Sunday, 25 February 2018


A ship's bell hangs alongside three rather more ancient bells in the bell tower of a beautiful Lincolnshire church, St John the Baptist, Belleau.

It came from a full-rigged sailing ship "Bacchus" which was wrecked not far away, on the east coast of England.   She was carrying a cargo of timber, sprang a leak and was grounded.

Image from and State Library of Queensland

Bacchus, launched in 1867 from Liverpool, was wrecked in November 1902.    The image above shows the wreck which was taken to Hull.    In 1903 she was sold to be broken up - £1150.

Her bell was bought at auction, I believe, then gifted to a small tin chapel in a village churchyard.

When the tin chapel was no longer fit for purpose the bell was moved to a beautiful church less than half a mile away and there it hangs today.

This church was rebuilt in 1862, of chalk, the exterior is faced with greenstone from a few miles away.

This old crusader watches over the place.   More of him another time.

Coincidentally, the church organ was installed in 1867, the same year that ss Bacchus was launched.

Linking today with Inspired Sunday     

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Making Music in The Wolds

This nondescript building is tucked away in the heart of a very small quiet village, deep in rural Lincolnshire, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Plain it may be, but the building  hides a big secret.   
Don't tell anyone, but some of the big names in the world of music come here to record their albums.  All the modern, high-tech recording facilities they could wish for, great accommodation, superb peace and tranquility.

When they call in at our local pub they are assured of anonymity as they enjoy the warmth of the blazing log fire and a drink or two.

They certainly won't be mobbed or pestered, although, one would have to be blind to miss them...

Studio clients have included  Arctic Monkeys, Paul Weller, Wet, Wet, Wet, Shirley Bassey, Billy Bragg, OMD, Kaiser Chiefs,  Lindisfarne,  The Darkness, London Grammar, etc, etc. 

I've just pulled out a few names but there are hundreds more. 

Fun in our little rural backwater.

You just have to scratch the surface and there are stories everywhere.

Friday, 23 February 2018


Hearing loss, or to put it the old fashioned way, deafness, has a profound affect on relationships. 

Communication is changed.

Misunderstandings occur.

Patience is challenged, frustration creeps in.  Quick quips are wasted when they have to be repeated several times.    Ordinary conversation is made more difficult, especially in a car, or if I am on the 'wrong' side (one ear is worse than the other)...and yes, he does wear his hearing aids.

Small talk, inconsequential chatter, melts away.  One gets out of the habit when the effort required in rephrasing or repeating is greater than the original content.   

Patience is tried, on both sides.

Inevitably, the flow of conversations change, the content, the language and the tone.   Frustration, hurt, loneliness creep in.

This is when you have to dig deep and work at a relationship.

ps  It also helps if you find television programmes with subtitles.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Lincolne Shyre and Weather Lore

This is a very early map of Lincolne Shyre/Lincolnshire, dating from around 1600.

The original is beautifully coloured (I have seen a copy) but this image is taken from a black and white photograph in a very old magazine.

Beautiful as it is, I'm glad I don't have to use it to navigate my way around the byways and tracks of Lincolnshire.

For that I print relevant sections of the OS Explorer map,  which is just as well, because sometimes public footpath markers mysteriously disappear. 

Today was was a case in point.    I came over the hills, through fields with spectacular views punctuated by copses of ancient trees.     We were following a plethora of public right of way signs, down a steep hillside and out onto a quiet village lane.  No signs in sight.     Luckily,  I knew I had to turn left, so I did.

I passed a small handful of very quaint cottages with outbuildings, but then the lane disappeared and became a beautifully mowed green swathe bordered by a neatly clipped low privet hedge on one side and a cottage on the other.

I went back along the lane, tried a few other lanes and footpaths, none of them felt right.

Returning to the original grassed lane I decided that it had to be the correct one -  took a deep breath,  then ventured into what is really the cottage garden.   I fully expected an irate cottager to tell me that I was trespassing!

Thirty yards further on, round a bend, there was a public footpath marker.  I had followed the correct path.   Phew!

This photograph was taken when I was even further along the footpath, if you look to the right, middle height, you can see the neatly clipped privet hedge and the green sward of the garden.  The land beyond the hedge is also their garden, they have a public right of way and bridle path running right through it.

This village was listed in the Domesday Book as having 21 households, it has a few more these days,  but not too many.   

The original village church was yet another one which was destroyed by Henry Vane, back in 1658.   He also had the church dismantled in the village I live in, he used the stone to build the manor house. 

The path led through a glacial overflow valley and a site of special scientific interest, because of the soils, habitats and flora.    All I know was that it was muddy after all the recent rain.   There was a chalk stream running through the bottom of the valley, lovely old trees, and shelter from the worst of the cold breeze.

Once through the valley we skirted some more old trees, then found ourselves back out on a lane, a lane which would lead us to Henry Vane's old estate.  Just a few fields more then home.

We had walked about 6 miles.

There is a countryman's saying, found in another old magazine(!), 

"If cold sets in on February 22nd, it will last for fourteen days."

Today is the day.   The garden is heavily frosted and the weather men are burbling on about some cold weather settling in for the next ten days or so.    

These old countrymen knew a thing or two!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Silk Puff Quilt

Progress is slow, but it is growing.    
I have set myself a target of constructing ten puffs every day.
(I cut them all out long ago)


Pin them together,
sew them on the machine
stuff them
then throw them into the large hamper.

There they will languish/mock me,  until I have the time
 a sorting and arranging session,
followed by a sewing marathon
add them to the quilt.
It is growing,

It is simple work, just tedious.

I love the loud and clashing colours,
they will 'glow'
a slightly dark,  very plain,  north-facing bedroom.

With most of my other quilts I have carefully selected colours
gone for the tasteful and quiet.

This time I have gone for colours and patterns
which have something to say for themselves
I am very happy with the way it is turning out.

A puff quilt.

Proof that not quite all my time is spent walking the dog
meeting with friends
doing housework/gardening
attending meetings
taking care of the grandchildren! 

(Proof for myself, that is.)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Misery of Freedom

"Her chains became the silken bands of delight, and freedom itself was misery."

She was a beautiful and wealthy Spanish lady.

He was Sir John Bolle
Elizabethan adventurer and army officer.

In some versions of the tale, she was his prisoner,
(in Cadiz)
whom he treated with chivalrous courtesy,
as was his nature.

(Another version says that he was
a prisoner of the Spanish.)

Before long, she found herself falling in love with him
 begged that he take her away with him.

Gently, he broke the news to her that he was already married
 to a woman in Lincolnshire
and would not break his marriage vows.

"I in England have already A sweet woman for my wife;
I will not falsify my vow for gold or gain
Nor yet for all the fairest dames that live in Spain."

She showered Sir John and his wife with gifts of
jewels and embroidery.
her heart broken, she became a nun
spent the rest of her days in sorrow.

...or so the story goes.

She was
Donna Leonora Oviedo.

There is a very lengthy ballad written about it
"The Spanish Lady's Love."

The museum in Louth, Lincolnshire
 have a copy of a portrait of  Donna Leonora,
 with a sumptuous red silk bedspread
which she gave to Sir John and his wife.

Why on earth am I warbling on about this?

A couple of days I walked across the fields and along the quiet lanes
to this little church set deep in the countryside.

The estate  and the church belonged to Sir John Bolle.
The Manor house is just to the right, beyond the trees.

Sir John died in 1606, aged 44.
It is said that the Spanish Lady's ghost appears at Sir John's other home, in Louth.