I have a fuddled brain here - after the exhaustions of the early part of last week, then the disappointment, then preparing for yesterday's Fleamarket on the showground in town, today has been a bit of a catch up day. I also managed to book two nights away for ourselves in the West Country. I wish we could manage longer away, but that's the best we can do. Mind you, judging by the price of B&B accommodation, I'm surprised I managed to get anywhere under £100 a night! That's the price you pay for trying to get away in August. We have a night in Somerset and a night on the edge of Dartmoor, so I am praying we get dry weather.
(Hay bales made from the grass in our top field).
I bought myself a book at the Fleamarket yesterday. "Words from the Countryman", edited by Valerie Porter, and published in 2007. It had extracts from the very earliest Countryman magazines (some more of which I bought recently when a friend was offering them cheaply) and is ab absolute delight. There were two short pieces about people with rat problems dealing with them by having Guinea Pigs in the vicinity - one was in Portugal and the other in Africa. I should think the Guinea Pigs were left loose to deal with the vermin, as they talked about one GP boar having tattered ears from fighting. Who would have thought?
Here is another delightful extract:
"One evening in May my wife and I found the children's roundabouts in Fitz Park, Keswick, deserted but not for long. Sheep which had been grazing walked to one of them, and the leader jumped on the platform, setting it in motion. As others quickly followed, its speed increased; and the whole flock had a ride, jumping on and off, some more than once. We were told that this had happened many times when no children were about . . ." R W Barnes.
Some of you will remember my fascination with rural language especially in the West Country, and here is another contribution from the Countryman:
"My Cornish ex-sailor gardener is 'some old tung-tavas', but between intervals of chatter he does useful work on my splat of ground. He takes a braave spur (good while) to get through, but he can always find time to smell the gillyflowers and to notice the thrush at its anvil breaking snail-shells, or as he puts it, 'the grey-bird scattin' the bulorns' - sometimes he calls them jan-jakes - 'to sherds'. He digs a straight vore for the beans, pausing to throw a bully (pebble) at the cat because she chased away a pedn-paly (blue tit). With his garden fork, which he calls an evil, he lifts a burn of dried grasses for the mabyers' (pullets') nests, and he gives them a few kenacks (worms). Mizzle or skewy (showery) rain is good for sticking plant, by which he means planting out all types of cabbage and broccoli and stanking or treting them firm in the ground. The soft weather brings on the weeds - drill-draw, keggas and lizamoo, known to me as small bindweed, hemlock and cow-parsnip. Weeding he finds 'a sparey (tedious) ole job' and cutting the skedge (privet) not much better. The rain always seems to come when he has a few tubbins (turfs) to burn; these and damp cricks (twigs) in the bonfire make some smeech. His griglan or heather broom is handy for sweeping paths or to place in the arm of the bucca, whose realistic hand-painted face frightens more than the crows. A day too wet to work in the garden is 'a day gone in to the King.' Gladys Hunkin, Cornwall.
I hope to have the time to write a proper and fitting tribute to our family's men who fell in the Somme - my husband's Great Uncle George Brown Bird and my husband's grandfather, Bertie Ward-Harrison. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten by our family.