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  • #1679936
    moehat
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    • Total Posts 9088

    I think we have a microclimate in Bamburgh because, quite often the weather elsewhere is awful but we’re wearing t shirts. Mind you, when it’s cold it’s really cold. I’ve been on a bit of a journey. After years of being very politically involved I’ve realised that, for my sanity in my last remaining years the world will have to look after itself. I’ve been reading children’s fantasy literature, having rewatched The Children of Green Knowe and The Box of Delights at Christmas, and I’ve just discovered The Dark is Rising. Along with this I’m listening to the music of Johnny Flynn who collaborates with the author Robert Macfarlane whose lyrics are wonderful eg ‘the green men who speak in leaves’. My grandson is going wassailing next weekend: there is an area of woodland near to a retirement village and I reckon BUPA want to extend over the forest. But I think my grandson would be embarrassed to have his dotty pagan granny tagging along so I might have to be with them in spirit. I’m also obsessed with Digging for Britain ( again Flynn/Mcfarlane music). And I must read Macfarlanes books. Methinks I’m reliving my hippy years in Cornwall! I love watching villages by the sea.Have learned so much about places that I know and realised how many amazing places there are that I’ve never visited. Oh and I’ve also discovered Folk on Foot which also ties in with many of the places, too.

    #1679953
    Illavim
    Participant
    • Total Posts 627

    I’m the same Moehat! Just said to a friend the other day that next census form i fill in will be putting myself down as a Pagan. I devour Detectorists and Digging For Britain, love the music to them, and have several Robert McFarlane books :yes: . Did you listen to the radio adaptation of the Dark Is Rising that BBC produced Christmas before last? It was excellent, I think they repeated it this last Christmas and it may still be available on their iPlayer thingy. Just got a book called Weird Walk which is about walking on ancient pathways and exploring the old sites, and old customs and rituals. Will be trying out some of their walking routes throughout the year. Have you discovered the Caught By The River website and newsletter? That has lots of nature themed interesting stuff!

    #1679971
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 9088

    I started listening to The Dark is Rising but after 4 episodes decided that I wanted to read the book without knowing what was going to happen. Then realised there was a sequence of books and there is an earlier one that I need to read first. Having discovered Johnny Flynns music it then dawned on me that he did the music for The Dark is Rising, too, which is why his voice sounded familiar. There’s a wonderful podcast on Backlisted about it which features interviews with its author. There is a Facebook page about The Box of Delights and people visit the locations. Jim Moon’s Hypnogoria podcast does a Box of Delights commentary which I listen to whilst watching the tv series. Of course, Herne the Hunter features in both books. Robert Macfarlanes writing is pure poetry. So there’s a link with Detectorists, Johnny Flynn, Robert Macfarlane, Alice Roberts and Jim Moon. It all really started with my granddaughter being obsessed with Harry Potter: I bought her all of my favourite fantasy fiction and started reading it myself. I visited the Duddo stones last year and plan to visit them again soon. In my hippy days in Cornwall I used to dress in long black dresses and pretend I was a witch ( there was a lot of witchcraft there which I did actually avoid, one of the few sensible things I did in my youth).I’ll check out Caught by the River. These days I wander round the dunes where there are Viking burials ( but also lots of deer and owls and sometimes otters) and walk up to Bamburgh Castle in the dark even though it’s a bit spooky. One of the pilgrim routes ( think it’s St Oswald) goes across the field at the end of my partners garden; I’ve always wanted to walk the Camino. So, when I go to heaven and God says you can’t come here you’re a pagan I can say yes, but I’ve done a pilgrimage…

    #1679996
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16516

    It is fantastic reading through your posts and welcome to the thread moehat and Illavim.
    A beautiful spring day on Sunday and although February is set to bite back with a cold snap it’s a chance now to make hay with all this good weather.
    The allotment is enjoying me giving it new beds and it looks very odd at this time of year with to the untrained eye lots of debris on my plot of piles of cardboard and horse manure. It is the kind of appearance which got me a “red card” from a much treasured allotment around about eight years back. The world (Felixstowe at least, wasn’t ready for the eccentricity of no dig gardening and my plot always has that building site look at this time of year which coincides with inspections at the time. Rules and regulations meant that a lack of appreciation of organic gardening meant I was breaking the rules of the day and I was bewildered to be kicked off. “ for not keeping the appearance of the allotment to within town council rules. I was devestated at the time but it led as things often do to better things and I ended up with the Victoria street plot within months as related on these pages.
    Today would have been the birthday of my dear old Dad. Stephen Montgomery wherever you are your boy’s done well. I’d hazard a guess you’ll be laying over a sandy bank at the water’s edge dropping the poison sap from the bark of a bamboo tree into the water off the tip of your specially treated stick (rod) to knockout those big fish you used to tell me about. A cross between a pike and a salmon and you’d march back to your village with bigger catches than the best fishermen and they’d never knew how you’d done it without a line or a hook. Too clever by half. You’d be 95 today and you passed at seventy, a good twenty five too short and more besides.
    Meanwhile yesterday bought lots of fun with the good weather continuing and bringing on an early spring and the necessity to “ make hay”. I started off at a friends house whose husband had laid out a huge additional allotment in the back garden turning it into a sea of raised beds. The wife widowed two years back has started to return these beds to lawns and traditional garden and a handyman has already removed most of these old beds and started laying lawns again but the remaining huge asparagus beds remain and I’m slowly removing the crowns bit by bit. When I started digging them out deep in winter the ground was sodden and heavily wet and digging them out of the ground was essentially impossible and s huge amount of energy was expended during November and December for very little return. The asparagus is retrievable much much easier now the ground has dried out and the last time I tried I was almost up to my knees in wet wet mud. The lady of the house has very kindly given me at least eight rose bushes some of which have gone to my allotments and some to my front garden plus several buckets of bulbs. I’ve promised to find her a replacement rose 🌹 to say thank you. She likes scented roses above all and hopefully I’ll find something to suit. She’s also said I can cut some of her camelias for bouquets when they come out. I’m looking into establishing a no dig bed for these asparagus plants and the four I retrieved yesterday will be joined by another six crowns today and the complete bed should be transferred by week’s end. I’ve also got to inspect an old wooden greenhouse which the twins 👯‍♀️ have kindly stored for me for the last eight years! I’ve got an Aluminium greenhouse at the allotment but the wooden one would make a great potting shed and it all depends on its current condition, time may not have been kind to it but I’d love ❤️ to have it back to restore it. I also had time to cook a full English of two eggs three bacon and focassia bread and took it to the beach. I met up with penny one of the swimmers in their meeting place on the promenade along with the current Mayor. I’m thinking of joining them this month for an occasional dip as the water slowly “warms” up. I’ve never worn a wetsuit but the extra time in the water one gives you and the protective layer it gives your bones is not to be sniffed at. I haven’t been in since December 3rd. That period covers the virus 🦠 whatever it was and January took some of that too. I’m in good shape right now happily and am keen to stay on top now with tonnes to do.
    I went to price up a job too and found myself at a house in a street I once lived in. This couple had been a victim of rogue gardeners. They’d been quoted a price to cut their large privet hedge of four hundred quid last year which was a huge percentage of their rent. They’d felt obliged to pay. This hedge will barely take three hours to do tops. There’s the dreaded decking in the garden and it’s covering over a space which could be providing this extended family with much needed fruit and veg. There is a couple of black compost bins largely filled with hedge cuttings and there is lots of debris from years of cutting dumped on the ground at the rear of the garden. There is another compost heap to contain the cuttings and the installation of a new improved heap using pallets could help things hugely and I’ve agreed with the family if they give me a bit of help I can reorganise the garden a bit and put in some new beds including a much needed vegetable bed. I love these little challenges and I can’t stand the rip off merchant’s who give gardening a very bad name.

    #1680029
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 9088

    I’ve just joined the country lane appreciation society on Facebook. Whatever the faults of social media it’s lovely to find other people that like the same things. The other year I was doing my evening walk and two creatures crossed the road in front of me. Low to the ground and not particularly fast. When I got home I asked on an otter page if it was possible to see otters crossing a road even though I was nowhere near a river. I said I wasn’t going to give my exact location because some people don’t like otters. Within minutes someone came back to me and told me exactly where I was because that’s where he sees them, too. I need to go down to the sea very early in the morning to see them but, alas I’m a night owl and not a morning person. Ever since then I’ve worried about them crossing the road. Back at my own home in Derby, which is near a river, one was killed on the road recently. Thinking of Tarka the Otter and Ring of Bright Water otters do seem to often meet with a sticky end unfortunately.

    #1680035
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16516

    Fascinating Moe and they are beautiful creatures to see. But they certainly eat their fair share of fish! Which I think is what the problem is with some having reservations about having cleaned up polluted rivers and restocked them with long lost breeds of fish, they are now being wiped out again this time not by pollution but by a prey with no natural enemies except man.
    I don’t get into the arguments but do talk to fish men and conservationists alike who all seem to have differing takes on the issue based on where they are sitting or standing….
    It is a contentious one but I love seeing these creatures making the most of it in the wild. The solution? I couldn’t tell you.

    #1680041
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 9088

    Sometimes it isn’t apex predators that wipe out species of fish or animals because the keystone species might be something much lower down the food chain. It is a dilemma though eg the reintroduction of wolves in parts of Europe. At the end of the day, though, it’s only when humans are involved that there’s a problem. Sadly.

    #1680047
    Illavim
    Participant
    • Total Posts 627

    @Moehat – thanks for info re the podcast on Backlisted, i’ll try and find that. I’ve only read the 1st 2 books in the Dark Is Rising sequence, Over Sea, Under Stone, the first one, is set in Cornwall, just loved it. I read the Dark Is Rising along with the radio broadcasts, as each episode was a new day, so just kept ahead with the reading. Listening on the radio later brought it to life as the cast was so good (Toby Jones, another Detectorists link!).

    @sporting Sam – apologies for not having posted before now, have been enjoying reading this thread for a while. Would have loved to have got to see your exhibition and trail, but bit too far away sadly. It’s great it was such a success, and you are getting your message out there. We need more people to follow your gardening methods :good:

    #1680088
    Avatar photoBigG
    Participant
    • Total Posts 12740

    When my kids were wee, and even when they had flown the coup, Marjorie and
    I loved going to a little zoo, although I don’t know if it should be classified
    as that It had an indoor hothouse where there were a quite a few trees bushes and
    plants from all over, mainly hot countries. On the outside they had some hairy pigs
    Toucans, wallaby’s meerKat’s and quite a few more. They also had a gond where they
    had several Koi carp. They were beatiful and had been there for years but when we
    went on one occassion the Koi Carp weren’t in the pond. We asked one of the assistants
    there where were they. She spoke nearly in tears that an otter had got into the pond
    and killed every one of them. Why would it do that, why not grab one and make off. I
    kind of changed my mind a bit about otters 🙁

    #1680091
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 9088

    Sounds like the sort of killing frenzy foxes go on. How sad.

    #1680095
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16516

    I’d never heard that about an otter big G and I guess it is a situation where it has come across a species not indigenous or common as opposed to the habits of a fox and yet ironically neither the carp nor the otter could currently be regarded as ‘common’ or local.
    @ Illavim
    Thank you for your kind words re my exhibition. It was a success and for a debut even more so. I tried to be different which helped immensely and by moving on swiftly to the next project I’ve remained so. The remote installation trail will continue and as they are in the main living and growing exhibits, they have an unlimited lifespan and as the season move they’ll develop.
    The TWELVE line up is nearing completion and the first interview took place last month my article will be released on the TWELVE website after Thursday. I met “February” today and the contrast between each and every person is testimony to the cosmopolitanism even here in sleepy Suffolk. So regardless of your location, you’ll be able to experience and enjoy the senses of both the original work and of twelve in due course as the ‘fabric of both is developed and expanded in time.

    #1680096
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 9088

    One of my favourite books is Melvyn Bragg’s Speak for England which was basically ordinary people talking about various events: school, wars etc. It made me realise how important ordinary peoples stories were. I’ve always loved chatting to complete strangers about their lives, which are far more interesting than listening to ‘celebs’. I always wanted to record the old people in my village talking about their lives but, being me I never got round to doing it. I also worry that, in years to come there will be no original source material for historians to study, because everything is on phones or computers.

    #1680110
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16516

    Moe, even though the old people you’d have loved to have talked to are no longer around, today’s old folk are only ‘once removed’ from them and are now your link to those self same old folk you refer to. Now you may well be up there now yourself but there are of course plenty older folk still to talk to including the aforementioned relatively “young uns”!!

    I used to love talking to the old people when I was a child. When I started my career I worked with a chap who although advanced in years was a veteran who was a tail gunner in bomber command Len ( or lofty as I secretly called him) he was as tall as a giraffe 🦒 and gentle and mild mannered a typical Londoner. How he fitted in that turret is an interesting one. But these guys were a link to the recent past and in the 1980’s it didn’t seem too far removed.
    I was at the allotment shed gathering of plot holders on a Saturday in the past summer. I don’t go to them very often, because Saturday’s are the ‘wrong day’ for me. On this occasion though I was there and having a “yarn” with an Eighty five year old. He said “I always used to listen to the old fellas and watch them. “One night they strung up a whole load of lights over these allotments and dug the lot over in one night.” There was never a day time when they could all do it in winter together because of work and they couldn’t do it on a Sunday could they?”.
    “They covered the whole plot in one night and how they managed it I don’t know.”
    I guess the plots were all as one in days gone by. Listening to an old boy talking about listening to the old boys was very pleasing indeed and probably transported the old man back to the boy in himself, as it will in turn me.
    Despite being a ‘no digger’ I do love a good dig once in a while, even though I know about the soil, its layers and the aspect of permaculture. I’m committed to no dig gardening but of course a good dig on easy soil is hard to resist, not least to feel the soil in your hands and to see what is going on ( down there in the sub layers) and viewing the high quality soil the result of your hard work.
    Especially when you come across the worms beavering away and doing what we cannot do with a spade. I’m preparing an area specially for an asparagus bed and as I have to shift a large amount of soil from my town plot ( to add a van space in the car park :heart: )I’m digging out the brand new bed I made last summer there and transferring it to the council plot.
    There is a thirty year plan to expand the town and these allotments are in an area under threat. No one can say with any surety wether these allotments are guaranteed to be here in forty years time but their preservation would be a great testimony to those ‘old boys’ that I never met and the asparagus I’m currently digging up comes from the back garden of one such Man. I attended the consultation meeting on Saturday along with several hundred townsfolk and engaged the planners to try and get the gist of what they were presenting to us. This strategic plan is remarkably trying to engage all parties about the fact that development will of course happen but not without some cross engagement and input from those people who normally have absolutely no say at all in outcomes the general public. I spoke to the lead architect on the council side and absent from these talks were the potential builders who would of course be major stakeholders. One notable demographic who were not engaged were today’s children who of course will by the time this all comes to fruition, be mature adults if we can keep our hands off the buttons of war for long enough to let them have this future. I asked if they would redress this “ oversight” by approaching the local schools and at least talk to the eldest youngsters there who might be able to grasp the implications of long term planning.
    Right now though my immediate objectives for Tuesday is to remind a few family members that yesterday would have been our Dad’s birthday had he still been around but he left 24 years ago in November past aged 70. So we’d be looking now at the ripe old age of 95. I’ve moved a load of “furniture” around in my main plot all the fruit trees are pruned solidly now. My russet tree looks like it could lose a few more branches. My old wooden framed greenhouse stored safely at the twins 👯‍♀️ house for the past eight years can come up here now, it fulfills the old adage “ A friend in need is s pain in the Arse” although I did get them a shedload of raspberry canes back in the day in return for storage. I’ve got to take a knife to the troublesome undercover on my polytunnel and cut it away. I need a visit to the bins 🗑 alongside the cinema to stock up with the huge amounts of cardboard needed to cover my plot where new beds are going. The manure I use is very old indeed and along with the topsoil I’m removing from town should cover the tops of most of the beds I’m installing. I’m hoping a lot of the early seeding I need to do is going to be done on my behalf by a network of associates while this strategic planning and rebuilding of my own takes place but it’s long overdue and alongside a fruit cage surround for my town centre plot I’m “on it”. There should just about be time for TWELVE to continue. Busy busy on the “gardening” front too and some major planning going on a quote for a new client who has a number of worker bees digging yearly into his soil and I’m going round to discuss what to do with this threatened species of bee and see wether they can live with it or need done intervention and I have something of s solution to put to them. This music loving couple are, if they accept my invitation the eleventh month of TWELVE. we will see if it works out. These bees have settled en mass for the lawn as their ideal habitat and I look forward to viewing it and telling them why this is so. My solution is interesting and crucial to both parties one of whom have been stung along with pets. With pressure on the bees to find ideal habitats. The morons who came up with plastic grass have aided their demise and that of numerous under soil organisms and wildlife who aren’t as into plastic fantastic as Homo sapiens.

    #1680118
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 9088

    I had an allotment for a short while. It was very overgrown. I’d had a new carpet in the lounge. The old carpet was a huge green wooden one and I’d read that if I put it on the allotment for a few months it would kill all the weeds off. Problem is it kept blowing onto the allotment next to it. One day I found that someone had burnt it and that was that. I’m afraid I gave up. I don’t really understand why it moved around, being so heavy. I guess I should have staked it down in some way although I’m sure I must have attempted to secure it in some way.It always bothers me that my son took an old dinky aeroplane to the allotment and lost it. I hope if someone eventually finds it they’ll give it the respect it deserves. My house is supposedly built on or near to what was the village rubbish tip so I sometimes find old bottles, sherds and clay pipes. They all live in kilner jars along with sea glass from when I’m at Mikes place.

    #1680418
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16516

    I rarely deploy carpet for a myriad of reasons. It pisses people off and half the allotment holders would be suspects to setting it on fire 🔥.
    But the other issue is the chemicals leeching out as well as the non organic quality which means weeds proliferate under an inadequate carpet and increase your problems tenfold.
    I’ve got some covering my leaf store and it works well for me moe.
    But give it a go in the backyard and use cardboard.
    Yesterday I found an artist who epitomised how and why I got into art so strongly.
    Andy Warhol couldn’t be more misquoted when he said everyone gets their ten minutes of fame. He’s right and that everyone gets it wether they are good or downright crap. I’m testimony to that assertion even if it is not Warhol’s true assertion of my interpretation.
    I’ve offered to promote my partner’s upcoming exhibition at the wonderful 142 gallery. I’m bloody good at what I do and have been selling ice to the Eskimos since the early 1980’s. If I can turn a team of Suffolk and Essex men into a well oiled Rugby league team and make northerners bow to our will, after they have played the game for over one hundred years, then I sure as damned can enter and be successful in the pretentiousness world of Art.
    Don’t get me wrong plenty of pretentious artists are immensely talented but they can also be lost in showbiz in equal measure. All the ‘Elton Johns’ are to be found even at this humble level of the game. If there were caravans and bar tabs to be demanded they come here in droves.
    On outlaying my terms on said commission to promote this event I explained they are as stated and I quote
    “ I’ll get up to twenty five people through the door and I suggest the opening night event to be moved from Saturday (half way through the event you need to the exhibition) to Thursday 29 February. All I ask is that any promotional use I make will receive product placement in the form of reference to TWELVE using the website address only as subtle product placement.
    There will be no charge whatsoever.
    Upon this the coming exhibiter stated and I quote “did you know that the Deben peninsula is not strictly speaking a peninsula.” She went on to explain that there was a definite definition which disqualified the land between the rivers Orwell and Deben as a peninsula and that in any case there were “only two rivers.Not three”.
    My only reply was “Actually if you include the other surrounding rivers inlets and tributaries there are more like a dozen rivers. I’m not an artist so I look at things differently and as you live in Ipswich you could well be described as off your peninsula dear.”
    “If you don’t want free advertising and hordes of visitors to My partner’s exhibition I’ll leave you to it I’m out and you are lost in showbiz dharling”.!
    My beautiful partner came back to me later and said “darling, you can promote my part of the exhibition and yes feel free to use ‘product placement, as you see fit bloody good idea”👍

    #1680643
    Avatar photosporting sam
    Participant
    • Total Posts 16516

    A brilliant brilliant day yesterday.
    A long drive through some rather wet roads all the way up the DEBEN PENINSULA to the amazing Stately home of Helmingham Hall. My partner has had her willow arches there since the light festival.I went up to collect them. It has set me back a day’s work but there you are. I love coming up here as it means a visit to the walled gardens as well. The entire main building is surrounded by a moat. I’d love to row in it. There are ancient apple trees all along the path and I’m returning three buckets 🪣 borrowed last year from the head gardener. I know where to find him as it’s tea break time and every gardener convenes in a place of warmth on a drizzly day. The potting shed and greenhouse are all in one and sure enough he’s there. I’ve also brought a huge bag of Felixstowe’s finest oldest horse poo for one of the gardeners.
    One of my friends from the community pop up shop is quite unwell and I think some blossoms would be just the fillip for her. Brendan agrees and we take a walk around the gardens in search of some.
    There are so many things you can use in winter bouquets and thinking out of the box helps immensely. It also helps if you’ve got a highly experienced and trained Head Gardener by your side.

    #1680739
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 9088

    It was a long time ago and I’m pretty sure it was a wool carpet. It was in the house when we moved in so was pretty old by the time we replaced it. It was dark green and drained all of the colour out of the room but was much better than the horrible synthetic carpets I have now. Pity I don’t live closer to you: I’m a great hoarder of cardboard, always being convinced that I will find a use for it. My daughter made a robot called Marvin out of cardboard boxes. He resided in the living room for ages. I then turned a massive box into a house for two sets of grandchildren. It’s still in the living room albeit folded flat now as I can’t bear to part with it. I went to visit my youngest grandson today and he had three large items made out of cardboard boxes which made me immensely proud of him! I told him it was in his genes…

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