Saturday, December 31, 2022

Recollections: part 2

Church and pub

Well I shall go on. As I have said we lived between the church and the pub, called The Sun, we were witness to what happened in the church, not many weddings but more funerals.  Also if I was working out in the garden, people would come to tend graves or to sightsee, it was a pleasant old church but on its way to closure, the vicar had several parishes to attend to.

In this photo is Jo's decoration of the church, they would come over just before Xmas to cut holly from our tree in the front,, and I would always hope that the birds had not eaten all the berries.

In this cold church we would have our parish meetings in winter and discuss the problems of the village. Several years back, the 'Bridge Farm' had been sold, to another farm in a village a few miles away.  Bridge farmhouse was a handsome building, but had a clutter of ruined farm buildings, think there was a couple of derelict cottages behind the house.  Of course when a property is sold the newly arrived owners want to put their stamp on the place.  Their stamp was to do the ruined buildings up to become a wedding venue place.  

Can you imagine the discontent this aroused in the breasts of the villagers, especially the incomers.  What about the noise? what about the cars?  The cars were a problem, for the reason it was called Bridge Farm was that the narrow bridge was but 50 yards up the road.  You came over the bridge, turned sharp left on a 'zig-zag which turned sharp right just as you passed the farm, leaving the farm entrance on a sharp bend.

Every problem was brought up and we all looked at the plans, there was so much work done on the planning.  What about the owls who were in residence in the old buildings for instance.  The farmer's wife sat bravely through the discussions and promised all their worries would be accounted for - but you know people, chuckle....

I would love to know where this story has ended up, for soon of course the pandemic loomed out of the sky like an angry god and put paid to so many dreams.

My daughter and Lillie 

To return to the pub, here we often had meals, Lucy the young girl who ran the place, also cooked take-away meals as well.  It was a quiet pub, no rowdiness, no police, just locals, including the farmers around and also tourists or walkers.

One Saturday though there were police at the pub and a sad tragedy unfolded.  The young grandson of the pub's owner had hung himself in the pigeon shed.  He was in his early 20s, despair, who knows but it shocked us all.  He was buried in the church yard right outside our side window.  This window had a blind to pull down if there was a burial going on.  It had originally been put up by a friend who was a curtain maker who lived in the village to stop Matilda worrying about being next to a grave yard (she got used to it as we all did).

The family tended the grave regularly, mowing around and always bringing flowers.  But it was the sibling brother who would always come in the evening, sit cross-legged by the side of the grave and talk to  his brother, I would see him as I went to shut the hens in.

Below is a rather long video of Jo ringing the bells.  They were both very patriotic as well, David would always have a flag flying, whether Welsh (they had a Welsh cottage) or British.  He was a town crier, and they often travelled the country to town crier venues, he resplendent in a blue coat would shout the news of the town.  Think he was the town crier for Malton down the road.

In the video there is an appearance of someone else, we called him the 'Lord of the manor' though only in fun.  He looked after the structure of the church, and lived further along the road but his two fields backed on to several gardens, including ours, which had a copse just outside.  His wife's sheep would occasionally stray into the grave yard.

Happy New Year everyone, Jo will probably play the bells at midnight tonight but will not be worrying if it wakes me up ;) Here in this house Lillie is having a sleep in with her friends - joy!!

Friday, December 30, 2022


Yesterday a late Xmas card arrived in the post.  It was a dear friend from the village.  I haven't talked about the village because leaving it was a great loss in my life.  As the pandemic went on I was alone for the two years in the house.  But I had my little feral cat to feed, and Lucy to walk plus two little bantams  Then Lucy had a stroke, and that was the end for her, I found a place for my little cat and then the  bantams up at this farm where we are holding a barbecue.
When Rosalie came with her husband and the Range Rover and truck, it was as if a part of my life always having animals had gone.  Apart from the fact I had spent a fortune on the housing and runs but I had loved having my two little bantams running around the lawn followed by the cat who seemed to have fallen in love with them.  Lucy ignored them as she ignored Green Eyes the cat and any other animal that came into the garden.
J had told me of the death of someone's wife across the road from the cottage.  Then I remembered how N had figured in our lives.  Gentle and kind he would look after my hens if we went away.  He had a little menagerie of his own, he had about two acres of land, with several sheds which he was always mending. Several sheep, Jacobs I think, a couple of goats, hens and ducks and a big rescue dog. His land followed the road with a big hedgerow and often you would see him, his wheelbarrow placed firmly in the road, the stepladders out as he cut the hedge for 'browse' for his little flock.
In the morning when walking Lucy (who hated walking by the way) we would meet him a plastic bag over his shoulder, he had been collecting trimmings down where the willows grow  by the river.  Also yesterday someone had put a photo on F/B of the two otters they had spotted in the River Seven, which must be in a state of flood by now.
J also had a little animal kingdom, she and her husband were in their 80s, and had been together since children in India.  A mother feral cat had four kittens which she deposited in their barn and J adopted them and they still live in the barn, bushy tailed and healthy.  She also had a blind old sheep and an old pony called Charlie who would occasionally be harnessed to a cart for a ride round the country lanes.
J would come along to chat and we would discuss the plague of feral cats that seemed to have appeared over night in the village.  I managed to catch three for neutering but it was not easy.
Green eyes of course settled down in the smallholding she went to, two dogs and another cat and settled in quite comfortably to a 'tame' life.

Chasing 🦋 
I realised when I read the card how I had pushed a great part of my life away with the people I had known in the village, the barbecue which was held up in the barn, was organised by several of us.  I did money, which meant going round and selling tickets, making sure the number of people at the barbecue tallied with the money I had, yes maybe there were several free loaders.  The food was organised by someone else and the reason we had it up at the farm that year was because of the weather.

We organised three events a year, Paul loved it, often they took place in the pub, but I was always reminded by people that the barbecue had taken place on the small field on which our house had been built.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

29th December 2022

 Gone:  Photos of the two Londoners getting on the train yesterday, off to their work life, flats that spring leaks and the heating refuses to work.  Tom also, though he will be back in January with Ellie for a meal.

Hits:  Whenever I get a bit controversial, the hits roll in - hello out there ;)

I often wonder whether to be the old me or a new me.  For a start I get cross about 'deniers'. They say,  It's not really so bad or it will all drift away, part of history, etc, etc.  So should I spare your ears from my pointing out negative news or should I say it as I see it?

Shall I sit back and mooch around flowers, garden, megaliths, and holiday places.  My daughter is going off on a Spanish holiday tomorrow with Andrew, Lillie has just asked me if I want a cup of tea - there is a story to this.

I have a birthday next week, and I said no more presents, but I would like to go out for a meal to a place where they cook the most delicious meals of aubergine in Hebden Bridge, that was one request, the other that someone should bring me in a cup of tea (early) on the day.  It is 10.30 a.m at the moment and I am just drinking my mid morning coffee!

Read an interesting article by Gaby Hinsliff about listening rather than reading books, which I have been doing the last few months.  I have a well stocked library on Audible at the moment, but it does turn out a tad expensive.  You pay £7.99 for one book a month, then I often purchase another 6 books during the month, which amounts to £36. 

I listen because then I can do something else at the same time.  I can still read of course but it take valuable time!  Less news would be my New Year resolution.  More funny stuff, like someone on Tod Chat mentioning a mattress that had been chucked on the verge.  Some wit asked if it was a memory mattress and the conversation went on.........

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

27th December 2022 - apologies for crossness

 Yesterday I wrote a riposte to hunting foxes. I don't agree with this barbaric act of people on horses with dogs chasing a small fox to its death.  But I am quite happy not to publish, it salved my soul if no one else - chuckle.

Jamie Oliver is arguing on the Today programme about taxing sugar and feeding our school children.  For what it is worth I had school dinners, they were horrible but taking lunch to school was not encouraged.  So you took your weekly envelope of 'dinner money' and got marked off by the teacher.

The Today interviewer says, rather stupidly, that should you have children then by having them you should be able to feed them, a Tory reply of course.  Obesity is a problem also, this put down to the cheap filling food you can buy in the supermarket and  on the street.  Children and adults are hungry in Britain today.  Basically for the children because their parents haven't got enough money to buy food, and now unfortunately, because energy has gone through the roof the choice between food and heating is unavoidable.

We talk of addressing these problems, I see pigs flying past, what happened to improving our housing stock, or even, keeping to our promise of building more social housing.  Did the big building firms cut in on this one?  Also I note the tax on sugar was proposed in 2013 by John Osbourne - what happened then in the intervening time? Did Tate and Lyle, or whatever sugar company - throw a wobbly I wonder.

Governments in this country have always been in free fall. Five years on the job, a few promises along the way and Bob's your uncle   only he isn't, just another mess to clear up.  

Monday, December 26, 2022

Christmas Aftermath

It went brilliantly.  Food was right, the two girls only squabbled slightly and we wined and dined well.  Andrew brought his work hamper with its goodies and everyone watched movies, except me.

Presents were just right from all.  A jigsaw of Jackie Morris/Robert Macfarlane birds.   The latest book from Marina Hyde - What Just Happened?! these two from Tom. (do you read my blog Ellie;) and from my son Jenny Uglow's - Elizabeth Gaskell.  A pretty William Morris frame for photos and a 'bum' bag save me scrabbling to save my bag which always falls off my shoulder.  Chocolates galore, (I asked for them) and fudge from my son.  Laura Ashley made an appearance as well, I did not know the brand still went on.

I reduced people to helpless laughter when I struck out (quite seriously) on the latest fashionable colour - how can a granny know anything about fashion?  Mary Quant, Mary Quant was uttered with some derision, though the fashion for 70s clothes in this household is manifest, the wardrobes literally bulge with the stuff.

But I treated myself to wandering through dyed fleece to spin in the afternoon, and I came out with the deep red/aubergine/ mulberry colours - see Kate's coat at the Westminster Abbey Carol Concert a couple of days ago.  I am also intrigued by the soft brown/apricot/almost orange peach wool that has been created, though to be honest a quick look through the wool retailers and it is all sold out. Of course Rowan has the most expensive  yarn out, some of it beautiful.  Tried to explain to Andrew the textures of wool, a lot of jumpers have mixes of merino wool/silk/mohair or even alpaca, which can also be soft in baby alpaca.

Anyway he would like a jumper knitted in a sort of orangery wool, Ben wants one of his presents shortened, I should have kept my sewing machine of course.

There just has to be an edit: M&S sliced parsnips were a disaster.  Stringy, one had to chew hard and their swede/carrot mash was not loved by many.  

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve:  Yesterday Lillie and I finished off the wrapping of late presents.  Tom arrived about 6 p.m. with another bag of presents and his black bag.  Which he left for me to trip over (not really, it will take ages for the family to learn I don't see as good as before) luckily I fell into his arms.  The other two, caught a late evening train from London and I haven't seen them yet.  So a photo from last year above......

Ben, front right, is hobnobbing with all the celebrities he helps to dress.  Do not ask me the names, they flow past my head, but their styles float through my Instagram.  Lillie, front left, has made chocolate muffins and now orders (directs) the actual sequence of the Xmas timetabling.  Meat is coming into the house as well, as most of the children are meat-eaters. 

Matilda at the back on the left, is doing her internship but needs to get a place on a London newspaper My daughter flaps and fusses about the food - but there is plenty.  

My dear Tom at the back, has a very good job with an American firm, a partner who is lovely, and if my daughter will stop nagging them to have a baby, a quiet and peaceful life.  

So we embark on Christmas, may everyone, including the people who read this blog have a Merry and Happy holiday.  Though I do believe America is suffering under cold weather and heavy snow.

Is this a Round Robin blog?  Not really, just me noting that the family is fine ;)

Friday, December 23, 2022

23rd December 2022

What book would you take to your Desert Island?  (will do the music another time)  For those who do not know what I am talking about it is the radio show in which a celebrity has to choose eight discs to take to a desert island, along with one luxury, and also a book to accompany the bible (need to change that!)

Mine would be an old book I have called 'English Flower Garden'.  Written by William Robinson, it is thickly written and dense with marvellous illustrations.  Mine is a fourth edition, the original came out in 1883, mine is 1894.  On the inside it seems the book was given by Avice Guinness to Mary McKeag but I may have the surnames wrong.

You would never get tired of reading it, though some would argue it is long winded but he was the gardener of his time, and also wrote a book on the 'Wild Garden'  He lived at Gravetye House in Sussex. Maybe I will do a little biography on him later on.

Capturing all the plants you could find in the world was something to note through the nineteenth century. plant hunters set off for the four corners of the world, Japanese and American plants made their way into our gardens.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Christmas comes but once a year!


A Happy Christmas with family and friends everyone.  And as for the New Year - fingers crossed

Love from Thelma


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

20th December 2022

The Lawrence Strike in Massachusetts 1912

Listening to books: Today is another strike day.  A day of chaos for hospitals. wretched train travel, not sure if even this is the day for strikes on the trains.  A day when food banks are still hunting round for food and donations to feed those who wait at their door.  So perhaps Judy Collin's song at the end, of 'Bread and Roses' will set the mood.

I came across the words for this through listening to Rebecca Solnit's book on 'Hope in the Dark', she had gone on a search for what it all meant.  The image that flashed through my mind was of the old Victorian industrial workers with their covered shelving in the backyard to protect the plants from the rain.  They were called Auricula Theatres,  there is a lovely history of these flowers with their downy covered leaves  here in the following The Auriculas of Spitalfield.  The roses were explained as also the bread.

Solnit is a hopeful person.  She records, through very American eyes, the part of history she is living through.  She argues that there are grounds for optimism in the end.  People may protest and then come away feeling that their demands, whatever cause, may not be met, but as she says, come 20 years later and something will have happened.

Her 'Wanderlust' book.  The title is somewhat misleading for she explores the act of walking, taking it from the moment when homo sapiens started to walk on two feet.  I have never consciously noted the movement of walking but it is a great balancing act, think of riding a bike. One foot forward followed by the second one, and remember start on the heel and roll forward to the toe.

Walking is a physical act but also gives one the space to think, it becomes part of our mental outlook, and here she covers, mostly philosophers who walk and think at the same time.  But of course there is no need to have deep thoughts on a walk, it is the external pleasure of the outdoors that please the mind.

I have often thought that it is the abundant oxygen that relaxes one on walking.  Once when walking up on the downs, the heavens opened wide and the rain beat down in stair rods, just to cull a few metaphors along the way.  But I could not breathe, it was as if the rain beat the air out of the atmosphere.  I stood under a thick shelter of bushes in the end to catch my breathe

She also talks of that which makes walking for a woman so scary, the attack by a man.  That is specific, women are scared of being attacked by men, especially at night in a town or city.  She argues of course this should not be so, we should be allowed the same freedoms as men to walk alone without fear - she is a feminist by the way.

I walked by myself for many years but always with a dog,  I remember Moss once, we were in a ruined church on St.David's Head, and a man walked in, I nodded a greeting but Moss went and jumped up at him and bit his behind much to my embarrassment.  The man laughed it off and said the dog was protecting me, so Moss was a good guardian dog.

For me walking was both necessary, walking the dogs and watching the unfolding of the seasons.  Also finding the wild flowers and fungi that appeared in their due time.  Nature was my goal and it gave me happiness.

And then of course I had 14 years with Paul to walk with, this gave him new life for he had become a miserable creature living on his own for years, and as long as the walk had a pint at the end he was quite happy.

Funnily enough, my family never came on walks with me, unless they were bribed but now my son walks every morning in Bath and my daughter goes with Andrew on his evening walks, he is one of those people who must walk every day.

So walking, has many facets, whether we take a protest march from North to South, or go for an exploration of the world around us.  Or whenever we walk to think, it is a blessing.  

Edit;  I also find things later to add to in my blogs.  So this might get up a few noses but Unions have to exist, no matter what trouble they bring in their wake.

“We realise,” Mond wrote, “that industrial reconstruction can only be undertaken with the cooperation of those empowered to speak for organised labour. We believe that the common interests which bind us are more powerful than the apparently divergent interests that separate.”  Sir Alfred Mond 1926

Sunday, December 18, 2022

"There is a crack in everything"

Repair work called Kintsugi on Hakimi tea bowl. 16th century

Ring the bells that still can ringForget your perfect offeringThere is a crack, a crack in everythingThat's how the light gets in

Yesterday whilst thumbing through the news I came upon one of those 'gasp of horror' items.  Someone was speculating on the Earth being split in two by a gigantic earthquake.  I thought of us all spinning out into space creating a mess of humanity, actually it made me smile for its nonsense.

Then I heard that a Christmas tree had been erected in a suburb called Bucha in Kyiv,  In the colours of yellow and blue of Ukraine, the lights run on a generator.  The sound you will hear in the town now, the engine noise of generators.  No water, electricity or comfort and yet still the Ukrainians fight on against a terrible dictator and his entourage of yes men.  It beggars belief in this day and age. I do not use false words to describe the terrible nature of war for it speaks for itself in all its cruelty.  Especially the training of conscripted Russian young men for the war. Certain death for some.

Such things glide through our days but also there is the gentler stuff of life going on.  

I also watched a delightful documentary of a Japanese old lady who still made sweets to sell at 95 years old. She would cycle off to the forests and hunt for the best bamboo leaves to wrap the red bean paste sweets in.  And would take extraordinary care over every aspect of her work.  She was coming to the end of this enterprise, there was sadness and yet acknowledgment of her coming end, though she laughed about whether she would live to a 100 years old.  Her son worried about her and had bought her a pair of red wellington boots so that if she fell amongst the trees the rescue party would find her.

I have watched a couple of documentaries and things are beginning to rationalise in my mind.  In Japan the old culture uses local natural things, bamboo which can be used for many things.   Their dyes have always seemed paltry to me, but minerals are used for Paul had a large collection of them.  Included of course would be several indigo plants up to the beautiful turquoise and pearls used in painting.

 A reminder that it is Paul's birthday today and a memory that in Shinto a rope is wound round a temple's sacred tree.  The ceremony is called Shimenawa


What I like is the reverence for trees in the Shinto culture.  Apparently they are seen as linking to the spirit world and  you commune with them.  There is a book about the old trees of Britain,  Thomas Pakenham - Meeting with Remarkable Trees.  He has also written of other trees in the world, we do not really respect trees in this country.  Often seen as a nuisance an cut down if they happen to be in the way, we use them as show pieces in a garden or as timber.  Perhaps more respect would help nature thrive more.  Especially leaving the late flowering ivy that garland a tree, useful pollen in the  autumn for bees.

So just gathering thoughts, I end up with Leonard Cohen's words in 'Anthem'

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be

And lastly, the  Hare Bell,  Frailest of flowers yet to be found in most places, high up on the moors or down in the meadows.  Magic is in everything..
Which led me to look up a flower I used to see on the Somerset downs, the harebell, belonging to my favourite group of flowers the Campanula or bellflowers, and with such a name plenty from Grigson on this delicate pale blue flower of summer.
"Bluebell of Scotland or not, it was also the Old Man's Bell, the devil's bell, which was not to be picked, the Witch Bell, the Cuckoo's Thimble, and in Gaelic the Cuckoo's Shoe, brog na cubhaig. In Ireland this fine etched plant is sometimes mearcan puca ,  thimble of the puca* or goblin and it was a fairy plant in the South-West of England and of course the hare" (which has so much folklore and is also an Easter/witch animal).  The Englishman's Flora - Geoffrey Grigson.

Friday, December 16, 2022


Another external hard disk came in one of the boxes, and it is still working, so what to write today.  Maybe how to make miniature hats.  In Bath there was a marvellous toyshop called Tridias, I doubt if it exists now and one year I bought a little wooden shop from there.

Furnishing it was not difficult but I decided to make a hat shop.

How: first you need coloured felts. wallpaper glue and a screwdriver handle of the appropriate head.  Fashion the felt on the knob of the handle and cover it with the wallpaper glue.  Let dry, and then sort through all your 'bits and pieces' to decorate the hat.  Mine has budgerigars feathers picked up from Victoria Park, where they had an enclosure of the birds.

Notice the layer of dust!

Such things as craftwork probably kept high blood pressure at bay, as spinning does today.

The weather continues cold, my daughter has flu and is at home, so she doesn't have to face transport difficulties to Manchester.  A down pipe in the bathroom seems to have frozen (minus -7% the other night) so we can't have showers  The Aga would have been turned on for Xmas, but guess what it needs a part and what with the parcel disarray it hardly looks like it is going to make it to the plumbers this side of the holiday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Evening thoughts


I have just been listening to a Resurgence zoom meeting.  It was about welcoming the winter solstice into our beings, slowing down in the dark midwinter and resting before the next festival.  The girl's name was Georgie, she led us on a meditation through the Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland, when the moon comes through the lightbox and shines down the passage, it was rather a pleasant experience.

Strangely when one things happen another in a similar vein also happens, this time it was the two Prehistoric Guys enthusiasts - Rupert Soskin and Michael Bott were interviewing Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland two days ago who lives not far from  Newgrange.

The things I love about the Christmas season, is actually the greenery.  The sharp smell of fir branches, the holly and ivy.  So as I meditated what came into my minds were trees.  Two trees specifically up on the Lansdown.  

One was an ash, with the nine leaflets on a twig, though you can get 11 or 13 leaflets, but 9 leaflets belong to Odin it was the great Yggdrasil Tree, not sure of the story, will look it up maybe.  The other tree was one that had been shattered by a storm, which had ripped its thick trunk into two halves.

The other thing I love about this season are candles, especially short one within a dish of greenery.  I have some sitting beside me as I type, hardly any movement of their flames.

The other thing that came to me this evening, was music.  John Gray had been to a funeral today and was talking about the music.  Well it bought back the memory of a piece of music that was played at Paul's funeral.  He had a large heart shaped bouquet of flowers on his coffin from me, but at the last moment I had picked three roses from the garden as well.  The music I had chosen made me cry but it was affirmative.  Never quite understood the way the words work but it is down below, as once again I face up to it.  In fact, children dear, you can play it at my funeral - chuckle.

Jon and Vangelis - I'll find my way home

An earlier blog on Odin

Something Frivolous

 What have I been doing?  Knitting and spinning.  Larsson please explain...

Also keeping an eye on my grand daughter...

And a job I so hate - peeling potatoes... though I did not 'Dig for Victory' for them.

And for my cat loving friends...

Sunday, December 11, 2022

11th December 2022 - The Boar's Head

Christmas Carols;  Listening to the religious programme this morning and a favourite singer of mine came on.  Kate Rusby, a Yorkshire lass I think.  But I did not choose her, I chose my  favourite carol - The Boar's Head, though it was a toss-up between Steeleye Span's rendition and the one I chose, which is down below.

The second one I chose was 'Hunter Moon' sung by Kate Rusby.  The moon has many names, just like snow, to those who live with snow.  I love the idea of the moon yearning for the sun.  Wake up early one frosty morning, as it becomes light and see both the moon and the sun occupying the sky at the same time.  

Often when I went for a walk on Bath Down, I would see this, and one of the artifacts in a Bronze Age barrow in the barrow field on Lansdown was a 'sun disc', a reminder that the sun is part of this Earth's history, in as forever.

I could see the long dead leader of this small group of people living outside the marshy outskirts of Bath (yet to be made into a Roman centre for its hot springs) holding it up to the sky, in gratitude as the cold winter turned over to the warmer time of spring.  As we celebrate Christmas they also celebrated in their own way.

The magic of one frosty morning coming across a flock of golden plovers resting in the field in that 'golden light' that happens so briefly morning and evening. 

ref: Sun Disc


Friday, December 9, 2022

9th December 2022 - Mary Cope

Silbury Hill

I looked out of the window this morning for snow - soft, silent snow, so sibilant said my mind laughing at the thought.  Well there is a slight glaze of ice outside but I expect there will be plenty soon up on the moors.  Next I idly wandered through my blogs, taking delight in the memories brought back and of course also a certain sadness.  

But to follow the sound of 's' I thought of Silbury Hill and how at one stage Paul wanted his ashes scattered over this ancient monument.  He later changed his mind and wanted them buried in the garden of the cottage in Normanby,  I had a Xmas card from a friend who lived in the village yesterday with news of its inhabitants, not all good.


I pottered through the London blog and remembered Mike Pitts exhibition of Stonehenge.  Then I came across the 'Awbury' essay I had written for The Heritage Trust.  It was interesting following the life of Oliver Cope and family from Avebury over the sea to America and seeing how they fared in the 'new' country.  Mary Cope's pretty poem-Awbury  to our Avebury village here in England.

I have strayed many miles from what I was going to write but there we go and it is time for coffee.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

A Voice; Helen Norberg-Hodge - Where do all the good people go?

Many years ago I read a book about Ladakh, a mostly Tibetan culture but the land belongs to the Indian state.  It is a land of high mountains and plains, cold for much of the year.  Well recently I came across the name of the author of the book I had read at the time Ancient Culture, written by Norberg-Hodge, and I wondered what had become of her.

It was such a long time ago, and I must have been aware and had read of the Chinese takeover of Tibet and the brutality that had gone with it  in 1959.  The Dalai Lama had escaped and has lived in exile ever since.

The landscapes fascinated me, the people self-sufficient and collectively working together.  Clear fresh air and a community that worked.  Norberg-Hodge traces the gradual infiltration of outside modern ways and the whole of the system becoming corrupted by the more modern world.  Now whether this is good or bad I don't know. I would have dearly liked to go to Tibet, but then that was just part of the dream like going to Kathmandu, and yes I wasn't really a part of the hippy trail.  

The video below seems old and dated and yet captures the spirit of place, the prayer barrels that you turn at the monasteries, reminding you of what I don't know.

It seems the author of the book went on to follow a career in good works.....

"Local Futures is a non-profit organization "dedicated to the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide."

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

7th December 2022

Monotonous monologues:  What is that? the ceaseless round of words that potter through your mind.  We are supposed to be worried about the coming festive holiday, yet there are so many other worries to cope with for people. 

Yesterday I phoned my son to say that a parcel was on the way to him, I should have checked of course that he wasn't going over to the Isle of Man.  He has taken on a short term contract for one of the big insurance companies that fly offshore and work elsewhere.  He regularly flies out there to work, though computers as we all know can be worked from home.  Luckily he is home this week in Bath.

The weather is about to change, this morning minus -1% though it always says that in fact it feels much colder, so why don't they use that figure to greet us each morning I wonder.  I am told by my daughter to keep my oil fired radiator on, she doesn't want to come back to a 'frozen corpse'. So down to earth in our household.

My electric throw is a godsend, though one has to be careful at not tripping over the electric cord, our NHS services are being pushed to their limits, ambulances stuck in the emergency waiting areas with patients on board and there is an argument that they will never recover from this winter.

I am trying to be good and not sarky at how this country spirals into chaos and confusion.  Except it doesn't because there is enough good people around to help out.  Notice on Tod Chat, someone has just offered the £100 credit on his smart meter to anyone who wants it, as he has had to change his supplier.

Exciting news: "I was looking through a rubbish pit when I saw teeth"

A bed burial around  650 AD, with a beautiful necklace though not shown, will go on a hunt for it, I should think it is in the Museum of London.  I have already written about the Loftus Saxon bed burial here.  There was a transition phase from pagan to Christianity, shown in the Prittlewell burial.  

This is a little mock-up I made of the Prittlewell burial.  It is made in 1/12th and apart from the silverware I made everything myself.  Pretty proud of the little Roman chair which was hinged.  You can see next to the horned drinking cups a small gold cross and the occupant of the bed had another on his chest.  The leather bags were made from a leather purse.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Gaskell - 5th December 2022

 Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell's house in Manchester.

Well we all enjoyed the outing.  A group of volunteers had taken on this house in a disreputable state and transformed it as it might have been in her time.  It is furnished in a simple style with Gaskell's writing desks, she preferred to write in the dining room with the big window.  This room was the largest in the house, and the house had small cosy rooms, understated in furniture and wallpapers and carpets, the last two specially made.  A lot of the furniture had been lent by museums and private collectors, and the whole assemble represented a well off middle class family.  Elizabeth's two daughters remain unmarried after her death, and they inherited the house and died there, after which it was sold.

I had only come to her work through the two television programmes, North and South and Cranford.  And I intend to read up about her, I notice the author most cited is Jenny Uglow who seems to have written the best book on her.

Gaskell is what we would call a social writer, she has written about prostitution, in her novel Ruth 1853, and her religious faith of Unitarianism gave her the moral focus to write about the social conditions she found around her.  Of course it just begs me to go into the subject of Utilitarianism, so strong around this part of Yorkshire in the past.

Interestingly, as the slow fuse of disruption throughout the country starts to appear, and especially here in the North, I was definitely in awe of the city of Manchester and all its incredible modern skyscrapers hitting the sky.  Apparently Manchester has three universities.  John Harris writes of the North's anger at the complacency of the Westminster government.

But for now the photos.

dressing up clothes, some of us did

Sunday, December 4, 2022

4th December 2022

 A new phenomenon:  What you may ask?  Parcels, they almost arrive daily in this house and I have just rebelled, well in my head if not vocally yet - chuckle.  Those who order stuff should be responsible for their stuff.

Yes it is so easy to tip-toe through your phones and order what is on offer, thereby of course robbing the high streets shops (those that still remain of course) of sales, and further exacerbating their closures.

We are being programmed of course for this new wave of selling.  Lidl has a parcel receiving commodity in its car park and Morrisons an Amazon one in its foyer.  You just wave that marvellously magical phone in front with the correct app number and voila a door opens I suppose.

The rest of the world go hang, Western society still devours.  Ukraine wants generators to combat the oncoming cold winter amongst the gloom of shelled buildings, utilities of gas, electricity and water bombed into destruction by the Russians.

Rather than Russian oligarchs we should be keeping an eye on American oligarchy.  Slow but secretively creeping up on us for world domination of our shopping malls ;)

Note to delivery man, please remember to photo my distinctive pink slippers for proof you have been to the house.

Thanks to Debby for reminding me about parcels, none of ours by the way have gone astray, because we have kind neighbours.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

1st December 2022

 Who is a Hussy then, small things please my irreverent mind but I am not going down that particular tunnel.  I could track the appalling train services here up North, my family suffer from it as well but I expect it has always been this way.  So tell me why we concentrate money on the 'white elephant Hs2, a single (presumably) faster line between the North and the South, though aren't their rumours it will never get as far as the North?

I have just watched our Northern mayors, who will front the television cameras, some late for their meetings (trains), explain, once more, to the government minister and they have been told, mumble, mumble, that everything will right itself next year.

No bleak news is not palatable, but someone I picked up on yesterday makes an interesting read.

She is Ethel Carnie Holdsworth - January 1886 to December 1962 from Lancashire.  I am not going to say she is a brilliant writer or composer of poems, but she was a working-class novelist, feminist and social activist. Compared by some to Robert Trussell* - The Ragged Trouser Philanthropist.  Her books are about romance and social injustice in the workplace an expression of her beliefs.

There is also a 1920's silent black and white film on BFI, Helen of Four Gates it comes up free.  Which though interesting in its own right as it features the countryside of this part of the world, is but a pale imitation of 'Wuthering Height', plenty of bosom clasping and wicked men.

I like her dandelion poem or  'Meadow Clock' poem, you can listen to it here.

The Christmas tree was bought yesterday, a large green alive tree, carried home by Lillie, it is rather dominating the sitting room but a corner will be found for it.  When I went to Lidl yesterday, trees were flying off the outside space, everyone is making sure that Xmas will still be celebrated.

* pennies drop. Trussell Trust is named after Robert Trussell, who wrote so bleakly of poverty in his time.