Tuesday 29 November 2011

Craven Speakers Club and Cards

I sold some Greetings cards for the Rainforest Fund and one calendar and took £18 at Craven Speakers Club last night. thank you all who contributed!

Next week there is a fundraising scheme "The Big Give" when money contributed to certain charities will have their money doubled  including World Land Trust and A Rocha. - Just from 5-9 December.  So I shall put the money in online then.

These pictures were actually take 2.5 month's ago at the beginning of the season - celebrating Gwendolen and my birthday at coffee break time, and Val had some books on display..

Speakers Club which meets in Skipton on Monday nights is a very friendly group and we really do improve our speaking skills

Saturday 12 November 2011

You are not alone

Ever feel like "Just where is life going?"
That's what I felt on Saturday morning 12 November as I dragged myself out of bed.
But by the end of the day I had done so much I thought "I'll make a record of it - at least there will be lots of links"


1. I check my emails etc (sad isn't it when the first thing you do after waking up is to go straight to the computor..) A girl called Claire  has written to CEL Facebook group about the Youth -Climate Justice Caravan to UNFCCC COP17 Climate Negotiations! Nairobi to Durban  ..

Lucky her, travelling across Africa!

and  what a vital project - raising awareness about climate change amongst the youth of Africa - Yes the ordinary people really since more than half the people are less than 19 years old!!

2. I make some porridge - Sainsbury's. Raspberry flavoured. One sachet plus semi-skimmed milk  contains 1/10th one's daily requirement of fibre and almost 1/5th one's requirement of sugar. So I would have to eat 10 sachets to get enough fibre!! and by then I would have had twice as much sugar  as I should do.  - then would I be running the risk of diabetes? I  Oh well, I do not have milk with it, only water. And it contains soya. (Soya as in "They are chopping down the rainforest for soya)

2. Events email. Having been told what an excellent play/musical "1611" is last night by Ken and Angela, I spend most of the morning writing an "Events email" to send to the people on my Settle and Area contacts list. "1611" is a musical about events at the time the King James Bible was written. This takes all morning.

Mycena pura
3. Christmas Day lunch posters.  I am going to run a "Settle Community Christmas Day Lunch and Tea" on 25 December - yes I am -  similar to the one we held last year. - So I have to make some posters and get them up, to give people time to see it and decide to come.
         Last years Christmas cards -cut up - enliven the posters.

Hypnum sp? or Homalothecium lutescens?
4. I go down town to put up the posters.  I put one on the board in the church hall schoolroom. I put one in Age UK. I put one in the Tourist Office. I put one in the Coop. I stick one through the door of the doctor's surgery. I fail to put one in Townhead because I cannot find a letterbox. I fume. Well just a little.

Ctenidium molluscum
5. It is a sunny late afternoon - It is a shame to go home. I drive up to Winskill Stones, Plantlife Reserve.

I aim for the high pavement close to the road. I admire the mosses.
And Cladonia.

And Mycena pura. Here is a link to my favorite fungus site - Champimaginatis - this site describes in French but gives the description in English.

I wander back towards the car as the sun is setting - to the south south west over the forest of Bowland - It is only 5 weeks to the shortest day now.

I remember my mother who died just nine weeks ago, and mourn.. even though I know she wouldn't want me to.

Back at home I have two hours before the musical.

The latest issue of "Green Christian" Magazine fell through the letter box this morning, so I read that.
"Great!" -  it has given a mention to the 100churches project:- " CEL is seeking 100 churches to raise £100 each for habitat conservation projects" - So far we have three - (1) Us at St John's (2) Churches Together in Settle and (3) Clun.  How can we get more?

Nearly everything else in the magazine is about climate change or sustainability - plus two articles that look a bit detailed so I'll try them another time. I wish we had more on the importance saving species and habitats. I wish we still had a green songs page.

I spend half an hour making five new greeting cards and putting several already made ones in cellophane envelopes which makes them look really classy.  Last night at the hymn evening four were sold. It all helps.

I had been reading "Liberating the gospels" by John Shelby Spong - Who shows that much of the New Testament is midrashic. Today I looked at three more of Mum's books. Will write more on these if I get any further with them.


"Get there early to get a good place" I had said to people in my email about the 1611 play. So I set off very early, stopping off to buy reduced price food at the petrol station. Finding bargain food gives the same sort of satisfaction as discovering wild brambles or edible mushrooms.  I discover a family sized trifle well reduced.

Sitting in the front seat at Giggleswick church is Maureen Ellis. "I read your email and came" she said!  Then next to me came Ruth and Dan B and then Mr Leaky. Ken and Angela are in the similar front seats on the left. Behind are Sally and Keith and their friends. Being at the front I can easily take photos albeit from a low angle.

These pictures are pictures of the cast - the audience of 72 was behind me

In the interval we have coffee and biscuits - I am delighted to see they still have the booklet about Giggleswick churchyard mosses on display - and also a poster for Speakers Club

See the ampersand on the flag above the "boat" - The word "and" was used over 4000 times in the New testament/bible  (I forget the statistic)  and the & was used instead of and to save effort and space.   King James wanted & to be used as the 27 letter of the alphabet

There is a song saying that 188 women are mentioned in the bible by name.

The two lead characters are King James and William Shakespeare.  Shakespeare wrote 7 plays during the time 1604 from when James commissioned the bible to 1611 when it was printed.  Then the plays he wrote afterwards included quotes from the King James Bible.

There are masses of fascinating facts - I wish I had a printed copy. They deal with Hudson who sailed to try and discover the NW passage to China.. and gave his name to many landmarks en route until the waters froze. Next spring when the sea melted his men mutinied and returned to England, leaving him in a small boat.

They mention that James had wanted a bible without comments in the margin (as had had the Geneva bible). But they do not explain why he did not want comments.

Songs include:- Old Yorkshire songs, a Leonard Cohen  song, Negro Spirituals,  By the rivers of Babylon, While Shepherds Watched to On Ilkley Moor, Zadok the priest, ...

What an insight into "1611" life and into a host of music styles afterwards.


I come home. I pop in to see Nellie my neighbour. She was watching the Remembrance Day service at the Albert Hall on TV. The members of the forces were marching in - It reminded me of watching it when I was young - with my father.

I have eaten the whole trifle - so much for fibre!!. Checked my emails; put a link to the Africa Climate Change Caravan site.  Time for bed. Tomorrow  I need to go through this and put in lots of similes and metaphors.
And do the jobs I really should have done today.
Why the title? - You are not alone - well because I saw it on a web site - but I think it is appropriate. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Green Pilgrimage to Canterbury 1989

The launch of the Green pilgrimages network this week (2 Nov 2011) in Assisi is perhaps a follow up of the pilgrimage to Canterbury 22 years ago... 

This account of this 1989 pilgrimage (involving BCC, many faiths and WWF) can be read as a follow up to blog post of the 1987 pilgrimage to Winchester. 

1989: Plodding beside the river carrying our our pilgrim staffs.. Meeting hop pickers ..  Sleeping outside under the stars in the flower rich warm graveyard, to avoid the snores of the other people sleeping inside on the church floor,.. (though we then had faint sound of traffic in the distance)  .. memories.

Hop pickers
Banner -
pilgrimage for Earth Survival
In September 1989 WWF organised pilgrimages from three places ending up at Canterbury- from Coventry, from Winchester and from Letchmore Heath: to arrive on the 16th for a weekend of prayer and celebration.

Did I go on the whole fortnight's pilgrimage along the pilgrim way from Coventry to Canterbury?
Rod and Jane Everett did, from Middlewood Trust.

Material outside hop house.
No.  (I was working for Nature Conservancy Council then, surveying grasslands in Richmondshire)

But I made my way down to the deep South East and stayed with friends at Tonbridge (or Tonbridge Wells?)  and enjoyed walking with the pilgrimage for an evening and a day.

We met some hop pickers. There are very few hops grown in England now.

In order to attend the workshops on the day before day before the pilgrimage itself would arrive,  I came early at Canterbury.  I wanted to set up a Christian Ecology Group Stall  (It was CEG then, not CEL).  The British Council of Churches was organising some workshops (History of BCC)

Picture me struggling across the road to a traffic island  with a  huge black  unweildy corrugated plastic Artist's A1 size folder containing large posters from Malham chapel wayside pulpit, and other CEG posters, plus much other luggage and rucksack.
  • "Donkey's work best heavy laden" a lady's voice cheerfully said, 
and a stranger  kindly helped me carry it across a busy road. I'll always remember her - and laugh at myself trying to carry too much.  Carrying the material was worth it because it made a good display. There was plenty of interest at the stall.

Christian Ecology Group Stall at BCC conference at Canterbury in 1989

(Considering I had not even heard of CEG/CEL at the pilgrimage two years previously, it is interesting to see from the display how much I had been involved with in 1988 and 1989 - but that's another story)

After the workshops I dismantled the banner from the top of the stall and took it to the "Welcome of the pilgrims entering Canterbury"

The pilgrimage arrived on the Saturday afternoon
and people at the conference joined them

Rev Nigel Cooper helped carry the CEG Banner.
There was TV/Press publicity but not for "Care of the Environment" but for a  fundamentalist  Christian Group who were protesting at Christians associating with other religions or at Christians associating with New Age people . Hey, ho.-

On the Sunday, the service at  Canterbury Cathedral went well.  Jonathon Porritt was there. (He is now a CEL patron and the main speaker at our next conference

I hope you enjoyed through reading this blog post - sharing in the pilgrimage at Canterbury
And if you DID attend it in 1989 do let me know!


Monday 7 November 2011

Lichens flourescent in bonfire light

Horton in Ribblesdale bonfire is held on the playing field, base for the three Peaks Fell Race, and home of Horton Gala.

The fireworks on bonfire night were set off by two men and lasted a long time with lots and lots of rockets and bangs.

I met some friends from Settle Harriers, and a friend from Malham Tarn Field Centre. 

There were Beefburgers, hotdogs, parkin, soup and cinder toffee for sale. 
After the fireworks had finished we were allowed to go much closer to the bonfire... and warm up. On the far side of the bonfire the sycamore tree beside the river was lit up by the fire -- but what was lit up was the lichens on the branches -

 Maybe I will go back in the daytime but I know the lichens will be: Physcia tenella, Xanthoria parietina and a few Parmelias. The ends of all the branches - this years growth were not lit up because there had not been enough time for lichens to grow on them.

I am not sure how much of it is flourescence or how much reflection - probably both. I did not use flash - just the camera and then adjusting the photo as it came out rather dark initially

Thursday 3 November 2011

Green Pilgrimages

Lunch break on the Multifaith Eco-pilgrimage from Petersfield to Winchester in August 1987
(JA in dark green sweatshirt on top of the hill)

Have you ever been on a pilgrimage?

All journeys and holidays can be treated as a pilgrimage - but some events are especially special

It  is  25  years  ago (from 2011)  since  the Multifaith Pilgrimage to Assisi  (in WWF's 25th year) when faiths got together to pray for peace but also for the environment. The Duke of Edinburgh was there.

25 years on there has been another big event at Assisi 31 Oct -2  Nov 2011- when  with the Duke of Edinburgh  the  Green Pilgrimages network -has been launched - more of that  another time (Radio 4 Sunday of 31 Oct - interview with Martin Palmer - 17 minutes in)

I  want to tell you about 1986 and more importantly, the two following years, 1987 and 1989.

I remember hearing about the multifaith event at Assisi in 1986 when I was at Kindrogan Field Centre in Scotland in late summer (teaching grasses - or was it attending a mosses course?)  and  thinking "Oh, I would have liked to have gone on that."

It  was  a year later that I was spending time in Lancaster for their "Green Festival Week". I  read about an organisation called Christian Ecology Group (later called Christian Ecology Link, and since about 2012 -ish- called Green Christian)  in the Catholic Cathedral   in   Lancaster   on   a   noticeboard.

And at that Festival I went to a talk by Martin Palmer held in the University Chaplaincy to which only about 14 people came.. He told us about the upcoming weekend multifaith pilgrimage walking from Petersfield to Winchester -culminating in a service in Winchester Cathedral.

I had been reading a book by Sean McDonagh (To Care for the Earth: Call to a New Theology Aug 1986)  - and seen an a colour supplement (? the Observer) in which he suggested that the church ought to have a Green Festival to Care about Creation.

"Ahah, Perhaps this is it!" I thought.  The Green Church Festival he was talking about.

Four of us then arranged to pile into Rod and Jane Everett's car and to drive down to  Petersfield  to  the  Multifaith  Pilgrimmage  - Rod and Jane Everett of Middlewood Trust and another girl. We  drove down on the Friday. We walked  from Petersfield  to  Winchester  staying on the floor  in  a  church  hall and a sports pavilion overnight..

Walking and chatting

It was good meeting different people. Walking with someone is a good way to get to know people and to talk and listen about different faiths and concern about the environment. Then move on or drop behind and chat to someone else. One Buddhist monk told me how he was only allowed to have a small 1 bar electric fire (1/2 kw) and only allowed it a certain number of hours per day. Or was it one hour per day?

Ploughed downland

 The shapes of the rolling chalk downs were beautiful - but I noticed this because the ground was mostly ploughed up and  native species rich grassland gone.

The sun shone. Towards the end of our journey we got our banners out.

Not far from Winchester now

We walked across a footbridge over the motorway and down into Winchester.
Over the motorway
A reception by people of the city welcomed us.
A reception by the people of Winchester city welcomed us. (You can see our Middle Wood Trust banner)

Then supper and bed on mattresses in a sports pavilion.

Next day at the cathedral on the Sunday there were lots more people. A school choir sang the beautiful song "The world is a garden you made"  - the first time that I had heard this song by Ann Conlon - and the tune SAMOS by Peter Rose.

(In fact it may have been written for WWF for this event.  Josef Weinberger have the copyright - I have the book and music should anyone I know want to borrow it.)

In the cathedral some of the Buddhist nuns meditated,  just sat there.

Several faiths had produced booklets/statements about their faith and religion and about creation stories and some of these were launched at this event.

We returned home, the long drive up north to the Lancashire Yorkshire border..

I wrote off and joined Christian Ecology Link.


And  the  following  year  there  was  a  bigger  event at Canterbury, involving a (equivalent of CTBI) weekend conference ,  and a multifaith event.  Rod and Jane joined in a fortnight's pilgrimage leading up to the weekend. I just travelled down early and accompanied them for an extra two days before the weekend...

But I'll save description of this 1988 event  for another day.

Till then I'll just say I carried a CEL banner at Canterbury and Rev Nigel Cooper came and helped carry it.


Surely a pilgrimage to "Care for our world" and to say "Thank you God" for our world is about the most important pilgrimage there could be!!

See also follow up pilgrimage in 1989 to Canterbury

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Elymus caninus - Bearded Couch

Elymus caninus 1st Oct 2009
What grass can I choose for November?

Problem solved as I go jogging - usual route - Stainforth - Stainforth Foss, Little Stainforth, Stackhouse and home -

in the twilight, on the road verge just above the Stainforth packhorse bridge I find Elymus caninus - Bearded Couch.  I complete the route clutching a flowering shoot/spike.

Other woodland grasses with which one might confuse it  include:

  • Bromopsis ramosa  Hairy Brome (But that has long very long hairs on the sheaths, and AURICLES) Ec has no auricles.
  • Elymus repens  Couch Grass (But that has rhizomes and grows in patches, not tufts, and has AURICLES) Ec has no rhizomes, and no auricles- though at first sight it might look as though it has them
  • Arrhenatherum elatius (But that usually has orange marks at the root shoot junction, and is knobbly at the base of the shoot) Ec in not knobbly at the base of the shoot and has no orange felcks there.

Elymus caninus - 17 May 2009 6.55 am -
note the time - near river Mole
road bridge at foot of Box Hill

It is VERY similar to last month's (Brachypodium sylvaticum or Wood False-brome):-

  • both grow in woods (and occasionally limestone pavement)
  • both are tufted and medium big
  • both have blades that are narrower at the base than at the middle
  • both have flowerheads that are a spike.
  • both have some hairs on the leaves..

The Elymus has taller sheaths and then especially the top blade comes off stiffly almost and right angles and then droops

Whereas the Brachypodium is MUCH narrower at the base of the blades, the blades grow up at an angle and then droop.

Elymus sheaths are virtually hairless whereas Brachypodium sheaths and nodes are hairy

Elymus Spikes are fairly stiff and the spilkelets (excluding glumes) are about 1cm long and overlap
Brachypodium spikes droop slightly and the spikelets re about 1.5cm long and overlap only slightly. Sometimes the spikelets are on short (1mm) stalks

Elymus caninus - near road bridge of Mole at
Box Hill 16 May 2010 10.26 

21 July 2004 -forget where

The photo above has one shoot of Elymus canuns in the foreground whilst the shoots behind are Brachypodium. It was taken at the viewpoint a th National Trust o fScotlan Centre at Killiecrankie looking down to the river Garry. To the left of the river as we look at it is a railway. The next hoto is of a railway arch, almost directly below these people,
Grasses course students from Kindgrogan -rest overlooking the Garry

Shoot of Elymus caninus.
There is also Elymus caninus shoots behind,
next to the sycamore shrub.