Tuesday, October 31, 2023

31st October 2023 - All Soul's Night

A Blessing

The following poem for All Hallows.  I found this recently, Louise Gluck had just died and it seemed appropriate for this day.  Looking at what I have written over the years and I find that the mind is too occupied with the tragedy of today between Israel and Palestine.  Annwyn may be riding the skies tonight, his horses looking for souls, but surely it is the Four Horses of the  Apocalypses that has taken centre stage as the world waits for whatever the latest tragedy has to offer.

All Hallows 
Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling
Come here
Come here, little one

And the soul creeps out of the tree.

Other blogs I have written for Halloween;

Monday, October 30, 2023

Travel - It gets comical

I'm so glad I did not travel to Macclesfield with them yesterday.  A nightmarish journey that started with a coach trip to Rochdale, no trains from Tod.  They waited, it turned up eventually.  Everyone seated, the driver turned the wrong way to go to Rochdale.  He reversed as everyone shouted at him and with a lady sitting near him was told where to stop to pick up people along the way.  When you get to Manchester you have to cross from one station to another, and the three had to wait for an hour having missed the train. Two hours later they arrived in Macclesfield.  Tom who had to sit alone and read his book had a variety of companions on the journey.  The worst being a rather large man, who nipped off the coach and bought himself some beers, which he consumed through the rest of the journey.

My daughter bought 'it's for you mum, hmmm' a large vintage orange salad shaker, I took a horrified look at it and asked where we were going to keep it in the already overflowing cupboards.  Apparently there is a vintage cooler bought as well but she is hiding that from me.

The rest of the family did not fare so well either.  Matilda stuck in York station for a couple of hours, something went wrong with the line, and Andrew stuck in London again for almost 3 hours.

The journey back was almost as bad, again taking a couple of hours, this time the trams in Manchester were all dilly-dallying.

Don't travel on a Sunday! But apparently Macclesfield is considered  a fashionable place to live out of Manchester which they had to see and of course the new little house rented by Tom and Ellie.

Also looking fashionable doesn't pay.  Matilda dressed in her best black leather jacket and a vintage sweater borrowed from a friend.  She got soaked from the rain, and black from the jacket leaked on to the expensive jumper ;

This, funnily enough is not a criticism of the trains, stuff happens, strikes at the moment unfortunately. But truthfully, come Sunday, and it is a day for mending the tracks in England.  So would HS2 have made it any better? Probably a better train service, interlocking the great Northern cities and towns might be a much better answer.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

29th October 2023 - Joseph

Yesterday was a sort of wait for a parcel day.  This time a large Dimplex electric radiator for my room.  It sits in its box waiting for its arrival into the world, I hate undoing well packed boxes!

As we live in the centre of the entertainment hub of Tod, it means I missed going to the Folklore group yesterday afternoon.

But I did go to 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat' put on by the youth part of the Hippodrome Theatre in the evening.  Wow, that is all I can say, danced, sung and acted with great panache (and happiness) and the music was great.  

Packed house all week it has been on, the show was great, Lillie's last appearance in a show there.  The audience was so enthusiastic, clapping, whistling, standing up, it must have felt worthwhile for all the children and young adults to hear the enthusiasm from the audience 

The rest of the family will be off to Macclesfield today to look at Ellie and Tom's house which they are renting. I have decided not to go, seen Tom here, he carried the box upstairs for me, we have just learnt he is 29 not 30 as is his mother thought, but he had come down to see his sister in the show.  Apparently it is a long journey, not helped by the fact they have to catch a coach to Rochdale back this morning.

Photos taken from Todmorden Hippodrome F/B

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Friday, October 27, 2023

27th October 2023


A sort of stream of consciousness:  I had meant to write about Alstroemeria, a delicate Peruvian lily, I bought a bunch last week, and it is a long lasting flower.  Delicate, softly coloured, it likes its roots to be dry in a sandy soil.  But suddenly it reminded me of harebells, their gentle heads, pale and trembling in the grass.  I have seen them on the downs round Bath and up on the moors in Yorkshire, so despite their appearance they are pretty tough.

"I shall copy verbatim what Grigson tells us of the harebell-Campanula rotundifolia, for what he writes belies its gentle innocence.

Bluebell of Scotland or no, it was also the Old Man's bell, the devil's bell, which was not to be picked, the Witch Bell, the Witch Thimble,  and in Gaelic the Cuckoo's Shoe bròg na cubhaig. In Ireland this dangerous and fine etched plant is sometimes called mearacan puca, thimble of the puca or goblin; and it was a fairy plant in the South West of England, however much it has now been airyfairy'd.  The hare, too, of Harebell is a witch animal"  Geoffrey Grigson - The Englishman's Flora.

A Puca by the way can be some sort of animal creature who can either bring you good or bad fortune.  There was a Puca stream up on the Lansdown, I wonder if it was good or bad water.

But Grigson goes on to say there was the cleansing effect of 'Our Lady's Thimble added at a later date.  Who knew that wild flowers had such history!

So where did my thoughts go next, well  to hares and funnily enough Colin Blanchard, artist and printer, and you can see below a video of him working. I bought a couple of his prints a few years back, hares of course, with wording round the edges.  When you print by printing machine you have to write backward, no mean feat.

All inspired by a jug of Alstroemeria.  I found these two photos along the way. 


Dyers Weld

Thursday, October 26, 2023

26th October 2023

 Writing today, what to say. Listened to a zoom meeting, a meditation on Samhain.  Georgie is good at storytelling, she told of the Cailleach or Hag that somehow represents the dark days coming up to winter. Remember I talked of the Mother Goddess on the Isle of Lewis the other day.  Female goddesses  were represented in the Roman line-up of gods as well  The matres (mother goddesses) often carrying a cornucopia of food, maybe with a little dog at heel.  Life through the ages is very similar to life today.

The Hag though was dark and frightening, someone you pulled up to frighten your children as we get to All-Saints night.  She is more of a Scottish/Northern figure, useful in naming mountains.  In fact she also belongs to a trio of females, the maiden, the mother, and then the old hag.

There are three old Celtic goddesses of Ireland.  The Morrigon are again a triple deity, this time symbolising one force, sovereign rights.  Macha, Badb and Ananna are their names, and they can shape-shift turning from old woman to beautiful maiden - but beware they can be cruel.

These tales sit at the bottom of so many sci-fi fantasy stories, beings from afar sent to plague us, but there is always someone to confront the evil monster!

Well it was a quiet meditation and I enjoyed it and so did the audience.

Then I have finished listening to Robert Galbraith's book 'The Running Grave'.  A long rambling story of a cult and all its evils.  Perhaps there was too many characters to always grasp who was who, but evil done on a different basis. Rowlings is a good storyteller, The Harry Potter books attest to that, but perhaps she fills up spaces of her writing with 'fluff' of the main protagonists, Strike and Robin.

Finished the baby blanket and it is now folded away in the drawer.  Tom is coming down at the weekend to see Lillie at the Hippodrome.  Matilda is off to Whitby, I think it is Goth week, and she is doing some sort of writing on it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


There are blogs I admire.  I enjoy reading all blogs because they give the flavour of the person writing it. But there are occasional blogs that write from the soul and in this farmer's Galloway blog called Bog, Myrtle and Peat he covers his subject from, what I would describe, as a deep searching.

Two recent blogs come to mind, one is about the writer of Tarka the Otter, someone called Williamson and his adherence to the Nazi creed.  You may ask how can nature and Hitler go together, but never forget, we, as rounded individuals can take on the colours of others.  Williamson escaped in his time the 'cancellation culture' we have today, his book on Otters is read by many.  Not by me by the way, I just hate sadness in books.

The essay on Williamson is here.

The other essay he has written, note how I switch from blog to essay, but fine writing should have a word worthy of it. Is about the old farmers at market, some with their 'quiffs' of hair still adhered to and with a greasy comb in the top pocket of their coat. Farmers who grew up in the 1950s and were 'Teddy Boys'.  

We grow old but of course still bring the younger self along in our thinking, and  it was always better in our day than it is today.  Not really of course more people in this country live off the fat of the land then they did in those far off days.  It is just that life is more complicated.

The essay on 'Forever Young' is here

I loved Galloway.  If I had nine lives like cats are supposed to have, I would have lived there and explored its rather empty landscape, would have attended the Tibetan like temple that gathers its people from all round the world and wondered at a religion that is so foreign to my thinking.  But I do so love the soft elements of it.

As I write the geese fly overhead, I wonder where they sleep at night and I am reminded not of Mary Oliver and her geese, but Yeats and the 'Wild Swans of Coole' come to mind.

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

Only of course the woodland paths are not dry, stinking mud left behind in some homes as the floods swept through - nature is ruling once more and the geese fly over with their soft tones oblivious of the tragedies that haunt human kind.

Monday, October 23, 2023

23rd October 2023

This came through as a 'memory' yesterday.  Again Lucy features in a blog.  I have just finished preparing tonight's meal, which is a sweet potato mash on top of butter beans and vegetable base, enlivened with plenty of wine and cream.  The mash has Feta cheese through it but not today it is cheddar instead.
The photo of course brings sadness in its wake, the tidiness of the room, Lucy snoring gently on the carpet, and the old rocking chair in the corner which I must have lost in one of the moves.
Since I have moved up here, I have been aware that the cuisine of various restaurants is not English, well that is whether you count Wetherspoon as a restaurant or not.
My repartee seems to be more French in its makeup,  cream, butter, cheese and wine are something I fall back on easily.  Vegetables sit at the base of my cooking, just as likely to get excited over 'Sweetheart' cabbage rather than roast meat.
Lillie is on college holiday this week, it is also the week of the theatre production at the Hippodrome in which she has a part, or maybe several.  I am not allowed to go because I left the last play to go to the loo and never returned to watch the end!
In the town there was a food sale for 'Free Palestinians' at the Unitarian church, and also a protest of about 100 people outside the Town Hall.
The town has a good Muslim population and I often see the men going to prayer each day.
A quiet day I suppose, dank and dark with the fallen leaves already starting to mush up in the puddles.  But no flooding thank goodness, my daughter reckons that as the railway flood defences are pushed further downstream we are not being flooded here.  But the rain fall was not so heavy either.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

22nd October 2023


Lucy who was always chasing the sun

Autumn;  As I wander through the blogs, I see this season has brought with it sadness for some of the contributors..  Autumn the fall of golden leaves, the very untidiness of all these leaves as the trees shed their cover with such blatant strip teasing, leaving the tidy minded to tut-tut about the mess and bring out their leaf blowers and rakes.  

There is a very funny video of a great heap of leaves on a lawn in America.  Suddenly a labrador comes bounding into view and throws himself with great delight into the middle of the heap.  Sod tidiness just enjoy the moment the dog says just enjoy the thrill.

I have a photo by my bed of Lucy my spaniel, she is sitting by the side door outside, her eyes closed as she raises her face to the sun.  At her feet is the cushion that she has pinched from Paul's study.  Simple pleasures are there each day, animals remind us of this.

Here in Todmorden, one might almost call it the back of beyond, according to an article about a village called Blackshaw Head just a few miles away. The city reporter (I assume) says "Isolated Yorkshire hamlet where locals say those who survive their first winter stay forever"  Don't worry its got holiday homes and a shop so you won't starve there!  Looking at the dross  articles on this news outlet and one could but wonder what the hell is the human race coming to, perhaps we need less news.

The other bit of news I picked up was from The Guardian, its more grave articles (okay I am taking  the piss) is an archaeological feature about Orkney.  A burial mound has uncovered 14 skeletons, still articulated, and two skeletons embracing each other.  'A Neolithic Feat of Engineering'.

It reminds me of the three skeletons found together about which Gary Snyder wrote such a romantic poem but his conclusions were probably not true.  But there again where would we be if we did not have poetry?

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. 

Friday, October 20, 2023

The Magic of Drones

I came across this video the other day and marvelled at the beauty of the Wiltshire countryside and the area round Avebury.  Silbury Hill I had passed as a young widow with my daughter onto a new life in Wales.  We never made it to Wales for I stopped at Calne, but 6 miles from Avebury, probably overwhelmed by Avebury and its stones.  I bought a house, my daughter was educated in Calne and I walked the gently molded hills with my dog Kim, a large golden Labrador. Visiting the stones on long dog walks, a practice I kept well into our move to Bath.  

I met my then husband Ron through archaeology and of course was introduced to many sites round the country.  27 years later I was to meet Paul, he loved Silbury Hill and at one stage wanted his ashes deposited on Silbury Hill, but of course his introduction to Yorkshire made him choose a different spot and he was happy here.

I had become so tied up with Avebury one way or another, that it is like a second home land to me.  We had annual summer meetings at the Red Lion pub through the little clan of Heritage Actioneers we became.  It was also where we met Anne Dillon the artist whose work you will see in the film.

To watch the video you will suddenly realise that in fact the land is like a palimpsest, the surface reflecting history over the ages, rubbed off again and again.  So that when you wander in the sky over the fortified hill forts, though in reality maybe we should call them fortified settlements, you will see the scars of history etched into the very land.

There is a a belief that  the land is female, this you will indeed find in the soft contours of Wiltshire but the Mother Goddess is to be found on the Island of Lewis above the famous Callanish stones in the vaguely shaped female body of hills called The Sleeping Beauty.

Remember to fill your screen with the video for full effect.

Thursday, October 19, 2023


Today and yesterday:  Somewhat busy, Dale mended the Aga and today the men come to change the new bed foot and header.  Andrew had spied a fault in the rather elegant Victorian bed and as he proposes to die in it (in time of course) wants perfection. They are supposed to come at 7.15 but haven't arrived yet.

Yesterday I went to an event, just round the corner. It was the Centre for Folklore, Myth and Magic.  The building itself is rather attractive and has masqueraded as a cafe for a time.  But now it is being opened up and transformed into a place for lectures, film shows and a large library of books on Northern folklore.  You can see the website here, think it needs a bit of work though.

As I have been involved with prehistory for so long folklore does attach itself to stones.  The Wade giants especially.  They throw stones down to the rivers, make roads and generally get up to mischief.  

I have some problems with fairies as to when they came up on in the history timeline.  Apparently you can trace them back to the 11th century, and it is said that they follow on from the Celtic tales, especially of course in Ireland.

It is difficult to trace something that is but a figment of the imagination.  The 'real live' Victorian fairies that the two little girls said they had seen comes to mind.  A hoax of course.

But as a child with the brothers Grimms, I relished the rather nasty fairy tales of the Victorian era and not the simpering world of Disney.  Dark European tales always hold more fascination and who hasn't looked at a black dog without wondering if the poor creature is not the devil in diguise.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

18th October 2023

I forgot to record yesterday that I am listening to Robert Galbraith's 'The Running Grave'.  Belonging of course to the 'Strike' novels and written by J.K.Rowling.  I have watched the 'Strike' drama on television, and Rowling is a very good writer, longwinded maybe.  The Harry Potter stories went on for a quite while. As I love children stories the films of the series were watched but now have had their day.

Rowling is obviously immersed in her storytelling, The Running Grave read out aloud is over 34 hours long, and if you read this Guardian article it states that the book is too long and could have been trimmed in places.

In the article you will see the lengthy plot of a cult that is in itself inherently evil and destructive of the people caught up in it.  Definitely a step up from the old fashioned idea of cults, though some have been extraordinarily dangerous, the way they take over the young and give them some sort of coherence in a world they do not understand.

I expect storytelling in the hands of a good storyteller will always pull us into their domain, and we emerge slightly shaken by the experience.


Today we face another unprecedented step in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.  The bombing of a Palestinian hospital has just been described by Lyse Doucet as a terrible indictment on war.  We should not be applauding war or revenge, vengeance always brings terrible repercussions.  Whosoever's rocket destroyed the hospital and I believe it may have been a Hamas one, there is a need to strive for ceasefire on both sides.

It is perception that fuels the conflict - Lyse Doucet, Canadian journalist who works for the BBC

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Art illusions


The clever young: This video of making  paintings come alive shows how AI can be manipulated for fun.  But I haven't just been watching videos.  Listening to podcasts as well.

Yesterday Rory Stewart and Alistair Campbell.  Rory explaining the present situation in Palestine.  He is no longer a member of the conservative party but has no intention of going back into politics.  Sad because he would make a good prime minister.  In fact Gordon Brown/Rory Stewart combination might make a pleasant change.  But let us not hide the fact we need a different way of voting and government.

The other podcast I listened to was Professor Ronald Hutton, his flamboyance is wearing a bit thin as he ages but his subject matter is always good, this time 'The Gods of Wales' lecture at Gresham College.
  The college has many good lectures, I notice Rory Stewart gave one this year. Also a quick glance shows me another lecturer, this time by Meglithomania (conferences to be found in Glastonbury, which nails the name perfectly;) and I shall record it here for later listening to - British Neolithic Religion.  

It just is that time of year, when it gets darker and and the Hounds of Annwyn take to the skies and it probably not wise to open your doors to strangers, for you do not know who maybe on the other side at this time of year when the veil between us and the spirit world becomes almost translucent!

More mundane tasks call, shopping, hanging up the wash, and knitting a lemon coloured blanket for the baby yet to be conceived let alone born but which will make me a great grandmother - which I look forward to.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

15th October 2023

Yorkshire:  I shall probably end my days here so let us look at it as an entity.  Because that is what the occupants seem to imply about 'God's Own Country'  I basically disagree with this catch all phrase.  Britain as a whole is beautiful from the far reaches of the Scottish mountains, to the low flat Anglian coast.  Wales especially so, and who could not delight in the soft cream of the Cotswold stone cottages or the timber clad old houses of the Midlands.

But Yorkshire has some delights, expanses of moorland, dales that dip invitingly and round here in Calder Valley tree lined steep slopes that reach up to the moors.  So if you are fit and active a good place to explore.  

One thing I have noticed is that the Neolithic/Bronze Age and Iron Age are thin on the ground, so that they could not have found Yorkshire a particularly good place to live. I cannot find one decent stone circle, have to travel as far the Castlerigg circle should I wish to watch the solstices.

The town where I live has aspirations.  Todmorden has embarked on being 'Incredible Edible', but I have still not plucked up the courage to pick anything.  The apple trees outside the doctor's premises, produced an abundance of apples but were then hit by some form of disease that rotted them. I think the town won some prizes this year for their flower beds and the vegetables and it is indeed a community venture that keeps the place looking good. 

Just round the corner from where we live, is the Hippodrome Theatre, again a community venture, which is showing 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Coat this week, in which Lillie is appearing.

Also and right next door to the theatre and I have booked something as an 'interest' here is 'A Centre for Folklore Myth and Magic'. Also a coffee shop. I see they have something on Andrew Lang, so I shall see what is on offer.

To spread further afield.  Bradford is to be 'City of Culture' in 2025.  There is also a move to buy the old house in Thornton near Bradley where the three Bronte sisters were born, Charlotte, Anne and Emily and to make it up into museum, cafe, etc.

So Yorkshire does buzz of course, Manchester is recovering from the news that there will be no fast train service from the Deep South but ploughing ahead with intergrated travel services and has a vibrant night life.

I think I shall reread Madeline Buntings book 'The Plot' which is a personal look at her father who lived in North Yorkshire.

Authentic Yorkshire accents in the following video ;)

Saturday, October 14, 2023

14th October 2023.

Early morning and I have just been down to Lidl to shop for today's meal. Lillie is sick (though not from my cooking!) and requires some chocolate coated cereal. I also bought baguettes for her.  Karen is at work and Andrew is putting the new bed together, which he is enjoying, very different to staring at the screen all day.

Yesterday was a delivery day.  So I was set up with an app group, to report all happenings.  The bed had to be delivered to the attic and it was accomplished very neatly by three men, with the admonition from one that they would like an 'excellent' recommendation.  Yes said I, I noticed you all took your shoes off and are wearing yellow jackets and moved the furniture back into place.  Next came the mattress with two men, I had been given security numbers for this delivery but they didn't  want them.

Then a third delivery by my favourite Amazon man, he was tutting away to himself about damage to the parcel (it wasn't) it seems that one of the vans parked outside the house, there were two, had had an accident and they were moving parcels from one van to another.

The fifth member of the family, Mollie was good last night, she has settled in with her loud squarks of impatience.  She is quite gentle, a little paw will tap you on the nose at night for some petting.

The strain I think many of us are under with the Israel/Palestine war unrolling on a daily basis is a constant worry.  We go from one terrible tragedy to another and feel the pain of others.  I don't know what today will bring, we seem to live in a state of dread at the moment.  So a couple of things I picked up along the way this week.

I think Mary Oliver's poem on the Wild Geese is apt for this week'

Though on reflection Wendell Berry also comes to mind - The Peace of Wild Things.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

12th October 2023 - Trivia

It has been a quiet day, nothing much to write about, I will not approach the terrible news of Israel and Gaza.  The BBC news is respectful.  No I will turn to cooking for the moment.  Just cooked a quiche and made a bulgar wheat salad. 

I fancy Peking Duck haven't had it for years, Paul would make it, the duck flesh falling off the bone, thin slivers of cucumber and spring onions a splodge of sauce into the round pancake and you had made your own dinner at the table! 

Then there is raclette and fondue, again help yourself food and easy to put together.  For some reason Lidl has not had the packets of fondue this year, but don't worry all the Xmas stuff is in...

The rise of bedbugs: The thought went through my head that when Matilda and Ben come back from London we should spray them at the door with insecticide, the horrors of this little tiny creature are the subject of many a newspaper article.  Apparently they get everywhere, travel in your suitcase or on the buses or trains.

Talking of beds, and the coming Xmas.  There is a new king sized bed coming into the house tomorrow for the attic room.  It will need putting together, Andrew and Lillie, I'm too old apparently, thank god, for scrabbling around on the floor is not my most favourite job.

The weather turns over the weekend, cold and maybe snow for the far North and Ireland.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

10th October 2023

This morning (early it was 4.0.clock) I watched a film about a baker in Japan.  A young man, who worked so hard making countless loaves in the old fashioned way.  Stoking the oven, and creating several different types of bread into even shaped loaves.  Delicately slitting them down their middle, so that when they came out of the oven the dark brown of the inside rose up against the white dusted appearance of the outside. 

It was like watching a priest dedicated to his religion, he was giving of himself the best effort to make his bread and I thought to myself, I shall go down to Lidl and get the sourdough loaf I love and stop eating that crap bread that pretends in its plastic bag, that it has all the 'goodness' I need!

I have been watching a lot of Japanese documentaries lately.  You would think that you can only approach Japan through the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo.  Busy bustling places with too many people around.  But this is not so. Go out into the countryside and life is laid back, and very wooden.

What do I mean by 'wooden'.  Well the houses are made of wood, there must be a very distinct smell of the woods in the house, at first it is dark when you enter and then the craftsmanship starts to shine through.  It is the simplicity, and one funny thing.  You think the Japanese are tidy? not so, their kitchens represent a culture that loves their food.  That intricately shaped food, which I am not to keen on by the way, takes plenty of dishes and pots and pans to put together.

Paul had in the sitting room a 'fire box' this box would have sunk into the floor underneath the low dining table, around which you sat cross-legged, and that was the only form of heating a Japanese house had.  The one in the sitting room had been given a glass top, and held the intricately shaped roof tiles or filials of temples.  Paul had collected these from the ground - I think.

Which also reminded me of this small video of rain falling on a South Korean Buddhist temple.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Serendipity or recording history for my family

 The following photos taken this morning feature an old Chinese piano cloth I think with the most beautiful embroidery on it.  I thought either it had got lost in storage or that I had left it behind in the drawer of the bookcase when I left the village.  Then I opened a painted cupboard in the attic room and there it was just peeping out of a stack of stuff. Guilt disappeared instantly!

To describe it.  It is a Chinese dragon surrounded by the most exquisite embroidering of flowers and  butterflies.  The colours from the embroidery threads has disappeared and now it is just grey thread on the cream silk background with a deep green silk back lining.

It is very crumpled as you can see, maybe a light ironing or even steaming might help.  It should be hung on a wall.  Which of my grandchildren will it go to?  Will they admire the workmanship I wonder?

It is a family treasure, and I have just been sorting through my emails, because a few years back I was contacted by a Dutch person, who said that my daughter's grandmother Lotta was the daughter of a partner in the 19th century in the shipping business with presumably his great grandfather.

Johan Rijnberk, Lotta's father was born in 1853 and was Dutch ambassador to China from 1896 to 1905 and this is where the furniture in the bungalow at Blonay in Switzerland came from, much of it was Chinese with elegant black silk armchairs and a Chinese altar cabinet full of jade and ivory Knick knacks.

Lotta gave me this, would you call it a tablecloth I wonder, years ago, and all I can do is pass it on.

Funnily enough when I 'googled' the name I had two answers from Bing, the dates were vaguely similarly but not exact, do computers go wrong?

This last photo is of a painting again inherited by my daughter from her grandmother of The Hague, it is not a very good painting but I wonder if any member of my family sent it on to him.

1) I assume you are asking about Johan Willem van Rijnberk, who was a Dutch diplomat and served as the Dutch ambassador to China from 1896 to 1905. He was born on May 22, 1853 in Utrecht, Netherlands and died on December 30, 1930 in The Hague, Netherlands.

During his tenure as the Dutch ambassador to China, he played a significant role in the Boxer Rebellion. He was also a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science.

Bing answers above


2)  I am already curious about the paintings you mention, regarding the house Lotta lived in during her childhood in The Hague. May be it is the same, as the house I recently visited in The Hague in the Statenkwartier district (the houses in that neighbourhood date from the early 19th century), where the van Rijnberk family may have lived, following their departure from the Far East.

I also spend a good part of my career overseas and it is therefor interesting to observe that some of these (distant) family members lived and worked occasionaly in the same places, albeita good many years earlier. I also wonder about the location of the house you refer to, 

A correspondent's answer.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

8th October 2023

Well I have been going through old blogs -2007 is when this blog was started, it replaced a blog I deleted because of some  trolling.

Memories are caught, my struggle to understand the nature of things, it is all there.  The walking, thinking me...  'Natural Sacred Places'  Obviously I read the books but did they take me any nearer I wonder? 


The silvery white of quartz in the stones  up on Carn Meini

As I have got older, knowledge seems less important, it is the infinitesimal that we should note, facts are just facts.  The real world, is living and breathing and most important of all creating, so as I sat with Moss, neither of us were thinking deep thoughts but were experiencing with some trepidation  the horses coming nearer to see what I was eating, the faraway ridge of Carn Meini and the little Gors Fawr stone circle, just mysteries waiting for an explanation.

So I didn't get very far through the blogs, they were just welcome past memories.  For instance how many of these small snails have I seen in my lifetime I wonder.  A Brown Ringed snail. Still don't know the name but just glad it exists whether on the slopes of Primrose Hill or down by the river at Silbury.

And today, found a You tube video of a cromlech that I never quite found in Wales - The Gwal y Filiast - The lair of the Grey Hound Bitch.  Technology is opening the world out, and the young are using it in various ways to explore their world.