Sunday, July 31, 2022

31st July 2022 - just jotting down thoughts.

"We are declaring a climate emergency. Everyone can, in whatever place on Earth they call home. No one needs to wait for politicians any more – we have been waiting for them for decades. What history shows us is that when people lead, governments follow. Our power resides in what we are witnessing."

Fight the good fight don't give up is what Rebecca Solnit and her writing companion are saying and that is precisely what we should be doing.  Not giving up and slinking back into some hole of hopelessness. Only yesterday I came upon a thread in the Tod Chat of someone saying why don't we create our own energy, surrounded as we are by wind and energy.  Over a hundred replies.  Vertical Axis wind turbines were mooted, smaller than the horizontal wind turbines, they could be used individually on houses and of course along motorways to generate energy.  

Other countries are addressing the crisis, building their roadways to generate energy, making the cost of train fares small to encourage people to use the trains more.  Though in this country the trains are often overcrowded at peak times.  Why the hell  are we spending all that money on HS2, when it could be so much better spent on the infrastructure of revamping existing train services.

We are at this precise moment in time witnessing a government that does not know what to do, so we follow two people vying for leadership, both unsuitable for today's crisis. Take the media hype off them and concentrate on what needs doing urgently now.  We have been lulled into a feeling of doom which will do little to help future generations in their battle to survive.  

For years I have watched the 'sustainable' people craft, individually and selfishly in their own cause though, many ways of producing energy and wondered what about the rest of society when the day of doom arrived.  To be quite honest they used more stuff to create and invent, than was necessary too adding to the piles of waste we already have.

When we talk of using the natural energy around us there is obviously problems when it doesn't work, the wind stays still, the water in the rivers goes low in times of drought and the Archemides Screw will not work, and perhaps James Lovelock is right to defend nuclear power.

James Lovelock was like Rosie in the above video, an engineer/scientist trying to solve problems, they are human, Lovelock now recently dead.  Nuclear power of course is somewhere in the distant future, taking ages to build the great silos that house those dangerous materials.  But scientists are beginning to worry at the speed of climate change and the rise of temperatures, that are setting off fires all around the world.  We have to start doing something now and not put it off whilst two clowns caper in front of us trying to be  leader, perhaps the time is fast approaching, and I don't mean the coming strikes, when we should turn away from government and start addressing these problems ourselves.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Is there anybody there? said the Traveller

 In the face of the coming rise in the cost of living, the Aga was shut down, although it will be used in the winter in this cold house.  In its place we have, all electric, a combination oven, a hob, electric kettle and toaster, which results in a different way of cooking.  My daughter isn't buying herself out of the circumstance just changing the way we do things, the Aga is a great guzzler of gas.

Doesn't the future look doom-laden? who is to blame I wonder, or is it just  a series of events happening together.  War in Ukraine, Putin, the withholding of energy and grain, a government (that is so ridiculous I can't even talk about it!) arguing over its own selfish future and not giving a s**t about this country.  Well I will say one thing, Brexit was an absolute mistake!! It could not have come at a worse time.

But to return to home and the hearth, I can't suss the combination oven.... Lillie is away on scout's holiday and my daughter with her dearly beloved down in Devon on holiday.  I have begun making 'drop scones' instead of the ones you pop into the oven.  The Queen when she was a child cooked drop scones, so I am in good company. A new frying pan, mostly there is only the heavy based Creuset pans to cook with, all garnered secondhand from charity shops, are useless on the hob.  

I have to keep telling myself as I confront the combi oven that it is just like a computer, already programmed, all I have to do is type in a set of instructions and it will work but the rather thick booklet looks complicated....

But just to cheer the page up, this morning I came across a poem, heard and perhaps learnt as a child,  The Listeners - by Walter de la Mere a poem you can almost lose yourself in....

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

a quiet ramble

 I have just finished listening to English Pastoral by James Rebank.  His tale is full of loss and sadness for the land his family has farmed over three generations.  In Wales it is called Hiraeth, how often I have heard that word on the radio.  It means homesickness and a longing for familiar things.

Most of us having wandered away from home have found ourselves in different parts of our small island, commuting to faraway relatives, sometimes finding our rootedness in a special place, other times we live with someone we love, not a bad choice I think.

But there is a price for freedom, we lose that centre of home with the hearth of security.  Rebank takes comfort in his growing children and going against the land destroying farming methods we undertake at the moment.  It started after the last war I suppose, the drive to produce enough food to feed everyone, but we took a false road learning to destroy an old way of life and what is more sinful destroying the natural world along the way.  Now we weep for the vanishing curlew as the great computer driven machines are oblivious to their eggs laid so carelessly in the open tidy fields.

Of course many people fight for the natural world, in this country we make laws to protect them.  we are probably kinder to our pigs and hens than Europe, having made illegal caged hens and those terrible farrow crating hells for pigs and their young.  Beavers have suddenly found protection under law and they will be brought back from other sites in Europe, the badger is less lucky.  The fox has a smidgen of protection from the hunters, and the dear deer have proliferated with gay abandon, forcing our prime minister to say 'go eat venison'  to the hungry!

Yes the hungry still exist, poverty still lurks at the bottom of our society, no alleviation there still.  We forgot to make rules for society as a whole you might say.  The free let rip of the capitalist state said everything is on the table grab what you can.  A few have grabbed, and now look silly with their greed patently on show. Human society never gets it right;)

So yes it was  very enjoyable listening to his story of the family farm, but his sadness broke through for the rape of our land and yes there are farmers out there who are trying to arrive at a compromise but if our children do not find the wonders of the natural world, then we are responsible.  Rebanks ends with the words 'tell it'.  The story of the land...

Mary Colwell on losing our natural world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

26th July 2022

 A couple of days ago I linked on F/B Ken Williams (shadowandstone) excellent photographs of the exhibits at the Stonehenge Exhibition at the British Museum.  Ken Williams is an Irish photographer who has recorded the prehistory of Ireland, especially Knowth in County Meath.  Sadly I can't link the exhibition photos but they were wonderful, Jennie and an old friend from America commented on them.  Bucky and Loie had planned to come over for this showpiece of prehistory, now finished of course.  Unfortunately the friends they were coming over with were ill and they did not make it so he was pleased to see the photos.

But the point of why I mention this because I remember when we had taken Bucky and Loie to see Sea Henge timber in 2012 at the Lynn Museum, he had made a bit of  fuss about the iron banding and small bits of wood that had been chain sawed out of the timbers, causing the museum staff to phone up presumably the archaeologists who had excavated the timbers.  Here is what I wrote at the time.

Anyway this is a personal record to go in my blog, to remember good friends and a trip down to the Norfolk coast, again in cold weather. 

The whole fascinating history of the finding and then conservation of these timbers can be found here in a wiki.

One more thing, my envy and admiration of all my blogger friends as to their wonderful photography I own up to, but just look at Ken Williams Grange Stone Circle in Ireland (and drool).  This most perfect circle was made with something we all did as children, take a pencil and piece of string and form the perfect circle.  This circle was probably drawn by a pole and a rope.  Could well be a twisted honeysuckle rope, the same as the one  found round the Seahenge timbers.

The large central upside down tree trunk, thought to be for 'sky burials'

In our travel diary for our trip with you 2013, I 
wrote After we returned, P~ sent us an email of the text he wanted to post on his Heritage blog: After a few backs and forths, his post read…
“On a recent visit to the Lynn Museum in Norfolk to see the Seahenge Gallery, it was noticed by our American friends, Bucky and Loie, that in each of the trunks that make up the circle there is a wedge-shaped cut extending the whole width of each trunk, and one or two inches into it. Bucky writes that, ‘Loie noticed a horizontal band of discoloration on one timber. When she pointed it out to me, I started looking at all of them and finding similar bands, at different heights. At first, I thought they might be strips of metal helping hold the timbers to the support posts: there was a tiny bit of space between some of the bands and the wood, as if the bands weren’t tight. Looking at the bands from as close to the timber sides as was possible, it was soon apparent the bands were not connected to the metal posts: light was visible between them. So the bands were in or on the wood. I soon saw that where the bands met the sides of the timbers, they continued around the sides. And the continuations were all triangular. It became apparent that the only explanation for all the different aspects we had noted would be horizontal wedges cut into the wood, and then inexpertly filled with some kind of painted putty.’
“The cuts had indeed been filled and in-painted so, in the subdued lighting of the Gallery, they are not easily seen (which actually contravenes accepted conservation practice as restorations should be clearly visible). Staff on the reception desk at Lynn Museum didn’t know what the cuts were (and hadn’t even noticed them before) but after telephoning one of the museum curators it appears that English Heritage’s original intention was to leave the circle in situ to naturally degrade. In order to get as much information as possible before that happened however a wedge was cut out of each timber (not just the infamous chainsaw chunk from the central bole) for dendochronological cross-dating. English Heritage’s decision to leave the circle in situ was then reversed and all the timbers were subsequently removed for safety and conservation (now unfortunately with slices taken out of them—slices which subsequently needed to be filled in and ‘restored’).
“Other observations at the Seahenge Gallery were that not all the timbers from the circle are on show—the rest are in storage at the Museum with no plans to bring them out for display. This is strange because there appears, actually, to be enough room in the Seahenge Gallery to display them all if things were rearranged. The large (and excellent) illuminated photo of the sea actually dissects the Gallery and if this were moved to a side wall the rest of the circle could probably be displayed (ingress and egress to and from the circle being made possible by having the two halves positioned slightly apart).
“What is really disappointing at Lynn Museum’s Seahenge Gallery is the position of the central bole; it stands in its own case outside the circle, against a wall (so one cannot walk round it) and next to a door which is often open and which reveals another gallery with some kind of fairground attraction in it - very disconcerting, not to mention distracting the visitor’s attention from the central bole and the rest of the Seahenge Gallery.
“The Heritage Trust would like to see all of the circle displayed, the bole repositioned within it, and the door to the other gallery either screened off or fitted with a self-closing mechanism. Other suggestions we would like to make are that the replica cast of the smaller bole is removed (it is not a cast of the Seahenge bole anyway but of another one) and a mirror fitted to the ceiling of the case in which the Seahenge bole itself stands (so that its top surface can be seen from below).
“Money to do these things is always a problem of course but perhaps an appeal could be launched to assist in fundraising. A dedicated collection box at the entrance to the Seahenge Gallery might be installed for this purpose. The collection box at the British Museum for example asks for a £5 donation from those who can afford it; a similar request at the Lynn Museum does not seem unreasonable given that it would help towards aiding the full, and proper, display of this unique monument from our ancient past.”
So, I was irritated by the poor display of the artifacts, in general, and Paul was incensed by the dendochronological slices.
That was a good trip!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

23rd July 2022



Edge of England - Landfall in Licolnshire by Derek Turner; 

"Though less than a hundred miles from London, it was as though Lincolnshire had been cut off from the national consciousness, “a large, and largely blank, space, almost islanded by cold sea, great estuaries, soggy wastes, and a filigree of fenny waterways”. It was, Turner concluded, “somewhere people came from, not escaped to”.  Guardian Review

One of the lesser counties of England, it is flat and grows an awful lot of our food, is my only memory of it, except one more perhaps,  a road that had sunk spaced evenly over a great distance forming small hills and dips.  Probably created by heavy duty farming machinery on the marshy ground.  Also Pat loves it ;)

But that aside, and when we went in 2010, it could have been because it was bitterly cold, and the Travel Lodge a bit under the weather, and we couldn't find anywhere to eat.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Ruminating (like a cow;) chewing the cud

 I have been awake since 3 o-clock this morning, at least I was able to wind the old clock up at 4 o-clock, so that its chimes would synchronise with the time.  It gains time but does it matter? It keeps an approximation of time and this technical wizard I am typing on keeps 'exact time'.

I have been alone for several days, it doesn't worry me at all.  My daughter in Shipley, with Andrew coughing his way through Covid, my granddaughter by the Northumbrian coast.  Such a lot of people are getting it at the moment, it is a miserable pox running through the human population.

Listened to a couple of podcasts.  One on Covid,  apparently the lesser offsprings could be with us for decades as they mutate to keep up with our vaccination models.  Joy!  They don't want to kill us though, as their host we need to be kept alive,  so there is a gleam of hope.

The other pod I listened to was on climate change.  Interesting tidbits emerged, architectually we should try some of the old methods for controlling the temperature in our houses.  For instance Georgian sash windows - open the bottom window for cool air, and the top window lets hot air out.  Those wooden shutters you see on Swiss houses, well they maybe worth investing in.  Also buy a house North/South facing, the new build houses facing East/West trap the heat inside (and forget those tall skyscrapers with floor to ceiling glass).

And of course plant trees everywhere for they bring the temperature down with their shady walks.  Paint your roof white, all that black just absorbs heat.

As a sort of edit, I wondered why I had chosen that title.  I think it is to do with the book I am listening to at the moment.  James Rebank in 'English Pastoral' sad words for the dairy cows bred to produce lots of milk and living on silage permanently in barns.  Factory farming in other words. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

20th July 2022

Well I will presume we all made it through the hottest two days on record for this country.  It wasn't pleasant and the ambulance sirens keep ringing in my ears but we are granted a reprieve.  Watching people's reaction is interesting.  In this house we are trying to buy our way out of expensive energy bills.  I opened the parcels yesterday that are stacked in the sitting room, but that orange kettle and yellow toaster isn't the answer.  I have still to open the hob and table top cooker - yes we can try and buy our way out for a time. 

But nature has thrown a large spanner into the fray, and I hate to say this,  nature has the upper hand, or perhaps I should say science along with knowledge.  We have pushed this Earth to its limit, it will take its revenge, perhaps we should have read that 1972 book, 50  years ago and heeded the warning "The Limits to Growth"

For all those who rubbish our Earth in the paltry satisfaction of having a bigger bank balance, it definitely won't bring you longer life, the ground on which you walk will turn brown and crisp beneath your feet.  You can deny climate change as manmade and still call it a natural phenomenon, but it is there...

Thought for the day!!

Edit;  Where has Greta Thunberg disappeared to you might ask, is she not out there fighting with her young friends for a better world, or has she got bored with the whole thing.  After all, what is more important now then who will be the next prime minister?  The choice by the way will leave you in absolute despair.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

17th july 2022

In our cool valley, the heat is yet to come.  Early morning it is always dull.  this morning I took a photo of the zinging colour of the nasturtiums, and captured a photo that made me happy, the large bottom of a bee inside one of the flowers.  My gardening efforts in this small backyard are beginning to take over.  How do I like flowers, untidy would be my answer.  Giving the insects a feast to probe round.  A tiny jewelled beetle or a bumblebee resting will tell me the balance is right.  Colours yes, but also the soft grey/green of sage leaves, the blue of the hyssop plant, and the shimmering bronze colour of the fennel.

I forgot to listen to the last zoom programme of the Northern hustings last night but remembered at the last minute to get an hour in.  Many of the same faces were vying for these places, Molly Scott Cato was there and I remembered the video of her in the EU chamber when she was an MEP and her put down of the obviously conservative male.......  Politics, the  drudge of campaigning would put most people off but I would say it is the planning of strategies and hustling for a place at the table would be the most off putting.

I see down below in the link that one conservative is sticking to his convictions and promises to stick to the net zero pledge he made.

My granddaughter is off tomorrow for a fortnight with the scouts, luckily they are going North to Northumbria but even so it will be hot in the van.  As parts of Europe burn under intense heat, luckily our relationship with the sea protects us somewhat but even so will not one of those running for office put this crisis at the front of their inane promises...

Climate chief Alok Sharma warns: I may quit if new PM dumps net zero pledge

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Books and the 'Divi'

I am reading 'All Our Own Work' by Andrew Bibby.  A book that covers the Co-operative movement and societies up North.  He is writing about the establishment of a worker owned mill - Nutclough Mill, which made Fustian cloth, the 'denim' of the 19th century.  It wasn't exactly a worker's mill, the money was raised by subscription, the capital raised split three ways.  Interest, decent by the way nearer 10%, to the investors, a percentage, or bonus to the workers and the rest for capital or re-investment.  We still have similar schemes in Waitrose, John Lewis and of course the good old Co-op supermarkets.

Bibby writes about the flurry of co-operative movements that started up at the time, the Owenites and its leader Robert Owen had started a vision of an Utopian Socialist society, fairer to the worker and a way of pulling people out of poverty. People invested in these schemes, I suppose they were enthusiastic for the burgeoning industrial age, but the workers were still underpaid, poverty was the lot of many people.   Here in Yorkshire as the workers left their looms in the home and worked at the mills, such as Salt Mill, conditions were still bad.  An interesting read, though many would find it dull but I shall persevere.

The other book which I am listening to at the moment, is 'English Pastoral by James Rebank', and no don't be taken by the innocous word 'pastoral' it is not cosy life in Olde England.   He regrets the way farming has gone  in a different way from the last world war, the use of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides..  He farms two farms and regrets the passing of his grandpa's way of farming which has long gone now.

Audible gives away sales book free, 1 bought, 1 free.  So I chose a Val Mcdermid to read.  I have almost read through Ellie Griffiths and Phil Rickman, so have started a new author.  She is rather more brutal in her writng and I am not sure I care for her, perhaps P.D. James would be better.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

14th July 2022

 There are good things happening and bad.  There seems to be a deal for allowing the grain to make a peaceful passage by sea from Ukraine, without Russia bombing the shipping.  Talks in Turkey have made some progress, signatures next week.   Though the Russian hold on their gas so that they can stop its export to Europe is a tad worrying.  In this country  drought looms on the horizon, so less water use in this hot weather please.

An unwanted visitor has made its way back from London, my daughter has Covid, flu like systems, so she is a bit miserable.  Windows are open all over the house, we avoid each other she has her big attic bedroom and the sitting room, I have my own bedroom and kitchen. She came back full of ideas from London, one of them is that we empty two rooms in the house and I move my stuff in storage in.  Waiting for a flat across the road has been a long wait and no success yet, so I will think about it.  

The Aga is going to be closed down as well (due to very high bills) but still kept.  Her love affair with this ungainly creature, heart of the home, means it will go back on in winter.  The only change to fuel for it is from gas to electricity, hardly a choice!

1)And so to my choice of photos for today, water predominates of course.  I can trace a memory back to each photo, the three roses I laid on Paul's fancy Japanese styled coffin as it stood in the cremation room is captured in the early roses and orange blossom.

2)The second one, the path to the sea and the wonder of an enormous vista of water reaching to the horizon and not quite blending with the sky.  Tall wind turbines out to sea.  We need to invest in this form of energy and of course the great energy of the sea as the moon washes it back and forward in everlasting motion.  The Buck Moon last night is the biggest so far this year.

3) I love packhorse bridges, narrow, only the width of one cart, they still dominate in forgotten lanes and down to small villages.  They are incredibly durable and evocative.

4) The beck.  Brown stained clear water from the peat.  A great tumble of rocks washed down over time, reminding us that once fierce waters, ice glaciers once dominated this land.  The sound of the curlew and once the bright call of the cuckoo, who seemed completely out of his way in this wild landscape.

5) Avebury following the small River Kennet, past Silbury Hill up to West Kennet Long barrow.  So many memories there.  Following the many theories that have been made upon this landscape.  Just read one recently about the anthropomorphic nature of the stones.  We see faces in everything is the argument.....

Things I miss - roses

Long walks, this is in Norfolk down to the beach where Seahenge was found

Always meant to take photos of the pack bridges round North Yorkshire.  One needs to meditate on the singular keystone that holds the curve ;) Remove it and what will happen?

Brown becks

Solitary walks around Avebury

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

12th July 2022

A thin dark haired young school boy scrapped slowly at what we were uncovering, he was spouting furiously political discourse.  This was the first time I had met the young lad who was to bring such political disarray to the Green Party.  The place an archaeological excavation run by my then husband somewhere round Chippenham.

That lad was bright, intense and his mind tumbled with the sheer  delight of his beliefs.  I think he was the point of no return for the Green Party, when he smashed through with his socialist ideals, the Reds were definitely overtaking the greens. Moderates like myself were swept aside as this eco-socialist bludgeoned his way through our small Wiltshire group a few years later.  He was to do exactly the same with the election of Sara Parkin.  At the time I despaired of the GP and this particular band of thugs overriding decisions.  Sounds a bit like the conservative party doesn't it?  The long complicated form of discussing everything and most of all the voting that took place, fairness was the cry as it slowly evolved away from the childish fury of this driven man.

Well yesterday I watched a Zoom meeting, yes I actually sat for a couple of hours whilst several people tried to convince us why they should be running for office.   Some were people like  me who had grown old with time, the younger contenders were still vibrant, age had not whittled away their energy.  Slowly, very slowly the GP has edged forward with its presence in the country, GP councillors sit on many of our town councils.  Still there is only one party member - Caroline Lucas in government and two members in the House of Lords, Jennie Jones and Natalie Bennett.  

Now the only way for there to be more emphasis on the problems of how we address the desperately needed plans to create a self sustaining world with a few more green ideas. It is for us to make a bold move to proportional representation.  Being simple I am not quite sure how PR goes forward but I do know that democratically all problems should be solved by as many people as possible and not be an elite group of self-serving people, who just happen to have gone through the same set of schools and universities as they have.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. Maybe many of us won't be here to greet her, but on a quiet day, if I listen very carefully, I can hear her breathing."

Arundhati Roy, from War Talk

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sunday - 10th July 2022

 It is Sunday, a day of peace and calm, Radio 3 plays in the background and I wonder what to write about.  The words that come to mind are 'ecology grief' .  Yesterday I watched a webinair of an articulate small group of people discussing the slow extinction of the curlew.  Though here I must add that there are eight different species of the curlew.  

Someone only yesterday in America said that there were less birds coming to her feeding trays, it is happening everywhere of course.  We would be terribly lost without the song of spring birds, the cuckoo who has made his long journey from the Sahara.  The wading birds that line our shorelines and sea marshes.  The curlew with its long elegant beak made for probing in soft sand silt, and its bubbling cry that seeks our heart out to acknowledge that all is right with the world.  When it definitely isn't.  

On F/B I have a group from Wiltshire and the Marlborough Downs, who capture, picture perfect, the brown hares gazing up from a sea of golden wheat, or the bright dark eyes of a roe deer.  Yesterday they were tagging birds the bright yellow of yellowhammers and lesser colour of corn buntings.  

There is a half-hearted attempt in the farming community, lured of course by extra cash from the government, to plant strips of food and wildflower for these birds of the meadow but of course we have lost the great bulk of wild birds over the last few decades.  As they become fewer so breeding and finding a mate becomes more difficult.

Our birds, like butterflies, are like rare jewels in our lives.  I remember Andrew saying last week as he showed me the view from his balcony, you can see the kingfisher flying over the river below, and the geese almost flying parallel with the balcony.

Birds are definitely part of the background of our life, we may curse the seagull for the robbing of our chips at the seaside, or the street pigeon for its domination of our towns but it would be a great deal quieter without them.  But birds are like us humans, bad and good, we need something to moan at.  So when I hear poetry written for them, music played with sadness for their decline I am grateful for all those people who fight for their survival.

A farm in the Yorkshire Dales.  -  Summer

Welsh children singing to the curlew

Friday, July 8, 2022

A small rant to an Ex

 To Boris

Interesting times indeed. The newscasters must have been wetting themselves in the excitement of news happening every five minutes yesterday.  My granddaughter rushed into the room "59 have resigned granny" she said.  So that is the end of a vain, lying creature.  The one, never forget this, that wrote two articles for Brexit, one for, the other against.  The nonsensical nationalistic, backward looking treaty we see today. Thank you Boris, yes, you will go down in history but not how you expected.

When all the fuss has died down, and hopefully they will sack you immediately sir, the whole bloody government will I trust get back to governing this country.  Just a few problems around I think you will find.  I don't know how the new chancellor will solve the problem of tax, but there are a lot of worried people who are finding the cost of living a tad too much.  Energy costs, food costs and rents that creep up inexplicably.

Read an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday, a solicitor who catered to the rich, you know finding all those off shore places to put their wealth in. Well, she became rather shocked at the meaness of this, so she reversed her role, and now advises them (and they are willing to pay taxes) to put their money to better use.

Be very afraid as well;)  my granddaughter has stuck her letter of giving her the right to vote to the fridge as of when she comes of age. The young will win out in the end!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

7th July 2022


Book Listening:  I have been listening to 'On Gallows Down by Nicola Chester. subtitled 'Place, Protest and Belonging'.  One of the books that was in Sue of Suffolk's  Nature reading list.

The first part deals with Greenham Common - Peace Camp (1980) and Newbury Bypass, (l996) both places of protest in the 20th century.  Both Wikis give good accounts of what was happening at the time.

But Nicola Chester is really writing about belonging and home.  She is an avid nature walker, often when she had young family, strapping the baby to her body, or taking her out in the pram on long walks round the area.  She had been born near to Greenham Common but her father, who was a fire fighter, moved around quite a bit in the district.  She married a countryman who worked on the big estates round the area, and this gave her free run of the countryside.  As you can see she lived in different homes, tenant cottages mostly, so belonging did not necessarily mean to the houses it was the land that called her.

She is a fine writer, passionate about her world but with that once removed countrywoman's attitude as she collects dead animals to be buried and then retrieved for their bones and skull, which so delight her young son.

Still haven't finished the book, Robert Macfarlane rates it as 'passionate, political and personal'.  Definitely a female perspective is my understanding of the book, just wondering if Macfarlane is not being a bit too condescending in his rating .....

And for those who like videos - The Wild Horses of Newbury.  They came from nowhere and challenged the security men and the police on horses.  One of those magical happenings I think.  I have always been interested in protest movements.  The naive innocence of the protesters up against the brute force of security men and the police.  And the ending words - What has become of you England - could well be echoing down the years till today, as we watch the fiasco of Boris Johnson trying to be a president?  As if!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Play Time

I can only see the funny side of things of course!  The thought of the furniture shuffling out of No. 10 reminds me of the humour of the olden days.  Will he/won't he? Putting up a good fight though but who the hell wants a liar for a prime minister?
A helicopter is buzzing overhead, someone must have fallen off the rocks up on the moors, or broken an ankle.  There was a photo this morning of the great Yorkshire viaduct, whose name escapes me, further along there were at least three dozen land rovers, all for mountain rescue.......


6th July 2022

A few days back there was a quiz in the family, famous singers who had died at the age of 27 years.  I was hardly expected to know anyone - but then I piped up with Nick Drake - who sadly died at the age of 26 years old.  Well respect!!

He died of an overdose, whether deliberate or not, no one knows but was into drugs and they drove him to the edge.  I keep remembering a video of his home but cannot find it, it had that eerie feeling of black and white and the trees that you find in the trailer of  'Pink Moon'.  Sadly he never became famous in his life, post fame is his only glory and yet I find his life and music reflects the times he lived in. The LSD that my cousin took, the aimless life of squats in London.  The journeys in search of gurus - what was it all about? 

Anyway here is a song of his....


The three minute trailer of Pink Moon

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Changing times


This morning my daughter gave me a paperback to look through.  It was 'Nairn's London' written by Ian Nairn an architectural journalist.  It's your era mum 1966.  I have thumbed through the photographs and photographed the ancient Penguin book, with those telltale Penguin signs of yellow browning pages.  What struck me first was the price 8/6, proffer a ten shilling note and you will get back one shilling and 6 pennies.  

So London as it was in the 1966, I was probably working there at the time, off Goodge street, working for Mr.Woolf in his little kingdom of businesses. I ran his hub from my small office, plug in phones to the solicitor upstairs and 'The Dependabl Relay Company' downstairs.  Doing the accounts on a primitive machine and chatting to my friends Mary and Jill who worked round the corner at Rimini's dress shop, also part of our empire!  Not forgetting the people who rented rooms in our large building.  I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of times then.  I multi-tasked beautifully!

Now two of my grandchildren are taking that journey through London and life, and a third one when she has completed her 6th form at Rochdale College, will probably also make her way up to see if the streets are really paved in gold.....

The coinage made me think of the pennies and small silver that accumulates on the shelf, what to do with them, they are really and truly becoming superfluous to our needs.  In this household everyone just flashes their phones at hand held receivers in shops, etc.

And just for the record, a rerecorded video (filmed in 1980) of three Irish brothers, two of whom weave and the third grows the food and tends to the housekeeping.  There must be a story in there somehow!

On this day; two members of the cabinet have resigned.   Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid.  Is this the beginning of the long drawn out ending of Boris Johnson?

Monday, July 4, 2022

A small moan; 4th July 2022

 I wish I had taken a photo of the 'great crush' on the train we experienced yesterday.  We had gone into Hebden Bridge to see off Matilda and have tea where Lillie worked. But back at the station we sat for near on three quarters of an hour for a delayed train back to Tod.  It arrived.  Spewed out a few people, and as we went to the door to get on but the rail guard barred everyone and said to try further down because the carriage was full.  We managed to get on and sardines express it perfectly.  A little girl clutched her father's leg beneath me and people laughed and joked but it was just bad management on the part of Northern Railways.  They are so mean with how many carriages they put on.

Haven't finished yet, if there is a CEO reading this (as if) what is the point of closing down ticket offices, if the ticket machines don't work?  Saltaire machine was not working, and when the ticket minder came round he gave me a ticket with 'not valid for Leeds' though in actual fact the train was heading for Leeds ;).

The next ticket minder, just waived this anomaly away.  So what are we seeing?  A government refusing to pay for manpower on the railways and a digital compromise in faulty ticket machines.  The one at Tod did not work either.  I shall have to invest in an app I suppose!

Sunday, July 3, 2022

A Trip to Salt Mill

Our day out;  Leaving Andrew's pent house top floor flat overlooking the river and yes Andrew I have taken note of your books and prints on the wall.  So of course has Matilda - she was so impressed, as am I of course.  We made our way to Salt Mills.  Matilda is my other granddaughter, I call her 'glampuss' studying to be a fashion journalist in London.  Be a bit nervous around here, her 'culling' of certain people is a bit scary, old people and middle-aged men who leer, first on the list.  I escape the culling because I write a blog...

Salt Mills is in Saltaire and Andrew lives in Shipley, a scant ten minutes walk from the mill.  All of course parts of the City of Bradford, recently branded a Culture City up here in the North.  And of course handed this title because of the artistical heritage of the mill and David Hockney of course.  Also note Andrew lives in Shipley because of the attachment to Hockney's gallery space in the mill.

We pottered around the enormous lengths of floor spaces, studying the piles of neatly arranged sketch pads, painting materials and all number of exciting stuff to start a lifetime of art work.  Or the books, great treasures of the art of photography, art and cookery (Bosh was there YP).  I see Google has dismissed it as a shopping centre, little do they know of Culture;)

And so we made our way to the fourth floor, which is the loft, and the latest exhibition - David Hockney's 'A Year in Normandie'.  It was inspired during the lockdown and funnily enough by a Chinese scroll he had seen.

The lift door opened, and facing us was this vast empty space of the loft, turn left into a dark room with one solitary chair for you to sit on to view the video show of the 'frieze of the year'. All very symbolic, the answer for its solitariness comes at the end of the paintings. Which unfold in the other half of the loft.

Hockney had moved to Normandy and with his ipad and acyrilics painted this continuous band of a nature year.  Matilda was not all that impressed basically because there was no humans or birds in the work.  I was intrigued by the work, the vernacular architecture had been caught, as had the state of the trees as they passed through the seasons, an old chair in solitary state came at the end.  Which of course explained the chair we had passed in the video room - a bit anti-social maybe though?

So the photos, a record, to thank Andrew for looking after us so beautifully and to my granddaughter for being her usual sparkling wit.

You could have held a cycle race in this loft

Matilda striking a pose


The start

In Spring

Clipped the roof off here

Article in the Guardian which explains 'the chair' and Celia.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Chaos - a moment in time

Soon I will be heading for the train with Matilda and Karen to Andrews.  This house is in a turmoil of girls in their Prom dresses getting ready to be picked up and off to the ball!  Lillie looks very pretty, been to the hairdressers to have her hair styled, Matilda has done her makeup, Lillie has her mother's basque on cinched in tight.   What could go wrong?  Alcohol has been moved down to the basement, food and soft drinks instead.

We have been a household of females, Matilda came down from London for a few days, though she is probably missing the night life, Tod can be very, very quiet for the young!