Monday, October 31, 2022

To a Bright Spirit

 Happy Birthday Pat, wherever you may be

Lots of love from Thelma


Sunday, October 30, 2022

So I am writing at 6.o.clock when it is really 7.o.clock.

This is an old joke

 Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality.

Time past and time future

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

T.S.Eliot of course. Yes I got up this morning in a cross mood, having to worry about time.  I don't need to of course, I have nothing special to do, no job or school to go to, only my spinning wheel calling or my knitting.
Hilary Mantel was being discussed this morning and I thought how her mind and Eliot's minds are similar in the way they touch history.
Realising that we 'make up the fable of history' to suit our own mood. I have just written that the 'trick and treat' of Halloween is a made up version of the old stories and of course have  been a killjoy.  Apparently, according to my daughter there were strangely dressed up creatures on the streets last night and that the  shop where you can rent fancy dress in Manchester had queues round the block. There is a calamity as well as in Seoul in South Korea, partying on this holiday event has led to over 150 people being killed in a crush and I cannot go down that lane of pain.  
It  is news elsewhere, and Mozart is being played on the radio and the music fills space in a mindful manner. 
English weather, Piet Mondriaan painted what is still to come perfectly!  When the golden leaves have danced off the trees and reduced themselves to a soggy dark mess.

Piet Mondriaan - 1872 - 1944.  Trees in a Marshy Landscape


Children I am mean;

I am not a lover of turning the ghoulish Halloween into a binge of sweeties for the children.  Let the wild horses of Annwn ride the skies and the dead rise from their graves and go knocking on our door.  Which suddenly strikes a bell because I dreamt last night that someone knocked at the door.  My more pragmatic daughter said it was probably because I was waiting for a parcel.  Which is true, it came yesterday, Seasalt wins again with another tunic.

I wrote in 2009 about Halloween and much prefer the pagan folklore that has built up around this time of the year. Though now the Celtic Samhain has rather extinguished 'All Soul's Night' times evolve and change.

I find Loreena McKennit singing 'The Visit' and remember playing this CD on our car journeys.

And a wiki for explaining the history of Samhain

Friday, October 28, 2022

28th October 2022

What's for tea tonight? Raclette, melted cheese over new potatoes eaten with plenty of pickled stuff to break down the cheese and salads on the side.

After Xmas my daughter buys up all the remaining stock of raclette cheese and fondue cheese from Lidl, which is probably about half a dozen of each, they are put in the freezer and then eaten through the year.  So we must finish last years before Xmas suddenly appears once again.

The first time I had raclette was in a Swiss restaurant, the round cake of cheese was held against the grill of a fire and melted into gluey deliciousness over the potatoes the smell was divine.

The day was dull today and I got caught in a strong shower with the wind suddenly fierce and yes I was in a cardigan so got wet.

I am not sure if food is always more delicious when on holiday on the continent, I have had some scary things.  Offal sausages in France, the owner was kind and gave me something else. Or langoustine (I think) in Venice that when I put a fork in it squelched blood.  No wonder I became a 90% vegetarian.  I think only the young single can become vegan or vegetarian as in a family there will be a need for choice.  Something that today's children require unfortunately.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


Sir Nigel Gresley flashed through town yesterday, steam flying in the wind as he made his way south from either Whitby or Pickering.  Yes he is a steam engine and had timetabled his appearance through all the stations through England to go home to his railway station.  Sir Nigel was of course a steam engineer long dead now.


A couple of hens were seen wandering over the road somewhere in Tod, and ownership has been claimed.  Yes we do live out of the maelstrom of current happenings.  I shall be taking my Permaculture magazines down to the Climate College today when it has stopped raining, they are having a Permaculture meeting this Saturday but have decided not to volunteer as a receptionist on the front desk of the college because I would freeze to death with those opening doors.  But there is a happy feeling that slowly a 'green' way of life is taking place.

You will note a photo of me has appeared on my side bar, this is to show that I have taken a step too being myself, stepping away from my old life and giving me my avatar of many years - Moss.

Moss is a beautiful word by the way, I stand guard over it in any garden lawn that I may have occupied.  Its tiny flowers will be seen in the cold of January, I believe because it is not indigenous to this country.  I love the word Moss, that is why I named my dog after it, it is a word that just rolls off the tongue.

Coming to the end of my life, quite happily by the way, has led to some serious thinking.  I have shunted off many belongings and no longer own a house - the freedom is by the way rather intoxicating - chuckle.

I even thought of moving to a place of retreat but new ways don't appeal and accustomising my self to other people definitely not.  So I will enjoy watching my four grandchildren become adults and move into the world on their own adventures.  They are all successful in their own ways so hopefully there will not be too much heartache.

I realise looking back that I have always done my own thing, wandering around the countryside, making gardens and surviving through life.  Something we all do.  Perhaps my next roll call is to follow a political line on my blog and find joy in the slow unravelling of the Conservative Party!!  I will never, ever, not find joy in the world around me though.

The fruit trees I grew to make a small orchard.

Bath a town I loved to wander down into on a crisp spring morning

The Bath garden.  Always grow things vertical as well, let everything tumble with gay abandon

St.David's Head, a favourite cromlech

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

"All governments are seamless"

real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that owns, and in most cases operates, income-producing real estate. REITs own many types of commercial real estate, including office and apartment buildings, warehouseshospitalsshopping centershotels and commercial forests. Some REITs engage in financing real estate.  Explanation taken from a Wiki

You know those times in the middle of the night when you can't sleep and you potter through that inexhaustible source of videos on Youtube, well I watched one last night about Canada and Reits.   The rather sad plight of people who rent apartments and houses and are then forced out by the above landlords so that their houses/apartments can be let for a higher price.

An easy way to make money, it tops up your pensions and dividends, unfortunately milking the poor will only last for a certain time and then there is social upheaval.  With all the price rises, the rise of rents in this country will be able to slip under the mainstream, but when everything is owned and taxed who will be better off?  

As for the heading it seemed to roll in rather nicely with the subject matter.  But in actual fact someone said it last night when a member of parliament challenged the fact that Rees-Mogg's name was on a bill when he was not a minister anymore, it made me chuckle....

Writing off EU laws.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

25th October 2022

 The house is still in a state of turmoil, though today is the last day for our plasterer - Paul.  He just has to tie in the shelving in the basement and then my stuff will be moved in eventually.

Matilda caught the last train to London from Leeds last night by the skin of her teeth.  She has to get back to her job and to facing the landlord over the fact that she has managed to break the stove.

Andrew put the shelving together and it looks neat in one of the rooms down in the oubliette of the cellars.  He also tried to clear my computer but it refused to comply so it seems I may have to get another,  He recommends the large screened Dell Inspiron 27, which balances on a stand.  But I shall have to think about it.

Well we have Sunak to look forward to, definitely better looking but what he will bring in his governance, heaven knows.  Apparently Johnson has been having holidays left, right and centre.  I spy in this country a growing resentment of how rich Tories live whilst foisting poverty on others.

We are living literally on that head of a pin, everything is being juggled, and there will be a slow dance back to the EU eventually I hope.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

23rd October 2022

Yesterday was spent glued to a series of zoom talks on the 'Festival of Well Being', the blurb describes it accurately - illuminating and uplifting talks from visionaries, change-makers, and hope-bearers. 

Yes I was happy to be in the company of erudite clever people who cared about the world and set out to fight for what they believed in.  Pish to 'Little Englanders' who moan at disrupters, they may be a nuisance but without them in the background drawing attention to the actual state of the world where would we be??  Did anyone take note of the billion animals that died in the fires in Australia, the flooding in Pakistan.  Pretending it is not happening is just not on.....

Ed Milliband's half hour was taken up with answering questions, a committed environmentalist, everyone was enthusiastic about him in the messages, why do we not hear the message of such people from the Labour Party?

Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben were the last speakers,  Klein whose books are heavy reading had little to say but McKibben was more hopeful.  Deborah Meaden of 'Dragons Den' fame gave a talk.  Professor Nicholas Stern I think started the day. Names pop up David Lindo - The Urban BirderLindo did his talk from a church on the little Island of Lundy  where he was obviously birding.

Professor David Goulson on insects, you can see his book above and to whom I will listen again when they release the talks next week. A favourite for me basically because he has started a bumblebee trust.  There were others, an activist, perfectly keyed into an academic future but giving it all up and taking to the streets because she could not stand by and watch science be trashed.

It wasn't Stern who started the day but Satish Kumar, one of the founding members of the Resurgence magazine, and now grown old with time but still optimistic.

So yes, if we can be arsed to fight, there is hope for our Earth but it means great changes along the way.

I still sing "The corn was as high as an elephant's eye'

Saturday, October 22, 2022

22nd October 2022

I woke up to a very quiet house today about 7ish, thought everyone had deserted me.  But half an hour later Andrew knocked gently and said that my daughter was having a lie-in and he was off back to his flat. A constant alarm ring in Lillie's room and she was also off to her job in Hebden, so my world righted itself.

Last night we all went to the Hippodrome to see Lillie in 'Peter Pan', she had parts in the pirates and boys crowd scenes.  It was good though I missed the second half, it was terribly crowded and we had all nipped home for the loo, so I decided to  stay at home.

The Hippodrome, a very stately theatre, is run as a community vehicle, and seems to have had packed audiences the five nights the musical has been running.  We sat up in the circle behind a silver chained man, I said it was not the mayor, and Lillie came running in this morning and said he was the man from Noda - National Operatic and Dramatic Association come to see the show. Excitement all round, though I should have thought the theatre paid for itself with the tickets and full house.

The audience was very enthusiastic and supportive, so the man from NODA must have been impressed - chuckle.  The singing was very loud but the old crocodile could have done justice as a Chinese dragon any day. Captain Hook was wickedly handsome with his long black curls and the children flew around the stage with ease.

It is a funny old story, a wistfulness for never growing up, with wicked enemies to fight, the nanny dog and crocodile sheer inspiration.  I often would pull my nose up at Japanese puppet shows but then looking from the perspective of a Japanese person I would not understand the plot of Peter Pan.

Anyway we are all glad it is over for Lillie's sake, out every evening, full days at college, scout meetings and then work at the cafe.

It will be a busy weekend as well, Matilda home to have her hair done by the family hairdresser and then Tom and Ellie on Sunday for lunch.

Hippodrome Theatre, Todmorden

Friday, October 21, 2022


 No eruptions of political news today, I am leaving the conservatives members of parliament to sort a decent candidate.  Though I might write to Craig Whittaker threatening him with eternal damnation if he votes for Johnson!

I have showered the plaster out of my hair, Paul may not be coming today, all that work yesterday was accompanied by groans as his back hurt, so it will be peaceful till Monday. 

Funnily enough the picture that has been haunting my mind the last couple of days is of Ascelpius, the Roman god of healing.  A statue of him is imbedded in Tockenham Church, Wiltshire.  I have often wondered how in the medieval period how the people looked upon the Roman remains scattered around them.  Maybe they saw Ascelpius as a Christian saint with his stick and the snake winding through it.

"Roman tesserae, tile fragments and pottery sherds were found at Tockenham and a possible villa was suggested. The site has been subject to investigation by the Time Team in 1994 and was confirmed as being a villa with associated structures, probably dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries. Finds from the excavations have included pottery, tesserae, window glass fragments and roofing tile. Scheduled. " taken from Pastscape Monument No.887838.

"The Rod of Asclepius symbolizes the healing arts by combining the serpent, which in shedding its skin is a symbol of rebirth and fertility with the staff, a symbol of authority, befitting the god of Medicine. The snake wrapped around the staff is widely claimed to be a species of rat snake,Elaphe longissima, also known as the Aesculapian (Asclepian) snake. It is native to southeastern Europe, Asia Minor and some central European spa regions, apparently brought there by Romans for their healing properties." taken from Wikipedia.


Yesterday - thinking of clashing cultures here - the young lad who was working with Paul came downstairs and rather awkwardly thanked me for what I had done over the space of the day, it was so sweet and it set us all chatting.  

I had made the point that I could not always follow Yorkshire accents, the difference between the South and North of England.  Paul said 'they come from Somerset' meaning my family, as if that explained the difference.  I modified it to Bath and the lad was intrigued by the city.  I said lots of people both tourists and a rush of foreign students around April.  The French being particular loud and pushy to Bath resident's ears.

Paul's mum lives a few doors down, and speaks to her son several times in the day and I am sure she would want the 'gossip' on me.  Not that I mind, being a completely virtuous person!

Todmorden, as Paul said, is a quiet and friendly town with plenty of trees and walking, for those able to walk steep hills said I. And also, for the owning of a dog for companionship, my daughter says no, just in case I die and leave her with another animal to look after.  I can see her point, apart from anything there is no garden here and steep steps down from front and back doors.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

20th October 2022

Ssssh, how many shoes can you hear dropping for the Conservative party?  Chief whip Craig Whittaker is our MP for the Calder Valley, I even had an email yesterday from someone asking me to write to him about the fracking question.  Too late now, the conservatives got their way - party over country - bad move.  And by the way I do believe fracking is dead on the ground, it is an expensive way of getting energy and as for shale mining - yikes..

It is just as calamitous in this household, after a day of old plaster removal up on the attic wall, there is now a fine dust over everything.  We had three young, tall and lanky lads working all yesterday.  Their machinery seemed to set off the smoke alarm system, so it was noisy as well.  But they like my coffee, so fresh ground coffee is the drink of the day.  Also the shelving for the basement is being delivered as well today, which will be our job, down with the spiders in the basement.  Life couldn't get more exciting.

We actually like this surface but totally impractical, so it will be injected and membraned against the damp before plastering.

The cupboard outside my room, the portrait of a lady overlooks all the little wooden herd of  ibex? having fallen over and hopefully those mirrors will not fall off and give us 14 years bad luck

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Quick thought

Yet while cultural philistinism is abhorred, ecological philistinism is defended with a forcefield of oppressive law.

I was reading an article this morning by George Monbiot, someone I have almost given up on for his strong views, but not quite.  He was defending the Just Stop Oil group after they had covered the 'Sunflowers painting by Van Gogh' in canned soup. I enter sensitive ground here, the painting itself has some inflated exaggerated price set on it so that the art and money markets can play around with the loose change of the rich. 

Monbiot had referenced Andrew Motion's article of 2003 about a John Constable show to make a point.  Have you ever thought about the trivilisation of our paintings, did Constable set out to record the ever diminishing history of 'his England' was he also protesting against the new laws that were being imposed on the countryside.

Sometimes art critics and environmental writers can look too deeply into the can of words that is their moment in time, but shock, horror could Constable have been protesting as well.  Do we sentimentalise to such an extent that we do not see the truth.  After all look at that great creative William Morris, he was also on the picket lines calling for a fairer and just society.

Perhaps that fairer and just society is always on the horizon, just another step before we get there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

18th October 2022

 Do you feel sad for Truss this morning, I do.  I hope those 80 thousand staunch conservative supporters are hanging their heads in shame.  I don't want any of that bunch of politicians but I hate to see someone brought down so low.  Parliament is a feeding station for 'piranhas'.  Remember those little fish that suddenly appeared in beauty salons a few years back, you put your feet into the water and they nibbled the dead skin off your toes.  No I never went there, more upset about cruelty to fish having to nibble feet - chuckle.

I can't forgive Truss for throwing Kwarteng to the wolves, she should have been more noble.  Nobility? I can hear the sniggers, but you watch the unseemly struggle for dominance from the next contenders. Mordaunt and Hunt included.  Women can be gentler, they can have a different perspective but jostling in the cramped and overheated Parliament can lead to wretched behaviour.

In my last blog I featured photos of the graveyard from Haworth but what keeps creeping back into my mind is that either at Haworth or Heptonstall graveyards, sewage seeped into the graves and caused terrible illness.  Well it is a bit like that now, there is an evil that slowly pervades the air (and I am not just talking about the conservatives - chuckle).

so all hail the future, but it looks a bit iffy at the moment!

Edit: Thinking of fish and my mind goes back to childhood and holidaying on a Welsh farm.  It was a small mixed farm, that my brother and I were sent to  while away the summer holidays.  The river in all its chuckling beauty was at the bottom of the fields.  We tried to tickle trout on those sunny days, rather difficult of course because the farm pig always accompanied us, friendly creature that she was.  

From this river my grandfather would catch salmon, that would fill   our fridge for days, perhaps that is why I love salmon so much now, though of course wild salmon is so much better than farmed.  He shot rabbit and pheasant as well, they would hang in the garage for a time.  My father, who never acknowledged me, also went for the shooting but shot the little terrier by mistake and after that never used a gun again.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

16th October 2022

Whenever you think you are too old to do something, think of Mary Harper at 78 years old sailing across the Atlantic. Thanks to Roaring Water Journal for the essay.

Today is Sunday, so I devote myself to quiet things, a film from the 'Emergence Magazine' about 'The Last Rainforest in England' which happens to be on Dartmoor.

You may not have noticed but I choose my font to go with the words.  Verdana with its wide open space for just normal things, Oswald for its narrowness when I get cross (and small minded?).

There are times when I get a headache, as today, often caused by high bright skies, my body doesn't like being so close to the Universe I think! So after sleeping I have read my Permaculture Magazine and felt glad for all the people in their eccentric worlds doing their thing.  I am comfortable with people who escape the rat race and deliberately live a simple life.

I don't think they are eccentric by the way, they have just shuffled off the narrow minded habit of wanting a lot of money to live off.  They potter through life thinking great thoughts but not exactly getting anywhere.

Everyone is off doing their thing today.  Lillie at the Hippodrome, just a hundred yards from here is rehearsing 'Peter Pan' for showing in the week, we are booked in for the Friday show.  Karen and her intended are in Guildford, she has just sent me a photo of the house dog, a bit like my beloved Lucy but not as pretty. Next Saturday there is a zoom meeting all day (£20 ticket) from the Resurgence people.  Though it is going to be a busy weekend, with Matilda coming down from London, and Tom and Ellie coming for a meal.  Luckily with zoom meetings you can catch them later.

I have tried listening in to Green Party zoom meetings, a bit boring, a screen of faces, often chattering about constitutional things.

Apart from that I have returned to my book on the Co-operative movement around here and how they organised themselves, to be honest nothing much has changed.

As I have read of Emily Bronte on Rachel's blog, went back and found the gloomy Haworth vicarage.  Which is now a museum.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

13th October 2022

Times are quiet, except of course the news. as Truss economics hits the wall.  Then of course Putin and his war against the country of Ukraine.  It all boils down to his mad vision of his world, and the dictatorship of fear.

We can watch only from afar, it is a proxy war, Ukraine is fighting a battle for us and we, by that I mean Europe and America are financing it.  It is a sort of fingers crossed hope that no nuclear weapons are used.  We dangle on the edge of another 'cold war' precipice.  It is a good thing that humans are finite beings.

The troubles on the home front, our cleaner came to do our fortnightly clean yesterday and she told me how much they exist on in a family of six, I won't give figures, but she needs a goodly figure to meet their bills.  Her food bill astonished me, I did say that cutting out meat might reduce it somewhat.  But then how do you ask your children to change their diets.

There is a mass of problems at the moment, older generations are saying how they survived through lean years, and then the younger generations who have had enough food supplies over their lives through the benefice of the supermarkets are beginning to realise that essential food stuffs needs growing and being paid for in a world that is essentially crumpling under climate change.

Well I didn't mean to be miserable, after all problems present challenges and that is something humans are good at overcoming.  Perhaps there is after all a higher being, playing us like puppets above.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Sunday; a mish-mash

I have been delving in that enormous cauldron called Youtube and came up with, first, John Betjeman and Diss in Norfolk, which led me on to Nikolas Pevsner, that great chronicler of English churches, and then Dan Cruickshank came galloping into view on a tour of the weird and wonderful houses of Norfolk. Linkage is pretty good on Youtube, trouble is everything moves on so fast.

Pevsner was a bore, there is no getting away from it, he collected churches like train numbers, neatly caught in those small books of his. My late ex-husband probably had the whole series of his books and I would browse through them, always wanting more on the histories.  In fact I have always preferred ' Online History' which also includes earlier histories and manor houses.

I can never fault John Betjeman, as he sweetly wanders around his English towns and villagers in fading black and white film, slowly disintergrating at the edges.  His poetry is charming, poems written in the male perspective, and who can ever forget those immortal lines....

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!  

The rest of the poem is here a lovingly written poem of our England of old.

As for Dan Cruikshank, he is much younger here in the video.  I have also liked Cruikshank for introducing me to the fact that John Wood who gave us Georgian Bath, built into his dream a Masonic key which is only seen from the air....The Circus as the round part of the key walk down Gay Street to Queens Square which is square, and you will see the ‘key’ of Bath.

And lastly, a small homage to my ex, whose books engrossed me for many a year, our wedding reception at Waterstones (I mean where else?) And whose influence led me on to the dance of archaeology.


Saturday, October 8, 2022

8th October 2022

 Something to smooth the day away - Acorn

Friday, October 7, 2022

Trailing the grand children

As everyone should probably know I have four (mostly) grown up grand children.  Tom in Manchester, almost settled with his girlfriend and an American sports company.  Lillie at home in college and  being a scout leader and doing drama.   Ben and Matilda in London leading the good life.

Well I went on Instagram to see the latest news of the last two.  Ben works, or is at least learning the tricks of the trade in being a stylist to the upwardly mobile.  Lewis Hamilton figured in his photos, and also Charlotte Rampling.  He had never heard of Charlotte Rampling, okay she is as old as his granny but even so!  Social media is the showpiece of people's lives and the young revel in it.  I just wonder what would happen if it was all switched off.  Apparently Putin can do that.  Isn't there somewhere off the Cornish coast, where a great thick cable of internet wires strike land?  I thought it was relayed by satellite, shows my ignorance on the subject.

Glampuss Matilda will only date male models or music artists she informs us all.  The young live by their looks, which I don't consider healthy by the way.  It is almost inbuilt insecurity that they have to strive for a 'look'.  Think it must be because we humans are multiplying so fast.

Was I so frivolous (and shallow) when young I wonder?  The answer is probably yes sadly and now I can only look back at times gone by and envy the young their lives today.  Although you would say they had it more tougher than us.

A story - or brief early morning thoughts

 Where to start, but with a story, a nightmare perhaps we are living through.  Don't believe anybody who tells you that Eton > Oxford persons are any cleverer than the man on the street, they are not.  They just push their way up the ladder till they arrive at the top and then tell the rest of us they are there by 'right of birth'.

The latest two children, though the female did not do a lap of honour through the pearly gates of elite education, have been let into the tuck shop!  As they greedily grabbed power and handed out sweeties to their friends, some of the population got worried, it became a world worry, and the value of money started to go up and down everywhere.  The children had sacked the treasury man who would have pointed out their  foolishness.  They even stopped the committee supposed to instruct them on matters of state.

Luckily the two children weren't allowed to go too far, the adults got worried and stepped in.  The populace was already sizzling under the rise in prices on practically everything.  The dark of winter was starting to lour in the skies, and thoughts of being cold and hungry through winter started to bite.  Let alone of course, the fact that the roof over their heads would have high interest mortgages to find.

Life looked bleak! And I haven't used one swear word yet, though I know a few and may even use one at the end.  Last night I watched a lovely lady in Scotland discussing her prepping for the oncoming winter (or winters).  She said in your bag, get a lighter, candles, blanket, a light tin to boil water on your wood stove and instant noodles to cook, along with 'snacks'.  I did not know whether to laugh or cry for the state we find ourselves in.

The word is 'clusterfuck'.   Apologies to those who may not like it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

5th October 2022

I always write every other day but nothing has happened recently?  Well I walked, in the rain this morning to Lidl and bought food - fruit, vegetables and the Halloumi fries which are delicious.  More fish, I made fish gougons the other day which worked well.

My walk always takes me along the canal side, all the canal boats seemed to have come home to overwinter and there is a continuous line of them on the far side.  The trees are still green, not much orange or red around. The other day I saw flooding from a river somewhere by Keswick (Seatoller Farm)  The poor woman who had taken the video was in tears after she had tried to save some lambs being swept off by the river - she failed.

The rain has finally arrived and we are thinking how to fix shelves down in the basement for my stuff in boxes.  It has to be high up, as you cannot know when the basement will get flooded.  Looks like we shall have to do it ourselves, as so-called builders have not come back to quote on the job.  I think garage shelving, we could weigh them down with bricks and just use the top shelving.  I see the water board are also fixing rubber electronic gadgets to some peoples drainage to check if there is a sewage outfall when the floods come.

In actual fact the area is surrounded by many trees to stop the water flash flooding down the hills, and there is even volunteer work to open up old streams and slow them downhill.

Monday, October 3, 2022

On this Day - Interesting Times

This morning the government has made a U-turn to save the Conservative party conference  going into melt down.  So low taxes for the well paid will not go ahead (for how long this emergency panic action lasts we will see).  Faltering at the helm though Ms Truss will not gain brownie points and they are already writing your demise.  Kwarteng who must be having babies this morning as he is fed to the lions.  Sorry this is how I see the world.

But I read an interesting bit of old news this morning.  The demise of Nefertiti, the spider.  And as it spider time. the story will be told.  In 2012 a  little jumping spider Nefertiti was sent out into space in her box with fruit flies released through the day to keep her alive.  She survived quite happily and returned to Earth and was housed in the Smithonsian insect house.  She died quite soon after at 10 months, their life span is normally about a year but her little adventure is writ down and proves the spiders can live in space, as long as you take them some food!

P.S.  And 'Rita' I can't publish your comment, it has triple lock on it, for some weird reason, though it is a perfectly harmless comment.

John Crace scathing as always.

Saturday, October 1, 2022


Carve the Rune then be Content with Silence - Erland Cooper

A piece of music yet to be played, think it will be at the Barbican, but the words provoke a thought.  The working of a rune on an old stone.  Usually for a burial memory to an important person,  carved on old stone in Scandinavian history. Runes come from the Germanic language and the earliest use of them is from  150 AD.  The quietness after chipping away the stone to form the runes, a silence released from noise.  The Vikings carved runes in the prehistoric tomb of Maeshow situated on mainland Orkney.  The terminology for these writings is graffiti.  And to quote the words of Hilary Mantel, which I came across this morning.

“Evidence is always partial. Facts are not truth, though they are part of it – information is not knowledge. And history is not the past – it is the method we have evolved of organising our ignorance of the past. It’s the record of what’s left on the record. It’s the plan of the positions taken, when we to stop the dance to note them down. It’s what’s left in the sieve when the centuries have run through it – a few stones, scraps of writing, scraps of cloth. It is no more “the past” than a birth certificate is a birth, or a script is a performance, or a map is a journey. It is the multiplication of the evidence of fallible and biased witnesses, combined with incomplete accounts of actions not fully understood by the people who performed them. It’s no more than the best we can do, and often it falls short of that.”

We live on shifting sands, magnified by media that chatters incessantly in the background trying to make sense of it all.  This wretched government mistakes that are unfolding at the moment will be resolved eventually by a sharper sense of fairness on the part of the greater population.  At least I hope so, turning to other things.

Yesterday, this was just an exercise, when I plotted a journey to Eskdalemuir via Langholm, though I could have caught the train to Lockerbie and then a taxi to Eskdalemuir.  The landscape in Dumfries and Galloway at the time caught at my soul, the sheer loneliness of it.  There were things that were negative, great tracts of planted forestry trees, also bare hillsides where the trees had been shorn from their surface.  
The town of Langholm itself seemed a miserable place, we went into shop and buy petrol but it was about 15 miles from where we were staying, I loved the length of loneliness in the travelling time though.
Sadly there was an air of decay and abandonment in the village of Eskdalemuir where we stayed, the solitary church on the outskirts, our hosts in their house overlooking the river.  Time had forgotten, though there was the slight flourish the Tibetan monastery brought in for the renting of holiday homes - few and far between.

One thing I had been keeping my eye on was the buying of parts of the Langholm Moor for rewilding by the community.  They were charged millions by the owner of course but they acquired just over 5000 acres and there is a second lot being bid for.  The moors original role had been grouse moor but I think in Scotland people are getting just a little cross at private ownership and the disregard of all the other creatures of the moor, and slowly gamekeepers are brought to law when found poisoning prey birds illegally.
Funnily enough this train of thought comes from reading a book at the moment which is set round Langholm,  "The Crow Trap" by Ann Cleese, a nasty way of catching crows.  You shut a live bird in a cage and its flapping around will cause others to come, and they in turn get trapped.
It seemed to have been sunny on our visit, it is strange how these few days haunt my memory.  It can be truly said of Britain that wherever you go the countryside will be different.

Stones are like the fulcrum of my life.

This photo always invokes the smell of the trees and the brown river we wandered down to.

This church yard is a couple of miles from the village but has no church

Almost a good place to be buried.

The white stupa I think of as a wedding cake