterday when 'he fell asleep' ;) But notice the words on this epitaph, heartfelt don't you think?  I love the way the words are squashed into the space.

"Whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things"

England May have lost but - Guardian article

Sunday, July 11, 2021

11th July 2021

Every morning I read blogs.  Today I stopped by Aril's blog, she is eagle eyed in her detail of what she finds on her walks and I enjoy her perambulations.  I noticed she went to Lavenham in Suffolk a couple of weeks ago and it brought back memories and I am so glad that I have also written as well for I can go back and capture that moment.  2009, Paul and I went, early part of the year, freezing cold, and a town that reflected its history not only in its buildings but by being beautifully preserved and loved by its inhabitants.  Paul said at the time the town  was like an extinct mammoth, losing its riches so quickly that it embalmed itself in poverty and never recovered. 

England is a tiny island of many faces and not more so than in its buildings, both material and style. We lived on the outskirts of Chelmsford at the time, and I had become used to the plaster and lathe houses around.  Brick creates straight lines, but stone, wood and plaster have a pleasing unruly affect, their lines uneven, sometimes it is the 'cruck' shape that dictate the 'gingerbread house' effect. 

Today in such programmes as Grand Designs, we see timber houses going up but these new buildings are often bought in Germany in kit form and then erected on site, each straight vertical pillar holding the equivalent horizontal plank, rather boring I think. Just marvel at the timber work in the great tithe barn at Bradford-on-Avon........

The great tithe barn of Bradford-on-Avon, courtesy of Wikipedia

Medieval buildings hold a charm even to this day and are well protected by laws not to knock them down or alter them, their charms adding to towns and countryside alike.  

Better photos of Lavenham can be found here, when I wrote about it last year.

Yesterday I took a big decision, and invested in another online news upstart this time 'Bylinetimes.

Doesn't it feel that there is a big gamble being taken by our government at the moment giving us the freedom to choose whether to wear masks or not and the freedom of movement.  I think the football tonight will test us.  Science and medical information is very much against this 'freedom' being allowed as we enter the third wave of the Covid virus.  And I presume we will all choose whether we go on wearing masks to protect others and also keep the social distancing rule.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Potpourri - words

Gough's Cave

Mingin pinging.  Already it grabs my intention, written by Paul Waugh on an unexpected silence by BJ at Question Time. But the words evoke misery as we hear that pinging noise now in these times not only on our phones and computers but through the radio as well as the population zooms from their temporary imprisonment at home. It is a sound and words of our time.

Cheddar Gorge

All photos purloined from the internet.

The other word that piqued my interest was moulin,  which is a deep hole within ice and something I learnt from Macfarlane's Underland.  When you listen to a long book, attention drifts and it is sometimes difficult to draw the threads together.  Macfarlane wanders all over the place in his search for the dark underlands.  It is a somewhat deep book because in that dark world of the under world we enter the realms of death.

He has that same sense of excitement we all feel as we make our way through our own small adventures, and though I would never crawl along a tunnel fearing the rush of water as the rains gushed above my head, I can remember the excitement of the Mendips not too far from my home in Bath.

The day I took my two children and Tom my grandson for a picnic under the great rock gorge.  A plastic box of small sausages, another of potato salad and then tomatoes.  We went to the Cheddar cheese company and Tom strolled round in disgust and during his childhood refused to eat cheese saying he was allergic - he wasn't.  

Then we went and visited the caves. Gough's Cave,  smooth undulating toffee rock is how I would describe these underground places of fantasy, a clear river runs through them, shallow but disappearing into dark holes, a place of serene placidity.  Caves are magical places, but give them mythology, and archaeology and their stories are enriched.  Cannibals lived there during Mesolithic times of years, you can tell by the skulls found inside the caves and then there is a witch frozen into stone at the entrance to the cave by a monk from nearby Glastonbury Abbey, who threw holy water over the woman. This at Wookey Hole Cave, where once an old lady lived with her goats maybe.

"In 1912, an archaeologist named Herbert Balch found the almost complete skeleton of an old woman, the bones of two goats, a dagger, some household items and a polished alabaster ball among other Iron  Age remains near the entrance to the Hole. Whether or not these remains have any tie-in with the legend of the witch makes for interesting conjecture."

And if you disbelieve that monks were around in the first century AD, Never forget that Glastonbury had an early religious age, for Jesus Christ visited the town with his uncle Joseph on a 'business mission' and our Queen still has a sprig of the hawthorn bush at Christmas on her breakfast table. Why? because the planting of Joseph of Arimadeus's staff of Jerusalem hawthorn on English soil, left it flowering out of season at Christmas.  Believe such stories or not, that is how myth is born, and in the following centuries stories are built up to fantastic levels, and of course by entrepreneurial folk like the monks.


Today, Saturday.  More words to contemplate: Spoken by Keir Hardie and the article written in praise of Kim Leadbetter, sister to the late Jo Cox.  Words gather but actions are thin on the ground.

"The meaningless drivel of the ordinary politician must now give place to the burning words of earnest [people] whose hearts are on fire with love to their kind.”

For now I am listening to Conundrum by Jan Morris, she died in November 2020 and yet her lyrical writing is still as intense as ever.  Biological binary, or being born a woman in a male body.  Sometime ago I read that there was somewhere along the line of 60ish ways you could define your sexual gender.   Whoops said my mind haven't got time for learning all that but I am sure Jan Morris will explain with her gentle voice.  It is not black and white but a myriad ways of interpretation.

For the moment I am back at Wookey Hole contemplating the serene waters of the river as it rushes underground, wondering at the beauty of the stalagmites and stalactite's great age as they form slowly drip by drip through the ages.  Knowing I shared that experience with people several thousand of years ago,

Thursday, July 8, 2021

8th July 2021

Well for all of you sports lovers out there, congratulations on the latest football win. What else, Wimbledon and cycling all dominating the television at the moment.  I am not sporty and it all passes me by with a lot of grumbles on my part. 

My friends left me yesterday with the admonishment to watch the football, I DID NOT, just turned the radio on at 10 pm and got the result.  They had kindly offered to drive me into Malton to the bank to pay the cheque in for the car, which was generous to a fault, both the cheque and my friends, who will get my shopping in the following days before departure to the wilds of Calder valley.

When do you start panicking and when do you stop? Access to the internet is an absolute.  Mostly everything is under control, one thing that worries me are apps on the phone.  For instance when travelling by train, you can have your ticket on the phone.  My phone not only demands a password any time but also finger recognition, not as easy as you may think putting your finger in proper recognition form.

Keep losing the internet on this computer but not on other devices ;(.  This morning I noticed Tasker is recounting his Icelandic Saga when he visited with friends many years ago.  It reminded me of William Morris's visit and his poem, which you will find below, rather laborious but Morris brought back a little Icelandic pony for his children and it pulled the lawn mower as one of its jobs in life.  Such small details gather in my  magpie mind sadly!

Iceland First Seen by Wm Morris

Lo from our loitering ship a new land at last to be seen;
Toothed rocks down the side of the firth on the east guard a weary wide lea,
And black slope the hillsides above, striped adown with their desolate green:
And a peak rises up on the west from the meeting of cloud and of sea,
Foursquare from base unto point like the building of Gods that have been,
The last of that waste of the mountains all cloud-wreathed and snow-flecked and grey,
And bright with the dawn that began just now at the ending of day.

Ah! what came we forth for to see that our hearts are so hot with desire?
Is it enough for our rest, the sight of this desolate strand,
And the mountain-waste voiceless as death but for winds that may sleep not nor tire?
Why do we long to wend forth through the length and breadth of a land,
Dreadful with grinding of ice, and record of scarce hidden fire,
But that there 'mid the grey grassy dales sore scarred by the ruining streams
Lives the tale of the Northland of old and the undying glory of dreams?

O land, as some cave by the sea where the treasures of old have been laid,
The sword it may be of a king whose name was the turning of fight;
Or the staff of some wise of the world that many things made and unmade,
Or the ring of a woman maybe whose woe is grown wealth and delight.
No wheat and no wine grows above it, no orchard for blossom and shade;
The few ships that sail by its blackness but deem it the mouth of a grave;
Yet sure when the world shall awaken, this too shall be mighty to save. ...

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

6th July 2021

 Yesterday was a day and a half.  I decided to 'Freegle' my dolls house, an hour later Sam turned up on the site, could I have it please, he sounded familiar.  When he turned up on the doorstep I recognised him from the person who had taken my spinning wheel.  He had kept me informed on the saga of the wheel, passing it on to his grandson who liked old things and could use it and was now camping in the rain.  I gave him the history of the dolls house, modelled on a Georgian Bath house and could see his eager little eyes already planning restoration.  Would it not be interesting to follow the history of something as it goes through time.  I doubt if he will plan the rooms with the rather expensive furniture that went with it, but I shall leave it up to the grandson to lead his grandfather.

Then I decided to tackle the selling of the car, phoned the garage up, he made me a good offer, I owned up to the slight scrape left wing and he is going to pick it up today.  I then sat down and wondered how to get the cheque to a bank, then thought of friends in the village and cadging a lift.

The day even got a lot better when the post arrived and the council have given me a rebate on council tax paid.  Then when Rod and his wife came to mow the lawn and I said I was moving on he waived my money aside and said it was on him.  Generous to a fault, how can you not love people!

As for the lifting of restrictions on the 19th July -  a bloody gamble.

Monday, July 5, 2021

5th July 2021

Nye Bevan

It is the NHS birthday today, 73 years of service.  The Queen has given this public service a George medal.

We are, as usual, getting mixed messages from our new health minister.  We are now to go bravely forward and discard our face masks, take holidays if fully vaccinated and accept the risk that some will die from the new variants that will come in the future.

But for today let us be thankful for a marvellous service, that has served us so well through this pandemic and has given us a free health service over the years.

So to those long ago Labour politicians, who actually tried to do good for the country and to the people who work in the NHS - a heartfelt thank you. May the need to privatise you never sully the excellent work you do.

Perhaps also the government will revue the measly 1% pay rise and be more generous, after all certain members of our government have made big bucks out of all the equipment  needed for the last health scare.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

How the day starts!

Filling the kettle for my first cup of tea, I look out of the window and see a red bottom on the nut feeder.  It is of course the woodpecker, and I am pleased to see it there, for a few days ago I found a young fledgling dead on the lawn.  As I sit by the window worrying why my computer is so slow, a thrush comes and hammers another snail to death on the patio.

Eventually my computer picks up speed, probably loaded too many photos I read my emails and then go to F/B.  Now I can see all you high minded people getting your knickers in a twist (okay I woke up in that mood) as to stooping so low as to go on F/B but over the years I have acquired a series of interesting links, ranging from art to politics, and plenty of animals in between.  Did you know for a start that they are going to bring beavers into London, to help clean the rivers and canal.  There is plenty of wet land round London and the first introductions will I think be made in Tottenham.

But then I came across Nicholas Kristof who writes for The New York Times and he had put on a link to the Capitol attack in January.  It was a compilation video of many recordings, not only by the body cams of the police but also of the people who had been in the middle of the maelstrom.  Was it 40 minutes of my life wasted?  Well I seemed to have missed how important it was, our news has definitely not done this terrible event the full justice it deserved.  My heart went out to the police as they were so severely undermanned, slowly more forces were rushed in but definitely lack of coordination spelt a disaster. 

Slightly blanched when I saw the nuclear button bag being carried out in the midst of the melee, if any of those nutters who charged the Capitol had got their hands on it!!!  I can't speak his name, but it rhymes' with Frump but thank God for his hand in getting Biden into power.

Another bit of news from the BBC reminded me of that woman who lived in a shed in Cornwall.  A letter addressed rather comically because the sender did not know the address was delivered to her, glad to see the old Post Office still has human power to deduce puzzles. 

Our post office has closed, I stood in shocked horror outside the empty shop yesterday and must see if it has opened anywhere else, soon we will only be able to get money from the ATM outside the Co-op.

Motto for the day - Do not play scrabble with a computer, they have resource to a million more words (unintelligible ones) than you.

Saturday, July 3, 2021


 We shall never understand nature (or ourselves) until we dissociate the wild from the notion of usability – however innocent and harmless the use. For it is the general uselessness of so much of nature that lies at the root of our ancient hostility and indifference to it.  Taken from John Fowles - The Tree.  Something to brood on and another book to look into.... It rains gently and the bushes droop under the weight of their flowers.