Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flog it

For 4 days now Kiaora has been a 3 generation house again.
On the top floor in the bedroom with the view of the sea are my daughter and her husband. The room is small for 2, 3'single beds made up as one kingsized, so much so, that spouse has had to tie pan cleaning sponges to the legs nearest the door so that no one is injured by bumping into a corner in the way that I did when making up the bed. I've just climbed the 10,5, 9 stairs from the sitting room to the 2nd floor. I wanted to check that I was in order calling it a sea view. I was . The light at Flamborough is 4 white flashes every 15 seconds. When my sister used the room with the seaview she found comfort from the predictable automatic candelas which may be seen for 24 nautical miles.
Next door 2 small grand-daughters have more room, a Barbie Palace, cut outs of the Cottages in Balamory from one of my school Assemblies, and blackout curtains brought from Sussex to ensure holiday long sleeps.

On our floor the sign of multi -occupancy is only the 4 extra toothbrushes in my bathroom . They only use it for Teeth Cleaning procedures, as my bathroom is deemed too old fashioned and dilapidated for more routines and ablutions. That suits me fine. 
The conjugal bedroom has  single occupancy at the moment.  We have not fallen out , but spouse has got his first taste of what the Geriatric of Filey all seem to have -arthritis in his knee. His walk  to Malyon Spout with the family came to a nasty end. His knee has increased in size by a third, he is unable to walk, unable to have anti-inflammatories , has frozen pea poultice every hour and the laying on of hands.He is of course sleeping on the sofa bed in the sitting room,with the TV  controls, a commode just in case , his book, and perfect contentment apart from the pain.
Today is the birthday of Scarborough Daughter, our No 1. She and husband and small grandsons of the  never stop talking sort , into everything sort , I'm always hungry sort ,have been here all day too. 
The plan was to have a Chalet Birthday down on the front. It rained on and off all morning so everyone was here-4 under 7s, 4 young adults, suduko, cups of coffee every 20minutes, the car cleaned with the dish cloth, the watering cans used helpfully, Grandma,  all morning, on everything . Daughter no 2 was nurse all day, supervised all the furniture moving and shuffling and trips to the freezer for peas. Grandchildren careered round all of us all morning , in and out of the house, up and down the stairs. I got lunch.

By 2'o clock the paddling pool , the chalet, the beach, the 2 dolphins and 2 sharks were deemed usable. Spouse of course had to be driven down to the Royal Parade.

I took him down with daughter NO 2
Ring when you want me to fetch you home, I said, having to go home to park, no space in the summer.
Aren't you coming down  too Mum? they said
I need to get on with the birthday cake I said

So I did absolutely nothing on the sofa, fell asleep for forty winks , and watched Flog It.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Lovely day for a Survey

Its a good job we did the Plantlife survey yesterday because today part of my wildflower path has been managed . That is, Colin says, the roadside verge so rich in convolvulus  and lesser knapweed has now been mown by NRCC.

Someone once told me that living in Filey was like living in a village where every one knows about every one else. I grew up in a village (Sutton in Holderness) and remember every time I was sent to the shops my mother saying 'Now don't tell all the village our business!'  I have had three conversations today which started 'I saw you and Colin going along the Scarborough Road...............' .  So I proceeded to tell them all about the Wildflower count, just to emphasise that I don't spend all my time on QWERTY , can still walk miles with ease with a rucksack, am still married to Colin, have some striped socks, and am interested in more than detective novels and the price of fish.  Maybe if I walked along the main road out of Filey every so often the mile to the roundabout-I could vary the reasons-I  was going on a prayer walk, I was going to pray for people in every car going past on the A165, I was going to meditate on the wonder of Gods creation at the side of the road. When it comes to talking to people it is much easier to talk about my passion for flora than it is for my love affair with God.

Leaving the main road to count the plants on the public footpath seaward  to the Cliff across Filey Field was not so rich botanically, but a treasure find  emotionally . 
GOLD-It reminded me of all the miles I walked before I was married, with  friends and or my sister Susan and her friends . I youth Hostelled enthusiastically-Lake District mostly , but also Isle of Arran and west of Scotland. I remember baths where you had to pay for the plug, Fleas, cooking damper bread , tin after tin of baked beans, pouring rain and not be allowed in until 4pm, picking and eating chanterelles, lots of laughs with total strangers, Black Sail Hut and walking across fells in thick mist from cairn to cairn. Colin has never been 'a walker' but our 5 miles yesterday started a new chapter in our 38 years together. He says he will come again. The trick is to have an end worth reaching. Yesterday it was the promise of lunch with chips at the Country Park Cafe.
SILVER-The weather was hot but perfect, after rain ,so clear and  clean, with the views at maximum spendour.(millions of little flies-hence the Ag not Au). Every time we stopped we were beseiged. Still they did not bite.
GOLD- It reminded us both of a long ago walk on the Berkshire Ridgeway,
looking for Waylands Smithy. Perfect Path, no other People but 3 dog walkers, and the fascination of being up close and personal with a field of Oil seed Rape which edged the public footpath.
GOLD- Lots of insect life for Colin,his favourite Moth -the 6 Spot Burnet, lots of butterflies, too quick for me to digitalize.I hoped for a blue butterfly and saw several, but am not able to say which one it was other than it was small and sky blue matching the day.

BRONZE   I was glad that I found one species I had not found before, but I Should have known it as it turned out to be the Common Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica). Its name suggests that it has all sort of efficacious uses.
GOLD The views when I finished the  survey  Km were at their North Yorkshire Best, and so were the Chips!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not the Nerd in me

I am doing a survey tomorrow. I have signed up to do a Wildflower Count  for a charity called Plantlife. All I have to do is walk a route for 1 Km on across a Km square that is not too far from me.I have to record all the Common species on the route 2m to the left of the path .Colin is coming with me so I have adapted the walk so that we can get home without a 3 mile walk. The instructions say you need to have some one with you for safety. The instructions are easy to read and understand. 
I have been a botanist since I was  a child. Daughters of fly fishermen have to sit for hours by the side of rivers keeping quiet and not moving.  
At  Whythes Farm near Kirkby Moorside the York Fly Fishers (my father was a member) rented a stretch of the River Dove, which flows into the Rye and then the Derwent. It was the dullest place for a girl to spend a day.It was so boring  that I started identifying all the plants on the river bank. I was quickly  sucked in to the thrall of it all. By the time I was 13 I spent every evening copying pages out of floras. Other river banks were quietly explored; the Derwent near Yedingham, the Hull at Hempholme, the Bain and Ure in Wensleydale. My greatest plant finds as a child were the Burnt Tip Orchid (Orchis ustulata) and Asarabacca (Asarum europaeum). 
At 19 I was out every evening collecting for my Herbarium. I have pressed, sorted , named and not named .

  That was over forty years ago! I am beginning again. I am already excited at the prospect of finding and naming. I will not be picking and pressing. I have just dug out my flora. I have always used McClintock and Fitter 'Collins Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers'. My copy is dropping to bits- I have used it for 50 years. I have many other floras , can even do it the real way with CTW, but every picture is a friend in my special book. 

I hope this is is Red Bartsia (Odontites verna ), I found it growing in a wheat field at Rudston last week. I have never seen one before . 
It is mid July. and yet all the late summer flowers are already out.  The Rosebay Willow herb is already sending its seeds across Yorkshire. 
So I am looking forward to tomorrow-and will take lots of digital photos. Was never able to do that in 1961.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Toads and Toads Revisited

I wonder what Philip Larkin would have said if he knew that giant fibreglass toads were to be placed around Hull. Thankfully Hull City Council has thought better of making money out of the dour but fascinating librarian. Larkin 25  has been however organized and is running until December.
 Now this Bridteacher has always loved poetry, and has to confess that she has never read much Larkin. This is going to change. I am going to put it right. So I am going to read Toads, and Toads Revisited very carefully . 
Larkin I'm sure ,with me would  not have been   interested in statues and model toads.  He was by all account a taciturn and singular man who needed no approbation in such a vulgar way. 

We never lived near each other in Hull, as I moved from Marlborough Avenue in 1953. We knew the same streets, and Pearson Park.Larkin lived in My Childhood Hull.  Infact my Great Grandfather designed the fountains in the Avenues , and so I shall be searching the poetry for any reference to the victorian monstrosities  now well loved by those looking for anything arty that survived the bombing (when most of Hull didn't).

will be Hull City of Culture 2017, as has always been !