Friday, March 31, 2023

Thoughts for this morning

 How to use the Internet.  No this has nothing to do with the technical side but with the flow of what is happening in the outside world.

Yesterday I listened to two things I had 'chosen' to listen to.  Choice is a matter of how we see the world.  So I might read the Guardian online and be influenced by them but that is my way of seeing the world.  I love the funny aspects of today's commentators as they unravel the politics. John Crace and Marina Hyde have that wry satirical eye that I envy and I learn to drop my 'expletives' over politics and smile sweetly.  Do you remember the "expletive deleted" time, it was down to Richard Nixon as he came under the eye of the judiciary.  Now in important documents we use the word "redacted" to exclude sensitive wording in a document, in a TV film, the black lines of things YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO READ, loom large on the page.

But I am moving away from my thoughts.  Firstly, to the talk given by Cinnamon Press for Mark Charlton's new book 'Views From The Bike Shed' a composition of essays, or blogs if you so wish, which had been published by the aforementioned publisher.  

I had sent off for the book and the last few days have been enjoying these snapshots of thought.  Of course he makes people like myself wonder about our contributions to the blogsphere, but I know quite definitely why I write  and whilst I admire his writing skills, we are all different.

So yes I am enjoying the book thoroughly, I thought it was very brave of Mark to sit in front of his computer and read some of his work out and Jan was a delightful person who managed the interview with grace and kindness.  We should have more of this and I hope plenty of people will buy the book to understand the nature of blogging in public.

I did not put forward a question though the one that burned on my lips was how do we actually write about our families and friends, how much to put in or take out.  Is an emotional reaction, which we often experience when writing fair game for the public?

And to the other thing I watched yesterday evening.  I contribute to a couple of podcasts, and one of them is 'Fruity Knitting'.  Knitting has come a long way since 'Woman's Own' magazine, there are a lot of young whizz kids out there, taking the craft up all over the world and making it a fun activity.

But Fruity Knitting came into being in 2016 when an Australian couple, Andrew and Andrea started it.  They visited designers and wool shows all over the world and interviewed people, it brought a whole new meaning to the craft of knitting.  Sadly Andrew died and now Andrea does the monthly show with her pretty daughter, and they have fun, either in the country they now live in which is Germany or abroad.

Last night show featured Debbie Bliss and her work, a frank appraisal of the ups and downs of the commercial world of selling books, patterns and wools in this thriving business.

For a moment my fingers itched to knit some baby clothes, as partnership amongst my grandchildren is getting serious!  But what I am going to do through the morning is introduce you to a couple of the videos I do enjoy,  especially Jenna Phipps, think she maybe on the spectrum somewhere, but then aren't we all.....

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Old Blogs

      "No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”   Virginia Woolf.  What a splendid thought on a Wednesday morning. I like Virginia Woolf. Going back in time to my first writings on my blog, probably dull and boring to most blog readers but I loved the characters that bounced off my fingers.  Here is one of them the Reverend John Skinner, and also Virginia Woolf's words on him.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reverend John Skinner

Many years ago I read extracts from the Journal of a Somerset Rector 1803-1834 by John Skinner and came away with the impression that he was a miserable bad tempered creature. Reading his diary again does little to alter my first understanding of him, but on reading the book again, I have at least come to see why he was so miserable.
He was vicar of Camerton from 1800 to 1839 during this period he wrote his journals and during this time had to face a great deal of personal sorrow through the deaths of his immediate family and also as vicar at Camerton the deaths of his parishioners.
The village of Camerton is also famed in the archaeology record as being the site of a Roman settlement, and also having been mined for coal since Roman times, in fact the 'everlasting flame' on the altar of Sulis at Bath was said to have been fuelled by coal from here. Skinner also had a theory that Camerton was Camulondinum as well. Yes, Skinner was an antiquarian, like Dean Merewether he would saunter out in summer, and with a few miners lay waste to any barrow that took his fancy. We decry this vandalism nowadays, but these 'heathen savages' whose bones occupied these barrows were to our nineteenth century religious zealots a great curiosity, perhaps at the back of their minds, a trickle of uncertainity had begun to emerge at their own faith in an invisible god....
At least their imagination ran riot as to thoughts of white robed Druids performing unspeakable ritual acts in the stone circles and they were fascinated by this 'other' world - like the later writers who were to collect folklore of the British scene, or to put it more simply the naive superstitious stories of giants and fairies that roamed England - our vicars were also absorbed by the paganism of earlier history, which in turn had drifted down through the centuries, paganism was still rife in the countryside.
Skinner was sensitive, nervous and irritable.. a cantakerous individual tormented by the social upheavals that were happening in the early nineteenth century. He had to contend with drunken miners in his own parish, 'fallen' women, and a poverty that we can scarcely comprehend today. This was no pretty quaint village with thatched cottages as depicted by later sentimental Victorians such as Allingham, this was life in the raw.
To put it in the words of Virginia Woolf who wrote an essay on the man,

"Behind him lay order and discipline and all the virtues of the heroic past, but directly he left his study he was faced with drunkenness and immorality; with indiscipline and irreligion; with Methodism and Roman Catholicism; with the Reform Bill and the Catholic Emancipation Act, with a mob clamouring for freedom, with the overthrow of all that was decent and established and right...."

Skinner's archaelogical exploits have drifted across my path the last few years, the most famous of course being Stoney Littleton Barrow, but also nearer to my home the Charmy Downs Bronze Age Barrows, now destroyed by a first World War airfield, the barrows followed a linear path on top of the Downs. Also Skinner excavated (or dug down) the Ashen Hill barrows, a linear group of 8 barrows, very near to the group of the Priddy Nine Barrows, in fact these two groups make up a bronze age cemetery, not too far from the famous Priddy Circles.

All these eight barrows were investigated by the Reverend John Skinner in 1815, and all barrows produced one or more cremations. Some of these contained Early Bronze age urns and were covered with stone slabs (similar to Lansdown barrows cemetery). Three barrows had bronze daggers, one in a wooden sheaf. One barrow contained a rich burial which included beads and other objects of amber (maybe faience) and a miniature incense cup. from Ann Woodward - British Barrows........

There is a poignant passage in his journals regarding the Mendips, and it has to do with the death of his favourite daughter Laura at fourteen years old in May 1820. A few months later after her death he had ridden up to the Mendips in a solitary manner, and in his diaryhad written the following passage;

"I could not help thinking how differently this morning was to be spent by myself, an obscure imdividual, on the desolate heights of Mendip, and the Queen of these realms in the midst of her judges in the most splendid metropolis in the world. Yet when half the number of years have rolled away which these tumuli have witnessed how will every memorial, every trace, be forgotten of the agitation which now fills every breast; all the busy heads and aching hearts will be as quiet as those of the savage chieftains which have so long occupied these hillocks"
But there were happier times in his life, and in 1822 he describes riding out with a party of friends to Stanton Drew Circles;...
"When the country in the vicinity was covered with wood, and the white robed Druid stood in solemn silence, each one by his stone of power in the centre of this gloomy recess, the scene of course was more impressive"
The full horrors of death was an experience that he had to contend with as a vicar, as mentioned earlier. He lost his brother and two sisters to consumption in 1810, his wife must have also caught the infection for she was to become ill as well, in 1811 she gave birth to a daughter who died three monthslater of consumption. Then in 1812 his wife died. All this happened in a matter of short time, later on in life, after the death of Laura again to consumption, his son Joseph was also to die of the same illness.
In the village itself, death was commonplace, the coal mines were dangerous, men and children were occasionally killed by falling rock. Drunkeness was also a killer, a woman died horribly by falling on the fire in her home. Men fell down shafts inebriated, and on one occasion a man walking through a hedge into what he thought of as a field, in actual fact plunged down into a quarry. Age and poverty were also great killers, the two linking together, no social service to put food on the table or clothes on their backs of the poor, they must in the end succumb to a miserable death, sometimes in the poor house, sometime under a hedge or a barn.
Skinner mental health seemed to deteriorate after 1839, his journals became less interesting, and one day in October, armed with a pistol he strode out of his house and shot himself in a nearby beech wood. The Coroner's verdict gives some idea of the state of his mind; According to one source Skinner seems to have shot himeself in despair of his son's illness, again consumption, perhaps he could not face this death of his third child.
"The Rev. gentleman's health had been declining for sometime and his mind had latterly been very much affected. On Friday morning, in a state of derangement, he shot himself through the head with a pistol, and was dead in an instant."

Edit: Skinner even wrote poetry as well, here is his rather doleful dirge below the second poem

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

29th March 2023

 Once upon a time a teacher said to my youngest grandchild and her class it would be fun to make a family tree!  I have reservations about pottering around long ago memories but as I have grown older they hurt less and maybe  begin to see the people involved in a more sympathetic light. 

No this is not a long saga about how cruel they were, they were not, it was just an unusual upbringing, which involved my adoption and three stepmothers.

But the delving into family history has brought to light that I have five half siblings and when my daughter had an email from someone who's DNA matched up with hers, and had signed himself 'your cuz' - we were off again and the mad hunt for answers.

I think the only answer I want is what happened to my half brother Peter who I was brought up with for a few years and my cousin Barry - we formed a trio.  And the last I was to see of these two was when I went to their new boarding school, Tettenhall College in Wolverhampton and they were sobbing in the car not wanting to go in.  A lasting impression.

I did actually meet Peter once when I was widowed and my stepmother arranged a meeting, and he hobbled into the pub with a stick having suffered a car accident - and that was it.  A photo of Peter and myself,  I only own three photos of my childhood.

Last night I had to try and convince my granddaughter, that my name is Thelma and not Janet as my biological mother had called me, there are, probably in the boxes in the basement here, several documents relating to my adoption but the great secrecy of it was hidden until the death of my grandfather and not produced until I was 27 years old, widowed and with a young child.  Those were the days!!!

Today all that is water under the bridge but of course when another relative pops up claiming kinship I am not sure I want to go there.

Monday, March 27, 2023

27th March 29023

Drone visiting;  After looking up where I live now, I thought I might visit where I had lived before.  Thirty years in Bath is quite a while.  My son still lives there and walks most days for exercise in his part of it..  

The first thing to strike me, was the stonework of the whole city, Bath stone is simply called Bath Stone, described as golden, though I would call it a dull cream mostly.  The mines the stones were taken from were Combe Down and Bathampton.  But its light colour gives the city a flush of cleanliness, something that is sadly lacking in the town I now live in, with its light film of industrial coal blackness.  I am not contrasting here only seeing it as it is.  After all as a child I was brought up in the 'Black Country' or the Midlands where grottiness reigned when I grew up.

Bath is of course a tourist town, the population of tourists often equalling the inhabitants and has the usual problems with traffic.  But it's prime beginning as a Roman town with hot springs plus Bath Abbey are must places to visit.

I see it through its Roman history, the villas on the outskirts of the city show colonisation by the retirees.  It has plenty of myths,  Bladud its original founder.  Who, suffering from leprosy and working as a herdsman for pigs, noticed how the pigs wallowed in the hot spring.  So he decided to as well, and of course was cured of leprosy.

John Woods and his son in the 18th century were the architects of the Georgian Bath you see today.  Woods the Elder, was also interested in the myths and legends that were written at the time.  He was also interested in Stonehenge and Stanton Drew Circles (I have written of this elsewhere) and Freemasonry, all these things will be found in the buildings. 

Bath has a strong character in its buildings protected of course by preservation legalities.  Bombing in the second world war, destroyed a part of the city  down by the river, I think mostly Victorian buildings but the great terraces survived as did The Royal Crescent, Queen's Square, The Circus and the Abbey.

Another strand of thought occurred and I found a drone film about Stanton Drew stone circle, the third important stone circle within the South-West area.  So I tapped a few letters and what came up was a Megalithomania's video of Stanton Drew stone circle, which is but a few miles down the road from Bath.

Here we enter the world of sacred lines and geomancy - the art of arranging buildings or other sites auspiciously.  Not something I am a follower of but an interesting train of thought to think about.  John Woods the Elder also like the titillation of things that were not quite true.  And The Circus building's were centred around the dimensions of Stanton Drew and the circle of trees in the centre represented Stonehenge circumference.

The Circus

Saturday, March 25, 2023

25th March 2023

Tales of banks folding, money is at risk, people panicking! Don't.  Those millions you have in the bank are worthless any way, remember 'the eye of the needle' parable.  It will all go away eventually, either you snuff it, or the world rolls round once more, shakes itself free and we start again.

Bad news over. Neil of Yorkshire Pudding fame started wandering round the areas in which he lives/has lived taken by drone camera by others, and asked his readers to do the same. So I pottered around on the internet and decided the best one for this area is the one at the bottom of the page.  I am going to do Hebden Bridge later because it is probably prettier.

Though here I must recommend Paul Knight's blog 'Landscape Story' for an interpretation of the nature and social history of his landscape, as he notes the first returning birds the complicated water patterns laid by human hand to industrialise this valley.

The other thing I notice from the drone photography, is in a narrow valley houses are built in rigid lines with no gardens. Houses for the mill workers but that a lot of the flat ground in Todmorden is covered by recreational areas such as Centre Park.  This large part of Todmorden was given to the town by one of its worthies - John Fielden I think, and the grounds were once part of his gardens.


There is also drone footage of Todmorden Unitarian Church set in a snowy landscape with captures its bleakness and built by John  Fielden's three sons.  I blogged back here about the church, from ground level it is rather grim, especially the overgrown cemetery further up the hill.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

23rd March 2023

 The weather is warming up, and we had made  it successfully to the hospital.  Huddersfield, and Halifax are grey towns, carrying their past municipal age with dignity but so dispiriting.  Modern new bus stations help relieve the austerity of it all.  

The diagnosis was as I had thought it was and will of course need more treatment so another visit in a couple of weeks time.

I have been listening to 'I am an Island' by Tasmin Calidas another adventure story into the wilds of the Hebridean Isles by a Londoner.  What do I take from it? Well something that sticks out like a Martian in another land.  The ways of the Scottish Isles are very different to an emotional female who goes looking for something to romanticise and then finds herself cooped up with an angry husband (she later divorces him) and resentful islanders, this denied in this Guardian article by the way. 

She makes friends but also is subject to a certain vicious element in the females she meets, not helped by the fact that her husband has been sleeping around.  There is a feeling amongst locals that as a lone woman running a croft, she should sell up and let a family move in.  In this of course we see strong tribal elements from the islanders.  She also finds it difficult with the custom of leaving your door unlatched in the evening when people can just pop in for a chat bringing their own drink.  As a solitary female she feels threatened by a man walking in and making himself comfortable.

It seems sad that the tight knit communities of the Scottish Isles are now open to the vagaries of the modern world, great liners wallow in their tiny harbours discharging vast loads of American (and other) tourists to sample the delights of 'wilderness'.

She has written a good book - Sunday Times bestseller, whether it is all truthful or in fact an interpretation by a Londoner, who has had a very different upbringing heaven knows.  But I shall listen to her today and perhaps come to a different conclusion.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Spring is on its way

Sitting Hare by Charles Tunnicliffe 1901-1979

And who better to remind us then the boxing hares?  A golden painting also to remind us of the sun of summer.  The story of Saint Melangell, which I repeat every year because I think it is beautiful, is of a little hare somewhere in Wales, who sought sanctuary with Melangell and forever more no hares were hunted in the valley.  The church which honours  this story is in Pennant and the story can be found here

St.Melangells Church Pennant

The story of Saint Melangell and her little hare. She was the daughter of King Cufwlch and Ethni of Ireland and she fled to Wales to escape a forced marriage. She settled in Pennant at the head of a valley, and whilst one day sitting in a clearing she heard the sound of a hunt, dogs and horses galloping up the valley. This was Prince Brochwael of Powys hunting hares. As she sat a hare came into the clearing and Melangell hid it in the sleeve of her dress to protect it. When it peeped out the dogs fled, and so the Prince gave her the land on which he hunted, and she lived at Pennant for another 37 years and no animal was killed in her sanctuary. Hares were known as wyn bach Melangell or Melangell's little lambs, and to kill a hare was an act of sacrilege.  Saint Melangell's wiki.

Today we are off to Huddersfield to the eye department so trains and Uber for travelling. Scary.

Resting Hare by Andrew Hartington

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Mothering Sunday

It is Mothering Sunday and I am home alone again because the family went to the theatre last night and then slept over at Tom and Ellie's flat.  Lillie had suggested that I could sleep in the bath but somehow I wasn't too keen on that!

So they are back this morning and we all going for a meal at Grasso in Tormorden as my daughter has managed to bag a table for six.  Matilda is down from London, so three grandchildren and three adults..

My son phoned Friday, always late on special occasions and asked what would I like for the event, thinking he would never get anything to me by Saturday I specified a couple of things.  Lo and behold Amazon delivered a parcel in the afternoon.

Looking through the photos I came across some old ones, when my daughter was young, and so was I. It is interesting to see how times have changed.

My first mother-in-law, myself and my daughter

The shiny plait of my daughter's hair

A rehash of an old blog - Roman barrows at Bartlow

Scrambled thoughts on the Roman Bartlow Mounds.  A glorious day, Essex in full pastoral glory, looking sweet and pretty with its thatched cottages, the fields full of wheat, some turning a soft sheen of pale gold under the sun.  No cows of course, something I miss in this wheat region.  But what lies under the surface, well we had a delicious meal in the pub at Bartlow, chatted to the landlord, and he filled us in on house prices. Let us  say that it is expensive to live in this county, the building plot in the derelict kitchen gardens had cost a minor £900,000 for the land, was not sure about the building of it.  A large house with three acres had just sold (sealed bids) for four million pounds and he reckoned a further few hundred thousand to update it, a two bedroom cottage in the village had gone in four minutes for approximately £300,000.  Crazy prices, probably London money all to live in an idyllic bucolic dream, we need a socialist answer!

But to return from the gossip, to the reason we visited, as we approach the little round towered church, my first impression always is, path to the left pagan, path to the right Christian, under the rampant sweet pea at the gate of the church are the remains of an old tree stump, and when you walk down the cool path to the mounds you will meet tree giants along the way, as if in an avenue of great trees, an earlier history of the manor probably.  But also an old bridge across a stream and another bridge for the defunct railway line. Past the old kitchen gardens with their large greenhouses falling into disrepair, and then you turn the corner and a great mound greets you, the largest is about 40 feet high, the three mounds hemmed in by the trees and a paling fence, so that it is difficult to photograph.  For me this small area of a pagan past is so resolute with history that the imagination could run riot. A green tree cathedral for the mounds of these Roman 1st century immigrants, with the hint of a Roman feast buried deep below the chalk.  Evidence does not survive because the place where the pottery, etc was lodged in the 19th/20th had burnt down.
As the village lies just on this side of the border between Essex and Cambridgeshire, it is Cambridgeshire Council who look after it, the grass was roughly mown and the tree saplings had been cut down on the sides of the mound, a difficult job given the steepness of the sides of the mounds, perhaps they used ropes to tether themselves.  
I have written elsewhere on an earlier visit, so this must be speculation, was it slave labour of the local British inhabitants to dig and build these monuments I wonder... anyway Wiki notes.

"For centuries the mounds were believed to cover the bodies of those killed at the Battle of Ashingdon in 1016, but excavation demonstrated that they are the graves of a wealthy family and date from the 1st or 2nd century AD. Excavations in the 19th century found large wooden chests, decorated vessels in bronze, glass and pottery and an iron folding chair, most of which were lost in a later fire at Bartlow Hall. A small Roman villa, occupied until the late 4th century, was situated north of the mounds and was excavated in 1852.

This is an aerial view by Bill Blake

I will always remember how hot the sun was when we wandered into the cool interior of the church.

The three barrows were like great shaggy beasts greeting you

We went back several times, once even on a solstice, to this magical place buried deep in the countryside.  Always quiet, in summer, butterflies dancing around and the barrows having a covering of wild flowers.

 Archaeological information

Saturday, March 18, 2023


This is a favourite photo of mine.  It is a church in Essex at Bartlow.  One path leads towards Christianity but the other leads to the fabulous Roman pagan burials in large barrows that sit in the field behind the church.


"Hardly a rood of land but can show its fresh wound or indelible scar, in proof that earlier or later man has been there."

Perhaps those words should accompany the folly that is called HS2, a railway track that makes it's strong footstep across the country, now talk of it being postponed.  Rest in peace those woods that were uprooted.

But though mention of trees is part of what I am thinking, there is the books we so avidly read, or in my case now, listen to, that is on my mind.

Beeches of Avebury growing on a barrow

On the radio at the moment is 'Peter and the Wolf', story telling in music.  But it was the book I picked out of my Audible library to listen to yesterday which took me on a ramble.  Robert Macfarlane's 'Landmarks', glossaries of old words, words lost in time - fragments of the past.  But I scooted through the words and went to the storytelling bits of this book which is a cry against the 'Lost Words'.

He mentioned 'Reliquiae' an annual book of words and thoughts captured by Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson, who in the daring of youth, live in a little rented cottage somewhere in Cumbria maybe or it could be Lancashire (will do my homework later!) high on the moors, cultivating a nettle bed for soup and vegetables - a story in itself.  Music or language they both explore and experiment, the old need for adventure in the young still strong.

So copied from the book, Gerald Manley Hopkinson quote, a rather sad one for it captures the feeling when a tree is felled.

"The ash tree growing in the corner of the garden was felled.  It was lopped first:  I heard the sound and looking and seeing it maimed there came at the moment a great pang and I wished to die and not to see the inscapes of the world anymore."

Life in its many forms, when killed suddenly becomes stilled you can see it the moment between life and death and it stabs the heart with the emotion of loss.

Gilbert White has also written about the felling of an old oak tree in 'Raven Tree'.  The ravens who built their nest year after year in the branches above the large bulge which stopped the village boys getting to it.  But in the end the tree was brought down with the female raven still sitting on her nest of eggs and she was entangled in the branches and killed.  The first verse of 'Memory of a Sister' by Thomas Hardy.  As suggested by Tasker.  Logs on the Hearth..

The fire advances along the log
Of the tree we felled,
Which bloomed and bore striped apples by the peck
Till its last hour of bearing knelled.

And whilst I am about words, I find the word 'blog' both ugly and clumsy, no finesse whatsoever!

Years ago!  Narrating the Landscape blog

Friday, March 17, 2023

17th March


Remembering the Tree Ents

Silicon Valley Bank crisis

Every morning I read the news on my tablet.  It is not particularly serious news and I can't read the Telegraph or The Times because I do not subscribe. So this morning it was all about 'contagion' in the banks but the Guardian articles was mostly about trees.  Are they trying to tell us something maybe? Invest in trees, the banks are going to fail?  There are Guardian articles below that are about the present banking crisis.

Apparently there maybe some sort of feud going on which involves Peter Thiel, a Republican billionaire is involved in. And when Credit Suisse bank starts feeling the pinch you begin to have a slight worry.  Mind you when you read the headlines as from the Telegraph "Could Credit Suisse Bankrupt Switzerland"  headline chasing newspapers should perhaps put the brakes on.

A crab apple tree, it throws shade over an old badger sett.  But now rabbits occupy it.
So to trees, their gnarled surfaces as they age reminding us of old age in ourselves.  We need to plant more to help with the climate and yet the Guardian highlights councils cutting down trees in the towns.  Green lungs are vital to negate the pollution from cars within towns but it is one of those urban disputes.

Exuberantly blossomed hawthorn

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

15th March 2023

Under the Hills near the Moravia River

She lay there midst
Mammoth, reindeer, and wolf bones;
Diadem of fox teeth round her brow
Ocher under her hips
26,640 plus or minus 110 years before "now".
Burnt reindeer-pelvis bone bits
in her mouth,
Bones of two men lying by her side,
one each side. 

A poem written by Gary Snyder about a 20,000 year old burial of three teenagers.  Snyder had romanticised it of course, the actual archaeological story though was just as  fascinating and can be found here under 'The Triple Burials'

So my daughter sent me a link this morning to a mixed Roman/Saxon cemetery found recently near Leeds at a town called Garforth.  You could tell the difference between the burials,  Roman's East/West, Saxons North/South.  There is a somewhat startling photo in this BBC article of two skeletons close together, as if in death they could not be parted.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

14th March 2023

The week goes by uneventfully..  Next week a visit to the eye clinic, somewhere in one of those large towns, Huddersfield I believe.  Luckily it is the day when my daughter has a break, so she will take me there.

They were talking about Smart phones on the radio yesterday, in the context that councils are now expecting you to pay car parking fees by app and how quite a lot of people, including me, don't really understand apps.

Flashing one's debit card I can do quite easily but hunting round on my phone for a silly bit of information is beyond me.  I see my family with train tickets, plane tickets, theatre tickets all on their phones, they can print out the tickets from their computers of course, as an added piece of physical evidence.

Which leads me to the fact I should buy a new computer as this one is getting wickedly slow, though I haven't filled its space up yet.  So yesterday I went to Dells online and thumbed through the prospective candidates and looked at the technical terms which each had.  Well in the welter of Cores, Ram, Amdem I am lost, but will wait for Andrew tonight to make his judgement. He had recommended a rather large one a few weeks ago, but it was one of these stand on its own monitor which I reckoned was for  films/games and somehow I can watch such thing easily on my tablet or this computer.  Choices, choices.

I shall also ask him to copy the backup of my blog on this computer on to my external drive.

What I love about having a blog, is that the accumulation of one's writing can be read, like a book, anytime.  Aril of Gnat Bottom Towers wrote about Apostle spoons recently and suddenly I remembered I had written about Celtic spoons, and found the two blogs just in search.  I shall put the links below, knowing of course people will find them boring but for me the discovery of two spoons by the The Locksbrook in Bath all that time ago was exciting.

Celtic Spoons

Gathering Theories

The last thought is some beautiful wool I have been knitting.  The trick is to take two balls one of wool and the other of Kid Silk, it produces a very silky knit, for a moment it reminds me of the little boleros we used to wear over our party dresses as children.

It has created a 'haze' around the knitted area, and softens the orange colour. I have bought a lemon/cream combination as well.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Some thoughts

"In attacking the new asylum policy, Gary Lineker has left a stricken BBC floundering and shown the Tory right how it is misjudging Britain"

 Will Hutton in the Observer writes the following;

Hutton calls Lineker's tweet a clumsy use of words.  I find many who use words in a clumsy, slightly vicious way to broker an argument in and around on the net very childish (and limited in language).  Such words as 'woke', lefty, weak liberal luvvie, a bit annoying.  But must admit to giggling over the use of 'sandal-wearing, vegetarians'.  It is of course a cheap way of labelling your supposed opponent. Simply put I could state that  right-wing followers are led by rich newspaper owners who wish to lead us down the narrow alley of leaving everything in the hands of our rich 'betters' - sod that.

Elsewhere I have used the words 'The Shires', this is where the tories believe they have their strongest supporters out in the countryside, because let us all be truthfully honest, there are not enough rich people to bring a majority to government, so they must manoeuvre in other ways.

What is all becoming obviously clear though is that a two party government is redundant, so busy fighting between themselves like cats in a sack, that the real work has gone by the wayside.

I admire those who have spoken out against the immigration laws, the small band of supporters that stand behind Lineker.  I don't know the answer to the boat people, only that it is being 'played up' at the moment.  I am sure there are answers out there, allowing the immigrants to make legal representation to come here.  But to denigrate the boat people is not the answer.  Humanity and compassion, as the official boats who rescue those in trouble on the sea, and also those who feed these youngsters and look after them....

Read the brilliant Murr on the word 'woke'  

And then there is Yorkshire Pudding as well.

Friday, March 10, 2023


A quote to put everything into perspective.  Found on F/B

"It's a wee bit of beautiful snow, making everything look awesome. When you stop loving snow it's time to give up."

100% attendance said Lillie this morning as she agitated to go to college.  The snow has arrived, white and heavy it drapes our small world beautifully.  Will the trains and buses be running? Well the buses are stuck in their garages, but presumably the snow will be cleared and they can make their way to the main road.  The trains are slow but working.  

Lillie's worry about attendance is put to one side, the college will be closed as I said it would, and minor worries about blotting one's attendance record is no longer a worry. The person who will hopefully mend the Aga is coming later, Lillie has departed with her mother to Manchester, as she is going to the theatre this evening with her brother and his partner.  Life falls back into an easy pattern and it has just turned 8.0.clock.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

9th March 2023


It is going to snow so the above is appropriate.  Bitterly cold, especially as the Aga stopped working the other day but the Aga man is coming tomorrow morning to relit it.  We have had a small flurry overnight and the roofs are decorated in their linear markings of snow and slate.

My daughter came back with chocolate for everyone, a 'Lazy Susan' and a tartan jacket.  She had managed to track down a charity shop in Lausanne.  It took her well over an hour with the tracking system on her phone which led her round in circles.  Her description of Lausanne and Vevey is a bit worrying, drug dealers around at the railway station, homeless on the street, this is not the Switzerland I knew but her aunts are well.

As for the political 's***s***m which still erupts around us, I have decided the North should break away from the South and we should have Andy Burnham as our leader.  Scotland will also have broken away of course.

As for Todmorden there are plenty too govern this small town, if they are not losing their cats or dogs, there are plenty of problems to solve, like moving the pedestrian crossings from where they have recently been put to somewhere else. What I love about the green light crossings, is that they switch on by themselves in a random fashion, infuriating motorists as they stop for no pedestrians crossing.

What all these driving people do not understand is that the point of the exercise is to get rid of the car!  Have you heard of the 15 minute city?

 "The 15-minute city should have three key features. First, the rhythm of the city should follow humans, not cars. Second, each square meter should serve many different purposes. Finally, neighbourhoods should be designed so that we can live, work and thrive in them without having to constantly commute elsewhere.”

But would I dare enter Tod chat with that statement? I can almost hear people in blog land spitting their coffee at the screen ;)

So just in case you feel like that.......

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

A Diary entry

 Yesterday I had an email from a dear friend in the village, and I cried for all that is lost.  She said the roses were beautiful in the garden last summer and that the house had a sold marker on it.  Perhaps it will be better when it has last finally gone.  

She gave me all the news of the village, and I saw them in my mind's eye, David our village crier having bought himself a mobile scooter now swanned up and down the village in a yellow jacket.  C was in hospital once again, and I remembered that terrible cough of hers.  I used to drive her to the hospital and I miss her gentle conversations as I do the person who sent me the email.

I have not looked at all the many photos of the village for a long time, but I decided to face up to looking at the cottage and village Paul loved so much.  For she had given me one good piece of news, the old coke house in the grave yard had been restored by professionals.  As she said Paul would have been very pleased.  The money had come from the Margaret Wood legacy, an old lady who had lived in the village all her life.  In fact, Irene's house was built on the plot of the old cottage.  It was J who had arranged the restoration, he is in charge of the conservation of the church.

The defibrillator has at last been agreed upon, and will hang on the side of the pub.  A quiz night over Xmas brought in some of the money to buy it, but you also need money to keep it going.  I know Jo will be pleased it is there and Irene is going to learn how to use it.

I have tried to move forward but each day I move with the heartache of losing Paul and our way of life.  I have a fabulous family for which I am eternally grateful and I am sure when the warmer air hits this part of Yorkshire I shall be a happier bunny - chuckle.

So what to choose.... Mostly taken from a Xmas folder.  You can see Lucy, lazy creature that she was with her Xmas presents.  It was after her stroke that I decided to leave the cottage, my bantams and little cat went to their forever new homes

The coke house seen from the front window

The patched up old coke house.

Jo's Xmas decorations with holly from our garden

The old chair, I collected chairs at one stage, is upstairs amongst the jumble of furniture in the spare room.  Paul would always complain that people admired the chair more than all his Japanese stuff that furnished the house.

Lucy and my daily walk in the fields

Bluebells in the orchard

Roses will always be my favourite