Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday and a drive 21/8/2017

genius loci" - the distinctive atmosphere or essence of a particular place; the guardian spirit of a site/landscape.

We all know what that means, it takes our breath at the odd moment as we contemplate a particular place. I could say now that it resides in the copse of trees at the back of our garden. The blustery wind is blowing the trees back and forward, life and movement, when the sun comes out the play of shadow leaves on the lawn add to the vibrancy.
But yesterday we went for a drive to see the heather out on the moors, the day was dull and so it was not at its full purple glory. But captured is the great feeling of space and the beautiful skies that embrace the moors. First the old steam train pulling out of Pickering.

On and off the moors we have to open and shut the sheep gates and this is the view from them. along this unkempt lane are rowan trees, they grow wild up on the moor, especially by Wheeldale beck. It was here in the spring of 2016 that we saw about 10 baby black grouse cross the road with their mother, scurrying to the wall for protection.

There are a lot of tourists about, driving back through Goathland, home of the television programme 'Heartbeat' and the cars lined the road with hundreds of people wandering around, so different to the winter season.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Going Camping - a young tourist!

Just had to post this.  My youngest grand daughter going camping last week.  Looking very overloaded but she just loves camping.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday 16th August

Cruise ship in the Scottish Isles

Have just read two of Peter May's book, The Lewis Man, and The 

Black House, which was the first of the trilogy.  I found the motive for the murder in B/H rather poor, but both stories are excellent, especially in their descriptive words about the islands.  The bleakness of these Scottish islands is fascinating.  Island life so hard over the centuries, yet people made a living in these harsh environments.  I am not sure I could have lived in a place with no trees, but the ever changing skies would have me rooted to the spot in contemplation.  Anyway thanks to those who recommended the books, think it was Jennie.
I somehow feel that these islands will be destroyed over the years by the coming threat of tourism, watching that six storey cruise ship in harbour on television the other night and the tourists pouring off, the same happening of course in Venice.  Wealth brings the ability to travel of course, should we who have already travelled already be so ready to condemn?  People make their way to the furtherest corner of the world devoid of other humans, but by the very act of doing so clutter and destroy what they set out to seek.
Luckily as I get very seasick, won't be crossing the Minch to Stornaway and must live through the experience of these islands by the written word or the box.
Yesterday with my trusty moonboot steadying me, I  clipped the dead racemes of the buddleia, saying goodbye to those pretty butterflies that had graced the bush feeding on the nectar.  They had warmed themselves on the church wall and gravestones, wings wide open on the East facing graves.  
Yesterday I had been reading a book on local history, the names of local people are part of the gravestones, the Bells and Foxton, the farms seeming to slip from one family to another and then back again, how times have changed now though.

Well here is the island of Skye mentioned below

Monday, August 14, 2017

William Wordsworth - Yew Trees

This is a photo of an old yew at Alton Prior,  I see this blog   has been in draft since 2015, so perhaps it might see the light of day, now that we live next door to so many yews. The Lorton yew is in Cumbria and is much reduced now, the photos of the following old yew is in Wiltshire set in the Vale of Pewsey.

The Yew Tree
by William Wordsworth

There is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore:
Not loathe to furnish weapons for the Bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched
To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree! -a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks! -and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
Up-coiling, and inveteratley convolved, -
Nor uninformed with Fantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane; -a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially -beneath whose sable roof
Of boughs, as if for festal purpose decked
With unrejoicing berries -ghostly Shapes
May meet at noontide: Fear and trembling Hope,
Silence and Foresight, Death the Skeleton
And Time the Shadow; there to celebrate,
As in a natural temple scattered o'er
With altars undisturbed of mossy stone,
United worship; or in mute repose
To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.

I had found reference to Lorton Yews in Thomas Pakenham's Meeting With Remarkable Trees sometime ago, his photos of old trees are wondrous and one can almost believe that spirits and ghosts haunts some of their weird and gigantic shapes.

The yew tree in the photos is the one next to Alton Prior's church in Pewsey valley, the little church having large stones beneath its foundation, which could have been a stone circle.

There are two churches at this site, the other Alton Barnes, with a small stone pathway between them. A stream runs through the field in which they are found, and in the distance Adam's Grave long barrow broods on its hill. Pewsey Valley is a very special place, its history stretches through a Saxon past to prehistory with Wansdyke running along the top of the downs past Adam's Grave and the causewayed enclosure at Knap Hill.

The grain of the yew

Same again

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Rambling as usual

Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, was the only thing that made me laugh yesterday.  We all know to whom it is aimed at, and as we teeter on the edge of something that may develop into something really frightening, I can only ask  why do we allow idiots into leading roles.  
Interesting long article in the Guardian on 'clean eating'.  Gluten free diet seems to be the current fad at the moment, it suddenly appears on the shelves as some miracle cure.  I have nothing against eating loads of vegetables and fruit, love vegetables but would not drink juiced raw vegetables, especially as I read in the article that you can turn orange from carrots or sweet potatoes from over consumption.  Yet to counteract this, television news was about children not eating properly through the long summer holiday, did they eat any better in school time?.  
Poverty today, as we had been discussing with friends, is different to the poverty of the 1950s, though I am sure the same set of difficulties were faced.  It is extraordinary in a rich country with supermarket shelves packed with stuff, that families find it difficult to budget their income but it is a fact.  Rent, rates and energy take up a lot of the money, scarce money for food is what is leftover. We now have foodbanks to fill a gap, some schools do breakfast for the children during the holiday, but  three good meals a day are somewhat lacking in some children's lives.  That is shocking. Especially as we can follow quite freely all these people who advocate healthy eating on social media when poor children do not have access to the carbohydrates and protein these people are dismissing with such scorn.
Enough.  Paul and two others cleared the green bridle path yesterday but the public footpath is under debate, someone did raise an objection to people going past their house, but general consensus says, okay we will not put back the signage on this but it should be cleared and local people allowed to walk the circular path.
I noticed out in the car yesterday that though the meadowsweet is dying off, there are still traces of the blue of cranesbill in the verges and of course Himalayan balsam lines the banks with its showy flowers.  But Autumn is creeping in, mornings and evenings are colder, and even the weather forecaster said yesterday, he didn't know where our summer had gone.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

9th August

A small video caught my eye this morning, it is a rather beautiful film of Whitby in 1975, and though it is little changed in the streets and houses.  It is the people who tell the tale.  For a start NO holiday cottages, the houses were lived in by locals, pottering round their yards, milkman knocking on the door, and best of all the famous smoked kipper place, (still the same today), the cliffs at the end of this side of Whitby are still intact, (they slipped a couple of years ago) with a little bridge joining them to the footpath.

Apart from the colour of the film dissolving, it made me realise how things change,  especially the emergence of holiday cottages and the social change it has brought about.   It was a brief mention on the radio this morning that it was the ten year anniversary when the economics went belly-up in 2008 and banks were forced to close, and we are still economically in a mess...

Perhaps the question is bringing these two things together, ecocomic doldrums and an economy that relies, quite heavily, on people selling houses at inflated prices and profiteering by buying second homes either to rent out on the market as holiday homes or 'to let' places.  Those rather quaint flashbacks back to 1975 may have been the better way, though I can already feel the backlash as to how terrible it was in 1970s.  But if young people can't get into the property market, and if they do as we all have done profiteering by the selling of our homes, where does it stop?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday 7th August

Well this is an update for Weaver of Grass on how my ankle is progressing.  The plaster got taken off last Thursday, and I was issued with an enormous grey boot, could come in useful when I am plodding around outside a  spaceship! But over time will find myself a stick, can't be doing with a crutch, to take the weight of that side.  It is a problem though  especially if you are trying to cook something, not only are you one legged but also one armed but slowly things are getting better.  My Strider can zip along on the surface of the kitchen, but will hardly tackle the lawn or gravel,  it is really meant for urban living.  Also, tend to run over my own toes when reversing.

Lucy though well meaning often gets in the way, especially with her litter of toy, trailing my slip this morning downstairs, Paul says she is only getting things for you, unfortunately she never gives them!
Paul has just been to the top of the village, and stood in a terrible rainstorm with someone discussing the cleaning up of one of our green lanes and public footpaths which they are going to tackle next friday.  There has been meetings about drawing the village into a discussion group, either via the internet or leaflet, not sure how it is going to work out.  They may find some opposition to clearing the public footpath as it goes between two houses and we suspect they would rather see the footpath forgotten.  Wiki entry on rights of public footpaths/green lanes.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


Elisabeth Moss, probably one of the best actresses around at the moment

Guardian Review

I never watched the Handmaiden's Tale, too sad and misogynistic I think though of course not watching gives me no clue.  But I have watched the 6 episodes of  the second Top of the Lake - China Girl with Elizabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman.  Both series have an otherworldly feel to them, Top of the Lake the first drama in 2013 its landscape was visually beautiful in New Zealand.  The second story by Jane Campion, China Girl,  was an extraordinary portrayal of the people involved.  Slightly over the top on sex (but that might be my age) and the morality of the bad guy, Puss - or was he good?   Dysfunctional of course, given to violence and why did he send poor Mary, daughter of Robin (Moss) on to the street with her 'sisters'.  This was a clever drama, humilitating the Western values against the Thai girls sad life of prostitution.  And yes it was funny in a way, though the portrayal of the computer sex mad young male students was perhaps really over the top.  
The last scene was definitely the eye-opener, there is a twist, another thread of story running parellel to the brothel life in which the Thai girls lived. There was another group, carrying surrogate babies for western parents.. The bad guy Puss makes a video mocking the parents with 'white' babies being cuddled by the girls.  And then, well last clip shows all the pregnant Thai girls flying back to Thailand, to sell their babies elsewhere? to keep them, who knows.  But the morality of the story stood loud and clear, and for me, never, ever, be judgemental.......... although the very act of writing makes me so ;)
Why have I written about this drama, well it came from reading another article this morning from Prof. Mary Beard, she had written that a few of the Romans in Britain were ethnically different, in other words there were black people in Britain (shock, horror for all those white supremacists) during Roman times and even occupying powerful places.  She had the usual obnoxious tweets, calling her everything under the sun, but luckily she chooses to turn and face her bullies.  We can take it that it is mostly male creatures who attack her, but the equalising of the female in society still has a lot to overcome, let alone the rest of the world.  Guardian article
And perhaps importantly why does the internet often fall into such infantile behaviour, is it that the written word   gives the offender a greater distance in not having to face the persecuted - the arena of the bully...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thursday, 3rd August

Just a short note, hospital visit soon in which I hope this plaster will be taken off.  The windows are rain spattered but the sun is coming through.  My daughter in Switzerland, complained of 33 degrees heat and no water at their flat.  They have been sightseeing on trains and went to Gruyere yesterday, taking a similar photo of all my grandchildren posed against a fountain.  It is the same one I took 40 odd years ago of myself, my daughter as a child, and her grandfather, must find it too compare!

My photo records that moment in history as a young widow, struggling to come to terms with the future and my in-laws turning into my own family and helping through this difficult time.  My daughters memories all come through long holidays in Switzerland.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday 30th - The day before Lammas

It is Sunday and I should be writing about a walk. Fat chance! So I can only live in my memories about such things. Lots of red admirals flutter by the window along with cabbage white.  Remember how these butteflies or at least their caterpillars were the bane of gardeners, eating frilly holes in cabbages, etc.
Paul has just picked some roses and beans from the garden, a purple french climbing bean.  Lured the hens into their run with toast, and the sun flicks on and off amidst rain showers.  Peter came on Friday with the first tomatoes he has grown, small, not yet sweet, but welcome.  We chatted about the gardener who mows the churchyard, twenty years he has done that, before, two men used to scythe it down.  
Freshly picked runner beans, cooked, then some finely chopped onion fried to a gentle yellow colour, a couple of tomatoes fried down with the onion, and the beans added.  Reminds me of Sunday lunch which my grandfather always used to cook, a whole chicken gently stewed in a sea of butter, then peas and mushrooms added - delicious.  As I was topping and tailing the beans, remembered the tins of flageolot beans that would also appear but they don't come from french beans but haricot beans.  We had a runner bean cutter that would chop the beans into diagonals, a favourite Sunday chore. For lamb, which was always roasted on a bed of rice, we would pick  mint, chopped to get that delicious smell.

The cake


I have also pre- ordered Macfarlane and Morris's book - The Lost  Words.  If you remember there was quite a fuss when the Children's Oxford Dictionary dropped some of the 'nature words' in their latest edition, and replaced them with the new computer age 'speak'.

Edit;  I notice we have a spammer on board, at least I think that what it is, several blogs have the same set of words.  Desist please ;) I will delete everytime.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Yesterday was Lucy's birthday, ten years old, bouncing, bright eyed and mischievous still she has brought a lot of laughter into our lives.  We both love her but there have been times, especially with her need to wake up during the night and demand company that we could have quite happily shut her in the garage, not that she would have been quiet even then.  But we didn't and those 'hysterical moods' she was prone to have slowly disappeared.
Paul adores her and she flirts with him with her long eyelashes, never having experienced owning a dog before it has been a learning curve for him, so Lucy has learnt to wrap him round her paw!
She doesn't like walking, (similar to Paul) but loves the walk at the Wheeldale Beck, running alongside the beck, threatening to jump into the water and doing it sometimes.....
Her jump of joy when she is happy!

She has a three point view of the house from here, kitchen, hall and sitting room

Whilst I have been invalided with my ankle she has been a constant companion, teasing a lot of the time as she goes off with my knitting, magazine etc but her tail is always wagging!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday 26th July

 Photos of Todmorden, just a walk along the canal.  The interesting thing about Tod (that is what the locals call it) is that it is one of the new towns that is practising growing its own food, a trend that can be found in the new wave of transition towns.  Incredible Edible Todmorden.  Wander round the town and you will find beds of vegetables outside the police headquarters and round the market, pick your own soft fruit here for instance..... not sure how it works though.

Not a very inspiring place, lots of little shops that hang on.  Its neighbour Hebden Bridge is a great deal more sophisticated.

This is the town hall, half of it in Lancashire the other half Yorkshire
A statement by one of its supporters below, in a way it is like preparing for Armageddon, not sure I see it that way but self-sufficient communities are a way forward.  Strangely it seems that our government is looking at green ways, talk of batteries to convert the electricity we would make in our own homes from solar heating is being spoken of.  Then there is the news this morning that petrol and diesel will be phased out by 2040, though where all the power will come from has not been addressed, perhaps we make the power in our own homes for the electric car sitting on the driveway!

"There is no cavalry coming to the rescue," he says. "But what happens when ordinary people decide that they are the cavalry? Between the things we can do as individuals, and the things government and business can do to respond to the challenges of our times, lies a great untapped potential. It's about what you can create with the help of the people who live in your street, your neighbourhood, your town. If enough people do it, it can lead to real impact, to real jobs and real transformation of the places we live, and beyond."

Yesterday I sat on the garden bench whilst Irene and Paul weeded the garden bed, a magnificent job was done and I am so grateful ;). 

Transition towns

Excellent review by Eddie Proctor on Landscapism blog about Myer's Gallow Pole.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday 23rd July

There was a flutter of excitement about the arrival of a pretty little bird in a Midland quarry on the news yesterday, the bee-eater seems to want to come to live in this country due to climate change.

European bee eater - @ Wiki

Sometimes with all the negativity about how much we have lost in our natural world it is heartening to see that an evolution of the wild creatures in our lives does take place.  Whenever we travel in the car I am always pleased to see swallows everywhere, swooping and diving, they remind me that these visitors to our island have two homes and are quite capable of travelling great distances.  I watched a gold finch perched on a gravestone this morning, think they are nesting in the yews, sometimes difficult to distinguish from the myriad of sparrows that fly around in the distance but welcome with their colourful plumage.

Gold finch @ Wiki

Sitting on the garden bench yesterday evening, looking at the  array of flowers in the large bed, luckily I got everything planted before the accident, it was pleasing to see the butterflies and bees busy at work.  Irene is going to come and do some weeding for me which will be most welcome, though the flowers are so tightly together there should not be  many.

I took the above European bee-eater from Wikipedia, but according to Giles Coren in The Times it's information is all completely wrong, which has put me off reading anything by him ever again.  This is a completely false accusation by him, a light brushing off of the work done in Wikipedia, and though I cannot justify every word written I do have complete confidence to fund its work with a tenner each year, as it is non-profit making.  Wonder if people still have those heavy encyclopedia books that always needed updating, mostly by the salesmen who sold them!

The sparrows inhabit the long run of ivies and virginia creepers that cover the fence between us and the pub next door, here the song thrush, or is it the mistle thrush rears her young every year, coming back from whatever exotic winter holiday she takes.  The swallows on arrival at their nests under the church eaves have not nested this year, this I think down to the sparrows who have taken over their nests.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday 20th July

Rain, rain go away, come again another day!

Well once again the waters draining off the moors in Cornwall has wreaked disaster in Coverack, and we are reminded that the forces of nature can be powerful.  Here it has rained all morning, the farm traffic still going past with loads of straw, some plastic wrapped but another load with no plastic.  There is a campaign to stop the dumping of tons of plastic in the sea and rubbish dumps.  Our plastic, fruit in solid plastic boxes from the supermarket, it is impossible to buy them loose, and of course meat etc, how is it possible to not have plastic wrapped round parts of your shopping?  the answer is of course recyclable material, I remember years ago a brown paper made out of potatoes.
The sad saga of Grenfell unfolds on the television, the residents are fighting back, basically they want people prosecuted for allowing the block of flats to be so dangerous and unprotected against fire.  To get justice in this country requires public enquiries which can go on for many years, the whole point becomes lost in the tedium of waiting. Which is of course the whole point, as in the Hillsborough Football disaster, only now are the guilty thirty odd years later facing trial and prison.
The truth of the matter is there are some very articulate residents of these flats, definitely not ready to be sidelined, and the council's very reluctant action to sort their problems will begin to have consequences.  Not forgetting our government goes into recess or summer holidays soon!
I still sit here every day, making my way upstairs every evening with my faithful companion Lucy accompanying me and Paul patiently following with the walker, there is a tricky moment at the top of the stairs when I have to stand up but we are using one of those 'step' things you use in the kitchen.
People come for eggs still, Judy came yesterday, and told of a couple of days in Lancashire when they got well and truly sunburnt.  Typical English weather, rain two days, sun two days, but it makes everything grow, and you can see the result with many courgette recipes finding their way on to the internet.
I miss taking photographs, there were butterflies on the buddleias, several red admirals, a meadow brown, and whites of course but they are hiding from the rain today.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday 17th July

The tv silently flickers it pictures through the lunch news, a couple of sleek middle aged men shake hands, politicians of course - Brexit in Brussels, how falsely they smile for the camera.  A lynx suddenly appears, they are being re-introduced, probably in Kielder forest in Northumbria and I am glad, need a few lions and tigers as well, well perhaps not, the beavers are doing well in Devon though!
Why the video, liked the tune, found it on a fracking site, yes it is all going ahead, recalling the battles of the Newbury bypass, the A4 Solsbury Hill protest. There is a gearing up for protest against an extraordinary stupid decision to bring fracking into this country. Now the fracking companies employ private security, bully boys who are up for a bit of violence, this is  Conservative England loud and clear - battle begins.
To return to quieter things our neighbours have gone off to Whitby for a week's holiday,  there is nothing like bustling Whitby to put me off going but it does have bags of charm.


Friday, July 14, 2017

14th July

A rather beautiful vintage photo of a velvet gowned lady smelling a lily.  Well lilies are also making a show in the garden, two pots of lemon coloured, another pink, and a less than pleasing orange. They are not allowed in the house because of their staining pollen so sit on the steps of the french doors.  Which reminds me that it is Bastille Day, and that Trump is honouring the French show, he looks awkward amongst the civilising influence of the French culture.
Yesterday Peter called in, he must be getting on for 80 years and is a gentle soul, much given to talking but very welcome.  He bought a little pot plant and we discussed how he had coped after his recent bout of pneumonia.  He immediately got rid of his car, and looked round for transport elsewhere.  He uses the buses that are run by the council three days a week.  The only trouble though, after a beautiful drive through all the villages, is that you have three hours to kill in Kirkbymoorside, and there is  not much to do in the town.  He also stops off at the Ryedale Museum where he works in an old chemist shop, sometimes talking to the schoolchildren that arrive on a daily basis.  You can also get a volunteer driver to take you to the hospital, dentist or opticians for the price of the petrol needed.
He was also happy with us new incomers to the village, our new stone built houses blending in with the rest of the village, our presence in the community had enlivened the social happenings. 
The village seen from the south with Margaret's house next to the church
Two of the houses were built on Margaret Woods garden and cottage, the old cottage having started to fall into disrepair and Margaret living in a caravan in a very overgrown garden until she died a few years back.  But the new houses are always remembered by the link to 'Margaret Woods Cottage' around the district. Whilst she was still alive she had sold off land for the two bungalows and J and R', and Peter has one of the bungalows.
I have a feeling that she must have been quite a character, for she lives in the memory of many people.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Just made it upstairs, have'nt been up here for four weeks.  Change of scenery;)  Paul had already put another tv in the bedroom, but daytime tv is terrible!  Well I shall at least sleep in our bed tonight so no wooden slate poking in my spine.
My daughter and Lillie came over the weekend, their last visit before the whole family go off to Switzerland for a holiday with Karen's aunts.  
Switzerland is expensive, the flat they are renting is not cheap, but the family go back there every year.  Marc, Karen's cousin owns a sushi firm, they trade with the big supermarkets like Migros.  I have only eaten sushi once, not my kind of food, we were taken by a client of Paul's to a restaurant but it does not appeal. 

A young photo of Tom devouring a chocolate bun, probably in Vevey.  Their great grandfather Con was a church warden in Territet in his retirement and if you can find the video on Wikipedia you will see what a beautiful place the lake was with the mountains tumbling down to the water.  One could watch a thunderstorm approaching over the French mountains and whip up the lake to a frenzy of waves.  Chateau Chillon is situated on the lake, Byron once wrote a famous poem about it, The Prisoner of Chillon, but Con also wrote one to, not as good I have to admit!

The Tourist's Lament by C.J.Opper

A rainy evening in Vevey,
Fills me with intense dismay,
The faded splendours of Montreux
Leave me feeling rather blue;
And if we must stick to verity,
I don't go overboard on Territet.
And, I must say,
Whoever got hooked on La Tour de Peilz?
For Corsier, Blonay, Chebres and Corseaux,
I'm unequally unmoved or even more so;
If there's a place I'd rather not be on
Its the top of the tower of the Chateau de Chillon.
In Southend they would'nt have the cheek to serve,
That cupper tea we got at Villeneuve
We got fish and chips just beside the church
But you have to ask for fillet de perche.
So..... you just ask your mother why we're here,
When we might have been on Wigan Pier.

I bought back a copy of his unpublished book from my trip to Todmorden, which is of course biographical and about his life working for the Colonial service and then Unesco but have yet to read all of it.

Friday, July 7, 2017

friday - 7th July

I am often awake around five in the morning, today it was misty but the sun was starting to shine through the trees.  Yesterday coming back from the hospital in York we hit the biggest storm of rain I have ever seen.
Like most of the people in the village, we cut off from the busy A64 across country lanes through the Castle Howard estate.  It was when we hit the long carriage roads that lead up to that ugly obelisk. Narrow, with single car arches they stretch for a couple of miles. And to digress, can you not imagine trotting along there in your carriage and horses, rather bored out of your mind with the length of the journey, a true 'Sense and Sensibility' experience.  The rain plus hail started.  Soon it was sheeting down, the lanes had streams of water running down the sides of the road and as the water cascaded down the windscreen rendering the road almost invisible it was scary.  Great waves seem to fall over the car when we hit the main road and lorries went by.  
We got back to our village and the storm had yet to strike, so Paul rushed off to collect Lucy who had been looked after by a friend. She is a good dog revelling in the fact that she no longer has to walk great distances and demanding that she be spoilt and pampered like me ;).  If she had been trained young she would have made a good service dog , but she helps in her own way!
I don't have to go back to the hospital for four weeks, but need not put any weight on my ankle for that period, the surgeon discussed the possibility of another operation (which I refused), we again had problems with x-rays but luckily my plaster stayed on this time.
Today is a home day waiting for the Strider to come, not the one in 'Lord of the Ring' I notice that Philip Pullman is releasing a new book on the 19th October - The Book of Dust.  I have ordered books today but they are for my son and grandchildren, sensible book do it yourself books!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th July Happy Independence Day

Confined as I am, that makes me giggle, still have not got my wheel chair or the Strider I am going to rent.  We came home with the wrong wheel chair yesterday, so Paul is going to change it this morning.  I watch my birds from the window, jackdaws have fledged, gold finches preen themselves on the wire.  Butterflies have appeared as well, the small buddleia is in flower but not the large..  Roses cascade from vases, so life is colourful.  Tomorrow we go along the dreaded A64 to York hospital, I have decided not to have a second operation, so hopefully there will not be too more many visits.
One thing that came out of the visit to Bath by my daughter, was, hopefully, a strengthening bond between my two children.  She 'advised' him on the redecoration of his house and said she would keep in touch.  Not that they were ever at odds but she hated her stepfather, slowly as our worlds begin to fold creating stable relationships becomes important.  Think it is called karma (we are the heirs of our own actions) though Paul says I am building up a lot for when he becomes ill!
Something taken from Gnat Bottomed Towers blog, sure she won't mind.

I just love Morris dancing, it is old England translated into modern interpretation, bawdy, happy and lots of stick hitting to the rhythm of the music.  It is local, regional and makes for happy festivals on sunny days.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Early Sunday morning the swallows wheel around the church wall, Lucy snores gently on the sofa.  Yesterday was a day of visitors, J and I called in for a chat on their way for a walk round the fields. C had called in to discuss the barbecue which is happening next week. Then J came in the evening she is great fun, I learnt that she had three blind sheep, all the sheep round us in the fields are 'pets' or perhaps grass guzzling lawnmowers. 'Pin back your lugholes and listen'  do you remember whose catchphrase that would be?* J's husband is a town crier and was playing round with opening words.  J will chat for hours, meet her in town or in a shop and her husband will get so exasperated with her that he threatens to drive off without her, but eventually she went back to her supper of oxheart.
Another American artist catches my eye....................Fidelia Bridges
Calla Lily

These irises by the river are my favourite

Too sentimental
* Cyril Fletcher

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

wednesday 28th June

Today there is persistent rain it falls in the greyness of the churchyard unrelenting in its soft fall to the earth.  The little robin sits on the wire outside the window, drenched probably wondering why I sit in this chair all day and do not provide tidbits anymore.
So what do we make of it all, well lets quote Winston Churchill,

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Then say whatever you find appropiate, we find ourselves in the middle of problems we have reached a 'crisis' in our government, (been there before) and a terrible catastrophe for hundreds of people at Grenfell.  Slowly the scale of all this has unfolded, people made homeless and already being shunted from pillar to post.  There are no long term plans sitting in the council offices it is just fudge and make do.  Perhaps it has to be that way.  I could be pessimistic say that the long term systems that run the world are buckling under the strain.  For instance our utilities and services are being sold out to other nations.  The fire resistant boxes that protect the gas piping are only one third done at Grenfell - the firm got sold in March along the way to investors.  
Some people think that Corbyn is the messiah, much as I would like him to be, he is not, just another change along the way.  No Utopia will suddenly appear, many of the problems are difficult to extricate from the muddle of bad bureaucracy.  We must have faith in the people of this country for individual humanity.
Lucy has been very mischievous with my enforced sitting in the chair, she trails the papers around, along with books. She brings my slippers when I'm walking, she is also helpful, though getting things off her is difficult!
The funeral went as well as can be expected, and my son is looking into auctioning off all that 'old brown furniture' though finding that some have a good price on them ;) I have refused any of it my state of 'not owning much' as far as belongings are concerned stays fixed.
If I would moan, it is perhaps that I cannot see the garden, though of course this rain will bedraggle everything anyway.

Monday, June 26, 2017

26th June

This is a photograph taken by my daughter yesterday, her first remark under a photo of the Abbey was 'I had forgotten how beautiful Bath is'.  This kaledeiscope of colourful umbrellas adds to the sunshine today.
Bath is a remarkable city, luckily the traffic manages to keep to the outer edges and its Georgian interior remains a graceful legacy to the past, though not in the photo above of course, this photo must be taken at the bottom end of town which was heavily bombed.
I used to love to walk down to town from Weston Lane where we lived, through Victoria Park, where Moss's ashes are scattered. Meandering past the Royal Crescent, beloved of so many Jane Austen films and then turning left into Gay Street, and eventually Milsom Street,
Milsom Street

the shops would be opening by 10 am and the tourists yet to leave their hotels.
Aerial view of the Royal Crescent

I have written of its Roman history, but not the fact that my daughter went to the dentist on The Circus, or that my young grandson went to school not too far away.

The Circus with its central group of trees, see this blog as to design by John Wood
We all loved Bath, the stream of language students through the household, bringing the spice of foreign stories to us, creating myriads of problems.  Sad Japanese girls who wanted to stay, Turkish Mohammed who practiced on my spinning wheel and bought me Turkish coffee cups and a darling sister who always started her telephone conversation with 'good bye'.  About 250 passed through my hands, some almost reducing me to a breakdown, I will never forget you Davor!
Nostalgia is not good but it was part of my life at the time.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


This is my diary notes for now,  you don't have to read............

Yesterday was a busy day on the phone, organising but I am now booked into the York hospital for the first of many appointments I suppose, my heart sank when told I was 9th in the queue on the automated line, but then they came through and gave me a time and date.   Never go to the doctors, so introduction there to be negotiated.  Vodaphone worried about how much credit I was spending made me a better offer, so the world of automation has a heart too ;)
Which all goes to show that I have now taken my mobile phone use in hand and can circumnavigate it - great relief.  What with sitting with my laptop, and talking to people there I can rule the world from the confines of my armchair.
Paul has been marvellous, escorting me through Lucy's 'assault course' carpet strewn toys and shoes, though of course he clears it. And even Lucy has been excellent and is settling into the routine. She is a good funny companion, every time visitors appear, after the initial bark, she dashes into the sitting room and grabs a chair for herself, luckily she has a fan base.
Meals are going to be simple, ready made pastas and yesterday fish and chips yesterday from the pub next door, always full on a friday as the locals come in.  It is 'pie day' tuesday and 'three roast day sunday' at the pub, wholesome food but enormous plates of it! We share one portion.
Lovely card yesterday from a friend that wound itself down from the Huddersfield hospital, marked by her with my name and the orthorpaedic dept, it found me....
Of course the projected visit tomorrow to the funeral of my ex-husband is off for me, so I had to arrange the paid for room in my daughter's name.   I had foregone insurance on cancellation unfortunately so that had to be dealt with, reminder to myself insurance is necessary!
And lots of reading material,  The Times, we have swopped papers temporarily from the Guardian, to get a different view. Resurgence this morning, and Newstatesman yesterday, that should shut me up.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday - accidents do happen

Well unexpected things happen, and I will never rush down railway steps again for a train.  Leaving Todmorden took me to a whole new adventure, firstly a lot of pain, there are several fractures on my ankle, three months of hobbling around.  Lots of things to do with doctor, hospitals (I was transferred) and I have decided to get a wheelchair so that I can help downstairs with cooking.
The NHS is a wonderful service, don't let this government sell it off to Virgin or the highest bidder, they will just mess it up for us and make a profit for the investors.  The incredible kindness and efficiency of the doctors and nurses has to be experienced and also watched to understand.  It is obvious that I am an observer, and so gathered the tales of all the other occupants of the beds in the ward.
One story comes to mind, the Asian doctor examining the wound, said simply 'I was born in this hospital, and now I am working in it'. We are a mixed baggage of nationalities, and this is nowhere more obvious than a hospital, we have to learn to trust one another, the bastard terrorists are more often than not singular, young men/or women not given to humanity or tolerance.
Politically our country is changing, Grenfell though not political showed us an ugly story of ineptness and perhaps more importantly the great division between rich and poor and people sat up and noticed; that is a note for optimism.  The young have to take a role, as they did in the voting, of taking an interest in what is happening in this country.  The Torys are on the backfoot,  Theresa May got a shock, and to put it crudely is a 'dead man walking'.  
My visit to Todmorden to see the family went off well, Lillie baked her own chocolate malteser cake for her birthday, which got dropped on the floor and into her mother's bag, but got scrapped back together again ;).  I do have photos but it will some time before I can attach them to my computer.

And some strong words from Kensington, don't watch if you don't like swearing....

This link gives the experience of a fireman who was at Grenfell.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Our front lawn was once a meadow, and so through the year we find wild flowers struggling to survive, this slightly blurry photo is of the hawkweed, or fox and cubs.  We have native bluebells in the lawn at spring, I have seen woodland strawberries by the old wall, sadly taken by the strimmer.  But the hawkweed is a striking flower, if only for its colour.  It can be found in church yards, where the land still lies undisturbed and I have seen it at Lastingham church, and probably other churches to, church yards also yield the different species of wild violets to be found still existing.
Anyway, the hawkweed has no folklore or healing properties according to my herb book, but it is distinctive for its 'furry leaves'.
Apparently banned in New Zealand for its invasive habit and the species is considered a noxious weed in some states in America and also Australia.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday - 11th June

nepeta tumbles with a perennial geranium, plenty of bees for these two plants.

All is quiet for the time being, a walk down the lane yesterday amongst the flowering grasses,  do grasses flower I wonder they seed anyway? a soft haze of gentle creams, browns and buff.  The hedgerow sporting the delicate wild roses and seemingly hundreds of chattering sparrows.  Icing on the cake was the barn owl floating back and forward on the 'wild' strip of land that edges the field.  Barn owls can't hunt in rain, it soaks their feathers, so that is why you see them hunting in daylight.  She hovered, swooped, landed in the grass succesful in her hunting.
The people who own the farm and fields cherish the barn owls, for which we should be eternally grateful, the farmer has even seen otter in the river.  Unfortunately no camera, though the eye captures the moment.

A poem by Duffy, not sure if she is still poet laureate, she captures the moment of  the defeat of TM by the young vote which rallied the thinking of these times.  As Giles Coren said, the winner has lost and the loser has won in this campaign - who would have thought it ;)
Campaign a poem by Carol Ann Duffy
In which her body was a question-mark
querying her lies; her mouth a ballot-box that bit the hand that fed. Her eyes? They swivelled for a jackpot win. Her heart was a stolen purse;
her rhetoric an empty vicarage, the windows smashed.
Then her feet grew sharp stilettos, awkward.
Then she had balls, believe it.
When she woke,
her nose was bloody, difficult.
The furious young
ran towards her through the fields of wheat.