That little girl in red sandals

OK, so my last post was:


(no need to delete as appropriate).

On the plus side, in one comment, the seer said he could see the little girl I portrayed, running around in her pretty dress, red sandals and white ankle socks.


Exploiting the positive, then, and by way of counteracting the Dark Triad, I thought I’d post two pictures of little-me in a pretty dress (no sandals or white ankle socks visible, sorry). Plus one of several little people, including little-me, eating lunch with a big person.

After which, normal service (trees and walks and rants and things) (and relative anonymity) will be resumed.

The pictures were taken at nursery school. Probably the last time I posed for a picture and enjoyed it (going by the look on my face – I have no memory of it being taken).

I hate having my photo taken so you won’t find many of me online and where you do you will find it hard to see what I look like.

In these pictures  I was three, or thereabouts. My mum had been taken into hospital for an operation, which went wrong and rendered her deaf in one ear.

For little-me it meant that one day I was sitting on the breakfast table enjoying ‘listen with mother,’ as she drank milky coffee, next day I was all alone in the company of a load of other little human beings. And one big one. It was all rather unexpected and frightening.

Some days were good, some days were bad. I never slept during afternoon nap time, when Miss Tickell would sometimes put her stockinged feet under my little blanket as she knitted.

I was often rather scared, used to hide in the lavatory when the nit nurse came.

And I think the introspection may have started here, judging by photo two.

I have since stopped licking my plate, which was occasionally permitted. Which sounds unlikely, I know. Perhaps it wasn’t and I was just being treated with extra tolerance.

Miss Tickell is the tall one. I am beside her on the right of the picture and not yet at plate-licking stage. Bill Bull (you can tell which one he is, can’t you?) is wearing red sandals. Like we all did. (You’re welcome, seer)

I have also stopped playing the triangle. And the bang-them-together-in-time-with-the-music sticks. Things it is hard to do wrong. But odd to do alone.

One’s creative world does not always change for the better, does it?

And I still yearn for red sandals. But not white ankle socks.


Posted in Britain now & then, Thinking, or ranting, or both | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Ides of March

Beware, cried the soothsayer. Or was it the East wind?

As I sit down to write this post – amid boxes of tiles, plaster dust and paint – I calculate that it’s XIII days before the Kalends of April.

I learned the old Roman (pre-Julian) calendar system of Kalends, Nones and Ides when I studied Latin at school – which I did from the age of ten to eighteen.

One of the few things I still remember is the rhyme:

In March July October May

The Nones fall on the seventh day

And the Ides on the fifteenth.

Not exactly a work of literary genius, but it stuck.

Last night, lying awake as the East wind screeched through our window – before I closed it – I could not, for the life of me, remember when the Nones fell in the other months.

I looked it up this morning. It’s the 5th.  You might not care – fair enough – but it was bugging me.

This calendar without weeks is based on the moon’s cycle and not exactly the easiest thing for twenty-first-century-types to grasp. It’s possible some nerdy classicist has designed an app for it – but I doubt it will make a fortune.


Why was I thinking about the Ides? Well, mulling over the last few days, I thought how strange they’d been. And for some reason I heard, ‘Beware the Ides of March,’ in my head. Then realised. It had just passed.

Thursday the 15th (Ides) of March was my day for meeting other lone-workers. We gather fortnightly above a cosily crowded café in a spacious room of our own (Virginia Woolf would approve). There we work and network (gossip) for a few hours, in the luxury of company.

The café’s ten miles down the road from here, in Crosby, north of Liverpool. I usually take my backpack and walk to the station – about three quarters of a mile. Watch the golf courses and pine woods speed by for twenty minutes before the next ten minute walk.

But last Thursday I felt wretched. Drained. And not wanting to stray too far from a room with a loo.

So I drove.

My usual lunch – the café’s nourishing soup – sounded more like punishment than reward. Instead I struggled – such a penance – through a cinnamon bun, to a slice of banana bread, washed down with loose-leaf rooibos.

By two o’clock I was cold, tired, had done no work and wanted to go home. Yes, even to the sound of drilling as the joiner worked in the echoing kitchen shell.

As I strolled towards the car, I looked up, through a spattering of fine almost-rain, and gawped.

A giant rainbow bestrode the view. From below it looked like a double rainbow, two joined together. But my pictures – taken on my phone – say it was two.

If you look closely there is a faint rainbow above the brighter one


I fled for the car and home, feeling privileged to have seen such a sight.

But as I drove, the rainbow grew bolder and bigger and brighter and, seven miles later, as the dual carriageway petered out, a lazy arch spanned the entire sky.

It was an inverted smile, from the extreme left by the coast to the far right, where views of hills appear at the edge of the saturated moss.

And as I drove under it, the rainbow faded, like the Cheshire cat’s grin.

It felt as if I’d gained access to a magical kingdom – not just the nearest village and the main road to our house.

That was Thursday.

As the XV day before the Kalends of April dawned, I dragged myself into the day, ready for the joiner’s arrival.

Showered, dressed, make-up and jewellery applied (trying to make myself feel efficient and work-friendly by dressing up) I sat at the computer.

And sank my brain into London, 1977. The book, needing tweaks.

Two hours later, the phone rang.

The printer of my Little Match Girl story. His elusive typesetter had emerged from an inexplicable absence and – could I get over there soonish?

I drove the eighteen miles across the squelching moss. (On the roads not the grass. It’s very wet out there, looks more like a lake than fields)

After two joyous hours spent watching and learning, marvelling at the intricate mechanical processes, I left – with my name, cast in lead, in hand.

Here’s where the brass matrices are waiting to be freed by being ‘typed’ into…

… this beautiful waterfall of a chute then …

… into here where they meet the hot metal

Dave, who’s holding these, tells me there’s a difference between the two sets of matrices (I hope that’s right, one of the brass things is a matrix – a mould for the letter that is to be cast in lead, tin and antimony). I was wrong when I said I could see it …

I couldn’t resist – have a green stamp pad and had to try it

But driving the high road over the sunken fields, I had to rein in my eyes, which were desperate to scan the unfolding skyscape. The ditches beside the narrow moss roads are unfenced and precipitous – concentration is essential.

A strip of sullen, sulphurous light lay over the trees, meeting the grim grey of the lowering sky. The bare branches, crackled and gnarled, festered in frustration at the slow advance of spring.

The light changed, the sun lifted the veil of grey and a smudge of starlings formed a small murmuration – and was gone.

A chance observation on an unexpected drive.

And then the sky cleared, the sun shone, the birds sang and danced their naughty spring dances.

And now. Today. XIV days before the Kalends of April.

After a sleepless night, haunted by the howling, shrieking, wailing wind, (and thoughts of my partial namesake, Cathy in Wuthering Heights) the East wind blows.

And we have snow.

And, like the soothsayer, I say, ‘beware the Ides of March.’

Who knows what they may bring.

Posted in Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Liverpool, Nature notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Through a glass, brightly

I did think about calling this post Chicken Oblivious. But you know how it is. The cyclist would have been offended. If he’d known.

I’d spent the afternoon engrossed in watching a kind of ballet. Two people, dancing a pas de deux, ceaselessly moving around each other, with fluid, choreographed steps. Except I suspect they’d deny the choreographing bit – and they’d probably be right.

But choreographed sounds better than ‘managing to avoid each other’ or ‘without colliding or tripping up.’

Which is all quite important if you’re holding something that’s heated to over 1000 degrees C.

Say, what?



I was in Mawdesley, Lancashire. Escaping the house.

Our kitchen is a scene of much banging and clattering. Its infrastructure has already been consigned to kitchen afterlife. Some to the Sally Army, some to other forms of recycling. Some – I’m afraid – to the tip. Or landfill, I suppose I should admit.

Those ceramic tiles (many cracked) are going too… aaargh

I’m sorry. I would have liked to keep it, but its twenty-seven (or so) years of service weren’t just showing, but demonstrating.

So, we’re soon to be the, ‘yeah it’s ok, it’s a kitchen, it works, but why is it so expensive?’ owners of a new, tame, sober, pale kitchen.

Which is why we’re buying the lights.

Not these – white flexes and three not four – but similar



Such a puny word.

They are – I now know, having watched the making of them – a work of art.

Clear glass, the starting point


One form the colour comes in for adding to the clear glass

The other way of adding colour – chop a bit off this and heat (a lot)

Couple at work: Léona and Stephen Lindars , in between bouts of calm pirouetting around each other

In the furnace – apparently called the ‘glory hole’ (I know)

Stephen shaping the glass with a pad of wet … newspaper! Yes, 1065 degrees C meets paper

About to be removed from the rod and put in the heated cabinet next to this to cool down overnight

Over the years we have accidentally subscribed to William Morris’s view on stuff. Wanting nothing in our house that is neither useful nor beautiful. These – Mr Morris might be thrilled to know – are both.

So, perhaps you can see why I adapted the quotation, ‘For now we see, through a glass, darkly,’ which comes from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. But I can’t honestly say it was that version rattling round my brain. Nor was it the Bergman film of 1961.

I resorted to Google. My random choice – from a long list of possibilities – introduced me to Arthur Hugh Clough. And the Liverpool-born-poet’s poem, ‘Through a glass darkly,’ contained these lines:

Ah yet, when all is thought and said,
The heart still overrules the head;

Which is appropriate, given the context.

We didn’t need the lights.

We could have bought an off-the-shelf fitting.

But we saw these and our hearts said, yes!

Bland, safe, though the kitchen shall be, dull the lights shall not.

Hmm. I’ve gone a bit purple. It’s that Victorian poet. Let’s get back to my afternoon.

It was fascinating, watching the performance.

The movement never stops, rolling, swinging, blowing – can never stop till the piece is complete.

And now I have three unique pieces of glass – pieces I find it hard to describe as mere lightshades –  sitting, waiting for the day when they can be installed. Hung in our sleek kitchen. Switched on to illuminate our messy table.

There was one disappointing thing about my voyeuristic afternoon: I spent too long taking pictures and filming. Not enough time watching, absorbing, enjoying.

Or admiring. So much to admire.

But at least I saw more than the chicken did. Or the cyclist. Both of whom passed the open door without so much as a glance inside.





Find Slyglass here, but not over Easter 2018






Posted in Art, jaunts & going out, Lancashire & the golf coast | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Bread and butter(milk)

Well, lots of people seemed to read my last post [on online porn] but very few commented  … I suppose it was a bit of shock, after all that nature and beauty and introspection.

Well, it’s a respite post, this time.

Before I move on to all the flotsam and jetsam riding in on the wave of gender fluidity that’s washing up on the shores of our being – [gasp, pauses for breath] – how about a recipe?

Yes, a recipe.

For bread.

This kind of bread:

The pan is there for a reason – read on down…

I’ve occasionally toyed with bread making, over the years, in a dilettante-ish way.

I first made bread at school in domestic science lessons (those were the days, learning why not just how) with real yeast – awed by the magic that happens when you cream it with a soupçon of sugar. But I have never, ever recaptured that springy, delicious, yeasty, crusty – mmmmmm – bread.

And I like wholemeal, granary – that kind of bread – now.

A few Sundays ago, the prof saw a recipe – tore it out of the Observer (yes, a real paper newspaper). It was for bread made with buttermilk.

Sounded good – in fact, I was eagerly awaiting his first attempt.

But, the man has a demanding day job so… the recipe sat. And sat.

Then, one cold day last week, at lunchtime, I thought – I’ll make that.

A bread with no yeast, that takes just a few minutes – no, really – to weigh and mix. Doesn’t need kneading (ha). For 25 minutes it bakes in a lidded pan in the oven and after ten minutes spent resting it’s ready to be scoffed with anything you choose – or nothing at all.

Delicious bread ready to eat within – let’s say – 45 minutes, max?


I had to share it.

I am not a big fan of its creator, Nigel Slater. To me he’s one of those cooks who’s a bit style (writing) over substance (food that actually feeds human beings on a normal basis). But he does have three recipes I love. One of them is this, so without further ado.

No, hang on – a little further ado.

I used pumpkin seeds, not hemp and ground flax not whole golden linseeds.

The tubs of buttermilk from my local supermarket are 300 ml so I topped it up with plain natural yoghurt.

That’s it.

Please, try it. It’s fab! I won’t be buying shop made very often from now on…

And yes, I’ve taken the lazy way out. To spare my still-complaining wrist.

Here you go:

Oh – I do spray a little oil in the pan to make sure the flour adheres… It seems to work, but make sure you have good oven gloves!

Feeling hungry now…


Posted in Simple Food for Simple Folk (like me) | 24 Comments

Gagged and bound. It’s no way to treat a dog

England, it is said, is a nation of dog lovers.

Imagine, then, the furore that greeted publication of an image which – well, I’ll try and describe it as I don’t have access to it.

A dog is tied to a post in a cage, but not by its neck. Its front paws have been pulled up backwards behind its head, tied together and then tied to the post so it has to stand on its back paws.

Bad enough, eh?

But there’s more.

The dog’s mouth has been taped shut. It can’t bark, can only breathe through its nose. And around that cage, a load of people stand, laughing and taking pictures as it writhes around.

Shameful, isn’t it?

And I imagine it would create a furore if it were published. But as far as I know it doesn’t exist.

The real image features a young, attractive woman, in a very short skirt, legs akimbo, buttocks resting on – divided by – the ‘post’ which is actually a pole.

If someone had described this image to me I would have assumed it was taken from a soft porn magazine, a lap dancing club, or similar.

It’s not.

If/when you get to the end of this post you’ll see it. It’s a Getty Images/Evan Agostini photograph, taken in Amsterdam at a trade exhibition. As in, a place where ‘things are ‘exhibited’ in order to make sales.

It was an ‘adult’ trade exhibition and thus aimed mostly (and please don’t do that ‘not all men’ or ‘but some women’ to this post, you can take that as read) at a male audience.

For a while now I’ve been reading, watching – deploring – what’s going on in the world women inhabit and it’s way too complicated for a short post, but it’s time to start getting it out of my head.

I’d like to talk about gender fluidity, too, because it’s become a serious concern, not just for women, but for anyone who cares about freedom of speech. But that will have to wait.

First, I need to talk about porn.

So, to you all, women and men, I address these questions:

1 Do you have:

  • children
  • grandchildren
  • nephews, nieces, cousins, younger siblings?

2 Do you:

  • teach young people
  • coach them
  • hope for a better world for them?

If so – and if you haven’t yet noticed, or have avoided noticing, the pernicious influence of online pornography, please, read on.

I’m of the generation which saw bunny girls in Playboy as porn.

I have vivid memories of seeing the magazine for the first time. I was off school, revising in my dad’s study. Being nosy – a lifelong trait – I opened a cupboard door, started poking around.

I was shocked. And fascinated. Semi-naked women with big boobs in provocative poses.

If that kind of thing, but more explicit, with a bit more exposure, is still your image of porn – you’re in for a shock.

I reached the point of ‘this must stop, something must be done,’ when I saw – and nearly ignored – yet another online petition.

It was protesting a deal whereby ‘Ann Summers,’ a chain of ‘adult’ shops supposedly aimed at women and which I assume sells merchandise like vibrators and crotchless knickers – linked up with Pornhub.


You may have seen it. Your husband, father, brother, uncle may have seen it.

Your teenage son/nephew/cousin/brother/grandson, or someone male you know, is very likely to have seen it.

Because in 2016 there were 23 BILLION visits to Pornhub.

Read the introduction to this petition and you’ll see why this deal – in many people’s opinion – is a very bad idea (warning, it tells it bluntly):

On Pornhub, ‘5246 centuries worth of footage was viewed. In just one year,’ according to  Tom Farr, who wrote this piece for the Medium.* Worth reading if you care about the young in today’s world.

[*NB: There’s a video embedded in the article which I haven’t watched. My system warns me the site owner doesn’t comply with my blanket request for commercial sites not to track me.]

The article may shock you – it shocked me. I’m linking to it because I don’t want to cover the details myself for fear of attracting hate mail, or weirdo bots recording my online whereabouts and thinking I’m into violent, painful, degrading porn.

If you veered away from that one, perhaps you might read what Jo Bartosch, in mainstream (if lefty) news magazine New Statesman, has to say.

The content of these articles should concern us all.

What is porn doing to the behaviour of youngsters?

In particular to girls who feel they MUST do things they don’t want to do, but who don’t know any better. Things which may hurt them, or injure them for life?

What is it doing to young men who feel obliged to prove their virility by force, pushing unwilling girls to submit to sexual acts in the belief it’s what men do?

“Porn is now a multi-billion dollar global industry, with revenue anywhere from the $2 billion mark to upwards of $90 billion per year depending on your source” according to Tom Farr.

A powerful global force, unpoliced to a large extent simply because it’s online and international, is adversely affecting lives.

It demeans and exploits women and girls.

It affects men, whether young or older. It can damage families, spoil relationships and affect people’s working lives as men become ‘addicted’ to its extreme stimulations.

“As porn consumers become desensitized from repeated overloads of dopamine, they often find they can’t feel normal without a dopamine high. … They experience strong cravings and often find themselves giving more of their time and attention to porn, sometimes to the detriment of relationships, school, or work…”

Fight the New Drug (link below)

So far so calm.

Now it’s time to get angry!

When some people in this world get turned on by watching men forcibly damaging unwilling female orifices, or watching a father molest his daughter – and this criminal filth is overtly available online – isn’t something seriously WRONG!?

Think of the abused participants: exploited, trafficked girls. Drug addicts. The vulnerable, poor, dependent on aid.

Whatever your politics, think about the people you care about who may already be, or may become exposed to this degrading, inhumane stuff.

We must protest, speak out about this in whatever ways we can. Write to the people who represent us in governments, if nothing else.

I mean, if you wouldn’t treat a dog this way …



I make no claims for these sites, they are just ones I have come across when trying to find anti-porn research or campaigning organisations. There are, it seems, many groups – and Twitter is a good place to find campaigners.

UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children advice to parents – PDF with some useful links:

Actively campaigning against the selling of sex including porn:

Scottish-based women’s organisation with a useful website:

American site ‘Fight the New Drug’ which claims to be research based:

Mumsnet always good for an honest opinion:

Posted in Thinking, or ranting, or both | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Slacks, golf – and George

When, in 2004, we moved up north to Liverpool, we bought a house in complete ignorance of the district’s main attraction: ten minutes’ walk from our front door was a long, sandy beach.

I knew the land came to an end not terribly far from our road, but in my imagination the shoreline was merely a muddy – possibly smelly – estuary.

It wasn’t. It was sand. Golden, glorious sand.

Which , soon after we moved in, was invaded by a load of naked men. Iron Men. An installation called ‘Another Place’ by sculptor Anthony Gormley (a favourite subject of  photographer Ron Davies who blogs as Traveller’s Light ).

And they were soon followed by wind turbines – which I happen to like.

Ron had a series of postcards made of some of his stunning pictures

We loved the Iron Men – and the views to North Wales. On really clear days we could see Snowdonia and another distant wind farm off Great Orme.

And the beach was ideal for spotting passing tall ships whenever they visited for Liverpool’s maritime festivals.

And then we moved. Ten miles up the coast.

This time there were no misconceptions about the beaches. This is our nearest, taken just after the tide had gone out on a windy, wintry day last month:

We knew our house nestled snug as a bug in the ‘rough,’ between two greens of a golf course. And we knew the course was one of three in the immediate area, the most famous being Royal Birkdale, where the British Open was held in 2017.

Less than a mile up the road, we knew there was a hillock called the Round Hill and a patch of green where local dogs walked their humans.

And we knew the whole coast was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, being home to a few rare plants, such as Dune Helleborine, and rare creatures like Natterjack Toads.

So, we also knew the land was safe from predatory developer. For now, at least.


In the four years since we’ve been here we had no idea that, within walking distance up the road,  to one side of  the ‘Round Hill,’ is a hidden gem. A new ‘charm’ to add to my metaphorical bracelet of places treasured for solitary walking and pondering, for observing nature in all its mysterious ways.

For this gift of a new place to walk, we have Olly, the dog next door – and Carole and John, the humans he walks – to thank.

We set out for our first trip, bundled in cold weather gear, on Sunday, not long before noon.

The morning was frosty and calm. Outrageously sunny – and impossibly-deep-blue-skied.

For an hour and a quarter we tromped, amazed. Returned mentally revivified, the world and its woes back in their context.

I hope you’ll enjoy our sunny Sunday stroll on England’s north west coast. The sand dunes and stunning, sun-wakened trees. The beautiful ponds (called slacks) which lie between some of the dunes. And dogs. Like George. A transient friend.

I’m not writing the walk, but posting the pictures.

And if you read my last post, I should warn you, the rant’s still pending, you haven’t escaped. It’s written. Lurking…

But for now – have some sun and blue skies.

This one was completely frozen even at midday

Odd effect – the ripples kept rippling but stopped where all around they met ice

There’s an offshore platform at the very left of the sea on the horizon …

Such clear water – and the prof reading the information board while I drink in the views

Budding amid the thorns

Seaside = gorse of course

Looks like a stream but a drainage ditch I presume? Not what I expected to find amid sand dunes

Titania and her fairies might like his bower of ferns and mosses between the several trunks of a sprawling tree. At midsummer, of course.

George the dog and his human in front of Royal Birkdale club house. George, once introduced, adopted us as extended family for the rest of our walk. Had to crop the pic hard so not great quality but I thought he deserved to put in an appearance

Despite my instinctive aversion to all things golf, I love the simple ‘1930s aerodrome’ style, like something out of Agatha Christie, of famed Royal Birkdale, which, along with Hillside, frames this treasure trove of nature. This is, I must add its plain back side 😉





Posted in Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Nature notes, Socks, spoons, stones and sunsets | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Tangled up. Sometimes in blue

‘You’re keeping busy’, someone said to me to me this week, as if I were a retired person going on serial coach trips.

Not that there’s anything wrong with coach trips. Especially if they involve drinking illicit alcohol on the back seat. And singing silly songs like ‘One man went to mow,’ with custom lines:

‘… three men, two men, one man and his dog, a sausage roll and a bottle of pop, went to mow a meadow.’

Yes, it’s been a while since my school trips to the seaside.


It keeps changing, but I will never retire. In fact I’m about to set up a new [groan, why do I do this?] small business. Very small. So small it barely exists.

I can’t imagine a day spent without thinking, planning, plotting, hoping – occasionally despairing, then moving on – and writing.

This year, so far, has been busy, busy, busy. Not always happily so.

Too many thoughts. Too many experiences. Too much to see, to do, to live.

Better that way, I suppose, than feeling empty. Bored. Or depressed. Though the black dog can still sneak through busy-ness, hiding amid the assault on the senses that is the Western world. Well, the assault that is the Western world if you keep your mind and eyes open. AKA engaging with Twitter 😦

I’ve been in limbo, awaiting a response to writing sent out. Writing requested, not foisted on an unwilling agent hemmed in by Alpine-scale slush-piles.

I dread hearing the verdict: ‘Your baby is ugly! Take her away!’

But I carry on as usual. Except for the blogging which is my release. So …

I’m shedding some tangled thoughts. And pictures.

Please, bear with this bitty post. It reflects my state of mind.

Worlds in miniature

One day I noticed rain drops clinging to tiny green fingers, growing up from the wall between us and next door.

If you’ve ever seen the film Men in Black II you may understand where I’m coming from if I say I instantly heard:

‘All hail, Jay!’

If not, do watch this. In fact, just watch it:

I’m fascinated by the tiny.

I’d like to create imaginary worlds where wee creatures mingle with mosses, live in lichen, frolic under ferns, not knowing another gigantic order of life rumbles around above them. But right now, I don’t have time.


In praise of cossetting

 ‘Wonderful, relaxing break in an old fashioned, comfortable hotel. They’d better not bare-floorboard and boutique the place or I’ll cry.’

Husk,  February 2018

On the staircase Top left is the white Yorkshire rose, the red Lancashire rose is on a window to the right side, impossible to get both into view with my camera

Chaucer looking thoughtful (possibly trying to understand what he’s written)


The imp is a copy of the Lincoln Imp from Lincoln Cathedral. I wrote about that long ago but to be honest can’t be bothered finding the link….

William Morris windows, ornate plaster ceilings, a carved stone fireplace with an imp to keep out the devil, what more could you want?

Well, how about a proper four poster bed (not a flimsy modern one) and carpet. Carpet, carpet everywhere.

Stripped floorboards and mismatching old school furniture have their place. But they can’t do what this does. Wrap us around in a hug of comfort.

A dining room. Solid, old furniture, white tablecloths laid for dinner with knives and forks in place settings and plates and glasses and flowers. Real flowers.

Large linen napkins, unfolded on our laps by the waitress.

A fabulous meal. Even though only two other tables were occupied. A proper chef, a proper hotel, a proper restaurant.

Those are baked apples with the ham hock terrine (mmm). Described on the menu as small apples. I have never had such things. But then I don’t live in London where no doubt they are already passe

We had an ample gables suite in the old wool merchant’s mansion.

In the misty moisty morning, a view over the valley to the last remaining industrial chimneys and the mill owned by famous thermal underwear brand, Damart.

Zoomed view – it was actually way down the hill. So quiet and peaceful. Can’t wait to go back.


Wide open Brontë-world spaces, hanging onto winter

Walking on the Pennine moors? No. Hasty ventures out to snap wintry panoramas.

Quick stop at the hill’s top for oval-framed views through the Panopticon. Then back to the comfort of heated seats in our pearly white automobile.

The Panopticon above Wycoller has stunning views. If you are five years old or quite small for other reasons you don’t have to crouch down to see them

Trees shaped by the winds and territory edged by stones that look like gravestones.

My beloved Pendle snow-capped in the distance

After a weekend of free floating thought, a decision

To print up the Little Match Girl story I blogged two years ago.

The People’s History Museum in Manchester said long ago they would stock it, but it’s still an ethereal thing – and they can’t stock ethereal.

Seven months ago I approached an illustrator to help make it real.

She has done nothing.

So, I found a letterpress printer, fairly local – and discovered a wonderful story, a wonderful place, a wonderful … source of more work!

Brian of Rufford Printing Co, Mawdesley, Lancashire, sits by the same kind of Linotype hot-metal typesetting machine you can see being used in that ace film, The Post

And here is the hot metal – lead and tin

So, as the tangles become further entwined. I take a walk on a sunny day

… to the kitchen designer who will wreck the old, install the new

It’s a nuisance, an expense we could do without and it’s not done lightly. But the kitchen is close on 30 years old and so much needed replacing it was cheaper to rip it out and start again (I know, Dale, but honestly, it was the most practical option).

The sky was such a dense blue I could hardly believe it. Skeleton trees were clumping with life, waiting to burst into leaf.

Yes, we’ve gone past the point where my heart still pines for midwinter. I’m OK with the end of darkness now.

And so, to spring

When a young man’s fancy, old men’s fancies, many men’s fancies – turn to…

Can we be serious, now?

Actually, no, I don’t think I’ll tackle that stuff, yet.

I’ll leave dogs, cages, women, porn, prostitution, freedom of speech and gender self-identification (Reader: ‘say what?’ Me: ‘Do keep up, are you a cis-woman, LGBTQA or maybe RSTUVWXYZ?’) for another time.

Watch this space for the next exciting rant from one whom some might call a terf… It may be some time.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with yesterday’s view from the back of the house.

Posted in Art, jaunts & going out, Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Nature notes, Thinking, or ranting, or both, Yorkshire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments