Sunday, July 30, 2023

Revelations

 Revelation/s: There are two!

Worrying about Mollie starving to death because she seemed to have difficulty eating the answer to the problem came last night.  It was the bowls I had been given.  She came courtesy of the RSPCA with two litter boxes, a toy, 2 aluminum bowls and a fancy drinks bowl.  And Paul who had delivered her, even went and bought a bag of wood chippings for me.  Those bowls were not what she usually ate from suddenly came down from above, they were new, so I went downstairs found a small plate cut her food up and sure enough every scrap was eaten - relief knows no bounds and a clean plate.  She is a loud mouthed little creature and if there was a language translator for cats I might have come to the answer sooner.

The other revelation, well not exactly.  You may have noticed in my writing I am not to sure where to put to or too, So I asked Bard this morning and the answer is below.  Grammar lessons at school was never my go to subject, but I passed with straight 'A's precis, I may read too fast but my understanding is sharp.

Just heard on the news that Sunak, taking his initiative from the car loving public has decided to write his essay in supporting the car to win the forthcoming election - idiot, whilst Rome burns etc, etc.

Farage on the other hand, has found something to champion, banks who won't let you open an account.  Apparently lots according to Grant Shapps,  band wagon's like sinkholes are opening everywhere for the political parties.  What does it say? Clutching at straws I think.

Poverty sadly does not make it to the table though.  But there is a little fight back in odd corners, railway strikes we know of, I am not sure why well paid surgeons are striking but Amazon employees are beginning to stir. They are clock timed to the minute by the company, and unionisation makes the company unhappy.

So to Bard, my companion on this weekend alongside Mollie, think I better ask about the meaning of preposition.

To and too are homophones, which means they sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. To is a preposition, while too is an adverb.




Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Introduction

Well Mollie is settling in.  She is very sweet, clingy at the moment but curious about everything. Yesterday I let her out of my room and she explored the corridors, but her security is tied up in this room.  Her cardboard box under the table, her blankets and a easy road to get to the windowsill.  Funnily enough she goes and stares at a print I have against the wall.  It is one of my hare prints with a wood in the background and I am wondering if that is where she wants to be.



Food wise she comes with Purina Gourmet pate, of which she licks the jelly off but doesn't eat most of the meat.  I think I will boil a bit of fish for her to see if she will eat that.  Though she eats her Dentabites with great relish.

At 19 years old she is very lively!

Monday, July 24, 2023

24th July 2023

Windowsill cleared, I approach with some trepidation the arrival of Mollie.  It will be a period of getting to know each other.  Just walked down to Lidl by the canal, ducks and Canadian geese out, one day I will remember to buy a frozen bag of peas to throw to them, we are always, as instructed, not to throw bread.  

I shall cook fish goujons tonight, messy but everyone likes them. I have come to a period in my life when I have become nervous about cooking for goodness sake.  This is a person that has catered over the years for hundreds of students and family.  Weird what happens later on in life.

I am whittling.  But Pat's blog on ginnels reminded me of Whitby and all the yards that enclosed a small place and where the small cottages huddled together.

My cottage in its small yard was down a passage way off Flowergate, all you had to do was walk down the street and there were plenty of shops.  Living so close with neighbours did cause some conflict but being polite did not come amiss.  Mary next door, only wanting work done on the cottage after 10-0 -clock, as obviously she didn't get up till then. Fraser who lived in the basement of the house above, with his grumpiness and stacks of stuff left outside.

So a short video on The Yards of Whitby.




Sunday, July 23, 2023

Annabel

My daughter, Annabel and Jeannot at Avebury

 Another thread in life has vanished.  Early this morning I had a long conversation with my daughter, the medical equipment keeping Annabel alive was removed last night and she went.  We do not face up to death but it is there written in our makeup and we are left with the pain whilst the person who has died is given freedom.

So I will talk about the better things.  I haven't seen Annabel for over 40 years but her presence has always lingered in my memory.  We both arrived, roughly about the same time at Es Planches in Blonay in Switzerland to the home of my adopted family then.

I was recently widowed with a small child called Karen from Annabel's brother Nick, who had died tragically as a result of a car crash. And she left on an oil camp out in Iran by her then husband.  Jeannot's family was also there in the hot desert and they took care of her and Marc her young son. Jeannot fell in love with her and has been with her ever since, nursing her through illness these last years.  He now is inconsolable.

Annabel had accepted her coming death, she was done with life.  And as her family came through the door of her room she welcomed them as all her favourite people, though for some inexplicable reason she did mention the gardener - Luigi, but when you get old the mind wanders doesn't it?

I remember her from that time, I was fascinated by her mannerisms for they were so like Nicks.  But she had been the one to visit him in England when he was at boarding school and take him out to tea and he had copied her of course.

She worked down in Lausanne in a shop selling embroidered stuff and we probably all sported those little Swiss white blouses covered in a ring of embroidery.

I am writing this for my grand children, it is a history of one person in their family.  Life is so different now.  Karen has always been close to Annabel and it will affect her but she rushed from the festival she was at with Andrew and flew to Vevey straightaway.  She is a good daughter and niece.

And now for other things, she comes back  tomorrow, also Andrew will arrive and Mollie in the afternoon.  Mollie and I are being treated like royalty by the RSPCA, though apparently she will insist on sleeping in a cardboard box!

A family blurry snap



Saturday, July 22, 2023

22nd July 2023

 And now to politics:  Which to be honest reflects what I would describe as when not sure just take a punt on voting with a pin. Three seats, each one going to a different party, neither here nor there.  Both Labour and Conservatives are still at arms length from outright victories.

No one loves Keir Starmer, I know I don't, can't settle anywhere and changes his promises as often as his shirt.  His new member of the party, is a bright, young, fresh faced youngster who will repeat the party manifesto in total obedience.  I am happy that Keir Mather is a young man, at last the grey faced middle aged men are being given a run for their money by the young - and it is about time.

The local issue of the Ulez emission zone affected the South Ruislip and Uxbridge vote, as we should know it would.  Decisions which should have been taken 30 years ago, now sit uncomfortably in a society where economic downfalls now loom large and who is going to give up their cars? even if they are diesel spitting dirt bombs...

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My DNA results came through this morning, as was expected mostly English (West Midlands), this we probably knew already as my mother's maiden surname was Colclough (makers of china), then next Northern and Western European.  Followed by Celtic and a touch of Baltic ;)

To be resumed maybe.

Paul Knight's blog:  Witness  For an inventory of all the wild flowers you will find at this time in our area.  He talks of the popping seed of the balsam flower, it explodes so that the seed is carried far and wide.  I tried to remember another seed like that, then remembered the Acanthus plant, so tall and stately, its stone leaves decorating so many Roman columns but it also distributes its seed the same way. I remember in the garden being so surprised coming on this for the first time. There is also 'Stargoose and Hanglands photos' to see for a Cambridgeshire view.

Acanthus





Friday, July 21, 2023

21st July 2023

 Yesterday morning I sifted through a whole load of correspondence, looking for a changed password.  Once again a society had stopped sending out mail and you had to use the internet.  I was cross, had already written to them, and had had a silly email back from someone in customer care telling me to do it as explained on the site.

Missing my point that IF they changed my old phone number to the new one I could use the verification code requested and access my account.  Patience was rewarded and I found the new password, which now resides in my old green 'password' book, and edited my phone number.

I have had this green journal since 1998, it was originally a garden book, noting things I had bought, bees I had seen and dyes that I had used for wool dyeing.

Apple trees, whose names I had fallen in love with: White Transparent (Russian and early) Blue Pearmain, Rev. Wilkes and Annie Elizabeth were planted near to each other, marriage made in heaven? No, their blossoming time did not happen at the same time.  Merton Russett, Discovery, Katy, Fiesta, Gala and May Queen.  Pears and plums followed and over time I had abundance of fruit and bought an apple press £130. 

It is all there not many entries but moments of interest, roses planted for instance. A good sized garden I filled it up, going vertical with trellis so that honeysuckles mixed with climbing roses, completely untidy but alive. The two ponds built, in the first one after having dug the hole, the membrane sheet was put on top to be filled in the following morning, and lo and behold next morning there were two newts sitting there waiting for their pond to be filled up! In May I would watch the damselflies mate on the yellow irises, later on the great yellow eyed dragonfly coursed up and down the lawn path,  Bring a pond into the garden and apart from frogs and frogspawn a whole new world appears.

As I have been typing this my phone keeps pinging, bringing the sad news that my daughter's aunt in Switzerland is fast losing her life. Karen will fly out soon.  She recovered slightly yesterday in hospital but now the news is not good.  So I will end, on this diary like form as I once so many years ago wrote in my old green journal.


Thursday, July 20, 2023

20th July 2023 - Restoring Bjinga with Tissue

Photo upload done twice as blog shows them up last first, but when I try the other way round it does the opposite - trials!

In talking about craft and the work done by hand, I am reminded of William Morris's book 'The Story of the unknown Church'.  All those crafts people over the centuries building and adorning our churches with carving and stone work all forgotten now.  We exclaim with wonder at their skills but do not know their names.

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Some things you approach with a sad heart and the knowledge that happiness will never be experienced as it was then.  But time takes the edge of the pain and you face up to what life brings you.

So I will show a shortened sequence of photos of how a Japanese scroll is restored. It is fairly dull repetitious work but it requires great skill and patience, as Pat underlined yesterday. 

The scroll was done for an old client of Paul's but I haven't shown M because privacy is something to be honoured, although he helped in places.  It is the client who chooses the various materials that are used in the restoration.

Something that is perhaps not understood about Japanese culture, is not only the great show of politeness but also the strong religious and cultural ties to the old ways.  A scroll would not necessarily be left on the wall in a permanent state, but seasonal subjects would be hung, often in the tea house, where the rigid formality of taking tea would be undertaken.

The subject of the scroll is called 'Bjinga  with Tissue', and it is probably of a lady of the night, so often wooed in the already mentioned tea-house.

Paul was enormously tidy, some, like me, would say excessively tidy, but that was his job.  "Do not walk about eating biscuits sweetheart" he would say and one reason why we never had any animals at Chelmsford, hairs in the studio was a no-no.

Original state

old tissues removed



 











Wednesday, July 19, 2023

19th July 2023

Calm, peace and tranquility the house empties itself of the other two occupants.  Not that I don't welcome their presence but first thing in the morning must be quiet.

There I am listening to 'Lost words' music Blessings, the video will be below, when Lillie bursts in; she has washed all her clothes the night before and now doesn't have anything to wear to the primary school in which she helps.  Can she use my hair dryer? yes, well it is hopeless saying why couldn't you actually have kept up with your washing and so there would be enough clothes for camping? But it would be a waste of breath.  I am having a Zoom meeting tonight to be vetted by a RSPCA person for Mollie the cat, should pass that one, we have calculated the ages of both of us and Mollie and I are on equal footing.

I had been going through Paul's photos, and had come across The Bjinga With Tissues. It must have been one of the last paintings he restored and wandering through the photos I had taken was a pleasant occupation.

I had been watching a documentary about a father and son and their restoration of an Edo period horse, they were  National Treasure craft people.  Something we do not acknowledge in this country, but skill and dedication to craft, which often runs down through a family, is acknowledged in Japan.

Perhaps I will do it at a later stage, and just leave it with one photo of the end.....  But the ability to renew and restore old work is very much part of how Japanese people view their artifacts.

It is funny to see Kintsugi gold repair become fashionable in our world, in the video I watched a Kintsugi repair was broken and the pottery restored to an invisible repair.  In restoring hanging scrolls, as Paul did, fine tissues were removed by the use of water and then new ones reinstated with water. Paints were mixed to match the exact colours.  Everything was the result of hand craft work.  Whether the fine silks needed to frame the hanging or the boxes to store them.

I feel I need to go back to visit the past now and then a lot of it was quite interesting, and already I remember the boxes of samples, both mineral and natural that Paul collected, somewhere hiding on my blog.


It's finished!!




News: New York Times- Heat Wave Affects Three Continents

Sunday, July 16, 2023

16th July 2023

 The weather opens up again outside with gleaming wet pavements but we are promised a heatwave soon.  But this warmth that stretches across Europe is not kind but fierce and very hot.  It will set trees ablaze, animals will die and so will some humans.  Woken up yet?

It was my son's birthday yesterday, we slightly squabbled over his age and I have sent him some money to buy something for his garden,  Not to worry you all but he mentioned there was some squabbling (twice used word) over borders with Russia and Europe, Germany for one, Poland for another.  We all sit quietly in this corner of our blessed isle as if the war in Ukraine doesn't affect us at all.  But Europe must build up its defences against the warlords of Russia.  When I look at the news on this, I see the statistics of war, gain and loss.  Cities reduced to rubble and the sad faces of people hopelessly watching tanks roll in, how many times must this scenario be watched?

But less sad things, my granddaughter brought me back a bunch of red roses yesterday, and I put them in my own vase rescued from the boxes down in the basement.  There are some things I am missing I am sure but downsizing might account for it.  The summer holidays approach, Lillie off to scout camping, and Karen and Andrew off to camping next week at a festival.

And now a story - Canute was not the only one to try to hold back the sea.

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A tale not of a saint but of a king of North Wales. Maelgwn Gwynedd. (died 547 A.D.)  Or you can call him Maelgwyn Hir (the tall) or even the Island Dragon.  He wasn't very nice killed his first wife and nephew so that he could marry the nephew's widow but thereby goes the tale.

But the story goes, he called all the Northern Welsh kings to  Ynys Las, near the beach called Traeth Maelgwn.  Here I will quote; Maelgwyn, 'The Ambitious' asked them to join him in a contest to sit on their thrones on the sand as the tide rolled in.  The longest to remain seated would be overlord of North Wales. Maeldaf Hen had constructed a huge chair, coated with waxed feathers, which floated on the incoming water,  The chieftains recognised his ingenious and Maelwyn became their overlord.

500 years earlier than Canute, stories handed down through time.  The story taken from Breverton's - Book of Welsh Saints.

Gildas writing on this king.  Gildas wrote with hate:

"And like wise oh thou dragon of the island who hast deprived many tyrants as well of their kingdoms as of their lives and through the last mentioned in my writing, the first in mischief, licentious in sinning, strong in arms but stronger in working thy own soul's destruction"

He goes on in this tirade of crossness, perhaps it is wise to view present day situation with the lawlessness of past.


Saturday, July 15, 2023

Hollyhocks - Althea Rosea

This is the way I have always thought too grow hollyhocks but not so according to W. Robinson of the English Flower Garden - 1895.

Peder M√łnsted (Danish painter) 1859 - 1941
A summer day in front of a thatched old farmhouse with hollyhocks and an elderly woman peeling peas, 1931

And I shall quote his words "One of the noblest of hardy plants... for breaking up ugly lines of shrubs or walls.  So, too it is valuable for bold and stately effects among or near flower beds.  Cottage bee-keepers would do well to grow a few hollyhocks for bees are fond of their flowers"
Culture: Deep cultivation, much manure, frequent waterings with occasional soakings of liquid manure" Preferably guano!

In the days when people had gardeners, and if you were rich, several gardeners would be in attendance.  The plants would have been treated like royalty.  But today we just wander around garden centres and buy our plants.

And a tip; Cut out the top while the lower blooms are in perfection.  Once the tops were removed, and rather spoiling the tallness, but flowers grew from every axial of the plant, giving it the look of a pyramidal tree.


In my small very small space for gardening, I have sat and watched bees and tiny wasps feast on the nasturtiums and other flowers, but sadly the flowers go over quickly once pollinated.  Not that I begrudge the bees their pollen.

As I said at the dinner table, sex is for reproduction not for recreation! ;)

Mention and thanks should go to Christa Zaat on Facebook, who has compiled a great bank of paintings on her site.  They float through daily, and here is the one I picked the day before  a subject so current at the moment.

"GARDEN CAT": Gustav Klimt (1862~1918) Austrian Symbolist



Friday, July 14, 2023

14th July 2023

Just a video:  Do you know in Chile, that when great plans for roads, dams, etc are put forward.  Three things are taken into account.  Flora, Fauna and Fungi.

So here is that rather beautiful film of Fungi.  It is American based and takes you on a foray about 'magic mushrooms' around 40 minutes into the film.  So rather than a recreational drug, use it for depression or counteracting such things as cancer.  Now I do not know the figures as to how many people have been saved.  My one question is skeptical funnily enough.  How come the 1960s lot so into drugs, grew up to be the greedy entrepreneurs we see today? Was it the drugs they got high on in the olden days?

I have mushrooms most days on toast, they are in the middle of both, meaty but plant wise, similar to us I believe.  My daughter points out that they can also be cancerous, but she probably got that from Twitter. Though as Gary Snyder would say........

So here's to the mushroom family,

A far-flung friendly clan,
For food, for fun, for poison
They are a help to man.


Blog: Fungi in Blake's Wood

Thursday, July 13, 2023

13th July 2023

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. ~Carl Sagan The Demon Haunted World

Yes Sagan is the book I am listening to at the moment. I do not actually prescribe to the above statement by the way, free will has a lot going for it.

Being around prehistoric stones, there is plenty of foolishness that goes with them. Their magnetic feel when you touch them, true or not? The magical appearance of wheat 'crop circles', carved mysterious symbols on the landscape. So beloved in Wiltshire, its downs making the perfect artistic backdrop to drawing with a rope. Note how the crop circle people will follow the lines of the tractor to enter the symbol. The farmers are not too pleased either.

Ley lines is another fancy, the St Michael one perhaps being the most famous. It is simple, take a ruler and your map and then lay your ruler on the map, you will find that the line will go through several 'interesting' sites. Whether they be archaeological or churches. These magnetic lines influence the settlement of people over the ages, or so it is thought.

Now as many churches have the name of St.Michael it can't be true for many of them.

There is a thread that Runs through the St. Michael's ley line, it will take in Avebury, Stonehenge and Glastonbury on its way to the South coast. But then that thread also has Christianity, King Arthur and Jesus entwinned in it, alongside its prehistoric history.

One of the most interesting parts of this myth, was the hawthorn that landed on the late Queen's dining table from Glastonbury on Christmas day. For this branch came from a hawthorn tree which, according to legend, was planted, by Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury when he apparently came to England with the young Jesus.

Monks in the medieval period, in the hope of bringing pilgrims to their monastic houses and churches, would often make up stories to attract such people. A bit like 'The White Lady' ghost of our National Trust in the old houses. Glastonbury Abbey is also supposed to have the bodies of both King Arthur and his queen buried in the grounds. Yes the graves still exist but whether of this pair cannot be verified.

Glastonbury Tor is supposedly the centre of Avalon, a mythical country, surrounded on all sides by a marshy landscape, but perhaps more famous for its Iron Age Lake village set on a crannog in its time about three miles from Glastonbury. The famous Iron Age Sweet Track, a pathway of logs to the central island or crannog can still be seen.



                            Prophecies of Melkin


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Cats

There is not much news.  I might be getting a cat, a 'golden oldie.'   19 years old, one of us should last longer than the other ;) As you can probably see I am more of a dog person but have no issue with cats having had several in my life.  They always come from rescue sanctuaries.

The dignified James a large Tabby cat, and little Tiger who fell in love with him and moved in. Maxi a black cat from such a long time ago, long lived and very faithful.  Would sit on our front doorstep all the time we were away in Switzerland  He was looked after by a neighbour and I can still remember when we packed to go to Bath to live. He climbed into the car making sure we took him.  Then when I was a child the big white cat called Snowy, one green and one blue eye.  Totally self-sufficient as he lived with us and the people next door.

This cat my daughter found at Manchester RSPCA, cannot go out, so that should be alright, so I shall wait and see if she is free, she is called Molly, but then when did cats respond to their name?  Apparently she lived with another cat who seemed bossy and took all the cats food leaving Molly looking thin.  Still if you had a cat for nineteen years would you not get rid of the domineering one?

I still miss 'Green Eyes', the little feral kitten who decided to come and live in the garden, she is now comfortably ensconced on a smallholding in North Yorkshire.

Green Eyes Butterfly watching

Again Green Eyes. Safe, sound and settled.

Edit; Note the above two photos are Green Eyes not Molly

Friday, July 7, 2023

7th July 2023

 Audible:  Listening books is it a good thing?  I think the answer is yes, though of course you have to pay money for it.  But I am one of those people who believe you should pay for services.  I pay £7.99 a month, why in this day and age can't companies be truthful and tag on the one penny?

That gives me one book, and the option to buy three credits for £18, which I do each month, that is my limit. Though as you build your library up you can go back and listen to an old book.

The reason I have audio books is because of my sight which is slowly going down hill.  If fiction I choose at least ten hours of storytelling, and as you can listen to a sample of the voice reading it, quite important, you can choose whether to buy or not.  There is a lot of rubbish books in my opinion but there are also some gems amongst the old authors and you just have to seek them out.  

You end up with a library that is virtual and doesn't weigh the bookshelves down but of course you lose out on visual pictures within the book.  For instance my beautiful Saxon book on jewelry would not be part of the collection.  Consider how much you spend on a book, the hard back book my daughter gave me came in as £7 from the secondhand bookseller, originally £20 so there is not much inheritance in a whole load of books sitting on the shelf.

Clearing one's shelves of books is one of the hardest things to do.  Books are friends with personality, you can reach up almost immediately to where they may be sitting on the bookshelf.  But they are also heavy, take up space and if cheap disintegrate over time.  Ever watched a Penguin book dissolve into a brownish colour with the spine unpeeling?

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Adam Nicholson and Sissinghurst.  He sees it as a lost era.  Once it was a farm with animals, orchards (all grubbed up) as well as a hops field.  Now it is quiet except for the increased noise of motor cars.  The National Trust runs it for all the hordes of people that come to visit.  Old barns turned into visitor centre and restaurant.  When he was a child, he and his friends would bicycle around furiously on the paths.  Children from the village would also play in the garden. A magical childhood, well yes if you had well off parents.

Do I feel sorry for him? Times they are a-changing, and though I agree everyone driving round the country visiting places of interest has almost gone past a joke.  Rubbish and fires at our beauty spots are just one of the problems.  I suppose you could argue that many more people have freedom to enjoy themselves.


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Thursday, July 6, 2023

6th July 2023 - Vita

Where to start?  Yesterday we had another takeaway, Andrew had turned up unexpectedly he had been at a meeting at the Bradford Town Hall. As we all talked and I was reciting my day;) which consisted of hunting down a book on knitting top down.  My daughter suddenly remembered a book she had bought me in Hay-on-Wye and brought it down.  She is a treasure, this was a hard back edition of Adam Nicholson's 'Sissinghurst - An Unfinished History'.  Nicholson's book 'Sea Room' is a great favourite of mine and Nicholson writing somehow spans the past and the present with ease.  I had already been listening to 'Virginia Woolf' by Gillian Gill coincidentally.  The book featured, of course, the 'Bloomsbury set', and my overall opinion of them was how incestuous as a group they were.  Self aware will probably cover for narcissistic but Vanessa Bell, Virginia's sister does not come out too well.

So for those not up to date with this crowd, Vita Sackville-West was one of the brief characters who had an affair with Virginia.  But that is neither here nor there.  Adam Nicholson was the grandson of Vita and of course has rights to the Sissinghurst estate, though of course the gardens  and towers belong to the National Trust but his childhood was lived amongst this burgeoning garden which is such a delight today.


This is an eighteenth century painting of Sissinghurst, (now only the two front towers remain) which depicts a time in 1760.  The Seven Year War with France was going on and the castle was used as a French prisoner of war camp.  The subject matter depicts when three prisoners tried to escape and were shot by a loutish soldier, two died.  The painting was found in Ontario and only deciphered recently by an architectural expert.

In first chapter written by Nicholson is word perfect, "primrose leaves crinkled like Savoy cabbage with the flowers still unfolding, the cow parsley in low soft pouffes about the size of a dinner plate at the foot of the hedges, dog's mercury everywhere in the woods, as well as lords and ladies above the brown wood floor like the blades of soft-bodied spears."

He so reminded me of the woods  up at Langridge, with the little white wind anemones poking their delicate heads through a matt of dead leaves and the joy of finding violets also.

There is a blog I wrote and more importantly featured the garden of Sissinghurst in 2010 here on my blog. My husband at the time had a sister who lived in Kent and Sissinghurst was a day out they took us on. I remember it as a very hot day and of course being over excited about visiting a garden I had read so much about. 

Also, here I must boast slightly.  Matilda has an internship with a magazine as an editorial intern. It is called 'Notion' very glossy and full of 'in people' in the pop world but it is a start and she is already collecting her work and putting it together onstream, shame internships don't pay... 


Murrmur: She is at her brilliant best again!

More links, this time on Sea Room

1)  May 2012 here



Monday, July 3, 2023

3rd July 2023 - George Orwell

Tina Modotti - 1924 -Roses

Orwell 'could not blow his nose without moralising on conditions in the handkerchief industry.

Some of us just suffer from that bug, taking a stand on what we think! But first our meal, brunch to be precise, in Todmorden yesterday.  It was good, mine halloumi, mushrooms, egg and homemade baked beans with bruschetta bread. We all enjoyed it though the walk to the restaurant was a tad windy.  Think it is coming down from the cold North, a change in the weather definitely.  

Why Orwell at the top? Well I am listening to Rebecca Solnit reading her book 'Orwell's Roses' and of course delving into links as I listen.  George Orwell died when he was I believe 45 years old from tuberculosis, though during his sojourn in Spain he was shot through the neck and miraculously survived.  He came back and wrote about the Spanish war but his writings weren't welcomed either by the socialists or the conservatives, he spoke his own truth.

Do Orwell's roses still exist? I doubt it, he bought them from Woolworths, also at different stages, 6 fruit trees and fruiting shrubs.  He wanted to be a small time farmer I think, with his two goats and two dozen chickens he kept at his cottage in Wallington in Hertfordshire. His proper name was Eric Blair, George Orwell was just his pseudonym name for writing purposes.  He had also just got married and the couple rented this cottage with its little shop at the front, which sadly did not make them much profit.

rambler roses (from Woolworth's), three polyantha roses, two bush roses, six fruit trees, two gooseberry bushes, and he had hopes of planting walnut, quince, and mulberry trees. (According to a later occupant of the house, which is now known as Monk's Fitchett, the survival rate was not high, and there is nothing left to show of Orwell's tenancy but a few of the roses in front of the house.)"

The useful link for that quote can be found here.

A picture of two photos one in the time Orwell of this cottage will perhaps echo his point between poverty and what we now have today.  Any romantic thoughts of 'rose clad cottages' would soon be undermined by the noisy, leaking corrugated roof that Orwell had to put up with, and of course no electricity or water.

Kit's Cottage

The Cottage now with pargetting - Wiki, Colin 

Though I must admit that thatch looks in need of some repair.  Solnit, in that romantic nonsense of an American writer wanted to see if the roses still existed.  Though you can definitely see roses in the front garden here, whether they are original or not I doubt it.  Apparently there is an Albertine rambler rose which might be the one at front.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

1st July 2023

 I wasn't going to write anything today but I must mention the efficiency of NHS.  Yesterday I had to go for a pressure check-up on my eyes.  So off we went on the train to Halifax, got an Uber, and arrived at the hospital.  Wrong hospital!  We should have gone to the first hospital I had attended in Huddersfield.  So the receptionist at the desk just picked up the phone, screened the appointments list on the Huddersfield site and found another appointment.  We had three quarters of an hour, Ubered again, and arrived with 15 minutes to spare.  Surprisingly in all these appointments I have had  they have gone through pretty quickly.

We had to tell the first receptionist we were carless and relied on Ubers to get us to places.  Four grandchildren and two grown-up children and not one of them drives.  It could be my answer to the environmental crisis of course but Ubers are relatively cheap and we are still using someone else's petrol. And it is quite exciting to wait for one, they are followed by satellite I presume, so you can count down the minutes until they arrive.  

I have just been to Lidl to find something for tea for everyone, third visit this week.  I find the spicier meals that A and K eat are too much for me so I look for something gentler.  I bought salmon croute and will make  cauliflower cheese plus mashed potatoes will be the accompaniment. Are we going down the ultra processed food which is the fashionable news of the moment.  Somehow the fusses about food are never quite taken up seriously and the supermarkets still sell stuff with emulsifiers and aspartame in.


Aliens in Tod


Lillie is going on a boundary walk today, an annual event that secures the old boundaries of Todmorden and places like Lumbutt and Mankinholes, she goes with the scouts.

I had heard mention of an UFO space ship banded about but had not seen anything about aliens landing in Todmorden.  Well today I found out what people were talking about, it was the one and only spaceship that had been built in Todmorden by a local firm.  This is it being driven through the narrow streets of the town in 1971. 

The surroundings in Todmorden – all narrow, sooty streets and factories chiselled into the steep Pennines – could not have been more incongruous. The town’s mayor, Donald Rigg, arranged for a prototype of the house (the only Futuro ever manufactured in the UK) to feature in the 75th anniversary of Todmorden’s borough charter, in 1971. That summer, it was mounted on land outside a medical centre and used as a ticket office for celebratory events. Hundreds turned out to see it paraded through the streets by lorry and then put in place by crane. It looked as if the locals had captured a spaceship.

The Futuro was designed by a Finnish designer and probably designed as a small home.  Prototype of the 'Tiny Home' maybe........