Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Green Unpleasant Land

My brother’s work takes him on regular journeys through Cumbria and Lancashire. On a clear day you can see far away places with strange sounding names. Unfortunately many spots just off the beaten track have become the dumping grounds for ‘Fly Tippers’and are becoming an increasingly common blight on the landscape.

In a series of photos taken over a period of months he envisioned a new style of country living, ‘The Country House’ ….. A little more open plan  than we are used to seeing!

I was inspired to put pen to paper. This is the result.

                                The Kitchen Sink


You spat your dummy and

Threw your toys out of your pram

Cigarette dimps and junk food remnants

From the windows of your van


Your ‘grab grab grab’ mentality

Turned ‘mend and make do’ to ‘spend spend spend’

And dump it down a country lane

When it no longer fits the plan


We thought we were ‘digging for victory’

Now we’re just digging through your dirt

In the hedge a kitchen sink and sofa

A fridge and double bed




A kitchen sink drama

Played to so many by so few

Where ‘hope and glory’ lie in tatters

On this green unpleasant land




All photos Chris Dutton

Happy new year!




Gate Expectations

The river has dropped and the level is almost back to its usual height.


The castle building in the foreground was submerged up to the roof and now can be seen again.


The path under the bridge which is the start of my dog walking route has been gouged out by the river leaving a huge hole about five feet deep.


A crack has opened up in the abuttment top left of the bridge

The kissing gate found in vegetation downstream  was brought back by a farmer and awaits installation.



Sunday Treat

It’s been a cold wet weekend and there’s been quite a covering of snow on higher ground, but so far Armathwaite hasn’t had any of the white stuff. We spent yesterday amusing ourselves with ‘wet play’, which consisted of a bit of Christmas shopping and getting our cards printed and written. Today we decided to hand deliver our gifts for Helen and Terry and surprised Helen with a visit to their pub  The Green Dragon Inn at Hardraw.

The Green Dragon bar (photo from their website)

The Green Dragon bar (photo from their website)

Hard to believe they have been there for almost 6 months and what a change they have made to the place. It’s  really good to see all the great comments they are getting on Trip Advisor since they took it over. The place was very busy when we arrived and Helen  had cooked 40 breakfasts that morning !  The ambience was warm and welcoming with a roaring open fire, folk musicians playing in the bar and a 20 foot Christmas tree all lit up and beautifully decorated. Lunch didn’t disappoint; beautifully cooked and man-sized portions. We both went for the lamb roast with all the trimmings. It was lovely to catch up again albeit such a brief visit. We’re kicking ourselves though as we forgot to bring the camera and missed the opportunity to get some snowy pictures !


Mr & Mrs Baga and Bambara



Not strictly Mr & Mrs but they do make a lovely couple. The large mask is a Banda mask from the Baga tribe of Guinea. It was used by the secret Simo society in fertility rituals. The female figure is from the Bambara tribe of Mali and again is associated with fertility ritual.

Eden; a troubled paradise

Armathwaite Bridge is a special place for us. It’s where Phil proposed to me on a wet August Bank Holiday weekend and it was the backdrop for our wedding photographs on our sunny April wedding day two years ago. Last week I celebrated my 50th birthday and Phil gave me a painting he’d done while I was away. It’s oils on copper and was just about dry in time … Good job I didn’t look in the airing cupboard !


Armathwaite bridge ‘Sunrise’

This weekend Armathwaite bridge is a very different place. After a month’s worth of rain fall in 24 hours, the Eden has burst its banks and is a noisy, wild and angry brown torrent. The path I take every day to walk the dogs passes under the first arch on the left. There’s no sign of the kissing gate which is now under water and the river today was almost to the top of the arches.


Bridge over troubled waters

We tried to get to Armathwaite castle yesterday to see if we could help but we were too late; the water was swirling across our path and we couldn’t get down the driveway. Only the roofs of the first storey were showing above the water today and we’ve seen an emergency vehicle going down the driveway to the castle.


Armathwaite castle

The trees along the bank are now standing in the river.


The tide mark of leaves shows where the river reached during last night.




The river Eden at Armathwaite

Ten miles down river, Carlisle was hit by floods in 2005 and was described as a 1:250 year event. Then they were hit again in 2009 and work commenced to improve flood defences. We looked at the local news this morning and once again homes in the centre of Carlisle have been inundated.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to be warm and dry.


Words for snow

It is often said that the Inuit have 50 different words for snow but researchers have discovered that the Scots have even more. So far they have catalogued 421 different Scots words for the white stuff. So when we needed inspiration to name our two new white Silkie bantams, we turned to the Historical Thesaurus of Scots compiled by the University of Glasgow


Rigsby and Shackleton were very interested in the new arrivals. Welcome Skelf; a large snowflake and Katty-clean-doors; a child’s name for snow.


New chicks on the block

It’s coming up to the anniversary of when we collected Blizzard and Flurry, our white Silkie bantams. After their subsequent announcement to the village that they were cockerels, we returned them for an exchange but the breeder had nothing suitable.


Flurry and Blizzard, long gone …….

We already have two Lavender Pekin hens so we wanted either Lavender Pekins or Silkies. The latter can’t fly and as they stay in the run, the other Pekins tend not to fly out and trash the garden. Today we are collecting our Silkie replacements. As yet we have no idea what colour they are but are assured they are definitely hens this time, at point of lay. Photos to follow !