Coming Home For Tea

For those who spin

Yesterday I had a trip out over into North Yorkshire to join a lay/monastic walking/meeting group on a hike around Reeth. The rain held off, the wind was cold on the tops however when we descended and hiked along beside a river the sun came out. Briefly. Towards the end of our day we heard the sound of distant drum(s). Turned out it was a Remembrance Day Parade, headed by a band, returning from a neighbouring village church to the town hall in Reeth. For tea. The local vicar followed along behind the procession in her Land-rover. Later, congratulating her on her nifty reversing through the imposing stone gateposts of the vicarage, we walked up onto the village green together. Chatting. Well, that was my fourth Remembrance Day Service, she said. I know that one thoroughly now.. I’ve had that same sense, of relief, after a ceremony I’ve repeated a few times. Clad, as she was, in jeans, wellies, farm coat over a dark blue blouse with priest collar I found myself pleasantly inclined towards her. No doubt she was all dressed up for the service earlier on. And glad, like me, to be heading towards a steaming hot cup of tea.

I’ve include a picture of Swaledale sheep taken while passing through a farm yard. Cost you £15 for each photograph, the farmer quipped. Then WATCH YER BACK! as he released a tup from the nearby trailer. And for those who wonder what a tup looks like, or even is, here are some prize winners from a show and sale. And if you don’t want to follow the link, tups are boy sheep which in the Swaledale have very large curly horns.

After my pious words in my last post about moving within as the winter approaches you might be wondering if I actually meant what I said! Well yes I did and I do. One of our sayings, teaching sayings, is about the necessity to be flexible in ones day and be willing to move in (within) and move out (into activity). Reflexively. Out walking on the moors draws one back indoors, for tea.

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10 thoughts on “Coming Home For Tea”

  1. Well, what a great shot! And yup, as a spinner it made my hands itch, seeing all that wool on the hoof. I just completed some lovely mittens with wool sent to Canada from England via some monks I have had the privilege to know – those kinds of connections please me a lot. Best regards from over here.

  2. Glad you like the picture. Not sure if these are prime spinning wool sheep but they look like they might be. If not their coats will end up as carpets!

    Oh and a big thank you for leaving the comment.

  3. Many thanks for the delightful photo and written account of your day on the moors, an experience otherwise only dreamed of. What joy to meet a fellow woman of the cloth, as well.

    Having no idea of what in the world a “tup” could be, I followed the link. Awed by the beauty of these fellows, I moved on down until reaching one whose name was “Monks Destroyer.” Could explain the man warning you to watch your back?!

  4. Yep, I saw that name too. One can only imagine how somebody came up with that name… Thankfully all went well in the yard while I was there. And yes, the lady of the cloth was a delight.

  5. … and tea never tastes better than then! Just to visualise holding a mug of steaming tea in two hands to warm them makes me feel warm all over.

    Its the simple things that makes the living-ness of life seem so full methinks.


  6. Had they come from Grinton church? My father was born across the road from that church and sang in the choir. As a child I regularly walked with my auntie from Grinton to Reeth on shopping trips.
    And was it the Reeth, or perhaps Muker, silver band playing?

  7. Angie, I just looked at the map and the nearest ‘place’ that the procession would have come from is Fremington. After that it would be Grinton. Who know which silver band was playing. We held back as the procession passed and then followed on behind. Not for muddy hikers to be joining in on, or even getting close.

    Neat that you know the area so well.

  8. People now love to visit Swaledale as one of the most magnificent Yorkshire dales for scenery. My dad always said it was very bleak when he lived there, especially in the long winters. There was a lot of depression & suicides were not uncommon. My auntie thought that was partly because of the brooding hills which seemed to overwhelm some people, & possibly also because of the effect of lead leeching through water pipes into humans.

    My dad & his four siblings grew up in the 1920s & 30s, my granddad scraping for work despite his status as a stone mason, the family next door staying indoors on Sundays because they didn’t have any Sunday clothes to wear. People who didn’t have sixpence for the doctor just doing without. My auntie had a story about a man who broke his back at the quarry being brought home screaming on the back of a trailer & put to bed to die without any medication. My granny was very anti drink & ‘signed the pledge’ because families suffered great hardship if the head of the household spent essential money on alcohol.

    Electricity made the Dales more acceptable. I still remember in the 1950s taking a candle to go across the yard to the flush (luxury) toilet – fun as a kid but not permanently as an adult. There was in time electric light in the living room but not upstairs so oil lamps & candles were used until the 1960s.

    Transport was difficult – I know it seemed to take a long time for us to make the trip from Preston & later Keighley. Now it can be done in 2-3 hours. Then cars broke down & the moors seemed incredibly steep & empty, although as a child I enjoyed the fun of leaping out to open & close all the gates which were later replaced by cattle grids. Buses were on market day or for school in Richmond.

    It was a hard life with work a central feature. The family kept some chickens to supplement their income & my granny ran Grinton post office which then included walking all around the dale to outlying farms to deliver letters & parcels, even on Christmas day. Church was a central focus – my auntie played the organ from the age of 14, her mother cleaned the building, her dad dug graves & was a church warden & her four brothers sang in the choir.

    Two of my dad’s uncles came back from the first world war very troubled mentally. Their marriages broke up & one was seen around Reeth muttering to himself & writing words in chalk on the pavements. What a shock it must have been to come from a remote village to the battlefields of Europe & back again.

    My dad was a conscientious objector in the 1930s when he first went to Oxford University, but changed his mind about pacifism when Hitler overran Czechoslovakia – as did many others. He heard great debates at the Oxford Union with all the famous politicians attending, including Winston Churchill & Vera Brittain. Two of his brothers remained C.O.s through the war which was difficult for his father living in a small community where it was still seen as cowardly not to fight.

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