Sunday, February 18, 2018

Judgment 18th February

Judgment;  They have been talking about it on the radio this Sunday, always a very good subject for Sunday;).  I notice elsewhere the subject has also given some answers on poverty, today's poverty and yesteryear which was so different.
Firstly we cannot compare the poverty of the 20th century with today, through of the century there was no proper heating such as central heating, food was far more simple, schooling as well.  The vast amount of choice did not exist, electronics that bane of today's society was just peeping above the horizon.  Now we live in a spoilt Western world where everything is to hand, and we are still unhappy.  Could it be that the human soul is always grasping upward for the unobtainable. 
Do I condemn those people who live off the state, whose education and social background never taught them how to survive in a morally upright way, do I condemn them, or do I say, look at those baby boomers who have got rich on exploiting the technical wonders of today are they no less selfish?
The 'haves' and the 'have nots' co-exist very uneasily, we should be grateful for a state that supports the vulnerable, the grasping and greedy no, but they must be weeded out.  Try reading Jackie Monroe -Cooking on a Bootstrap on the subject and then ask where our society has gone wrong.  All those landlords who supply rotten housing for the poor to live in.  A government who is prepared to welcome immigrant labour to take up the cheap s----- jobs in this country live in appalling situations in the citys and towns.  Apart from anything else, we have become overcrowded and need a great deal more housing for everyone.  And for all of us that have relied on the value of our house going up to fund our old age, well think on, our grandchildren have just been forced out of the housing market!   
Paul will say O you have been having another rant again;) ............

Fracking again  Meet the Yorkshire villagers fighting fracking.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday the 17th february

I came across a new artist yesterday, his paintings were illustrated in Resurgence which I had only just got round to reading. Richard Cartwright, you can find him on the web but the three paintings I chose have to do with the garden.  The first is called 'Garden with Evening Primrose.'  I love this plant for its habit of growing unexpectedly on waste spaces.  If in the evening you stand by the plant and smell its sweet perfume, a bud will unfold for you flaring out into that pale lemon and then for a moment the petals will droop until it finds its feet from this rebirth.  Don't just buy the hybrids Oenothera, just allow the lanky, very untidy flowering plant into your garden, perhaps along with the sweet smelling nicotiana (white of course).


The Patio Garden
The summer garden

The last two remind me of Gertrude Jeykll's gardening, the use of colour, the palette that blended the reds down to the soft blues, a miracle of getting one's flowers to bloom at the same moment.  An art only to be seen in some of our old established gardens.
Our garden will never rise to such heights, no trellising with roses growing over, just neat lawn, pebble driveway and large bed overshadowed by the house - I would have designed it so differently.....

On the page next to one of the illustrations are David Attenborough's word, now our spokesman for the environment, perhaps he really did start the plastic debate with his programme on The Blue Planet.

"We have a finite environment - the planet.  Anyone who thinks that you can have infinte growth in a finite environment is either a madman or an economist....

Friday, February 16, 2018

16th February

Walking conditions ;) very muddy and slippery, this is the verge we have to walk along to get to the public footpath....

Things that get lost with time, those hidden edges of land.  This where the cherry trees blossom, and snowdrops romp away hidden from sight.  Through the fence you will see Nelson's little smallholding.

The bridge walkers have to brave, see how narrow it is, sheep going to market I wonder?  These bridges, especially the old pack bridges, see photo of Egton Bridge below, are one of the lovely features round Yorkshire, we have several near us.

The river in its winter coat and two walkers making their way to Bridge Farm, they passed me but I am so slow pottering along photographing stuff.

Again looking back at Nelson's couple of fields, with his hens, ducks, geese, and sheep.  On the footpath in spring we often come across hen's eggs that have been stolen by presumably the fox, but does Mr Fox wade through the river?

So to pack horse bridges, the Egton Bridge though famous has been replaced by  road and rail bridges.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

15th February

The rather splendid Victorian village hall at Appleton

Went to a meeting about soil at the garden club in Appleton-Le-Moor at their village hall.   Miserable wet weather as always, there was practically a river running down the road when we went back to the car.
But inside plenty of people, all of a certain age, sat and listened to a fascinating lecture by someone from Harrogate agricultural college.  She was witty and funny, and talked of agro-forestry like a dedicated permaculturist, and inside I giggled slightly at the thought that slowly the 'green argument' now about 30 years old has slowly trickled into mainstream thought.  Did she say that our soils only had about another 50 harvests in them, but we were in a good place compared to on the continent and America, their soils are trashed through heavy machinery that has broken up its structure. So says Gove (the man I always call Mr.Toad, but I am beginning to warm to him).

“If you have heavy machines churning the soil and impacting it, if you drench it in chemicals that improve yields but in the long term undercut the future fertility of that soil, you can increase yields year on year but ultimately you really are cutting the ground away from beneath your own feet. Farmers know that.”

Commonsense would have dictated this anyway but the blind leading the blind comes to mind, what will those young farmers coming out of college think or do I wonder, planting trees down in lines, and here we are talking of fruit, and nut trees, and then growing catch crops in between the rows.  I notice also on a separate issue that farmers are being encouraged not only to grow wildflowers strips down the side of the fields as encouragement for insects and birds but also strip sown down the the middle as well, to stop the over-use of herbicides and pesticides - think about that one! And in America the idea of always keeping a crop on top of soil, in this instance, a green manure, one you can easily turn back into the soil is also catching on.

Does anyone remember Hart and Forest Garden,

"Forest gardening is a way of working with Nature which is not only productive and requires minimal maintenance, but creates great environmental benefits. As Herbert Girardet says in his Foreword, "Robert Hart was a rare person . . . For decades he waged a lonely battle for life, patiently writing books and articles and quietly planting trees on his small farm in Shropshire. Robert created a magnificent forest garden which had a profound influence on the way people have cultivated their own land. It was a garden dedicated to human needs for fruit, nuts, vegetables and plant medicines. But it was at the same time a celebration of the myriad interactions of life; for it was based on profound observations, both intuitive and scientific, of how different life forms interact in order to stimulate and support one another."

Anyway some of the company had bought their garden soils in and they were tested by chemicals in a little test tube.  Some soils went up into the red, an indicator of acid.

Having mentioned Hart, I should also mention of course Charles Dowding, he of the no-dig method, something close to my heart as I get older ;)

Of course, these ideas worked out over the years are probably not going to provide the answer to feeding a growing world population, but neither is feeding cattle, and watering them when we can get a lot of our nutrition from vegetables and fruit and of course nuts;)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

14th February

Well I couldn't find a decent valentine card for my blog, so a quick witticism from Wilde.   Though Carol Ann Duffy's poem came a second contender.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The end of Fracking in Kirkby Misperton?

So when the trucks rolled out, what did you feel - a certain caution of hope I admit.
Victory maybe, why is she so cautious (never trust those on top) but with the government saying that there will only be 200 well sites instead of the 4000 envisaged maybe it is a victory.  If you were to see the map of Yorkshire you would also have quailed at the sight of  the whole footprint as the county had been neatly dissected and broken up by the fracking firms for exploration.  Did you know by the way that you do not own the ground under your plot of land, it could be tunnelled by pipes without your consent.
The protest at the KM site has been fought to the bitter end, private security men and the police have stood between the protestors and traffic going in and out.  Protestors have been taken to court, but their cases thrown out by local judges, not much sympathy for high handed tactics of the security men.
So Kevin Hollincrake, erstwhile politician of my area of this county, is this defeat? will you accept that there are more people against fracking the North Yorkshire Moors then for it?
One of the problems for Third Energy who were going to frack the site, they had been caught with dodgy financial means, i.e. they owed fifty millions pounds, and as their backer Barclays had pulled out of the deal, money stopped floating around as it did with Carillon.
The future is yet to be writ but I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is indeed the end.

Monday, February 12, 2018



As flake is to blizzard, as
Curve is to spear, as knot is to net, as
One is to many, as coin is to money, as
              bird is to flock, as
Rock is to mountain, as drop is to fountain, as

              spring is to river, as glint is to glitter, as
Near is to far, as wind is to weather, as 
              feather is to flight, as light is to star, as 

              kindness is to good, so acorn is to wood.

The Lost Words, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

Monday 12th February

How Lloyds, Nat West, RBS, Barclays and HSBC turned their backs on rural towns

Britain has the lowest concentration of banks among the leading nations of Europe: we have 155 banks for every million people. France has 420; Germany has 450; and Spain has 810.
Hundreds of market towns and suburbs will become banking deserts, forcing frail and elderly customers to travel miles to reach their nearest branch. 
The Campaign for Community Banking Services predicts the UK’s 9,500-strong branch network will plummet to 7,000 by the end of 2018, shedding more than a quarter of existing branches. 

Well I could go on finding articles on bank closures in small towns ad infinitum, we are experiencing it as well, Kirkby has no banks now, the last of them Barclays closed last year.  Pickering is going the same way, NatWest to close this summer, Yorkshire Bank has also just closed over Xmas, leaving just one Barclays branch to cope with a busy market town.  Of course the banks will say we are doing it just for the customers, no say the banks it isn't a cost cutting exercise to put more money into the pockets of the fat cats up at the top. As if!! But it puts a lot of people at a disadvantage, my nearest branch is 20 miles away in Thirsk,  I suspect a lot of people will turn to the Post Office but all those very elderly, whose pensions mean cash to them to spend at the shops, what will happen?   All hail the internet, well yes maybe, but there is so much fraud on the net, and many people cannot access the web from their phones.

The moral maze we wander through.... Sex in the wrong places this time high officials in the charity game, are found to be having parties, orgies even in Haiti a few years back when in all truth they should be helping the people in need.  A few bad pennies and they could wreck a charity needed in the world.  My money goes out ad hoc, either in a direct response to a calamity, and then occasionally to  animal charities in need of direct money for rescue such as the Asian bears used for bile production, or the terrible trade in dogs for meat in similar places in Asia.

I went for a walk down Salton Lane yesterday, it was crisp and frozen, the world round us is peaceful and placid, the barn owl flew through the garden and churchyard on Saturday when Irene was delivering a wrongfully delivered parcel to us, we sat and drank sherry (after four o clock) and discussed village affairs, which at the moment is about speeding in the village, a footpath to replace the dangerous slippery grass verge.  But all our councillor had come back with is the fact from the traffic person in the council THAT THE ACCIDENT RATE IS NOT HIGH ENOUGH.  So either one of us throws ourselves under a car. or  Irene is going to get the name of the person who writes such dross and then maybe a bit of publicity is called for....

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Saturday - 10th February


I am often intrigued by the term 'frugal living', this could mean living off the land, shopping cheaply or perhaps just eating simply.  Access to many different supermarkets are somewhat limited here.  We have a large Co-Op in Pickering and a small Co-Op in Kirkby.  We also have Lidl in Pickering and then Malton which is several miles away boasts Morrisons, Asda, and a small Sainsbury but we hardly ever shop in Malton.
Yesterday I booked a delivery from Sainsbury for next week but this could come from Scarborough or Whitby.  True I might have got some reductions in what I ordered but it is by the way.  I consider Sainsburys expensive, but then we needed coffee beans ( they are hard to find round here), and then wholemeal bread flour, plus some different cheeses to make a fondue.  So sometime next week we shall have a whole pile of shopping dumped on the floor by the front door because we refuse plastic bags.  A picture comes back of last time when Lucy 'helping' staggered into the kitchen carrying a bag of potatoes.
But all in all we are not frugal, I actually like the Co-op which is probably second to Sainsbury in expensive items, but both do give points to be spent at a later date and the Co-op is local after all. And by the way I am not a great shopper.
Which brings me round to someone knocking on the door a few days back trying to sell their wares, a local Yorkshire firm called Ringtons, who sell the most delicious biscuits.  Though we should desist from them they are very good.
The other day I had a spike in my stats, could it be that there is interest in the fact that I mentioned harassment on the net? ;)  It was an article written by someone who implied that I was naive, a very misogynist article, so I 'flared' back on a public forum, with my heart in my mouth by the way.  But it was good for the soul, and I always think of Mary Beard fighting sexism with humour and skill.
Forums can also be a source of nastiness, you have two choices either retaliate in the same spirit, or ignore, which is probably the best option.  My philosophy is, if a person is nasty, it is their problem not mine.  So no gossipy tales, those who fall out elsewhere must find their own solutions.

Kawase Hasui (1883 - 1957)
Benten Pond, Shiba, 1929



Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thursday 8th February

Sunrise; As I drew the curtains this morning the world was bathed in rose-pink.  A flock of homing pigeons flew by, tipping their wings so that their undersides were caught by the colour.  The perfect timing by birds as they turn, such as starlings and golden plovers and pigeons of course tell us that dna play a big part in all actions, but what a marvellous sight when nature becomes complicit in beauty.


What else, the putting together of the dolls house goes on slowly as I puzzle over staircases and windows...

Where I should end up! ;)
Quote of the Day;

There is, perhaps, no better way to appreciate the tragedy of 21st-century global inequality than by watching a billionaire spend $90m launching a $100,000 car into the far reaches of the solar system. Taken from the Guardian.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tuesday 6th Feburary

Yesterday we took Lucy to be washed and clipped in Pickering and what struck me was how a small town grows up through the centuries. Pickering church sits on a hill, surrounded by a small graveyard and cottages which have been cut into the hill so that you can enter them through the first floor.  Well the dog grooming room is a small room off one of the cottages, it juts out into the graveyard.  There is an intimacy between church, cottages and the land which unites them, a melding of time, the graves jostling untidily - must take photographs! 
The room was small, a central table, sink for washing in the corner and a couple of cages in another corner.  Four dogs greeted me enthusiastically, a large chocolate poodle on the table wagging its tail furiously.  Two women brought order to this place, Ria was the person I had been in  touch with.  After dropping Lucy there we went for something to eat at Kirkby at the George and Dragon, Paul had his usual calamari and I had a paninis - a word I can never say much to the amusement of everyone, with  some french fries and salad.

The George and Dragon is to the far right with the carriage entrance.

Here she is her coat soft and silky, fast asleep on the sofa...She is getting very plump, though I ration her food, but I think tidbits are to blame and the fact that she is not the greatest walker on this earth.  I must catch her in movement when she has a mad moment or two...

Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday 5th February

Well something different.  Someone on a blog asked what are you reading? this was a general question to her readers.  So how to catch up with my weekend reading.  Two weekend papers, The Times and the Guardian.  My weekly News Statesman and then two books, Madeline Bunting - Love of  Country and a biography on C.S.Lewis, this I think down to Rachel who mentioned him.
But an article in the NS caught my eye, The Palace is Falling Down no way political but its that place where all the politicians gather to discuss the weighty matters of this country (forgive the sarky tone;), amongst he-hawing, grunting and groaning.
Well the Houses of Parliament are falling down, this great 8 acre edifice is beginning to split at the seams, especially in the basement where piping steams and chunters, sewage explodes occasionally and there are even fires.
Well Gormenghast it may not be, but the HP replaced the old palace, and what remains of that palace is still to a point intact inside, such as Westminster Hall.

But the rest of the building was designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin, and though beautifully detailed is slowly falling to pieces.  "When completed in 1870 there were 1180 rooms, 4000 windows, 126 staircases, three towers, two miles of corridor and the longest river frontage in London, at 980 feet"
Now for more facts and figures.....
"In 2014, Deloitte drew up estimates for three separate options for restoration and renewal works: moving out completely for 6 years, at a cost of 3.9 billion pounds; partially moving out for 11 years, at a cost of 4.4. billion, and not moving out at all, for 32 years, at a cost of 5.7.billion - the mistake of old"
In 2016 a joint committee chose the first option, they were worried about a single catastrophic event of fire or a series of failures in essential systems.  The talking still goes on!  Apparently the Architect Norman Foster designed a 'pop-up parliament' to sit in Horse Guard Parade and it died - where would Trooping the Colour Go?, there are several options where the politicians can go;
Richmond House, Westminster Hall and perhaps the Lords go to the Queen Elizabeth 11 Conference Centre.  Decisions, decisions!
There is foolish talk that should the politicians desert the Houses of Parliament it would be like the ravens leaving the Tower of London they would never get back - O joy.

Does this problem top Brexit I wonder, it is such a beautiful architectual building, but there are so many pressing problems to address notwithstanding the National Health Service which is under severe strain.

The Palace is falling Down - Tanya Gold

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Saturday 3rd February

Begone winter!  Another slightly drizzly gray day has begun,  yesterday a feeble sun but I went for walk along the fields, something I have not done since I fractured my ankle - 6 months ago.  It still hurts, especially on uneven ground and slopes.  Scruffy Lucy accompanied me, she is having a wash and cut on Monday with a new dog groomer.  But apart from her increasing deafness she also gets sore front paws, something familar to cocker spaniels. 
She took great delight in our old walk romping along the path, waiting for biscuits to be thrown, which I had forgotten about and came back very muddy.  The highlight of the walk, and that which made me go, was to see the barn owls.  True to form one glided slowly and gracefully, coursing low over the field.  Another behind Bridge farm tracked another field.  No photos, concentrating on looking after a deaf dog, and a weak ankle took enough of my time, so I have gone through my photos of summer to lighten the day.

Hawthorn blossom that decorate Britain with such lavish affection in spring

scampering hare

the old orchard

bluebells in the wood behind

Perhaps one of my favourites - cow parsley
Under the small copse of the cherry trees that lie by the road there are extensive patches of snowdrops, as there are in the church yard.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The wolves of Yellowstone Park

2nd February - an explanation

To take up from yesterday. Well the meeting was successful to a point, the four of them walked down to the bridge, and lo and behold two barn owls flew over traversing the large verges on either side.  Shirley said that in fact at their farm there were 2 to 3 pairs of barn owls which they were very protective over.  Also the otters in the river, though one had been killed on the road.  As they walked back and stopped outside our house, J pointed to the stag pipe across the road, put in probably late 19th century which took its water from a spring on the hill.  J wanted to get rid of it but Paul stepped in and said what about Nelson?.  Nelson lives on a small piece of land surrounded by his animals and lives in an old caravan and the stag pipe is his only source of water.  Paul jokingly said we thought of 'dressing' it as it is Imbolc today - funny looks all round;)
I would not consider us pagans but we acknowledge the fact that it is part of our modern culture, just as christianity slowly fades something is needed to fill in the gap.  Remember Gaia, that whole encompassing belief that the Earth on which we live is alive and manages its systems, the theory put forward  by James Lovelock that the earth is self-adjusting, well a whole new religion and environmental movement began.
So historically, and I am going to go back to a wonderfully Irish named author for you, Proinsias MacCana - Celtic Mythology.  Now if you inhabit the world of historians or archaeologists, they will foam at the mouth for the wrong introduction of the word 'Celtic', ignore their mealy-mouthed approach, live in the world and take comfort in myths and legends that have fallen down the centuries, traces of which can be found in our churches which had a bloody hard time stamping out paganism ;)  
Once I lived in the city of Bath, whose Roman history encompassed a female Celtic divinity call Sulis, and the Romans being astute aligned her with their goddess Minerva, goddess of craft and many other things, well MacCana tells the Irish tale of Saint Bride or Brighid, who also follows the same pattern of adaptation in Ireland, (the mother goddesses), where many of the great Celtic tales were written down.

''Brighid was first mentioned by Cormac's Glossary (900 AD) she was an expert in filidhecht  - in other words poetry and traditional learning in general, as well as divination and prophecy...
Saint Brighid had a close connection with livestock and the produce of the earth, and her feast day was 1st February coinciding with Imbolc.
She was born, we are told, at sunrise neither within nor without a house, is fed from the milk of a red and white cow (a supernatural cow), hangs her wet cloak on the rays of the sun....."
I could go on, Saint Brighid also tends an eternal sacred fire with the help of nineteen nuns, which of course links her with Minerva at Bath who also kept a constant sacred fire - imitation, or at least the limitation of their lives.

Here Colette of Bealtine Cottage explains her interpretation for me slightly over the top but it lies at the heart of the modern day belief. And, perhaps more importantly is joyous.  Perhaps in this time of feminism such things are better left to their own devices - but still.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Happy Imbolc

Blogs are a bit like that programme 'Housewife 49', a diary of the trivia of your life mixed up with larger events. And that is all I shall say on the subject;)
So who watched Tony Hall repeat himself again and again about transparency over the charge that there was a gender gap between the pay of women and men on the BBC.  Fascinating television when the top k/nobs are fiercely interviewed over a finer point of legality in public inquiries, this one, taken from ....

"The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee will grill Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, on Wednesday as part of its inquiry into BBC pay. Carrie Gracie, the broadcaster’s former China Editor who resigned earlier this month over pay inequality, will also be questioned."

Will heads roll? we will see, much as I love the BBC please get your act together and remember the bill of equal pay between men and women dates to 1970 for goodness sake!
The other thing we have watched, courtesy of Netflix, is 'The Crown', a charming, and I use the word with some thought, about the life of our Queen Elizabeth, we are still in the early years of difficult decisions for her as to how to use her authority in the realms of state and country against the forces of bureaucracy represented in this instance by Lord Salisbury and Churchill.  But the drama is a pleasant rollick through the history of Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend.
Today Paul is attending a meeting at a neighbour's house, they are meeting with our councillor Greg West, chimney sweep, to discuss the road problem.  Irene wants the 30 mile sign moved over the bridge. Also notices down Salton Lane about slowing down for pedestrians who walk along there.  We have many notices through the village but though many people heed them there are always the few that speed through. We have no ducks unfortunately....

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Remember Hannah Hauxwell?

It seems such a long time ago that her life was followed by a television crew, sadly today she has died at the age of 9l years.
The farm was without electricity or water but she struggled on alone looking after her cattle in the bleakest of winters till at the age of 66 she moved down into a cottage in the village.

John Gray has written a good overview of her life..

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

30th Janaury

Came across this the other day on 'Women artists in History'
Maria Sibylla Merian,  17th century

Listening to the news this morning and the fact that women working in the BBC are to bring a law suit against that venerable body because they receive lesser pay than their male colleagues and a little thrill of optimism sailed through my soul, maybe the world is changing ;)  The book by the way is expensive but you can catch a glimpse of it in the videos here.

The morning is just appearing dull and grey but breakfast was warmed up by these daffodils.  They came into the house two days ago as tight buds and now have unfolded themselves into bright stars of yellow.

Well I made a start on the dollshouse, dry running the fitting of it, and made myself ill by the way, it is very heavy and large, and today I shall finish glueing the inner floors and outer walls.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday 28th - play

Play;  Subject matter to be discussed today Sunday, which is after all the day of rest!  It start a few days ago discussing Matilda's (16 year old grand daughter) art work with my daughter, she said that Matilda had two projects, one was the making of a patchwork skirt and top and the other was the production of a Disney type house, and she had already found half a house to start the project.
Well I looked and tidied the Georgian dolls house and then thought why don't I start a new house, and looking around eventually decided on a kit call April Cottage.  Now this is going to take some time, years in fact but the idea of a project appealed.
Thinking who would live in my cottage and I decided Miss Marple, plus a maid.  Now Aril will know this, the kit dollshouse cottages on offer are hardly Allingham type, well unless I want to spend big bucks, but those moss roofed cottages with front gardens overflowing are a particular dream of mine.  No Miss Marple lives down South(St.Mary's Mead) with the likes of Midsomer Murder folk who also always live in pretty gentrified cottages and get horribly murdered -so don't go and live in one.

This is the time to wonder about space and building the kit, painting it and then furnishing it, so was my workroom big enough?  Just about, I can construct on my desk and use the table that the old house is on.  On my desk you see patchworks which will influence the colours.....

I have soft greens and blues in my head, and cream for the cottage but what would Miss Marple have lived with I wonder, and where did she get the money to live in comfortable retirement??

Friday, January 26, 2018

26th January - Imbolc is on the way

On my you tube there are brief snatched amateurish videos which I have taken with my camera.  The above one reflects the sound of water at the beck.  Looking through them, I once captured the cuckoo at an Essex wood, though I have also heard them at the above moor.  There are bluebells in this Essex wood, that beautiful ethereal blue that only this flower can give as spring makes it way through the annual cycle.

Can you not feel that spring is just around the corner? It is getting lighter in the mornings and evenings, the birds are beginning to sing early on and the jackdaws are beginning to explore the holes in the old tree in the church yard.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

24th January - storms

Well Storm Georgina went through last night and in fact is still with us.  As I sat with Lucy in the night listening to the wind whistle down the chimney I thought the storm should be called Cathy after Kate Bush's song.  My daughter lives on that side of Yorkshire where the moors would have been Heathcliffs and Catherine's playground.  Those windswept hawthorns always tell of wild weather like we had last night.

This is what greeted me this morning as I pulled open the curtains, dark, windy and raindrops beating against the panes

There is a plant that makes it appearance each year, it shows itself in several gardens, mostly under hedges and must be seeded by the birds and rather wild, or an escapee.  firstly it is a helleborus so rather striking, I think it is the green helleborus which is very poisonous.  According to Marjorie Blamey, 'damp calcareous woodland and scrub, growing in deep leaf mould' but useful to early bees.

And now to the news... Tom Degan (to be found on my blogs) has a virulent tongue against Trump and calls his country 'Idiotic America', though probably in worse vein than I have put it.  Well I am going to call Britain, 'The Land of the Absurd'.  Politically we are stuffed with a witless bunch of MPs who cannot run this country.  Star of the show is of course another blonde bombshell who is running the foreign office - yikes.  After chatting up the French minister Macron, on the benefits of building a bridge across the Channel, all Johnson wants is something named after himself, the vain popinjay;) his new airport on Romsey Marshes failed to get off the ground as did the tree and flower lined bridge which he lent his name to as well.  Luckily he was put down when he strayed into NHS policies, not only by the prime minister but also the chancellor for speaking out of turn.
Than we have the UKIP ex-leader, who unfortunately has been playing around romantically with a racist female, which hit the headlines.  Disowned by his party and why doesn't that party just fade into the background by the way, he is trying to stage a comeback, though most of its spokesmen/women have walked out anyway.
I must admit Kate Bush's video of Wuthering Heights leaves me feeling rather shaken by her energy and weird voice but somehow howling winds and news leaves me to include her video...

Monday, January 22, 2018

22nd January - rambling

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, 
tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely,
with too high a spirit to be cumbered 
with your old nonsense.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I came across this today and thought it spelled out a way to approach life;) Well it is cold, the snow fell from 1.30 pm yesterday afternoon, but was not heavy as to lie thickly on the ground, though Paul took Karen and Lillie back an hour earlier to catch their train, along with Teddy the whippet.
Poor Teddy got bullied by Lucy and he spent most of the time creeping round her and staying upstairs.  I had bought fillet steak for the meat eaters, then had to tell them that I had just signed the Avaaz pledge to not eat meat, or at least to eat less.   Usual idiotic banter from those with a guilty thought that maybe it is not just right to send all these animals to the slaughter.  I have lived with this conundrum a good deal of my life, feeding people meat whilst not eating much myself.  Will the new vegans triumph? doubt it, and I myself eat eggs and cheese and put milk in my coffee.  Sometimes I think we are made to go round with a great burden of guilt for every action we take, but do those vegan eaters have a feeling of superiority, does that carry them along in their actions?
Enough, a friend brought along a catalogue of Paul Nash's paintings they had seen at an exhibition 'up North' and I wandered with rapt attention amongst his megaliths and landscapes of the moon.  There are essays in front of the paintings but somehow I am not interested in where he painted only on what he painted.
I have a problem with art, Ravilious and Nash are favourites, but to my eye the paintings are naively done yet that is not so, the subject matter catches the imagination and is this not the whole point?
Perhaps in seeing different work we delve into the mind of the artist we see the images that cloud our own minds.  Here I see the stone avenue at Avebury in the background is that flat topped Silbury and Glastonbury on the left with the maze path.

Landscape of the megaliths

Landscape of the Vernal Equinox

When ever I see those funny mushroom shaped clumps of trees, these are the Wittenham clumps in Oxfordshire, I am reminded that their neat undersides are nibbled by countless generations of sheep than cattle to produce that evenness,  a delicious idea of trees dancing on the hills, did Tolkien ever admire Nash I wonder!

November moon
'November moon' was seen on an evening but I always see the moon on those crisp cold mornings against the blue of the sky, though now at the moment it is but a thin sliver of cheese.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Saturday 20th January

I remember in the 1950s our first television coming into the house, the black and white images as my brother and I sat with our noses practically to the screen.  Now we have big screens that lurk with black hostility in the corner of the room. 
So the new tv came yesterday, a 'Smart' Panasonic, and the chatty installer walked us through its delights.  Now in this part of the world, ie, the countryside reception for tvs and mobile phones is dire so this was one of the reasons we were changing.  There are two (amongst many) functions 'freeview' and 'freesat' on the new tv, we have an inherited satellite dish which was never used which will help with the reception.  But  Rupert Murdoch and Sky are not allowed in this house, Amazon is also going the same way.
He was a lovely chap and knew his job backwards as he thumbed through the set-up procedure, pleased to know that we are on a small provider called 'Beeline' for our internet.  Apparently, and he did not have a good word for BT, they are much faster, especially as Beeline have just upgraded their speed (without even telling us).  
So what is wrong with British Telecom, well 70 year old copper piping is wearing out, all that crackling on the line is water in the pipes.  He says the set-up speed can last up to 50 minutes and then the whole thing crashes and you have to start again.  All to do with not investing in fibre optics over the last 20 years, which is pretty expensive now.
We are happy with Beeline, they send friendly little messages out during the month, and there is a lot to be said for the local tv people as well, you get to talk face to face with them.  The larger companies need you to run round them before you can get a proper answer.
What I have against television, it can take up your time with junk, but hopefully once we have invested with Netflix we should be able to watch what we want in the evening. Anyway big screen (well 49 inches diagonally) means we can watch in full colour horror;)
The snow still lies on the ground and my daughter is coming for the weekend, I hope it does not snow anymore, I have to take kettles of hot water to release the doors on the chicken coop.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday 18th January - We live in interesting times

There is a beautiful peachy sky above the snow which had fallen last night but I suspect the snow will melt away.  Lucy rushing around playfully in it tumbled over and her large hairy paws have scuffed the back lawn untidily.

Napoleon and Marengo crossing the Alps, much better with flesh on...

Well what to write about, could it be 'Marengo' Napoleon's horse, now of course a skeleton, to be swapped for the Bayeaux Tapestry coming to visit England soon, better be careful of foreigners bearing gifts ;) we are already in a wretched mess!
The news has slowly unrolled, vast acres of papers will analyze the fall of Carillion and now we have to find 199 billion pounds for those PFI; come on just lets raid a few of those CEOs pockets, and what about Osbourne and Cameron making millions on hedge funds all these rumours float through the air, true or not I do not know, but I am beginning to think there is a large black hole which we are slowly edging towards - the end of capitalism? fools can wish.
The other thing that struck me yesterday was Anna Alma Tadema paintings so detailed and yet so reminiscent of a rich life style....

'One of the highly detailed, miniaturist watercolour interiors painted by Alma-Tadema's artistically gifted daughter, Anna, shows the drawing room at 1a Holland Park. She was influenced in technique and subject matter by her father and his second wife Laura, her stepmother, but her interior views are her most individualistic works. This example was painted in April 1887 at the house owned by the Coronio family, adjoining Alecco Ionides' much admired Morris-decorated 'Aesthetic' dwelling. Rossetti's red and black chalk study of Marianna visible on the left of the painting, was owned by Aglaia Coronio; it is now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. The drawing room painting was shown at Grosvenor Gallery in 1887, along with Laura Alma-Tadema's 'Always Welcome'.

Good news is that Rachel is back blogging, knew she would of course and even she is a bit cross with this government, tides are turning, tides are turning.......