Thursday, June 30, 2022

A defended Prehistoric Stone Fort

Carn Meyn above with Carn Alw below;  By Dylan Moore, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.
Carn Alw

 I was going to start with megalithic photos from Cornwall that appeared today in memories.  But another memory sailed by.  A couple of days ago in TMA someone had put up a drone photo of, for me,  a rather mysterious stone assembly in the Preseli Hills.  It rises from the plain as an untidy jumble of stones but within the stones you can find enclosures, whether for cattle or horses who knows.   Also there are 'Cheval de Frise' walls, either for defence or for keeping the animals in.  A Cheval de Frise wall can be seen in medieval wars when stakes are stuck into the ground pointing outward to stop the enemy, this form of defence starts as early as prehistory and there is another Welsh site (Bryn Cader Faner) that has a more spectacular one.  Here is the one at Carn Alw .

One more photo from Geograph, taken by the magnificently named Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff

A photo of the stones which seem to form a pathway here in this photo.  Taken by Toby Driver in 2006.

There is magic in prehistoric stones as we try to guess their significance to the people who once lived and used them to build their religion, houses, and defences.  But the magic lies in the landscape as well.  Carn Alw always intrigued me, it was a long way from where I had left the car when I was visiting Foel Drygarn with its three spectacular barrows set on the crest of this settlement and I never visited at the time.  Wales is indeed a land of mystery and landscapes too difficult to farm so that its past inheritance of old churches and megalithic stones still lie scattered around.  The Preseli Hills was a place I wanted to move to but Paul felt it was too far out in the wild - bless him.

But if I could have lived in a place where the unfathomable surrounded me I would have been quite happy trying to unravel the mystery.  And if you don't believe me, fall under the spell of the soft Welsh lilt of this short video on Foel Drygarn....


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

28th June 2022

 Well John Crace has been at it again, I like the thought of BJ heading for 'World King', Crace definitely lightens my life. 

The emerald green sofa arrived yesterday, through the window, though the delivery men had Health and Safety thoughts on the basement window below.  But we convinced them and it came through easily.  It is very glamorous, it reminded me of my velvet jacket that I loved so long ago, its cinched in waist had a faint aura of Robin Hood now I remember.

I watched the first episode of Sherwood (see how my minds moves to another subject so easily).  Of course the first thing about the drama is the miner's strikes of 1984, though there were several strikes before that.  The tat newspapers have been trying to 'big it up' the current strike, but failing on the sharp witted tongue of Mike Lynch.  We have all grown up for goodness sake Murdoch!  Now it is gently, gently does it and listen to our reasonable terms.  Protests now come with the hopeful words non-violent protest.  It does look though that we will have a range of strikes in the coming few months.

To return to 'Sherwood', it looks a good drama, but I could not get on to the second episode yesterday because BBCIPlayer seems to think I am out of the country.  Goodness knows where, has someone hijacked my IPS address? or is it one of the minor faults we all seem to be suffering as everything 'rights itself' on Google'.

On Friday three of must decamp to Andrew's place, as it is the event of 'The Prom' and Lillies friends are coming back for a sleep in.  Soon the excitement will be over.  I always think the looking forward to an event is always better than the actuality, a bit like presents, the wrappings look so tantalising and then you open it ;)

Second person on my list to run the country is Andy Burnham, erstwhile mayor of Manchester (with intergrated transport no less).  What are my thoughts on proportional representation though?

I leave you with the words of Jesse Gray (1870ish) of Nutclough Mill, he is obviously talking about Capitalism.  I have never looked into the history of the Cooperative societies, they look an interesting read, and I shall start with Andrew Bibby's book - All Our Own Work.

"You are an independent unit, existing without responsibility of any kind beyond your own personal desires or wishes — before you lies the world and society, make them your prey — so conduct and order your business life that it shall bring you wealth. The world is an orange, to be sucked — a sponge, to be squeezed – squeeze it to the utmost of your power. In all your exertions have in view  your own material benefit, no matter who sinks or swims in the struggle. " Jesse Gray.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

26th June 2022

 Today I read of a Viking hoard found by a metal detectorist in Scotland, he had done the right thing and informed and given the hoard to the right people.  There was a Christian cross as well and when the mud had been removed a beautiful patterned surface appeared.  Past history of an age we know little of, go to the cinema and you will see 'Viking berserkers', killing, raping and pillaging giving us little understanding of how the world was at the time.  But delicate workmanship, love of artistic things and also practical things jostle us into thinking more about how our ancestors lived before us.  Which leads me  on to other thoughts.

I had come across this essay, blog is too simple to describe it, of a lecturer who lives in Hebden Bridge and walks the countryside around here.  Normally he walks with his young son but this time he had taken a group out to Nutclough Wood.  It was a thinking walk, a philosophical awareness of what there is in the history around and what we should project into the future for our children.

19th century depiction of Nutclough Wood

He followed in his musings the co-operative movements of the valleys, the socialism that lies hidden under the surface of the towns.  Look at those towns, the back to back terraces folding down the wooded hills and understand the industrialism that built homes for the workers.

And then understand community! I say that with a slight dramatic turn, because the thing you see when you enter a graveyard are the surnames of their relations still living within the towns.  Follow the chat boards and people still recall old school days, people who have recently died and in which house they had lived all their life.  

Life is a narrative, just as history is.  We add or subtract from that narrative, when we come to impose our vision on the landscape around us, we mark it for the future.  Paul Knight's essay was caught up with the great farming dilemma we are in now.  Millions of trees are supposed to be planted for carbon capture.  He stops at an old meadow that has escaped the pesticides and herbicides and had been 'preserved'. In 2014 half of the meadow was planted with trees before it was realised that a rich inheritance of wild flowers and their seeds were part of the meadow.  What do you do? Both were left with a 'messier' edging to the meadow.  Anyone who knows the current jargon of the moment, that it is the 'wilding' part.  In fact the meadow with its wild flowers had become a 'bank' for seeds.

We cannot go back only forward, every action now has consequences for the future, occasionally we must stay the hand and just allow those remnants of history to fall through and remind us that once long ago other people lived and were part of a community.

One thing I have learnt from living here, is the strong conviction of fellow Yorkshire bloggers of the roots of co-operation and socialism that underlies these Northern towns, forget our London-based government, who know little of nothing.  Start turning to the people who actually are in control in our towns, argue with them maybe, but allow that bright spirit of community to register its vote.

Friday, June 24, 2022

24th June 2022 . Political

 It was as expected.  The Conservatives got trounced in the two bye-elections.  Liberal in Devon, Labour in Wakefield.  One thing can always be taken for granted, we punish the government in power when by-elections appear.  Still interesting times.  Dearheart was in Rwanda, always out of the country when there is trouble brewing!

Yes Dearheart, I feel sorry for him, that thick rhinoceros hide must be very uncomfortable!  Note the two successful canditates, upright sober middle-aged men, you can't go wrong with them - well not very wrong I think. 

lets see if either get on my list for people running the country, we all know the promises the realisation is another thing. Also been following the delightful media trail of Mike Lynch, he has quite a tongue on him and his opponents are falling by the wayside.  The two little vicious media terriers Piers Morgan and Richard Madeley had their wings pulled off - mixed metaphors there!  Though it can of course be put down to the Conservative publicity department.  The cry of Marxism went up from Madeley , and then Lynch's avatar on F/B got up the nose of Morgan, a character called Hood - an evil, wicked character.

Churches. St.Mary, Mundon

Yesterday St.Mary's church at Mundon went through on F/B from Friend's of Friendless Churches which had finished its restoration on the foundations. I notice below on an earlier blog that it was built in the moat of an old manor house.  It was a strange church with its Tudor apse sided entrance.  Well I am only mentioning it because a fascinating fact fell out as well.  This was because apparently 'The War of the Worlds' by H.G.Wells had part of the BBC film taken here.  Of course it was the eerie dead 1000 year old (from salt) oak trees.  I notice that Steven Spielberg also made a film of this story, but it looks like it was made in America, which the usual American 'touch' of sheer panic.  The BBC adaptation was much nearer the story that Wells had written.

"This was the second place we visited yesterday, the little village of Mundon lies just outside Maldon, and I had espied this church a few months back on my map, isolated and lying low in the landscape it intrigued me. Deserted medieval village was my first thought, and probably near to the mark, as the settlement was deserted due to the plague. This is a Tudor church, built on the foundations of a Norman church, and probably Saxon beginnings given its proximity to water and it being on the St.Peter's Way pilgrimage route to St.Peter's church on the Dengie Marsh.

It will be some while before I gather my thoughts on this church, it is redundant and derelict but has been taken under the wing by Friends of Friendless Churches, yes such an organisation does exist.
The church itself was built in the moat of the old manor there, and because it was set on marshy ground, great cracks started to appear and I think it was roofless by the 18th century. It was due for demolition in the 1970s but then rescued to a point, there is still plenty of work to carried out. It is totally unusual having an apsidal entrance of timber posts and plaster to the west front entrance. The grave yard is very neglected, and the church sits next to a large farmhouse (probably the site of the old manor). The wooden south porch is also rotting to pieces though there is some fine carvings.

Paul was very taken with the place, and yet I had a feeling of unease, you can't go into the church (too dangerous), but perhaps the white skeletons of dead trees in a field towards the estuary helped give me the impression of an unhealthy place, that and of course an imagination that tends to run rife. The fields in which these enormous oak trees stood was grazed by alpacas to add to the unreal effect the place had on me. Actually the trees are relict petrified oaks, and were recorded in the Domesday book. "

Thursday, June 23, 2022

They are coming to take me away.............A naive perspective


A Strike; a refusal to work organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer.

The old arguments go out again.  Bloody Russians under the bed ;)* As if!!  Sorry if my language is going downhill but after watching PMQs this morning, I sent a prayer up to my non-existent god, please, please get rid of the Tories. 

They attack (it is called distraction by the cynical - count me as cynical) but do nothing to meet the railway people.  Why can't people ask for better wages I wonder, why can't we loosen the pockets of CEOs and allow some more money into the general flow of wages and salaries.  Why can't the tories govern for all the people instead of sitting back with smug smiles on their faces and letting this country go to rot.

They sit like Smaug the dragon on the Treasury, fat cats dining on the cream at the top of the milk.  I am not sure what the by-elections will bring in tomorrow with the results but fingers crossed people start to wake up and use their vote to bring in different people.

As a Luddite I am not happy with getting rid of ticket offices and being thrown on ones own devices to master ticket machines, or even worse, by filling my phone with little black squares which says you have paid for your ticket virtually.

*I forgot we allowed all those rich Russians into the country so that we could launder their money! But who gets the fabulous yachts that have been confiscated from the Russians though?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022


Solstice flies by.  I find a lot of time flies by now.  But the sun is out, there is a blue sky fluffed up with clouds nothing to be worried about.  Still haven't stood on one leg for 10 seconds, should I dice with the future and know my inevitable end ;) ;) I fell over two seconds in...

Well it is all change in this house, a washing machine arrived yesterday promptly after the day it had been ordered, £10 secured that. Someone is coming today to take the enormous leather settee away and a new velvet one is arriving next Monday.  The dog is forbidden from ever going into the sitting room!

The marvels of technology still worry me.  Lillie has just rushed off to get her phone from school where she left it, you can track them down.  Of course this tracking lark is a bit worrying, not only phones but people as well.  But the phone has been registered as lost, so no one can use it.

My daughter is about to dice with the trains to Manchester, I am not going to go into the argument about unions and strikes.  It causes upheaval but it is wise to remind those in power who actually runs the country, instead of pontificating from above.  And when I say run the country, I mean, doctors and nurses, careworkers, cleaners, the person who picks up your rubbish, or mends the road.  My only comment would be that the Conservatives have come unstuck on their own governing.

Debby mentioned how her grandson is getting books from the library.  It brought back memories of how each Saturday as a child, I would get my four books and weekly ration of sweets.  And then in the summer, would go down the garden to the sand pit my grandfather had built for us.  There amongst the irises, delphinums and the long flowerbed filled with all those flowers of summer I would read to my heart's content.

That Victorian garden with its old fruit trees we climbed, with its immaculate beds kept by Jerry the gardener was a paradise on earth for children.  Now when I look on the net, I see that the lawn next to our road facing house has had a bungalow built on it, where did that long line of populars go, chopped down in the pursuit of gain I suppose.  Does the monkey tree still sit in its bed below the back door, or has it long gone.  The old greenhouse where I kept the animals I collected, frogs, sick birds and the tortoise.  I had a graveyard as well for dead birds (we had a large white cat called Snowy).  Childhood long gone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Solstice Blessings


The Cove at Avebury taken from Avebury Web

I have just looked very quickly at a video made by English Heritage at the sun arising over Stonehenge.  It was very misty but a large crowd stand silent there.  Today many believers will be at their favourite megalithic sites watching the miracle of the sun making its way over the horizon.  Aligned.  Just about. With the stones.  My heart will be with The Cove Stones at Avebury.  Standing one cold winter's night at midnight with the moon deeply etched out in the dark sky.  So on this day, this middle day, of the year as we once more turn towards winter, forget the commotion around you and just be grateful for the beautiful world we live in.  It is still there, just needs some protection from us all.

What have I collected this morning?

Paul Nash's Summer Solstice and an invitation to sacrifice your neighbours ;)

Monday, June 20, 2022

20th June 2022

Sometimes, just sometimes, Facebook turns up treasures to record.  One of the people I follow is an Eric Ravilious fan.  I love the quiet simplicity of Ravilious's painting and find out there is a film made about him to be released on the 1st July.  He captures the landscape I loved, the downs of southern England.  A short life taken so quickly by war, yet even there he managed to paint the softer tones.

If you want 'Englishness' then he is the painter for you.  Two videos below, one a trailer for the film, Drawn to War and the other His Letters.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

"You climb into bed and turn into dust"

I am listening to Kate Bush and her Aerial (Sea of Honey) album.  She has once more flown by in a whiff of publicity because of her song appearing in a film on Netflix.  She has always dodged fame but it catches up with her sometimes.  I would call her a wordsmith, an individual soul.  She is singing with the blackbird at the moment.  Then of course the sound of the wood pigeons on another song.  She is a favourite of mine, I especially like the last songs.

I could have started this daily reminiscence with 'all systems alert' - that makes me smile. Cost of living going up, food, petrol, rail strikes.  Could we be back to the 1970s, teachers are also threatening to strike.  Strike is such a good tool when wages are not following price rises.  Don't worry there will be an end to it.
My daughter has been offered a room in a hotel in Manchester so that she can get to work but she refused and booked tickets on the National Express.  Mostly people in Tod moan (the human race loves moaning) about the flood of traffic lights that have appeared to stop the flow of traffic as roadworks commence.

This is the second half of the album, part one can be found here


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Dragon laced Screen - Llananno Church poem

A perfect Welsh landscape

Today I came across, in a blog,  a reference to a church up in Jennie's neck of the woods.  The person who had been there was Patrick Laurie (Bog, Myrtle & Peat) from Galloway in Scotland. The church is St.Annos in Llananno.  Jennie has written about it here in Codlins&cream with some very good photos of the screen by the way.

Laurie had mentioned a poem by R.S,  Thomas, so I hunted it out, curiosity never did kill the cat, it is only a myth!  Thomas's sombre tone has been replaced by a more reflective one.  I love the way history tumbles down through time.  Churches reflect the living and the dead, isolated churches in Wales reminders that once upon a time religion was a strong motivating fact.  I shall probably never visit this church but do I need to when the written word and pictures capture its essence?

Llananno by R.S.Thomas

I often call there.
There are no poems in it
for me. But as a gesture
of independence of the speeding
traffic I am a part
of, I stop the car,
turn down the narrow path
to the river and enter
the church with its clear reflection
beside it.

There are few services
now; the screen has nothing
to hide. Face to face
with no intermediary
between me and God, and only the water’s
quiet insistence on a time
older than man, I keep my eyes
open and am not dazzled,
so delicately does the light enter
my soul from the serene presence
that waits for me till I come next.

I trust that the two sources I have used will forgive me, but when we put pen to paper, or finger to key, it is because we want to share our experiences.  That is what blogging is all about.
Also there is a third source which I should have remembered......

Mere distraction

I started the week with the writing below, then became quiet as my daughter had some disturbing news about a test.  Well it righted itself yesterday when she had a scan at the hospital and a  cyst was removed so I am back on form with relief and thanks to our NHS.

Things have moved on, has BJ just delivered his own death blow while traipsing off to Ukraine for a photo opportunity and not supporting his Northern MPs in their hopefully lost battle to keep their seats in the Wakefield election.  We shall see.  But if anything is not more sharply defined it is his own vanity and he may have really lost it this time.  

The real heroes:  Such as Professor David Nott, a surgeon also out there in Ukraine but teaching 70 surgeons some of the skills they need as they mend the bodies of the poor young men mangled by war.  A sad indictment of course for the consequences of war, I suppose you would call it a necessary  step.

As you see below I have been listening to Gordon Brown as well, I am troubled by his intelligence, I think my response is that you cannot write or talk yourself into a solution, it is action that is needed.

The meal on Monday went well, we did Sicilian, the restaurant was small, tucked down a small side street in Manchester. The two young lovebirds turned up, both changing jobs at the moment, E to do PR in a group of theatres and T to do PR in a large US firm.  That is one thing you can be sure of there are plenty of jobs around.  Why does a history picture of medieval times flit through my mind?  The Black Death, and labour able to ask its own price come to mind I wonder, is this the fight back against complacent capitalism?  Anyway, gifts were exchanged for Lillies birthday and a small cake brought to the table much to our surprise.  When we went to the station, security men stood around, football or something I think.   They are always on alert at the railway station the horrors of the Manchester Bombing there still dictates their response.


I cannot walk through this world without at least making a protest against what I see there.  But I have decided to find out any persons of honesty who would govern sensibly.  Already I can hear the screams at my choice. But look what he did all those years ago, paying out all that money to the banks and selling off the gold.  Any ideas yet? He also let in the conservatives and look where we are now!

Yes Gordon Brown, a manse lad, terrible serious but with his heart in the right place.  We need the dreamers to start painting the world we want, not the world we are getting.  Politics must learn not to polarise falling on either side of an argument - just for the sake of the argument, and can I add here the sheer distraction of trivia which our present leader leads us down like some idiotic piper leading the children to a faint Utopia in the distance.

Every day we listen to people who can't afford either heating or food, slogans abound everywhere.  I suspect the Conservatives would like to see the back of the BBC because it shows the real nitty-gritty of what living in this country is like.

There is a book read on radio 4 this week, it is called The Social Distance Between Us by Darren McGarvey.  At the end he points out when they are interviewing a person who has made good, ie lots of money, that he as a presenter becomes treated as second best in the interview by his producer.  The precedent of a moneyed interviewee whether an unconscious act or deliberate, we bow to that superiority of someone who is richer than us.

You know where i am going with this, perhaps we should question the differences, the absolutism of making money for the sake of making money.

Starve or shiver - Gordon Brown

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Light Relief


14th June 2022

Today my local weather gives the temperature at 7 degrees, London is apparently 13 degrees.  It is cold though, that slight misty coldness.  Today we are off to Manchester this afternoon for an Italian meal with Tom and Ellie, this is Lillie's birthday meal.  I am seriously thinking of asking for a permanent excuse from going to any of the big towns round here.  My next visit is the end of this month when on Prom night we have to vacuate the house so that Lillie and friends can have a sleep in.  So it is off to Bradford to Andrew's flat for that one.  Did I not tell my family I liked a quiet sedentary life?

I had thought of going to Keswick for a few days but that idea has been put on the back holder.  The Lake District is absolutely swarming with visitors.  They are also experiencing labour shortages, no service staff to wait at tables, why? because there is no reasonablly cheap accomodation in the town for staff.
Can you not imagine a small snowball careering down the hill getting larger and larger as the problems of Brexit and the economy bouncing lower each day begins to bite.  All those promises of house building lie in the dust just lets live of our dividends and renting out second homes to cover the bills.  Perhaps one day we will go back to actually making things, think it was called industry.  Not that I want that smoke belching of the olden days but green industries, especially in energy, should be part of the picture.
Tired of 'how to live' on 30p a meal a day for people, get out everyone start growing our food, Dig for Britain.  Alright I have my tongue in cheek here but instead of the idiotic mouthings at the top of government lets find some more sensible people to govern us!  End of small rant.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

8th June 2022

 Today just a couple of photos.  Friday there was a bumble bee 'asleep' in a flower.  As it was early morning, I knew it was cold and so administered life saving honey on a wet piece of kitchen paper.  Sometime later it had flown away.  If I have something to worry about at this time of the year it is the survival of the bumblebee.  

There is one of those memes around, 'when they disappear, you will disappear'  hand pollination doesn't work on a large scale. 

Can it be true that we are told to eat venison in this time of poverty for so many.  Two drowned fawn were pulled out of the lock on the canal yesterday - well there's a start. With Starmer dithering in the background and the Conservatives scared to take any action and mouthing emptily to the media - where do we go from here?

Oxeye daisies, perennial geraniums and ladies mantle guard the bushes of red currant and gooseberry bushes alongside the canal.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Memories from the Cat's pub

A favourite walk and the pub after June 2015;  The Cat's pub was dedicated to cats, all the ornaments around were depictions of cats, you weren't allowed to bring dogs or children to the pub - it was for cats!  Not only that but it only opened about three times a week, a hobby pub run by Wally and his partner Anne.

We would go for a walk by the river Ter and then come back for Paul's favourite beer, clear amber in the sun, don't ask why British men love their beer, just look at its clarity.  Anne would do a delicious 'ploughman's lunch' for about £4, half a pound of cheese with crisp baguette and salad, and enticing little packets of butter and Branston pickle.  If it was winter you would find Wally grumbling in front of the log fire as he fed its ever hungry flames. 

It was one of my favourite walks and lunch at the pub crowned it all.  Essex in its backwaters can be very beautiful and verdant you just have to seek these places out.  Wally in his retirement bought himself a tiny house turned into an occasional pub, filled the large barn by the side with two enormous steam engines (his other passion).

As photos they came up on F/B. the photo of the rose had been caught in a particular light, no wonder I love roses.

The river on one side of the bridge was choked with plants.

But on the other side it was vaguely cleared out, and sometimes you could see grayling swimming around

The end of the story about Wally the Walrus came up this morning, after having swum around the coastline of Britain, made it to France and Spain, he is now back in Iceland.  A lot of boat owners will be breathing sighs of relief, at least he won't be damaging boats as he hauled himself up onto their decks.  Apparently he is young and walrus don't start breeding till 15 years old, so maybe it was his gap year travelling the world!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


 I have just finished a Phil Rickman book, one of his latest called  'The Fever of the World' , which is of course Covid.  But the story brought together several strands which I looked up last night. Wordsworth was mentioned as was Alfred Watkins, he of the 'Old Straight Track'  which is about ley lines that run across the country linking special places on their way.  For instance, churches, standing stones and circles, old trees everything that will in fact fall on the straight line made by a ruler on a map.  You can find a fascinating essay on him here, one of those energetic 19th century characters that experimented with photography.

The Rickman story line centred round Symonds Yat, one of those beautiful landscape photo opportunites of our  countryside.  Symonds Yat is a rocky outcrop looking down on the beautiful ox bow shaped river Wye as it winds round the countryside.  Apparently not too far away is the prehistoric 'Queen Stone'.  A deeply vertically scored stone of Old Red Conglomerate,   These scars are made by rain over time, you can find 

 tall similar stones in Yorkshire as well near Harrogate.  Stories have built up round the Queen  stone being a sacrificial stone and this is where the main protagonists end up. 

Taken from Herefordshire History - The Queen's Stone
The next thread was Wordsworth and his poem 'Tintern, a few lines composed above Tintern Abbey on Revisiting' Actually this long poem of Wordsworth makes little reference to the names of the places that Rickman mentions but the threads are melded together and obviously Wordsworth and his sister had made a walking tour round here.

Druids and the unexplained have always figured in the Merrily Watkins series, and his books always make a good read, probably me analyising the book does it no favours, all the critics think it is wonderful, marvellous, etc, etc.  And of course Rickman had been ill with a stroke and his output had shrunk, so new books were like gold dust to his many fans.

The Queen Stone is definitely a scary looking stone but strangely enough has not built up much folklore around it, though has been called the 'Womans stone'.   I leave the book with a map of the area on which one can dwell on the main sites used in this part of Herefordshire, which is, somehow, and I can't quite put my finger on it, is completely lost in its historical past, almost like a fog you can't quite see through.

An earlier blog of 2007 on sacred space

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The End of the Party - 7th June 2022


On Radio 3 this morning, they are playing music with a Scottish theme down at Loch Ness, home of the beast that never shows its face.  A dinosaur of a creature with three humps and a penchant to live at the bottom of the loch out of reach of all Loch Ness Monster searchers.  And of course I don't believe the three humps could have been seals mucking about.

It brought to mind the other myth, the wicked Kelpie which will get you if you chance to swim in the lochs.  Probably a tale to stop your children swimming alone and getting drowned.  Suddenly why did I think of drowning it was a bit of news in America, where a man had jumped into a reservoir to escape the attentions of three policeman.  Apparently he had been having a shouting match with his wife.  Though he called for help the policeman did not help him and he drowned in front of them, the wife had been escorted back to a police car - makes you think?

Taken from the BBC

The original myth of the Kelpie horse is that human sacrifices were thrown into the water to appease the war gods, probably dating from the Iron Age.  These two magnificent creatures are the work of Andy Scott.

Well he is still in office, by the skin of his teeth some would say, but definitely his days are numbered I don't have to give him a name, John Crace captures the mood.  I wonder why my mind dwells on sacrifice ;)

This is my eldest grandson Tom, he works in PR but has also been trying to run a series of well-being classes at his local gym.. This rueful proud moment captured in the photo by his girlfriend is that another  article of his has been published.  His youth makes me weep and also trust that the gods will be kind to him in all his undertakings.  

Last night we were trying to sort a restaurant in Manchester to celebrate Lillies birthday with him and his girlfriend/partner.  You realise what this means I maybe a great granny sometime in the future! I was going to contrast it with a photo I took of myself a few weeks back but can't find now.......

Saturday, June 4, 2022

4th June 2022

There are times when one gets bored with writing stuff, inspiration is thin on the ground, I pulled back a blog yesterday because I thought it sounded a bit pompous but yes I have been watching the jollifications, asking myself stupid questions like, how do they keep those 'flying saucer' hats on?

How to grow wistaria, this is in a garden just outside Chelmsford

But today a photo floated through and as I looked at the date I realised that one of my favourite creepers must be in flower.  Wistaria with its delicate scent will drape a wall or a balcony or a walkway with its beautiful blooms for a short time.  Like roses it needs a cultivating hand to keep it at its best.  I never forgave my husband for pruning our balcony one to such a degree that he killed it in the end.

Funnily enough when I moved to Tod, hand luggage was limited but I brought the box of fine Chinese cups with me, decorated as they were with the fronds of the wisteria flowers. Several have been broken over time and I needed to keep the last for the family.

2015 earlier blog.

Friday, June 3, 2022


Like many I watched the Jubilee ceremonies on my screen.  Marvelled at the size of the turnout, as soldiers displayed back and forth on the parade ground.  Immaculate in their uniforms, straight lines of dazzling crimson and black busby hats.  A great show underlined by a very long lived monarch with her family on the balcony.  Louie as the youngest next to his great-great granny, was the star.  The whole ceremony heart warming and beautifully enacted.

I of course fell in love with the horses, the sleek black rumps and occasional tossed head reminds us that the guards were riding living creatures.  My favourite as always were the two great drum shire horses, plodding slowly and methodically ahead of the band. 

The world likes to divide us into groups, so either I can be a royalist or a republican.  Well I sit on the fence on this one. nationalist or cynic? I probably fall on the latter.  I think having a separate body of influence in our country is good though for its general welfare.  The Queen has carried out her duties with true diligence and worth, she deserves every one of those ceremonies that bring delight to everyone, giving us a few moments of relief from the evils of a real world.

We are witnessing rather sadly the changeover from her long rule to the next in line.  I actually like Prince Charles and his foolishness, his heart is in the right place and his writings are not too bad either.

Yes we definitely need a monarchy to draw us as a nation together, we need them just as we need the bishops to call out the fatcats and the terrible sinking poverty many people are experiencing at this time because of government dictates.

And before you draw comparisons between the wealth of the royal family, or the pernickety problem of troubles in the family,  Andrew and Harry take a bow on that one, the Queen has held it together through thick and thin. 

In fact like most of us, I think the 2012 Olympics gathered together a history of a nation that was as one in all things, always ready to fight their corner, not talking about war here, but the day to day niggles of a just democracy!! which is failing fast by the way....

So light the beacons, and salute our Queen for a good innings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

1st June 2022

Over the weekend I read an article about  male writers talking about the female writers they had read and been moved by.  It turned out that the favourites were Jane Austen, the Brontes and George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans).  Not exactly up to date but interesting.  

Middlemarch was mentioned, so I sorted through my library in Audible and found it, all 33 hours of  it and have been listening to Eliot's snipey view of life through her heroine's eye Dorothea Brookes.  I am still only on her catastrophic marriage to Casaubon but having the book read to you leaves one to concentrate on what is being said.  Intelligent women such as Eliot, Austen and the Brontes painted their canvases of words with wit and subversive mutterings, feminism lurks on the page.  

When I was young it was written that every young female should read Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'urbervilles to understand the female lot in life.  True, this was a poor girl's wretched journey through life but Hardy, a class act as a fictional writer loved misery.  In fact I might listen to some of his work such as 'Jude the Obscure' to relive that melancholia he so cleverly wrote about.  I think one of my favourite characters was Eustacia Vye In Return of the Native.  

I also found online Mike Pitts ( editor of British Archaeology magazine) lecture on the 'effect' Stonehenge had on the imperalistic Indian Occupation by Britain in the Victorian age.  Now at the end of the Tess book, she is captured at Stonehenge for murder of the suitor that has plagued her through her young life, so it was interesting to see the hold that Stonehenge had on the minds of the men who went to India and saw the standing stones there that was part of that culture.

Grainy photos of how stones were moved dominates the lecture as everyone tries to work out how to move several tons of stone.  Now I don't want anyone to watch the lecture because most people would find it boring but I will record it here. 

Why does it interest? because the shaping of ideas often goes back a long time, we ask, rather foolishly, why do we have war? the answers are often quite simple.......

The raising of stones, has occupied the minds of men (not women I wonder why?) and during the above video through comics and illustrations, various ideas have been put forward.  It is basically down to manpower and rollers, digging a great hole, than manouvering the stone by various means of 'A' frames and very strong ropes into an upright position.