Pip’s Patch – an Update

In  April 1900 the Rev Theodore Wood likened the dipper  to a little country school maid curtseying to a parson! That’s not something we will see today. Nor will we see as many different types of oil beetles that he might have as it is likely that since his time three of the UK’s native ones have become extinct.

I took this photo of a dipper at Aysgarth Falls

Farmers and the Dales’ landscape:

The  importance of farmers and landowners in conserving and protecting the beautiful landscape in the Yorkshire Dales National Park was again emphasised at the Full Authority meeting of the YDNPA in March. It was good to hear how the Authority’s specialist teams are working with them to obtain some very encouraging results.

I was left wondering quite what the future will bring. At the meeting the members were told very clearly how stretched the finances of the  Authority are after years of real-term cuts in its core budget. At the same time it is waiting for the Government’s response to Julian Glover’s Review of National Landscapes.

It was reported at the meeting  “In relation to wildlife in National Parks, the Landscapes Review (Glover) concluded that whilst ‘we have retained places of great natural beauty, sometimes alive with wild species – which the policies and staff of our national landscapes have been instrumental in – what can be agreed is that what we currently have is not good enough.’ ”

So why has the Government left the National Parks short of money?  In the Review Glover recommends the formation of a National Landscapes Service by the Government which would select all the members of National  Park Authorities. Is removing the right to local democracy for almost 25 per cent of the country really the solution to the problem?

To me, it was made very clear during the Full Authority meeting when it was  considering Nature Recovery and working with farmers and landowners to improve habitats that a take over by central government is not the answer.

Or as the chief executive officer, David Butterworth, said –   that work was better done at a local level than by “two blokes sitting behind a desk in Whitehall”.

Aysgarth’s Edwardian Rock Garden

A very special piece of Aysgarth’s history has been gifted to the community and is open to the public.

The Edwardian Rock Garden has not always been loved and cared for but thanks to those such as Marion and John Kirby it was saved from possible destruction in the 1980s when they successfully campaigned for it to be made a listed building.

It underwent restoration in 2002/3 and then, in 2012, was bought by Rosemary and Adrian Anderson. After eight years of caring for it and ensuring it was open to the public they have now gifted it to Aysgarth and District Parish Council.

Rosemary Anderson’s book about the Rock Garden is on sale at Hamilton’s Tea Room in Aysgarth.

A book to dance to

Bob Ellis’s book, There was None of this Lazy Dancing, proved to be so interesting and enjoyable that I had to read it from cover to cover. There are intriguing nuggets of information to be found – such as how the WI helped Yorkshire sword dancing to survive! Or how a labourer on the Ribblehead viaduct was also a dance master at Hawes.

Bob has to be congratulated on this labour of love which has led to the publication of a book which is the most complete record to date of Dales musicians and their music. See ‘A Book to Dance to‘.

From the past:

One of my projects while I am “locked down” is to share on this website stories and illustrations from The Church Monthly dating back to 1892 owned by St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, and those from the Heritage Event held at that church in 2009.

Among my latest are those from 1894 about how to care for horses and a ride on a railway engine; how lighthouses were powered with paraffin lanterns and  using steamer horse-drawn fire engines. When rushing to a fire these days those on board the fire engine no longer have to yell ‘Fire! Fire!’ as they did in the 1890s. Nor do they have to harness horses before they could head out to a fire.

From the Heritage Event there is  A Mothering Sunday story about a man who I believe remembered his mother in a most unusual way at Aysgarth church; and the Doctor’s Window.

From The Church Monthly is  Children’s Playtime in early 1890s and the first two of the Rev Wood’s articles covering his natural history rambles in January and March 1892  plus  some local information about Aysgarth parish at that time. The Rev Wood’s nature rambles are included in Nightingale Duet.

And there is the story about the Telegraph Messenger boys of the 1890s. In that article it was stated: ‘If on any given day the electric telegraph suddenly came to an end, business would speedily become disorganised.’ The delivery of those messages depended upon boys aged 13 to 16 working nine hour days!

The 75th anniversary of VE Day was celebrated in style in Aysgarth and, even with social distancing, it provided a great opportunity for the villagers to chat and share stories.  One of the village’s oldest residents, Jean Cockburn, can remember the garden parties and sports at Aysgarth Vicarage before World War II. These followed the annual Flower Service at St Andrew’s from which flowers and other gifts were sent to  St Chad’s Home for Waifs and Strays at Headingley, Leeds – as can be seen from the letter reproduced in Bouquets for Waifs and Strays.

The Waifs and Strays Society sent many orphaned children to Canada in the 1890s and 1900s. They joined many young emigrants from the Yorkshire Dales   So it was fascinating to find, in the May 1892 edition of The Church Monthly, a first-hand account of what it was like on an emigration ship at that time.

Visit  Penhill Benefice website for details of services at in mid Wensleydale.

Personal memories:

There have been some special moments recently – such as meeting with my friend, Carolyn Murray, and hearing all about her work with Immanuel Kindergarten in Yei.

Then there was the invitation from the Kennel Field Trust to myself and Penny Noake to take the places of our late husbands on its board of trustees. That was followed by an offer to plant trees in the memory of our husbands and also Mike Thomson in a corner of the Kennel Field. That field is already special to me as there is a bench there with my husband’s artwork engraved on it. So to me it’s “David’s bench”.

With each passing month I seem to miss David’s support more and more. Every day I am very aware that social distancing/self isolation is not good when one is grieving. It makes me very aware of the pain so many must be suffering at this time when they can’t be with loved ones who are dying – or be hugged and consoled by friends.

There is an obituary about David  with links to other posts including that about his volunteer work in The Gambia.

Our wedding at Countersett Meeting House on Saturday July 21 2018  made history as it was the first wedding at that Meeting House since 1841. Then we chartered The Albion for our wedding blessing – and were told later that it was probably the first time the wherry  had been involved in such an event. Do see my posts about our Quaker wedding (Parts One and Two) and the wedding blessing.

A very big thank you to all our family and friends who helped to make these two occasions so special for us. And now my thanks to those who are so supportive as I grieve the loss of a very special man. I am so grateful we did have 14 years together.

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