Tuesday 30 July 2019

Butterflies and history

Well it's chucking it down outside, the lawn is turning into a wildlife  habitat and we have had last week the hottest day ever. So this blog post is a mixture of natural and local history. While it's raining I'm sitting at the computer  trying to organise old pictures.

 Here is a topical one.  Until the M62 Ouse bridge was opened this was a familiar sight as Boothferry bridge opened to let ships pass through.  There are less ships now - but there have been plenty of queues recently as the Ouse bridge has been shut for repairs and accidents

The entertainment of watching a ship go through the bridge

It will soon be harvest time. Hay has been made locally and the giant bales are waiting to be gathered.  And I have seen a combine harvester in action and so corn will be next - when it's not raining. I can just remember though when this was the way to cut it. This picture was taken just across the road from the previous one and shows members of the Walker family of Booth harvesting with a reaper and binder just off  the road to Knedlington .

Reaping at Booth

And finally as I wrote in my last blog post there have been several Minster concerts this summer and we have been treated to some wonderful performances, particularly in  the new lunchtime series. There are still three more to come.  But does anyone recognise these people, obviously practising their singing in the Minster a few years ago?

But I promised some natural history too. In my last article for the Howdenshire Magazine I wrote about  the once flourishing teazle industry around Eastrington and Gilberdyke. Teazles were grown commercially to be used in the West Riding cloth industry.

 I have several growing in my garden which attract all sorts of wildlife. We are being asked to look at how many butterfly varieties we see. Here are what I saw yesterday - and I did not count the cabbage whites! Hope I've identified them correctly!


Painted lady

Another peacock

Red admiral

Friday 5 July 2019

Summer music

It's a lovely summer's day and I am going outside soon to  water all the plants in pots - and give some to our chickens. They are confined to barracks at the moment as we have had a fox visit and our flock is now two down.

I have been having a musical summer so far. My daughter Amy Butler and her partner Steven Goulden  aka the Saltmarshe Duo http://www.saltmarsheduo.co.uk have, in addition to their own musical commitments, organised a series of free lunchtime concerts in Howden Minster.

These are proving very popular and are of a very high musical standard. The next one is Thursday 11th July and is performed by nationally acclaimed oboist Elizabeth Kenwood. My role in the concerts is to greet people as they come in. Many have not visited Howden before and find it, as indeed it is, a delightful small town.

Last night I attended the Snaith Choral Society's summer concert in the Methodist chapel there and thoroughly enjoyed it. Amy was the accompanist and we were treated to a 4th July themed programme including works by Gershwin and Aaron Copland.

The bees are happy too now the sun has come out and are working the many lime trees around us and we have been picking redcurrants and raspberries.

It is also a time for family history visitors. I recently showed an  American descendant of the Ainley family around  Eastrington, Snaith and Kellington and have sent a  copy of my book on the history of Eastrington to California.

This morning I was visited by descendants of the Carter and Clough families, brewers and bankers, who lived in Howden in the nineteenth century. And coincidentally I have just been transcribing a diary written by Elizabeth Storry whose husband too was a banker in Howden.

Her family were friendly with the Hutchinson family at the Rectory.  Frances Hutchinson, a daughter, was an artist and we recently put on an exhibition of her works in the Shire hall.

So poor old Molly [our Labrador ] has spent some time in her bed.  What with piano and singing pupils and family historians the place is not her own - although she thinks it is.!!!!

PS The Saltmarshe family of Halifax,  close relatives of the Saltmarshe family here, got a mention on this week's episode of Gentleman Jack  - see my previous post.