Thursday, September 29, 2022

29th September 2022

Well it is the quiet notes of radio 3 this morning and a no-pay audio book by Susan Hill - Mist in the Mirror.  Audible/Amazon always gets worried when I don't splurge on another three books, so you get a freeby.

So apparently there are more than four Apocalyptic Horses gathering on the horizon - pensions, mortgages, heating and eating - joy.  Welcome to the new Tiger eating world of Truss and Kwarteng.  Or perhaps it is a Roman world?  throw the populace into the ring and watch them slug it out with the wild animals. Enough.

In my emails this morning, and I haven't even touched the 'news' ones yet was a reminder from 'Fruity Knitting', an engaging Australian duo of mother and daughter who knit, of their new Youtube video.  My passion as you know.  Coincidentally they were going to a wool festival in Prince Edward island, right in the track of the Fiona storm.  So they were able to give some footage of it.  The daughter explained the tracking of the storm in such a practical manner, that even I understood it.  They survived unharmed but with no power and eating out of tins.  They were worried the camera was not going to hold out but it did.  So there they sat in their hotel room, with a great pile of knitting wool and chatted away.

I think to be honest I am going to be 'away with the fairies' and just concentrate on the calmness of knitting.  Think Cro should join me as well, a few weeds on the streets of Brighton is really not a worry at the moment. ;)

So what have I found, a traditional ruined family house in Shetland which you might like.  Somehow I see a theme emerging from my writing today but it is not all doom and gloom, just winter coming and a new political change on the way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

27th September 2022

Today I came across a memory.  Trapped in the music of Mary Chapin Carpenter below.  Two memories of course, for Joan Baez joins her at the beginning of the video and we are once again living in the 1960s amongst the tumult of those times.  I will return to the tumult of present times somewhere in the future, as the whole horror show plays out.

'Stones in the Road', music we played in the car as we went on our visits of Essex churches, and found the old stones gathered round churches, and under them of course.  Pudding stone is one of the geological stone you can find in Essex, a messy cake of pebbles concreted together.... Whether the stones were prehistoric is not sure but it was fun to wander.

Probably used as a reinforcing layer for the flint stonework

Reuse of Roman tile at corner

Ulting church near Chelmsford

Protruding stone Broomfield Church

It was Ingatestone that caught my eye on TMA and I remembered those two stones that sat strangely on either side of the road. Paul had also captured the stone outside, or across the street from the cottage in Flowergate in Whitby  Here.

The London Stone is somewhat difficult to find, especially as most of it resides inside a shop, and its provenance may be no more early than Roman times.  There is of course the long wild Celtic tale told of Bran the Blessed, whose head was taken to London to ward off invasion by the French, and somehow I always get the story of the stone and Bran's talking head mixed up.

I seem to have strayed from the music but there are so many memories brought on by listening it is difficult not to record them.

Inigo Jones - Stonehenge (Gutenberg)

Relief!  There is a reality show to find another prime minister, perfect timing by Channel 4 at 9.15  Make Me Prime Minister

Monday, September 26, 2022

26th September 2022

 Who was talking about death the other day?  Well Lillie was being a bit peeved with me because I have had four Covid jabs and she has only had two or three?  Why do old people get more notice than the young people, who are (supposedly) the life blood of this country we wonder.  Well the answer is mostly because in a caring society we look after our old and obviously Covid doesn't take the young down as it does the old.

She suddenly looked  embarrassed with her thoughts and I smiled at her turmoil, because, now a thought flies across my mind, does our fear of death keep everyone alive because of guilt.  I am of the opinion that we should have the right to  own death in our own time.  And I think law moves towards this slowly.

Here I sit with my oil radiator on, there is a plumber downstairs in the basement fixing the heating, a new part was needed.  So joy, not just one person has turned up this morning but three.  The other two are builders, who are quoting the three jobs identified.  Though as my daughter says - I'll pay them anything, just as long as they do it!

The weather has turned sharply cold, North-East wind I think, and there are news stories of minus degrees this week as a storm billows past from Iceland.  Climate change denialists the future is here....

I save spiders, and when people go into hysteria (my granddaughters) when a spider pops up and scuttles across the carpet, rather than kill will catch it and put it outside...  But what intrigues me about this meme is the last line,  are humans so selfish that we are able to destroy the living planet we live on just because it doesn't fit in with our perception of our own precious selves?

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Just filling space

 I don't need to watch ordinary television, I can find everything I want on the internet.  Have been watching the short environmental films of Waterbear, then Ian Hislop this morning and last night when I couldn't sleep Dudley Moore and Peter Cooke.  It was Y/P with his duo comedians that sent me off to find Dudley Moore, mostly to find if they were as funny as I remembered them.  Sort of ish especially their flights of fancy as they drink beer and tell each other of finding naked female film stars in their respective beds when they come back from the pub. The stories getting taller by the minute.

Humour has come a long way, and there are certain things you can't make a joke of (and if this government has its way, no poking fun at them as it will become criminalised). But we were raised on satire, That Was the Week that was, immediately comes to mind.  Then the Goons, Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks, they still resound down through the decades.

We had to get up early (and dressed) for a 7 0 clock morning delivery from Morrisons.  The gradual increase in prices are beginning to show, though how olive oil has reached the grand figure of £7 plus, when Lidl's price is still at £3.69 is a mystery.  Such things can be easily given up, after all there is always pressed rapeseed oil on the same shelf.

An enormous slow cooking pot has appeared from the basement,but when there is only three of us it will difficult to fill.  I can't see my family indulging in casseroles either, especially as we don't eat meat. we are still waiting for one of the men, who have promised but do not turn up to make some more shelving for the basement.  

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Luddites all


There is absolutely nothing I can say today except I hope the political demise of these two happens soon! As for Rees-Mogg, total stultifying silence on my part!  'Scandal' story from the left in this country.

Jonathan Freedland on Class War

Though obviously there is also the sad news at the early death of Hilary Mantel and her ability to express so exquisitely not only her fictional historic framework of an Elizabethan era but her wittiness depicting today's society.

Friday, September 23, 2022

23rd September 2022

My daughter returned exhilarated from her trip to Switzerland, the late Manchester to London plane had made them miss the next plane but were put up free in a hotel for the night.  Transport was never easy in this country ;) listen to Lillie on catching a bus to Rochdale in the morning!

Karen's two aunts were visited and trips out to restaurants.  They went out to the Bahyse restaurant in BlonayDo you remember it mum, yes, definitely.  The morel mushroom cream sauce was literally to die for alongside frites, delicious.  Always declined the steaks though!  Also of course fillet de perch, a delicious version of our own fish and chips. 

They went up to stay in the mountains for a few days which they enjoyed, rather than skiing they scootered down the mountain.

All busy in the house, now she is back, we need a heating engineer to turn on the heating, it is cold. Water pressure is low but for that I suppose we need a couple of weeks rain! 

Two rooms are being emptied for my stuff, the lad moving a double bed at the very top of the house has just been and coming back at lunchtime to take it away.  My furniture that I bought from the cottage was truly slimmed down and I only bought and filled 20 boxes, by way of rationing myself, the rest I left behind.

So all change.  I have one very big room and one small room for my stuff, just enough for a small flat (which might come up in the future across the road)  I am definitely looking forward to what I have packed.  Books especially.  Gave so much away to Oxfam, even the silver service teaset,  brought for my first marriage, but there is freedom on not owning 'stuff'.  After all it just gets passed through the family who are not sure what to do with it all.

Today there is the worrying news of the drafting of Russian men in the war against Ukraine, it breaks one heart to think that a few men in authority can bring about the death of many.  I just pray that there is a revolt against the Russian president Putin in his own country.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Springfield Cursus

 Springfield Cursus for Debby;

"The Springfield Cursus is not far from the River Chelmer in Essex. It was some 40 m wide and 670 long m long, and a pit surrounded by a semi-circular ditch abuts the southern ditch at 200 m from the eastern end. There are in the vicinity traces of various other monuments, including possibly an oval longbarrow, and at the eastern terminal there has been a ring of posts (about 26 m in dia), possibly placed there at a late date in its history. In the neighbhourhood of the Springfield ring there were many small pits containing burnt flints and cremations of cattle, sheep and pig. There is no firm evidence as to date, a find of Mortlake pottery in a ditch inclined the excavators of a date at the end of the third millenium or late" Maybe potential alignments on Spica, Pollux and alpha Centauri (34th C bc)"

The Neolithic interpretation of the Springfield Cursus

Late Bronze Age settlement by Springfield 

Cursuses (not sure how you spell it) were first thought of as probable race tracks in the 19th century, but are more likely to be part of  ritual ceremonies. Trackways are often situated next to Bronze Age barrows, one thinks because of ancestor worship.  And you see there is a Neolithic barrow there as well and a small circle.  Essex by the way does not have much evidence of stone circles because on this Eastern side of England there is hardly any stone, and probably the circles would have been wooden and have disappeared over time.

There is a cursus at Stonehenge the great necropolis of barrows  show that many people from all over the country and abroad came there, probably to meet and feast (and trade?).  Durrington Walls a couple of miles away testifies to this.

Stonehenge is most likely derived from 'hanging stones', words change through the centuries. In fact the trilithons' two  vertical stones with a horizontal stone on top are an imitation of a wooden method of construction, with two tenons on top to fit the horizontal stone securely....

Archaeology is a very deep rabbit hole to go down ;)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


The law locks up the man or woman

Who steals the goose of the common

But leaves the greater villian loose 

Who Steals the common from the goose.

A 17th century poem that caught the time of Enclosure, when the Commons  was apportioned by direction of the then government to private ownership.  But obviously it is still going on.  Though I did  read this morning that the Russian oligarchies houses in London may be seized and used at homing the homeless. We will see.

A more joyous thought was of the gypsy ponies on the water meadows outside Chelmsford.  These flood meadows stretched for many acres and were a good place to walk especially down to the Fox and Raven pub for a meal or a pint.

The Gypsy lads were often in the pub, but keeping their eye on the ponies and would leap the hedge into the field to go and visit them.  Funnily enough I am listening to Phil Rickman's - The Cure of Souls, which has plenty of Gypsy lore in its storytelling. But exaggerated of course. 

Prehistory also figured in these water meadows, for 'The Springfield Cursus'  ran along part of its length to the late Bronze Age settlement, later a Saxon settlement though now  scrubland, adjacent to the large warehouses that sat outside the town.

Getting used to the cold, but had a funny turn, which I can only attribute to the cold but luckily did not pass out, which I have done before.  Yesterday, a note of congratulations to myself, got the Wordle  word by the second line.  My choice of word for the first line being 'adieu'. But it was luck of course!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

A reflection


Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.

T.S. Elliot, Burnt Norton
(first of 'Four Quartets')

Today the 'Gypsy Horses' came through on memories but I shall keep them for a later blog.  Today is the penultimate day before the State function of the burial service of our Queen, I am going to remember another king who caused some controversy over his burial.  I chanced upon it whilst meandering through warm summers down by the river.

Richard III, eventually buried at Leicester Cathedral after a lengthy court case as to where he should be buried, either at Leicester or York.  It seems an expensive and lengthy legal battle ensued as to where his last resting place should be.  Mike Pitts in his summary of the case gives a detailed outlook on the findings.

History has a funny way of turning up, Elliot tried to capture the moment in time when everything seems to be at one, past, present, future.  We go through another royal funeral, taking with us the past, the Gormenghastian tradition of old rites played out once more.  But what is Royal blood I wonder? Will there be an upsurge of Republicans counting the cost?  All history in the making and as Elliot says "only in a world of speculation".

And for another poem this time by Carol Ann Duffy on the burial of King Richard III, read by the slightly controversial Benedict Cumberpatch.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

17th September 2022

King Arthur's Hall

I am sitting, rather magnificently, draped in a royal blue heated blanket.  The temperature on my phone says 4 degrees, and it feels that cold.  I am not going to complain about the cold, many people are worse off than me, and my heart goes out to them.  Recently I have watched videos of distraught people, and I shall call them poor, who cannot pay for heating or food

Thank you Conservative party for allowing this to happen, to sit calmly by, whilst the NHS falters as you try to privatise it.  Thank you for making sure all your cronies are paid up front, skimming all the profit which goes into the pockets of investors and CEOs, so pleased they will have comfortable lives.  But what about the rest of the people?

We are sitting on a sinking ship, with the rich taking all the plunder with them as they make for the lifeboats.  Okay perhaps I exaggerate to a point.  Energy prices are not just down to the Russians, this problem has been festering for a few years, we have made a reasonable start in green energy but more has to be done.  Our new prime minister is promising a cap on energy bills, but at the same time tax cuts for the better off.  Generous not. 

If I had to forecast anything, it would probably be the fall of the conservative party, two absymal PMs have made it so, sadly the opposition doesn't hold out much better.  London centralism is ruining the rest of the country whilst rewarding the foreign bankers who they hope to woo..........

That is my moan for today:  Good things that happened this week.

Peace - The Chelmer River

My daughter and Andrew are having a good time in Switzerland, yesterday moved up to the mountains, it looks pretty rugged.  A friend has been sending me photos of the new excavation at King Arthur's Hall on Bodmin Moor.  I wonder if this tantalising site will ever reveal its secret.  I reckon multi-use over the centuries and there won't be any bog bodies in the pool that lies at its heart. (Or King Arthur's sword!)

When the cows come down from the mountain summer pastures to overwinter in the barns in Switzerland


Thursday, September 15, 2022

A Zen meditation

Probably my most favourite words below for it conjures up an image of water flowing for evermore......

Clearing the mind and sliding in
to that created space,
a web of waters streaming over rocks,
air misty but not raining,
seeing this land from a boat on a lake
or a broad slow river,
coasting by.

Yesterday I listened to two writers who I like.  Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder, both American as you can tell by the names.  They chatted easily about their books and poems, and of course their lives.

Snyder had lived in Japan for sometime and had married a Japanese wife but then he returned to America and built a homestead.  Can you imagine doing that in Britain for goodness sake, with the great letter of the law finding a thousand reasons not to build.  I fancy a 'tiny home' and often look at videos where people live quite happily with less but create a home both practical and beautiful.  Much easier to do in the outbacks of Australia, New Zealand and America though.

Six Persimmons

Snyder mentioned 'The Six Persimmons' a very famous thirteenth century painting by a Chinese monk called Mu Qui, it is in Kyoto.  It is drawn with blue-back ink, the brush stroke must be accurate as it touches the paper.  Reminded me of the recent event of the pen that covered King Charles fingers with ink and put him  in a bad mood, well Mu Qui used his brush with a greater skill.

As a drawing its symbolic message and understanding of it can be found in this short wiki on it and also in the video which I shall put on below.  For it is simplistic, until you start to study it.

Paul had introduced the painting to me, as he did the following mantra, which I found on one of my blogs.  The old Buddhist prayer book is featured in this blog.  The Four Vows.

Prayer or mantra, it is simple.

I have never studied Buddhism, I think of it as a state of  'not being' which some would say is a state of death but than others would say that our dust melds with the dust of everything else and becomes part of the Universe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

14th September 2022. A definite chill in the air

In hushed tones the BBC follows minutely every twist of the funeral of the Queen.  Today the goodwill and robust nature of the people queueing outside Westminster Hall,  all night and it rained heavily.  The final farewell for the family and staff of  Buckingham Palace, captured on the above video from the Guardian.  As respectful as any newspaper you will find.

At the moment because of her grace and goodness, Queen Elizabeth II is the most important person in the world.  She takes our minds off war in Ukraine, a cold winter because energy has been limited somewhat. Even Liz Truss must be rejoicing as the satirical tongue of the media is quiet and pays respect to the Queen and Truss stays in the background.

My granddaughter said the other day, that she was living through a whole series of important events and she is right of course, they have clustered around this one moment in time.

But my mind has been elsewhere of course.  Thinking of the stray sentence I heard on the radio yesterday about how it doesn't cost much to fill three hot water bottles.  Now did he mean three hot water bottles for three people or three hot water bottles for one person.  How would you carry them for instance.  This is a problem no less, for I find wrapping yourself in a heated blankets has problems when you go to walk away being still attached to the plug on the wall!

Another thought strayed across my mind as well, as I listened to the 'suburban painter' and went in search of him but couldn't find this particular one but found another.  Harry Bush (1883 - 1957) who had lived through two World Wars.  He never quite got out of obscurity, but his finely worked paintings of suburbia records the bombing in London.

Harry Bush - A Corner of Merton
And if anyone has any quibbles about the way that I write, please leave your name, not anonymous.  I might go in for banishment even though I am polite, but not that polite.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Photos - Wheeldale beck

The photos below came through this morning.  A favourite place Paul and I would  drive to with Lucy who also adored it. And yes I have written often of it before, but will still go on doing it!  You drove through Pickering on the road to the village of Newton-on-Rawcliffe and then a narrow country lane till you reached the moors and then dipping down to the beck.  Carry on past the stopping place, here you would rise again sharply up the hill till you once more traversed the straight road.  On either side occasional standing stones.  Probably as a reminder when the snow fell of the road to follow. 

One photo shows a cottage we viewed in Rawcliffe.  Pretty village with plenty of good walks but the cottage was a disappointment. Although long, it was broken down into two rooms downstairs and one very large bedroom and then two smaller ones.  What with hardly any garden at the back and a shared drive we did not buy.  The people who were selling this place were converting the rest of 'the garden' and the barn that resided on it. Close neighbours.  Cables for underfloor heating for the barn (from the ground) was also underway, and rather worryingly a gate from the cottage's garden into their land. 

Photos from my daughter keep popping up on my phone.  Missed flight yesterday meant courtesy hotel room from the airline, and a rather dodgy looking courtesy breakfast this morning.  Now another photo of a  corridor appears, "hopefully get to Switzerland today" is the tag.

So to the photos, probably another favourite place on this earth for me, wilderness untrammelled by houses.  Rowan trees, their berries taken by birds and spread around so that eventually the Rowan tree dominates, and then mushrooms, growing strangely by the intrusive firs that had been planted by the Forestry.

Paul would not allow Lucy into the beck, wet dogs were not allowed in the car!  but she would sneak off, not listening to him.  It was a beautiful place, the great tumble of rocks in the beck, millenium had made it happen, though of course the slopes were covered in bracken and heather.  Some would say scrub land but on part of the moor was an old 'Roman road'.  Though it could have been older or a later Saxon one.  It came from the Cawthorn Camps on its way to the coast.

Jump of joy for being in her 'happy place'

12th September 2022 -

Prince Andrew and his daughter are to have the corgis, Queen consort Camilla is to have oversight of the Queen Elizabeth 11's racehorses.  William to inherit the one billion asset that is the Duchy of Cornwall.  Do not take your car into London, catch the bus. Be prepared to queue for literally hours at the State lie-in.  So that most sad event of our Queen dying has been anticipated, and the whole machine of attending to the Royal family rolls smoothly into place.  We haven't quite reached the stage of Gormenghast Castle yet but slowly we are having to face the new faces that will slip onto our news.

As our late monarch has taken that slow journey through parts of Scotland with the people lining the roads to watch the cortege pass, so now she comes to London to lie in state.  Whether you are a republican or a royalist, we are all stunned by her death.

We are watching a historical event, unfolding before our eyes, not quite a fairytale, though there are plenty of castles and treasure to hand out.  Stand back and keep your logical cap on.

King Charles 111, so strange to write that, has been a champion of organic growing, his oat range is pretty profitable, though now Waitrose handle the organisation of it.  He is a good man, being 'green' which is a bit of a weapon to attack him with, but all those profits from the money he makes goes a 100% towards charity.  

Saturday, September 10, 2022

10th September 2022

Limits to Growth - 1972. pdf can be found here

"Published 1972 – The message of this book still holds today: The earth’s interlocking resources – the global system of nature in which we all live – probably cannot support present rates of economic and population growth much beyond the year 2100, if that long, even with advanced technology. In the summer of 1970, an international team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began a study of the implications of continued worldwide growth. They examined the five basic factors that determine and, in their interactions, ultimately limit growth on this planet-population increase, agricultural production, nonrenewable resource depletion, industrial output, and pollution generation. The MIT team fed data on these five factors into a global computer model and then tested the behavior of the model under several sets of assumptions to determine alternative patterns for mankind’s future. The Limits to Growth is the nontechnical report of their findings. The book contains a message of hope, as well: Man can create a society in which he can live indefinitely on earth if he imposes limits on himself and his production of material goods to achieve a state of global equilibrium with population and production in carefully selected balance." 

Breakdown of the climate has been predicted for years but we all climbed back under the bed clothes and pretended it didn't exist.  We are just beginning to learn that actually our handling of the resources of this planet is slowly destroying it and the life that lives upon it.  Who is the parasite? It is us the human race we may be clever but we are also selfish.  We need our pleasures, our petrol guzzling cars, our planes to fly us to far away places.  Every delicacy under the sun to whet our appetites.  Someone has to pay for it, at the moment Pakistan, with a third of its land flooded. A thousand died, not much, but we all know that unless food and medicines are got there, the death rates will soar.

Will our media cover it, well yes the disaster side but it will slip out of the way similar to the starvation rates in Afghanistan.  We are prepared to accept  it in other countries because it isn't us.  Well, maybe it will be eventually!

I don't know the answer, humans are basically selfish, they are survivalists and need the upward movement of wealth.  But growth has to stop because in the end it will destroy us and that is where we stand at the moment, on the cusp of a disaster.

Cheerful thoughts for a Saturday.  I haven't even moved my family to my way of thinking, Andrew and my daughter are off to Switzerland tomorrow!

A gentler note.  Carn Alw, an Iron Age Fort I never managed to get to.  But this dronescape takes you there to that wild landscape of the Presceli Hills.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

On this day

Today an era is coming to an end.  The Royal family are gathering at Balmoral for what I suppose is the final time for the Queen.  Did she know, when she made her way to Scotland that this is the place she would like to leave from.  I hope that this is a peaceable time for the family and that the Queen slips away quietly, her presence will be sadly missed.

Also in this house an era is coming to an end.  Teddy, the old whippet is going to the vet and won't be coming back.  My two granddaughters have consented to this happening, though Lillie has felt it badly.  But this evening she is off to scouts and then drama which should take her mind off it.  I admire my daughter for bravely taking Teddy on the bus to Manchester to the vet.  She says she will hold his paw to the end which softened the blow for Lillie.

Yes I am also very sad, though will be glad not to clean up after him.  But will miss my coffee with Teddy in attendance waiting for his helping of teabread.  Will not miss him howling in the night, we think that altzeimer had set in, but in his rather brainless way was part of the family.

Lillie who is now attending Rochdale College, coming home tired, told a little story about Matilda. She had had to introduce herself in class and the teacher picked up that Lillie was Matilda's sister.  The cleverest pupil in her year, I asked Lillie did it worry her having to keep up with her sister.  Of course not she replied she wasn't a bit worried.

All 'A's proud granny says it is inherited!

The Queen has died.  God rest her soul. X


Larry the Cat. Mouser at 10 Downing Street

"I'm getting another one today. It's another rescue. I take them in for a few months until I can find them a permanent home. I hope this one will be ok but the last one was a nightmare!"

Found on the net...

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

7th September 2022

“When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman

Females:  At the moment I am listening to a book about Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and the women who influenced her life.  Her mother Julia Stephens, was as beautiful as her daughter and from what I could gather, there was an Anglo-Indian thread in the inheritance.  I like Virginia Woolf's writing, she writes as she finds.

Julia Stephens

That a certain, what do you call madness these days I wonder? my daughter would call it 'being on the spectrum' made its way through different generations.  Virginia after all committed suicide and was a depressive and also a step sister Laura showed signs of not being able to communicate properly and was always dancing and singing as a child.  She did end up in a home at the end, mental institution maybe.

“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”

Virginia's mother fell deeply in love with her first husband and had three children by him before he died unexpectedly when fairly young.  She was to go on and marry Leslie Stephen, Virginia's father, their marriage bore four children.  Two brothers and a sister, Vanessa.  Not quite as well known as Virginia but of course the Charleston House and the set Vanessa was part of, had its own fame.

The title of Virginia's book  'A Room of One's own'  is rather touching, reminding us that certain things in life have to be fought for.

“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”

Today I read in the current political scene that we now have the third woman prime minister and within her cabinet, more ethnic people, I think four.  I am not sure what to think of course, so will offer no thoughts on the subject.  But go on to another woman in a slightly earlier period, Alice Hagan of Towneley. In the photo below she looks a determined lady.

Alice Hagan

She was pointed out to me by one of the volunteers.  This was Alice Hagan (1846-1946) who sold Towneley hall and 65 acres to Burnley Council because upkeep of the hall could not be covered by the land.  There is an overlap of time between the Stephens and the Hagan's family, who were both moderately wealthy middle-class families.

Yesterday I went through the Accession Register of furniture acquired over the years by the council at the Hall, Alice had not left much behind when she moved, two tables, a very large one in the entrance hall. Most of the furniture and collections we see today were donated by wealthy merchants I suppose.  Pinned butterflies, birds and wild animals taxidermied into a dead replica of themselves and I forgot to mention the Egyptian sarcophagus and its accumulation of various pots was in actual fact donated by Alice Hagan.

Inserts are Virginia Woolf's quotes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

6th September 2022

"A victory that fell short of a coronation

"Good morning, and a big thank you to the indefatigable members of the Conservative party, who have completed their solemn biannual duty of selecting a new prime minister on behalf of the country while so many others laze about checking the gas meter.

The latest fresh face in Downing Street is one Liz Truss, the former Liberal democrat,  former remainer, former CND campaigner and former opponent of government handouts who will begin her rotation at the helm of a Conservative pro-Brexit administration by giving her nuclear weapon instructions and setting out a  multi billion pound plan to help out with energy costs “I know that our beliefs resonate with the British people,” she said yesterday. Some of them must."

An early morning quote from Archie Bland of the Guardian.  Lunchtime I listened to all the small firms who will probably go bust due to sky high energy costs.  One could weep, that someone so ineffectual as Truss could come to power.  But there again we now live in the Age of Lies, so I am sure she will pull something out of the hat.

Unfortunately, I think it is going to be something pretty bad.  Andrew said something about the systems need changing, not just this country but worldwide, then i went and read  Why No Politician is Willing to tell us the Real Energy Problem on Our Infinite World blog.  It was not a happy read! maybe it won't happen.

On facebook this morning someone put on the old war time recipes, obviously expecting the worst outcome.  Then there are people around the blog world frightened by the withdrawal of cash and everyone having to use a bank card to pay for everything.  Cash is definitely being phased out, how long it will take I don't know, perhaps five years.  But stringent protection needs to be put in place of bank accounts and (well I never) we need constant power supply for transactions to pass through the system.

Yesterday one problem did pop up when going to pay for a pizza at Towneley Park. 'Only Cards', but the little gizmo the woman offered to my daughter's card refused to work, probably due to the tree cover.  So she had to walk round to find a reception point.  One up for the trees!

But Joe Lycett made me laugh this morning, why did the BBC  ask him on to Laura Kuensberg new show - satire is not dead yet...nor is the BBC

Monday, September 5, 2022

Towneley - 5th September 2022

Yesterday we went to Towneley Hall and its large park situated on the edge of Burnley.  A large space that the council of Burnley had bought in the early 20th century and kept in immaculate condition for its citiziens.  Over the years wealthy burghers of the town have donated paintings and old furniture to the house.  I spied an Alma Tadema and Burne Jones paintings hanging on the wall.

The exterior of the house looks like a 'pretend' castle but it has style and grace, inside lots of dark wood, especially wood panelling.  The usual dressing up of the kitchen with the many pots and strange things used for cooking, small guest bedrooms off the long gallery.  As I talked to the volunteers it sounded a much loved place, a couple of volunteers were hanging what looked like oxen bells and the chimes reminded me of Switzerland in the upper pastures as the cows moved around.

As with so many of these large estates, the Normans had had the countryside parcelled out and a house had always stood somewhere in the park.  One had burnt down in 1600, and this house, built of four blocks around a court yard, though now missing one side had been renovated over the centuries.

As soon as you leave Todmorden you are in Lancaster.  I still feel it is an alien landscape

Looking at the creeper infested wall of the house

Wealth often has taste!

I love chairs.  Note holly to stop you sitting down.

I find it ugly but the workmanship wow

The small chapel

Cabinets full of glass, vases and dead animals

Nude nymphs by Burne Jones

The long corridor

typical bedroom

The kitchen

The road home, wind turbines stretch for miles along the moors.  They remind me of Triffids waiting to gather their strength and march on the valleys below.

What I saw at the great park showed that the council had made a very good choice for the citiziens of Burnley.  People with children wandered round the parks, sometime playing football, scooting along with bikes and scooters.  Dog walkers everywhere, small dumplings of dog in all kind of breeds, happy to be out.