Tuesday, November 29, 2022

29th November 2022

 I am quiet for no good reason except perhaps that doleful news keeps unwinding itself.  I found a new word the other day 'immiserate' to make a country or people poor, sums it up nicely doesn't it?  John Crace wrote of Rishi Sunak that he has no backbone, a weak and ineffectual person to get us out of this problem.  Suella Braverman has disappeared off centre stage as her policy on immigrants seems to be unfolding.  Is the 'scare' of diphtheria a calculated distraction, away from the fact of locking up immigrants in Manston Immigration Centre.  Then we have Theresa Villiers trying to scrap a bill about building more houses - O dear.

But as I read on the back of his computer, my favourite botanist (Crime Pays but Botany doesn't) has a sticker which says 'Save the Earth, Kill Yourself'.  With his two dogs he traipses over hot deserts in America, naming the Latin names of plants with such skill, though he does tend to swear a lot but as I look down on that wondrous beauty of flowering plants and their reproductive nature I know that this natural world is a beautiful place to live in.

So a couple of photos I have taken from F/B 


Remember the right shoes for walking!

Christmas is coming, do remember to hang your tree upside down if you own cats.


Saturday, November 26, 2022

NPOV = Neutral point of view (a Wiki term)

Above you will see, a small console table with various bits on it.  I have just added Lotta's two glass animals which she brought back from Venice for me so many years ago. So already it becomes crowded, notice mostly animals, my white elephant taking pride of place.  For you always have to have an elephant in the room! Each object has a memory of course.  But what of other memories?
The following draft of a book of my first father-in-law's work in Africa in the Copper Belt, is amongst my belongings, something I must have acquired along the way.  What does it contain, it starts from 1929, almost a hundred years ago.  

It has a history of course, there are several drafts scattered around the family, and, (I have just learnt this) whilst in Switzerland a few weeks back, Andrew was tasked with doing the same job.  He mentioned a UN contact, as Con worked for UNESCO later on in life.

Well a little delving, and I found someone who had written on the subject of colonial education, and chasing his tail through expensive American internet sites have finally written to someone in England, we will see if he answers back.

In today's world such things as colonialism spikes a rush of adrenalin in our outspoken youth.  When you try to explain to them 'things were different in the olden days' they are blank-eyed never having gone as far as the itty-bitty information on their phones - which tells them to bristle with indignation at the wicked ways of the past!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

24th November 2022

The following video reminded me of the old fashioned ironmongers, with practically everything for sale.  Yesterday I went to the one in the market to find an appropriate old fashioned tin opener.  The one with a little wheel that turns round the rim of the tin and cuts.  He at first showed those modern clunky ones, that after a certain time refuses to work.  But no I stuck to my original quest and he found one. Though he laughingly also pulled out that dangerous jagged curved one that always lay at the bottom of the cutlery drawer.  Ironmongers are a world in themselves.

This surreal video is matched up with a Guardian article on 'binmen'  You know that time you just chucked everything into your metal bin, (except coal ashes) without plastic black bags of course,  and the binmen clanked around with them, not forgetting the Christmas tip.

Today, in this house, the most rubbish we have comes in the form of cardboard on everything sent off for and arriving in a parcel.  Vegetable peelings go in a separate small brown bin, but apparently, Paul must have told me this, you could have a communal vegetable bin, which then fed pigs somewhere.

Who Remembers proper binmen

Last night we had raclette for tea, as there was only two of us we used my raclette tin bowls with candles.  It was surprising how those little candles heated the cheese in next to no time.  Would we be able to have a larger tin with a bigger candle to boil the potatoes?...

Monday, November 21, 2022

21st November 2022

Whilst unpacking my books, a red and white cover caught my eye. Frostquake by Juliet Nicolson - the blurb reads - The frozen winter of 1962 and how Britain emerged a different country.  Did I ever read that I wondered, of course I did but it had just slipped my memory.  Well I found it on Audible and as it winds through my memory bank all the names, I listened with fascination.

Juliet Nicholson is the great granddaughter of Vita Sackville West.  Her grandfather was Harold Nicholson and her brother Adam Nicolson.  Juliet had lived whilst a child at Sissinghurst and most of them in the family are writers.

Having been to Sissinghurst on a very hot day, its beautiful gardens still echo in my mind.  Was this the first garden to create 'rooms' for different arrangements of plants.  I remember being slightly disappointed by the 'white garden', perhaps it wasn't white enough!

But of course the book is an interesting history jaunt through one of the coldest winters we have ever had in Britain.  When even the sea froze, joining the rivers in frozen wonder.  Milk was scarce because every bodies milk bottles was still under the snow.  The milk from Devon farms completely cut off, and the milk itself thrown onto the snow  colouring it a shade of primrose.

Sheep stuck in the snow eaten alive by foxes, it was a bad time for animals as well.  Though Juliet Nicholson tells the funny story of a little zoo by them, all the 'petting' animals fitted into the barn of the farm except for the giraffe.  But the live in workers kindly gave up their sitting room for the giraffe, all furniture removed except for the settee, which the giraffe lounged on and was not to keen on to leave her comfortable quarters.

The Nicholsons had problems, Vita's death in 1962 left inheritance tax problems and Harold her grandfather had the upkeep of Sissinghurst and several servants to look after.  The estate passed to Nigel Nicholson, the son and Juliet's father.  The gardens and cottages were eventually handed over to the National Trust in 1967 see here.  The properties consisted of several cottages, which the children, Adam and Juliet lived in with the rest of the family, the Elizabethan tower and the gate house were not much used.

I can't remember much of the terrible times that had happened then only that we lived in Chigwell and I would walk through large snowdrifts over the fields to see to my horse and little Mum her donkey companion.  Though the people at the cottages by the stable would see to their feed.  It was a big stable with several iron topped stalls, and very creepy with rats running round.

visited in 2010

Sunday, November 20, 2022

20th November 2022


Well while looking for where that river was in the last blog I came across, for me, England's prettiest house which is in Coggeshall - Payecocke House, built by a rich cloth merchant in the 16th century.  It has been restored to some extent, you can read about it here.  Payecocke means peacock and the house is now in the hands of The National Trust.

And the old blog of 2013 it came from

Still sorting boxes, treasures to be found and space allocated.  I seemed to have kept a lot of the books I loved the most.  I have a good book on vernacular building materials in England, which I must find.  Essex houses are a mix of styles but pargetting is something to be looked out for.

All the boxes that are left have been hoisted to the top shelves in the cellars, because of course, flooding is being reported all round Yorkshire as the rains rain down all the time.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Old blog - 2009

An Essex Walk; An old blog from 2009.  Essex in quick time news mode, is all Essex girls and probably gypsies encampment, with the added bonus of a slightly raucous London contingency.  But if you take to the back lanes it is a pretty county, old and new blending.  That same huddled together villages with their new houses infiltrating but the gems of the 18th century still there.

The following walk was a favourite of mine, we would park by the old bridge, where the wild hops grew in the hedge and just potter along.  Of course these walks would end in the little village pub further on.  Paul at his happiest, shortish walk with a pub at the end!

"We have walked beside this brook several times, its incredibly neglected and yet has that aura of a natural ecosystem getting on with its survival, unworried by human intervention. The brook flows through farmland, ploughed fields on either side, but the farmer is gentle with his use of the plough, and there seems to be bulwarks of unploughed grassland protecting the brook, as it finds its way through a choked waterway.

It curves in a sinuous fashion, a dark brown ribbon threading its way through watercress and tumbled branches, sometimes lost in vegetation, but bubble rising to the surface will indicate its flow. This is not a chalk stream, that flows crystal clear, yet stare into its shallow pools long enough and you will see clear water that the fish enjoy.
The old fallen willow sprawled across the banks, has flood debris caught up in its branches, showing that the brook must rise about five feet when in full flood. This part of Essex has a beautiful landscape of richly furrowed fields set amid rolling woodlands, a farmed landscape that is at home with its underlying fragments of wilderness that escape to the far corners of fields; trees die gracefully in old age, the silver leafed willow is predominate around the rivers and brooks, its fissured trunk often covered in lichen to reflect the clean air. The heavy weeds of nettle, cow parsley and field weeds are very much in evidence.
The fish, though being no expert, are probably graylings (Thymallus thymallus), because apparently they smell like thyme when taken out of the water."

Friday, November 18, 2022



I am listening to 'Wildwood' by Roger Deakin at the moment, I had read the book before in 2009, for I have written about it here.  The facts that captured my imagination then came back as he talked about the English Walnut.  Apparently there was a craze for walnut furniture late  in the 17th century, replacing the good old fashioned use of oak.  But in 1709 after a very cold winter, minus 20 degrees, all but a few of the walnut trees died and mahogany from America  was used.  Walnut is beautifully figured in its grain.  But what sparked my interest was that the low slung sport Jaguar cars had walnut veneers in the interior.  I always fancied one of those cars along with many others no doubt, their sleek lines were to die for.

The other wood used is a burr, which either can be from oak, walnut or ash.  It is those funny protuberances you see on the side of old trees, but it is treasured for its swirling natural design. And talking of design, something I picked up earlier from F/B for its Celtic (to me) swirling design.  There is something rather clumsy in the way the bird handle sits on the scrolled plate but the workmanship is beautiful.

Art Nouveau door handle, ca.1905, on the entrance to the City Hall Council Room in Bremen, Germany. Designer artist Franz von Stuck (1863-1928), Note: from F/B.

Deakin also made me remember David Nash, a wood carving artist. He carved a ball of wood and then set it free in a Welsh stream not far from where he lived. Then having let it loose on the world to travel - he followed its journey down to the sea, where it is lost for evermore. The ball took years to move, often getting stuck in inlets, but every now and then a storm would happen and it would be washed out into the main channel of the river. It arrived eventually at an estuary, and it was there that Nash lost it for quite a time. He searched and searched and then it would miraculously appear. We are strange creatures, humans.

Another blog on the same subject, headed by dots for goodness sake.

But there is a small anecdote to record which I have just remembered from one of the photos.

This is taken from part of a screen which came into the studio, which two men delivered one day after phoning up about it being repaired and valued. They had pure East End accents and Paul convinced himself they were modelled on the Kray twins. So when it came time for them to collect it back Paul was nervous about having to tell them it was of little value but he did and they took it away peacefully. I took photos because I loved the little chicks. I once tried in my miniature making days to create a small Chinese screen but the hinging was a problem.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

From one thing to another

Anon - Banksy in Ukraine captures it as always*

Yorkshire Pudding wrote a blog on Ukraine and its comparative recent emergence into the world through the marking of territorial boundaries.  Well we have the same problem in Tod with a boundary line, see here, that often is confusing when writing down the address here.  Sometimes my parcels get put in West Yorkshire address, other times Lancs. 

Todmorden Town Hall

So often when I walk back from Morrison's down Water Street and looking at our splendiferous Town Hall, I am often caught by the thought that it sits in the middle of two counties, all because it is by  the river. 

Water Street with the old 'Apothecary and it's 'loo' balanced delicately over the river

The news article below made me smile.  Go on the Tod chat and there are mutterings of evil doings on the part of the people who have written out the spending of the 17 million pounds.  "Where does he live" hum, hum, finger pointing and gossip of course relished by the few who are anti everything and figure in that oft quoted phrase of mine, just waiting for the two brain cells they possess to meet and rub together and spark an intelligent thought.  Miaow.

Four more boxes unpacked yesterday, delight as I realised the books I had saved were my deep down favourites.  Mackail's autobiography of William Morris, always brings back the memory of WM when he went to Marlborough College, and wrote to his parents -  of cycling down to Avebury to see the 'Lions' he meant the Red Lion pub and also wading through the water meadows round Silbury Hill.  It is only now that the large mound inside Marlborough College has also been recognised as prehistoric.

And H.J. Massingham's 'English Downland', dedicated to "The Other members of our Avebury Party"  footsteps through time.  And if you don't know Massingham try his Prophesy of Famine - A warning and a remedy.  He was wrong of course, but faint echoes today maybe?

*Banksy is a local lad in the sense that he comes from Bristol. And though I may not know him, I know of the lad who wrote a book on him, because his mum and I used to walk our dogs together up on Bath's Downs. 

Note; when you get old past life seems to float through your memory banks at a very quick speed - chuckle

The Beautiful 'working class' town with no snobs and 17 million to spend

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

16th November 2022

Yesterday was a day and a half, unexpectedly the small removal van had been mended and I could have my furniture later in the morning.  They arrived laid out rubber mats, and so it began in the rain.  My boxes did not have the necessary info on, so they put them all down in the cellars.  But once they had removed the large double bed in my room, they started to fit furniture, and it worked beautifully. A morning job soon over.  And I had the task of rummaging through the boxes in the cellar.  Admittedly an exciting task but it does mean climbing plenty of stairs carrying heavy things such as books.  But what a delight to be acquainted with all the books I had kept.  Also I find I had two largish bookshelves as well. 

Things that I consider precious, like the little Edwardian nursing chair and the little black chinois chair are in the smaller bedroom, without function I suppose you could call it, along with several other chairs - because I do like a good chair.....  Then the invoice came, heart shock at the amount but I paid up.  Though I can't quite understand how transporting a small amount of furniture a few miles would cost so much, but there you are.  The men were very helpful, and one even shook my hand and thanked me, what for goodness knows...

In the evening Andrew was here, he had promised to sort my computer out, it has been giving out strange messages for a few weeks.  Like a red 'error' error, notice when I opened an email to the Megalithic Portal.  I mentioned that I had added VPN (virtual private network) from Macfee security and he said I had just found the problem.  My network wall had just hit the network wall of the Megalithic site, so VPN was taken off.

He also backed up my blog, which is now somewhere flying up in the 'clouds' forever there...

As an afterthought;  is this the end of of social networking as Twitter comes to a bit of a grinding halt as Musk tries various ways to make it profitable.  What with cryptocurrency going down the drain as well - virtual money for goodness sake, how can you have any faith in it?

Expensive removal men, money that doesn't work and an egocentric Musk trying to dominate the talking classes the world is definintely feeling the pinch.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

15th November 2022


Strikes home that cartoon, as daylight slowly dims, starting at three o clock in the afternoon, we know we are entering the winter months. But it also reminds me that there are marvellous photos coming from space with the new John Webb telescope, the wonders of far away colourful galaxies coming that little bit nearer.

Another photo to remind me of the last weekend is Lillie carrying the flag in her role as a scout this last Remembrance Sunday.  She was a bit upset that they weren't allowed to march through the town but I suppose it was to do with traffic.  She had even sewn on all her badges on the night before, something that used to be my job.

 Life is quiet, my daughter ordered the fortnightly shop for yesterday but forgot the potatoes, one of the reasons we get our groceries from Morrison delivered so I shall walk down to Lidl soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

13th November 2022

The old tobacco shop behind Bath Abbey

It is Sunday what strays through my mind today.  Two things, poverty and pipes. After remembering that my grandfather smoked cigars and a pipe yesterday.  My mind suddenly thought but so did my ex-husband.  He smoked a pipe and we would go down town to the tobacconist shop in Bath called Frederick Tranter to buy tobacco, it now goes under a different name but still sells cigars.  Matilda still has one of the old wooden boxes of my grandfathers that housed the cigars.  Tobacco smoking in any form is now looked upon with severity, and now there are shops for vaping something I know little about.  But I must have been an expert (for a short time) on Bristol clay pipes because I wrote a paper on it.

Clay pipes are something that appears in any excavation, especially near the top surface. Normally you would find more stems than bowls.  Some would be patterned and their maker could be named easily, others not so. Their distribution would give clues of course, many not travelling far.

People don't smoke so much nowadays, obviously for health reasons and it has become expensive.  Food has suddenly become a talking point as we enter austerity, and people start to feel the pinch of less of everything.

where did it all go wrong? an empty question, we can point the finger at the triggers, Ukraine, Brexit, energy shortages and stupid decisions made by government.

But poverty is beginning too deepen, food banks spring up, though they are also feeling the pinch, less food donated for a number of reasons and more applicants.  Someone mentioned using the unused money out of the various charities that have now closed.  Most of us buy extra food to put in the donation boxes at supermarkets.  It is all a bit hit and miss, why for instance can we not when we are paying for our goods ask the supermarket to put an extra £5 donation on our bill?

One of the problems it has always seemed to me is that there is too much 'junk' food around, it may fulfil the fat/sugar side but leaves you empty and nutrition poor a couple of hours later.

We who were born after the last world war, know something about rationing, but we were fed and the necessary vitamins handed out, yet today we cannot even feed our children in schools.  Charity breakfasts for goodness sake! Something is wrong in the state of Denmark, is my reaction.  

So a free-ranging economy has created a situation that needs putting right.  We can feed children it is in our capabilities, instead of talking it down we should be out demanding that proper kitchens are introduced into schools with good chefs and making meals free for everyone.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Voices - young craftswoman

First of all my rather messy mantlepiece.  For the coming Xmas season, two Eastern styled candleholders, still waiting for the candles I sent off for.  Two plants of African violets from my son from last year. Dried roses, you must know I miss my roses more than anything from the cottage.  A tiny little candle from my miniaturist days made for me by a friend in Wales.  A reindeer, something I always need for Xmas to remember that when I was a child I am sure I saw Father Xmas riding in the sky!


Let me introduce you to a young, vibrant Canadian girl  called Jenna  Phipps who is doing what so many do and that is making videos with insert ads to make some money.  So  you can look at the video below but beware, unless you have ad free You tube (be patient and just click x)

She is an amalgam of my two young granddaughters, sassy and eager, and I expect my daughter will take one look at Jenna and say she is on the 'spectrum', still haven't worked that one out yet.

In the video below she upgrades her craft room, her craft last year having encompassed knitting, and she seems to have gone overboard with her wools.  It is her enthusiasm and excitement that shines through.

Last time Matilda left for London she took with her the big glass head that adorned the fireplace in this bedroom.  There is still (she is coming down) Kate Moss print on the wall staring down at me moodily with fag stuck defiantly in her little hand and a plethora of  fashion prints on the wall which will also come down.  The 'glass' plastic chair Lillie is taking for her bedroom and the leopard skin throw on the bed (not real leopard skin) will be taken up eventually to London.

What I enjoyed with Jenna was wandering around thrift shops and Ikea, somewhere I haven't been for years but she is poking me into a thought process of what I would display in this room.

 For Lillie

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The past

Tomorrow all my belongings in storage are coming to this house.  I feel quite sick about the memories each thing will bring.  I have two rooms, the largest is easily 20 feet in length.  The single bed that I bought for Paul so he could be in his own home in the last few days but which never happened.  The few books I had kept from the cull of a lot of my books to Oxfam,  Worrying this morning had I remembered to pack the old Chinese piano cloth with its marvellous embroidery of a dragon, or had I left in in the bottom drawer of the glass fronted book shelves. Would my old camera be there, these things haunt me.

We have cleared the room upstairs for all the spare small stuff furniture I picked out from the cottage, Jen at removals says they will arrive tomorrow afternoon, so tonight we will just do some of the work remaining.

So my mind went to quieter things, Old Sodbury Hillfort, lying on the Cotswold escarpment, one of quite a few Iron Age forts that lined this escarpment.

You could always approach this very large earthwork from the A46, over the field and there you were.  But one day I chose to walk to it from the opposite direction.  Parking the car next to a village school, Moss and I set out.  We followed a path along the lower part of the hill through fields, making our way gradually upwards.  We soon came to trees and a small lane.  We wandered along, but then were assaulted by at least two or three dogs, terriers I think.  They yapped around our feet furiously, Moss had no time for aggressive dogs and ignored them.  A man came up and shushed them.  Then he demanded where was I going it seemed I had strayed down a place where 'privacy' was required.  He was a gardener at a large house but we got talking and discussed the history of where I was going.

On our way ever upward, we came to a beautiful old farmhouse, and had to run across part of its lawn to reach the little wicker gate onto the fields.  The day was hot and Moss felt the heat, I have a photo of him lying down in the large interior of the earthworks.   We went through an opening between the banks, and there was this lovely perfume on the air.  Ladies Bedstraw lined the banks, it was quite heady and I can still remember the absolute sense of peace as I wandered around alone, once going to stand on the edge and look down on the farmland. The following old blog is what I found when tapping Old Sodbury into the search facility.

 Whilst out the other day I noted that meadowsweet, hemp agrimony and ladies bedstraw was plentiful on the verges, though the weather has been so dry, meadowsweet seems to thrive on the verges though in a raggedy state considering it loves damp, cool places.

Hemp agrimony is a favourite of mine, its pink fluffiness attracting a lot of insects including butterflies, it could almost be classified as a garden cottage plant, distributing its seed very generously and filling up the odd patch in the garden beautifully.
Ladies bedstraw (galium verum) I was so glad to see, it reminded me of Somerset, to gather it is to be reminded of summer and corn fields, for it has the sweet smell of hay when dried, one of its constituents is courmarin, which gives a smell of summer harvests, the other plant that carries the same scent is sweet woodruff.
Geoffrey Grigson says of ladies bedstraw, (the name carries its history of course) was that it was a strewing herb, also something you made a straw mattress out of - it was supposed to keep the fleas away and the devil of course.
And there is the Northern Europe biblical story that when Mary lay on the straw to give birth, the straw was made up of ladies bedstraw and bracken, bracken sadly did not acknowledge the baby and so as punishment has never flowered since!
Herbally it coagulated blood, and was also used as a rennet for turning milk into cheese all over Europe. The Highlanders also used the stems or roots for a red dye, very much like goosegrass or cleavers (galium aperene) which also gives a red dye from the stems and roots.

The interior of Old Sodbury

Wednesday, November 9, 2022


I would introduce another voice, but will stay quiet on that one. Just write whatever comes into my head maybe.  John Harris of Guardian fame makes videos of what it is like to live in this country at the present moment.  He interviews people on the street, this time in Grimsby.  Grimsby is or was a fishing town, but now slumps so low in the job situation that the streets of shops are shuttered and empty - bleak.  He talks to a black ex soldier, who because he has no phone (sold it to get food) cannot get in touch with Social Security, and cooks his food on a barbecue out in the garden.  He eats one day and starves two days.  Food is also getting limited at the food banks, as inflation strikes.

The other voice is James O'Brian of LBC radio fame, in fact I might even switch to LBC one day.  Last night I watched him try to skewer a person that had called in on why he had voted 'leave'.  Of course the poor chap could not give one good reason in why he had taken this backward decision.  O'Brian, like someone shucking an oyster with a pin, tried to get just one answer, but there was none.  

That is how we made the dreadful mistake of Brexit.  This man along with countless others had ridden on an emotional wave of 'Britishness' - as if it ever existed! Now leavers are puzzled, ask the fishermen of Grimsby how they feel when all those 'foreigners' were not expelled out of our waters.  They are lost, great mistake to vote in Tories they say.  But sadly it is done and dusted, we are now experiencing the effects of a bad decision.  Well the man says, yes we should have kept the market, was he not taught at school about the Silk Road and the way things travelled? 

Canada and Australia is really far, far away, why not trade with the people next door, all that silly nonsense of racial prejudice against the French, buried long ago.  Our young don't want it, they want freedom of movement and friendship, job opportunities abroad.  They definitely want something different to what we have today.

We have unwittingly gone into crisis not just because of Brexit, the Ukraine war suddenly brings to our attention that in actual fact we rely  on Russia for gas, Germany much more.  Pandemic did not help, but now we have our feet in deep, deep mud, trying to drag ourselves away to the dryer ground.  It is not a question of looking backward but looking forward.

Black humour is something I appreciate Eleanor Morton.  See Gavin Williamson has resigned with dignity.  Can't saying anything nowadays without some one complaining - chuckle.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Grisly things

Unexplainable things.  Such as witchcraft, myth and mythology.  A talk I went to on Saturday, and which I escaped from in the break, about Luck, reminded me that viewing history from my perspective cannot even adjust to how people thought in the medieval ages.

Rather an elegant hand, think this is the Whitby hand.  Wiki photo

You see the Glory Hand above, which you can find in Whitby Museum in Pannett Park.  The hand of a thief and murder as a protective force against burglars.  I am 'sinister' handed, yes I am left handed, though the nuns in nursery tried to cure me of this 'fault', but it would probably have haunted me in olden times and led to claims of me being a witch.  The barbaric nature of hanging a felon then cutting his hand off and making a candle out of the fat of his body is gross, but this is the way things happened.

The only thing I got out of the talk was an 'Anarchic Head' rather than 'Celtic Head', which I will look up today.  But the lecturer asked the audience what they did for luck?  Throwing salt over one's shoulder, touching wood for luck is probably my two luck charms. Superstitous nonsense maybe? On long car journeys, my brother and I, would look out for white horses (three to be precise) and a red haired woman (normally my stepmother who had red hair) and combination complete would spit over our fingers.  Completely made up of course.

Yesterday through F/B, I came across from a 'Folklore' society the following photo of a 'witches stairs'  made out of a twig and feathers, weird it was, you can read how its story came into being here.

The macabre is still with us today of course, films abound, my daughter is off next Saturday to see a horror comedy at a Manchester theatre.  The truth of the matter, like burning Fawkes at the bonfire is just a deep rooted need to say - there but for the grace of God go I.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Voices: Capturing a Scottish voice

Someone, I think her name is Karen, makes a short video each evening, mostly on prepping for, to use the title of a radio programme, 'The Coming Storm'.  She is rather soothing but very eloquent in what she says. 
I am not sure of the ethics of buying up food stocks, rather, as in the words of a Lidl notice, buy what you need and leave enough for others.
Short aside, so who was the idiot who brought up all the tea the other day at Lidl? My granddaughter came home last night brandishing a large bag of coffee beans with accompanying filters.  'Look what I've got you granny' so at least I won't go coffeeless in the future.
But this Karen intrigues me, she has a full time job but yet is able to study the news each day and come out with practical tips and her opinion.  And it is a much gentler approach than the news pundits, who seem to pivot on the government ministers who are in and out of office.  A bit like the clock that has two people coming in and out when the chimes strike the hour.
I think her message last night was to think of others and buy for them as well.  I hate charity, I feel that it is a right wing answer to poverty but of course she is right about giving.  Go out and buy clean pillowcases for the young who have to leave the care system into new empty flats.  I have always given away stuff acquired.  True, as my daughter said, they will probably sell it for the money but by the same token I am not profiteering by others.

 Having just released this I notice it says 'video unavailable' but it isn't of course as you will see if you go on the link, so I shall leave it there as it is.  Also Hazel has left a glowing report on Karen whilst I was testing the link.  So here is a repeat of the link....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f8SkUiivSo

Saturday, November 5, 2022


I believe Rees-Mogg would like us all to go back to the old measurements, inches and feet.  It reminded me that somehow I have muddled through with our day to day tape measures in both Imperial (is that right) and decimal.  Which I think is a bad idea, because I have never really switched from the old to the new when measuring my sewing. 

But it also set a thought rolling what happened to the archaeological measuring tapes that belonged to my ex-husband and which we used on sites.  They were very long, leather cased with a brass winding handle.  I remember the university lad working with me when I was drawing, measured the tapes.  Why I asked must we lay all the long tapes side by side, because the weather alters them he said!  When I used the tapes when drawing I would take both ends of the tape from a given position, stretch them over the the stone or wall and then with a plumb bob, exactly centred on the object to be drawn would draw on the board.

I could also never get on with the theolidite, a mean upside down looking creature which told me something I did not understand about the distance I was looking at.  Sure proof that some of us have minds able to cope mathematically and others are good at words.

So have I been in a state of dumfungle for much of my life I wonder?

Friday, November 4, 2022

4th November 2022

 Whoo!  Richard Branson has declared he will stop turning his air line stewardesses upside down on the wings of his Virgin planes.  He can still do it of course but times have changed (I can already hear 'Times they are a-changing) so he says.  I just love it when a misogynist hits the fan.  It made me remember that it was one of Paul's old friends Ken White from Swindon Art College who did the artwork for the famous Flying Varga girl.

What else?  Elon Musk is sacking quite a lot of people on Twitter, the rumour is that it is the moderators - free rein there then!  He made such a business of buying the platform I suppose he has to make some money from it, being in charge of the loudmouths will go down in history though.

And then we have the comedy of who is going to attend Cop27 this coming weekend.  You know that thing about Climate Change.  Truss wasn't going, neither Sunak, till it was presented to him that it was not a wise move to turn one's back on all the other heads of states who would be attending.  Also I am still furious that King Charles is not allowed to go, an environmentalist of 50 years standing.  Charles is as good an ambassador than anyone is my thought on the subject.

Security; Yesterday I stood in the Post Office and forgot my debit card number, so used  to flashing it over the card reader.  The numbers arrived in my head jumbled, could I have a second go I asked and that time it worked perfectly.  When I got home I thought of having the number tattooed on my inside wrist but then realised I could be carried off by would be muggers.  God what goes through my head.

Know this, if this house goes up in flames, the first thing I will save is my old green journal book that is full of my passwords accumulated over time, then I will grab my wallet with card inside.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

3rd November 2022

Todmorden - By Loh93 at English Wikipedia - 

There is a lovely little story going round on our local chat.  Several days ago a small black elderly dog called Ringo went missing.  People searched diligently for him up on the moors.  Then yesterday, someone out walking his dogs, found Ringo in a stream bed but alive.  He heaved Ringo on to his shoulders in the dark and carried him to safety.  People were still looking for him after all this time.  He is now at the vets being tested and cared for.  The landscape round here is very wooded, plenty of places to go dog walking, and then of course the moors above -flat, wide and open but also very easy to lose your dog if it takes off after a deer or rabbit.

There is also a journalist on the chat, poking around asking people what they think of Todmorden.  Everyone, except the odd joker, talks with pride about their town.  The community spirit, the market and shops, the College, which houses a Makery, and a Climate College.  The gardens and vegetables grown around the town and the emphasis on 'kindness'.  This last is true, for if you smile at people they will smile back.  Someone wants to rent more land to grow food, there is also  boxes of organic vegetables to be had every week.

Tod has to compare itself with Hebden Bridge town up the road which is a mecca for tourists.  But there is a certain amount of resentment against its 'foreigners' (people like me for instance) who have pushed up the price of houses.  It has the reputation, according to my daughter, for being full of old rich hippies. 

There is  a town, I think Totnes, which calls itself a 'transition town', well that is what Todmorden is doing, though probably not realising it.  It is people that transform society, not the government.

Edit;  Well I had a nice surprise, there was a talk on 'The Things we do for Luck' round the corner at a cafe/bakery this coming Saturday.  So I went to buy a ticket this morning and as directed went upstairs to a large room lined on every wall with folklore stories.  I had just walked into the Centre for  Folklore, Myth and Magic.  Apparently all these books were at a Museum in Shrewsbury but had to be moved from that town. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Voices - The Rogue Trader?

 Gary Stevenson was a trader on the stock market.  He bet on how disaster would claim this country, he is now a multimillionaire with a conscience.  He makes videos for Youtube and communicates through media articles.

There is nothing slick about his videos, I don't like his nervous habit of touching his face all the time, but the 'styled' interviews of 'experts' on the media is beginning to grate on my nerves, especially when nothing is learnt.

Voices will appear from time to time, as I begin to see how poverty is beginning to dig deep.  One of his thoughts that as this government has screwed every last penny out of the poor, they will turn to the middle classes and start screwing them (I make no apology for language) and then we will really be in the s***

"how do you make  the rich get richer,  Only thing left is the houses of the middle-classes"

I am not an alarmist but I see the fear in people as the price of everything scuttles out of reach.  Remember a few blogs back, when I mentioned REITS in Canada.  Well it is your house that they are playing  Roulette with now.

Last night something flew by in my news, a demonstration about oil and climate change.  Half a dozen elderly people undressed and stood mostly naked to make a point about the future for their children and grandchildren and that was in placid Devon.  There is a lot going on in the world .....

He has made many videos and so you have the choice of choosing.

I may or may not necessarily agree with what the 'voice' is saying but different views are important, and he is on my listening list.