Thursday, November 24, 2016

Te Deum laudamus

Thank you for Kingston upon Hull :Muddy "Umber flows into R Hull 

At Morning Prayer at St Oswalds yesterday we said together  the much loved Thanksgiving Hymn of Praise known as the Te Deum . In the last week of the church year before ADVENT starts and implores us to put away the works of darkness  its great to go out on a CHRIST THE KING bang , and do a real thanksgiving hymn.

This last week has left me maudlin. A much loved and faithful member of our tiny mid week congregation , and former Church Warden has died suddenly after a short illness.  Most of the rest of the mid weekers had gone off to Wydale yesterday  for a day studying Revelation. I was left to keep the show on the road with another faithful stalwart , and not being in any way licensed or recognised I was able to organise the corporate reading through of the liturgy and read out some acceptable  writings in the homily slot . I did my own thing however and discarded the ghastly Revelation reading for the much more upbeat one in Philippians 3v17-4v9(extended by me!) set for the day to commemorate Clement Martyr , a lesser festival to be thankful for. It was a true God incident too as other faithful stalwart declared before she read it to us that it was one of her favourite readings in the Bible.

For me, one way of getting over  feelings of gloom , heaviness and numbness is to do as my mother taught me: 'Count your blessings, name them one by one......'. This may take a conscious act of will and I might  even be going through the motions , but I do find it helps me,sometimes eventually being the key word. Every day when we read our Bible together after breakfast spouse and I thank God for our blessings. It is simple these days, and much to do with the concerns of many Older People . 
  • Thank -you for enough  food
  • Thank you that spouse can walk to the Paper Shop , the Chemist and Spar when its not a windy day.
  •  Thank-you for the footpath at the back of our cottage which takes spouse to Church or Choir Practice out of the wind and on the flat.
  •  Thank-you for the friendly shopkeepers of a small town.
  •  Thank-you for a daughter and family living 2 mins away.
  • Thank you for Central Heating , a gas cooker and a log burner so we are never at a loss for heat or hot water even in power cuts .
  • Thank you that we have State -pensions .
  • Thank you for warm clothes  
  • Thank-you, that we live near the Doctors. 
And so it may go on . On this day of Thanksgiving for my American Cousins, I am thanking for Religious Freedom in the UK, and remembering the Pilgrim Fathers forced to flee to the New World. I'm also thanking God that the Native Americans showed them how to grow food.
Here are some random things I'm being THANKFUL for today 

#Hull2017 Just discovered a VR postbox In Whitefriargate 

#2017Hull Long live the MINERVA

#Hull2017 Local History enthusiasm for the Peoples Memorial 

#Hull 2017 Quirky Old Hull

Thank-you NHS

Thank you for my New Shed 


Te Deum laudamus from BCP

We praise thee, O God : we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee : the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud : the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim : continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy : Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty : of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world : doth acknowledge thee;
The Father : of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true : and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost : the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory : O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son : of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man : thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death :
    thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come : to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants :
    whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints : in glory everlasting.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Remembering the past




So I'm listening to my favourite and oh so dated 1955 recording of the Marriage of Figaro with the Glyndebourne Chorus and Orchestra, and principals Bruscantini, Sciutti and Wallace,Stevens and Calabrese. Of course I'm remembering all the times I went to Covent Garden in the 60s as guest of a colleague , and continued my Musical Appreciation and Education started in Hull. Music, aroma ,objects trouve , and more recently Facebook Groups of Old Photos all may spark some Happy or Sad remembrances from the recent or distant past . I look at pictures of the Locarno in Hull and the Gondola Club and can still feel the upset but relief that my parents wouldn't allow me to go to either .

Last week Susanne offered me some plants from her allotment for mine , as she moves away from Filey to a huge garden . I have  a new Gooseberry Bush,  an intriguingly named Blackberry Sage (I think!); spouse enthused at my new neat bed of  Globe Artichokes , but loved more the Tea Trolley made by Susanne's Father in 1946 . I love it too as we had one just like it in Saltshouse Road during my childhood. Afternoon tea was wheeled into the lounge every Sunday . There would be bread and butter, sandwiches , maybe scones . maybe Flapjack , often cake and always a pot of Tea, a hot water jug , and china cups and saucers, never ever mugs, they were just for soup . Heavily embroidered tray cloths sat top and bottom, beautifully laundered and starched . Mother had some special ones of worked Lilacs made for her as a wedding present in 1946 . They dropped to bits eventually as post war fabric was very thin , not best linen , Mother would say . I wonder if my sisters remember those beautiful cloths, more embroidery than cloth . 
My Grandparents also had an identical trolley which was wheeled from the breakfast room to the Sitting room (known as 'the Room') every single day . It was a long way along that dark hallway , and children were not allowed to wheel it on the bumpy floorboards. When my aunt became infirm in Old age she used to use the trolley to help her to walk .

#Hull 2017
My Hull sister reminded us of the exhibition in the  Hull Truck Theatre last week to accompany the  production of Janet Platers homage to the city's fighting spirit in Play 2 of the Hull trilogy, simply called Gaul   after the factory trawler FVGaul lost with all 36 hands in 1974. A fellow Hullensian living in Filey has written of her memories of the Gaul .

It brought back many memories as the first mate on the Gaul and his family lived in the same avenue as my parents..... I invited his father to Eastfield Junior School to talk to the children about his life at sea. They enjoyed it very much-so did he. I introduced him as Mr Spurgeon  and his friends called him 'Spud'!After the tragedy the headmistress invited Mrs Spurgeon to the school as a classroom assistant to perhaps take her mind off it a little.


I remember that in my Secondary School , Greatfield High School , (1959 to 65) we sometimes  had to stand for a minutes silence during Assembly as a mark of respect for a former pupil who would have died at sea. 





Saturday, October 29, 2016

#Hull2017 Progress Indeed.....

  
Paragon Station Welcome Point for #Hull2017




On all counts I see progress, and I'm not talking about the fiasco that is called the PresidentialElections in the USA, which is certainly progressing into a Feydeau Farce , except it is REAL! I agree with Bishop Baines here, a SHAMBLES it is !

I prefer PROGRESS of the positive kind. 

  • So the in your face welcome desk complete with bright looking volunteers has arrived at Paragon Station . I'm glad note was taken of the London 2012 livery and welcomers , for the volunteers in Kings Cross and St Pancras , and again at the Olympic Park were fantastic. HULL your livery is a welcome turquoise ! I'm an difficult inquirer and your volunteers remained bright and focused with my awkward questions. GOOD you can go to the libraries of HULL to get tickets for the Fireworks. I know the librarians will talk the IT illiterate through the use of the in -house ipads . It has worried me that HULL people who are not yet or never will be part of the cyberworld will be sidelined during #Hull 2017 and unable to access ticketed events.
  • GOOD , THE MAPS HAVE ARRIVED, though called HULL Mini guides. They are ok , and highlight the pink OLD TOWN , the orange FRUIT MARKET and the purple MUSEUM QUARTER . This amuses me greatly, as places Ive known for over 60 years get makeovers. Bring back Fields I say, with the coffee roasting machine tempting punters in . (Please Hull , make some decent coffee, or Im going to have to go to C... N..or C...a, which are nothing to do with Hull , though I must say Kardomah 94 does a mean skinny flat white!) 
  • THE BOOKLET HULL OLD TOWN IS GREAT ,WELL DONE!  I particularly like the Fish Trail Guide at the back . Here I confess that I'm still using my 1992 one 
  • MADE IN HULL SEASON GUIDE JAN TO MARCH has even arrived in Filey Library!! I love a decent whats on guide. Not got one yet ? Try your library and all the TI display leaflet stands . Ive got my tickets for La Boheme . Its the first live opera I ever saw, and was at the New Theatre in about 1959, a treat with my Mother which set me up for a lifetime's passion . Spouse wants to see Aida , and will see if we can do that as well . My musical Education actually began at the City Hall , music festivals with the school choir, and then the cheap Concert tickets for school groups. My first ever classical concert contained Fingals Cave, and Beethoven Symphony , about 1960 , then home on the bus to Sutton feeling I had made a great  new friend . 
  • The Pavements are coming on very well HULL . Eurovia ,@EuroviaHull are certainly speeding on . Ive never seen a worker slacking , and they are so polite as passers by hurl comments at them . 
    Eurovia hard at work outside City Hall 


  • The first NEW SHOP that I have noticed in the last 2 weeks has arrived ! I love it of course ,as I only wear Docs or Birkis , so yes please to a Birkenstocks and a Waitrose , my shop HULL Heaven will be complete.











Monday, October 17, 2016

Dear Dave

Woodmouse

I was planting a few Wallflowers in front of your Blackcurrant bushes, and weeding so that I won't let you down by a lack of tidiness on the border next to Brian's Rhubarb. You never told me about your Woodmouse. I must have disturbed her.  She kept us all interested as we quietly watched her for half an hour until she went home when we had turned to look at the Comfrey bed. The family had all arrived to inspect my new allotment  , where I am steward, and you were creator. Small boys , though I wont be able to say that for much longer , as Zak is as Tall as me now, and Reuben as verbal . They ran round the plot , up and down all the paths, saying it was brilliant, and we could have a Barbie, and the sheds are amazing . Their Dad gave them a lecture on health and safety and railway lines , and their Mum sat in one of your plastic chairs on the shed base you constructed. She was glad to sit and see their Grandmother was absorbed and occupied and their Grandfather more than happy to walk slowly to the site  and look at the view and make tea. 

Ive done quite a bit in my haphazard and yet planned manner. One bed is already sporting a 2" growth of Phacelia. It didn't rain at all for the first 12 days of my tenure. I had the pleasure of walking every evening and watering . I even had to fill the baths up , never done that in October before. 
Ive also planted a Wildflower Meadow in the bed next to the K**e .Two packets of Chiltern Seeds Special Pollen and Nectar Meadow Mixture only covered half the bed. Ive measured it now , 8 square metres, so have bought another 2 packets  and 2 packets of extra Yellow Rattle.  I'm not going to buy a Scythe or take the scything lessons I saw advertised in the Summer Edition of the Plantlife Magazine , but i'll manage my Meadow according to HRH guidelines but I'm calling it a Micro Meadow. 
Heres the list from the Catalogue
 I might ditch the Strawberries Dave! The ones on the ground I mean . I'm planning to grow more Dye Plants . The Irton manure man  John and his wife , have said I may have the wool from their Soay Sheep , and though I know it wont need to be dyed, it will get me into Spinning again  . Here I admit it was nearly 50 years since I last used a Spinning Wheel , I am planning to buy one and take lessons . Eventually !Eventually! Eventually ! I do plan to have all my Dye plants ready for when I'm proficient again and have bought in white fleece .

I'm hoping to keep my new plot in the pristine order you left it. I've tidied up my other tiny plot next door . I've finished the last 2016 cut of your Comfrey bed and tipped it into my barrel of fertiliser soup  . Im going to be very careful with the end of the plot near the Railway line and watch for MaresTail . As Bernard has managed to  mostly eradicate it from our joint plot, I will burn every bit that I see and make sure that the ground is covered to suppress it. 

So best wishes to you and Jen, wherever in the world you are now. THANK YOU  for YOUR WONDERFUL PLOT!



Thursday, October 13, 2016

The promise of Flowers #Hull2017

Last New Years Day I set out to record all the wildflowers IN FLOWER , and post the pics to BSBI Twitter using the hash tag #NewYearPlantHunt . It was great way to have an objective walk on the Country Park . I enjoyed it , but found few flowers. This little Speedwell being one of the 16 I found, a poor showing compared with some of the pics sent to Twitter, but the walk was still a delight as the Country Park was flooded and I spotted wading birds at close range , usually at the Dams or on the beach .


This coming New Year 2017 is already planned. Not able to go to Hull Fair this week I am thinking of what I have to look forward to . Half term is soon upon us, I've planted my onion sets , more leeks , a Wildflower Meadow (only 1 m by 4 m but  mine own), am about to wrap up the Echium and look for my winter berets. We've already had the log burner on in the evenings with the new supply of kiln dried Ash Logs from the Dalby Forest, and I will be making Parkin soon for Bonfire Night . I live on the coast but have not been on the actual beach once this year, time has just fugitted in a productive year of Allotment , Plant surveys and our active Social Life of hospital, doctors , another hospital, clinic, and chemists. 
SO NEW YEAR 2017 is going to be GREAT.

  • Three generations including aunts and grandchildren are meeting in Hull on December 31st . I might even drive !!
  • Four adults and 2 children will go to the Hull Truck for the matinee of Treasure Island on that afternoon . Four adults, 2 children and 2 aunts including the Kingston upon Hull one will book into our rooms in the Premier Inn Tower Street . We love it . Views across the Humber , the River Hull , the city of Kingston upon Hull, King Billy, The Deep, Saltend , Victoria Dock -we have a ringside seat . 
  • We will enjoy our meal on New Years Eve in the inhouse restaurant Thyme  . Small boys will already be planning their meals .
  • Good nights sleep guaranteed 
  • New years Day 2017 , start of the Year Of Culture 2017 , which has already been going on for a year or so . The day will be spent as we like , Morning Service at Holy Trinity , concert on BBC from Vienna , a walk round the Old Town  , we'll see. Spouse and I have never even been to the Deep yet . 
  • 8.17 pm . We will all watch the Firework Display that promises a spectacular start to the Year of Culture . Spouse will watch from the 6th floor of the Premier Inn , we might too, or see where the Ticketed venue is. (Tickets Not released yet)
  • Next day , Small boys and parents depart. 
  • WE might  drive to Sunk Island and Stone Creek followed by lunch in Patrington and a walk round the Queen Of Holderness 
  • before doing the 'Made In Hull' Installation in the City Centre , as it gets dark
  • Another night in the rooms with views BUT 

One thing is certain . This New year I will be doing my New Year plant Hunt again and tweeting the pics with #NewYearPlantHunt . Ive already spotted the place with loads , right next to the Premier Inn 

Bit of Botanists Heaven from Premier Inn








Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#Hull City of Culture 2017 (two) Yes, I was made in Hull !




I am poised, Credit Card ready,  Family pre-warned , Family agreed, Family poised for when at 8.30 am on ticket release day  I shall let Hull Know that we want tickets for the Firework Display on January 1st which kick starts the #Hull City of Culture 2017 big time.

In fact this City of K U Hull Girl has planned a 3day City visit for the family , the London Born, the Scarborough Born, the Oldham Born and the Kingston Upon Hull born . My sisters and I are really going to say ,
COME BACK TO OURS !

Ive been blogging about Hull since my first tentative post in 2006, when I was working using Dial- up and had not even got a Digital Camera let alone a smartphone. 
I'd only been able to use the internet since when  in 1997 each classroom in school was given a Computer .  I even remember the Head coming to me one morning and saying he'd just discovered a wonderful search engine called Google! We used Yahoo before that . 
I was  started on my journey to computer literacy  in Hull too. I've just found my certificate certifying that I'd followed a programme of study in Introduction to Information Technology  at Humberside University campus in June 1997 . 
So nearly 20 years later I find myself with a houseful of devices , Plusnet, 2Macs, 2 PCs, an old netbook, a Raspberry Pi and a second career as PA to Computer illiterate family members.who receive e messages on my email account.  The Grandchildren, however, who have been using my devices since they  could reach the keyboard for Jeux Poisson Rouge are now disappearing upstairs to the office and returning with imovies they've done on the Minimac. I find compositions on Garage Band in my Files and they've moved on from Minecraft to Utube and they are leaving me behind with their expertise . Each time  I open my MacAir  a new login dialogue box will be there under mine to allow  MinorMayhem  or Rooreviewer to log in . 


My G grandfather would have seen these
The #Hull City of Culture is the first time for me then that a whole year event  is being organized using the best of  the  technology of DIGITAL AGE . I applaud you ! Yes it was great that even here in the outpost that is Filey ,(once in the East Riding) , Look North , from Leeds  was featuring #Hull2017 on 22nd September, all the forth estate seemed to be shouting Hull , and my pride just swelled and swelled.  #fb and Twitter posts from the Hull Daily Mail and #Hull2017 kept appearing on Social Media . I was well informed.

So Ive bought tickets for The Hypocrite,( I'm looking now at the woodcut of Sir John Hotham on my office wall), with the delightful miniature of Hull in the corner ,heading this post .

I've opened my account ready for Firework Tickets, booked the wonderful  Premier Inn in Tower Street and am going to bed hoping that at on the release  morning the website will just let me on before I start another  busy day .

Made in Hull, I certainly was, 70 years of my HISTORY . I'm thinking of registering an interest in the Community Brand,  after all I want to do my vicarious bit  for the 47 models . 



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mary Gardens ,two in two weeks.


from Castle Bolton in Wensleydale 
In Castle Bolton I discovered a Mary Garden, planted in the last 12 months . I had never heard of one before . I was  intrigued to glimpse into the part that plants played in the life of the Medieval Christian (then Roman Catholic ) Church in England. Mary the mother of Jesus Christ and the legends about  her ,were woven into the culture and social history , warp and weft , of every person in the land whether or not they chose privately to dissent. 
Along with the Doctrine of Signatures, whereby the appearance of a plant and its likeness to parts of the body would lead to its use for curing that part ,so too some  plants were associated by their appearance with the life of Mary . 
So at Castle Bolton 68 different plants are growing each pertaining to Mary .


 I just loved the very thought that Lavender known as Mary's Drying Plant was so called because it got its scent after the baby Jesus's clothes were placed on it before they dried . I wonder that maybe Asafoetida had the reverse affect with His garments before they were washed .

Ladys Bedstraw, Carr Naze
I never knew that LadyBirds were known thus because of the benefits they bring, as in medieval
legend they came miraculously to save crops from Aphids . Their red colour is from Mary's Cloak and the 7 black spots (on the 7 spot Ladybird) represent Mary's 7 sorrows. 
Lady's Bedstraw, Gallium verum was thought to have been used as a preparation for the birth of Jesus, and used in His bedding . It was used too in medieval times to stuff mattresses as it contains a natural flea repellent .

Ive enjoyed reading the list of 68 plants at Castle Bolton . I've wondered at how my favourite Small Scabious could end up as Our Lady's Pincushion until I found the picture of one I took at Fountains Abbey.



 Friend Pam and I like a 'Quiet Day'. Saturday took us to Madonna House at Robin Hoods Bay  for a day of reflection , solitude if needed , and a chance to recharge ones Spiritual Batteries. The  Scarborough Ecumenical Group Crofters who organized the day , use this venue regularly .

And there it was . another Mary Garden .  

The Summer Gentian was not on the list of 68 plants for Castle Bolton , perhaps it was included because of the beautiful blue of the plant, a colour associated with Mary but I'm sure she never wore the colour as she was not rich or royal .

Summer Gentian , Mary Garden , Madonna House


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Caravan route to Thirsk

That is how  to go from Old Malton to Hovingham to Coxwold to Thirsk  and then Leyburn , we take the caravan route , not to avoid Sutton Bank, but just because its the scenic route and full of delightful surprises. The meeting point for the converging family cars was Jervaulx Abbey this year, always a treat , and this year we were blessed with sunshine and the free bench overlooking the park for our picnic.

It was a special Holiday for us, all the family in 4 different cottages in our very special place . We have been going to Leyburn for years and staying just off the Market Place in cottages overlooking Wensleydale towards Middleham . Its perfect, because for us , Leyburn is perfect. Ive known it all my life , as my father fished the Ure staying at the Cover Bridge inn for years in the 50s, and then the Rose and Crown ,Bainbridge in the 60s . His week away every May was the eager climax to a winter tying Mayflies and Brown and Olive Duns, and the one we children loved to hear him say , The Bloody Butcher. Its just a year since we found that my mother had never parted with the tins of trout flies, all hooked into disintegrating foam , and made by my father , who died in 1975.
Cover Bridge Inn, Ancient Order of Trout! OKA York Fly Fishers

Picture taken by my father in 1958 ish , l to r: Alan Crosby, Fred Farrow, Vic Leggett , Bob Dales and Colin Dales, my father Benjy Bruce took the photo. So Wensleydale was a very special family place, and is becoming so all over again as the next generations are already  planning another visit.

My father used to say that West Burton Falls were his favourite waterfalls of the many in Wensleydale. The Family found some no one had heard of , a short evening stroll from Leyburn at Harmby, and said they were lovely . Spouse and I however went with daughter 2 and family to West Burton falls  which I had never viewed before. If Id known how picturesque and charming , quiet and with easy parking I'd have got us there in earlier years. Now that spouse is not able to clamber or climb , West Burton with easy access and a seat, and no other people was just a joy for us all. I never realised how constraining health and mobility issues may be . (so recommend West Burton Falls for any one who has them and a car, though the great little White Dales Bus , the Wensleydale Explorer stops in the village )
West Burton Falls Wensleydale

Son in law from Brighton told of a guidebook to Wensleydale that he has that belonged to his parents, both Yorkshire Born. He told of the lovely illustrations and the interesting and well written text. So in every shop in Leyburn  and Hawes  I looked to see if he was talking of the books of Ella Pontefract , Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby my heroines of the Yorkshire Dales, but could not find any of their  titles amongst the shelves heaving with brash photo books of Yorkshire Ghosts and Yorkshire , (not mentioning them incidentally , or Kit Calvert, but of Herriot and Hannah , worthy but accidentally so , the way of celebrity). 

Home in Filey my first task after completing the empty caravan route home  was to seek out the Hartley Woodcuts serving as the illustrations for the 1936 book Of Wensleydale by Ella Pontefract  . I hope that woodcuts come back into fashion, as they are labours of love. Marie Hartley  illustrating Joan Ingilbys text  in the 1950s had abandoned woodcuts for  black and white line drawings, which in  postwar modernism do not have the charm of the earlier medium  for me . 

Barbara Rattenbury nee Bowen  Woodcut


This is a poor repro (didnt want to unframe so glass shine)of my own woodcut done by friend of the family, and dear neighbour in Sutton on Hull,  Barbara Rattenbury nee Bowen . I've known this small woodcut for over 60years and love it. Its not Wensleydale of course , but a coastal location , I know not where.
I'm going back to my nurture/younger  years in other ways without being sans everything . On my allotment I am happily beginning to grow plants for Dyes. Wensleydale has nailed it , seeing all the wool caught on fences, which years ago I gathered and took home to use in class, as we boldly learned spinning and dyeing . A whole generation taught by me probably still remember when we were allowed to boil up onion skins and chemical mordants, when the classroom reeked , and we eagerly awaited for the stones and string to be removed from the pieces of cotton sheeting and beheld our creations Tied and Dyed. Its coming back to me , Ive made enquiries about getting a Spinning wheel for my dotage when I'm going to sit in the corner and be in no ones way . 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Analytical thinkers and Survey Monkey





I'm very surprised to find out that I am an analytical thinker. I think I might do another test and answer in different ways. I had so hoped to be an intuitive thinker, as that is how I perceive myself to be, especially where my botanising is concerned . I imagined that the hunter gatherer in me , hidden in  my mitochondrial DNA for  millennia made me a natural and intuitive recogniser of useful plants, for survival . Perhaps this trait in me is nothing to do with thinking but more to do with instinct, which seems to override both analytical and intuitive thinking , a sort of default.

So now I'm chewing over in my mind the recent Survey I was advised to complete for NPMS. I answered all the questions very quickly, you might argue intuitively. Now Im going back and wondering if my answers should have differed. 
These days its easy to have Survey Overkill, as all the coffee shops want to know which of the Baristas served one adequately, Hotels and Trip Advisor are quick to use ones data, and even the online shopping sites hope to take lots more orders if we do their market research and PR for them . Here in Filey where contactless means saying sorry when one bumps into someone there is no need for surveys as we all may shop in small shops where the service is good, ones name is remembered , and ones preferences recalled . 

An aside. I do miss our local greengrocer as she has moved on to  run a tearoom . I did like it when she used to have a glut of something like fennel or avocados or courgettes just going over , and would ask me what I would use them for . She gleaned knowledge and recipes which she passed on to her customers , and would  give  me old stuff rather that dump it , knowing that I could make soup or curry out of tough celariac or just going off mangoes.

Back to the NPMSs Survey . I can see that it is a very analytical way to check up on how well the first 2 years of the monitoring of the Wild Plants of Britain is going , and all those who have been allocated KM squares but not been able to do their surveys have an opportunity to opt out gracefully and their square can go back into the availability pool .
I completed my first 2016 Survey in June and its time to do my second /last one for the season . My bete noir is the identification of sedges and grasses, where only an analytical approach , using a key will give accuracy . I find using keys very difficult for these plants as the features are so small and all green , and the nomenclature a foreign country . So Yes , I need a further training course.


As for wishing that I was intuitive, no survey will get me really right. I know that this  woolly seedling is Mullein . 

But I also know that using my analytical skills it will grow into 
THIS 

AND COULD BE USEFUL FOR THIS


Friday, July 22, 2016

Trying not to cf.



Nothing to compare with this 


Here in the lea of the South Downs garden of  my youngest daughter is a flourishing Ginger plant, well thats what she says.  I am wondering whether its actually Tumeric as the leaves are quite broad, and the last time I did manage to get ginger growing from a rhizome it grew to about 30cm but had narrower leaves. I've got 5 bits of rhizome of Ginger in the greenhouse at the allotment today, and am hopeful. I have nothing to compare the plant with until the next time I get to the Chelsea Physic garden where both plants thrive in the new beds by the beehives.

This year the weather for growing things requiring high temperatures has been better than in 2015 , and we have had lots of night rain . I am hopeful that the row of Italian plum tomatoes which I have companion planted next to the Asparagus , will bear much fruit, they are doing so much better than all the greenhouse ones around. And I only planted them to ward off Asparagus Flea Beetle, have not watered them , nurtured them or fed them . I am disappointed that I've not managed to grow aubergines successfully either, I did have some fruit last year. The effort of actually growing them , feeding them and nurturing them to produce 3 tiny fruit was not worth it compared with buying 3 for 69p each in the local greengrocer. 
From left, Broad beans, Asparagus (hidden) Tomatoes, Asparagus, Broad beans


And so to Echiums.
I can happily report that the ones in the garden of other daughter are doing so well, and are so high that people are knocking on the door asking what they are.

See one peeping over the wall, at moment is at least 15' high. I see that someone in the Echium Plant sale business has started a website where people post their stats and compare their plants. I know that daughters one is tall, and she has four others , a veritable forest. I have considered that we need to keep  my daughter supplied with plants for the next 3 years, when the thousands of seedlings from the ones in the picture have germinated all over her garden . They take three years to flower, and then they die, a triennial rather than a biennial like Foxgloves. I have a tray of seedlings coming on nicely. A few years ago seedlings were coming up all along the path edge seen on this photo, but the first frost got them , as always happens , which is why I have to fleece them , and even then I sometimes am unsuccessful at getting them through the winter. I have a small Facebook Group called "WE got and Echium through the winter" where we encourage one another . Compared with all the other sites on Facebook its not in any way viral , just very Niche , if not Exclusive.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Yorkshire Fog and the death of Botany


Yorkshire Fog
The grasses are all at their very best . 
I have struggled to identify them all my  life. It's because I'm a lazy botanist . I know how to use keys, was trained to use  CTW* 50 years ago . Two  years ago , training again and updating my skills , am now au fait with Stace's New Flora of the British Isles and Roses The Wildflower Key . I know now that Fabiaceae is the new name of Leguminosae, but does it really matter?

 Taxonomic Botany , the Science of classifying and naming plants is now so high tech that it has largely been replaced in Academia by Genetics, and Biotechnology . Sometimes only DNA testing will name a species correctly(Water Crowfoot for example) as it fits in with the Data Bases of the present. New species and sub species,  and plant families are being discovered daily. The scientific journals of the BSBI were always very difficult to understand in the 70s when I first joined, but now I only look at the coloured pictures! 

Where does intuitive botanizing come into the identification processes? I am concerned that the Discipline called Botany, now no longer exists in any UK university . The first Oxford professor of Botany was awarded his chair in 1669. In 2013 the last undergraduates in Botany finished their course and graduated. (Bristol).
I was sent an article from the Guardian by my friend Win in Hove. So I have been giving much thought to Whats In a name. and how do you know .
  Michael McCarthy writes that 
'It is possible to complete a degree in Plant Sciences , without being able to identify a single British Wild Flower"



This lazy botanist is having to use Plant Keys from time to time with grasses, as my intuition just fails. I am grateful for the newly published book from The Species Recovery Trust , A Field Guide to Grasses, Sedges and Rushes. Its a picture book with key facts. I have been very anxious about Yorkshire Fog . My NPMS **Km Square includes Rocket Pole Field in Filey .which is nearly ALL grasses. I only have to record Indicator species . *** I have to get it right . BUT I am doing my best . 

When Jack Whitehead an expert local naturalist , and his colleagues , post pictures on the definitive Filey Nature Facebook pages they are using acquired knowledge through years of experience, as well as Floras, to go
through the identification processes. They use the delightful Common Names . What is more, they are publicising the species that we are thrilled to see in Filey . 
And Never a day passes when a picture of the Common Spotted Orchid or the Pyramidal Orchid is posted on the ordinary Facebook accounts of Filey for us all to enjoy.  
Here I stand with Michael McCarthy . It doesn't matter that Botany may have breathed its last, but the plants endure, and not only has Kew become a global voice for Plants and threats to species, but here in a little corner of North Yorkshire Plants have got friends . I hope that students in Filey will make the Orchids their starting point and learn the names of the local Flora by default . That is how I started, spending hours sitting by the rivers in North Yorkshire being quiet, as my father fished for Trout and Grayling, and looking up "Policemans Helmet "and insect names in to dispel the boredom .

Policemans Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera)
So I knew that Yorkshire Fog was Yorkshire Fog really , as it looks like its name , especially in the half light . 


And Policeman's Helmet ,  an Invasive plant species , so those like  Tim Burkinshaw, (far left  ), Biodiversity and Wetlands Officer for our local council**** are doing a great job raising awareness of its threat, and advising of ways to control it.







*Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.Flora of the British Isles
**National Plant Monitoring Scheme 
*** Plants which indicate the integrity of a Habitat. 
**** Scarborough Borough Council

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Whats App and Avocets


There is a dot on the island here. It is an avocet . I walked to Filey Dams and went in the hide and spotted it easily even with my 10x25mm Field 5.8 binoculars (whatever that means). If I had arrived an hour earlier , the bird would have been 10m away at other side of hide. I was however thrilled to see it from a distance , and thankful that the experienced birder already in the hide could point it out to me. Its only the second one I have ever seen as I am just a beginner birder. I have been trying to find my childhood copy of a paperback 'Birdwatching for beginners' Bruce Campbell 1952 but its gone . I've only got Malcolm Saville's 1946 'Seaside Scrap-book for Boys and Girls'. Those of us growing up when paper was scarce, had books  whose quality of paper  was deemed War Economy Standard . So we treasured the few books we had .  
We were not bombarded with info , pictures , vids and musak and allaround colour in the 1950s. We had no TV in the day time except for the Woodentops et al  after lunch for 15 mins. It didn't seem a colourless world  , the hues were in our neighbourhoods, gardens  ,skies and geraniums , delphiniums , glace cherries ,Omo roses and tin buckets and spades. No wonder we all loved Hull Fair and Bonfire night , so much brash colour to look forward too. 
Now  Information Super Highways are called something else, every small child can use a smart phone for app amusement when Mum is chatting to a friend for real, instead of chatting to her friend online whilst small child gives up asking questions. Noise is everywhere, paper is so cheap that wrapped goods are the norm , and restaurants all have to give away colouring sheets and hats and the postman delivers useless adverts in high colour for Farm Foods when we don't have one within 10 miles. 
AND YET I AM VERY GRATEFUL FOR WHATS APP. This marvellous way of communicating with colour, pictures, vids, and the spoken word across the internet at little  cost is uniting not only families like mine instantly and inclusively. That is as  long as a smart phone is at both ends . AND Now it is working a treat for the Birders and Nature lovers of Filey . Not only was I alerted to the Avocet, but the last few weeks have also reported sightings of a Spoonbill, a Bluethroat, flocks of this and that passing through Filey , vast swarms of the Cabbage pest the Diamond Backed Moths, the fledging of the first House Martins and assorted Warblers . If there is one way to get me into birding big time its a message that something is at The Dams or on Carr Naze or East Lea . These messages are not from Twitchers , the train spotters of the Bird World , but of knowledgeable , interested enthusiasts , ecologists, who are not ticking off species but making valuable contributions to the Scientific Data of our Coast and training up the next generation . If only we could find a way of getting children and young people  to join FBOG or the Small Mammal Trapping Sessions  or get them out and about on the Country park with Field Glasses . A promise of cake and drink at the Country park Cafe might do it , but we need to wean them off their Roblox Studio, Minecraft and Xboxes for an hour or so.
 A biologist friend of mine in Filey taking groups of Filey Schoolchildren on to the beach to look at Marine Life and seaweeds  was astonished to find that when asked , many of the children said they  had never been on the beach before .