Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Transports of delight

Paint chips will repair with Tippex and lipstick - how useful!
Sumer is icumen in! I'm counting how many different ways there are of getting about. Here are two or three, and I hope to add more as the summer goes by. I know, I know - this is supposed to be a blog full of serious stuff. Sorreee!
Beam me up!

What's that awful grey church chair doing here?
Second attempt at 'pogo-ing slowly'

Third attempt at pogo-ing slowly

At least my scooter fits me!

Zimmer frame

The more things change....


OK, maybe I just haven't moved on! 

But I doubt I had wine in the back in them days!

There's milk in there as well...

Monday, 28 May 2012

The film of the book of Viv's abseil

Masquerading as the Queen Mum...

 Viv's abseil

I will tell you how to make the hat at some point..... crochetavistas unite!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The chicken gene

'But I let myself fall backwards'.
Brill start to the weekend! Despite dreaming that I had slept in and missed my slot, I didn't, and I made it to the Humber Bridge for 9 am, and I am not a morning person! Hurdle no. 1 over. But the story started the day before in one of Barton's best shops - 'This 'n' That' (note correct use of apostrophes here in N Lincs). Well, where would you go to buy hairnet? That place has everything, in the space of your living room. They didn't bat an eyelid when I tried the thing on over my bike helmet.

The Hospice Shop came up trumps too with a frock, and soon I had my fancy dress outfit sorted: 'she dressed up as a vicar's wife'.

Yes I did cycle here!
I feared that aspects of what I was spending my time doing today were not very 'housewifely', so I stood both loo cleaning brushes in a vat of diluted Domestos to offset any feelings of guilt I might have.

(I'm trying to upload quite a few pics to this Blogger outfit, but it's acting as though it too has had a few bottles of San Miguel, so apologies if the order is a bit funny. [It is].)

What do you mean, 'What is the chicken gene?' It's that gene that some of us have that, when someone says, 'We need someone to dress up as a chicken', we are the ones who say 'Oooh yes, I will!' first. [Ignore white space below and scroll down; I don't know why it does that either.]

Would I do it again, and would I do it differently? Certainly! I'd make sure my lipstick was on straight next time!

You tube of beginning and end

More pics below, much too below but I can't make it otherwise.

Have you ever abseiled before? 'No'.

Yes, the flowers are intact. Camouflage at Chelsea flower show!

I felt no fear - I'm afraid of danger, not of heights

'Now what?'

'Am I supposed to go horizontal?' No.
'By the way, how do I avoid smashing my teeth against the road?'

Teeth intact, I'm off!

Won't be doing this again for a while, let's have fun!

'Hi! The gloves they gave me are massive!'

'Suppose I have to sit down sometime. Oh dear! Almost at ground  level.'
It doesn't look very high to me

Friday, 25 May 2012

To the lighthouse

Spurn 'blob' (my title) - the goal (photo by David Nichols for YWT)

Withernsea sea front
The day off in pictures. Yesterday we cycled from Withernsea to Spurn and back, hence I'm lolling in bed playing with the laptop. A 30 mile round trip, it makes for a relaxed feel next day. Our new-ish car - the Skoda Roomster - is perfect for us, as we had it fitted with a kind of inner bike rack. As long as t'owd man is available to take everything to pieces.
Withernsea coast, heading south
Setting off from Withernsea sea front. There wasn't much in Withernsea to keep us there. On return, even after 30 miles of cycling, no pub was inviting enough to tempt us in for a pint. (If you work for Withernsea council, I'm sorry for this less-then-enthusiastic evaluation). You can see they have tried to stick the coast together with concrete in places to stop the erosion.

We drool
Suggested elevation, as sent to parsonage committee for approval
We have a potentially beautiful view from our vicarage, St Peter's church with its Anglo-Saxon tower, but there are only 3 very small windows facing towards it, one of them with a window seat and frosted glass. The second has frosted glass too and somewhere to lie down and doze in watery comfort, (a good idea - the bathroom tiles are really naff 1980s), and the third vantage point I only look out of when peeling vegetables. A real missed opportunity, and one of the things we miss in clerical life is being able to alter things as you would do in life outside. I drool over houses with turrets and towers; I like to look out.   See: Rapunzel

The thing that struck me about the Holderness landscape was that it was stripey.
Spurn ahead

Sea both sides - well on the way

WW2 boneshaker path

1852 Low Light

To the lighthouse - a little newer, but no longer used

Spurn lifeboat - I went on it once, not being rescued though

The big pic below is perhaps the most atmospheric view we had, looking south. A man on the beach in the distance (one of about three) seemed to be digging for bait. He's the little speck in the middle of the horizon. The other two aren't on this pic. There was plenty of room for them all to be well-spaced out! A light mist shrouded (do mists do anything else in cliche-land! Make a suggestion!) the sands stretching out to our right.

I'm thinking I could do with a new bike with front suspension to help me cope with paths like the ones round here. Wrist-shattering.

T'owd man was chaplain to the Mayor of Grimsby many years ago. As part of his duties we attended a lunch in appreciation of the Spurn lifeboat crew. They came over in this lifeboat, and gave us a ride over to Spurn in it when they went home. The then mayor of Scunthorpe was at the helm, and put his foot down. We were by the railings on the lower deck, and were pressed against them so hard we had bruises you could see; they were well worth it.

Imagine living in the houses shown below on the Spurn blob!

On the way home, we admired the wind farm, which seemed to have a wind farm farmhouse. I imagined writing a children's story about the wind farmer getting up in the middle of the night to help some wind give birth to a baby wind. Putting the wind away for the night. Looking out anxiously to see whether the wind is growing well.


Trips like this give one space to think about what makes life worth living; this came up naturally as we left Withernsea, where t'owd man was once interviewed for a teaching job he didn't get, thank goodness; we felt it might have been a kind of living death to live there. Perhaps that is their value, or some of it at least if it is not to be a purely self-indulgent exercise. But how can one translate this into something that has an effect on the world for the better? Ummm.

Lifeboatmen's families' houses

Windfarm, with windfarm farmhouse

Mummy there's a lighthouse in my bedroom! (Withernsea)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

From dark to light

Compost stage 1

The final black crumbly gold
My friends are so lucky! If they feel a little downhearted for any reason, I say 'Come and have a look at my compost corner', and for some reason it cheers them up! I once spent a night hardly sleeping at all, because I was due to uncover the heap next day. It's so exciting to see the transformation from the raw weeds etc to the crumbly black stuff. It's a slow kind of pleasure of course, which might be why it is such a pleasure. Highly recommended.

Gone to seed
Aconites, not mine though
A lot of the pleasure of the garden is not in some spectacular plant, but in some little unexpected gem. I saw this very small thing while digging up dandelions, and wondered what it was. Examination of the leaves told me it was the late winter's aconites, gone to beautiful seed. They are crisp and translucent, like small prawn crackers.

Surprising light
And then in the evening, looking out of the kitchen window, the garden suddenly had that luminous look that comes on when the sun is going down. I had to go out, and saw that the backdrop to our garden, the graveyard next door, was floodlit, and I thought of that hymn 'Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings'. Those trees really are not that colour at all! There's a golden splash on this side of the wall too, which is a stump of dark holly! This pic has not been altered in any way by Ye Olde Photo Shoppe or any other programme.

Gardening all day today, I don't think I had any thought in my head except how lovely it was to be there. I did think about the proverb:

If you would be happy for a week take a wife; if you would be happy for a month kill a pig; but if you would be happy all your life plant a garden.

(Just be careful if you try to follow this, and get the nouns and verbs in the right order. Apologies to vegetarians too. But they say that the smell of bacon frying is the thing that really tests vegetarian resolve).

Being analytical and never having killed a pig, and rather enjoying sitting up in bed with the laptop and musing, I thought to list what it is about doing the garden that makes it possible for me to assent at least to part of this. I think the word is 'transformation', which happens in so many ways. I had to list them:

1) Compost (always no. 1 for me!) - nature working in the dark; we used to sing a song about bulbs working underground at junior school, which always had me in a little secret heaven as I sang.

2) Seedlings - like all new growth, always a delight, unless it's some weed that you just can't get to like. And their lives depend on us, for a while; we like to nurture and be needed.
One ned of my home-made 'country lane'
'Woodland edge' community
3) The effect of light - always surprises one, whether singing or not, always with healing in its wings.

4) Sounds, smells etc; is there a sense not satisfied in the garden?

5) Nurturing plant communities - seeing things all grow together snugly. This requires a light hand - not too much interference. Working with, not against.

But this is like analysing Shakespeare into rag and ink. I shouldn't do it really.

I end with 2 pics, first of what looked like coarse grass, but I hoped it was something else that I'd sown a few years back and had disappeared for a while.... and then I waited a few days, and lo, I saw, my hopes were fulfilled and it was the quaking grass, which we saw growing wild in Spain too while walking the camino. Hope fulfilled, and happy memories evoked. Plus the list above.

(Apologies for the half-pics above. Google's 'blogger' system must be playing up today. I will sort it if I can.)

Coarse couch grass....?

No! Quaking grass.