Saturday, 21 July 2018

You will be there

Your favourite countryside pictures



Dear Reader,



I love making bread, kneading the dough and then it producing a lovely warm, delicious smell in the kitchen.  I have just read that the oldest bread in the world has been discovered in a Middle Eastern desert.  Its 14,400-year-old charred crumbs when found contained wild wheat, barley and oats.These findings show humans made bread from wild seeds long before we started growing crops some 4,000 years later.  This discovery was made at an archaeological site in the Black Desert of north-eastern Jordan.   The scientists who found them uncovered two well-preserved buildings each containing a circular stone fireplace within which the crumbs were found.   In the 24 crumbs analysed they found signs of grinding, sieving and kneading.  Previously the oldest evidence of bread making had come from a 9,000-year-old Neolithic site at Catalhoyuk in Turkey but the new discovery is the earliest evidence of baking. Obviously the Natufian people who lived then knew some of the good things in life.


*
You will be there

When I wake
wonder where I am
why my chest hurts

You will be there

When tears fall
as physic tells of treatment
radiotherapy, chemotherapy

You will be there

When I want loving
arms around me
kissing my lips, my body

And you will be 
ever there


*

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Crossing the Bar - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Dear Reader,
                                                                                          Pictures of Rural England

One of the few poems I have learnt by heart of late is Alfred, Lord Tennyson's :  Crossing the Bar.  This poem is very poignant for me - it seems to touch somewhere inside my heart and by its end I am always in tears.  So I thought I would share it with you this week. 

More than any other Victorian writer, Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) has seemed the embodiment of his age, both to contemporaries and to modern readers.  In his own day he was said to be, with Queen Victoria and Gladstone, one of the most famous living persons, a reputation no other living poet writing in English ever had.  As official poetic spokesman for the reign of Victoria he felt called upon to celebrate a quickly changing industrial and mercantile world with which he felt little in common, for his deepest sympathies were called forth by an unaltered rural England; the conflict between what he thought; of as his duty to society and his allegiance to the eternal beauty of nature seems peculiarly Victorian.  Even his most severe critics have always recognised his lyrical gift for sound and cadence, a gift probably unequalled in the history of English poetry, but one so absolute that it has sometimes been mistaken for mere fantasy.

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The bar, by the way, is physically a bar of sand in shallow water.   That is all I can find out about it.
Tennyson wrote this poem three years before his death.


Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call to me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

                                                                          *

With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Ramparts

Dear Reader,







                                                                
                                                                               Thomas Hardy's Cottage


Francis and I visited Dorset this week, staying in a cottage near Lyme Regis.  Whilst there we visited Thomas Hardy's house in Higher Bockhampton.   It is a small cob and thatch building where he was born in 1840 and where he lived until he was 34.  During this time he wrote two novels:  Under the Greenwood Tree (1872) and Far From the Madding Crowd(1874).   He left home to marry Emma Gifford, the daughter of a solicitor.  The cottage was built in 1800 by his great-grandfather, and  has a typical cottage garden, the interior of the house has furniture of the period although not from the Hardy family.

Even although there were numerous other tourists in the house when we were there, I found it completely charming and peaceful.  It was all so simple and I think not much different from when Hardy lived there.  There were three small bedrooms, white washed, with quilts as bedspreads, china chamber pots, and a Bible by the beds.  All one wants in a bedroom I would say.  In the kitchen there was a small table and a big stove for cooking on, oh and a shelf or two. The floor was made of flagstones, now a faded pink and, I found it easy to imagine Thomas walking over them, pipe in mouth. I looked out of the very small window where he did his writing and saw flowers and woodland.  There I thought was his inspiration for his first novel: Under the Greenwood Tree.  And I really felt him there beside me.  If you are in Dorset and haven't been I do recommend it as a lovely outing.




                                                                          *

Ramparts

To keep people out,
medieval man built castle walls,
dug moats, constructed drawbridges.
"No admission" was understood
from oaken doors, black studded.

Modern man spoils streets,
violates the countryside
with "keep out" signs.
Things do not change.

Ramparts encircle people.
"No admission" written on their faces,
and looks are exchanged with
a private label.

These rejections, solid or implied
do not threaten me,
"Keep out" outdared by my skylark spirit.
It flies free.

                                                                        *

With best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Katie's Angels


Dear Reader,





Just a little about myself this week to put you in the picture.  I have been diagnosed with lung cancer and. at the same time,  have found a wonderful new partner called Francis, a Professor of Social Psychology.  He is also a widower who nursed his wife through dementia, and is prepared to look after me through my obviously difficult times ahead.  I put the picture of the piper on the blog as Francis plays the bagpipe and did so for me, by a lake,  in the Forest of Dean this last lovely sunny week.  So good and bad news but I am determined to fight whatever comes up and to get through the eye of the storm.  

The blog will continue as usual next week. 

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The RSPB has given gulls a better press than they have been having lately.  Apparently they are intelligent and adaptable and we should learn to understand them.  'Clever gulls have learned that humans can be messy, leaving discarded food on the streets or in overflowing litter bins, and also that sometimes we will feed them' said a spokesperson for the RSPB.  Gulls are skilled scavengers, however they have a soft side and mate for life.  The male helps incubate the eggs, then later takes it in turn with the female to look after and feed the chicks. Obviously the modern male, then!


      *

Katie's Angels


At dawn, driving eastwards,
mist still covering the fields,
trees ribboned in cobwebs,
sky blue and white.

She saw a rabbit, a pigeon,
and two hen pheasants, 
but no cherubs, no bright light.

Much later, lost, tired,
rounding a corner she saw
gathered in the road
twenty white doves.

They flew up,
a breath of sunshine
tipping their wings.
Ecstatic, she recognised the sign,
recognised her angels.

                                                                             *

With very best wishes, Patricia