Saturday, August 07, 2010

This and That

The week has passed in a haze of smoke, some days more dense than others as the wind shifts.

On Wednesday morning the day dawned clear and bright, but soon there were thunderclouds forming to the north and evening brought a great crashing and lightning show that stole away all power from the valley for three hours.

We hunted up the candles and the LED lights and sat out on the deck in the candlelight, watching the sheet lightning and listening to the complaints of the thunder, rumbling off in the distance.  Just as we went to bed the power came back on, so I was able to have my pre-sleep read by lamplight.   I have a Seven Day book from the library, - Joanna Trollope's 'The Other Family'.  I am enjoying it in snatches and have put away 'Surprised by Hope' by N.T. Wright, a book that requires a little more thought and mindful reading.

There are a couple of fires in neighbouring valleys, and occasionally we hear the helicopters and the water bombers, but seldom see them through the smoke.

The days pass quickly and when I realize we are a week into August I am needled into picking up my knitting to resume the sock marathon.   The sock stash grows and then diminishes when birthdays arrive and it is so handy to parcel up a pair of handknit footwear.  It is a project for which my enthusiasm also grows and diminishes, and I hid it all away during the heat of July, but now I have cast on again!

I was also seduced into playing the piano every day when Charles remarked that he hadn't heard any Scott Joplin in a long while and I thought 'Yes - we are missing that joy from our lives' so now I have made room for some practising  in the morning as he gets ready to go out and do the things he really feels must be done!!!
This week involving the tractor!!!

Was he always this disciplined about accomplishing something important every day?  Surely I remember the wonderful cool mornings we went golfing, and the Saturdays we spent at yard sales, and fishing, and bridge games......well, we can't golf any more, and we don't need anything to tempt us at yard sales, and the friends we played bridge with have all been lost to either death or dementia, so I guess these accomplishments are a good compensation.  And they do contribute to our togetherness as I don my Go-fer Hat.

Yesterday a friend needed some help sorting out medications so Charles came with me and we went on a little camera oriented drive, around the back benches and through the ranching meadows.

In the evening I went out to take a picture of a cloud that had caught Charles' eye, and ended up strolling through the garden, noting how it is changing from a summer garden with all its lovely Monet colours into the shades of fall.

I am off to pick some white phlox and Prairie Princess roses for the altar tomorrow.

and to take some coffee to the man on the lawn tractor....

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Skywatch Friday

August 6th, 2010

Similkameen Skies

A tender sunrise from long ago

Sunrise on the first of August

And at noon, as the smoke started to drift in from neighbouring wildfires.

For more sky pictures from around the world click here to visit

Skywatch Friday.

Monday, August 02, 2010

ABC Wednesday

This week's letter is C

C is for costermonger

Oscar Rejlander

From Wikipedia -  Costermonger, or simply Coster, is a street seller of fruit (apples, etc.) and vegetables, in London and other British towns. They were ubiquitous in mid-Victorian England, and some are still found in markets. As usual with street-sellers, they would use a loud sing-song cry or chant to attract attention. Their cart might be stationary at a market stall, or mobile (horse-drawn or wheelbarrow).

Louise Moillon - The Fruit and Vegetable Costermonger

Here is an excerpt from Dick Sullivan's Web Site

"Victoria's reign was the costermonger's heyday even though the word had been coined in the early sixteenth century (coster is a corruption of costard, a kind of apple).  Mayhew gave us a detailed snapshot of their lives, habits and beliefs in a series of twice weekly articles for the Morning Chronicle in the late 1840s. Later they were published as London Labour and the London Poor. Costermongers qualified because they were far from rich. Mayhew thought there were between thirty and forty thousand of them, quite a large number in a city of under two and a half million. There was no mystery about what did; they bought fruit and vegetables wholesale and sold them retail. Technically they were hawkers since only a minority had fixed stalls or standings. The rest cried out their wares as they walked the streets with barrows, donkey carts, or shallows (trays carried on the head).In the 1840s they accounted for ten percent of the cheaper produce sold in Covent Garden's wholesale market, and a good third of Billingsgate Fish. Earnings ranged from an average ten shillings a week to thirty at a time when a collier's wages was around twenty."  more

This site is an excellent source of knowledge about a colourful period in London's history, and an eye opener about the social conditions of the times and the lives of the costermongers.

There are still costermongers on London's streets, but I doubt that their living is as tenuous as that of their forebearers.

In 1875 Henry Croft, who grew up in an orphanage and graduated to being a municipal road sweeper and rat catcher got in with a group of Costermongers.  'They wore highly decorated clothes to distinguish themselves from the other market traders and to make themselves look a bit flashier. This involved decorating their trousers and waistcoats with a row of pearl buttons down the seams. The costers looked out for one another and if another coster was in need, they would have a 'whip round' for him to get him some money.

Henry was influenced by the caring attitude of the costers, and decided he wanted to raise money to help the poor and the orphaned. He thought that the best way to raise money would be to draw attention to himself. So taking the idea from the costers, he went a bit further and covered a suit entirely with pearl buttons.
He became an instant attraction and was approached by many hospitals and churches to help raise money for the poor, deaf, dumb and blind. Henry worked hard for these charities but he wanted to raise more money, so he asked the costermongers for help.

Eventually there was pearly family for every London borough and the Pearly monarchy began.
Henry Croft's family still carries on the tradition, his great-granddaughter is Pearly Queen of Somer's Town."

On the first Sunday in October the Pearly Kings and Queens gather for a Harvest Festival at the London Guild Hall, from where they parade to St. Mary-le-Bow, the London church whose bells determine who is a true Cockney (you must be born within sound of these bells).

For more interesting C words click here to go to ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Denise Nesbitt and all who work at maintaining this popular meme.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

White Rabbits, White Rabbits on the first day of August.

I had every intention of murmuring their name when I first woke up, but I awakened twenty-two minutes late, and so I said, quite clearly, - 'Oh, Shoot!'  I slipped into my short red robe and Caspar met me at the bedroom door, - amazingly the sweet dog had been patient and we were able to make it outside for our first business trip of the day.  The sun lingered just under the horizon and touched the clouds gently with light.

Perhaps the White Rabbits will be as accommodating and all my August wishes will come true.......

With the first day of August comes slightly cooler weather, and the long range forecast is for rain off and on for the next two weeks.  The Valley is smoky from fires near and far,

 - dark blue clouds lit up with flashes of lightning in the late evening did nothing to lessen the wildfire dangers in the province, but sometime during the night if must have rained as the garden was freshly watered and refreshed this morning.

A stroll through the garden as July packed her bags reveals a gentle slide into autumn colours and a farewell to true summertime growth.

The sunflowers who creep in uninvited, but always welcome, are stretching their sunny faces to the sun.

And the barn flowers that were banished this spring from the middle of the garden are 
brightening up the fenceline. 

The white phlox are budding whilst the bee balm bravely sways in her tattered tutu.

These lovely yellow daisies will be with us until frost comes in September or October

and the roses are blooming again

The perennial sweet peas require constant deadheading, - as does the lamb's ear that crops up in unexpected places and provides a honey bar for the bees with it's long splendid spiky blooms.

Each season is preceded by lovely omens of what is to come, and as the grasses seed 
and the autumn sedum and mums hint at the splendour of their beautiful colours
 we seem to prepare ourselves for the slow quiet days of Fall.

"As Summer into Autumn slips
And yet we sooner say
"The Summer" than "the Autumn," lest
We turn the sun away,

And almost count it an Affront
The presence to concede
Of one however lovely, not
The one that we have loved --

So we evade the charge of Years
On one attempting shy
The Circumvention of the Shaft
Of Life's Declivity."
-   Emily Dickinson, As Summer Into Autumn Slips