Wednesday 28 September 2016

Expletives *"@~%$"!!!

Profane, vulgar, obscene words and bad language were not a feature of my childhood.    

Goodness, gracious!
By golly gumdrops!
Well blow me down!
Golly gosh!
or, perhaps occasionally ... Blooming...

were the kind of phrases which my parents used around us.   Indeed, I don't think I ever heard anything stronger than the occasional mild swear word from either of them.   Nor did I hear bad language from friends or their families.   It simply wasn't necessary and it certainly wasn't 'the done thing'.

I checked with Max and he cannot remember his parents using any 'bad' language, ever.

We both grew up in the 1950's and 60's.

My father spent a few years working on Grimsby trawlers as a Radio Operator, so strong language would most definitely have been around down dock, but never at home.

My red-haired mother certainly knew how to get cross and would hurl an occasional angry slipper my way, so it wasn't some fairy tale, Enid Blyton-style, nicey-nicey, household!   Fiery tempers and an angry tone, yes.  Bad language, no.

Why am I muttering on about this?

A few days ago I heard a young child,  about four years of age, come out with some really disgusting language.  The child obviously didn't know what the words meant.   The people I assumed were her parents simply fell about laughing, so did their friends.  So said child gave a repeat performance with embellishments.

So many young people these days pepper their conversations or comments with the f-word, and worse; I don't know whether they are even aware they are doing it.

In this world we are losing our ability to hold a conversation,  information is only useful if it comes in bite-sized pieces, because that is all modern brains seem able to process, hand writing is becoming a thing of the past, and even looking at the real person next to you has been superseded by looking at your telephone screen to see how many people in the world are following you, love you, want to talk to you, etc.

And don't get me started on pronunciation.

When did this silly nonsense of saying 'sicth' instead of 'sixth' become acceptable on the BBC?

I'm going to stop here.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue-ish.  I must walk this nonsense out of my head and enjoy the real day.

Friday 23 September 2016

A Romantic Story

This pretty little church is located a short distance from a country lane.   To reach the church you have to go through the big stone pillars which belong to the Manor House next door.   It feels like trespass.

The exterior of the building is chalk and greenstone.   I imagine the chalk is partly to blame for the poor condition of the building within.

It is tiny, seating capacity just thirty-three.   The roof looks as though it has received some fairly recent attention, so perhaps the rest is on the 'to do' list.  I hope so.

It is pretty damp and soggy on all the walls and a lot of damp is also coming up from the floor.

The church is dedicated to St Leonard and you can see the alabaster statue of him to the right of the photograph.     The monument to the left - unfortunately very high up on the wall and difficult to photograph, commemorates Sir John Bolle, his wife and their eight children.

Sir John died at the comparatively young age of forty-five, but he led a colourful and romantic life.   He was knighted after the expedition against Cadiz in 1596, in which he distinguished himself with great gallantry...but it is less for his warlike deeds, than for his determination not to be ensnared by the wiles of a very wealthy Spanish beauty!

Among the prisoners taken at Cadiz was a rather lovely Spanish lady whom Sir John treated with every courtesy and kindness.   Poor woman, she threw herself at his feet, offered him all her riches and begged him to take her back to England, disguised as his page.

Sir John broke it to her that he was already married and loved his wife and their children and would not break his marriage vows.

She eventually accepted that he was not to be hers and loaded him with jewels, valuables, casks full of plate, money and other treasures to take home to his wife and family.   She then became a nun and spent the rest of her days in sorrow.

Poor Donna Leonorra Oviedo.

Among the treasures which she gave to him was a portrait of herself, wearing a rich green dress.   Somehow, or other, this led the Bolle family to the superstition that a mysterious woman in green could be seen sitting by a particular tree near their Louth mansion - the Spanish Lady.    The story was taken so seriously that during the lifetime of Sir John's heir, his son Charles, a place was always laid at the dinner table for the Green Lady, in case she should choose to dine with them!

The floor of the church has lots of huge slabs of stone which are the markers for lots of other members of the Bolle family.   Sad to see it decaying.

Louth Museum has a sequinned bedcover  given by the green lady to Sir John, a copy of the oil painting of the Donna Leonora and various documents written about Sir John and his family.   There is also a portrait of  Sir John.

The sad, romantic story inspired someone to write an extremely lengthy ballad entitled
"The Spanish Layde's Love"
you can hear the soundtrack of a recording of it, also at the museum.

Thursday 22 September 2016

A Horse, an Ancient Church and lots of Good Fences

This is a photograph which I took quite a while back.

A beautiful horse, a lovely old church,
lots of good fences.

Here's the other side of the church - metal fencing, this time.

The greenstone and chalk church is dedicated to St Leonard
the building is mostly 14th and 15th century
although it is thought to be 10th century in origin.

It is still used occasionally as a place of worship, but the last time I was there it was looking
in dire need of some tender loving care.

The back of the church and the nearby manor house
seen from the top road
plenty of wooden fences in between
plus a good length of well maintained hedge.

We don't normally get much snow in this area
so even a sprinkling like this was magical!

ps.  I have just visited the church today 22.9.16.  It is now in a very sorry state, I'll do a post in a few days, when I have sorted through the photographs.

I'm happy to be joining in with  Teresa at The Run A Round Ranch for Good Fences.

Monday 19 September 2016

Village Elders and Food Art

Our tiny village hall was brought to life this afternoon as my daughter in law, Poppy, gave a demonstration on food art, Chinese style.

First she had to prepare the vegetables - no puny vegetable knife for Poppy!   

Fair to say that we all held our breath as she sliced and shaped the vegetables with her Chinese chopper knife.   

We were happy to note that she had brought plenty of pre-chopped vegetables for us to use, no need for plasters and first aid.

This picture gives you some idea of how much fun we all had as we were given the go-ahead to get decorating a platter for ourselves.

This is one of Poppy's demonstration pieces, luckily we didn't have to do anything quite that complicated.
Even so, faced with a blank platter, we all had a brief panic.

Luckily Poppy was there to lend a helping hand, a tweak here, a tidy there and suddenly our designs looked a whole lot better.

Poppy charmed everyone as she worked her way round the group,

so much, so that she has been invited back next month.

She's really going to spice things up - she'll be cooking and presenting some Chinese food, to be eaten with chopsticks, although alternative 'eating irons' will be available for those with stiff fingers.

Once Poppy gets cooking, and the aroma of her authentic Chinese food wafts around the village, I reckon we'll probably have a few extra mouths to feed.

Sunday 18 September 2016

For One Day Only...

...the peace of our tiny village is shattered, public footpaths are closed and the population is more than doubled.

An Enduro race is hosted by a local farmer.  

The route takes the participants through quite a number of harvested barley fields, along a portion of the old railway line and out into 'our' barley field.

The first race is the one to get the barley harvested, and the straw baled in time.

Not so this year, harvest was completed well before time.

The first competitors begin their circuits at 10.30 am and then, almost magically, on the dot of midday, the noise is stilled and they all stop for lunch.

Racing is resumed at 1.30 p, and by 3 pm the last competitor had completed the final lap.    


"Can we go for a walk now?"

Toodle Pip.

Saturday 17 September 2016

Chinese Moon Festival - An Evening Tea Party in Lincolnshire

The Moon Festival is the second most important Chinese festival so we felt we had to mark it in honour of Poppy, especially since today is also her first birthday to be celebrated since moving to England.

We had plenty of cakes at the ready, but no was a tea party.

Time to make a selection and boil the kettle.

My beautiful Chinese tea service was brought out, Moon Cakes were sliced and very carefully presented  - they may look a little like pork pies, but these particular ones are nutty and sweet.

Poppy presided over the tea kettle and made pot after pot of tea as we all nibbled moon cake and shared a very happy family time.   The youngest member of the party settled for milk, happy to be over at our house and taking part in the fun.  His enjoyment was no doubt enhanced by the fact that his younger sister was at home and tucked up in bed.

We dimmed the lights and sang 'Happy Birthday' to Poppy who blew out her candles in one breath and got to make a wish.   Party poppers popped and more tea was supped.

We learned a little more about Chinese traditions and tea parties.  It was another lovely evening, although I fear we made Poppy work very hard as we all drank endless cups of delicious tea.

Unfortunately, the guest of honour didn't put in an appearance.  No sign of the moon, but that is England for you.

Thank you, Poppy.   

We are so glad you are part of our family.

Thursday 15 September 2016

Good Fences

Whenever I visit Lincoln Cathedral this small bit of old metal fencing always gets my attention - well that and the beautiful mellow stonework.    Small and beautiful.

I'm linking in today with Teresa at the  Run A Round Ranch for  Good Fences.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

A Giant

' I saw old Autumn in the misty morn...'
Thomas Hood

The last few mornings have been misty and cool.    The beginning of Autumn, probably my favourite time of year.    

The mornings may be misty but the hedgerows glow with hawthorn berries, rosehips and sloes.    It is the time of year when I feel impelled to make pickles and preserves, fruity liqueurs and spicy chutney.   The pantry shelves now contain enough jars and bottles to satisfy my inner squirrel.

It is also the time of year when mushrooms begin to sprout up all over the place.

Like this one.

I tried to get Dobson to pose next to it but he was less than impressed, this was the best I could do.

It is pretty large
and when I tap my fingers against it
the sound it makes is similar to that of a ripe watermelon.

It is so big that it is visible to the naked eye from our garden...

...and that's a long way off.   

It is a big white ball which can be seen from all the windows in the back of the house.   It really is much more easily visible to the naked eye (and my eyesight is not that great these days)  than on these photographs.

I won't be picking this giant puffball mushroom, though.   I've tried it before, they are safe to eat but taste of nothing much at all.   

Much more fun to watch  and see how big it grows.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

The Art of the Stonemason

Here are just a few of the effigies which can be found on St James Church, Louth.   
I don't know the story behind most, but I can tell you about two.

Mr Edward Wilson and Cannon A C P Ward

They are not very big, well not compared to the window.  The church has many windows so they could easily be missed.   I went there this morning with the sole purpose of finding them.    Luckily I had a rough idea of where to look.


I recently read an article in Lincolnshire Life Magazine which showed a small photograph of the two sculptures, the magazine was dated 1969 - almost 50 years ago.    

Canon Ward had done 17 years service at the church,

while Mr Wilson, generally known as "Dick" had spent 20 years as the verger.  

The Church Council decided to reward their dedication and service by having two ancient, worn carvings removed and the new sculptures put in their place.

This is the little lane which they look out upon.  

The article reckons that they should enjoy a semi-immortality of something like 500 years, weather and erosion permitting.

Saturday 10 September 2016

Waking Ned

This is the old railway line, decommissioned in the 1960's, thanks to Dr Beeching.  A local farmer owns this stretch of it, dog walkers use it.

I used to walk along there four times a day.   That was when we first came to live in Parsonage Cottage.  We had three dogs.   Pip, Toby, and Ned.

This is Ned, he was a very large dog.   He belonged to my daughter and son-in-law, but as they were at work all day it fell to me to look after him.   Somehow that looking after him also meant that we fed him and he slept here, too...    He was a rescue dog, of course.    

He was deaf and hadn't had suitable training.   His deafness made life quite difficult for him.   Eventually I managed to teach him some hand signals, simple commands, which made life a little easier, although he still got very easily startled by things 'suddenly happening'.    He was a heavy sleeper and had to be gently woken.  That pesky deafness.

On one occasion we had to put all the dogs in kennels as we had to attend a family funeral at the other end of the country.   I had explained to them about his deafness and special needs, was assured that they would handle him carefully.  When we picked him up the young girl who fetched him delighted in telling me how she'd spooked him when she took him his breakfast and again later in the day.     He was never put into kennels again.  

He'd just follow his 'pack' - and given that they were led by Pip, a very intelligent and manipulative terrier, you can probably imagine that it was bedlam at times.

Pip was a little older and extremely bright.  She got me turned out of a dog class once, so that the trainer could show how well trained and intelligent she was.  She was the bright star of the class, as long as I wasn't with her.

I learned my lesson.   

We didn't return to class.

The third member of the pack was my little Toby.  Sweetest dog ever, though he thought he was a love machine when we first got him from the rescue kennels.   He was a kind-natured dog, loved travelling, wanted only to be with his humans.

Walks were - interesting.   

I found out the hard way, that I simply wasn't strong enough to hold all three on their leads when Pip got some mischief in her head.   

On one memorable occasion I had let them run free at a wild and deserted bit of seaside and then clipped their leads on to walk down the side of a quiet canal on the way back to the car.   I always chose my time carefully, normally we didn't meet anyone, but I was constantly scanning the horizon.

So was Pip.

She saw someone in the distance with a Yorkshire Terrier and set up such a hullabaloo, setting the two boys off.  She began to run towards her bit of mischief, so did the others.   I managed to hang on to the leads but lost my footing and was dragged along behind them.

Try picking yourself up with dignity after that!

The only consolation was that I hadn't let go of the leads.  I still had three dogs and we were quite a lot nearer the car.   I swear Pip laughed all the way home.

Then we moved to Parsonage Cottage.  Walks changed.  No need to bundle all the dogs into the car to find somewhere quiet to walk.  We are surrounded by quiet walks.

Just one problem.  To get to the nearest one, the old railway line, I have to walk about a hundred yards down a quiet lane.   Walking the three dogs together was simply not an option, even down a quiet lane.   

So I had to split them into two.  First I would walk Pip with Toby, that pairing worked because Toby was much slighter and more obedient.  

Then I would walk big Ned with Toby.  That pairing worked because Ned would follow Toby's lead and Toby wasn't being led astray by Pip.

Twice a day we'd perform this ritual, the rest of the time the dogs made do with our gardens and woodland.    Toby and I got very fit with all our walks.

That bit of old railway line became very familiar to me.

This week, I walked it with my daughter-in-law, Poppy.   It was fascinating to see it through her fresh eyes and to hear her enthusing over all the things which I used to find so exciting.

The acorns, berries, fungi, animal burrows, the birds.

It was truly wonderful.  She transformed something which has become so ordinary back into something magical and exciting.  I am very grateful to her.

(Dobson enjoyed her company, too.  Dobson is a single dog.  I know my limitations.)

We found a couple of ancient puffball mushrooms, it is difficult to tell from this snap but it is the size of a football.

We collected some acorns, simply because they are so pretty and plenty of blackberries.

Sloe gin to the left, Bramble/Blackberry Vodka to the right.  

This week has also seen our granddaughter start school, suddenly he brother seems so much older.    Now we have two for tea and fun.

Dobson loves his job as chief floor cleaner.   

Sunday 4 September 2016

I'm a Tigerrrrrrrrr.........., grrrrrrrrrrrrr

Just a couple of months have passed since this sweet and cuddly cat left behind his life as an apartment cat in Shanghai and now he has blood on his lips.  He is in touch with his true instincts.

At first he was a little overwhelmed by having such a big cottage as his new home but he quickly adapted and made the place his own.  

The large windows to the rear of the place gave him a wonderful view of the wildlife which visit the garden - squirrels, rabbits, cats, mice and lots of birds, as well as the enormous bull, his many wives and offspring who graze the parkland beyond.    A kind of wildlife television channel without ad breaks, just food, play and snooze, then back to watching.

Now this fluffy puss-cat has caught his first mouse - and he didn't catch it in the house...   He brought it in with him, then couldn't understand why he got chased outside again.

"But I caught it for you"

"Waa-aah, let me in!"

Feline instincts.

I wonder how many generations of his family have been purely indoor cats.   He has the best of both worlds.    He's just got to learn that some gifts are not acceptable indoors.

Good luck with that one, Poppy and Miles!

ps  Poppy, thank you for the photographs.