Shuffling for Europe

Last week, the one at the end of which the long-planned Put it to the People March was due to take place, the Brexit Drama went from bad to worse to excruciating.  It seemed a perfect time to go to London and make our views known.

We’d been before of course.  Twice.  We’d been last June, we members of North Yorkshire for Europe,  sharing a coach with protestors from York.  We went in October, with a coach of our own.  We went again on Saturday, with three coaches, part of a flotilla of 19 from Yorkshire and 200 from the country as a whole.

Here we are arriving, marshalling ourselves.

And here we are singing one of the nineteen songs from the Yorkshire Remoaners’ Songbook.  Our signature number is this….

We’ve come from Yorkshire just to say (just to say)

All Brexit deals are cra-ap………  

and so on, plus two other verses, obviously sung to the tune of On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at.’

Richard Sadler, Chair of North Yorkshire for Europe, and apparently Director of Music for the day.

It would be untrue to say we started marching.  The crowds were such that we often didn’t move at all, and when we did, we shuffled.  We soon got split up, but it was always cheering to see that wherever we looked, there was a Yorkshire flag – the white rose on a blue ground – somewhere in sight.

Yorkshire for Europe!

There were fellow marchers to talk to – the young girl who’d chosen to spend her 13th birthday marching, the elderly Irish woman who’d come over to vent her anger at how Ireland’s particular issues were being sidelined.  There were witty posters to admire: there are a few at the end of this post.  And more here. 

A newly teenage girl protests.

On we went, making the roads on our route totally impassable for passers-by.  One hour – two hours – three hours of shuffling – we were still only in Pall Mall.  By now the speeches were beginning in Parliament Square on  the other side of Trafalgar Square, and we were still nearly a mile away.  Never mind.

Drummers struck up, and entirely unbidden, our voices, hundreds strong, spontaneously  divided as cantor and antiphon, though the words were the same: ‘Stop Brexit now!’ This little interlude seems to me to be a metaphor for how most Remainers that I know treat one another: cooperatively, in  harmony, and with mutual respect.

And then … then we had to go.  We had to find our coach, due to depart on the long road back to Yorkshire.

Although we were marching to be given a Final Vote on the Brexit Deal, there’s now equally loud pressure that Parliament should Revoke Article 50. Now.

If you’re a British Citizen, and haven’t done so already, please sign here.

And if you’d like an aeriel view of the whole thing, here you are, thanks to The Guardian.  We’re off camera.  We didn’t get to the centre of the action.

Ragtag Saturday: A Tracery of Twigs

It’s equinox season: that blessed time of year when day equals night, and when, for us, the days are getting longer.

The full moon. The equinox.

It’s transition time in so many ways. Those wonderful winter trees, their tracery of twigs and branches transcribed against the sky are skeletal still: but only just.

This morning, on my way out, I noticed tightly furled leaf buds, glossy and taut on shrubs in the garden. Two hours later, coming back, the tender leaves had burst out, tiny and delicate, waiting to be toughened up and to grow in the mild spring air. It was very windy too – hence no photos.

Has spring sprung?

A late afternoon sky over the River Ure, just before the equinox.

Today’s Ragtag Challenge is Tracery.https://wp.me/p9YcOU-1ll

All photos apart from the first and the last one were taken walking through the parkland of Studley Royal, Fountains Abbey.

The Eccentric Aristocrat: Sir Tatton Sykes, 4th Baronet.

As you travel on the B1252 to Driffield in East Yorkshire, you may notice ahead of you a strange spire thrusting skywards. Is it a steeple? No, too slender. Is it some piece of machinery, agricultural or otherwise? No, that’s just … wrong.

The Sledmere Monument, a first glance.

Then suddenly, you’re upon it – it’s there, at the side of the road, a needle-sharp column rising some 120 feet towards the heavens. You get out. You read the story. And then you come home and find out more about the extraordinary man whose life is commemorated in this memorial.

The Sledmere Monument: a second glance.

Sir Tatton Sykes was born in 1772: and he chose to wear 18th century dress all his life. He lived on the 34,000 acres of the family seat of Sledmere House, the largest estate in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The Sykes family was one that thought little of building an entire village – Sledmere – to support it, or of hiring the most noted landscape designer of the age, Capability Brown, to transform its parkland. They employed the foremost designers, plasterers and architects of the period to fashion the house itself. They were rich, energetic, resourceful … and eccentric. You can read all about it here.

Sledmere House (geograph.co.uk)

Sir Tatton grew up to be an informed and intelligent sheep breeder, but his first love was horse racing. Apparently he even sold a copy of the Gutenberg Bible to support his stables and foxhounds. In the unlikely event that a copy of this book came onto the market today, it would probably sell for between $25 million and $35 million.

He’d travel miles on horseback – or even on foot – to see a horse race. He’d even be found riding the winning horse himself. He bred horses – some 200 at a time, and held quality stock, paying 3000 guineas for one particularly fine animal.

 

So far, so fairly normal for an upper class English eccentric. But here is a man who was also a bare-knuckle fighter; a man who’d roll up his shirtsleeves and work alongside his labourers, earning their admiration and respect. He noticed the grass growing more lushly where his foxhounds buried their bones, put two and two together, and invented … bonemeal.He didn’t marry till he was fifty, but then he went on to have eight children, seven of whom lived, before he finally died aged ninety.

Some 3000 people, rich and poor came to his funeral. And it was some of these people who came up with the idea for this monument. It comes complete with keeper’s cottage (Job? Keep the place in order, and conduct visitors up the presumably horribly narrow stairs to the viewing room at the top).

Sir Tatton Sykes, as shown on his monument.

‘To tenants he was a liberal landlord, to the poor a kind and considerate friend’, it says on the information board by the monument. Not a bad epitaph.

Ragtag Saturday: Rus in urbe in Andalucia

Rus in urbe.  Signs of the countryside in town.  We spent a lot of our time in Andalucia, particularly in Córdoba and Málaga, hanging over river bridges staring at bird life, or gawping into trees to see what we could see.  Here’s a bit of a rogues’ gallery….

Cormorants on the river Guadalquivir…

Egrets, ditto.

Herons – or perhaps always just the same heron?  Fishing, always fishing.

A poor swallow (Was it a swallow?  Help me, someone) trapped in the synagogue in Córdoba, endlessly flying impotently towards the light, the incontestably glazed windows.

Then it was parakeets.  We’ve moved to Málaga now.  We could hear them all the time, squawking in the palm trees.  But this pair had time to bill, coo and preen.

La Concepción Botanical Gardens were at the edge of town.  But still definitively Málaga.  I offer you turtles…..

…. toads…

and – not from the Botanical Gardens – the inevitable herring gull.

 

And if it’s red squirrels you’re after, you’ll just have to read my last post.

As usual, click on any photo to view full size.  This is my entry for today’s Ragtag Challenge: rus in urbe.

Thursday Doors visits Córdoba

Here’s my contribution to Thursday Doors. Follow the link to see pictures of humble doors, magnificent doors, old doors, new doors, village doors, town doors … all sorts of doors from around the world.

As usual, click on any image to view it full size.

Squirreling a snack

We’re back in England now, back to temperatures of under six degrees when we’d got used to nearer twenty in Spain.  Back to rain and wind instead of sunny breeze.  Still, I can sit and sort my photos out.

The view up – looking towards the Alcazaba: the adjoining castle to Gibralfro.

Here are some from the day we slogged up the 240′ to Castillo Gibralfro in Málaga. Part way up, we came upon this enchanting scene.

I know the arguments about the potential dangers to both humans and wildlife from too-close contact.  But these two Spanish children are not likely to forget, or be unaffected by this chance encounter with this little squirrel: or to resent the fact that he charmed the greater part of their mid-morning snack from them.

 

And here’s the view coming down.

Click on any image to view full size.