Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday

Seeing Bovey Belles photos of her trip to St.David's Head and envying her, on Facebook last week Jackie Morris and her photos of a walk above the same place struck me as a perfect Sunday morning photograpic record for cat lovers.... and does it not remind you of Derek Tangye books down in Cornwall..

But what I loved yesterday was this photo of my two young grandchildren at Hardcastle Cragg, Lillie seems to have forgotten her love of purple clothes and appears tiny at 8 years against her taller sister Matilda, age 13 years and as the printer will not  print in proper colours for a keepsake it will appear in the diary form that is my blog - their standoff made me laugh.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Books




It dropped through the post this morning, I had been anticipating the book the last few days - The Waters of the Gap by R.J.Stewart.  Coffee stained, costing 1p plus postage, not the most expensive book, last time I had read it was a Bath library copy  published by Bath City Council in 1981.  The cover says Magic, Mythology and the Celtic Heritage, yet its tales are far more distinguished and erudite than a lot of the nonsense that is written round the gods and goddesses of Celtic realms. 

Also shuffled through my books for another book of Irish mythology that I had sent off for recently, I have had to renew several books.  It was published in 1970, and I can never spell Irish names, so its cover...

Each tell their tales of mythology, wrapped round the artifacts of the past, little ducks on Iron Age jugs being menaced by creatures,  stories wrapped round every day things, and scary altars of 'heads', when ever you hear people argue about the usage of Celtic, just look at the jewellery featured throughout this blog recently and question why such a word cannot be used.....
And then this book caught my eye as I sat on the floor hunting other books,( so much reading to do), and I came across the poet Basil Bunting, who had written a book called Briggflat, set up North...


But what really prompted me was a Youtube video of  'Roman Bath' clever, but it has not even acknowledged Celtic Bath with its typically Roman clad figures in the video forgetting the Romano-British people who also wandered in and out of the portico of the temple, their gods blending, seamlessly? perhaps not, but at least they would have remembered the old pagan gods and goddess Sulis who became the equivalent of the goddess Minerva.  So I tidied up my Aqua Sulis blog last week, which has had a couple of thousand visits, for the rich decoration to be found in the excavation of the baths is not all Roman.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A walk



Blake's Wood has started its annual show, the trees still somewhat bare of leaves, have carpets of wood anemones at their feet, giving a slightly perfumed air.  The strappy leaves of bluebells can be seen with the occasional bud of blue flower, but their act is yet to come.  The area of woodland that has been left untouched since 1987 looks very similar to the woodland around it.  I remember at the time when the 'great storm' came through, and large trees were thrown to the ground that the policy was to leave them fallen as a natural event.  No cuckoos, see I marked them last year as 5th May when we heard them, though I always expect them round the middle of April, it also says on the notice board that there are also nightingales to be heard.  Flora is consistent in this wood, but fauna is rather thin on the ground, grey squirrels occasionally and of course the birds.
Think I saw swallows at Paper Mill Lock, they nest under the bridge in summer.


Wood anemones

Bluebells starting to show their colour amongst the wood anemones

Coppicing

Primroses going over now

Wood violets

I wonder if Michael Fish still dines out on this story almost 28 years ago.   To be honest there does not seem to be much of change in the wood from the surrounding area.

Warning sign - do not enter


Celandine


Wood Spurge

Refreshments
One day I shall video properly! but it is a record.............

Wood anemones

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Capturing the Day



Bright blue sky, white blossoms visited by honey bees and bumble bees, the pink blossom still to come out.  Long proboscis bees in the aubretia and Bowles wallflowers and also in the flowers of the red maple, yellow, deep pollen, contrasted against the dark red of the buds

.
Sparrows are nesting somewhere, fighting they invade the white blossoms, marriage trysts, territorial disputes, who knows?  The starlings are also finding nesting material, and are tame as a result, chatted to one this morning as he/she rummaged for suitable stuff, they nest up under the eaves round here.


So life is busy in the natural world, a queen bee hunting for home inspected the bird nesting box, the butterflies have flown the garage, and flutter happily round the large bay window at the front.  Hedgehogs are already out, wonder if they will stop or the young find new sheds around here to raise their young, LS says our hedgehogs have been here for 20 years.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hogback graves

Studying the Anglo-Saxon Art by Leslie Webster last night, the end chapter illustrated the late Scandinavian, from the 9th to the 11th century, stone work near to Pickering.


Brompton Church, North Yorks; Viking Hogback Graves;  10th to 12th century Anglo-Scandinavian  Grid Reference: SE37379635


© Copyright Bob Embleton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.




Beautiful clear images of these 'Berseckers' graves.  The bears at either end allude to the Viking habit of going mad in battle some put it down to the amanita muscaria, that lovely red mushroom, with white spots,  of course a halluncinogen.  Or maybe the wearing of bearskins  But what cannot be denied is the beautiful interlaced carving, and the 'roof tiles' of the house.  Six were found in the 19th century, some going to Durham Cathedral at the time, three seem to be whole the rest in fragments.

The Dragon Stone Levisham Church  Just two broken halves of stone, difficult to see the 'dragon', but I realise that I should start drawing again, just like Wiltshire Wanderings.  Levisham is a village between Pickering and Whitby, Levisham is the village before you take a sudden nose dive down the ravine into the village of Lockton, which also has a ruined church at the end.

Which brings me to St.Oswald at Lythe, just outside Sandsend.  This church has of course many stones, again playing round my photos which were not too good, the first shows a reconstruction of a typical 10th century Anglo-Scandinavian cemetery.  Though the illustrator has only shown the 'house' types and no ' gripping bears' at the end, though there seems to be two lions eating a man.






This looks like a badly eroded hogback , with maybe a clutching bear...

Asparagus


Nothing need be said, it is the time of asparagus.  A pool of butter for dipping, a runny poached  egg, this was how my grandfather cooked it.  The portobello mushrooms are an added treat..




http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/10/asparagus-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi

Saturday, April 11, 2015

'Right Action'





Dragging up Ruth Fuller Sasaki from an old blog, made me go back to the books I had bought at the time.  And it unleashed in LS, the following mantra this morning,(deeply intoned because it should come from the stomach) and a spate of memories.  So first the prayer....



This is the first prayer in the meditation hall, you sit on a large cushion and meditate for 25 minutes, and then you get up and take some exercise outside, about the same length of time as you meditate. During the meditation there are two monks monitoring your behaviour, should you fall asleep for instance.
When LS as a young man did this at Ryosen-an, the two guardian monks were his teacher Dana Fraser and Gary Snyder on occasions, their role was to walk the circuit of the hall around the devotees.  For instance if you started to nod, they would stand in front of you with a flat sided cane, bow to you, you would bow in return and then they tap your shoulders lightly, before administering a sharp whack on each shoulder.  It did not hurt only woke you up.
I am fascinated by the exchange of cultures that went on in this temple, the ever greedy West wanting to take up a new cult religion, for I think that is how they saw it,  Ruth.F.Sasaki with her wealth making it possible with her translations, slightly autocratic this lady, Snyder says of her....

"Ruth Fuller did not become interested in Zen Buddhism because she was a bohemian, an artist, or any sort of cultural revolutionary.  She entered on this path because she was more than very smart; she was smart enough to realise that her own power and drive and capacity were a little too much.. from her teenage years she set herself against the assumptions of theistic religions and their language of heaven and hell, evil and sin......

Ruth Fuller Sasaki was a Lady, a Zen Lady, a title she would never shrink from.  She was to become an ordained Zen priest with her own temple in Kyoto"

LS a young English art student, fresh from Swindon Art College, having to meld into a new way of life, a life that he still feels strongly today, an outside mind would say this is because of a young person yet to mature. The strong traditions of the temple complex, the gardens and the people creating a different world, and perhaps strangely enough different foods.





LS's old prayer book - The Wooden Fish. basic Sutras and Gathas of Rinzai Zen.
Prepared by Kanetsuki Gutetsu & Gary Snyder
The First Zen Institute of America in Japan 1961




Snyder has always been a favourite poet of mine, he has the same simple framing of the world that I have, a direct relationship I suppose you would call it. Addressing the creatures around, giving them form and language in your own mind and perhaps above all acknowledging that we are all equal, superiority is just a word we humans use.  When I was about 18, decided that I needed a religious background, so read round the subject but never came up with the answer, the old bible's words, which I read from beginning to end shocked me.  I must have read round Buddhism at the time as well, but only came out with two words 'Right Action', it seemed a good enough simple model, walk away from anger, do not hurt deliberately......
Curiosity leads me along certain paths, I know Snyder's words at the beginning of Mountains and Rivers Without End, conjures up endless images and thoughts, a winding river especially, floating one's thoughts to an ever greater sea of speculation or perhaps nonsense who knows....

Clearing the mind and sliding in
to that created space,
a web of waters streaming over rocks,
air misty but not raining,
seeing this land from a boat on a lake
or a broad slow river,
coasting by.


The new Header; Is a photograph taken from a favourite spot, the mist lies in the valley over Bath, the deer chase across the field, the cows feeding in the background, and to the right would have been Kelston Round Hill, and the landscape flowing out to the great Severn estuary and the sea.

And if you want to follow the old hippies of the 60s there is Alan Watt on You Tube..

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Snail crawls

Painting by Francis Nicholson - ' The Father of water-colour painting'

I start with a painter who was born and painted in  North Yorkshire, but who later moved to London, and was much admired by J.W.M.Turner or so it says in the blurb.  Our lives are somewhat dominated by 'up there' as I shall now call it.  An email came though last evening from someone we had not heard from for a couple of years, C.C. had organised a revival of Nicholson, both in Pickering and elsewhere, if I remember correctly the Pannett Museum in Whitby and had just written another article about Nicholson's association with Stourhead in Wiltshire.......

Also an 'answer' phone call from another agent yesterday evening, which has not been replied to, about High Street Farm, which no doubt is being offered at a better price to us, but they are too late we are too far gone with  the Normanby transaction.

One of the things LS says, gosh the people are so friendly 'up there', he has long telephone conversations on various subjects.  Yesterday it was about the drainage system, and lo and behold, the manager of the company who makes them lives in the village, and will just check it for us this morning! That is not counting the lady in the church yard also, who has three relatives in the village, two of which are carpenters and the third a plumber.

We need bedroom furniture for the new house, this house has fitted cupboards and wardrobes throughout the bedrooms,  so there is nothing to take in that department except the beds and desks.  We will need a carpenter to build in some fitted stuff.  There is also fencing and gates for the front to be thought about as well.

I have been hesitant about the move, still expecting something to happen that will stop it, the surveyor for this house comes tomorrow and then that is the end and  the formalised legal stuff takes over.

And just to add to this spring like world, the hedgehogs are out from under the shed, the butterflies who hibernated in the garage are out as well, and there are bees in the garden....

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Started drinking coffee again

Writing something every now and then. Sometimes the mind goes a complete blank, especially after a week of headaches, for some weird reason a headache will often start after the coffee break. Sometimes I wonder if the bruising pain just wipes all thought from the head, note I did not say intelligent thought....  When my mind is in 'free roam' mode I study things of 'interest', only to me of course, my latest has been a very long (500 metre) barrow cairn just under Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor.  Someone said it could have been a walk way, here I must introduce the words ritual and sacred, (the act of procession) walking to the cheesewring of Rough Tor, or maybe even it could be a boundary line, a demarcation of territory and space.  I cease to ponder and move on.
Life is quiet, spring is just outside the window the birds hopping importantly around the lawn, magpies and crows cruising the roof tops looking for eggs.  The sky this morning, the soft peach of the sun overlies grey clouds giving that unusual colour to the vegetation.  Primroses are bold in the beds, Bowles purple wallflower is beginning its flowering period.  
Returned to my patchwork, why am I so untidy?? pinned the three pieces together with pins, almost ruined my sewing machine, so have decided to hand quilt.
Today is of course Easter Sunday, cannot escape it on  radio 4, to be quite honest being a non-believer it infuriates me, Sunday has always been a peaceful day for me, it stands out as quiet, even Asda does not open till 10 ;)

Pound shop frog who used to croak at one stage

cuttings will be coming with me to Yorkshire

The first sign of the perennial geranium, summer is definitely on its way

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wishes for Easter

Something sumptuous for Easter

Stilleven mer Bloemen; Jan van Huysum 1723

A long essay from Alan Garner, a favourite writer though his Boneland book was a bit of a conundrum as far as I was concerned, set between a children's and adult's book.  But the art of storytelling seems encapsulated in the following italicised sentence.  I once read that there are only seven plot lines to weave stories around,  but have never worked that one out.  

"Powsels and thrums are the oddments of thread that were kept and woven for personal use, their hues forming new patterns; the oldest of scraps, made into other garb; the oldest of stories made into other tales."


This weekend is Easter, and I mooched around on the internet for an Ecard for my blog, but the one I will choose, is my little yellow  Indian elephant, who reigns supreme at the cottage, often alone but fulfilling his function in the room as being.............'the elephant in the room'.  A saying that always make me laugh!



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Abbeys and books

You will see from the following photo that I love maps.  Maps like children books are something I keep quiet about, maps because I love following the rivers and the many varied landscapes but feel that it is a more male occupation to map read. And as for collecting children's book a certain shamed feeling for loving books as I do. So when Weaver of Grass asks about a truly excellent story about  the 'little people'  The Little Grey Men by BB,  out it comes to be read again.




I used a black Japanese teapot to hold down the book for illustrations, and of course end up with a not very good photo, but it struck me that the above has a certain Japanese style.  The book is a Folio Society one, and I have four other fairy tale books, old favourites, McDonald, Andersen etc in the Folio editions.
But the map was opened out for a different reason, I had been studying the area around Normanby, and had found that Rievaulx Abbey is not too far way, just outside Helmsley.  Abbeys are a particular favourite of mine, especially the great Northern Cistercian ones, and I have always anticipated wandering around them.  So today I took photos of the 19th century steel engravings in a book that is slowly breaking up, my idea is to print all of the Rievaulx Abbey engravings and when we visit to photo and match same......






Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r

The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Elegy from a Churchyard Thomas Gray


Four lines that always come to mind when looking on ruins, a moping owl always makes me laugh....

Monday, March 30, 2015

Do they exist?




In Iceland Respect the Elves - or Else

I had read this piece of news last week, and smiled at the elves holding up the building of a road for eight years. Illogical actions and fairy tales meld nicely together.  Of course it is similar in Ireland, read Joyce and you will many such stories of fairies and elves, and my favourite, changeling babies.
So today I pull out my fairies book, illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee, two great illustrators. My copy of the book has suffered the rigours of time and Gnomes illustrated by Rien Pooiavlier, a Norwegian, has practically fallen to pieces.
But of course it reminded me of my favourite place,  which of course has all the things fairies, elves and dwarfs need.  Fly agaric mushrooms, old trees, especially the magical rowans and a sparkling brown beck running over the rocks, what more could the fairies ask for?

One of my rather shaky videos, short and sunlight but gnarled trees, running water and the bracken enclosing magical places, and of course still photos that capture forever the moment of  'time'.





Sunday, March 29, 2015

And then there were hares

The screen at St.Melangell's church depicting the hunt and and the saint.


 I cannot let March escape without one of my favourite stories, it may be repeated each year but are not stories there to be told again and again..... And not forgetting that this church in its circular plot of ground may have once been an early Bronze Age burial site, and according to it's wikipedia entry is one of the oldest Romanesque shrines in Britain.  A must visit church!

The story of Saint Melangell and her little hare. She was the daughter of King Cufwlch and Ethni of Ireland and she fled to Wales to escape a forced marriage. She settled in Pennant at the head of a valley, and whilst one day sitting in a clearing she heard the sound of a hunt, dogs and horses galloping up the valley. This was Prince Brochwael of Powys hunting hares. As she sat a hare came into the clearing and Melangell hid it in the sleeve of her dress to protect it. When it peeped out the dogs fled, and so the Prince gave her the land on which he hunted, and she lived at Pennant for another 37 years and no animal was killed in her sanctuary. Hares were known as wyn bach Melangell or Melangell's little lambs, and to kill a hare was an act of sacrilege.

This story is taken from "The Book of Welsh Saints" T.D. Breverton, and there are other versions of the tale. But at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant near Llangynog  this is probably the site of her foundation, because on the church's medieval rood-screen are little hares.

A description of the the screen
  • First compartment. Brochwel Yscythrog, Prince of Powys, on horseback; his bridle tied on the mane of the horse; both arms extended; in his right hand a sword which he is brandishing. He wears long hair under a flat cap; a close-fitting coat and girdle, both painted red, and sits in the high saddle of the Middle Ages. He is the most distant figure of the series.
  • The second compartment is partly damaged in the branch-work, but the figure is entire. The huntsman, half-kneeling, tries in vain to remove the horn, which he was raising to his lips for the purpose of blowing it. when it remained fast and could not be sounded.
  • In the third, St. Melangell, or Monacella, is represented as an abbess; her right hand slightly raised; her left hand grasping a foliated crozier; a veil upon her head. The figure, seated on a red cushion, is larger than that of Brochwel, and smaller than that of the huntsman.
  • A hunted hare, crouching or scuttling towards the figure of the Saint. The hare is painted red.
  • A greyhound in pursuit; the legs, entangled among the branches of the running border, can hardly be distinguished from them. The dog is painted of a pale colour.
  • A nondescript animal, intended, I suppose, for a dog. In this and the 5th compartment the hounds are supposed to be further from the eye than the hare, which is the largest figure in the whole range.
  • One tracery panel lies its gouge-work painted red; the gouge-work of the next is blue; that of the next is red; and so on alternately."
The screen itself, on the rood-loft of which the above formed a cornice or frieze, still remains in its position between the chancel and the nave. It comprises four compartments on each side of 

                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------


Of course it must not be forgotten that the term easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre  and as Bede states here;

The English Months. In olden time the English people – for it did not seem fitting to me that I should speak of other nations' observance of the year and yet be silent about my own nation's – calculated their months according to the course of the moon. Hence after the manner of the Hebrews and the Greeks, [the months] take their name from the moon, for the moon is called mona and the month monath. The first month, which the Latins call January, is Giuli; February is called Sol-monath; March Hreth-monath; April, Eostur-monath; May Thrimilchi... Eostur-monath has a name which is now translated Paschal month, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. (Eostur-monath, qui nunc paschalis mensis interpretatur, quondam a dea illorum quae Eostre vocabatur et cui in illo festa celebrabant nomen habuit.) Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.

So much of christianity's myths lay on the back of old gods and stories, and Easter is a prime example, this spring festival has as much to do with the dawn rising earlier each day heralding the new growing season than it has to do with Christ being hung on a cross for our sins.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

This and That

Life has been somewhat interrupted by a migraine, the 'healing' process takes quite a while but the wretched headaches are a nuisance.  Time progresses slowly on the movement of the houses, our house gets a visit from a surveyor at the beginning of April.  Church house survey has been given to the vendor and he has come forward with the necessary information.
In all this there is one more worry, that is the fate of the cottage, as we left the cottage last week LS said this is a gem of a place and so it is.  It will break my heart to get rid of, but with the family moved out of Whitby, running it as a holiday cottage goes somewhat against my principles.  Here comes a rant as well, we have had to mend taps, the loo, and plugs from heavy handed people, pay an agent and a cleaner as well.  And that is not counting the time the TV broke down, or the bed (new) or the times people turned off the heating,  But unless I long let it, selling is the only other option.
Karen the cleaner got in touch this week, she seems upset about the agents as well, I have promised her though (she is an excellent cleaner though managing to get through three vacuum cleaners) that should  family or friends want the cottage she will be the first person to call.
Not quite end of rant, there is something else that sets my blood racing;), this is VisitEngland, who hands out all those pretty stars you see adorning hotels and B&B places.  It is compulsory to have one says the agent, don't believe it says I.  But have had my three star rating the last two years, paying a £150 a year to be told that one wastepaper is unsuitable, and that maybe I should invest in black curtains triggered a moment of fury and a letter to the agent finishing the contract.
I could go back and eat humble pie, we have after all found a plumber; plumbers in Whitby, and there are a few, but they are like hen's teeth when you try to get them to do something.  This plumber is lovely, and needs to just fix the flush button in the loo, which can all be managed, as there is a 'key box' fastened to the front of the cottage, from a distance here in Chelmsford.
To happier news, my daughter is voting 'green' and now belongs to the wellington brigade, as their new dog Teddy needs walking which she does twice a day, the children doing any other walking. This turnaround from her is extraordinary, not an animal lover through her childhood, it is a joy to think of her actually walking a dog!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ramblings

Such illusions, depending on how the eye is placed and used, drive home the truth that our habitual vision of things is not necessarily right; it is only one of an infinite number, and to glimpse an unfamiliar one, even for a moment, unmakes us, but steadies us again.

The living mountain -  Jan Shepherd


This of course reflects that moment when you wake up from a dream, and the brain has to race to where you are, for the dream is so much stronger, the perception of the moment locked in that dream world.  My dream world always takes me on  miserable walks through towns full of people,(something I hate)  lost and normally having a child with me  and then into the countryside. The dream continues, escaping on buses to an unknown destination, but  never arriving in the dream, Perhaps it reflects itself in my life, a need for security and the sanctity of a 'forever place'.

But then the eye often sees something, often happens when looking into the distance, the brain then makes an attempt to identify, and suddenly  we find a false image has been cast by the mind's eye, the visual eye will then rectify the mistake, that moment of reality making sense of the world.

Below are two photos, I suspect a good photographer would have grasped, the loneliness of that tree, surviving in the moor's inhospitable climate, perhaps instead of waiting for the partial eclipse I should have walked up to it.  It is on a brow of a hill, or at least a slight rise in the ground, Penny's owner, walked to the top and disappeared from view, one knows that greyhounds do not like long walks, being happy for a couple of 10 minute walks a day and choosing to sleep the rest of the day.  When Penny came back to the car ahead of her owner, she whined at LS obviously hoping he would open the car door for her.

But of course there are other things to read in the photos, the rushes silvered by the sun, it tells me what I already know, that water lies under the surface, along with a rocky base that allows this thin vegetation of heather to survive.  There is life of course, plenty of black grouse roam round, making their presence felt as they fly from one spot to another, croaking slightly.  The skylarks are already settling down to nest, and there is the hidden presence of curlews making their moor music.  No sheep on this part of the moor this time around, but if you look at the tussocky grass, this is the place you will find them grazing.  Some, poor things graze on their knees their front feet to painful to stand on, I saw a solitary sheep on its knees and I imagined its lonely death but that is the way of life in remote parts.

When we were at Church House, I saw a couple of buzzards over the fields making their slow spiralling flight on a thermal, and for that moment I took pleasure in this, my 'totem' bird, making its presence felt in my view.   Across the road, lives Nigel with a small flock of hens and a rather noisy cockerel.  A retirement to the country to raise a few sheep and hens, think he comes from Guisborough but chatty enough as a neighbour.




I took the Nan Shepherd quote from 'Landmarks' written by Robert Macfarlane.  Bought at Whitby book shop for a discounted £16 last week.  I am having certain reservations about Macfarlane, he often quotes the same story in his books. Landmarks is again quoting Nan Shepherd's book which I have read about the Cairngorms, though passed it on in a book swap. Do so hate to pay for something I have read before;) But this book is about words, those that pass out of use to describe the elements, the land and everything appertaining to it.  So Gaelic, Welsh,Cornish and Old English.  Not words one would necessarily use oneself of course, but like the snow of the Eskimos which has a hundred words, so it is with descriptive words of how water is seen or not seen but heard in a variety of tones.  It reminds us that once when people did not read, language was rich in imagery and detail.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Catch up news

As I write this, I am listening to the magical sound of the curlews (here is the link) up on the moor, it is a sound that never fails to silence all the wayward thoughts that go through my mind, as I listen to that burbling note rising.  I very rarely see them but like magic their music is a part of the moors.  So yesterday, the day of the partial eclipse, we took our coffee up to Mirk Mire Moor, it looks as grim as it sounds, the brown heather stretches for miles, black grouse occasionally fly up or scuttle across a bare patch. Sky larks spiral up and there were even lapwings flying overhead.  But though cold, the sun was out, and so we waited for the eclipse, it took a long time, but I did manage to catch one photo of it. albeit not very good.  As we waited, a lady came up to exercise her greyhound, Penny, who when I asked came from the Tia Rescue home.  The road over the moor was supposedly closed, two cars came whilst we were there, it seems at this time of year Yorkshire roads get mended, for we came upon several lane closures. It meant that we did not go down to the beck, where the rowan trees gather at its edge, and in Autumn the 'magic' red mushrooms make their show.
In these first two photographs you can see how the light changes as the eclipse starts to happen, a soft amber glow, it colours the heather a rich brown, whereas the third photograph has the tonal value of a summer purple........

the greener tones of the valley

The cross roads stone

Endless heather with grouse butts in the far distance

The moon eating the sun through the clouds



This week has been very busy two hour visits to see the surveyor and solicitor, both very friendly, problems arose from the surveyor's report, and there has been a lot of mulling over the contents of his report.  But yesterday, after the moor visit we drove to the house, sitting outside it for two hours (or so it seemed) waiting for the owner to come.  He forgot! so eventually the agent came with the key for closer inspection.  Sitting there though on a sunny day, with the bird song in the church yard, and the peace and calm did allow us to experience the house in its simplicity.

Afterwards, hungry we made our way to Lastingham and the Blacksmith Arms for a late ploughman's lunch.  I have written before of the Viking engraved stones in the crypt of this church, founded by Saint Cedd (patron saint of Chelmsford as well) for the burial at the time of King Ethelwald..... link here

There is reason to believe that the original name for Lastingham was Læstingau. Læstingau first appears in history when King Ethelwald of Deira (651-c.655) founded a monastery for his own burial. Bede attributes the initiative to Ethelwald's chaplain Caelin, a brother of CeddChad and Cynibil. Bede records that Cedd and Cynibil consecrated the site, and that Cynibil built it of wood. Cedd ruled the monastery as the first abbot until his death, combining this position with that of missionary bishop to the East Saxons.
I have been reading John Marsden book on Northumbrye, which has been put down more often than read, for it is a list of genealogy of the kings of Bernicia and Deira, and can become totally confusing! Perhaps I shall return to it when we get back.


St Mary's Church





The crypt

It looks snakelike with the spots, so could be the 'Ragnarok' snake


Earlier photos

A couple of fun photos


Ram skull at the side of the road

Penny

The vicar must love moles, I see mole hills every time we come



And then of course a Happy Spring day to everyone, don't forget the clocks go forward on the 29th March.  Bitter cold wind here in Whitby though.