Thursday, 22 February 2018

Thursday

Bright, sunny, getting colder - this about sums up today here in North Yorkshire.   Over the tops of the houses of the estate where I now live I can see the Fells and the Grouse Moors and I see that today they are beginning to burn the heather.   Plumes of white smoke rise here and there - this burning is very much controlled and only done when the weather is right.   Grouse feed on heather and it is done to rejuvenate the plants so that they grow strong and healthy.

Just when we all felt that it was March next week and we were coming to the end of what has been a cold winter here, the weather forecast tells of Polar weather next week (they are not sure which parts of the country will be worst affected) and advises 'the elderly' to stay indoors and keep warm.  The weather map showed the deep blue of very cold weather all across Russia and Siberia and then sweeping down through the whole of Europe.

So, I ask myself, 'am I classed as elderly'?   Well, I am in my eighties; the girls on the checkouts in the supermarket regularly ask me if I want them to pack my bag; people hold doors open for me.  I presume this means I must look elderly (and I do walk with a stick) but the trouble is that I do not feel elderly.   Alright, I have an arthritic ankle which makes me a little unsteady in my walking (although friends tell me I walk much better now) and I am certainly not short of wrinkles but I try to keep abreast of things -the news, the newspaper, the computer.   On the whole I do not see myself as a Luddite.   But, nevertheless, if the weather really does become Polar I may well take to my
bed with a flask of Horlicks! 

I just paused to watch the headlines of the six o'clock news - the news and the pictures from Syria are terrible - I could hardly bear to look.   The United Nations Security Council are meeting later tonight in an effort to get a ceasefire so that aid can get in to help those trapped and injured and get some of them out.  On the one hand there was slightly heartening news last week when North Korea decided to join in the Winter Olympics and so one felt there might be a chink of light in World affairs.   Now that chink has gone and indeed darkness is worse than it was before.

23 comments:

Rachel Phillips said...

The light is still there. Don't think otherwise. The news from Syria is not good. But a few weeks ago we were all going to die if you believed the BBC and every news channel and newspaper. I am regularly asked by the supermarket if I want help with packing. It is something polite they are trained to do in staff training. You are only as old as you feel. Bertrand Russell said in 1945, at the end of the Second World War, we would all be dead in 20 years. He wasn't right either.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

They often ask me if I need help with packing - the other day I'd only bought 3 items!

Derek Faulkner said...

It was certainly a beautiful day here in Kent with unbroken blue skies and glorious sunshine, just a cold wind taking the edge off temps. The hint for next week is that any snow with the Siberian temps. could be worse in the south but as long as it stays dry then there should be no ice to slip on. As usual, before anybody outside of Syria does anything, Assad will of done all of the killing that he wants to this time. He's clearly realised that no one is going to stop him doing as he wants, this time or the next times.

angryparsnip said...

When I go out, when my son is not with me, I have people asking to help with door, packing my bags and helping me out to the car or even running up to help me take my walker out or in of the trunk. I think we have nice people all around us.

cheers, parsnip

jinxxxygirl said...

I wanted to be heartened by the news that North Korea joined the Winter Olympics... But i have to admit part of me wondered about that as aren't they suppose to have extreme sanctions against them?? How can they be allowed to join the Olympics...? You would think that barring them from the Olympics would be included in the sanctions..no? And honestly I have to think that this must benefit them in some way or they wouldn't be doing it.. I kept waiting to hear that some one from the other nations had been poisoned or something as that seems very popular over there... Stay warm Pat.. I have enjoyed your lovely letter and will write you again soon! We are expecting rain , rain and more rain.. Hugs! deb

Andie said...

I am sure I felt older in my fifties than I do in my seventies. I have stopped work so no more super early mornings and then a long drive to work. No more depressing Sundays when I used to iron my uniform for work and I used to hate Sundays, now I like them as Monday follows and everyone is back to work and I can go out when it is quieter. I love the fact that you go out so much, such fun, and I think it keeps you young. Money is all topsy turvy because I have enough to live on comfortably and the house is mine, but when the children were young and I did not have much I could have done with some of the excess then. I can wear what I want and keeping warm is considered sensible no more following fashion. I do not feel old, I just feel easier. Love Andie xxx

Joanne Noragon said...

I let "them" think I'm elderly, Weave. I like opened doors and packed bags.

Midmarsh John said...

I can imagine what the heather burning looks like from a distance. Years ago, before stubble burning was banned, I would look across to the Lincolnshire Wolds at night and individual fields of flame would light up the night. Fascinating as a spectacle but not so nice when close by and the breeze sent sooty particles to cover everything outdoors. Even worse when the wind suddenly changed and thick smoke blew across the main roads as happened to me once. Visibility was even less than thick fog, couldn't see the edge of the road or where the bends were and the car filling with acrid smoke fumes.

Mac n' Janet said...

I usually don't think of myself as eldery, but when I look at the numbers I realize I am.

Cro Magnon said...

I don't think either Assad or Putin take much notice of the UN. Soon Syria will be a country with just one city; Damascus.

Derek Faulkner said...

Annual heather burning is very much an issue in the environmental world these days and not liked by many who don't simply have the rearing of grouse to be shot, as an interest. Think for a moment of all the other wildlife that is being burnt with that heather - the dormant lizards and snakes, the hibernating bees and other insects, the voles and mice, the vegetation that will not be there for early nesting birds.

Librarian said...

In less than 4 weeks, I will be 50. That is officially middle-aged, isn't it? My Mum and Dad are 73 and 76; they are "elderly", and there is nothing at all wrong with it.
As for the heather burning, I think the same as Derek. Of course I am not an expert in managing moorland - I am not even a successful windowsill gardener -, but I can't help of thinking of all the other wildlife that will die or otherwise be affected by it.
Syria... hardly bears thinking about.

thelma said...

Burning moor is a tough one, I suspect if you leave the dead heather it will be set alight naturally in a dry summer, grouse shooting is very wrong, all those silly butts located on the moors should be knocked down. The beauty of our wild areas is down to the fact that humans cannot make a living on them, except for sheep of course.

Rachel Phillips said...

Heather burning is not just done for grouse shooting. It is management of moorland for all livestock and carried out in Scotland and England by upland farmers to increase food for all animals including the hare that is so loved here. Biodiversity increases and the burning is managed and good moorland husbandry in small areas at a time is vital for the up keep of the moors.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for that information Rachel. As you no doubt know, the hare is my all time favourite animal and it is good to know that the heather burning helps it too.
Thelma - interesting what you say. I have only tasted grouse once and it tasted exactly like heather anyway so have never eaten it again but in the light of what Rachel says peraps it is a good thing anyway. I would love to get the three of us together for a live debate.
Thanks everyone. I do love a controversial post.

Derek Faulkner said...

Totally disagree with Rachel and Pat on the subject of heather burning, how the loss of the wildlife that I have quoted is good management, just so that one species can be shot, is beyond me. Far more knowledgeable environmental experts than the three of us, also have the same feelings, try reading "Inglorious - conflict in the uplands" the book by Mark Avery, ex-director of the RSPB.

Heather said...

It is very cold down here today too, but bright and sunny so far. I don't mind the cold, I can always add another layer, but don't go out if it is icy. I am in my eighties too, but kid myself that supermarket cashiers have to ask everyone if they need help with their packing, and if someone opens a door for me, he or she is just being polite. OK, I am elderly.

Rachel Phillips said...

No wish to argue here but as I said in my comment Derek it is not just grouse shoots that burn the heather. Coming from your angle as not being a farmer your views are understandable.

Derek Faulkner said...

I have been involved with wildlife management on and around farms and nature reserves continuously for the last 40 years and continue to be to this day, living on a farm umpteen years ago is not the same.
You might also want to consider the fact, when stating that heather burning is good for hares, that a recent Countryfile programme interviewed a gamekeeper in the Scottish moors who admitted that they shoot many, many, thousand of hares each winter - why, because they eat the young shoots of the heather!

Rachel Phillips said...

But you are not a farmer.

Tom Stephenson said...

Young men call me 'sir' these days. I am not sure I like it, but I prefer it to being called 'buddy'.

Minigranny said...

The unbelievable cruelty of what is happening in Syria makes me so angry and we hardly hear about it in UK the news being full of Brexit and sexual harassment.If we did hear more would or could we do anything about it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I would now like to add Derek to our discussion face to face group. The trouble is that even if it were to happen we would not be able to influence anything - there is money - very big money - talking here as I am sure you would agree.

Thanks everyone.