Archive | September 2015

Tenth September Blog

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Tenth September Blog.

Ninth Month Melody

Waning light. The days draw in.
September flounces her skirts,
Ruffles her petticoats,
Shakes out the summer dust,
Lets fall the golden/orange leaves,
Brushes up the brown debris of forests
To cover her feet, keeping her warm
Before she settles her winter bedding.

She will sleep, dreaming of late sumner heat.
She breathes deeply of sunkissed air,
All mellow and drowsy. She rests.
Squirrels chitter in the gloaming,
Birds whoi stay for the northern winter, fatten.
Wild mice chew meadow seeds,
Building fat to see them through
The chill times ahead.

It is an old, old song, sung every September,
For she is the harbinger of autumn,
She is the guardian of Fall.
Her bonnet is tied with vine ribbons
That float in the last tender breezes.
She calls all animals to find dry nests.
Soothes summer plants, bedding them
Down before the cold wind blows,
Hugs all creatures to her snug bosom.

All Hail September,
We know your tune so well.
Music played on creaking branches,
Melodies sung in crackling dry leaves.
Gently hummed on cool misty mornings.
As first frosts crispen her last days,
She covers the ground with hoar rime
It is her swansong, her farewell to the year.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. September, 2015.

I have posted this poem on FB etc. already but as it is the last day of September, I am leaving it in this blog.

Suddenly, the year has flown by. I suppose, because we hardly had any summer here in Great Britain this year, I felt that it dragged earlier, and, although wr have been basking in a few sunny ( somewhat cooler) days, it has hardly been balmy, and now the time is flying along.

October is on our doorstep, knocking on the doors and windows. Soon light frosts will touch a few lowland meadows. Hoar rime will coat branches of already (dropped leaf) trees. Many still are in summer greenery, but a few are just on the turn, on the cusp, as it were, of winter’s edge.

Starting to think about our upcoming seasonal holiday. Barely a whisper, at this point, but t.v. stores and supermarkets are beginning to parade items for holiday use. And true enough, it has to be planned. Far enough ahead to sort out kcosts, menus, gifts even. Certainly, this is the planning stage.

So, gird your loins, get prepared, in readiness – it’s starting to ramp up, if not now, very, very soon. The time will rush past, like a river in spate.

Going, Going, Almost Gone.

Sun sinking lower
In a western sky.
Wind decreased
To a fervent sigh.
Trees around
Turning yellow abd red,
Others still greeh
As they shake their heads.
Temperatures dropping
On clear moonlit nights,
Stars above glitter,
In a firmament, bright.
Cool days of autumn
Rushing headlong,
Listen, they tell us
A chill winter song.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. September 30th, 2015.

Be careful in the world, everyone.

Evelyn.

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This entry was posted on September 30, 2015. 4 Comments

Ninth September Blog (2nd post)

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Ninth September Blog. ( 2nd post)

Travelling.

I’ve walked along the byways,
My feet’ve touched many a road,
From tarmac treads to Bourbon Streets,
I carry a heavy load.
Country tracks, I’ve journeyed,
With muddied ruts, hard by,
And grassy knolls by meadows bright,
I pull with nary a sigh.
Beneath the starlit firmament
By yonder flour mill,
I haul the sacks of wheat and grain
Down dale, and up the hill.
And in the logging camp, I go,
To drag the severed trees
Out on to where the lorry waits
For wood, to fill their needs.
And who are they who hire me
To use my power thus?
The puny men, who seek my strength,
I comply, without a fuss.
For only I can wander round
The narrow woods and trails,
Then home to where awaits my needs,
My dinner oats in a pail.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. September 2015.

I have posted this blog again with the photograph of moi amd my Dartmoor trekking horse, Smudge ( way back when ).

A picture from the top of Haytor was just posted, it reminded me of a pony trekking holiday I spent on Dartmoor.

I took a bus down to Exeter. The day was sunny and bright, as you would expect in the end of the second week of June. Everyone going on the holiday was picked up and driven to the farmhouse, where we were to stay.

The farmhouse was in a kind of dell, for want of a better term. Mostly younger girls within the group. I was bunked down with a girl of similar age whose boyfriend was bedded somewhere else. Plenty of tall trees surrounded the farmhouse, which seemed quite old. There were chickens and greyish spotted kguinea fowl in the yard. I remember late one evening, a small herd of Dartmoor ponies came racing down the lane, circled around through the yard, past the farmhouse, and out the other side. We were all upstairs getting ready to bed down, so we only saw them from the window. Quite a clatter, hooves hitting the cobbles.

Dartmoor is surprising. The terrain might seem a bit surprising, given that most moors were portrayed as high rolling grassland for miles. There were uswathes of short grass: But there were also deep wooded valleys where pine plantations were growing. One of the treks was through one of these plantations. It was deathly quiet as our mounts walked down into the valley, via the logging trail, where the odd rabbit or squirrel darted across in front of us. A few distant bird calls could be heard also. So serene, so peaceful. A journey back in time, it seemed to me.

One evening, my roommate and I were picked up by her boyfriend. The ‘local’ taverna was our destination. Being Dartmoor, ‘local’ meant several miles away. We had a nice evening, a drink or two and a few simple games, as were then played in country pubs. Time to go back to the farmhouse, but whilst enjoying these pasttimes, a fog had settled over the Moor. Please remember that this was June, usually the warmest month of the year. The fog was so thick, we could literally ‘not see a hand in front of us’. The boyfriend hung out his window, trying to drive straight along the riaf, very carefully, and I hung out mine. It was inch by foggy inch, knowing that a foot away from the car, my side, was a very old stone wall. We could hear sheep on both sides baa-ing in the murk.

It took us a very long time to get back to our billets, but get back we did. Quite an unnerving journey, but another memory to call upon.

This is the shortened version of this trip. Enough to tell you that it rained every single day. We got back to the farm, at the end of each trek, soaking wet. he farmer’s wife hung our clothes up on one of those old-fashioned airers, but all of us had to don still damp outerwear the following morning.

Most mornings usually started out dry, but by the time we were driven to the stables, it had started to rain. Takking up a horse in slightly steaming clothing, hands damp, calming the animal so that you did it correctly, was not easy. After all, if your saddle wasn’t put on properly, and something occurred ( like one day moving out, we were accosted by a Dartmoor stallion. Apparenly one of the mares was in season), you needed to be assured that, should you have to move on quickly, your saddle would not slip, or your reins would allow you to contol your animal.

Sounds as though I knew what I was doing? Well, up to a point, but I was still a real pnewbie at this horse control lark. After this holiday I joined a small stable back home and went riding every weekend. I was not a real horsewoman, even then, but I enjoyed my riding.

Anyway, the Friday was my last day where we were to trek to Widdecome-in-the-Moor. This is the source of the song “Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare.
All along, down along, out along lea.
For I want for to go to Widecombe Fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

As I told you, it had been raining all week and we all approached from the top of a very steep hill. The earth was solid mud, all the way down. No riding the horses down this slope. Each rider held the head of their animal, cautiously stepping one foot at a time, downhill. There were times I was not sure I could hold my horse back. It took an innordinate amount of strength to hold him. Had he his head, chaos would have reigned. I would have been dragged to the bottom, it was so very slippery. He was quite a large horse, hefty. But finally, we all made it safely to level ground. A small hedge-penned area was our corral and we removed saddles and harness, leaving the horses to rest whist everyone went to check out the village. I think another way home was chosen.

Back to Exeter on the Saturday, and the sun shone all day. Curses!

Seems so long ago now, and it was, of course.

Be careful out in the world today.

Evelyn

This entry was posted on September 23, 2015. 4 Comments

Ninth September Blog

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Ninth September Blog.

Travelling.

I’ve walked along the byways,
My feet’ve touched many a road,
From tarmac treads to Bourbon Streets,
I carry a heavy load.
Country tracks, I’ve journeyed,
With muddied ruts, hard by,
And grassy knolls by meadows bright,
I pull with nary a sigh.
Beneath the starlit firmament
By yonder flour mill,
I haul the sacks of wheat and grain
Down dale, and up the hill.
And in the logging camp, I go,
To drag the severed trees
Out on to where the lorry waits
For wood, to fill their needs.
And who are they who hire me
To use my power thus?
The puny men, who seek my strength,
I comply, without a fuss.
For only I can wander round
The narrow woods and trails,
Then home to where awaits my needs,
My dinner oats in a pail.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. September 2015.

A picture from the top of Haytor was just posted, it reminded me of a pony trekking holiday I spent on Dartmoor.

I took a bus down to Exeter. The day was sunny and bright, as you would expect in the end of the second week of June. Everyone going on the holiday was picked up and driven to the farmhouse, where we were to stay.

The farmhouse was in a kind of dell, for want of a better term. Mostly younger girls within the group. I was bunked down with a girl of similar age whose boyfriend was bedded somewhere else. Plenty of tall trees surrounded the farmhouse, which seemed quite old. There were chickens and greyish spotted kguinea fowl in the yard. I remember late one evening, a small herd of Dartmoor ponies came racing down the lane, circled around through the yard, past the farmhouse, and out the other side. We were all upstairs getting ready to bed down, so we only saw them from the window. Quite a clatter, hooves hitting the cobbles.

Dartmoor is surprising. The terrain might seem a bit surprising, given that most moors were portrayed as high rolling grassland for miles. There were uswathes of short grass: But there were also deep wooded valleys where pine plantations were growing. One of the treks was through one of these plantations. It was deathly quiet as our mounts walked down into the valley, via the logging trail, where the odd rabbit or squirrel darted across in front of us. A few distant bird calls could be heard also. So serene, so peaceful. A journey back in time, it seemed to me.

One evening, my roommate and I were picked up by her boyfriend. The ‘local’ taverna was our destination. Being Dartmoor, ‘local’ meant several miles away. We had a nice evening, a drink or two and a few simple games, as were then played in country pubs. Time to go back to the farmhouse, but whilst enjoying these pasttimes, a fog had settled over the Moor. Please remember that this was June, usually the warmest month of the year. The fog was so thick, we could literally ‘not see a hand in front of us’. The boyfriend hung out his window, trying to drive straight along the riaf, very carefully, and I hung out mine. It was inch by foggy inch, knowing that a foot away from the car, my side, was a very old stone wall. We could hear sheep on both sides baa-ing in the murk.

It took us a very long time to get back to our billets, but get back we did. Quite an unnerving journey, but another memory to call upon.

This is the shortened version of this trip. Enough to tell you that it rained every single day. We got back to the farm, at the end of each trek, soaking wet. he farmer’s wife hung our clothes up on one of those old-fashioned airers, but all of us had to don still damp outerwear the following morning.

Most mornings usually started out dry, but by the time we were driven to the stables, it had started to rain. Takking up a horse in slightly steaming clothing, hands damp, calming the animal so that you did it correctly, was not easy. After all, if your saddle wasn’t put on properly, and something occurred ( like one day moving out, we were accosted by a Dartmoor stallion. Apparenly one of the mares was in season), you needed to be assured that, should you have to move on quickly, your saddle would not slip, or your reins would allow you to contol your animal.

Sounds as though I knew what I was doing? Well, up to a point, but I was still a real pnewbie at this horse control lark. After this holiday I joined a small stable back home and went riding every weekend. I was not a real horsewoman, even then, but I enjoyed my riding.

Anyway, the Friday was my last day where we were to trek to Widdecome-in-the-Moor. This is the source of the song “Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare.
All along, down along, out along lea.
For I want for to go to Widecombe Fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

As I told you, it had been raining all week and we all approached from the top of a very steep hill. The earth was solid mud, all the way down. No riding the horses down this slope. Each rider held the head of their animal, cautiously stepping one foot at a time, downhill. There were times I was not sure I could hold my horse back. It took an innordinate amount of strength to hold him. Had he his head, chaos would have reigned. I would have been dragged to the bottom, it was so very slippery. He was quite a large horse, hefty. But finally, we all made it safely to level ground. A small hedge-penned area was our corral and we removed saddles and harness, leaving the horses to rest whist everyone went to check out the village. I think another way home was chosen.

Back to Exeter on the Saturday, and the sun shone all day. Curses!

Seems so long ago now, and it was, of course.

Be careful out in the world today.

Evelyn

Dun-Fi-tin

Love these horsey pictures, especully the drawn one. Used to love those.
Evelyn

The Bingergread Cottage

That’s it, see the picture above? That’s my sword, Justice-Bringer and as you can see, I’ve hung it up.

Clydesdale Tootsie

My dear old destrier, Tootsie, has been turned out to grass as he is as utterly fed-up with our old job as I am. I told him he might, when rested, go to stud but he just blew his lips out; too tired even to get excited by the idea. We’ve been at it too long, you understand.

As a small child with 90° pigtails I fought on my old Shetland, Jock, armed with garden bamboo sticks …which got me drummed out of the Pony Club. For the rest of my life I have been leaping on my charger to take up the cudgels on behalf of the weak, the voiceless…or just my friends. Well no more.

Courtesy of the Thelwell Estate Courtesy of the Thelwell Estate

Jock Jock

I have discovered that by sticking up for my…

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Eighth Seotember Blog

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Eighth September Blog.

Ocean to Shore.

…., brine-filled waves caress the sand,
seabirds caw above the land,
They cry, seeking solitary nests,
even though they fly abreast.
Red rocks, bastions, hold back waves
that leap to shore, to land they crave.
Calm, in its infinity,
ever tiding, ocean be.
Gusting winds, of hurricane,
Rushing in, torrential rain,
Mixing salty ocean’s flow,
O’er rocks and crevices, they go.
Leaving pools, crustacions free,
And silver fish, and anemonies.
Reflecting cliffs in sunlight, stand,
Whilst up above the puffins land,
Running in burrows, babes to fill
With fish, they gather in their bills.
Such are coastal beaches shown,
When oceans stroll the shore alone.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. Septembe, 2015.

Being born, brought up and still living in England, one gets used to being surrounded by water. One lives with am ‘island’ mentality. We are separate, we have our own shores. Small, maybe! No, we are great!

Personally, over time, I would definitely miss being an ‘islander’. It is great to visit other places: countries, towns, Continents, for they are different from us. Mostly, now that world transport is available to all, )and for the most part, we Brits. visit other Continents – Europe, the Americas, Australia, Africa, India and so on) we tend to travel, see what other parts of our world are like. But actually living on a large Continent, where we would be surrounded by huge swathes of land, with nary an ocean for many hundreds of miles, we might find that propsition quite hard. We would miss the ocean. We British have an ongoing joy of breeding seafarers: of knowing that, just a few miles down the road, in most directions, is a cosseting, warming ocean. Our protection, if you will, our heritage too. After all, our navies have fought battles, sought other treasures new Continents could give us, learning about new animals/birds/insects etc, not to nention strange and exotic plants. The sea, shall we say, has bern our oyster, to coin phrases. And I make no bones about flying the British, nay English flag hete. I am proud to be English..

I would find it very hard to live anywhere where,, if I desparately wanted, there was not a coastal plain, a beach, a shoreline within two hours drive,at the very most – some much closer than that.

I have, in the past, gone down to the coast, many a times for holidays, a day out. But even before I can see the sea, several miles still inland, I can tell we are not far away. The air changes. One begins to discern the slightly salty tang of ocean breezes. The smell is palpable.

In fact, there are times, on an early morning, 2 miles down the road ftom where I live, that that special aroma wafts in around a certain area. Possibly gulls bring it in with them ( though most gulls living around here have probably seldom seen the sea) or maybe it is a chemical mix, I don”t know the reason. All I know is that, on those occasions, the self same salty smell (a bit like seaweed eginning to dry out on a cooling beach) can be discerned. Perhaps it is just a memory jog, some peculiar instinct that is triggered by a combination of aromas that set the mind thinking ‘this smells like being at the coast!’

O.k. There maybe few of us left who have this innate ability to be at one with the sea, even though we may have been born and raised in a city, or on the outskirts of one. But my famoly glong to that breed.

A thought, though, has just occurred. Possibly spurious, but we do not live that many miles away from our largest river, the River Thames, which is TIDAL! That is a thought! Maybe the ocean salts are carried upriver from the coast, via the Thames water, and although not that near, winds might carry those scents across these fewer miles to the place not far ftom where I live. Worth a punt!

As always, I wish my readers joy and prevail on you to keep safe.

Evelyn.

Seventh September Blog

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Seventh September Blog.

*******. We started out around ten p.m.. My friend, her friend and myself, starting from Toronto. It was in August, and the weather was good. We packed the car with clothes, food and Heaven knows what else, all we would need for a weekend drive. Not sure of the seating arrangements at this juncture, but the friend ( sorry, I cannot remember her name) would be the driver. We were heading for the border between Canada and the USA.

The journey, at this point, must have been uneventful as I remember little of it. Going through the border crossing though, we were asked to alight from the car. I remember talking to the guard who checked our credentials ( passport, where we were headed and so on) and, as it was either very close to, or, my actual birthday, he wished me a Happy Birthday. Something of the sort, it is a little unclear in my mind. One if thos particilars that never sra very long in the memory because it is not that important. So long ago. At my age, time has a habit of not keeping track of most small items that it does not need to remember, concentrating only on the larger, more important memories.

However, we were across The Rainbow Bridge, onto American soil and on our way. We were headed for The Big Apple. New York.
We had intended to take a week but my friends were unable to get a whole week off. So, it was decided! New York and back in a weekend. Approximately 600 miles each way. WOW! Some journey!

The time must have been ljust after midnight, and we drove on an I. ( an Interstate road – lije an English motorway) all the way down towards New York, through The Catskill Mountains, in pouring rain, I might add. No pit stops. None available.

Needing to get rid of liquid, was a problem. My friend, sitting beside me in the back seat, got a plastic cup and proceeded to vent liquid. We laughed. Laughing and oassing water into a small cup at the same time, was even more comica. Her friend from the driving seat asked ” how can you stop and start like that?” We never did find out. Many years later (after having a child myself) i found out, it’s child’s play, how she managed. At the time though, with the offer of a cup, I was not able to comply, so hung on until finally we came to a very busy stop, a few miles north of the bridge into downtown New York. It was a laughing point for a long time afterwards, and it can ystill illicit a giggle all these years later.

Moving on a short way, the girls found a kind of lay-by and slept. Again, I was devoid of keeping up, spending an hour just enjoying being so close to NY City. I might add that I had been very sick with the worst chest infection ( almost) I have ever had. But the temperature was so high and quite humid, so I was not too troubled by it. The bridge over the Hudson River was our next goal, not too far away. We set off.
The bridge across the Hudson felt as if it were the beginning of New York City. First though, we were going through places like Harlem, The Bronx and so on. Not sure which part was which as buildings are buildings, nothing to choose between them as this point. We finally fetched up on Manhattan Island. The hub of the city.

This was 1964 and in New York, hotels were at a premium, it being the time of The Worlds Fair. The place was packed with people from all over the World. We were lucky, finding a hotel with some room, where we took a suite overnight. We had brought with us food and drink so no need to spend more. My friends were always aware that it was cheaper to prepare and carry food with you, not wasting cash on restaurants etc. where one could spend a lot of money. Thrift was our byword

Our target in New York was Macys, the big department store. Great, searching for bargains. I bought a swimming costume ( not that I have ever been able to swim) and odds and ends. Coming back to the hotel, it was very hot and the humidity was rising. The girls went to the pool in the basement. I sat at the open window ad Zi really dud not feel like being wet. I could see in the distance, The Empire State building, then, the tallest building in N. Y. City. My chest was making me feel very tired and rough. After their swim, my friends lay down for a sleep. Driving all night is very tiring.

Much later that evening we took subways to Greenwich Village. On each corner about 8 policemen with guns, stood watching the evening crowds go by. We found a bar, a German Umpaah bar. Sat drinking pale beer from huge steins, singing Umpaah songs, swaying from side to side in time with the music and with others at the long trestle tables. It was funny, their was laughter, gaiety, it was rousing, Very enjoyable.

The night wore on and we must have left the bar about 3. 00 a.m. Sunday morning. The streets were empty but fresh newspapers were already available. We took the subway back to Manhattan, to the hotel, stopping first at a milk bar for something milky, washing the beer taste away, I guess. Then back to the hotel to pack up. We had to be back in Canada before nightfall as the girls had to work the following day.

Things happen! We drove around looking at the adverts for the Worlds Fair but also, looking for a garage. The car had developed a fault. We found a place and got the car fixed. I suppose it must have been close to 11 a.m. by this time. Back over the Hudson and head for the hills.

By late afternoon, the Interstate was packed. Everyone was lane-hopping, not an easy or safe thing to do at 90+ MPH. I dread that memory now, but at the time, thought little of it, as you do when young, nothing phases you. The closer we got to the Canadian border, the lower the sun sank in the sky. It was bright red as it slowly disappeared ove the horizon. We travelled through Buffalo and headed towards Toronto, about two hours distant. Such was the beautiful end to a fabulous weekend.

A weekend I shall never forget. Another country, many new experiences. Altogether, I visited Canada five times through the years, lots of different experiences each time. These are memories I can call upon in my writing, in my painting, should I so desire. But all of them happy, happy days.

Take care out there, my friends.

Evelyn

This entry was posted on September 16, 2015. 2 Comments

Lessons in chocolate

The trials of naughtiness!
Evelyn

The Silent Eye

Yesterday, I ate very badly.  In fact, I would be hard pushed to find anything healthy in the entire menu. All day. Not that I ate all day, you understand… in fact I ate very little, but, I admit, a nutritionist would cringe. Croissants and hot chocolate for breakfast, coffee for lunch, a melted cheese crumpet for tea, wine and chocolates for dinner and coffee before bed. In fact, about the healthiest part of that lot was the glass of red wine.

I could blame my sons. It was, after all, all their doing;  one provided breakfast, even if he did send me to the supermarket to pick it up on my way to his home and demand to be served his share in bed…  He then turned up on my doorstep, hungry from a bike ride at teatime… This was just before his brother arrived with wine, flowers and…

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2015. 2 Comments