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... knee pain and some others, left hand and elbows is bugging me. Good boots have cured foot pain tho little things like steps and getting in and out of the car are tricky. A stricter adherence to no potatos, tomatos or bell peppers, minimal red meat etc etc is being more rigorously adhered to. Had a home cooked burger and salad the other evening, didn't particularly like it. Homemade chicken curry and brown rice suits me and is enjoyable, my wifes usual mince and vegetables is okay and whatever she rustles up is fine, aiming for lots of green veg as everyone advises. I never eat a desert, nothing sweet at all ever. Not keen on sweeties or ice cream, just plain simple fresh food with minimal adulteration or processing. Also preferably not irradiated and from small local suppliers rather than a big supermarket. I don't like the buying clout that supermarkets have. I don't grow my own veg, more a flower and perennial man, bit of a garden snob actually. ... keep me off the subject of gravel and paving !!  

I take supplements, have done for say five six years, bromelain painkiller, devils claw, zinc, msm, cod liver oil, flax oil, multi vit with iron. These last few days have upped the bromelain dosage to is recc three a day, have staved off this till necessary. Have been prescribed diclofenic painkiller from the docs tho only use this occasionally, I took one and a solpadeine on an empty stomach and had ten days of diarr (trick spelling) hea and sore guts ....    lesson  learnt.

I eat nothing citrus, never anything rhubarb and have switched to non orange dilute drinks. Looks like an acidity thing. I also occasionally drink a nuitritional supplement for invalids and 'Actimel' ie L.casei  and I actually don't like milk as it makes me feel sick, coffee with even a touch of milk is now doing the same so that i can see soon will be jettisoned.  Tea is a complete no-no, have to drink this three times a year when we are invited to tea and this is enough. Wheat and its elimination is something that might have to be looked at. My auntie A has struggled all her life with thyroid, diet and allergy to certain foods. ad a family at least on my dads side we have notoriousl delicate guts.

The pigeeon casserole is still ongoing, i make this say every ten fourteen days and have refined it to onions, celery (good for arthritis) garlic, mxd herbs, chicken stock cube and the crucial tablespoon of honey and sprig of rosemary on top. Forget the sultanas and mushrooms and chopped bacon, all superfluous. 

Luckily my normal workshop work is the easiest work i do, I worked hard yesterday, no real pain.  Its probable its the other work we'll have to phase out. 

And whats the best medicine of all ... do what you want to do !!



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... with tv reporter Robert Peston. Oh dear, how this man irritates and offends me. If only he would stick to facts and report in a more detached professional manner instead of this obsession with himself and Pestons World. The absurd and thankfully now toned down a little vocal delivery is a real pain, yet its the manner in which a story is put over that often beggars belief.  Are we so removed from reality these days?? Trying sooo hard to give it 'edge'.  Wow, trendy Peston.

Last nights tv piece with him visiting Liverpool i would have imagined would have had Liverpudlians shaking their heads. I was particularly offended by seeing needless Toxteth riot footage intertwined with learning job prospects are no different, hey guys ... lets riot !! People have spent a lot of years forgetting that crap, we don't need it thrust in our faces again. I seldom watch tv if at all, Peston confirms this decision. He needs to be stopped. A garbage reporter and he already has come in for severe criticism in his reporting of the recession.
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This is new to me and probably an intellectual leap to another level. It is certainly interesting, incredible musicianship.
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These are courtesy of friend Zhuzhu in China. All are at Huguosi (no tones available) and the bottom is old Siheyuan. I think some scenes from the film 'Hongqipu' were set at Huguosi (Beijing), that being the reason to contact and ask for any information / pictures.


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I am very much resolved to be of more use to my aged Aunt, its now she needs me. The fact of the village where she lives and how i am repelled by it is now irrelevant. First task is to parcel up some soft licquorice..... desperately needed!!  She is a model of how to live on little money.

Today has been some of the usual, some web, some study then unusually at lunchtime attacking the garden and clipping and tidying and the huge Pauls Himalayan rambler. I think before I get too old it will have to be taken out, all great growing things must leave this garden eventually, we must re-work it so that I can cope as I get older. I can imagine in years to come vast carpets of snowdrop, crocus, fritillaria and cyclamen and perhaps with some erythronium and lesser things. I hope to keep the crab apple raised from seed twenty years ago when we first moved onto this estate, willow trees at the bottom of the garden will eventually have to go too.

Tonights big thing was finding a tiny stunned bat after a big and noisey tractor with headlights on full had passed by, so i wrapped it loosely in a tissue and carried it back to the car to show my wife. Then placed it on a stile with small stones to keep the tissue from fluttering, thirty minutes later no sign .... so hopefully mobile again. Its a stretch of road that bats frequent, perhaps insects like the warm tarmac? Maybe a thousand times at dusk and this the first time found one on the road immobile. .. oh yes and yesterday rescued a stuck little toad from a plastic bin liner with saved seed stalks ... phoaw its busy round here !! 
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Doesn't look much from here yet this is one of our favourite walks. Its two miles from the sea and has the benefit of the landowner caring to allow a variety of trees to line the burn as it runs seaward. I've taken algal samples before and seen the area in all seasons and weathers.


In two or three years time we should see some cowslips here. No stock grazes. 


Hawthorn on the left and on the right a poor pic of a curiously nibbled holly in front of the hemmel. I should have used 'foliage' setting on the camera and stopped down the aperture, either manually or by fixing it as it points skyward... excuse being I was in a bit of a hurry. 

I shall propogate from these two, thay shall live on elsewhere.


Various emotions yesterday, a realisation that now we need to visit my aged aunt more often. Forgetful neighbours and another helpful neighbour moving away leave her with less than the minimum useful assistance. Her usual gardener of forty years is now too ill to work, the new man not much good, so there is another area i can help. For a woman that throughout her life was an intelligent and accomplished gardener with good taste it must pain her to see such inattention to detail. My wife is approaching saintly status as it now seems we travel with cleaning materials, her uncle needing help and now my aunt will get the treatment.

Driving back we asked one another where is the Church in all this?? People with cars and sufficient money move into the village to retire, surely there can be help available for old people?? At one time I would have thought the local vicars/ clergy made sure all old people were kept connected and help given where needed, errands run.

Other emotions too, seeing our old house at number 38 (moved there in 1964 for seven years) so uncared for, at one time it had a good front garden. Silly things like houses were there were green fields, a mini industrial estate sited in the most unsuitable location, where was Planning that day??  

A day later thinking of when living at number 38 my mind is full of all the activities i would get up to, there was so much I was into, workshop, garden, books, nature and rambling, bicycles, modelmaking of all kinds, art, radio and lots more.  A full and happy childhood apart from one or two extraneous shits at school. And even thats no problem as it fires you up to excel in later years.

Thinking of Rex the dog of my childhood is the one thing that can still turn on the waterworks, driving thro the area yesterday  where we will have roamed together and certainly a lot by himself is quite emotional for me thinking about him the next day.

Never mind, not all bad, thrilled at the G.D. grave as cited previously  and the final item on the itinerary was well worthwhile.

And this morning i prayed.
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I was greatly moved to visit this most beautiful monument and resting place of an incredibly brave woman. Perhaps only my second visit, tho i have no memory of ever being in that churchyard before and decades since i was last in the village. Even so, i will have passed by many dozens of times with my Dad going to and from the quarry and can remember cycling over to the museum several times when a child.


Its as if her head rests on a wave and there is seaweed carved on the stone beneath this wave mattress.  Beautiful design and workmanship. Would make a wonderful subject for sketching.


A lot if not most of my ancestors on both sides were at sea,  fishermen and some Royal Navy.  Things maritime, ships, their engine rooms and machinery and small vessels have always interested me. My first seven years were spent at Whitby where its thriving small port would be fascinating to watch, their comings and goings and the light and the seasons on the water. Even now forty plus years later I can visualise light and sound as it was on that river. This fascination extends to all water and its habitats, upland hillside burns and ditches, algae and plankton and their eco systems. Fifty years ago it would be normal for any young kid to be interested in ships and shipping, now we've little to see certainly of commercial trade and lamentabley for kids there are other more intense modernday distractions for them. 

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... and good weather too. No camera deliberately on purpose, I can easily become a slave to it and anyway have lots of footage of that location already. Its here at my home stamping ground that I desire endless minutae and in fact to me is a far more atmospheric and cherished locale.
High point was meeting a spiritualist up at C'rig st#ne c#rcl#. First visit there since the first one fifteen years ago when we had our niece with us and our first beagle Snuff. So there I was idly circling the stones and quite by chance struck up a conversation, an easy thing to do as having a cute looking dog on a lead opens so many conversational doors.  We quickly covered a lot of stuff, diet, attitude, personal foibles. I need now to eat more Yang foods however looking at a list online a some of them are what I already have been advised not to eat, I'll dig further and see if I can tweak my food input. He was very astute in realising my deep need to be conected with the earth (enjoying gardening even in a dense urban location) and really appreciating wild remote seldom visited places. I found zero vibe up at the st#ne c#rcl#, i felt it was because it was so often visited by tourists (ice cream van parked nearby etc)  and particularly as the stones themselves seemed the opposite of ancient. Perhaps visitors take something away or devalue it. All i can say is the view was good and the continuing country lane was enjoyable ..... with atmosphere and in fact on a later visit the highlight for me.  I could just spy Audens holiday home and mentioned it to a couple of people, I went back three times 'looking', interesting echo at dusk from some of the stones but not any sense to me of atmosphere or things ancient, really did feel as if it needed running water. This thing of what 'atmosphere' is, good bad or indifferent is an interesting subject.   

Friend Pauline was a good natter as usual and has coped well with last years problems.

Butcher bought bacon was inedible, binned, as was their cheese a while back. We lament the loss of Michaels. 

Two  good books in the Oxfam shop for me tho for the ordinary person a total disaster, nothing easy or light for holidays.

Its a low key week for us, easy walks up and along the woods, Smud knows exactly where he is and the cottage itself is spotless. Unusually I watched zero tv, normally its the only time I do. Yet this week little interested and what I did 'hear' held no interest. Luckily had thought ahead and taken my own comfy deckchair and books, so only had the hard mattress to contend with. Allan Bennets 'Untold stories' has proven a good read. Just before I went I got at bargain price another 'The Low Countries - Art and Society in Flanders and the low countries - 2007' tho its subject matter has veered away from things historical / art its still a good and varied read. Otherwise it a handful of books on some of my usual interests, architecture/ planning, Mandarin, prehistory. And no newspapers, I still have some lying here unopened and unread from weeks ago. 

We left early as i detest the Saturday morning rush, so its a leisurely Friday teatime departure, driving to catch the sunset and the horses. Below in the first shot centre is a very rare freestanding town belfry circa 15c with 18c re-work. The sunset at this stage was stunning tho badly captured on camera.



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At a guess fifteen foot high, fashioned into rectangular section tapering. Topmost point extensively weathered, not got my stuff as far as I could see on the quick visit. Wonderful views all around, feels the 'centre' of the landscape. Perhaps a preaching cross? Its a beautiful object and a credit to the people that made and erected it.

Looking at my map and realising i made a ninety degree misjudgement re car, the first photo candidly reveals most likely how the layout should be regarded, we can ignore C##viot. I really do think too much can be made of alignments and straight lines, tho i would like to explore / have an expert in re picking up l#y l#nes. Perhaps its just a nice place to hold an open air congregation.

Interestingly, when I first got to this location, looking for another stone I drove down the road a few hundred yards and incredibly it was the bridge and pull in where my Dad would take me fishing forty years ago. Been there several times. I can remember seeing fish that looked like chubb close in to the bank and maybe fifteen or twenty years ago took our niece Sarah to have a look. 
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Simple things can photograph so appealingly, the above two images are from last night and this evening got a shot of the farmer ploughing.

Agrivert is a common smell (waste from sewage treatment)  I'm glad it helps the soil rather than being dumped at sea as once the practice so I read. This and the muck from the byre means we have plenty of smells right now.

Was kindly given Alan Bennetts 'Untold Stories'  a couple of weeks ago. Till page fifty I was still hearing Thora Hird (Brit actress) yet that soon wore off and I just enjoyed the writing itself. I am a giddy goat, I had no idea he was gay. Then again I do not watch tv or have read many newspapers in the last ten years.  He paints a good picture of growing up and stretching away from ones parents. I think I can read when he has written some pieces late at night, perhaps with a drink at hand, much as I do here. Good stuff, I really enjoyed his recollection of explorer Wifred Thesiger crossing the desert with little more than water and a few dates, Alan traversed his entire twenties with no dates at all! ... pricelesss. We need all the good reading material we can get to wean us away from this dreaded machine.
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