Climate

"The priority for our communities, movements, and decision-makers must now be to end the era of fossil fuels and transform our societies and economies towards sustainable systems designed to address peoples’ needs, safety and wellbeing, not profit and greed."

Monday, January 31, 2022

31/01/2022

We went to Hebden Bridge yesterday for tea and cake at Leila's restaurant.  One day I shall go for lunch for their Persian aubergine dishes which I would love to taste.  It was cold but the town was crowded with people.  We walked back through the park to the car which had been left in the station car park.  Two small children were whizzing round the park in some sort of  motorised toboggan.  Grinning and saying hello to us as they passed.

It has struck me that in this area, there seems to be no Neolithic long barrows.  There are  Bronze Age round barrows up on the moors but no stone circles either.  I put it down to the fact that the narrow valleys are very steep sided and not land for colonising in prehistoric times.  

Haworth is to be the next Sunday outing, the Bronte family the mission, though there is a general consensus not to go in the Rectory.  Andrew has left 'Private Eye' magazine which I have been flipping through, a quiet takedown of so much that happens in politics and the world of London.  

There is a video (House of Parliament) with Ian Hislop and two journalists up before the Standards Committee being grilled on the unfortunate case of Owen Paterson, who of course resigned when he was called to account.  What is intriguing is the lawyer trying to upend Hislop, and Hislop not playing the game.


In a sense it is always a game of argument, and who gets to make the better point, when the true underlying reason why these good people gather is to get an answer on why do politicians get second jobs, handouts, and gifts from outside sources.  Okay corruption has always happened and sadly it will always go on happening.  Just look at the contracts handed out over the Covid epidemic.

Now I shall go and watch the latest episode on 'Fruity Knitting' which has gone over to Australia.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Morning Report

 Soon the world will disappear from grey cold mistiness like this.....


To a greener more verdant picture, which happens to be in the Mendips.



The wind from the storm Malik beats at the window and down the Aga chimney but it is warmer and sunny.  We still have the too-ing and fro-ing of the present political row.  Interestingly the word - redaction - was mooted but no, Sue Gray will give her report sometime next week and hopefully it won't be covered in blacked out words.  Someone in defence of Johnson, who by the way is going to Eastern Europe (get out of jail card of course), did mention that Johnson had his finger importantly on the nuclear button - yikes please spare me the stupidity of young kowtowing politicians!

Something funny? Are the wings of those butterflies set to flutter and change the course of the world?




Friday, January 28, 2022

28/01/22

 



Music - The Manchester Rambler: heard this on Radio BBC 3 this morning, so went down the rabbit hole of exploring.  It was written by Ewan McColl above when he was 17 years old.  It was written to commemorate the Kinder Scout Rebellion on the 24th April 1932.  When the urbanites took on the gamekeepers of the moor and challenged the right of free access to the moors.  

The game was won, we now have freedom to roam but with certain rules. I did not know that the Young Communist League was part of the movement but of course it would be part of their beliefs.  Access to roam freely in the countryside.

The gamekeepers have upset the ecology of the moors, shooting and poisoning  predators such as the hawk family, just to keep the balance of the moors right for the production of grouse to shoot.  

Another thing I get cross about, the absurd shooting of small creatures for sport, the millions of pheasants that are set free in this country for shooting.

Of course you have to pay handsomely for this right to shoot, the landowners jealously guard their ownership of land, except perhaps in Scotland.

I suspect in this animal loving country that eventually there will be a charter for sentient beings to be treated humanely.  There is a movement world wide to stop cruel practices. Such acts of cruelty of force feeding ducks for the production of Foie Gras, or the cruel practice of cutting off shark fins.  Dogs killed inhumanely in such places as Korea or Thailand, slowly the force of good is beginning to be felt.  Poor Moon bears kept for the production of bile in small cages.  Slowly, slowly, inch by inch the battle is fought and sometimes won.

Went off the driven track there!  But to get back to Kinder Scout movement, still remembered every year. It was the same old battle between the classes, rich and poor, but of course 'Up North' there are the cities of working people who had the right to demand access to the land.

Now we have beaten tracks, that often need mending as the feet of the walkers wear away the footpaths. Still people leave farm gates open allowing animals to stray.  Uncontrolled dogs chase sheep, and, a personal one here, people who will insist on adding stones to cromlechs and building those funny little towers of rock from prehistoric sites.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Good news - Green Eyes

The feral kitten who decided to live at Church House




Remember this little one - Green Eyes? My feral cat who loved the bantams.  Well this afternoon I received some news about him.  The lady who took him lived on a smallholding in one of the villages nearby, managed to find my phone number and sent some photos of Green Eyes, now called George, settled in his new home. Definitely fallen into a comfortable life.

Settled he is,  a house cat, not barn cat, putting on a middle-aged spread, and a girl friend (yes he was neutered and he was bloody furious about it).  He is now living with their dogs, he did not trust Lucy my dog but since moving into their cottage with 'deep silled south facing windows and fluffy beds' he has settled into luxury and calls the shots in their house.  Plays games on the stairs taking things upstairs and then allowing them to drop, always knew he was intelligent.



There is the paw with the claw - obey or else!


Happy endings for a bright little soul.

And a small part of the message to record...

"Thank you for letting him come to live here, I know it wasn't easy for you and totally understand why you miss him"

people are so good. X

Reading the Guardian this morning


So what molded your character I wonder?  For me it was the humour of past years, looking at the world through different eyes,  The Goon show, no I didn't like Harry Secombe or Peter Sellars but the others made you giggle.  They said, turn the world upside down, shake it, and see what comes out.  Spike Milligan was a classic interpreter, perhaps he was mad, who knows?  A play has been written about him and his relationship with the BBC.

Prince of Wales in his letter of congratulations to Milligan mentions 'steam radio'.  Those special Sunday lunchtimes when you listened to the radio were as holy as going to church!  We were still to enter the world of technology and hyped media, life was quiet (and better for it).  

The BBC like a great wounded elephant (fanciful) is being pulled down by the little twats that masquerade as our government.  Because the BBC doesn't say the right thing and praise our (introduce any swearword here) marvellous conservative government we have been saddled with.

Another voice leaps out of the media, this time Jack Monroe, I wrote about her not so long ago.  The MEASUREMENT OF POVERTY and how rising food costs hit the poorest and not the richest.  How the percentages are grossly unfair when you put inflation against money received by them and then the rich.  She has taken a Terry Prachett model in one of his 'Discworld' books.

Quite simple, Vimes Boots, pay a good price for a pair of boots and they last 10 years more or less, buy a cheap pair and they hardly last at all.

“Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness,” wrote Pratchett


Now for coffee.

Monday, January 24, 2022

24th January 2022

Birth and death are only notions. They are not real. The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. We only think there is. 

Something Thich Nhat Hanh had said, which may leave you puzzling but of course is a truth - we think our world into being.  Though sceptics like me would say the physical reality is proof that we and the world co-exist together.

I sometimes think that religion tries to obscure beneath its covering of gorgeous architecture that a church or a temple represents the empty words of a religion that cannot be seen or touched.  It is, a belief system.

Paul always used to tell the tale of a monk begging at his Japanese home, by the gate and that he, Paul, put one grain into the begging bowl.  He never gave an explanation only a grin.  A bit like 'how does one hand clap?'

Thich died last week at the good age of 95, I had never heard of him before but have noticed his name trickling through social media. I have written of the time Paul for one year became a monk at the Ryoan-ji Temple.  He remembered from that time the long hours they would sit in silence cross-legged, should you fall asleep you would be hit sharply on each shoulder by a stick brandished by the overseeing person in charge, such as Gary Snyder....also there at the same time.

I started with the thought that religion is a belief system, but something this morning caught my eye.  It was about the Cailleach, a Celtic deity or goddess, representing  an old hag.

 She can be seen in the landscape, the most famous image is on the Isle of Lewis of the Cailleach, the range of hills depicting her can be seen here.  Though she appears in the Celtic landscape history of both Scotland and Ireland  The question raised was the word Cailleach had a Latin base, therefore must be medieval, and not the earlier Iron Age Celtic.  Such arguments interest me and if I can find it will print it.

"The word cailleach (in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic, 'old woman-hag-crone‘) comes from the Old Irish ‘caillech’ ('veiled one'), from Old Irish ‘caille’ (‘veil’): Generally thought to be a loan-word from the Latin ‘pallium/palli(i)’ meaning ‘cover’ or ‘cloak’.

If so, this would make the Cailleach a ‘relative’ newcomer (etymologically speaking), which has led many medievalist academics to propound that she is an early-medieval folk figure rather than an ancient divinity (no surprise there !)."

Taken from Monumental Ireland - found on Facebook....


Sunday, January 23, 2022

23/01/22 - prodding the memories




Sunday and it is cloudy once more.  What to write, well I have pottered through my photos, stopped at Xmas 2016 but thought I might go with pubs.  Paul loved pubs and their beers of course so we visited quite a few.  But locally to the village of Normanby we had the one next door run by two young sisters.  A traditional pub with a pool room and a small restaurant.  Lucy was a good cook, and during the covid period made meals to takeaway.

It was definitely an old fashioned pub, you would meet parties of farmers, a mole catcher once and the village held their annual get togethers in it, with a lot of shouting and good cheer.  The Xmas 'do' had a raffle and you would win whatever presents people had brought in.

Our other pub was at Wombleton, a good place for a meal till it came under new management, people who had retired early and thought they could run a pub, losing our nice friendly manager was a blow for us and the over fussing of the new people got on one's nerves.



The Sun Inn, think they are trying to play some music


Family down for Xmas



Yes the Wombletons did live in this village

But I was talking about December, and the memories that came back in that month.  Lucy snoozing on the sofa completely uninspired by her presents. The moment when Father Xmas came through the village, and I thought of all the work the Rotary Club had done to march in the dark through our villages, though they probably had back up cars.



She was very good at choosing her toys at Castle Howard's garden centre.  They kept everything low just like they do for children! And Lucy loved it.
Other photos that came through were early spring flowers, the Cawthorn Roman Practice Camps and the great stone in the church yard in East Yorkshire.



Friday, January 21, 2022

21/01/2022 - How do you distribute wealth?

Alexia has died.  It happened this morning, I asked her three times for Radio 4.  She flashed her lights at me but refused to respond.  The others came down, and tried, all to no avail.  Apparently you have to say I love you to her to mend the wretched technological thing but she wasn't listening. 

The remote on the television is also lost, I can't view it either (not that I mind) it can be accessed by my daughter's phone in the evening but this break from the box in the corner leaves me sort of elated.

Yesterday my daughter messaged a Jack Munroe Twitter thread.  She was getting agitated (Jack that is) about how everything in the cheapest range of foods in supermarkets had gone up by  hundreds of percentage - if that makes sense.  But such shops as M&S will still be selling their ready meals at the usual price of £10, instead of £34 if their percentage had gone up at the same time.  One law for the affluent middle class, another for the poor.

Contemplating rereading E.P. Thompson - The Making of the English Working Class, or even the Ragged Trouser Philanthropists, but will either give any answers?  I believe that we lurch drunkenly from problem to problem with no clear foresight of the future.  

Would an overall basic income that the Green Party have always espoused go somehow towards addressing the problem of poverty.  The chancellor has/is thinking about an one of handout of £500 to help towards crippling energy bills that are forecast from April.

Read on our town chat this morning that they are successful in getting a grant of seventeen and half million pounds to tout up the town.  Do you know what went through my mind immediately?  Who will profit from this windfall the entrepreneurs or the people.  Cynical bitch. But spying the word 'levelling up' in our local Conservative MP  congratulations - the bile did arise;)

Need some pretty photos to liven the blog up.


Nothing fancy, just little self-seeded violas that each year pushed their way up through the gravel and flowered.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

19/01/2022

 Yesterday I devoted to reading up on the computer about the Chartists and how mainly the riots and troubles took place up in this corner of the world.  As the machines came in so the people became worried for themselves.  But against this there were wealthy owners fighting for better working conditions.  It breaks your heart to hear that a 6 year old would be useful down a mine for getting into a narrow place, or that young children could duck under the spinning looms. Sadly you will find such conditions for young children still happening in other parts of the world - slavery is still with us.

I jotted down some dates, the period of radicalisation was between 1838 -1848.

Chartism: 6 political demands.

1) Universal suffrage

2) Equal electoral districts

3) Vote by secret ballot

4) Annually elected parliaments

5) Payment for MPs

6) Abolition of property qualifications for MPs

I would just add here, that though most of the above has been achieved, our present government is trying to move the boundary lines for voting to achieve more votes - think we are following American mode there.

Well anyway, as I have often noted in this strange land I find myself in asking what happened to all those people that live in the back to back houses stretching up the side of the valley.  How long did it take them to walk to work, where did they meet in their rebellious mood, what were the consequences of their small revolution.

Started the 'Gallows Pole' by Benjamin Myers last night.  And yes Pat, it definitely is not a laugh a minute.  He has taken the road of dialect in half the book and there is a tense thread through the writing of terrible things waiting to happen.  But you can see why it has been picked up for a television programme it has atmosphere galore.  A bit like that Cornish series, Jamaica Inn, set high on the moors with handsome male galloping along.  Well I bet 'King David Hartley' will follow in the same pattern.

Also Haworth's grave yard came up at one stage with the tale of leakage from the contents of the graves into the waters used by the town people, still can't get over that thought.

A summary of the true story of David Hartley

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

18th January 2022

I haven't been listening to the news today but just noted on Greenpeace the following photo.  Only in this country with an outmoded government system could the Lords  defend our Civil Rights. What can you say?




Monday, January 17, 2022

Clipped and counterfeited

Yesterday's trip to Heptonstall.  I always get it mixed up in my head with the Hovis advert, the young lad wheeling his bicycle up the very picturesque hill, apparently in Devon.  The day was gray but not raining.



Our first stop was Sylvia Plath's gravestone.  Let us be clear there is something embarrassing and guilt like viewing a famous grave.  You feel they should be left in peace.  There were several people there, two old men sitting on benches monitoring our behaviour and being scornful.  It was a wreck the stone had the top knocked off, and the name Hughes been rubbed out, only it was still there.  Like a ghost hovering over her grave, repentant and sad.  Vandalism it is of course, private lives should not have the foolish on their case. 



The whole graveyard went into several small fields, and we discovered there were two churches on the site. One was a ruin, the other a Victorian built to replace it.






The badly photographed information boards tell you of some of the history but when we talked to the owner of the tea shop, he told us that 'King' Hartley's story was to be filmed in the village this summer, called Gallows Pole, to quote from here.

Based on the book by Benjamin Myers , it fictionalises the rise and fall of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners. Or as the BBC puts it, “Set against the backdrop of the coming industrial revolution in eighteenth century Yorkshire, the compelling drama follows the enigmatic David Hartley, as he assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.Strong words!

So a few photos of the place itself, it has the charm of a medieval village, tiny cobbled streets and houses.  Also delicious cakes.






On our drive back over the moors we spied a Barn owl floating gently through the air, first time I have seen one round here and a welcome sight.

Some information;


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Hanging up one's boots


I would love to know the story of these boots left here in the woods.  Did the person give up walking, did he forget them as he changed his shoes?

Yesterday we had fondue, no wine so tea had to suffice.  Bread and cheese for that is all it is.  Eaten up on the slopes in Switzerland keeping an eye on the grazing cattle, the men would eat this simple food.  Today I have been sorting photos, I was going to write about Lucy my spaniel rescue dog, most of the pictures I found of her was asleep on a sofa.  So I decided to pick a few other photos instead, ended up with 20.  Funny how photos bring instantly to mind the time of their taking.



The second is of Tom, my grandson.  He became engrossed in the computer games that my son and his friend played.  I remember the first games a little ball ping-ponging its way across the screen.  He seems to be playing a similar game here. The game I dreaded most was the racing car one, at this stage we had the controls at our feet, and Tom would sit on my lap controlling the wheel, whilst I controlled the speed presumably.  Lara Croft was a game I never actually could start, no matter how many jumps I made!

Again Tom, with dear old Moss behind him,   I love the clarity in which Tom looks into the camera.


He was an active child, says she drily, as I remember the mess he would make of the sitting room, distributing cushions and chairs round the room, winding them with wool.  That restless activity was resolved through games in childhood and now he has two jobs, one in advertising the other in personal training in the gym, and already being noted in the media.

What else, my father-in-law, me and my daughter in Blonay.  I noticed this photo because of the similarity of the dark glasses in the kitchen - makes us look glamourous ;)

The Hole of Horcum, somewhere I never walked down to but very spectacular...




Fronds slowly opening for summer

Coming to the end of summer

Blackberry flowers

And lastly, I was introduced to Wordle yesterday, completed my first word in three moves!  Andrew explained it, he also showed us the 'reverse image' function on the Iphone.  It didn't work particularly well on the fondue box but it has potential. 

 



Saturday, January 15, 2022

15th January 2022 - Brambles

Brambles:  Have you ever been caught up in brambles as you walk?  They have the best defence in the wild, scratchy and painful they say do not touch.  They will wind themselves around you, hiding the juiciest blackberry in the heart of the bush, you always feel triumphant after a blackberry picking day.

They are the harvest of September, dire warnings after that, the devil has spat on them and they become inedible.  A more prosaic answer is that the flies are laying eggs, to turn into maggots on them.

Blackberries stew in the pot their rich dark colour suddenly emphasised by the sparkling white of the sugar poured into them.  Slow staining of the sugar as it melts and then gloop, gloop the soft volcanic rising of bubbles, till that moment of testing.  Take a white saucer and a spoon, dribble a little of  the mixture onto the saucer, cool slightly and then either blow or drag a spoon gently over, if it wrinkles you have jam ;)

I planted a cultivated blackberry at Church House, a friend came along and said why did you not plant a thornless one? And so each time I collected the bountiful supply of blackberries, coming away scratched I would remember her words. But then I would remember the times those long snaky tendrils have whipped round my clothes ensnaring me till picked off.  I remember my terrified horse as a hornet buzzed her in Epping Forest how she dived into a thicket of brambles for protection.  Or Moss who managed to lose his precious ball in another thicket.  So I bravely went in with him behind me, and I got stuck but laughed at my predicament.

They are the most prolific things you will find in the countryside in the untidy parts.  Long may they rule and provide food and cover for our lesser creatures and when ever you curse them, remember the bounty they bring as well.

All this was sparked by Jackie Morris's journal entrance today and the song 'Bramble'.  I cannot straight link to the Youtube version but you will find the link in the blog if you scroll down.  As she chalks a bramble vine onto the gray stone, fall in love with the freshness of the flower, and then the beaded nature of the fruit.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Things I have collected.

What I have been reading - The Lion and the Unicorn - George Orwell's essay this morning.

Audible had highlighted it in subscription, only being an essay you only had to pay a couple of pounds or one credit, well considering I pay £7.99 a month for a credit, I hunted it up on the web.

"England is not the jewelled isle of Shakespeare’s much-quoted passage, nor is it the inferno depicted by Dr Goebbels. More than either it resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase."

Do his words ring true? Yes even today.  The media rampaging through Omicron, Prince Andrew and now this tennis player in Australia, it becomes like a record stuck on the needle going round and round.

The only thing that made me cry this week was Jim Shannon as he broke down in parliament describing the lonely death of his mother-in-law.  I now listen every day to the mantra wait till Sue Gray report comes out, as if somehow this will make everything right - for God's sake!!

Brian Bilston even wrote a poem about it yesterday......



I have been at peace with my knitting and listening to Robert Macfarlane in 'The Wild Places' as he strides his lonely way round the lochs, moors of Scotland.  He finds fear for once in sleeping on top of a large mountain in the ice and finds the absolute loneliness almost impossible to bear.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Old Blog and the Bore of the Bristol Channel

 The following old blog (May 2007) was written when I was in love with Wales (still am) and mythical history.  It tells the story of the 'Great Bore' of the Severn Estuary. One of the great tidal races in the world.  The bore sweeps up the channel in the form of a big wave and nowadays, people surf it, I think in this month of January.  Must check.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Of the English stones* there is a story told

of Roman soldiers from the days of old
There is a legend that on these stones lye
the remains of many roman bones

The estuary of the Severn is a remarkable place, for people who live in Somerset, to drive over the new Severn bridge to Wales is like entering another land. As you drive over the vast expanse of dangerous fast flowing water there is a palpable beat of the heart experienced, you are entering into the magical world of Wales, mountains, rocky coasts, small farm nestling in the valleys, but you are also entering into a Celtic history of dragons, a giant boar who fought Arthur, saints who colonised it in the 5th/6th centuries - it is a land of myth and stories, prehistoric stones dedicated to a Celtic king all muddled with fairy tales, so that there are no edges just a blending of myth and fact.


It would probably be impossible to explain a British mind to an American when asked how we view this magical , religious, mythical world to rationalise it into a coherent whole, it is best experienced through the inner eye that sees great Celtic nobleman riding on their horses with the red-eared white hounds that always accompany them on the hunt, flowing down the hillside at Llanthony maybe, or galloping along the cliff tops at that most holy of places - St.David.


So crossing the estuary is entering into another world, a world where it is told that St.Augustine preached at St.Aust, by the old motorway bridge, and if you don't believe that story what about the iron age hoard that was found in the 19th century below the cliff at St.Aust, perhaps buried in haste from rogues, or perhaps, my version, offerings to the river god for a safe crossing over the water.
And truly you needed a safe crossing for there is a tale told of roman horsemen caught up on a sandbank in the middle of the estuary, and as the waters rose they screamed for help as did the horses neighing wildly but all were drowned, the tale is told by Nennius below, but as in all good Celtic stories, if you were to turn away from the tide it would not drown you - always there is another magical world running parallel in the tale.


The Mouth of Llyn Lliwan 'Another wonder is the mouth of Llyn Lliwan. Its estuary is in the Severn and when the Severn is flooded in the bore and the sea also floods up the estuary of the aforesaid river, the river is received into the estuary waters like a whirlpool, and the sea does not go up; and there is a shore by the river, and whenever the Severn is flooded in the bore, that shore is not touched, and when the sea ebbs from the Severn, then Lake Lliwan spews up everything that is devoured from the sea and that shore is touched, and, like a hill, breaks and spews up in one wave. And if the army of the whole country where it is should be there, and should front the wave, the force of the wave would drag down the army, its clothing filled with water, and the horses would also be dragged down. But if the army should turn its back on the wave, the wave does not harm it, and when the sea ebbs, then the whole of the shore that the wave covered is laid bare again, and the sea ebbs from it.  Nennius quote


Of course Nennius is talking about the Bore that great tidal wave, driven by the moon, that runs up the estuary to the river until as the channel gets narrower so it gets higher, and people surf the wave early in the year, sometimes going for miles, other times it is but a short journey as they tumble into the water.


Spectacular today as it was back in history, though the Bristol channel is now straddled by two flowing modern toll bridges, an underground train tunnel, which leaks water from the great spring that was breached in the building of the tunnel.. It's best to hold your breath today when going through the tunnel and pray that the waters don't come splashing in, I believe it takes three minutes to go through. Not forgetting of course the two nuclear stations as well that line the sides of the channel, alongside prehistoric stones that seem to march down to the waters edge, reminding us always of other times.


On the Welsh side there is a roman road and the famous Caerwent town and Caerlon camp, with the Gray's Circle up on the hill above Wentwood Forest.Further on past Chepstow, there is the roman healing temple of Lydney,(Noden Mars) a tripartite cella points to a complex trinity of gods. Wheeler gives it a date of 364 ad. Like the temple of Nettleton Shrub (very early essay) it paints the world of roman religion and mythology. Nine small bronze dogs were found, (dogs were considered healing, as their saliva has an antiseptic balm), a bronze arm, an oculist stamp, all point to a healing centre.
In the iconography, sea monsters and fish, fisherman and tritons and probably the hunting god Silvanus was represented.


The Bore - Nennius: The River Severn Dan Ri Hafren (The Two Kings of the Severn)
'Another wonder is Dan Ri Hafren, that is, the Two Kings of the Severn. When the sea floods into the Severn estuary, two heaped-up wave crests are built up separately, and fight each other like rams. One goes against the other, and they clash in turn, and then one withdraws from the other and they go forth together again at each tide. This they have done, from the beginning of the world to the present day...


Note: There are only two locations on the Severn where such an event can be witnessed. Before the weir was built at Maisemore, the west channel tide would wrap around the Upper Parting into the eastern channel and collide with the flood tide running up that channel. But more famous, is the collision that occurs in the eastern channel of the Noose, as the leading west-channel tide rebounds of Hock Cliff and flows straight back into collision with the advancing flood tide in the eastern channel. Just as the Roman Army experienced.


* English stone, probably a bone of contention to the Welsh, but they are the rocks that lie under the estuary and upon which the tunnel and presumably the bridges are built.



Monday, January 10, 2022

10th January 2022

I had a lovely day yesterday, Tom, my grandson and his girlfriend came in the afternoon.  And they are so in love it is  sweet.  Presents they bought as did Andrew (the handsome male guest becoming permanent) he bought two bunches of white roses.  Tom brought a book on landscapes and Ellie, his love, a jigsaw.

There was a hitch with the bus, it got cancelled, so we walked home and had lunch, then caught the next one.  Trouble with me I write what I see, and there was definitely a load of tat around under the enormous, sheds of Gordon Rigg I think.  Christmas still sparkled in a million coloured tree decorations and lights flicking on and off.  Gosh how we keep the horrors of an English winter at bay with flashing tiny lights.  But I thoroughly enjoyed this outing, for it unravelled another side of Yorkshire.

A Barnhaven primrose.  Its lusciousness almost rivals a rose.

Artificial flowers blended with enormous house plants, all expensive it was almost like a zoo, but a zoo of exotic plant, throw in a few jungle sounds and you could have been transported. I came back with what I wanted which was primroses and viola, and a pretty little ivy.  The plants are to go in a small bed in the back yard, but yesterday I was told to be wary of the old cat's skeleton buried there - a bit late in the day!

----------------------------------------------

Tom Stephenson asked me what would I do about a  statue erected to Tony Blair the other day, I did not answer but then through social media this gem came through.  Though I am not going to enter the Inuit/Eskimo debate, for reasons of keeping my head below the parapet.  I would argue that indigenous tribes have a right to use their  tribal names  and we should respect that.  So what made me laugh was this............................... I quote from unnamed source, believe it or not.

"On a recent trip to the United States , Tony Blair, Ex. Prime Minister of the UK and now U.N. Middle East Peace Envoy, addressed a major gathering of Native American Indians.
He spoke for almost two hours on his success in bringing about a lasting peace settlement amongst the warring nations of the Middle East, likening it to the way that the U.S. Government found a suitable agreement with the North American tribes.
At the conclusion of his speech, the crowd presented him with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name - Walking Eagle.
A very chuffed Tony then departed in his motorcade, waving to the crowds..

A news reporter later asked one of the Indians how they came to select the new name given to Tony Blair They explained that Walking Eagle is the name given to a bird so full of shit that it can no longer fly."

Sunday, January 9, 2022

9th January 2021


Matilda's bad luck with her washing falling out of the window is blamed on the fact that we didn't take down the Xmas tree on the 6th!  Also having changed her old phone for a new one, walking down a London street she was assailed by the fact that there was no tracking device on the new one.  "I could have been stolen and no one would be able to find me"  She is so funny.

Today we go to a garden centre for lunch, leaving soon via a bus.  Something I will have to get used to, not owning a car anymore.  Garden centres have become a place of outing, you can wander round Christmas extravagances, books, candles, expensive clothes and then have a meal at the end.  The plants, shrubs and trees are a side show.

Apparently there is also fish there as well, how I remember going to a similar place in Bath and buying goldfish for the pond, the heron appreciated my purchases.  Once, maybe 20 years ago, my son fell in love with exotic frogs which he kept in an aquarium.  It fell to me to dig the worms from the garden to feed them, they flourished until small Tom removed the lid - we never found them sadly.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suella Braverman accused of politically driven meddling over Colston Four 

Trial by Jury:  Were they right to exonerate the four Colston people of criminal charges?  Morally of course they were.  This is a cause felt strongly by many people that truth should be recognised.  This is what happened with the jury, the law took a backstage position.

The truth of Colston was not that he was a good man doing a lot for the city of Bristol but that he was a slave trader  (80,000),  purveyor of suffering and pain onto living human beings.  It was the time when our so called exploits overseas brought this country to a shame which today is being revisited.

Though I do not feel guilty for the past I can recognise that its truth needs to be outed.  The attorney general should not be allowed to play party politics.  Law is just but occasionally it has to bend to the will of the people.  This was recognised by the jury.  We should be thankful for our Anglo-Saxon ancestors and the Normans for choosing those 12 men and women to judge.  It introduced into judgement the different opinions of our society.  And of course there has been many precedents for juries voting over criminal law.  Protest might be disruptive but it carries on its back issues that need discussion by the wider world of this country.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

8th January 2022

 At the moment after a brief foray into Susan Cooper's children book the 'Dark is Rising'', I may complete the sequence yet,  I am listening to Christopher Lloyd book called 'A Lifetime of Seasons'.  Lloyd is one of those famous gardeners, a bit like Gertrude Jeykll, one of the old class of gardeners with the fortuitous luck having been born into the moneyed class.  So after inheriting his mother's beautiful house and garden he was able to devote himself to growing and observing plants.



Well listening to the chapter yesterday the Crown Imperial (Fritillaria Imperalis) a  wildly extravagant gorgeous sort of upside down flower was mentioned.  I have only seen one and that happened to be in Sybil's garden, of which a photo appeared the other day.  The book also mentioned a field full of that other fritillaria  (Fritillaria Meleagris) or Snakeshead Fritillaria.  The field mentioned in the book from a distance looked like it had been ploughed it was so dark with this particular flower. 



I wondered could it be that famous field of the Snakeshead fritillary in Cricklade, Wiltshire. We can now grow the Snakeshead plant in our gardens, their chequered  mauve, mournful patterning being unusual amongst the gay garden flowers of summer.  I suddenly realised I needed my gardening books again to read up the history of this strange wild plant.   The Crown Imperialis comes from the Anatolian Plain in Turkey and they can also be found  in Iraq and Iran.  Like our own native plants the plant comes with its own local histories.

Perhaps I should take to education again and do a course on plant life, photosynthesis and stomata on leaves still come to mind when I think about them  but taxonomy evades me.  As in these two plants, so different but belonging to the same 'kingdom' the Latin identifying them, the local name giving their meaning historically.

Tomorrow is my birthday, so yesterday a large box stood by the back door, it contained two African Violet plants, carefully packed in hessian bags and the information that they had UK passports ;).  From my son who had heeded my need for this particular plant.


Nature fills up much of our lives, and just by typing in 'violets' I see how I welcome each plant each year.  So just one blog picked.