Autumn: time to move.

Places to go, places to see

When I used to keep bees Autumn was the cruelest time for drones, dragged mercilessly from the comfort of their hives by fierce worker bees, to be chucked out into the cold autumn weather. It’s hard being a male in the bee world, death by bee sting for those drones refusing to leave. Workers need to seal the hive from winter winds, collect and protect their food supplies. This is no place for Drones, who take rather than give to the colony. September worker bees will live through the winter months to support their queen and colony until the early spring sun warms the hive, with snowdrops and croci flowers, heavy with pollen, food for bee larvae and pupae. Then the workers know it’s time to alert their queen, directing her to cleaned wax cells to lay her eggs. Fertilized eggs for female, her new colony, it’s too early to lay drones. Here, the worker bees rule.

Autumn is a busy time for beekeepers. We’ve collected all our colonies and settled them into our winter Apiary beside the River Ure, where the river bends. Oh yes. We know advice from beekeepers is “don’t keep bees beside a river because of possible flooding.” But our bees are on what’s known locally as the “High Bank,” well away from floods, a place of magical mystery, thick with Himalayan balsam still in flower, which provide a late source of nectar for our bees to fan into honey, their food for the cold winter months. A row of lime trees border the High Bank, sheltering our colonies from the cold North wind, protected also from the wicked East wind by a thicket hedge. All our hives have been brought together, from the heather moors, the field beans and from my allotment, where they have expanded to strong colonies from the abundance of summertime pollen and nectar.

Fifteen colonies were prepared for winter. All had feeders over their Brood Boxes and Supers providing each colony with a gallon of thick syrup to supplement their foraging for nectar around this wild place. Each colony was cocooned with a quilt beneath the roof and a covering on the North and Eastern side of their hives. All on stands and belted tight should they be blown over or knocked by a predatory animal looking for food. Their entrances narrowed and nailed to help their sentry bees prevent wasp attack and hibernating field mice entering, looking for somewhere warm with stores of food to over winter.

One evening I remember the setting sun throwing its pale rays over the fallow field. Shivering in the chilly evening breeze we turned from watching our bees. All was calm. Breathing the aroma of damp soil and water it was time to journey back across the big field.  In the dimming light the sky of a sudden was full of geese. Canada Geese in migration fly towards this field to descend in RAF Formation, landing quietly, gabbling, and fluttering, settling in for a night’s rest. More geese in V-Shaped flight formations zoomed onto the field, followed by more, and more, and more. Soon the field was full of geese, resting overnight, before taking off at the rise of the sun to fly to their winter homelands. We felt the season’s change to winter in this wild world as we quietly stumbled awkwardly over the rough field in the rapidly failing light, trying not to disturb these birds. Alfred Hitchcock’s film, “the Birds” comes to mind. Flights were still arriving as we reached our car parked by the Keeper’s Cottage. We watched them settle onto the fallow field in wonder. How did they know which field was their resting place to gather on their migration routes? Why this particular field? Life is strange but beautiful. Total bliss.

Another dollar, another day

As my mother used to say.  So, this pitching to publishers, or whomsoever?  What’s it all about I might ask?  Seems it depends on not on;y the pitcher’s expertize in expressing an idea in as few words as possible but a way of reading the person pitching to.  Yes.  This is vital.  My latest experience last Saturday was a wonderful view of the different ways a ‘publisher’ reacts to different ‘pitchers’. This was a workshop by a well respected writer/director/etc etc etc – who worked mainly in the field of  television and radio. The day rambled on with interesting discussion about writing for film, TV and radio.  Great, though my chair became increasingly hard.  Some of the others showed their faces and marks.  I did tend to keep quiet.  It was interesting to hear people’s views about programmes I haven’t watched or listened to.  I was there to learn – about what was expected from writers when they pitch a story.  AND this workshop promised an opportunity to practice a pitch to a REAL LIVE Producer of film and script for radio.  REASON I WAS THERE.  The time came – and as I had been told, the producer fired tough questions.  I’d prepared something I wasn’t really wanting to write as a script – just  for the exercise, – and was really interested to see the way he shot my idea down.  Brilliant.  This is what I wanted and need – to learn to overcome the challenges.  Interestingly, because I wasn’t committed to my story idea I wasn’t able to respond to his hard questions, and response that the idea wouldn’t work, wasn’t realistic.  OKAY.  That’s his view from his experience.  Then he surprised me by asking if I had any other ideas.  Well – I had.  Something completely different, that wasn’t even written down.  He asked me to pitch it, which I did from the top of my head.  A subject I knew thoroughly, and was full of funny experiences and situations.  He liked it and asked to see the script – SOMETHING I HADN’T PREPARED OR CONSIDERED SUBMITTING FOR CONSIDERATION.  So – What does this tell me?

Intarsia madness

10686996_10152886352569721_2476805594616312659_nThis, when finished, will be a scarf. All I need to do is repeat the pattern six times.  OK! Well.  Firstly I needed to buy the wool, Rowan’s best – from English sheep, I learned was held in their warehouse in Germany.  This put the project back two months whilst waiting for the wool to be delivered.  OK – Why not keep our wool in Germany? After all, we ARE part of the Common Market.  Rowan HQ by the way, is in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.  Not too far from where I live.  AND the old mill there used to be where the wool was spun and bound into balls, after all Holmfirth is in the middle of Mill country, sheep rearing country, where worsteds were woven through the centuries.  I don’t think the people of Holmfirth were too impressed to find their jobs being transferred to Germany.  But, heck.  We are ALL part of the EU aren’t we?  Mustn’t grumble about our heritage work being transferred to Germany, after all, the mill would have employed mainly women, so it doesn’t matter if they lose their jobs does it?  I mean – I expect the village of Holmfirth will be able to provide employment for those made redundant.

Anyways – once I’d received the wool I found it was 2ply, thin stuff.  Big sigh.  This project is going to end up like my cross stitch patchwork cushion that became a major project in the 1970’s – nearly took the ten years of the 70’s to complete.

Then, of course I have the battle for my space on the sofa to deal with as well.  Beth is laying claim to the sofa.  Whenever I sit down she wants my space.  I then move to let her have the part I have warmed, which she immeiately moves onto, stretching to take up at least two thirds of the seat.


Well.  To be truthful, this is Beth’s designed total takeover of both the sofa and Jim’s chair.  So, being left with a miniscule space to knit I am finding it hard to manipulate the narrow, slim knitting needles.  As soon as I start to knit, and, in particular when I reach a difficult part requiring attaching new wool colours and counting, Beth turns herself and plonks her head on my knee, dmanding 100% attention and love.  So – it is debatable when this scarf will be finished.  Perhaps I ought to leave it to someone in my will.  Any offers?


Not being a chocoholic I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.  OK so chocolate was sent to the troops at the front in WW1, wonderful gesture from the company that made the chocolate, part of its war effort.  It seems that one soldier sent his box back home to his mother.  Was that a kind gesture on his part to celebrate, perhaps her birthday, or as a Christmas present.  He could have eaten it and sent her the tin it was in, which she would have used to keep her precious things, such as silks, cottons, needles etc.  Instead she kept it, didn’t eat it, but kept it and it ended up in a museum display in York.  So – it seems, not everyone is as amoured with chocolate as we are made to believe.

In a previous life I was employed as ‘evening turn down’ chambermaid at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, and had to leave a chocolate on the pillow; a part-time job I hasten to say, to supplement my full-time job.  Having said that I loved this job, stepping out my awful day-time job into a glimpse of luxury, before returning to my then absolutely horrendous home life where I was just so tired I’d ignore the hassle given to fall into bed to sleep, blessed sleepDSCN1266[Sorry – Couldn’t find a picture of Chocolates so I thought this photo of Scottish fudge might activate the tastebuds!!!!].

Once, when going on holiday,  I left a scattering of chocolates on my wonderful husband, Jim’s pillow. That same night he went to bed in the dark, and didn’t see them until the morning when he couldn’t understand why his face was covered in chocolate.

Eighty-twenty-five. Halloween. 2014.

All hallows in the Christian Church.  So how many souls will be up and walking tonight I wonder, given the Ebola epidemic, Isis massacre of anyone, everyone who are simply there according to the news.

Do I want to watch the news?  ‘News’ rported as it is today, is alway bad; depressing.  Perhaps a month without BBC or any TV news, newspaper news and news in general might be like a toxic clear out.

My thoughts are with my gorgeous sister who died 9 July 2013.  Sue.  You are just so lovely.  You infuriated me in so many ways.  Remember the time you were teaching Early Years, and wanted the museum to send a Lion and a Leopard to the classroom to show the children what wild animals looked like, under the ‘nature into the environment’ project.  You argued, ‘Why?’ in your most upright defensive stance.  No person would argue with that and survive.  The response from the museum curators was – the dimensions of Sue’s school didn’t meet the dimensions of the aminals delivered, so would she arrange to have the roof of the school lifted to allow the animals to be delivered.

Sue.  Your zest in life was an inspiration.  You loved every challenge life offered.  Today I cried in Crimple woods for you.  I wanted you to be there,  To see just how gorgeous life is.  I weep for you. My gorgeous sister.  My wonderful and gorgeous sister.  Love you to bits. X

Squirrelling with Beth.

Warmest Halloween ever, so down we go to the woods, Beth and me.  An excited Beth, seeing squirrels collecting Beech nuts from the ground, races in chase.  Off up the trees they run to Beth’s dismay.  She jumps up in futile attempt to climb after them, high pitched bark in total frustration.  ‘Come down.  I want to play; promise!’  Off she chases after another, and so it goes on, all through the woods.

The woods.  So lovely in their colour.


The light.

It was in the middle of the most complicated counting and colour change row of knitting my intarsia scarf that he said, ‘Are my knees straight.’  Glancing up he was stood there, pants dropped down by his ankles.  A few stitches and my jaw dropped.  ‘I said.  Are my knees straight.’ It’s not often at my age I am gifted with such a beautiful view. David Beckham in all his glory in the underpants add eat your hat.  There Jim stood, displaying his most beautiful legs, gorgeous curve of his quads, brown from the sun and covered with hair bleached with exposure to the sun.

‘Well!  Are they straight.’


‘My knees.’

my knitting’s on the floor as I stand up for a better view.  Walk slowly round to see his perfect glutes, taught from Pilates.

‘My knees aren’t back there.’

Wow.  He’s got lovely legs and a perfect bum. Slowly I sit back down onto the sofa to take in his lower torso.

‘Come on then.  Are they straight?’

‘The light.’ I reply. ‘It isn’t too good down here.’ Rising from the sofa I go to the door.  ‘Better view in the bedroom. Follow me.’P1560489

Naked I come to you?

Jim’s doing the washing-up.  ‘You sit there.’ he says to me as I twist the stem of my wine glass nervously.  Oh!  I worry about the the hob, the cooker, the work surfaces.  Will he clean them?  So I wait for that moment to go to the sink to see the grease line, glance at the uncleaned hob and cooker.  My chance to turn on scalding water and clean.

‘I’m doing a wash,’ is my excuse knowing that with a half full washing machine!!!  Well.  Didn’t I once clean for Molly Maid for 6 months [hard labour].  Lost half a stone.  So, busily scalding and cleaning I look up to see Jim wearing different clothes.  ‘Where are the ones for washing?’

‘In the washing machine.’ I am totally confused.  How had he got past me without me noticing.

‘Ah.’ said Jim. ‘Once you’d have noticed.’

What’s he on about? ‘Undressed in front of you.  Walked past you.’

‘Full nude in the kitchen.’ I replied, shocked, nay, dismayed I’d missed the view.

‘Once you’d have noticed.’ he responded with a crack in his voice.

‘Any-one could have walked in,’ I answered. ‘Rachael from next door, Michelle from over the road; even Sharon.’ Shocked.

‘They didn’t,’ he said.  ‘And.  You didn’t notice me.’

Oh Heck.  Get out of that one Lyn.’  Bit of making up needed here.  Or am I getting a bit too obsessed with cleaning!!!  Arghhhh!

Wonderful day in York

It was one of those days when everything seemed to go right.  Today, was the day we were all meeting.  Nine of us, in York, – descending on York to put faces to the ‘us’ who have worked together online, for the Certificate of Creative Writing at York University.  Over two years we have met online to complete projects, submit work -opening ourselves to each other for critique, and learned to trust our judgements and each other.  So today was important.  We put faces to those people who became so important during our course.IMG_0141