Thursday, 18 August 2011
Larkin and old photographs.
Yesterday was our Poetry Afternoon - as ever it was the most civilised gathering of beautiful poetry, lovely friends,, laughter and chat - not to mention the delicious home-made flapjack.
S read a poem I had not heard before. If you don't know it I urge you to seek it out. She read Larkin all afternoon, and this one 'Lines on a Young Lady's Photograph Album' I had not heard before. The poem brought the young lady to life as you saw her in various guises and we talked afterwards about how snapshots from the past are really moments caught in time.
This morning I looked out three old farm photographs for you to see. They are images of a style of farming long gone but for me they capture so many things. There is innocence there in the image of the farmer and his brother sitting on the old farm horse, their dad and elder sister standing by the side. There is a shot of the hay cart leading hay in the days when it was stored in a hayrick - hardwork and skill here. I don't suppose there are many people left who could construct a hay rick now. And finally there is the shot of the tractor stuck in the snow. The farm got its first Fergie tractor in 1947 - so the bad winter must have been after that. In addition the children are grown up. But, whatever the date, it does make you realise that tractors might well have made many jobs easier on the farm but there is still the weather to contend with.
Which brings me neatly to today, when we are desperately trying to make our last lot of silage. The farmer cut the grass yesterday as the forecast is for showers only. So far we have missed them but this morning there is a very heavy dew and hardly any breeze, so the grass will not be drying. Some jobs in farming remain stressful despite modern machinery.
However, it is an ill wind..... , it is giving the farmer time to pod two buckets of broad beans which I shall then blanch and freeze if I can find room in the freezer. He has brought in such a medley of vegetables in small quantities this morning - one courgette, eight runner beans, six yellow beans, broad beans, the last few peas and a few carrots - so for lunch I shall put them all in a tomato and basil sauce, cover the lot with cheese and hope they taste good.
Back to poetry another S read a poem in Yorkshire dialect (although she is from Lancashire, she made a jolly good stab at the dialect, which made me realise just how closely the two dialects are to each other). In it she talked about a 'wintredge' (not sure about the spelling here). Any idea what a wintredge is? Well I will tell you - it is a clothes horse for drying clothes on. In the summer you could spread your clothes on the hedge to dry in the sun; in the winter you needed to have something to hang them on - hence the wintredge. Those old clothes horses used to make lovely tents for putting a cloth over on the lawn on a summer's day - I can still smell the grass and feel the heat as you lay inside the lovely little tent. Wish I had a photo of it!