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Friday, 14 February 2014

Hearts and hurricanes

As the winds howl and the rain beats on the windows I have spent the day reading Ernest Hemmingway's The Old Man and the Sea which seemed appropriate. (Ha - more weather!}The men in his novels often find redemption in Nature. I think over these past weeks we must have all marvelled and cursed at its power.
 I love Hemmingway as a writer - he said  "The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."

Today is Valentine's Day after all.
 And talking of death here is Autumn's flamboyant display of death on the wall.

I came across a very old copy of Innovations magazine the other day. I have mentioned Innovations before with regards to scarifying shoes for your lawn - and it really does make an amusing read. Apart from the "At-a-glance-motorised tie rack" and a gadget to fit six tools in your wallet - I was particularly drawn to the hourly reminders of endangered species in the form of a unique clock. I imagine an endangered tiger roaring by my pillow - I know then it is six in the morning. At three in the morning a ring tiled lemur had already whimpered in my ear. At four in the morning the hump backed whale sang. I remove the three AA batteries{which were not included} and go back to sleep.
Pixie and one of the ducks which she is particularly scared of.

and Beezle not worried by anything


His home address was inked inside his cap
and on every piece of paper that he carried
even across the church porch of the snap
that showed him with mi mam just minutes married.

But if ah'm found at 'ome {he meant found dead}
turn t'water off. Through his last years he nursed,
more than a fear of dying, a deep dread
of his last bath running over, or a burst.

Each night towards the end he'd pull the flush
then wash, then in pyjamas, rain or snow,
go outside, kneel down in the yard, and push
the stopcock as far as it would go.

For though hoping that he'd drop off in his sleep
he was most afraid, I think, of not being 'found'
there in their house, his ark, on firm Leeds ground
but somewhere that kept moving, cold, dark, deep.

Tony Harrison.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

pebbledash and valentines

I don't really want to write about the weather but as it has rather taken over most everyday activities - it is hard not to. I weep when I see the farmers in Somerset losing their livestock and their grazing to the floods and am in awe at the size of the waves crashing against the Cornish and Devon coastlines. Nature's revenge perhaps for our own wilful destruction of her planet.

the snowdrops have at last broken into flower along the bank
 Really, all the wind has done up here is wash away some soil on the fields that have no crops in, just leaving masses of exposed flints. The fields look like acres of pebbledash walls lying flat on the ground.
"I saw you toss the kites on high and blow the birds about the sky - and all around I heard you pass -"
Beezle murmured as we battled the wind.(he'd been reading some Robert Louis Stevenson}
Nice rounded shapes in the garden escaping wind damage. No leaves that would tremble.

Hyacinth Carnegie

the cat formerly known as Prince miffed at the lack of livestock to catch
 Beezle has not been enjoying the wind in spite of his murmurings.  In the field where the horses are he found a thin red plastic ring that must have belonged to another dog and had absailed over the fence. At first it was a great source of fun for him until the wind strengthened and blew it back over his head so it looked as if he was wearing a halo. Then it was a great source of fun for me.
 He looked as if he'd stepped out of a Piero della Francesca painting. Pixie was most reverent  towards him.
 He looked just like St Valentine and hey -  it's Valentine's day at the end of the week. The date was thought to be the beginning of the mating season for birds but unless the wind drops they'll find it challenging.
There - the whole blog post has been about the weather - I thought as much

Who has seen the wind?

by Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

leopards in the grass

 How thrilling to see a touch of Spring in the garden again. I see this year the hellebores are keeping their stems short until the winds pass. To be felled to the ground after all those months of preparation and competition to be one of the first flowers out in the garden, would seem so pointless. They are even ahead of the snowdrops up here.
 In fact it's been quite mild and I'm half expecting the hedgehogs to wake up along with Beezle who has been practising his periodic heart beat all winter.

 As Beezle (above) and Socrates would say "Beware the barrenness of a busy life."

I would rather hope the foxes were hibernating as they had the hunt up here this morning. But sadly they don't and if they did those terriers would soon be digging them out. Beezle, Pixie and I stood firmly behind the gate as they all rode past. Several of the huntsmen raised their hats and called me "Madam" - I'm not sure what they were trying to tell me - but I smiled back as they trotted on.

At the beginning of the winter someone lost their leopard print scarf on their walk and some kind person hung it on the branch of a tree to be found. Surprisingly no one has claimed it and the winter winds have gradually reduced it to shreds so that now it lies tangled in the undergrowth looking exactly like a leopard waiting to pounce out.  This is certainly what Trude the beautiful Friesian thought as we rode past it the other day. It had to be the most terrifying thing she'd seen since my new coat and took off at great speed up the rode, dragging me and Harry the other horse behind her. I thought horses were meant to smell things like leopards before they see them - I can't think her sense of smell is doing her any favours. She really is quite a "Madam."
 Perhaps the pack of hounds have unearthed it by now. you don't want leopards littering the countryside.
                                             Unidentified object in the bagging area.

And talking of hunting please sign this petition below to stop the Japanese slaughtering the bottlenose dolphins which they herd into a cove and kill - often by breaking their backs. The filmic evidence is almost unbearable to watch.

Thank you.