We were back in the Dales last week, the place that I think of as home, although I've now lived out of the county for over half a century. The days were sunny but cold and we did very little walking but had a sociable time with friends and neighbours. I had quite a bit of cutting back to do in the small front garden as plants had grown over the steps and pathway. I'd fastened up the entrance gate with a twist of wire on my last visit in the summer so that the nuthatch nesting by the french windows would not be disturbed. There was plenty of stuff to clear. Any suitable material for burning was welcomed to be added to the village bonfire for Guy Fawkes Night.
Guy Fawkes was a Yorkshire man, educated at St Peter's School in York, the fourth oldest school in the world. It was founded by Paulus of York in 627AD. The school has a bonfire each year but a 'guy' is never burnt. When I was young it was a common sight on the days leading up to Bonfire Night to see children dragging round their guy on a buggy or standing by a slumped guy in a doorway asking for 'a penny for the guy'. It was an acceptable form of begging, to collect enough money to buy bangers that would scare the wits out of little girls like me! (I saved my money for tuppenny snowstorms and would keep one to light under the trees in the winter when real snow had fallen.)
It was a cold, clear night on November 5th
with a full moon.
Everyone was well wrapped up. I was wearing my hiking socks and boots for warmth, quite forgetting that I would need to jump the stream if I wasn't going to roast and burn by the fire. More sensible people were wearing thick socks and wellies and could wade through the water.
Our friend, Brian, died in the spring and his house has just been cleared and sold. He was a committed Catholic in a dale of chapel folk. His old sofa had been put on the bonfire and it burned brightly. It caused me to reflect on the reason behind the gunpowder plot, a response to the persecution of Catholics in England. I'm glad to leave those days far behind. No one had made a guy for our bonfire and I'm sure that Brian, who had a great sense of humour, would have been amused to see his sofa warming all his chapel neighbours!
Remnants of old Catherine wheels were pinned to a bit of fencing, relics of bonfires past.
Our daughters were home for a few days and we walked up the road for lunch. It's aways interesting to see what arrives on the plate because the hotel has a 25 mile food policy with much of the produce coming from their well-stocked vegetable garden. A meal is always followed up with a wander around to see what is growing.
All well labeled.
The food is garnished with flowers and/or herbs giving great plate appeal and the plates themselves are a mishmash of old styles, this beetroot puree looking good against the blue.
A few marigold petals sprinkled on the dessert.
In the greenhouse
squash and pumpkin stored under the workbench
and a record of what has been picked.
Other temptations in the drawing room where we sat to have coffee.
Such a strange light this morning, a pinkish-yellow glow. And up in the sky the sun was looking quite peculiar!
I learnt on the evening news that the reason for this was that Storm Ophelia had dragged up red sand from the Sahara. Rather freaky weather, the wind was whipping everything about yet the temperature was warm.
Last week I was given the present of cotton indigo-dyed jacket, made in Japan. It is blissfully comfy, like wearing a dressing gown, perfect to wear outside in this mid season and inside in the winter.
It's a simple and very traditional-looking design, like a piece of peasant clothing, (just the thing for me!) sold by Toast. I think it will look as good dressed up with skirt and heels as it does in battered old jeans. The colour will fade over time. The wind has conveniently blown open a corner of the jacket so that you can see the simple cotton lining.
Last Saturday, on a rather dank autumnal day, we went to Cambridge to see the Degas exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum.
But first we walked to Christ's College to look at the gardens.
A good display of window boxes in First Court
and interesting gateways to walk through,
More gateways elsewhere in town.
Not everywhere open to view.
Our gown buying days are long gone!
And reflections in the glass have spoilt your view of this glorious attire!
I'm always on the hunt for a really zingy-coloured shirt for Himself. But no luck here.
We walked through the market to the museum.
Some rather foggy images taken from a short film of Degas walking along a street in Paris.
It's a very comprehensive show, full of interesting detail, with so much to absorb that we did it in two halves with a break for lunch in the middle.
Apart from the expected images of dancers, horses, portraits and the like, there were some surprises. This lovely landscape I would not have recognised as a Degas. It was hung between a Corot and a Thomas Jones and it was this sort of intelligent hanging, and the accompanying text, that made it such a fascinating show.
Such interesting details, this X-ray of the figurine of a dancer showing the shop-bought armature that Degas had purchased and adapted for his particular use.
I live with Himself (husband) in a former gamekeeper's cottage in the South-West of England.
All text and photographs on this blog are
copyright and property of Rosemary Murphy unless otherwise stated.
I have three blogs;
Share my garden,
My life in one hundred objects and
The 'Himself' blog consists of short stories and artwork, copyright of Peter Murphy.