… before giving you a Bonus Post.
Now it’s Six Word Saturday Two.
Rainy Ripon’s Festival of Fallen Leaves
Start in the dripping, glistening garden …
… then go to Ripon – still raining …
Lustrous leaves shine on the pavement.
It’s nearly rutting season. Stags begin to gather their harems, display their fine antlers. In a week or two … let battle commence.
My contribution to Six Word Saturday.
We’ll still be able to get our weekly bunch of flowers come the Revolution (Brexit). We shan’t need to worry about just-in-time-deliveries via the Dutch flower trade. We’ll carry on just as we are, strolling to The Secret Garden, just outside Ripon, to choose a bunch of just-picked seasonal blooms.
On Saturdays, as you arrive there, you’ll find a somewhat retro caravan – this one.
Look inside, and there are jugs and buckets crammed with bunches of flowers chosen and gathered by the Secret Garden’s owner, Victoria Ramshaw. Every bunch includes a mix of varieties that complement and enhance each other. Every bunch was picked the previous day and plunged into water overnight to be ready to arrange, tied with raffia and presented in a twist of brown paper. Pick one up… then another …. it’s hard to choose….
Now you’ll need to go and pay. Wander up the garden to Victoria’s hut, and enjoy a chat with her. Listen to the River Laver as it tumbles and jostles alongside. Watch the butterflies and listen to the bees. Spend time looking at the flowers. Enjoy the moment, even though the garden’s now just past its best and a bit end-of-termish. Take your flowers home, and as you look at them, you’ll remember the pleasure you had choosing them, and taking a few moments out from the daily round.
It sure beats cramming a bunch of chrysanthemums into your trolley as you do your weekly shop.
This is an entry for Fan of….. #9
Here were the pleasures of scrunching through crisp, frosty grass. Through small puddles, frozen solid. Watching long shadows extend the trunks of trees across the width of a field. Sheep doing their best to scratch a breakfast from the hoary grass. Bracken with delicately rimed edges. A car on the roadside, blinded by Jack Frost’s artwork.
The sun rose and despite the cold, quickly burnt off the chilly white from the fields. The newborn lambs, which I’d hoped to spot in West Tanfield had been kept indoors – I could hear their plaintive bleating in barn. Instead – winter blossom, catkins, and a sky-blue sky.
As ever, to view any image full size, simply click on it.
It was my turn to lead our walking group on a hike on Saturday. When I was planning what to put in the programme a few months ago, I had an idea of taking the group on a pleasant wintry walk along frost-rimed canal paths with delicate fine sheets of ice coating any puddles we met. A weak sun would glimpse through downy dove-grey cloud, and we’d walk briskly in the cold clear air.
Well, that didn’t work. Last week, we’d had four days of largely non-stop rain. And Saturday was no different. Anybody with any sense would have rolled over in bed that morning and gone back to sleep. I got up, and took myself off to our rendezvous, completely confident that nobody would be there waiting for me. I’d come home and toast my toes by the fire.
Five would-be walkers greeted me. Yes, they did want to walk. No, they didn’t think it was too wet. We’re here now. Let’s get on with it.
So we did. We’re an amiable bunch who like one another so the conversation flowed. We got in our several-thousand-steps for the day. But we also couldn’t see much as our glasses got wetter and wetter. Our rain gear kept the rain out and the sweat in. Our over trousers dripped and sulked. Our boots got damper and damper. The canal tow path, normally a fine surface for a winter’s walk, slipped and oozed. The trees dumped giant water drops on our heads to add to the rain’s constant spillage
We got to our half-way point in record time. We got back to base in an even more record time.
‘Now honestly,’ I said to my fellow-martyrs as the end drew nigh.’If you had your time over again, knowing what you know now, would you have come?”Of course!’ they all said. And they meant it. Not me. I scuttled off home to my fireside, and stayed there for the rest of the day.
Today’s Ragtag Challenge is ‘Rain’.
Projected every evening during Remembrancetide onto the West End of Ripon Cathedral, this twenty-minute light show remembers those, male and female, whose lives were taken from them during WWI. It’s dreadful to watch the long, long, long list of names of the fallen, scrolling inexorably upwards. How could so many young men from this small city have died in those four years of war? We are shown photos from the war years, and the faces of some of those who have died. John McCrae’s celebrated poem ‘We are the dead‘, illustrated with ranks of graves, and scenes from the ravaged countryside of Flanders completes the spectacle. A tumbling tower of images of blood-red poppies begins and ends this thought-provoking and humbling show.
Click on any image to see it full size.
Citizens of Ripon and beyond have been calling into the cathedral as often as they could over the last few weeks. Not necessarily to view this ancient building, or even to spend quiet moments reflecting. Perhaps not even to view the poppies which are here, as they are throughout the city centre.
We’ve all been visiting the Fields of Mud in the Cathedral itself. Back in early October, that’s all we could see. A large brown rectangle of damp mud, surrounded by sandbags. This mud is from Passchendaele, and from a Great War military camp in Ripon. As, over the weeks, the wet earth dried and cracked, five ghostly, battle weary figures slowly emerged on the surface.
There are millions of ungerminated poppy seeds lying dormant in that mud. When the piece is decommissioned later this month, it will be broken up and segments will be made available to the public to create their own memorials. This work’s legacy can continue indefinitely.
This astonishingly moving and evocative piece is the inspiration of Dan Metcalfe: his farming background has given him an understanding of mud. It’s disagreeable, destructive and even dangerous, as every WWI tommy well knew. But it also harbours seeds, waiting to flourish and grow when conditions are right .
Now the figures are fully visible, as the mud which surrounds them has dried out. And so we can see that these are the same figures that have appeared round town, near North Bridge and the Cathedral itself, at Hell Wath and Rotary Way: and in nearby Sharow, where the British Legion home for former service personnel used to be. These soldiers, and a nurse appear as silhouettes, made from rusted metal, and they are trudging home, their backs to the conflict and facing the future.
Ripon city has recently made us keenly aware of the sacrifices made in the Great War. But the poppies, the Fields of Mud are not the whole story. Tomorrow, on Remembrance Day, I’ll show you Ripon’s Remembrance Light Show.
Click on any image to see it full size.