Friday, November 24, 2017


playing with 'edit' 
Rime;  Just a word that floated through my mind this morning as I looked out on the frost-riven fields.  I wondered how much it was used in poetry but my computer was not playing ball on that one! So guess this one, the word Rime is in the title.....
The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around :
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound !

Old English hrīm, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rijm. The word became rare in Middle English but was revived in literary use at the end of the 18th century.
old photo of a really cold day

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thoughts jostling away without an answer!

The wild Hunt

Are there any other people that the membership feels should be silenced, suppressed, censored, abridged, blacklisted, excised, restricted, McCarthyized, deleted, disavowed, marginalized, decontaminated, purged, squelched, sterilized, reviled, or ostracized? Your feedback is encouraged.

(And does anyone else have a chill down their backs from this Orwellian thought police trend?)

I came across this in a respectable (Resurgence) forum, someone had got cross about one of the writers,  and the above was the reply and it came home sharply how we judge and criticise others with a vindictive use of words that are scary, gone are the days when we allowed 'not guilty until proven guilty.'  It is like letting the Wild Hunt take possession of our judgment.  Well taking on the other half of the human race, the male was a big subject;), it is like a big wave crashing on the shore of civilised human behaviour, "how do you feel love?" did it happen to you? Well I'm not going there, there have been plenty of female writers who have explored the subject in the Guardian and Times newspapers.  For me it is just one of the steps to an equal relationship with men, women have quietly done their own thing.  I was surprised by how many women painted through the centuries,  also look at the female writers casting delicious aspersions on the society around them, and Murmurrs made me laugh this morning, as she always does.
Too much navel gazing leads to a dull life and dull writing, there are terrible things happening in the world, Rohingya is still happening, the Hague has just sentenced Ratko Mladvic for unspeakable crimes twenty years ago.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Small Livings

Today the grey cloud lies heavy on the land, there is a light rain that slowly falls, so different from yesterday when the sun shone in a brilliant sky and the air was cold.

This tree was golden and so shapely, that little building was the coke house for the church and now is the only place you can find violets in the grass in spring.

The view over the fields with the Howardian Hills in the far distant and sheds

We look over Nigel's small fields in which he keeps a small flock of dark sheep, two nanny goats, a kid, and hens and ducks.  He houses everything in one of the dozen sheds he has, and his happiness lies in 'mending sheds' I think.  Every day he goes out with a sack and finds fodder for the goats accompanied by his new dog Sasha, a large very friendly mongrel, who seems to have settled in well in her new household.  The rhythm of his life grounds one in the morning, as the goats chase after him, and the hens spread themselves over the field.  We believe he has found happiness, not one for village events he and his wife keep to their world.
Our milkman comes four times a week bringing milk, orange juice and the papers on Saturday.  Milk delivered, who would have thought it in this day and age. This morning he also bought a large heavy sack of different wild bird food.  Peanuts for the ever hungry squirrel that spends time digging up the garden in the hope he can find one of his lost hoards. Wild bird seed soon disappears each day and the hungry pigeons sit forlornly on the bird table hoping for manna from heaven.
When I was a child on the weekend I would accompany the milkman on his round of the place where we lived, he had a pony and trap and the one and only time I was allowed to hold the reins the pony bolted with a great rattle of milk bottles.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday 18th November

Well the world looks brighter today, one tyrant (Mugabwe) is on his way out, and another tyrant has rescinded his appalling act of legitimately bringing in trophies of killed animals from Africa, so to those terrible pictures of trophy hunting that every now and then appears on F/B I hope Trump's son feels guilt.  There is one terrible photo of a female hunter nursing on her lap the dead body of a giraffe, it haunts me still.
To gentler things, as we had to give a lift to the Malton station to a friend going up to London, we drove on to Castle Howard garden centre - I just love Christmassy displays - and the avenue up to the obelisk was  lined with lit up large xmas trees.  I bought some glittery candle holders and two bowls of hyacinths for their fragrance.  Lucy helped herselve to a strange toy, which we paid for and got her usual dog treats at the counter.

So what did June photos show, well apart from the accident, irises, roses and bees....

Visiting Stonehenge

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Quiet Times

My world is slowly dissolving into winter, some days the weather is warm other days cold, they say we are going to have a bad winter - who knows.  The world is in a firmament of movement not just the earthly happenings but people experiencing the earthquakes and flooding and the heartrending flow of people from their devastated villages and homes due to the manipulations of terror and war.
I have spun for ages listening to a rather horrible series of episodes on BBCI radio player which did not help. 
I am waiting for some acid dyes to colour the wool a soft yellow, though there is a box of Japanese dyes in the garage somewhere.  Tuesday night was quiz night, very well attended everyone squashed in, far too many people, the usual people again won the quiz, I told Jill yesterday she should be handicapped when it came to quizzes but we did not do too badly with Karen and John on our table.  This time Paul was co-ordinator having taken over from David.  Harriet, she who runs the pub, had given a voucher for a free meal for two, and everyone tucked into enormous beef pies (Tuesday night is pie night) except me and Graham we dined on a very good vegetable lasagne.  So a successful night, though difficult quiz!  The next 'do' is in February, a carvery.
A selection of photos from May, when summer was beginning, I even found bluebells in the verge just down the road.

It was warm and sunny on this visit to Byland Abbey
Somewhere near the Kilburn White Horse

Jean in York, always travelling the world!
Edit;  One other thing;  Some years ago I did some work on Oliver Cope, tailor of Avebury in the 17th century and his subsequent emigration to America with his family, starting a dynasty of Copes there.
Well a descendant wrote asking for further information, which I did not have, headstone and house.
But it stirred up memories of the work I did at the time, seeing this little family start on their brave journey to America, imagining the boat ride across the Atlantic and their small plot on Nameen Creek, it was digested here for the Heritage Trust.  But there must be articles around, I notice links are no longer there.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday and magpies

'Wacky baccy'. the Detectorists have arrived for the third and last series in this funny, but so pathetic story of two metal detectorists and their forlorn lives.  Mackenzie Crook has written, directed and starred in this six part series, with Toby Jones as his sidekick.  Except that is unfair, they ride the wave as equals.  The plot is now that their favourite hunting ground - Church Farm is to be the site of a great solar farm.  The two other series followed their search for the hidden gold under the soil which they both believe exist, Crook picks up a hawk's whistle and blows it and it is then as they disappear into the beautiful pastoral landscape that a girl in white appears in ghostly and spectral form blowing the same whistle, and we see  the burial of a pot of coins by a family, and then the magpies appear.  So the story hinges of course on their finding the hoard, I have a feeling they will not!
This magical folk song is the background, sung by The Unthanked, it is the spell we have all chanted since childhood,  One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, three for a girl and four for a boy and dedicated to that black and white intelligent bird the magpie, who steals bright things and plays in the trees like no other bird.

It reminded me of Em Parkinson's print of magpies, a blogger till a year ago who lives by  wild Dartmoor, and who did such a beautiful portrait of Moss for me.

 I hardly see any magpies round this part of Yorkshire and wonder if they are shot as predators, same as buzzards, the shooting fraternity can be heard occasionally, in fact there were six men in the pub yesterday who were obviously a gun shooting party!

You can catch The Detectorist on BBC Iplayer, deadbeat and funny it will catch your heart.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

9th November - sheep

Sheep:  These are Rachel's sheep, which have been away to be 'tupped' ie; impregnated for baby lambs in March/April.  We think of sheep as foolish creatures, but somehow as I ate my breakfast with this sheep watching, I thought about how they are probably quite intelligent, I reversed our views;)  I have a feeling that this creature was just marking her territory, grateful to be back on home ground with the sun on her back.  she brought up some of her flock in the afternoon, and they gazed through a rather rickety fence at the church-yard and then turned their backs and contemplated their world.
All this because the news yesterday had sheep recognising people's faces,  perhaps we will treat them more kindly not just for their lawn mowing habit or for the joint in the oven.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sutton Bank

I am reading Madeline Bunting's The Plot again, the area in which she has written the biography of her father which is fascinating.  He bought an acre of land, accessed along an old trackway, the field had once been the site of a farm, and it is here that he built a 'chapel' which housed his scuptures, his wife and five children lived in the village of Oldstead about a mile away.
What catches my attention is the landscape round this part of Yorkshire, Sutton Bank, a cliff that rises sharply out of the land from one of the the longest village names Sutton-Under-Whitestonecliff, now the cliff is clothed in trees.  It is on the A170 to the town of Thirsk, in fact the road we travelled when we went to collect Lucy from the dog rescue centre, and we stopped off  and shared our ham sandwiches with her.

Sutton Bank;
Under Sutton Bank is this naturally formed lake called Gormire, (translated as 'filthy swamp) difficult to get down to, and with legends such as that it is very deep, though this is not true.  It seemed to have been formed from the melting of a glacial, it has no feeding river or stream but its water remains fairly constant. and apparently full of leeches if you go swimming. One legend has it that a rider's white horse bolted over the bank into the lake, and he can still be heard at night grooming his horse.  Another tale tells of a knight challenged to a race along the bank by the abbot of Rievalaux, borrowed a white horse from the abbot and was taken by the horse over the top of the cliff, the knight turning to look at the abbot saw that he had changed into the devil!

Gormire Lake;
Another topographical feature of the landscape is Hood Hill, which apparently had a medieval castle at its crown.... and now for our print of Sutton Bank that hangs on the wall to contrast ..... Well I see Hood Hill and is that Roulston Scar in front I wonder, the lake to the left.

 Hood Hill;  cc. @

Not too far away is Bylands Abbey and Rievaulax Abbey, there is a definite 'religious' feel to the area with the Catholic Ampleforth College not too far away.  Then there is Oswaldkirk and Easingwold, all very Scandinavian and religious.  Somewhere under all that bracken and trees is an Iron Age fort dominating the scene, it is almost a physical boundary this great cliff delineating territory.

What caught my attention though were three Victorian 'antiquarians' Canon Jackson, the Reverend Atkinson and someone called Mortimer.  They laid bare several hundred Bronze Age barrows, until their foolhardiness was questioned, Canon Jackson got thrown off one estate for making such a mess of the barrows he was supposely 'excavating'.  All the goods that were found were later sold on for profit, but luckily the American collectors who bought them donated them to the British Museum.

Dorothy and William Wordsworth rode or walked along Sutton Bank to Helmsley, stopping at the Black Swan Inn once, and then also to Thirsk.  Dorothy writes

"We had not wanted fair prospects before us as we drove along the flat plain of the high hill.  Far, far off us in the western sky we saw the shapes of castles, ruins among groves, a great spreading wood, rocks and single trees, a minster with its tower unusually distinct, minarets in another corner and a round Grecian temple... as we descended the hill there was no distinct view but of a great space; only near us we saw the wild snd (as people say) bottomless tarn... it seemed to be made visible only by its own light, for all the hill about us was dark"

Inside the North York Moors - Harry Mead

Saturday, November 4, 2017


'Jam and Jerusalem' roses have a late blossoming as the cold creeps down from the North.  Waking up this morning to a grey raining mood, mists hanging heavy in the distance. The pigeons line the crest of the church roof, like something out of Hitchcock's 'Birds'. 
You know when winter is coming when strange things happen, a rat dying peacefully in the sun in the garden, a few days ago.  Sad, but rats always appear when the cold starts to bite, and this one had obviously been poisoned.  I saw another one on the grass verge as I walked Lucy, you have to be so careful when poison has been put down.
What else, well a creature in the garden disturbed Lucy the other night, she stares out of the french windows in the kitchen at night looking for night intruders.  We think it was a badger, though it could have been a fox, for having jumped down into the garden from the church next door, it had to dig itself out under the front fence, digging a large hole.
Bonfire night tomorrow, though it is quiet in the village, I remember as a child heating baked potatoes in the tin box that Smith crisps came in, and Catherine Wheels tied to the trees that took such a long time to whizz.  Nowadays it is all bangs and rockets whizzing up to the sky.  When my daughter was young we would have a bonfire in our back garden, with the three boys from next door,  tomato soup, sausages/onions in rolls and I am sure some special curry dish that Jean would make.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

1st November

Happy Samhain 

Something I made yesterday a Finnish elf, not the world's best but I hope he will shine the absurdities of the world upon us....  Yesterday was the day I took to sewing, making Lucy yet another soft square to carry around, mending the rag doll and trying to give her a face.  Sewing, spinning and knitting quite peaceful things to do.

My daughter and grand daughter came over the weekend, she said how she loved to hear the trees in the little copse at the back.  We all went to the Plough in Wombleton, sadly it was cold as no fire was lit but she entertained us with stories of the two charity shops.

A steam punk window at Hebden Bridge had caused an upset, with bitter words being bandied around, and I remembered it had been the 'Goth' week at Whitby and that steam punk is one of my virtual friend's husband outfit. Anyway here are a few photographs from Getty Images.

Friday, October 27, 2017

27th October

This is what I see first thing in the morning, the quietness of the graves always makes me stop and contemplate the old church sturdy through the centuries, the dark green of the yews, there is a photo of them as young babes planted at the beginning of the 20th century.  The leaves on the trees getting thinner by the day.  When I get up in the dark, the robin greets me with a burst of song, there are two in the garden, occasionally bickering, bossing the other birds about.  The little wrens low to the ground follow the line of the church wall, in and out of the wooden frames always hunting for tiny insects.  Occasionally birds, either the sparrows or blue tits get caught in the hen's run and have to be let out.  We seem to have an invasion of ladybirds, they come into the house, foreigners says Paul! but I reckon they just want some warmth.  I remember butterflies in the old house, camping out the winter in the wardrobe, fluttering against the window when the sun streamed through.

snapdragons holding on

there is something graceful about the branches of the sycamore as their leaves gently reveal their bones

A few days ago I sent some knitted stuff off for Knit for Peace, and got a rather nice letter back from them with this little booklet of charity appeals to give out for Xmas.  Perhaps I shall leave it out for family to contemplate. rather like the three fine chickens to be given to African war widows, if they feed them well they should have plenty of eggs.

And here is Macfarlane's small poem of praise to the wren.


When wren whirrs from stone to furze the world around
her slows, for wren is quick, so quick she blurs the air
through which she flows, yes -

Rapid wren is needle, rapid wren is pin - and wren's song
is sharp-song, briar-song, thorn-song, and sren's flight
is dart-flight, flick fight, light-flight, yes -

Each wren etches. stitches, switches, glitches, yes - 

Now you think you see wren, now you know you don't.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

26th October

Lucy had a letter the other day it was from the vet reminding her that she needed her annual vaccination.  Whilst I am not sure she needs annual vaccinations, she definitely needs to go for some psychiatrist work.  She gets hysterical about some things, we haven't worked it all out, but seems to be about pain, though very low level, it could be something she has eaten, or her paw is hurting after  walking, or it could be something from the past.  She is lazy, walks are not her favourite pastime but travelling in the car will win hands down.  Part of the problem about walking is that she gets blisters on her feet, she had an operation on one paw but it looks as if the other one is giving her problems - think shoes are called for...
That leads me to my shoes, ever since the accident, my ankle has been swollen with an infection, they checked it at the hospital but could find no fleshing eating virus! okay I may or may not be joking.  But it means that I have to wear sandals to go out, and have you ever wandered through soaking wet grass with sandals on?  I have bought myself larger shoes in the shape of a pair of flashing coral shade canvas shoes, which always give me a shock when I put them on, and now have ordered a pair of wellingtons to go walking down to the green.  Progress.  Paul says that I must be more careful and not put a strain on others,
Aril mentioned the other day that Duloe stone circle was a favourite of hers, so I shall put some photos on, could just about manage to walk through the fields to it, as it is small, it is almost like a quartz crown of white stones, a burial place for an important person.  One of the stones looks like a witchy person so perhaps it is appropiate for the coming event of halloween, not the American version but that other scarier version of the dead rising from the graves, it doesn't happen in the next door graveyard sadly though ;)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

25th October

Something to take one's mind off the continual bleating of news, still like it, as apparently half of Bath's residents do as well!

Watersplash’ by Henry Herbert La Thangue (1859-1929) – which was voted the most popular painting in the Victoria Art Gallery’s collection – depicts a scene of traditional English rural life as a flock of geese are driven through a shallow stream by a boy with a stick.

Manager of the Victoria Art Gallery, said: “‘Watersplash’ transports us so successfully to a place of sunny, rural tranquillity that it is hard to believe what a radical painting it was in its time.
“Victorian taste dictated that artists should use fine brushes to give a porcelain-like finish to their pictures. In contrast, La Thangue used square hog’s hair brushes to create a richly textured surface – focusing on movement and light rather than detail to paint everyday subjects as spontaneously and naturally as possible.”

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Weirdness of Cornwall

Today, Sunday I am up early, had porridge for breakfast have kneaded the dough for bread and now sit in front of my photos of Cornwall.  You may have gathered along the way, that though I am interested in churches, megalithic stones also grab my interest.  Whether they be endless stone circles or long or round barrows, they still sit in our landscape ready for any mythology that falls out of the sky..
Our friend in Cornwall probably emails every day with his exploration of the stone circles on Bodmin moor, and I remember the week we spent there, in a rather horrible cottage, the owners lived next door and allowed their three little dogs to s--- on the driveway.  But the moor was on our doorstep, and the Hurler stone circles but a five minute walk.  Lots of ponies wild living with their foals, many a case of cruelty as they were not fed over the winter months and starved.
Our first arrival, after the long drive in pouring rain was the car park to the Hurlers, and I leapt out in the rain to try and view the circles through  mist and rain, I remember so well this little pony and foal walking across the road looking bedraggled.

We could walk to this museum, an old mining building
The three stone circles are laid gently on the flat ground quite a way from Stowe's Pound and the Tor, this was the altar on which the old priests must have focussed. today, the tor has been quarried away but you can still see the remains of the old settlement places on Stowe's Pound, large stones gently bending down into the deep hole of the quarry.  It was here that 18th century Daniel Gumb mentioned earlier lived in his stone cave with his family, was he hiding from the tax man I wonder?

Prehistoric stones trying not to fall into the quarry

What happens to these young ponies I wonder?

One of the circles with the tor in the distance

A very watery landscape, the bumps and hollows of old mines creating a strange landscape

These are the Piper stones
All the things you could see in the Parish we stayed in.

Rillaton Bronze Age Barrow, home to the famous Rillaton gold cup, which now resides in the British Museum.  In the dark cavity luminous lichen, a strange sight.

Sue's hens sitting comfortably on the bench, this was the place we fell in love with and almost moved to Cornwall!
There is a break in contemplation, Lucy is bored she knocks over my spinning spools and brings me a ball of wool to break the concentration, the chickens need letting out she says and I need a pee...  as light appears it is wet and very gray, there is an ominous sandy look to the sky, but too early for the morning cuppa.

What I remember about Cornwall, the weather was pretty bleak, the landscape felt strange to a person who has lived amongst the lush meadows and hills of Somerset.  One of the reasons we did not buy a house there though, was as Daphne Du Maurier said the 'bungaloid' nature of the houses for sale.  Yes I know when you get old bungalows are best, but aesthetically they get beaten hands down by lovely old cottages - which always sell for a fortune by the way!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bits and pieces - 20th October

Taken on a bleak day, the grey of the paving stone says it all.  But Bowles Purple flowers gently all through the summer

Comfortable but no 'puppy eyes' for the moment, no wonder I call her a little trollop;)

I picked these this morning in the sunshine behind is the dried hydrangeas.

The Deluge, by Winifred Knight.  To me it represents the state of England at the moment
I choose this photo for calmness.

A lovely video, only 2 minutes, of a great murmuration of starlings beset by a falcon, the music and birds blend beautifully.