Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Just settling into winter

Echiums ready
I am wearing wool again this year. Now that I am 3 sizes smaller than last winter I am cold. Last year I wore M and S thermals , only I have had to wear them most of the year. I still have one back up item or 3 for my winter layering system . I have bought some sports tops that rugby players wear to keep warm on the field, presumably when the ball is down the other end . They do such lovely colours and are much cheaper then thermals from M and S. So I am really thrilled that the temperature is dropping . 
I shall wear M and S thermals, rugby tops (close fitting)and my new wool polo neck sweaters, and a thin fashion garment over all , from Primari  to make me look fashionable. I have never given spouse much sympathy for being cold all year as he is on Rat Poison to thin the blood. I am having sympathy for all those children in refugee camps who are now facing cold nights in the middle east. It has taken me this much to cotton on. I remember life before central heating very well, ice patterns on the bathroom window, hot water bottles the only bedroom heat, and doing homework with my two sisters  round a coke fire in the dining room. If you were too near the fire your legs went red, and you felt sleepy, if you were too far away from the fire you were frozen and couldn't do any work, but at least you were alert. These days no one would  bat an eyelid if one wore fingerless gloves and a hat indoors and a pashmina drape. Remember Chilblains!!
Echium Lurking behind the leeks 

I've looked at the weather app and tonight we might have the first frost of the winter. I had to nick a roll of fleece from Bernard's half of the allotment shed and have wrapped my Echium Pininana . I haven't had a decent 13foot inflorescence for 5 years now. I get them through all winter and they are caught in April, or the top dies out and it branches or I have a sorry sight one morning as my lovingly tended crop are all died one night when I was sure it wasn't as cold as I thought . I have not put any in the greenhouse this year. I am trying to go au naturel. I am using the Chelsea Physic garden wrapping method, more or less. Theirs are neater. At Kiaora I have found last years fleece bags and used them over the wrapped echiums .So , I'll keep you posted. I'm a nerd I know.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I am a cynic I know.

    Apple kale and lime juice.
     PUT it in a bottle with Apple Juice and Lime juice and charge a lot for it. Thank you Waitrose, you know I love you dearly, I miss you, I wish you were in Filey , or even Scarborough as I would shop and shop but not drop as I do in Tesco BUT  why bottle Kale Juice?

    We grew row after row of it in the clay soil of Holderness when I was young. It was about the only vegetable one could hope to do well with  all through the winter. How I dreaded the words would you just go in to the garden and get me a picking of kale for dinner.  Mother would cook it to death and press a saucepan lid over it to get out any remaining goodness. The dog under the table never liked it either .

    Have you noticed everyone how the food Police have recently discovered that some very cheap products are good for you? Have you noticed everyone ,that vegetables that are really easy to grow, easy to store and easy to spell are becoming the staple add-ons for the Baby Lead Weaning generation . Here they are then
    • Beetroot , obvious red or orange: NB very expensive crisps
    • Kale , tough as old boots green , or black if using the Italian variety:NB very expensive soft drinks and  oh so exciting vegetable when fried or something awful ,but freshly picked from the restaurants own veg patch
    • Swedes, orange and easily grown  NB very expensive microwave ready to eat puree (with the addition of black pepper I know)
    • Not a veg, but have you noticed how Black Pudding , the cheapest of meat products is now going gourmet ?
    • Broad Beans are back , only they are called Fava beans in posh places. The frozen variety taste just as good from Herons , and I damned if I'm going to skin them and puree them .
    My allotment continues to enthrall me, yes! really. I have tried Celariac this year as it's always expensive to buy, but its a real pain to grow. Celariac mash just doesn't do it for us anyway, we prefer Parsnip Mash and that root is always cheap in Filey, and takes the addition of Jerk seasoning to make it taste really delicious and different.
    I wonder how long it will be before Chard Juice hits the shops. Perhaps its already in Neals Yard or Daylesford in Pimlico Road, both places where spouse and I like a good snoop .If anything is good enough for the Stockpot in the Kings Road just past the Fire Station its good enough for us, and they are not serving Chard. I am however growing it in abundance because it is foolproof, lasts through the winter and comes back smiling and verdant. 
    My wonderful Italian vegetarian cookbook from the 80s is still used frequently. Chard is the star of many of its recipes that are now firm family favourites, often used in place of spinach. Spinach and Rice Pie is the most used.  I wonder how long before my simple Italian peasant food becomes the best thing since sliced bread in Waitrose, after all it will feed a family of 6  for about £1.50.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Gardening ,Blogging or visiting Aged Parent

    Kilham to Rudston Road 

    I went last week and cut the Asparagus down on my allotment. It was satisfying to see the sturdy fronds and know that next year I will be able to take  my actual crop. Colin came and cut down this years Blackberries so they  will fruit on the new growth which is lethal to deal with and all needs tying in. I felt so guilty as I saw all the scratches he had collected along the way defying his Warfarin soaked blood system . 

    Today he is coming with me to take up from home the 3 huge bags of vegetable waste for the Compost heap. I have had to coax him , as he is firmly of the opinion that its my plot and he wants it to stay that way. I on the other hand feel that a good walk the near mile to the plot would be good for him and his WSB  system .
    I am treading a careful path. I feel I am leaving my beloved spouse alone too much in our cosy but dark 18thC Fishermans cottage. I did not know when I took on my small piece of Gods Good Earth that I would also be taking on in excelsis the duties of the dutiful :Daughter that is.
    For the 6 years since I have been blogging I have often found so much to write about in my journeys across the Wolds to Beverley, going as I did every week or so . I loved stopping on the way home to take a picture of my favourite view from  the Rudston to Kilham Road or as I always drive it , the Kilham to Rudston road. Ive always been one for coming home a different way from going, and Burton Fleming to Kilham is my usual outward journey .
    Yorkshire Bank King Edwards Street Hull 
    Now Dutiful daughter is travelling to Aged Parent twice a week using her railcard as its cheaper for I to travel Filey To Beverley on the train . Sometimes I get the 7am train and travel through to Hull to meet my Sutton Sister in the Caffe Nero that was once my first Yorkshire Penny Bank opposite the Dock Offices and Ferens Art Gallery. It still has a lovely Plaster ceiling. I nip round the bargains in Primark and get the next train to mother.
    You could say its a grand day out! I certainly enjoy it,good coffee stops , a bit of shopping and a good chat with AP showing her all the clothes I have got for £20 including purchases for her,Jumpers  of the fawn or pale blue variety .
    When I'm not being a dutiful daughter , well dressed by Primark , or Fileygardener well dressed by old clothes , I'm a retired of Filey well dressed by Cammishes, and doing all the other stuff that housewives do , shopping and cooking, Flower Arranging, making beds and
    thinking about cleaning .
    I have though about it a lot recently, 
    and realised I just don't do any except for just before every one comes for our homegroup on a Wednesday night  . So in the interests of SANITY and keeping my husband , I have now employed a TREASURE.
    So when I'm not gardening or visiting AP or cooking or shopping I am now able to report that I am able to spend more time with my husband of 42 years, but he's asleep in his chair, library book on his lap waiting for 'Neighbours' so I am going to get back to some more Blogging !

    Tuesday, November 04, 2014

    Devices and desires

    Laptop Screen Capture Device

    I talked myself in to a new and extra smartphone for my recent travels. The reasoning went thus

    • there is no EE cover in Iona
    • (How would spouse manage without updates from me? He doesn't see Facebook like all the rest of my family who know my every move)
    • if I had a fall on a deserted beach who would know it?
    • the camera on the Z xperia models has 20MP and comes as a best buy in Which
    • I will need a good camera next year when I go up the Rhine
    • I can teach spouse how to use a smart phone if he has one to practice on
    • an incognito phone could be a wise buy when one is digitally hiding from relatives who are text crazy
    So there it was and now is reality. The tiny Isle of Iona has had after all these years to lay down a
    helipad next to the Fire Station because of the increase in accidents and the need to fly people off. I was brought up a serious youth hosteller and never would walk anywhere alone without telling someone my destination.  This last summer a young man lay for hours  in Iona without being able to contact help. A whistle might have helped. My smart phones have emergency access, but only my new O2 Xperia Z compact would have got a signal. I keep reading articles  urging the necessity for good signal coverage across Great Britain, and I stand too with that plea. 

    And so I have been remembering my teenage years , the thick mist that descended on Scarth gap Pass from Buttermere as I walked right over into Wasdale past that best of all lake District Youth Hostels ,Black Sail Hut.  We walked , my sister Sue and I , with her friend Julia, from cairn to cairn across the passes, and had to ring the warden of the last YH to let him know we had arrived safely . In the 1960s even the rucksacks seemed heavier and the boots were a nightmare 'wear in'. I used to walk round the garden for hours having spooned the backs trying to soften the leather. Even then elastoplasts were always carried for heels. This year , my walking boots went on in the shop and walked easily ever since. 

    This year I was with my other sister Christine. Sometimes the weather was vile in Iona  but we were dry and warm with our 21C wet weather gear. Even when the wind was howling , the ferry safely moored home behind The Island of Women and not running because of the weather, we were safe and cosy on the Machair in Skerryvore, with our 21st C comforts, TV, and Telescope and central heating, and a great signal for EE in the corner of the kitchen, and wifi for the O2 everywhere else.
    The islanders do not get anxious about travel , if the ferry cant run they just get a text message , and subscribing to Calmacs updates kept us all in the loop. If the ferry wasnt going to get us off Iona , certainly no one would be coming on the island wanting our beds.
    The BBC weather app is so accurate. I knew to within half an hour when there was going to be a rain storm.
    The Google Sky app was great on our first night, as there was a clear sky and I could view the unpolluted sky .

    Night of 23rd Oct looking E from Iona 
    In Steinbecks great novel Sweet Thursday ,when Docs friends at the Palace Flop House buy him what they think is a new microscope, but is the largest telescope the whole goddam catalogue. Doc says that 'it doesn't matter whether you look up or down as long as you look!'

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    Further to my Rex Whistler post

    Five  years ago I wrote of a visit to Pickering, and this week someone commented on the picture featured there. From this random event I looked up the profile of the commentator and found that she was the person who had crafted the beautiful embroidered felt picture I bought in the Found Gallery in Dunbar earlier this year . So here it is Jackie Cardie  , and I love it. My very arty son in law tells me to buy an acrylic frame to cover it from dust, perhaps I will, but I like touching it. My own son crafts and stitches in felt and I went to the Found Gallery to see his work for the John Muir event and found the Jackie Cardie work . 

    And an unashamed link to the blog that began the circle. Happy Crafting everyone!

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Written in the dust

    I have just found Eva's name written in the dust on the back of a chair in the sitting room of our cottage, just like all the white vans with clean me. I am not humbled , I don't do housework unless I have to. 
    So the downstairs bathroom is cleaned on the morning before Homegroup, the upstairs bathroom cleaned before my sister comes to stay, the kitchen floor rarely but thoroughly. Spouse is heard putting the Carpet sweeper round the downstairs carpet when I am drinking my first tea of the day in the bedroom above, so I know its done. 
    I do the Old Furniture with Liquid Gold a couple of times a year, but only to stop it from cracking with the heating from the Central heating. I actually wonder how people actually find time to clean, and have another life. 
    When I worked for money I always had a 'treasure' , and thank God for the Joans and Anns who managed to make sense of my random housekeeping arrangements. This small cottage is perfect for any one of the seemingly hundreds of the retired of Filey. Its near the shops, near the Buses and Trains, near the Doctors and NHS Dentist, and the sea is seen from the front door. And still I who have everything have no time.

    I am organised, I buy fresh food every day and cook from scratch . I know how to wash and never iron , and I batch cook Bolognese sauce, Soup and stews (in the slow cooker). I make wholemeal bread when we need it , and boilwash the whites every fortnight. 
    Why am I always looking forward to a day with nothing on the calendar? Why cant I be content to be busy?

    Lifestyle Check
    1. Come off rotas at Church
    2. Don't go to any Meetings unless subject matter really interesting (only 2 good talks in last 5 years, Liz Kitching on St HILD, and Prof Nicky Milner on Flixton Carr dig)
    3. When people offer to help you, ie. buy flowers for Weddings at St Os instead of  me doing it, let them
    4. Do shopping when shops quiet 
    5. Read interesting novels and give up when you know its not grabbing you (I have just done this and am amazed at how often I plough on with a boring book)
    6. Flag e mails. What a simple way to not lose important ones , why has it taken me so long to realise this.
    7. See every essential task as sheer joy to be had , and never moan or be negative . Look for the adventure in them .
    8. Thank God more often .

    An adventure in being positive (when pissed off by something)
    Spouse was so good yesterday, bringing me my Ist cup of tea in bed at 5.30am . I heard him put the Carpet Sweeper round, the front door being unlocked. He facilitated my departure for the 7am train to Beverley. 
    Have you got your glasses, your keys, your mobile, your purse? Have you switched the tap off in the bathroom, Have you thought about what we are having for Dinner. Yes, Yes, No.

    Although an Essential Task, visiting Aged Parent in Care Home twice a week is a pleasure because I have made visiting Beverley a pleasure too. At 8am in the morning my day here always starts with a look at the flowers in just opened M and S, followed by a Coffee and a toasted Panattone (no butter no jam) in Caffe Nero. Not only another tick on the blue card , but now I have the chance to sit in a leather seat in  the window and watch people going to work : always  pleasure that! 
    I walk quickly to Mother across the allotments and by the field side path and hear the Minster Clock strike the quarter past Nine as I walk expectantly in to Lindum House with Alstroemerias armed with my GOOD IDEA. 
    Pause here to explain . Today I am taking mother to Morrisons in her wheelchair on the  10 :40am  bus. She keeps saying she wants to go to Morrisons, we'll browse the biscuits and sweets, see the price of Harveys Bristol Cream, laugh at how we always came here for Tripe, buy something like useful Value Tissues, have a cup of tea, and walk back in time for her lunch at 12.45, which she always takes alone in her room, and never wants to miss. (Next plan will be a bowl of Chips in  Waitrose at lunchtime, when were in the car.)
    Mother is fast asleep, in bed, her day has not yet begun. I made noises off to myself, Did they realise I made  a 40 mile journey , left home at 6.45am, have meetings in the afternoon, have a meal to cook, am responding to Aged Ps wish to go to Morrissons? Pissed Off covers it. 
    So I arranged her flowers, signed out and took a trip myself to Morrissons on the 9.40 bus.
    My brain and good sense kicked in . Try the route, do a dry run. 

    When one gets off the bus make sure you use the road  crossing with the angled down curbs.

    The Shrubs next to the wheelchair footpath needs cutting back. 

    The path down back to the road home passes a several very fruitful Horse Chestnut Trees.  

    Inside Morrisons , Tuesday is a quiet day for a browsing Aged Parent.

    The Disabled Loo is near the entrance and has plenty of space and very clean..(Also noted 5 wheelchairs for the public to use if we bring her in the car)
      The Wheelchair path is direct, but I wouldn't have found it without a rekky.
    The Road to Lindum is blocked to traffic at the west as a new By pass is being built into Beverley from Hull ,BUT until yesterday I did not realise that it was open to pedestrians and wheelchairs.

    By the side of the path I saw and recognized my first Spindle Tree, and enjoyed all the early autumn berries. 
    When I got back to Lindum at 10.30 , Mother was up and dressed and breakfasted. No she didnt want to go to Morrisons, infact she couldn't remember having ever been there. But we went out in the garden and sat and watched the young gardener dead heading and tidying . Mother said the grass needed cutting , and how lovely the fresh air was. We had a good laugh when she asked if I lived with Margaret Mary , and I said I am Margaret Mary. 

    I realised that since February I have been busy doing my Plant Recognition Course with BSBI and doing my allotment, and visiting M twice a week . No wonder Ive had no time to do the housework, or thats my story .

    Saturday, August 02, 2014

    I have just seen ..

    Here again the lovely month of August, when all the flowers on my allotment are promising seeds for the future and joy in perpetuity . 
    I am having to cut the Clarkia and Clary all the time , as I want to be able to have lots to decorate St Oswalds for Helens wedding on the 16th August. I am working on the premise that they will keep flowering for longer if I cut back now. 

    Weve just had our 42nd Wedding Anniversary. Plants play a huge part in my life, and C arranged for Michael to drive him up on to the Wolds last week so he could get me some of my favourite Wild Scabious. 
    Memorials , memories and significant dates and places may figure large for some people. I have been musing on remembrances of time past. It was the photo that started me off. WE saw this installation being made when we were in London at the Tower last week . The finished 'Blood swept lands and seas of red' is an amazingly bizarre way to remember a war. I don't like it at all. 

    I have no wish to remember or celebrate or make money from or reflect on WW1 at all, or Agincourt or Afganistan or Slavery or any atrocity . I am having enough trouble coping with Andrew White's (The vicar of Bagdad) reports  of what is happening in northern Iraq right now, or will children be learning about that in 100 years time , slotted in to a module in RE called Martyrs.

    taken by PaulGannon

    Monday, June 30, 2014

    Traveller's Joy or is it?

    Bryonia dioica

    Waiting at Beverley Station this afternoon after visit to aged parent I just couldn't believe the sound of the Blackbird sitting under the roof . I thought at first that it was a recording , a  cunning plot of Northern Rail to subdue hot  and frayed tempers, remembering the piped classical music at Croydon West Bus station installed for that very purpose. But no, fellow travellers and I could see the Blackbird, and the beautiful sound was spectacularly magnified by the shape of the glass roof. Beverley Station has to be one of the dullest pieces of architecture in the East Riding, but this traveller was cheered , calmed and uplifted by the sound of a masterpiece of design.

    I am getting used to the walk to Lindum House now. I have my route all tried and tested and varied .Today I walked past the allotments and followed the footpath that skirts the fields all the way around the estate where Mother lives. It takes 20 minutes fast walking from the station, and I enjoy the seasons as seen in the hedgerows and trees. Today the Elderflowers are over and the berries beginning, the Hogweed is seeding and the first signs of pink of the flowers of Rosebay Willow Herb bode full summer.

    I love the path alongside the Beverley Allotments particularly, now that I have a vested interest . I have had a strange few weeks on my own allotment . The potatoes have slug holes, the path needs urgent cutting, and 'though I filled all the water baths with the hosepipe,one bath was completely empty the next day. I realised that it had siphoned back as I had left the hosepipe end beneath the water. I have had Gooseberry anxiety as I tried to decide whether picking time had arrived, and had to remove to the incinerator every Brassica plant as they had been infected by Swede midge. On the plus side the first Broad Beans were delicious, and my Clary for Summer weddings is coming on nicely.  

    This traveller has had lots of joy reading her new Library Book on her train journeys . Val McDermid's , Northanger Abbey for  'The Austen project" might not have thrilled the critics , but I am loving it. Travelling is a suspension of time for me. I can do nothing but please myself how to spend the time between Filey and Beverley and Beverley and Filey. I always board the train where I see the Wheelchair sign and sit in the designated place for Carers when able to . Its best for every facility, and my faithful wicker trolley on wheels is in no ones way.  There are of course some places on the journey where looking out of the window is not optional ; the glacial valley from Hunmanby to Reighton Field, the view of the sea at the Sewerby end of Bridlington , the River Hull at Driffield, and the drain at Arram Carrs where the Heron is. Today I saw my first glimpse of a Poppy field just south of Driffield by the canal. 

    All my 50 years  of botanising I have been mistaken . Today I realised it for the first time. This is not Travellers Joy (Clematis vitalba), it is White Bryony (Bryonia dioica).

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Ive just been back

    For the 20 odd years that I've lived just over the border , in  North Yorkshire I've revisited

    a road verge every year. Last year I missed them or they were grazed off by the ponies , this year the gypsies have left gaps in the verdure so they are there to delight . Common Spotted it might be but there is nothing common or spotted about them as far as I'm concerned.
    I was doing my second Plantlife walk last week of my designated km square and met the dog walker I had first talked to in 2013. She remarked that children who live in Inner Cities  dont enjoy  wild flowers

    Ive been brooding on that one .

    Many of the  children who live around me never even seem to be outdoors in the summer, the TVs are on as I pass. (This is not a blanket statement. Some children were out at half term enjoying games running around the houses and alleys). When I taught in Inner London , in Wandsworth we didn't have any
    grass, just a playground,and had to walk the children to the Common for "Nature Study" but this was rare, once a term if that. Children in Bridlington at my last school had a wonderful field, picked daisies if they wanted and found lots of weeds which they soon found out were wild flowers. Urban spaces are not devoid of wild flowers at all , they are everywhere. Children  and adults dont  recognise that they are of  interest whilst they are out and about. (IMO).

    I have had to learn to open my eyes . In cracks of pavements, and where the road edge meets the pavement are the best places to find a small member of the Campion (and Carnation )family. I have just discovered it . Each flower is the size of a match head. Its called Pearlwort and is surely another treasure  of the roadside. 

    Reuben found my hand lens the other day, so that's a beginning , even if hes just found Photobooth on my laptop- at least he's looking!

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Look what was found in the St Oswalds Chest....

    I wonder how many wardens of the Parish have looked in the chest. Most since it was given I'm sure,  just incase something has been missed off the Inventory for the Visitation of the Archdeacon. Colin was helping Anne last week , and here's what they found. We wont know who it was went to the service and donated the emphemera; The Ticket and The Order of Service. 
    My friend Rachel tells me that The Crimson Field on TV was well worth viewing , I will have to see the re-runs . I've also been thinking of John Siddle teaching me in 1963, when we did War Poets for O level English Literature, and how those poems are still remembered over 50 years later. 
    Those I serve I do not love, those I fight I do not hate (Yeats)

    The Old lie 'Its a sweet and beautiful thing to die for one Country' (Owen)

    As remembered

    One of the Prayers from the Service
    People of my age all learned the story of Edith Cavell, as now young people just simply astound me with their sensible, loving and thoughtful take on the "war to end all wars ".

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    Hunting for Water Crowfoot

    Gypsey Race at Rudston

    Its great to be back working my patch of England , or should I say Britain. If Scotland becomes an Independant country again I will have to rethink my whole 'where home is' status in light of my scottish ancestry. Filey doesn't always feel home. Sutton in Holderness no longer feels home. London has a sense of home for me, and  Dorking never did, but Iona had the effect on me of safe harbour and could be HOME. And there you have it. Home doesn't have to be just one place to me. I can feel home where I am at the time if I am happy and amongst what Ann of Green Gables called kindred spirits.

    I have been seriously searching for the home of any Water Crowfoot. I need one for my course. Colin has made me a grapple hook, following the instructions I was given. I did find Water Crowfoot last time I did the survey for Plantlife of the Wild flowers in the 1km Square I was allocated in Filey. I recorded it 3 years ago , or thought I did.
    So last week ,I packed a sandwich for us and we took a lovely walk across Filey parish Farm lane to the flowing ditch, but not a sign! 

    Beloved had a great idea. He remembered the pond on the top of the Brigg. Not exactly flowing water, but well worth a try on a lovely day. I was expecting the controversy about fencing off parts of Filey's common land to have meant that the pond was off limits. Half of it was fenced off, but a huge part of it was easily accessible. Amongst the loads of lovely weed, was not a bit of Water Crowfoot.
    If you know me , youll have already seen my Rudston pictures on #Facebook. So that is the next part of my fascinating life as a planthunter, without benefit of Wardian case. 
    Gypsey Race at Maidens Grave

    We had a lovely rest of the day, following that mystical stream called the Gypsey Race. We know it well , love watching it flowing every few years through Burton Fleming, love seeing it as a trickle in Weaverthorpe, or as a hearty flow east of Woldgate on occasion. 

    The Gypsey Race was flowing well at Rudston, no sign of Water Crowfoot, the Watercress however , was three feet high.

    I have found the home of the Water Crowfoot. My tutor says that not one of her students has yet found it. I have ! I have ! Its in the shop selling Aquatics for ponds. Why didnt we all think of that one!


    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    John Muir - my perspective

    “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...” 
    ― John Muir

    He said:
    Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.

    - The Yosemite (1912)
    I have just been into the wild places ,I have travelled through the forests, crossed the seas , seen 
    the lochs and the glens , and sat facing the Atlantic Ocean in the windy rain, with my back to shelter and my front covered. I have smelled the seaweed, heard the Oystercatchers and Corncrakes and watched the breakers for hours with no one else in sight , though my companion husband beside me, so not alone. Reading John Muirs writings of the wilderness, he was mostly alone, sometimes with nothing but bread and stick. I've seen Ray Mears (on TV)in the wilderness too, and have a lot of respect for wild campers and those learning and honing survival skills . 
    John Muir and his fellow stargazers and foodplanthunters all chose to seek the wilderness-thats the first BUT.

    Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.
    John Muir

    Take your smartphone with you and you might never need to follow a map. The Rescue services are constantly warning those going off for a wild adventure to tell where you are going, use or at least take a map , wear bright clothing etc. Harm can befall you. Second BUT .

    In drying plants, botanists often dry themselves. Dry words and dry facts will not fire hearts.” 
    ― John Muir

    I agree with you here John Muir. BUT On my plantlife Course I have to compare plants and investigate flower structures with a hand lens. Comparing the Scurvy Grasses has been difficult. I still cannot say that the one I found on Iona is the Danish one Cochlearia danica or the Sea one , and nothing compares with the living specimens except as to suffice for taxonomic classification. I have to wait until Im home to follow the Flora through .That itself could be seen as a fruitless investigation  . Yet whilst the Scurvy grass used to be salted down to stave off Scurvy on long voyages , nowadays botanists are being employed big time, as always in the pharmaceutical trade to find drugs to cure diseases, no longer Alchemy and Herbalism. So it does matter that classification is exact. 
    Did John Muir ever have a headache and chew on willow as the native americans did?

    So John Muir. I enjoyed visiting your birthplace in Dunbar, and finding out all about you, the father of the National Parks of USA. A famous Scot now that you've been recognised properly in  Scotland.

    I'm back in the land time forgot now OKA Filey North Yorkshire. We got back from the wild places last night. I went straight off to the allotment as decency allowed to take stock and see if my seeds were up , to pick some Chard and to sit awhile. It is not a wild place, but has a remoteness about it . Even when Eddie and John and Mr  H and Bob are digging on adjacent plots we can keep to oneselves. The otherness comes from the sounds of birds and thats all. Sure, the train goes past every 2 hours, and mowers and strimmers sometimes resonate across the plots , nevertheless I can be occupied enjoying watching the Horsetails grow and wishing they were Asparagus  for hours on end in my very own wilderness. 

    Wednesday, May 07, 2014

    Missing the Plot

    The Organic garden here at the St Columba Hotel has 2 young full time gardeners. I watch them every day from our dual aspect . They are out there every day battling the horsetails just as I do . We have eaten homegrown Asparagus, rhubarb and salad. I see the neat potato rows and many fleece covered mini tunnel rows of spinach and beetroot (I think) and herbs and beans and peas. They know their stuff , have notebooks full of plans and the grass is neatly patched. I dont know how they manage the rabbits and wild geese .
    It took me a while to work out what the nets were on the grass beneath our window. This is Iona after all where spirituality often involves the alternative , big time. So I imagined the networks were the latest expression of Prayer or a 'joining in with the earth', until I realised that sometimes one can look and find the New Age in everything when its not actually there. They are covering  the patches of new grass seeding.
    Our friend living on Iona Rev  Joyce Watson wrote a very useful book on the New Age Movement 20 yrs ago and its still available online. When we were re-homing my mothers books , I came across a copy , much annotated as mother does with everything. It made a useful re-read. 

    The last time Colin and I went to a service in Iona Abbey was about 12 years ago. We vowed we would never go again as we didn't like some of the liturgy used, and didnt trust the theology behind it. We thought it very New Age. We  were schooled by Colin Urquart and Kingdom Faith Ministries in the 80s and 90s, and read so much about Soap manufacturers and triangles and the evils of certain Martial Arts and New Age philosophies that we  have remained confused christians until the teaching that came with New Wine in the 2000s and this present decade. The Grove book has as Colin Urquart would say 'not lost its anointing', though he usually referred to Old Hymns.

    Back in Iona Abbey years later we were very at home. The welcome and housekeeping arrangements were excellent , the Communion Service held no liturgical surprises, and whilst I thought the visiting preacher  was not to my taste, I got some Apples of Gold from what she said.  I think I am beginning to grow up , and have a more rounded view of the ways of doing God.  AS long as I keep reading the Manufacturers Instructions and spend quality time with my Father the Gardener. (As CU once wrote*).

    *My Father is the gardener  . 1982 Hodder . by Colin Urquart

    Monday, May 05, 2014

    Dual aspect rain

    We love our room . it has 2 picture windows looking over the sound of Iona to the East and the garden and distant Jura across and being Mull on a fair day. We did go out this morning , walked up to see the Fallen Christ sculpture and then a tour of all the galleries and shops on the island . That took 30 minutes. We did see some lovely things,  island crafted jewellery , hand woven scarves, and watercolours for the holidaymaker-just like Filey really. 

    I have enjoyed being indoors today as I have been able to get on with my Plant Identification Course. That has taken me until 3.45pm. Its still raining , not the gentle drips but the soak u thro windy kind. So we have retired to our dual aspect room  where I can use the wifi as no laptops are allowed in the (sun )Lounge. The fire is alight in the small sitting room where the bloggers and skypers and Americans and Norwegians all sit contacting home or trying to organize tours to Loch Ness from Iona in 1 day starting from tomorrow.
    Imogen and I have worked out that facebook messaging is the best, and that can be done on the phone from the breakfast table without anyone caring a dam. 

    Colin turned to me a while ago and said living in this hotel would be good, just taking meals and lounging around and having walks when the weather is kind. So I guess all my worries about him having a good time in the middle of nowhere with dual aspect rain are unfounded.

    Saturday, May 03, 2014

    Just bragging about Corncrakes

    I woke up this morning feeling rather Job -like.
    Yes! we had managed the  journey here without incident. The two days of travelling were fun, trains and boats and no planes . The empty train from Glasgow to Oban was amazing . I could move from seat to seat and look at all the views. The windows were clean for the first time I have ever done the West Highland route. The complimentary postcards were a help too, as I could immediately do one to Mother without going in a shop.
    Job-like because I have the BBC WEATHER APP on my phone, and when I finally managed to get the wifi working I nearly cried when I saw the weather was set for pouring rain and high wind for the next 4 days. Here I post a link to my Devotional that just happened to be for the day . Here it is in a sentence
    Job had to put up with it because he knew God was sovereign.

    So we had breakfast and the weather was lovely . A walk whilst the weather held then .
    The slow mile or so to the Machair would do. Spouse could manage that I thought. He suggested the Marble Quarry but on the first day I thought that might be pushing it for him. We barely managed Port Ban and back because the wind was so very strong and Colin just can't do head wind since his heart attack. The light was beautiful and so were the colours. C declared it was lovely. My mind was now in overdrive. What if C had another heart attack ,where I cant even get a signal for the phone, what if this really was even more like Job. When he sat down on a bank I started praying hard, get us back , get us back (had he got his nitrate spray). On again and so to the seat just below the Catholic House of Prayer. Nearly back , nearly back.

    Heres the end of the story

    In the flag just by the seat,  Deo Gratias indeed . 12 inches from our feet- Crex Crex the Corncrake

    Thursday, May 01, 2014

    in on the plot

    Two small boys in Reighton Nursery of the Botanical kind can actually have quite a good time if a visit to the 'cafe ' is factored in. I say 'cafe' but actually it is a small decked area in the middle of a green house down the houseplant end with a few tables and chairs and a vending machine. The boys loved it,  worked out all the options for the money available and enjoyed every mouthful and sip. A blackbird was the entertainment , resident no doubt amongst the verdage . Then on to the seeds. I gave them a sort of free rein.
    Reuben chose Carrots and Zak, Sweetcorn . Colin and Zak have planted the Sweetcorn in modules ready for transplanting later . Plastic potlets are sitting in the corner of the yard waiting for warmth. Reuben and I ,with Cleo did serious business on the allotment. Reuben dug his metre square, removed the stones and strung 2 string marker lines across his tiny piece of England. He made the drills, sowed the seeds , covered them and watered them and now he is waiting too for warmth. Bernard my allotment partner will water them  whilst we are away. I am praying for gentle rain every evening as my Asparagus bed breathes a sigh of relief that its only in its second year and the pigeons are hopefully thwarted by the bird scarers . I am on my way to Iona , but thinking of what I'm leaving behind for 12 days and expecting miracles of the Growing Kind.

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Pouring it all out

    My favourite all time view

    Sometimes I come away from Beverley after a good visit to my Mother in Lindum House feeling upbeat and thankful . 
    She is very well cared for with kindness . The House has a positive atmosphere, the Carers , although run off their feet with too much to do, are dedicated and positive. Yesterday we managed to persuade Mother to take a turn around the garden in her wheelchair. Whoever did the planting did a good job. I am a Gardener  and appreciate the variety of shrubs and perennials , bulbs and small trees around the Cross Shaped house. I wanted to pull out some of the weeds, and maybe can  be of some help when I am fully in the routine of visiting. Imogen and I took Zak with us yesterday. He engaged with his great grandmother and she with him. 
    We had our picnic lunch in the Children's Playground conveniently 2 mins from Lindum. Its right on the boundary of Beverley so the views are across fields to trees  or a glimpse of the Minster from the Public footpath around the estate. Zak did the Zip wire and munched his lunch . Imogen and I had a sit down and a chat about trampolines and weeds and GGrandma. 

    Note to health care professionals here: For 10 years I have been making purees and Beef Tea for my Mother. I have taken her Adrians (my Filey Butcher) cottage pies . M is the expert on Baxters soup, scrambled egg and bread and milk  and (horror of all) Tripe. Wherever she has gone in the last years -Iona, Harwood Dale or the months with her children during the Beverley Flood of 07 the diet of my aged parent has been her constant topic, and her reason for not taking meals with any one else in Abbeyfield or anyone else. My sisters and I knew she was afraid of choking or a 'DO' with her throat condition, we occasionally caught her out with unspeakably hard to chew things in her fridge, we have been surprised as she wolfed down sausage rolls and chips. Yesterday I left her as a beautifully set tray of Lunch arrived for her to her room. Beef Pie,and  3 types of veg (of the sort she doesn't usually eat-inc courgettes and red cabbage). I returned to her room 40 mins later from the Park to find everything had gone except the soft potato. I realise that diet can be a bargaining tool and a raison d'ĂȘtre. I realise too that for the Frail Aged it can be the Highlight of the day and a real pleasure. Mother is always saying how lovely the food is at Lindum , and how she mustnt be late for lunch . Institutionalised or not I am really thankful .

    I didnt have to drive yesterday as Imogen took her car. She obligingly suggested we took my usual route home across the Wolds using the Kilham to Rudston. The Blackthorn was at it hockney best, and when I got home I had to go through the pictures again.

    I  am looking forward to taking my  Grandsons to Hull soon to see the mosaics from the Roman Villa . Its remains were discovered just west of Rudston. The Romans always knew a good place for a Villa. They would have seen the same views that Hockney and I see now, with more trees of course, especially Ash Trees. 
    This morning the cauliflowers were only 50p each in Angela's . Colin found a great recipe for Roman Cauliflower (with anchovies , chillies and rosemary ) in todays paper. Lindsey Bareham assures her readers everyone will be converted to cauliflower when they've tried this one .(Note to self. Colins uncle lived in Rome for many years and when we visited we were always encouraged to bring cauliflowers ).
    It hit me very hard just then , I must ring Mother up and ask if she wants me to bring her a cheap cauliflower, then it dawned on me
    •  she hasn't got a phone
    •  she wouldn't hear it if she had
    •  she might not know who I was
    • she doesn't cook and has no kitchen