Literary Landscapes

I made a visit to the graveyard courtesy of an old friend. It’s a multicultural place just like Wool City of course. I tidied up, put in flowers – real ones, perused over graves of the golden oldies and tidied a few of them too.

It’s a pleasant day, cooler than the last few weeks. We took a walk amongst the stones. So many were of mighty people, with enough money to pay out for obelisks, huge Celtic crosses as befits  the once wealthiest town in the world. A section for Muslims and a small one for Jews, where there was a little synagogue. All ours are clustered together in one section too. Communities stay together through everything.

I don’t think there’s anything morose about death or discussing it – what you would like to happen, but then I was once a young Goth in the 80’s who thought it romantic to hang out by the Parsonage in Haworth, taking photos and doing rubbings of stones.

The last few days I have watched BFI films of the town I grew up in. It was once quite a slum in the centre. The number of mills present was astounding. How filthy it must have been. Now it is pleasantly green, and although it’s a busy, busy place and road pollution is high, the trees soak it all up and nature has found a way to come back.

What of the future of the old mill towns. Becoming green can only be the way, but til then, roads will be widened, houses built. Another mill burnt down in the early hours of this morning, fourteen fire engines were present. Grey smoke wafts in this direction, the main artery closed, causing chaos west of the city.

We must remember to keep writing, creating the stories, note happenings. Imagination and magic is all that is needed to breathe new life in to this old hell.

A trip to Whitby is on the cards – long time no see. That will appease more of my inner dark romantic! I wonder what it’s like to be a vampire and if there are any around here. So lucky to live in a rich literary landscape. And somewhere forever foreboding…

Whitby

From picturesofengland.com

Autumn Projects

Mine are piling up. I have the need to make, travel, capture images. I yearn to visit cities and their galleries, to go to the coast. But heat and humidity have me in their grasp and I must wait for cooler days.

I am completing a small cowl made from Dales hand dyed and spun mohair from well-looked after goats. The yarn is curly and I have to proceed with great care so as not to add extra loops on the needles. It’s dyed in soft oranges, browns and blues, occasionally bursting in to jewel hues. I’ve not worked with this type of mohair before, it’s corse and wiry. I am not sure how comfortable it will be to wear but it will be nice and warm.

Looked-after goats and sheep is a vital aspect of making with yarn for me now. I try where I can to care about the wool I use. We have a good number of healthy yarn providers in the UK, many work from stock raised here or sustainable Fair Trade areas around the world. The history of wool and the industrial revolution of Yorkshire makes me feel that we should be considerate of the past, although I appreciate that the true cost of healthy yarn isn’t always possible every time or for everyone, but we can work towards this. I certainly don’t want people to stop making.

Along with knitting, there is sewing to do. I may tackle recovering the sofa.  I have done this over the years, having been taught by experienced people working in upholstery. You have to be both generous and brave when going for something big. Don’t be miserly with fabric! I am looking for a soft green velvet-look like this:

sofa

Aside from knitting, this weekend’s for meditation and yoga for cronkies! The autumn calendar locally is looking good, but everything seems to be happening all on one evening – tai chi, zen meditation, singing. Programming…

Looking forward to September and the goodies I hope it will bring. Time for the heatwave to go away.

Rhubarb!

It’s a part of West Yorkshire’s industrial heritage. There’s a saying – ‘load of old rhubarb’ – meaning what nonsense. Every allotment still has at least one plant.

The stalks are chopped, cooked with sugar and ginger then a dollop of custard added on top for a lazy school pudding. It’s a certain kind of person who can consume that tart, slippery mess – a hungry one!

I’ve always had some in a garden. The leaves are good for pesticide when dunked in water. the stalks freeze rather well, but an instant crumble is best.

I’ve read a little recently about its history in Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc. Rhubarb comes from China (as many plants have) and Siberia. It became popular in West Yorkshire and the Victorian era, in London.

There is the tradition of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb whereby it is grown in sheds in the dark by candlelight. Certainly sparks the imagination!

‘Forced rhubarb plants are shrouded in such an aura of mystery and romance, like fragile prima donnas that have to be handled so gently,’ says Raymond.

We are all stalks in the dark sometimes, growing slowly.

Image from slowfood.org.uk 

rhubarb