Saturday, 30 August 2008

And The Winner Is - With some August Ramblings

300 post Giveaway Draw! The post on mother Shipton's Cave was my 300th and I just want to say how much I appreciate all those that follow my blog and comment. I appreciate the E-mails from 'blogging firends' and I enjoy visiting your blogs too. I learn so much not only from your posts but also from the research I do for many of my own posts. I have also had the pleasure of meeting 3 other bloggers, one of them staying in my home. We have come a long way from the 'pen friends' of old (yes I had several as a child) to this new world of cyber space friendships.

And the winner is?

Something from my garden first. This is my new garden furniture. Having replaced the wooden bench seat at the bottom of the garden early in the Summer I took advantage of a half price sale and renewed some more. Every Summer we look at the wooden furniture that always needs rubbing down and painting and sometimes even needs parts of the wood renewing. Sometimes it gets done and sometimes it does not. This new furniture is coated alluminium so we can n ow forget about maintenance. I have only one wooden bench seat up next to the house now and that was sanded and painted this year. I have to say that it has rained and rained since I bought this furniture. We have used it once.

The reason for our very wet August is because the Jet Stream usually rests North of the British Isles but this year it has been pushed South so has held the dryer weather from the African continent way South of us. We are a small island where 6 weather patterns converge so no wonder we have a reputation around the world for our obession with the weather.

The roses are coming into their second flush and although they are never as fresh and large as the first flush, they still show some vibrant colours against the black spot and mildew that attacks them this time of year.

I received this award a little while ago from Vee Thank you Vee. This is a different picture to the usual one. I pass it on to Linds who makes me smile and wince in equal measure. Linds is an excellent story teller.

Also this award from Zetor . Thank you Zetor I am honoured. I very rarely visit a blog without commenting. I like to know that people have visited me and I know other bloggers feel the same. I am passing this on to Patsy. Patsy is a fairly new visitor to my blog but she always leaves valid comments. She is the same age as me and has been a Christian for the same number of years.

Now what is left of these August Ramblings? I have not taken pictures of the drawing of the Giveaway as I have so many photos that I am dealing with at the moment but trust me it was carried out in the same way as my other Giveaways - drawn by my dear husband Alan. Out of 18 contestants the winner is:

Congratulations Teresa, you will need to E-mail me with your address and I will send you the Mini Kath Kidston bag with a surprise inside.
I don't know how I got through this post - 'blogger' has played up at every turn.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Spofforth Castle Ruins and Plumpton Rocks, Yorkshire Pt. 3

After spending our day at Knaresborough we took a detour and visited a couple of places on our way back. Here you see the ruins of Spofforth Castle. It was right in the middle of the village of Spofforth and initially we drove right past, not expecting that.

The castle was actually the Manor House of the Percy family. He came here from Normandy in 1067 after the Norman conquest of Britain. He was rewarded by William the Conqueror who granted him 86 Lordships in Yorkshire.
The castle dates from the thirteenth century and was reduced to ruins during the English Civil War.

Passing the gardens of Plumton Rocks we dropped in there for a visit too. Having walked miles and miles already today, we clamered down steep and slippery wooded slopes to reach this tranquil lake, overshadowed by dramatic millstone grit rocks.
As one walks, slithers, slides up and down the wooded slopes of the Plumpton area there are rocks of interest at every turn.
The garden has been used in numerous television productions including Blake's Seven, Heartbeat, Emmerdale and the Muppet show. Legend has it that Robin Hood hunted deer here.
A map of the Manor of Plumpton, prepared for William de Plumpton in 1587, depicts the lake, woods and road exactly as they are today.

If you are joining me on this tour then tomorrow we will be driving over the Dales and Moors

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Mother Shipton's Cave and The Petrifying Well within an Historic Park, Yorkshire Pt 2

As mentioned in my last post, we visited Knaresborough primarily to visit Mother Shipton's Cave. I posted on one of her most famous prophesies early in the year, but this was the first time that I have visited her birthplace. This is England's oldest visitor attraction. This will be a long post but full of interest and fascination.

This the legendary place where, in 1488 Agatha Sontheil gave birth to a baby girl she named Ursula and where the amazing story of Mother Shipton began - in the middle of a violent thunderstorm.
Agatha was just 15 years old and would not reveal the father's identity, not even when she was dragged in front of the local court. She had no parents to support her and no-body was willing to give her shelter, so she was effectively banished from Knaresborough.
Mother and daughter lived in the cave for 2 years, after which a local religious man, the Abbot of Beverly intervened. The Mother spent the rest of her years in a convent and Ursula was taken in by a local family and raised but the identity of the Father was never known.
Many people thought she was a witch as she was round shouldered, deformed and twisted with large hooked features. She was so taunted by the townsfolk that she would spend most of her time in the forest where herbs grew in abundance. As she grew into a young woman she realised that she had a powerful gift and her reputation spread.
Ultimately, the Royal Palace of Henry VIII and the King's left hand man, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey became aware of Mother Shipton, the hag from Yorkshire. The King despatched the Duke of Suffolk, Lord D'Arcy and the Earl of Northumberland to seek out this woman and silence her.
They approached her disguised as travellers. She offered them drinks and a place by the fire. Ursula knew exactly who they were and why they had come. Not only did she refuse to take back her prophesies but spoke of her guests being dead upon the streets of York.
They returned to London with her predictions of The Spanish Armada, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, the discovery of potato and tobacco, The Great Fire of London and The Great Plague. Some years later in a Royal rebellion her visitors were beheaded at York and their heads mounted on wooden stakes and placed above the pavements at York.
She married a local carpenter at the age of 24 and never had children. There were later references to her in English writings, and you may be aware of the familiar characters of Old Mother Riley and Old Mother Hubbard.

The park in which the cave precides is a now a world famous historic park. The park is unique and is now all that remains, unspoilt, of the ancient forest of Knaresborough. The park was sold by King Charles I in 1630 to a local gentleman, Sir Charles Slingsby, and has only had 2 owners since. The present owners Adrian and Liz Sayers, bought the estate in June 2001. Being privately owned it receives no financial assistance whatsoever so all proceeds from admissions are ploughed back into the park.

Before proceeding to the cave I'll reprint this prophecy here as a reminder:

Mother Shipton was a very keen, and discerning student of the prophecies of the Bible. From her studies of the Scriptures, she saw what was going to take place in the Twentieth Century or in the Latter days, and wrote it in the form of a poem. This is as it was originally written.

Mother Shipton’s Prophecy
A.D. 1449

And now a word, in uncouth rhyme
Of what shall be in future time
For, in those wondrous far off days,
The women shall adopt a craze
To dress like men and trousers wear
And cut off all their locks of hair.

They’ll ride astride with brazen brow,
As witches do, on broom sticks now;
Then love shall die, and marriage cease
And nations wane as babes decrease’
Then wives shall fondle cats and dogs
And men shall live much the same as hogs.

A carriage without horse shall go,
Disaster fill the world with woe;
In London, Primrose Hill shall be’
Its centre hold a Bishop’s See,
Around the world men’s thoughts shall fly
Quick as the twinkling of an eye.

And waters shall great wonders do-
How strange, and yet is shall come true.
Then upside down the world shall be,
And gold found at the root of tree.
Through towering hills proud men shall ride,
No horse or mule move by his side.

Beneath the water men shall walk.
Shall ride, shall sleep, and even talk;
And in the air men shall be seen,
In white, in black, as well as green.
A great man then shall come and go,
For prophecy declares it so.

In water iron then shall float,
As easy as a wooden boat.
Gold shall be found in streams and stone
In land that is as yet unknown.
Water and fire shall wonders do, (steam)
And England shall admit a Jew.

The Jew that once was held in scorn
Shall of a Christian then be born.
A hearse of glass shall come to pass, (Crystal Palace)
In England – but, alas! alas!
A war will follow with the work
Where dwells the pagan and the Turk.

The states will lock in fiercest strife,
And seek to take each others life;
When North shall thus divide the South,
The eagle builds in lion’s mouth.
Then tax and blood and cruel war
Shall come to every humble door.

Then, when the fiercest fight is done,
England and France shall be as one,
The British olive next shall twine
In marriage with the German vine.
Men shall walk beneath and over streams-
Fulfilled shall be our strangest dreams.

All England’s sons that plough the land
Shall oft be seen with book in hand
The poor shall now great wisdom know.
Great houses stand in far flung vale
All covered o’er with snow and hail.

In nineteen hundred twenty-six
Build houses light of straw and sticks.
For then shall mighty wars be planned.
When pictures seen alive with movements free,
When boats like fishes swim beneath the sea,
When men like birds shall scour the sky;
Then half this world, deep drenched in blood shall die.

But those who live to see (all this) through,
In fear and trembling this will do;
Flee to the mountains and the dens,
To bog and forest and wild fens
For storms will rage and oceans roar,
When Gabriel stands on sea and shore.
And as he blows his wondrous horn
Old worlds shall die and new be born.

It is a fairly long and steep walk to the cave amongst these ancient Beech trees which also takes us over the famous spring and brings us to the front of the Petrifying Well before entering the cave.

A well opposite to the cave

The cave with a picture of Mother Shipton imposed on the rock face.
The Geology of the Cave
The Nidd gorge was formed by a glacier during the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago. It was during the Ice Age that the geology and strata of the area was formed and the lake and spring that now falls over the Petrifying Well.
The Cave is made up of mineral deposits, exactly the same as the Petrifying Well.
The waters that now flow over the well used to flow where the cave is.
The mineral deposits built up over thousands of years forming a huge overhang that eventually collapsed, forming the cave. If the Petrifying Well was left unmaintained that too would eventually build up so much tht it would collapse.
Geologists estimate that the collapse forming the cave occurred aproximately 6000 years ago. The collapse diverted the waters and they began to form what we now call The Petrifying Well.

The Spring where the waters flow from

And below that the Petrifying Well

Visitors have been paying to see this Well since 1630 although they had been coming for many years before that. Henry VIII's Antiquary stood here in 1538 and reported back to the King how amazing it was and how great numbers of people travelled miles to visit! For many centuries it was thought to have miraculous healing powers and people used to carry their sick and dying relatives to bathe in the pool.
The waters come from a lake a mile underground. As they travel to the surface they collect a massive amount of minerals, just right for turning things into stone. Compared to a stalactrite or stalagmite, items turn to stone or petrify very quickly, a small teddy bear taking 3 - 5 months to be completely solid, and 6 - 12 months for large porous items.
Here we see many items hanging that have been petrified. (I imagine this is where the word petrify comes from - the local people were frightened that they would be turned to stone if they stayed too long) People are no longer allowed to hang things up for obvious reasons but we will see some interesting exhibits in the museum. The lumps sticking out half way up the well face are a Victorian top hat and a ladies bonnet, recorded as being left there by a young couple on their way to the York races in 1853.

We see here in the museum John Wayne's hat and Agatha Christie's handbag amongst bits and pieces left by a number of celebrities. Probably the most historic and valuable is a shoe left by Queen Mary when she visited in 1923.

This is how many criminals were dealt with in the 1600's in the area. Not only hung but left for the crows to pick at exposed flesh. We still have 2 more places we plan to visit today so we will walk back along the river to the entrance before crossing the bridge and walking up the steep streets to the town where we find the church ladies selling delicious afternoon teas as we saw in the last post. From there we have to walk back to the car park on the other side of the river - at least it is downhill this time.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Knaresborough,Yorkshire Pt 1

It is our first full day in Yorkshire and we are visiting places close to 'home.' We began with this pretty town of Knaresborough as we wanted to visit Mother Shipton's cave, (You may remember I posted on this some time ago) and it is only 4 miles away. It will leave us time later in the day to visit Plumpton Rocks and Sopporth Castle. First though I will show you some scenes of the town and take you to Mother Shipton's cave in the next post.

We walked along the gorge to the cave, snapping shots of the town on the opposite side of the river as we went. You will see lots of interesting detail if you double click.

The black and white chequered building we see here dates from the 1100's. It was built around an ancient tree which supported the roof. It was used as a Hunting Lodge by King John and later given by James I to his son Charles who used it as a Fishing Lodge. Charles I met Oliver Cromwell at the house, and in the Oak Room, signed the treaty of Capitulation ending the Civil War.

An upside down house
or maybe it is just pure reflection!

St. John's church sits high above the river Nidd and incorporates architecture dating from the Norman period. We will be visiting there for afternoon tea after we have crossed the river and walked up to the town.

A Chinese Restaurant
with the local chequered stone

We are across the river now and walking up the hill
Just look at the small depth of this house built into the rock

Windows were filled in a few centuries ago to save on taxes
but look at the inovative artwork
Did you think there were 4 windows?
I did on first looking

We are sitting on the terrace at the back of the church hall and looking down on to the river and over to the viaduct

All home made by the church folks