Garden in the rain

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It is absolutely pouring down with rain today and the wind is blowing really strong. The type of wind that sends people and animals batty!! Look at the horizon in the photo!! Yuk!!

So, Im abandoning doing the garden today and waiting until it is fine again. (Up here in the Pennines that might be a long wait!!)

It is easy to imagine that I am in Wuthering Heights with the sound of the rain and wind. I wonder if Heathcliff will come knocking!!

I did go out to feed the chickens though. They were very pleased and cluck clucked all over the place. Found 3 eggs today too!! Do you want one? Fried or boiled?

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Ok to the garden……

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So now to the garden!!

I know nothing about gardens and I want to make the garden of my home beautiful!! As I can see it has been!

I have started to clear some of the undergrowth and I have discovered that this garden has obviously at one time been very loved. (I guess that’s not surprising when you think there must have been a garden here since the 16th century)

I want to plant thyme in between the cracks of the flags. I do wonder how many people over the years have walked on these or pulled the weeds out from in between these huge flags.

However, although the garden has been loved – and it really is obvious – it has not been tended for some years and there is a lot of undergrowth and vegetation that has just grown up and taken over.

So my question is…. how do I tell what are weeds and what are flowers and plants? I really don’t want to inadvertently remove something that will at some point be really beautiful. like today, I started digging out some plant that I knew to be a weed and then turned over a whole load of bulbs. I hastily covered then up again, not having a clue what they are.

And then there is compost!! How to make it? Where to place it? What to put in it in what proportions? Oh it is all to learn!!

I’m content though!! I love being here and doing this garden. Never thought I would like gardening. In fact I didn’t like it!! Maybe it’s my age!! lol

Dating back to William the Conk

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If you don’t know English history, then William the Conqueror will not be significant to you, but to any English school-child history starts with William the Conk!! He was the last person who invaded England and kids are taught about him as a starting point to English history.

So why am I mentioning him…… well he was around in 1066 – about 1000 years ago, give or take a couple of decades!!

Take a look down my blog and you will find a picture of a ceiling. My ceiling at my new house. The beams in the ceiling date back to the 11th century!! Which is amazing. They are probably 900 years old!

So what’s the story……….

Well, the house was originally built in the 16th century (I will find more exact dates as I do my research) and the beams for the house and barn came from a decommissioned navy ship. Goodness knows where the ship sailed to in it’s life time, possibly the New World or the spice route – who knows. Anyway, when the ship was decommissioned the “scrap” wood was carried up here into the Pennines and became the basis of the beams and wood that was used for alot of the houses.

Now, those ships were made from 300 year old oak. They were probably in commission for 50 or so years, maybe more. So do the maths……… I reckon that my ceiling beams date back to William the Conk!!

More to come…….!!

Moving House

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Hi All

Haven’t been able to blog today as I have been moving house. It rained and rained and rained all day so we moved everything in the wet! It was fit only for ducks, not removals!!

It is the MOST beautiful house that I am moving too. Pictures will come soon!

Here is one of the ceiling to tantalise you!! The beams probably date back to the 16th century. Which of course, if they were 300 year old oak when the house was built, then the wood dates back to 10th or the 11th century.

be back tomorrow

Just another old woman – dead now.

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She was my Mum. And now she is dead.

She was doing fine, except for a little bit of bleeding from her “nether-end”

Her last wish was to come and live with me. We were on course to do that. She was 95 when she died. She could have died anytime, from any number of complaints she had.

Except she didn’t just die anytime….. she was admitted to a larger hospital for a routine investigation. The hospital took 3 days to get around to the test and then another 4 days to get her back to the little cottage hospital.

Over that week, the ward that she was on……. and I know this sounds incredible……. they did not feed her, they did not give her water, they used the wrong plasters and bandages on her to the extent that every time they removed the bandages they ripped new gashes in her skin. Her arms, legs and backside were ripped to shreds. When I finally got her back to the cottage hospital, the nurses there were shocked at how she was. How cut, bruised, dehydrated and undernourished she was. They took photos of her wounds, made her very comfortable with a duvet and many pillows and fed her chicken soup via a syringe. She died 12 hours later.

She was 95. An old lady can’t take this amount of neglect. Despite the fact I was in the hospital I was unable to make any difference. The nurses made out that Mum had dementia. She had not and for instance they told me she was being fed when she was assuring me that they had offered her nothing. I watched my Mother die from neglect in a British hospital over that week.

And this was a large English hospital. This was our wonderful NHS. At the very least we expect to be fed, watered, kept warm and cared for in our hospitals. They left my mother to die and they actively hastened her death. Why – she was an old woman and she was not worth bothering with.

SHE WAS A HUMAN BEING. She had a right to life and a decent last few months of life. This hospital not only abused her but they also robbed her of her life.

And she was MY MUM.

Mum.... waiting to come home

I am going to start a campaign. Not sure how yet or actually what specifically about this I will focus on…… but I am DAMNED if I’m not going to do something about this!! This hospital killed my Mum.

I’ll write more later, but for now if this touches you and you would like to contact me or even help with the campaign, please get in touch.

Alston Moor – wild places of England

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Having started writing this blog about Alston Moor, I went scouting around the internet to see what information, pictures or videos I could find and I came across the “header” above. It is a panoramic view of Hartside – the place that you can see for miles and miles.

The site that I found the picture on had several really beautiful photos. The site is entitled John’s Pics. But I couldn’t find a “John” to ask if I could use his picture. So I guessed at his possible address and I’ve emailed him to ask permission and to tell him how beautiful his photography is! Update: I got the correct address and John has very kindly said I can use his pictures here on my blog. His site can be found here

The River Nent

There's silver up that river!!

Both the header and the picture above are copyright to as yet an unknown John!

Alston Moor really was a wild place when I went there in the late 70’s. From the moment I came over Hartside I knew that it was somewhere in the world that I wanted to live and that going back to city living was something that I would never do again.

Of course, back then mobile phones were not the accessory that they are now. Making the journey to Hexham in the North East, Penrith in the South, Carlisle – North West or Durham to the East (the 4 nearest towns) was not to be taken lightly, either because of the weather or that maybe the old banger cars that we used to drive might very well not get there. Paying attention to how far back or forward the nearest phone box was, was really important. There were many times that I broke down on one of these roads and had to walk several miles to get help. Or indeed the time that I was driving up Hartside in a blizzard and fortunately I noticed the snow plough at the top, flashed my lights at him and he came down to get me, clearing the way as he came! A night in the car would not have been pleasant!

This is not the actual incident, but it might well have been. more soon!!

Just chatting about my Life

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Well I’m currently in the US for Xmas and the New Year and then I am back to the UK to start a new phase of my life in a place that I used to live 18 years ago!! It’s called Alston and is in Cumbria, UK.

The town itself is classed as England’s highest market town at 1400 ft. (I know, my US friends – that is nothing to places in the States) however, for England it is high and remote.

When I first moved there in 1979 it was wild, and considered the middle of no-where, as it is placed at the highest point in the hilly backbone that spans the north of England.  It had just had an influx of “hippies” who were living in benders and tents, not realising exactly how inclement the weather could be to outdoor dwellers! After all this was damp England at it’s best …and up on the top of the Pennine Chain the weather can be bitter and tumultuous a lot of the year round. In fact, back then we used to have a saying about Alston Moor weather….. “There is winter and there is August!!”

Back then if you applied for a job in the nearest larger towns of Penrith, Hexham or Carlisle as soon as you said that you lived in Alston they would look at you and say……. “Ok, we will be in touch, but we are looking for someone who can get here all year round, not just in good weather”

People of spirit live in Alston Moor. You had to be. You also had to make your own work…… work and jobs were hard to find. The pits had closed down, and despite soldiering on for quite a while the foundry closed too. Alston was in the news with predictions that it would become a ghost town very soon.

That never happened. There were (and still are) many small businesses there. Most business came to make alot of money with their “idea” and left soon after having struggled with the harshness of the environment and the long distance to “civilisation!!” However, a number survived and new and old blood worked hard at keeping the place from fulfilling the ghost town predictions.

Despite (or maybe because of) being remote and inclement, Alston Moor is for me  one of the most beautiful places in the world. That’s why I lived and loved the place from the moment I drove up the long, winding  and steep road over Hartside ( where on a clear day you can see forever- or at least 100 miles) to discover it. And that’s why, now I am returning. It has beauty, community, depth and vibrance! Now it is going to have me too, back home again.

To be continued….

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