Fair waves the golden corn

The wacky radio alarm which after all these years of inspiring starts to the day has finally died on me !

My friend Gowan is a farmer and several years ago, certainly while John was still with me, I asked him if he would bring me a bunch of corn and, bless him, he turned up next morning with an armful ~ enough to fill a jug in the kitchen and a glass vase on the bureau ~ and after all this time it is as fresh as when newly harvested ~ now and again I'll take it out on the yard and shake the cobwebs off, but amazingly even then the grain does not shake out of the ears !    It gives me such pleasure, this corn.   Thank you, Gowan.

I did this once before, years ago in Winchester, in our North View days, when a friend drove me out into the countryside for a picnic (and a cuddle !) and again, that corn (or it might have been barley) lasted for years and only got thrown out at the time of our move to Whitby.

The dear little radio alarm that I've had since about 2000 has given up the ghost ~ it would still come on at 6.30 tuned to radio 3 which gave me an uplifting start to the day, but recently it was impossible to control the volume so it either woke me up with a fright with Mozart or Handel nearly blowing my head off OR it was so faint I could easily sleep through it, so farewell dear little clock ~ I have ordered another one from Amazon which I hope is not too complicated for my poor old eyes (and brain) to get going.

Talking of fading eye sight, if you are wondering why my photos are so often skew-whiff, it's because I simply can't see what is on the view-finder, especially outside in bright light ~ so I point the camera in what I hope is the right direction and as often as not I do get the object I was aiming at but very rarely neatly placed ~ it may have the top chopped off or be half way out of the picture, but I'm afraid it's the best I can do ~ taking INDOOR pictures is not so bad as I am not struggling with bright sunlight.

All this hoo-ha about JEREMY CORBYN ~ of course we are all for him, he is that rare thing, a politician who seems genuine, who says what he thinks, what he believes in ~ small wonder he's terrifying all the other candidates for the Labour Leadership ~ this is not the way politicians are supposed to behave !   As for Tony Blair's intervention yesterday ~ what a damned cheek ~ he's had his day and should keep out of it ~ it could possibly have the exact opposite effect, and win more over to Jeremy Corbyn's camp ~ imagine him saying anyone who voted for him needed a brain transplant !   I think I heard him say, "As leader of the party . . ." then quickly realising what he'd said, changed it to "as past leader . . . "   A Freudian slip !

It looks to me as if for fear of revealing their ages,  Cameron and Osborne are both dying their hair ~ shoe polish black ~ as if a few grey hairs could make any difference to their ruthlessness !

Monday 27th : Pouring this morning, and I'm still feeling a bit floppy from Saturday's excitement when Kate and her family came over from Heptonstall, a three hour drive, just for the day ~ which may sound dippy but they had a couple of good walks and I certainly enjoyed their visit though it did rather knock me out afterwards ~ I mean, my life is normally so quiet and ordered, so uneventful ~ Kate and Alan have done a pretty good parenting job on their boys ~ Dan 20 and studying politics at York University, Douglas 15 and taking physics, chemistry and biology O Levels hoping to get into Medical School.  Having started life premature and in an incubator, Dan was always a midget until at 15/16 he suddenly shot up and now towers above the others ~ tall, dark haired, handsome but dreadfully thin though he has a hearty appetite, Kate tells me, and lives on pasta and pizza at college !   Dougie is small too though maybe like his brother he will shoot up eventually ~ they are quite different, these two ~ Doug more like Kate, whereas Dan takes after his Dad.   On arrival they went for chips which we ate out in the sunshine, before going off for a walk (leaving Granny to have a welcome flop).   They came back with a Sally Lunn from Botham's for tea and chat  before going off again ~ Doug bought himself an astonishing tankard ~ black with silver decoration ~ I think it came from the recently opened Goth Shop which used to be The Shepherd's Purse specialising in wholesome groceries and fresh bread from the Botton Community Bakery ~ ah me !   Leaving just before 6pm they were home soon after 10pm and that included a stop on the motorway.   A very happy visit.

Tuesday evening: Pouring all day ~ got quite a few useful jobs done ~ next-door's children popped in again ~ Ella 9, and the twins Jo and William ~ such a delightful family ~ I'd unearthed a cache of fossils hidden in a flower pot from years ago when I used to go down onto the Scar, the fossil beach below St Mary's Church ~ they chose one each and scrubbed them to take home with them ~ fossil chat, and then looking through my basket of crystals and other treasures, William picked out the small piece of wood (see picture) which came from Selborne, Hampshire ~ Gilbert White's Selborne ~  a small piece of the ancient YEW TREE outside the church which spread its branches wide as a tent with a metal seat around the trunk ~ you know the sort of thing.  Well way back in that terrible gale, the Selborne yew was uprooted ~ they even mentioned this on the national news bulletins : "Gilbert White's ancient yew in Selborne  churchyard . . . "     I wrote to the vicar asking  if I could buy a small piece of the yew wood ~ in fact so many people wanted to do likewise that they had an auction ~ James and Posy Ashby were going to buy a piece for themselves and got this for me and I love it.   I knew Selborne ~ Mary and Anton lived nearby for a couple of years, and I'd been there with the Field club a time or two.   And of course everybody knows that the YEW TREE is special and is said to have mystical properties (which I must look up) and often the yew tree was there before Christianiety reached these shores ~ earlier people held it in awe too and would plant a yew alongside their temple ~ look it up on Google ~ it is absolutely fascinating.

Now, when the tree came down, it was said to be old, very old, hundreds of years old.   So telling the children about it this morning, I took my pendulum and swinging it over the chunk of wood asked, "How old was this tree when it was uprooted in the gale ?   500 years ?   6 hundred ? . . . a thousand years ?   YES   YES   YES  and on we went until 1335 which seemed to be it  as anything beyond that and the pendulum gave us a NO swing ~ the children were gobsmacked and so was I .   I'll add a photo in the morning but it's cold and dismal tonight and time to go down and read by the fire ~ I'm just coming to the end of Jane Gardham's wonderful novel "Bilgewater" which I see from my records I have read at least twice before but some books get better at each reading.




A vase of Gowan's corn

The small chunk of wood from the ancient yew tree at Selborne, Hampshir ~ Gilbert White's yew !

The basket of crystals and other small treasures