Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Miscellaneous thoughts.

This afternoon is our Poetry afternoon; perhaps my favourite afternoon of the month.   Honestly, can you think of anything more pleasurable than to sit in a lovely conservatory and read one's favourite poems with a group of like-minded friends?

In view of the political turmoil which surrounds us (and which we have stopped listening to on the news as we can do absolutely nothing about it ((my son calls this 'burying my head in the sand - well so be it.)), I thought it would be a good idea to base all my readings this afternoon on the beauty of the English countryside.   Hence the following choice:
Alexander Pope -' Ode to Solitude' (suggested by The Solitary Walker.)
Kenneth Grahame - (this a prose passage from The Wind in the Willows) a reading from the chapter 'The Piper at the gates of dawn' in which Mole and Ratty search the river for a missing otter cub and encounter Pan, who has guided them to the cub with his pan pipes.( suggested by Derek of Letters from Sheppey).
John Betjamen - 'Winter Seascape.'
U A Fanthorpe - 'At Swarkestone'

Last evening the farmer went upstairs for his shower and from where I sit in the hall at the computer I can hear the shower running.   It went on for such a long time and suddenly I was aware the farmer was coming downstairs and yet the shower was still running!   It was not in fact the shower at all - it was absolutely teaming with rain, all the gutters were overflowing and the water was streaming down the landing window (and yes, the window cleaner did come yesterday!).  We had eleven millimetres of rain in under a quarter of an hour.   

We always keep one field to make hay (for old times sake says the farmer) - it is the paddock directly outside the kitchen window.   This morning the grass (which was very high) is absolutely flat in the field.  And it is raining again now.   At breakfast this morning I asked him how much of a catastrophe would this kind of happening have been in the days when they only made hay and then cut it with a scythe, and depended upon it for winter feed.   He explained that although it would have been bad, the grass would have been nothing like as high as the only fertiliser would probably have been 'muck', whereas now the fields are all fertilised with 20:10:10: to get a higher and better crop.

How farming has changed since those days and what would these old farmers think if they were to come back and see those changes.   I think of my father-in-law, who was well into his nineties when he died and who worked in a gentle kind of way up until his death, and how, at hay time, when all the hay had been gathered up, he would go round the hedge bottoms raking out the last vestiges of hay so that nothing was wasted.   Then the cows would be turned into the field to 'pike' , to eat all round the edges where the scythe couldn't reach.

Waste not want not was the maxim for most things in those days whereas (at least in the western world) this maxim seems to have been forgotten in all walks of life.

17 comments:

Derek Faulkner said...

As far as I know, not a scrap of hay has been cut here on Sheppey in North Kent so far. I can't recall when we had more than a couple of dry, sunny days on the trot. The more that the long grass goes over as well, the more difficult it'll be for the mower to get under it to cut it. Having said that, even if the weather had been OK, some of the farmers are hamstrung by wild-life friendly subsidies that they receive that prevent them from cutting hay until July.

Acornmoon said...

I can't think of a better way to cope with the current situation than by immersing yourself in poetry and nature. I hope it stops raining soon, enough is enough. x

Heather said...

I agree with Acornmoon and love your choice of poems. It has rained most of the day here but at least I managed to cut our lawn a couple of days ago or I would have needed a scythe! My energy doesn't always coincide with the right weather conditions. I hope some of your hay can be saved - June has been such a disappointing month but perhaps the cooler conditions will help poor Tess to feel more comfortable. I have had problems with my lap for the past few days and haven't been able to leave any comments, however, I have still be able to read my favourite blog.

donna baker said...

It is a different world today Pat. Grandma Great was so frugal. she grew most of her food and even drank powdered milk. She had massive rubber band balls and saved all her tin foil, also made into balls and cleaned out bread bags. She had come from such humble beginnings, she didn't waste a thing.

Mac n' Janet said...

There is nothing you can do about what has happened so worrying about it won't change a thing. So it's not burying your head, but rather getting on with life and the things you can control. Your father-in-law sounds like he was a wise and thrifty soul.

Rachel said...

I love poetry read aloud. I am envious of your poetry group. I have a pail half full of water outside the back door that has collected in the past 5 nights/days and taking into consideration day-time evaporation. From the train tonight I could see up the tramlines in the fields and they are full with water. The barley is starting to turn.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for your comments - as usual all such interesting contributions.

Joanne Noragon said...

Driving my cat and grandchildren away to spend an hour at the park while the house had another showing, Laura observed that although the cat was meowing, he was purring. "To sooth himself," I explained. I think we are all doing a deal of purring these days.

Gwil W said...

Sounds like fun your group. I went JB's grave in a church in sand dune near Padstow I think it was. Lovely spot. A golf course. Bit windy. Can't remember much else. It was a while ago. Anyway it's JB's head buried in the sand , not yours!

littlemancat said...

Your poetry group sounds lovely - a solace as well as stimulating. I especially liked your choice of that chapter from "The Wind in the Willows" - my very favorite. It is magical.
Over here, across the great pond, I too am hiding my head in the sand. Doses of daily Trump will do that to you! What at first seemed impossible - his winning the nomination - has, or soon will, be reality. What will November bring?

A first time comment, but a long time reader,
Mary

Frugal in Essex said...

I'm burying my head in the sand too it seems to be the best place. We have a had a couple of showers today but nothing like we experienced at the weekend. It is very cold and windy today, if I didn't know better I'd say its October.

Coppa's girl said...

Must find my John Betjamin books out and see if "Winter Seascape" is there. I find his poetry sometimes comforting, and always amusing.

angryparsnip said...

Your poetry group always sounds so lovely.
Love "The Wind In The Willows", I need to read it again. I have a copy that has bigger type for me.

cheers, parsnip and thehamish

Librarian said...

I am still very much a follower of the "waste not, want not" philosophy and rarely - if ever - replace something as long as it is still good enough to be used. Also, I hate throwing out food, and rather have several small grocery shopping trips to get just what I need for the next few days than one huge trolley load (which I would not get hauled home from the supermarket without a car, anyway).

When you started telling the story of the shower "going on" for so long, I was worried that something had happened to the Farmer! Good to read it was "only" rain.

Been walking across the fields on my way home from work yesterday. A lot of the wheat and other crop has been pushed flat by the strong winds and heavy rains we've been having. It can't be good for it.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

My grandmother used to have a breadboard which was decorated around the edge with the words "Waste Not Want Not", on the reverse side it said "Pick It Up And Eat It", advice which I'm sure was often followed. Surely in the interests of frugality you should be encouraging the farmer to stand outside in the rain rather than waste water in the shower!

thelma said...

I try to be frugal as well, especially in clothes, I buy stuff when I need it. We often get nostalgic about the 'old days' but of course there was a lot of work for women as well as men. Farmers are happy with the big machines that sow the seed and crop it, but we are also gifted with washing machines, fridges and even cars. Our lives are so different to past ones that sometimes the endless time in the evening before radio and television seem a peaceful haven.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I like John's idea of the farmer taking an outdoor shower to save water!!
Thanks again for comments - they make such interesting reading and somewherefill out the articles I write.