Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday - 25th September

Yesterday, Sunday, was a beautiful day, we sat outside in the garden with coffee, and people attending church came over and talked.  Violas plants were planted in pots but the long bed is in dire need of weeding, even the virginia creepers and ivies are crawling over the bed and onto the stone drive way. I had bought some yellow daisies as well for planting near the top, first time I had been to the nursery for all of the three months.
Just to note Weaver is not the only person who goes out, we went to the Plough Inn at Wombleton on Friday and I had a delicious lunch of polenta with a mushroom sauce, frites and salad, Paul always seems to have the burger, which is enormous and he can never finish.  Ben the manager has this phenomenal memory for people's names and for their dogs, who are allowed in the bar area, much to Lucy's joy and she is always well behaved.
I have started taking her for a short walk, and she is careful not to go too fast, looking behind at me and stopping should I tug the lead, it will quite some while till I go field walking but we are getting there.
In my emails I have 'Cooking on a Bootstrap' which gives you cheap meals, and I note several bloggers follow the trend of getting food on the cheap, example is the 'yellow label' in supermarkets.
Well it is not something I do, we shop at Lidl and their prices are fairly cheap, but there are things which I refuse to buy, though this is difficult, one is anything to do with palm oil, the destructive nature of destroying the jungle to grow the palms but which destroys the habitat of so many wild  animals.' therefore I am left with forking out for Lurpak....
Another is cheap chicken, the Co-op says that their stuff is fairly humane, and I want to believe them though of course how can I judge from a distance.  One place not to buy cheap stuff is our local organic shop, her prices hit the ceiling, and I was shattered to find that the bag of dates I had picked up was £4 odd not the £1 odd I thought it was, but she is a nice lady and I get my bread flour from her.  There was someone in the shop talking about the health benefits of fermented food, think sauerkraut, my grandfather used to make it when I was a child, far too vinegary if I remember rightly, though of course Japanese food also has similar,  I am not good with acid foods!

Old photos, dear Sukie as she grew older, another rescue dog, she quietly pottered around our lives with Moss, though she never did the walks upon the downs.  Scared stiff of the balloons that would float out of Bath and then over the downs, she would take off at a run, heart beating and trembling when you finally caught up with her.

This is a barrow that Moss poses by, it overlooked the surrounding countryside

Kelston Roundhill a favourite walk

Saturday, September 23, 2017

23rd September - Malmesbury

Malmesbury Abbey - Adrian Pingstone -  @Wikipedia

The header this time is from the Malmesbury Abbey Garden, home several years ago to the 'naked gardeners' and the scandal of their divorce.  You can't beat the Daily Mail for excellent photos ;).
When I went there with friends and Tom it was a very hot day, Malmesbury is a beautiful old town the Abbey itself dominates the place.
Tom about 6 years old ran around like an over excited dragon-fly, he definitely enjoyed the day as did my friends still living in Wiltshire, and who I miss very much. The old camera brought out the greenness of the place, and I note that now the garden has become a showcase under new ownership, a lovely bird's eye view of 'Old England', the house and town.

Tom was determined to appear in every photo, normally I have 'chopped' his head off, but I keep this photo to remind me of his oohs and aaahs over the lizard.

Friday, September 22, 2017

22nd September - Mabon

Dark and light, equal parts
at the time of Mabon.
Fire and earth, together.
Balance, harmony, security,
these things shall be mine.

It is a misty morning, promising good weather on later today. I have just woken Lucy, her increasing deafness means she sleeps through my getting up early in the morning.
A wander round the garden, culminating in letting the hens out for their morning feed.  It is vaguely the time of the Mabon festival today (a moveable time), the half way equal time between light and dark, the harvest is in, pumpkins and squashes sit proudly outside people's doors.  A time for blessing hearth and home for the security it brings.  A time for stacking logs and wearing jumpers ;) as the cold fingers of winter approach.  Looking out of the kitchen window I saw two pheasants silhouetted against the above fence, surely a true sign that Autumn is with us.
Leaves still weave their magic, everything is still green, no early morning chill frosts to cause their slow beautiful decline into decay.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Olga Winsinger-Florien 1844-1926 Austrian painter

My change of header is about a cromlech in Pembrokeshire, approached either via a green lane or a farm track .  What I can remember is a vivid blue sky with this burial place hidden in the rocks overlooking the sea.  You had to pass a derelict school in the middle of nowhere, the children would have had to take the path up from the village, a social note how life changes within villages.

The painting above is taken from Women Artists in History, and reflects a glorious Autumn.  These paintings are culled from my F/B page, I know there is a lot of contemptuous turning up of noses  as far as f/B is concerned, but  well chosen articles can be part of the fare.  The Guardian articles are always there, radical as you would expect, loved a put down of Boris Johnson by Owen Jones....

"Johnson is an insult to our collective intelligence, and his continued presence as foreign secretary is an insult to the nation."

It is well known that Johnson lies for his own benefit, (bit like Trump) but Jones deduces that it is not in Theresa May's best interest to sack him, because that what Johnson wants a good excuse to be a martyr!

There was also a good article on 'fairies' and white thorn bushes in Ireland - Fairies and their right of ways and a thoughtful essay on Virginia Woolf on silence and loneliness.  Then there are one's friends and family coming through, you gather your news online and know that in that small world of yours, everything is well.

 Anthonore Christensen (Danish painter) 1849 - 1926

Don't ever eat Boletus
If the tube-mouths they are red
Stay away from the amanitas
Or brother you are dead.
And then there was this painting reminding me of those fairy toadstools to be found up on Wheeldale Moor and snatches from Gary Snyder poem about mushrooms...

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Hell on this earth; this Geographic article says it all.....  No matter how calm and well lived we are in this country, it should never be forgotten that others in this world cope and live in the most terrible conditions.  Someone on the radio said we are all equal as human beings, yet brutality and cruelty is the lot of these poor people.

Friday, September 15, 2017

hats miscellany

Years ago I bought a little miniature shop, the maker was from Bath and had made the design to look a little bit  like Beckford's Tower, I made it into a hat shop, moulding the hats on the handle of a screwdriver, with I think wallpaper glue.  I remember collecting the little blue feathers from the budgerigar's cage in Victoria Park, the rest of the decoration came from bits and pieces, miniaturists collect!  So from the old collection of photos;  One of my grandchildren has it now, and is probably collecting dust on top of  a wardrobe.

I made roomboxes, historical as well as ordinary, the whole hobby came about because of the Georgian dollshouse I had bought my daughter and which I still have...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday 14th September

There are times when the geography of the place you live in is a worry.  We live in a basin, an old lake of many millions of years ago.  Surrounded by hills, the Howardian Hills to the south, our Vale of Pickering is the drainage sump for the hills and North York Moors.  The fact of the matter though it is beautiful and I captured this not so good photo yesterday when we went to deliver a monthly village leaflet to Hill Top Farm.  Farms around here are often to be found on the small hills that surround the area, as are churches of course.  A delightful lady called Rosina lived  in the farmhouse, and a small bungalow for the MIL sat some distance away.  As we drove down the farm track we met the owner of a rather more substantial mansion, must get the history of this house, it looks like it could be the manor house.  He was off to look at his horses in the fields below, and as I had seen the fencing and buildings go up for his horses not so long ago I now know just one more facet of village history.  Anyway he was very friendly and discussed the architecture of  this 18th century house, which I note sits above the old rectory making it even more likely that this was the 'big house' of the village at one time.

Flooding in Normanby and why according to an old account.  The last flood was 2007, and people had to wade through the water to get to the Sun Inn, actually not quite true it flooded in the same dip (outside our house) a couple of years ago!

The view from Hill Top farm

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday 13th September

Well the predicted storm Aileen did not seem too wild last night.  It looks very wet and windy outside but we slept through the night, including Lucy.
Yesterday we went to the hospital, this normally takes up the day, this time because my wound is not healing properly and I had to have a blood test analysed, all was well.  York A&E is a busy place, we must have seen the large waiting room occupants change twice.  A lot of children bandaged, summer play accidents I suppose.  The staff are hardworking, and kept us up to date, even offering tea and sandwiches.  Our nurse was charming and escorted us through the endless corridors for the blood test. Should this terrible government lay one hand on the NHS we should all protest strongly, for it works. The computer system is very effective, and perhaps this one efficient technical wonder has streamlined the system, the only thing we noted was the over cautiousness of the doctors, should something seem not quite right.  This I blame on the 'compensation society' we have allowed to grow, it is a destructive force and solicitors should not be allowed to advertise their 'wares' on tv.  Think Dickens would have written a thoroughly damning book on the subject.
Lucy was deposited with Alison down the road, though her mum really looks after her.  She was perfectly happy when we picked her up had been out in the garden with Elaine, keeping her entertained in the kitchen, fetching shoes, upsetting a bowl of water.  She goes with a 'packed lunch' a toy and her bowl, and is supposed to occupy the dog room but her winning ways always get her privileges ;)
More photos, more for my own sake than just flooding my blog....  The first two are picturesque cottages in Avebury, a true Allingham painting of how the Victorian cottages would have looked if you forget the cars!  Of course they are creating the myth of Victorian England, white paint would not have existed, and they would have been in a poor state.

Tall hollyhocks, something I have never been able to grow

Pagans playing in the Red Lion pub, quite happily

A plague on off-roaders who defile our green lanes with their muddy sport

A gentler form of transport, this is all in the Avebury area.
The Chelmer river, which was our favourite walking place, Essex countryside can be exceedingly beautiful as well.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday and Silbury

Paul Nash's Silbury Hill

Yesterday I moved many old photos from the old external hard drive onto this computer, and mused through them.  In the end I chose Silbury, Neolithic mound or hill, for the top.  It had figured so much in my life.  From the first moment I saw it and decided to move to the small town of Calne, through the times I walked this famous Neolithic landscape forty years ago with a dog.  I had explored West Kennet Long barrow, East Kennet long barrow, the great circle of Avebury and Windmill Hill. Marvelling at the ancientness of such a landscape, history still drawn with a very light pencil in the fields.  The times when the small river had flooded into the fields, the anger at the National Trust making a path up to the long barrow and destroying the field pansies in the process.

Avebury is a tourist 'hot spot' now, people potter around the stones, pagan religions welcome the solstices and equinoxes, putting their own brand of religion onto a prehistoric past they know little of.
Archaeology was to be the base of my learning when I remarried, and when I divorced I met someone else in the magic circle of stones, who would share my interests and to whom I am completely grafted to....

I have gathered the words of the writers who have stopped here, William Morris as a young lad down at Marlborough College, coming to see the 'Lions of Avebury', he meant the pub.  Jacquetta Hawkes and Edward Thomas all have visited in their time and wondered at this great chalk mound, why was it built.  My explanation  is that it was symbol of power, a prestigious thumbs up to the gods that were worshipped.  There was in actual fact two other mounds built in the area, one that still resides in the grounds of Marlborough college, the other destroyed.

The old willow at the crook of the river

West kennet long barrow

The river in flood

the barrows that overlooked the 'processional way' to the Avebury stones

The stones of Avebury on a chill morning

New druids?

The Avenue; The path of stones curving, with my constant companion Moss
The Red Lion framed by the stones

We had walked the 'Green road' that time

January snow in Avebury

The Cove and someone who has left this Earth, but so happy at the time with her friend.
 I should not end on a sad note, but perhaps Avebury and Silbury mark the passage of time, short for me, but historically the stones survive the centuries because of their ancestral history and the knowledge that the human race always strives for something.

And something else, a video 'This is Shetland' takes you on a magic tour of water, whales? dolphins and a land as yet untroubled by the scars of a modern world.

East Kennet long barrow

The mysterious East Kennet long barrow, still unexcavated

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday 6th Sept.

Slowly my ankle heals, now I can totter, and totter is the word, around with a stick and I make my way slowly towards a goal which is to take the dog a walk ;).  Crab apples need to be picked for jelly. The hedgerows are full of Autumn treasures, crab apple trees are hanging heavy with the golden fruit, rose hips, hawthorn berries and the blackberry canes are already telling us that the devil is about!
We are lucky in this country for the moment, as we see the back of hurricane Harvey in America and welcome a new fiercer hurricane on to the block, this time Irma, we may moan about a lousy summer (it wasn't) but such fierce storms have not passed our way yet.  I wonder how the climate deniers will outface this latest storm, they grow in magnificence but of course destroy people and their lives. Bangladesh, Nepal and India storm ridden and flooding everywhere their people on the move, such absolute misery as their lives are wrecked.

The sun shines benignly on the garden this morning, I cannot help but contrast my world with this photo of children on fallen trees and yet there is nothing I can do, perhaps media brings home truths that are too unpalatable to swallow and cowardly we slip back into our cosy lives.

A poem - The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Inspired by Nicola Davies's blog

Sunday, September 3, 2017


A last fling of honeysuckle

Words; "Rionnach maoim": shadows cast by clouds on moorland on a sunny, windy day (Gaelic). Robert Macfarlane.

This weekend my daughter and Lillie are visiting, we went for a drive to Hutton-le-Hole yesterday and stopped at the very busy pub there. My daughter is a good storyteller, and kept us amused about the 'London trollop' who moaned about the train they were all on. The first train had been cancelled and so the second was crammed, K is like me, we accept the fate we are offered, why yell and scream about something you can't change?
Her second tale was about the Hebden Bridge charity shop, someone had bought in a turkish instrument, she marked it up as £80, then the next week halved the price, a man came in and offered £20, nope she said I will go down to £30 and thats it. He eventually agreed to the price but she was so cross with him and said 'you can forget the b***** bagpipes as well which he had his eye on, probably a dealer.
Hebden Bridge is of course an elite area full of hippy types so bagpipes seemed a strange thing to be in the shop. Charity shops attract a lot of stuff, mostly cheap clothing, especially at this time of the year when everyone sorts things out before the children go back to school. A whole room of donations will have to be sorted, mostly the stuff will end up with the 'ragman' or on the £1 rail.

The Opper great Aunt's,  Tom is playing chess with his uncle, even as a young child he was very competitive and I remember playing chess with him when he was about 6. 'I'm going to win granny' and of course he did

If you were to too guess the nationality of each and everyone, you would find an American, a French man, English of course and Marc whose father was German.  The aunts have lived all over the world and Switzerland just happened to be the home of their mother who was Dutch.  Very UnEnglish as grandpa would say.....

Sunny Switzerland

The last story she told was about their Swiss holiday taking the paddle boat to Saint Gingolph on the other side of the lake, she decided to treat the children to filet de perche, cheaper in France then Switzerland. So they ended up in a hut on a busy road, never seen decoration since 1950s, and their meal was brought from the other side of the road via the pedestrian crossing by a very old woman hobbling over. They enjoyed the meal, the equivalent of fish and chips but much nicer, the perch come from the lake and the fries are always frite.
My daughter has a sarky tongue (inherited from me) but the cruel eye in the family is teenager Matilda, although she has inherited my shyness will stand down any head teacher on what clothes she should wear, and wins.....

And the last words culled on this day's reading of emails, from George Monbiot.. how apt.

The media avoids the subject of climate breakdown – to do otherwise is to bring the entire infrastructure of thought crashing down