Saturday, October 30, 2021

Birthday wishes as Halloween draws near

 Happy Birthday Pat

 A vase of  flowers to remember summer.  Keep on blogging and delighting your readers and may your birthday on Sunday bring family and friends closer together.  

Love Thelma xxx

Friday, October 29, 2021


Halloween approaches and as I look back through my blogs and see the Wild Hunt might very well be out on the night or Odin riding across the sky on Sleipnir his eight legged horse, I gather the stories on this damp dull day.  We have up to now escaped the wretched flooding that Cumbria is experiencing, we must be sitting on the edge of the persistent rain but there has been only one alert.

Well what about dancing - Celtica and steampunk.


This tale I find funny;  In the Vale of Glamorganshire, spirits roamed the churchyards at night, and the bravest villager would don his coat and vest inside out, reciting the Lord's Prayer backwards as he walked around the church a number of times.  Then he would walk up to the church porch and place his finger in the keyhole to prevent spirits from escaping!  It was also believed that apparitions of those about to die could also be seen through the keyhole.
And the tale of trick or treating? Well in other parts of Wales, youths would dress up in girls' clothes and vice-versa and groups of young people would wander from house to house in the dark chanting verses and soliciting gifts of fruit and nuts..In other areas men would dress up in sheepskins and blacked their faces and were given gifts of nuts, apple and beer.  These groups were known as the
gwrachod  (hags, or witches) and were meant to bring good tidings and expel bad spirits from the household.
And as the celtic 'old year' disappears, on this last night it was a tradition for a local Ladi Wen (ghost of the white lady) too appear, but then in North Wales it was more often the terrible Hwch Ddu Gwta (tailess black sow - another celtic tradition).  Bonfires were lit on hillsides, apples and potatoes were roasted and the watchers would dance and leap through the flames for good luck in the forthcoming year.  Stones were thrown into the fire, and as the flames died down, everyone would rush home to escape the clutches of the great black pig.  If you found your stone in the morning in the fire then luck would follow, if not misfortune would follow...
Tales told from T.D.Breverton - The Book of Welsh Saints.

Monday, October 25, 2021


 A quiet weekend, all by myself and the television managed (again) to lock itself out, this time the internet.  Lillie came back rather tired, it had been cold sleeping out on the moors, no salt for the pasta either but the assessor meeting them at Hebden Bridge, said instead of walking the last couple of miles along the canal they could catch the bus and gave them their bus fare. 

I cooked her favourite meal anyway knowing she would be miserable.  Yes I have taken some cooking duties over but get frustrated by how few vegetables I can use.  A teenager who doesn't like vegetables, a daughter who has reactions to mushrooms, onions and garlic, not forgetting peas and sweetcorn.  But talking of meals, Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater rule supreme amongst the cookery books.  I like Nigel for his easy way of just putting food together with a handful of this or that.

I did his tarragon chicken on Friday, take the leftover carcase of one chicken, pick all edible meat off and including the jelly in the pan, then add Dijon mustard, tarragon, handful of cheese, and cover in cream.  I would say at this point stir until everything is mixed.  Put in a gratin dish and cover with breadcrumbs.  Have you not noticed how Panko crumb has replaced the golden British crumb, we also use old fashioned crumb from the loaf.

Each morning I read 'Tod chat' and find out what has been happening. The little black cocker spaniel has been found in Leeds of all places but is now safely home.  The bus timetables are causing great distress by not running on time to service the train services which are not working due to work on them.  Sounds normal doesn't it.  An interesting moan from someone, who complains that LIFE IN TOD is not as it was when she worked down the mill! It is all those Southern 'foreigners' I suspect.

What else, well private cams have revealed a somewhat sad lad trying people's doors in the middle of the night.  Dogs have become the new thing to steal these days of course, cars less so.

Finished  'The Road to Wigan Pier,' all I can say of Orwell is that he is a feisty writer, must watch my 'H's  I have picked Naomi Klein for my next solemn read, though I notice John Lewis Stempel has a dozen books on offer on Audible. 

Through some of this writing I have been conversing by writing messages on my phone to my daughter, isn't technology a wonderful place.

George Monbiot - Miracle of Reduction  don't read if you are anti-green.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

23rd October 2021

Blissful ignorance

I am to be left alone this weekend, everyone departed this morning, my daughter to stay with friends and Lillie to do her Duke of Edinburgh award.  6 girls trekking for 6 hours across the moors of Yorkshire.  She has bought her tiny packets of cereals for breakfast, the word is she must eat solidly these two days, such as pork pies to keep up her strength.  I on the other hand have been left with Teddy the whippet who managed to get Coco Krisps out of the cupboard yesterday,  stuffed most of them and has now left his diarrhoea mark in the hallway!.. Wasn't it good granny came to stay?  Forgive the bitterness;)

To return to Sue's post of yesterday, in which a great number of people replied.  What it does say is that we have it good in this country, if we are a certain age and have enough money in the bank to nurse us till death.  But sadly the young have... as we had when younger... a difficult time in getting on the ladder of life.  The pandemic has been handled fairly, people complain about lack of face to face with doctors and of course the cancellation of many operations due to it but unfortunately we can't magic more doctors and nurses out of the ether.

Climatic change is taking place, there can be no argument there, we see it all over the world, our troubles are small compared to islands that sink beneath rising tides, countries that experience 45 degrees heat.  Basically we can nag our government to take more actions, which we must, but it also depends on individual responses as well.  Nagging is boring, gluing one hands to motorways is painful, we limp along as always waiting for some divine hand to retrieve the problem.  But in all truth we shall (probably not) live through the worst of it.  It is just part of being human.

So what is local news, a pretty little black cocker spaniel is lost up by Stoodley Pike monument.  The children from my granddaughter's school were approached by anti-vaccine couple in the park.  Surprise, surprise the children want the vaccine and tore the leaflets up, the heresy has spread from Hebden Bridge.  It reminds me of the Chartists preaching their wares as well.  Dissenters unite!

And sadly the market is not doing as well as expected, could be that the roadworks are not helping, when you have  one road leading through narrow valleys, congestion becomes endemic.  Flying taxis anyone?

Someone said yesterday look up to the trees when you find the valley too narrow.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Knitting but not as you know it

 A romantic look at this country, you would probably not have been pleased with the tar sands of Canada video so you are spared that but there is evil out there to.  Remember 'Peak Oil' well it has transformed itself into 'cannibalistic oil', it costs more and more to produce, so eventually it will reach a quarter of its production cost to produce.

A video this morning from my favourite knitting programme - Fruity Knitting.  Mother and daughter, the mother is Australian but lives in Germany interviews people concerned with the production of wool and knitting travels to England.  So in this short half an hour, you will glimpse Cumbria then back across the border to Yorkshire for a quick tour of Haworth (Bronte) and then Yarndale festival, and then  to meet my favourite old man Kaffe Fassett.

  Enjoy, I would also point out that there are men knitters as well;)

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


Over the weekend I acquired a new chair.  Well not exactly new, it had been destined for the rubbish tip.  I can now sit and knit and listen to Audible in comfort.  It is a beautiful chair, recently upholstered and it would have been such a pity to just throw it away.

So I sat and listened to James Lovelock and 'Novacene',  an imaginative and clever construct of what could happen in the future.  Well us humans just might be on the scene, kept as pets though by the Cyborgs.  Lovelock is a bit like H.G.Wells, imagining himself into the future but an entertaining read and I would not be surprised if AI just may take over, we will see.

The trouble with using Cyborgs of course is all the evil ones we have seen in television programmes, getting to actually like them is difficult.  The idea reminds me of a film I once saw.  The spaceship had become lost in space it had a garden on board, which was tended by two astronauts.  They eventually die, and it is left to the two little robots to tend the garden, a rather sad ending to the film.

I have always liked the theory of Gaia, the Earth functioning as a whole body creating and healing its many wounds that we inflict.  Today we are being brought to heel by the complicated mess we have created.  In many ways it will be interesting to see if short term thinking based in greed will win the day,  But Lovelock's optimistic story for the future, even though we become a second rank entity, tells us that the enormous sweep of our planet's history may swerve in a different direction than what we might think.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

19th October 2021

Don't be downhearted, be optimistic. look forward to the next generation fighting for Earth's survival.  Yes I watched 'Earthshot' last night.   As the winners took their prizes of a million pounds to fund their work, I was happy at the positive attitude of the young, sad for those who did not win but the creative spark is still there in the human race.  So may the corals rise once more to grace our seas, may the forests be replanted, and may we all stop using plastic and bloody well think about our response to Climate Change and how we can help.

The change will be massive, today the government talks of £5000 grants towards heat pumps, though of course, as always there is a lot of controversy around them, they are very expensive for a start.  I watch the chatter on 'zero waste' as people try to come to terms with what they are actually using and the source of all the materials used just to make the ordinary items we use every day.  Most stuff that comes into this house is environmentally thought about but it would be good to see everything sourced ethically.

 It is somewhat ironic having watched greens working out how to reduce their footprint on the planet for years, to see that we have now been brought to the edge of the cliff and asked to look down at the mess we have created of this planet.  Greed may lie at the back of it, but now of course annihilation comes forward to haunt us and the need for future generations to have a place to live in. We must be confident that they will win and not the idiots like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson who **** the world up with outward reaching ideas to other planets because they have dirtied up this planet.  End of rant ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2021


 Inconsolable Sorrow;  Listening to Mark Tully this morning on 'Something understood'.  The following music came on, and I remembered the times it had stopped me in my tracks as I stood to listen, and suddenly it took the words inconsolable sorrow to a new meaning.  The knowledge that sadness goes on forever, it is an emotion you can visit again and again for it runs like a river through the body.

And no I am not being emotionally unstable but reflecting on the pain we all have to live with through life whoever we are.  Tully was talking about mindfulness, a new look at meditation.  For someone like me meditation doesn't work, my mind, a bit like my body, jumps up and down with thoughts and things to do.  Sitting doing nothing is not in my makeup.

It brought to mind  a photo of Paul sitting quietly by the river with his head turned to gaze down into the water, and I remember the calm of his face and the peacefulness of the water, a happy memory.

So other stories came to mind the one of the man who gave his life to feed a hungry tigress and the colourful beetles that decorated the imagery of the Asuka temple  I had come across some of these beetles in one of the specimens he had collected in big glass fronted drawers. 

Enjoy the music, stop and reflect as Spiegel im Spiegel, plays its monotonous slow beat, let the hurry out of your soul and be still and silent and perhaps think of roses;)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

16th October 2021

 Writing every day does become irksome but it keeps the brain moving.  Today I have given my clever compass to Lillie, she is doing her Duke of Edinburgh Award in a couple of weeks.  She sussed it in a minute!  The day starts with my daughter coming into my room to chat, the friends who she dined with last night are coming to drill holes for the curtain pole to hang curtains for this room tomorrow.  They are also bringing an upholstered chair for me as they are replacing this particular chair  with a new one.  She says it is 'fabulous' we will see.

Yesterday in the sun I walked down to Morrison's and entered it's well stocked store.  One thing for certain there is plenty of alcohol around to drown our sorrows.  It never ceases to amaze me how many of us get our knickers in a twist about not being able to buy the 'must have' toys of the year.  

Maybe we could get just as excited as to the misery that our 'austere' country is doing to the poor.  Yesterday there was the last fifteen minutes of a housing programme.  They were in Solva in Pembrokeshire.  This young couple were living in a draughty old caravan because they could not afford a home in the district.  They both had jobs, she was a housing officer with the council.

Solva is a beautiful place, I have spent many a happy holiday there, but all these people with money to spare have brought up all the cottages for holiday cottages or holiday lets forcing the young people out, and of course, there are no young people to cater for them as well. We need a radical shift in the system. 

Sad news about the murder of a politician yesterday, he seemed a good man, and this act of violence has shocked many, bringing back to mind Jo Cox's murder as well.  I am not going to speculate about the person who did it, that remains in the hands of the police, though he has been transferred to a medical centre I believe.  But condolences to the family for this sad and unexpected loss.

I had forgotten this Laura Knight, I often come across her because once she lived for a time at Staithes and painted but then moved to Cornwall, for the light of course.  But her 'realistic' paintings of the times she lived through are interesting.  The Tethered Balloon painted in 1943, her Yorkshire paintings never have the clarity of this picture, but are more romantic.  If you read the underlined article you will find that she painted the nude female figure as well, which was  frowned on at the time, so this is how society changes, the gentle nudge of female artists to express themselves.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Bread knives

How things change.  Yesterday after making some bread I looked round for the bread knife.  Gone, vanished, I searched high and low but no bread knife.  Even felt guilty that I might be blamed for losing it. Then my daughter revealed at meal time in the evening that it had fallen behind the cupboard and we needed a new one.
So a conversation ensues as to how to get another one.  The internet ever ready to help produced many  different prices.  I lamented for a kitchen shop here in Tod, nothing quite beats kitchenware in all its wondrous creativity but it has closed down.
Anyway I reckon £20 on a bread knife is a good price, Lakeland priciest goes up to £125 but today I shall go to the market and an old fashioned ironmongers just in case he has one ;)  My granddaughter was all for buying one of the net but we are killing off small shops in our towns if we don't use their services.
Also before I get to the market I shall get some cash from the post office, two things that are fast disappearing as well.  Post Offices will be the last bastion to get cash from, our PO is run efficiently by an Asian family, thank goodness some people are wizards at running our services dear Government!  As for cash, because I doubt Dawsons will have one of those cute, flash your card and you've paid, contraptions either, it is fast disappearing as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

12th October 2021

Something completely different:  My ex sister-in-law was a marvellous quilter.  Yesterday coming down the stairs was one of her quilts hanging up after being washed.  I stopped to look at the stitching.  The quilting was all hand stitched, it is an enormous quilt and one day I will lay it on the bed for the full pattern to emerge.  She did have a quilting frame, but this quilt was done in Hong Kong in 1996, so much tidy workmanship and so, so neat.

She has sewn a little panel at the back with date, name and what the pattern is called.  It reminded me of the seals delicately hidden in Japanese scrolls, telling of the studio where the scroll was first made.

I remember this painting coming from Australia to be sold on in Europe and a specialist  computer man taking pictures of this to scan into the computer to find the hidden seals.

Reminds us that craft is important and though quilting comes from many sources, Intangible Cultural Heritage is something we should take note of.

Link to Intangible Culture explanation

Saturday, October 9, 2021

09th October 2021

Today I walked up to the Fielden church, or to be more precise The Unitarian Church.  It was a steep walk, a chapel had been built by  John Fielden, but the church was built later by his three sons.  This is Tod on a grey middling day.  The houses tumble down the hills, built closely together they bear the scars of an industrial grime.  Modern buildings try to ape the old windows but never quite make it, it is funny how old buildings carry their heritage so much better.

The church, built in the 19th century, is stunning in detail but not aesthetically appealing.  I know we all love that little old Norman church stuck in a field somewhere, but you have to give it to the Victorians, attention too detail was superb.  Though you may hate the over decorated later churches, this is a sophisticated snobbery, the craft work excels.

Each photo tells it tale, the church today is not used but 'Incredible Edible' gathers here each Sunday to sort and garden the many little growing places in the town.

Brief Interlude

 Relax with the music and think about devoting your life to playing music for elephants......

Friday, October 8, 2021


"You can have more alliteration, as Mr Johnson had, than a West Coast poet from the 60s on LSD." from Andrew Neil:  Made me remember Allen Ginsberg on Llanthony Priory.  Gives you pause for thought, Ginsberg definitely on drugs can do so much better with words than an incompetent Prime Minister high on his own vanity!

Which brought up another memory Jennie;  Keith and Paul talking about Jack Kerouac when we came to visit you, must get round to reading the Beat poets.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

7th October 2021 - Celtic or Anglo Saxon?

  The Words of Finn

My words for you;
Stag ruts and bells,
Winter pours down,
Summer has gone.
Wind's high and cold,
Low is the sun,
Briefer its run.
Runs the sea strong.
Turns red the fern,
Broken its form.
Habit is hearing
The wild goose's song.
Season of ice,
Wings of the birds
Caught by the cold.
These are my words.

It's Poetry day.  The first word that runs through my head is 'belling', the belling of the deer.  I have already heard this morning the Canadian geese go over to the canal and remind myself that animals are 'wild' only by us using the word wild.  In fact animals are part of our lives, as are the tiniest insects which we see vanishing down the hole of extinction, especially my beloved bumblebee.  I saw not one red tailed bumblebee in Normanby last summer.  Danger, danger, the stinkbug is coming to our shores, one has already been spied at Winsley according to the BBC news this morning, but it will probably take a decade to take hold and I will no doubt be dead by then!

As the days get darker old poetry is the best for it takes nature by the throat and shakes it with bitter words.  Thank the lord, Boris Johnson has finished his speeches, though sadly we wake up this morning to the fact that the energy crisis is real and Europe and Britain could well be held to ransom by Russia.  Companies are in despair at the cost of gas, forget petrol, there seems to be something really nasty hiding round the corner ;)

But if you want to be really miserable this morning what about the Anglo-Saxon  'Seafarer.'  Again I note that this was a time I had began talking to the person who was to became the great love of my life, how strange, but of course not strange, memories evoke familiarity.

Okay trying not to be smug but this is so topical. Right I got the story of Molly Scott Cato slightly wrong as to where it had taken place but in the light of where we are today this Youtube short video will make you giggle.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

5th October 2021

This a favourite photo. I laid the camera on its back underneath and pressed the button and this fabulous array of folded wonder appeared.

Everything back to normal in the house, Karen back from Bath, happy to see old friends and catch up with them.  She went to a birthday party in a pub, and as the crowd chattered, the lady beside her was talking about Brexit.  She was somewhat silenced by a man who said 'what do you know about Brexit? in that supercilious male to female way.  She quietly replied, well actually  I am an economist and have been in Europe for 6 years as an MEP.  I just love a good put down.  She was the Green Party MEP for the South West - Molly Cato. 

 It is the time of party conferences and the promises of a bright and healthy future!! Yes where have I heard that before I wonder, the newspapers are having a roll.  John Crace - Verbal valium being his usual scathing self.  

Yesterday was a day of shocks.  Starting with an email saying that my bank transfer had not gone through to the storage people.  Went back and checked with my bank and got a transaction number, emailed it through.  Late afternoon, sorry the reminder invoice was an error the recipient said, and do you know I had my suspicions when I filled in the details of the account anyway, what ever happened to the good old cheque?

The second shock was someone contacting my daughter on Ancestry, asking why she had put my birth mother's name (Betsey Louis) on her tree.  We surmised that it must be one of her children.  So where do we go from here I wonder? He hasn't got back to us, so perhaps he doesn't want to go any further.  Mixed feelings at the moment.

And finding words on Bensozia by Thomas Mann, who I have never read, he seems a very complicated person Mann.

Authorship itself has always seemed to me to be a witness to and an expression of ambivalence, of here and there, of yes and no, of two souls in one breast, of an annoying richness in inner conflicts, antitheses and contradictions.

Slightly blurry Amethyst Deceiver surrounded by sweet chestnut husks.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Decay in Autumn

Memories on F/B brought these photographs up, a sad memory but so evocative of this time of the year.  I have 'clarified' them up, but most noticeable about the photos is the leaf litter and decay that fungi thrive on.  It is the minute strands of life that wriggle through the soil, each entity essential to the whole, even death is part of it.  

Blake Wood is an ancient woodland in Essex and was a place we walked frequently, we had probably gone there to find sweet chestnuts for roasting back home.

Funnily enough we never picked mushrooms to eat, always being scared and for me the rush by people from London ready to strip any woodland of their fungi and sell to the restaurants in London at a high price was wretched.  I fell in love with the  blue Amethyst Deceiver, but never picked one though you can eat them apparently.

Big news from last night, a fire in the street two doors down.  I was woken by Lillie at about 9.30, get up Granny there is a fire, our smoke alarm was also going.  Three fire engines outside, the area roped off, great excitement.  So my  hero Lillie saved me and the dog though actually the fire did not get to our house.  Teddy stood and shivered on the doorstep whilst it rained and a crowd gathered.  My daughter is in Bath visiting old haunts  with a friend, so we phoned up and told her the news.  But all is well, the fire brigade put out the fire fairly quickly and stayed for an hour reloading the equipment and we all retired to our beds.  I think Lillie was nervous about the whole thing and I was glad to see her go to bed in the normal way, though she will sleep at the top of the house in the attic bedrooms.