A much earlier flood

Disgracefully dusty bedroom hearth ! I must get a grip !
Aha ! That's more like it ~ roll over Vincent< I say !
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High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire 1571

With half the country under water, this seems a good moment to remind ourselves of an earlier flood, so powerfully described in Jean Ingelow's poem, "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire 1571" ~ trouble was I couldn't find it in any of my anthologies ~ why not ?  But finally went to Google and have now printed it out.   Jean Ingelow 1837-95 ~ I couldn't remember much of it apart from the 'Cusha, cusha, cusha calling" refrain.  In case you have forgotten it from your schooldays, here is a taster :  (I'll transcribe it into modern English spelling)

The old mayor climbed the belfry tower / the ringers ran by two, by three / Pull if ye never pulled before / good ringers pull your best, quoth he. / Play up, play up, oh Boston bells / ply all your changes, all your swells / play up 'The Brides of Enderby'.

Men say it was a stolen tide / the Lord that sent it, He knows all / but in mine ears doth still abide / the message that the bells let fall / and there was nought of strange beside / the flight of mews and pewits pied / by millions crouched on the old sea wall.

I sat and spun within the door / my thread brake off, I raised mine eyes / the level sun like ruddy ore / lay sinking in the barren skies / and dark against day's golden death / she moved where Lindis wandereth / my son's fair wife Elizabeth.

Cusha !  Cusha !  Cusha ! calling / ere the early dews were falling / far away I heard her song / Cusha !  Cusha ! all along / where the reedy Lindis floweth floweth / from the meads where mellick groweth / faintly came her milking song.

Cusha !  Cusha !  Cusha ! calling / for the dews will soon be falling / leave your meadow grasses mellow mellow / quit your cowslips, cowslips yellow / come up Whitefoot, come up Lightfoot / quit the stalks of parsley hollow / hollow, hollow / come up Jetty, rise and follow / from the clovers lift your head / come up Whitefoot, come up Lightfoot / come up Jetty rise and follow / Jetty to the milking shed.

If it be long, ay long ago / when I begin to think how long / again I hear the Lindis flow / swift as an arrow, sharp and strong / and all the air it seemeth me  / bin full of floating bells (saith she) / that ring the tune of Enderby.  (skipping four verses here)

I looked without, and lo ! my son / came riding down with might and main / he raised a shout as he drew on / till all the welkin rang again / Elizabeth !  Elizabeth !  (A sweeter woman ne'er drew breath / than my son's wife Elizabeth.)

Good son, where Lindis winds her way / with her two bairns I marked her long / and ere yon bells began to play / afar I heard her milking song. / He looked across the grassy lea / to right, to left ~ Ho Enderby / they rang 'The Brides of Enderby'.

With that he cried and beat his breast / for lo along the river's bed / a mighty eygre reared his crest / and up the Lindis raging sped / it swept with thunderous noises loud / shaped like a curling snow-white cloud / or like a demon in a shroud.

Upon the roof we sat that night / the noise of bells went sweeping by / I marked the lofty beacon light / stream from the church tower, red and high / a lurid mark and dread to see / and awesome bells they were to me / that in the dark, rang 'Enderby'.

They rang the sailor lads to guide / from roof to roof who fearless rowed / and I - my son was at my side / and yet the ruddy beacon glowed / and yet he moaned beneath his breath / O come in life, or come in death / O lost, my love, Elizabeth.

And didst thou visit him no more ? / thou didst, thou didst, my daughter dear / the waters laid thee at his door / ere yet the early dawn was clear / thy pretty bairns in fast embrace / the lifted sun shone on thy face / down drifted to thy dwelling place.

There ~ that's enough from me, but if you can find it somewhere it is well worth reading in full, especially in our present time of floods.   OK ~ she was writing some 300 years after that dreadful flood on the Lincolnshire coast, but she really has captured the personal grief alongside the more general loss of life and devastation.  Brilliant !

It sounds much like the Severn Bore, doesn't it, raging up the River Lindis.   As for 'mellick' I can't find it in my Chambers Dictionary but guess it is a water plant of some sort ~ tomorrow I'll see if Google can help.  And just like the situation now in the Somerset Levels, people cowering on their rooves waiting to be rescued by boat !

I've just finished a wonderfully gripping novel by Ian McEwan : "On Chesil Beach" which rang so many bells with me.

Right ~ the high winds did not blow the Aga out (thank God) but they did bring a shower of grit down my bedroom chimney.   When I come to think about it, I haven't cleaned that hearth for months ~ no, honestly ~ I feel ashamed ~ I don't believe I even got round to doing it before the Heritage Open Days !   This is Old Age for you / well, for me anyway ~ where until recently I would notice something that I should do, AND DO IT ~ nowadays I'm inclined to think, I'll do it later / next time I've got the hoover out / when the rain stops ~ anything rather than get on and do it.   Anyway, with all this grit and stuff on the bedroom carpet, I had no choice and knuckled down to clear it up.   Having vacuumed up the worst of it,  carrying them in a flexi-tub for fear of scattering grit everywhere, I took the bunch of (artificial) sunflowers out onto the yard and having given them a good shaking, I dunked them in a bucket of soapy water, rinsed them, dried them out on the bench and WOW ~ they'd been so plastered in dust, I'd forgotten quite how bright and beautiful they are!   I'm not a lover of artificial flowers but against the blackness of the hearth these are super and (as long as I take care of them) glow gloriously !  Never mind van Gogh !!  Meanwhile I'd sponged down the hearth which is wrought iron and early Victorian ~ given it a good polish (though I'm afraid my efforts did not run to black leading) ~ and with everything back in place it looks a treat ~ I took 'before' and 'after' photos but I can't access them yet ~ can't think that I''ve done anything to cause this problem ~ hope Annie's grandson David will get over tomorrow to sort it out.  The whole cleaning procedure took less than half-an-hour so how could I have ignored the need for action for so long !   Shameful !

Talking of my bedroom fire-place reminds me of a couple of frightful incidents that occurred in my early years in the house.  Tony Oakes, the so-called / self-styled builder, with no more than a gang of youths selected from the Job Centre, was still busily creating havoc around me.   One morning I was awoken by the most frightful noise in the chimney ~ panic noises ~ and next thing a pigeon falls into the room, petrified and filthy from the chimney.  Oh my stars !   By the time I'd got it out of the window, the room was covered in soot and splattered with pigeon shit ~ the carpet, the curtains, the bedding were all filthy !   Tony Oakes said airily, "Well, you didn't ask us to fit a cowl on the chimney."   A while later, it happened again, but this time it wasn't a pigeon but a bloody great seagull that crashed into the room ~ I have to admit I was more terrified than it was and cowered under the bed clothes trying to think what to do ~ again, the soot, the shit, the feathers, were just everywhere !   But by then Tony Oakes had buggered off in fury that I was daring to criticise his efforts, and his steadily increasing bills !  While, thanks to Legal Aid, I was in the process of suing him.   I feel weak at the knees just recalling these events.  Later with the second tranche of restoration, this time funded by English Heritage and North Yorkshire, a cowl was fitted to each chimney so no further trouble of that sort !

 Again, sorry ~ no pictures tonight.   Joy

Monday morning : SimpleSite have sent me an email about the picture problem but I'm not sure what they are suggesting I do ~ better wait for the expert, David-grand son-of-Annie !

 Wednesday 6.0pm : Oh dear ~ did write a paragraph or two last night but could not save it ~ I have booked Cheryl from our Computer Conversion Company to come for an hour tomorrow afternoon when (as long as the BT hub has arrived) I switch to BT.   No more tonight with so many difficulties on all fronts ~ pop-ups, add-ons, failure to access stuff ~ I'm just about going bonkers !

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Barbara Plum | Reply 23.02.2014 18.13

Lovely I've caught up now. What's been happening since? I feel I should go and dust my fireplace upstairs now but hey I've a new book to read! Till next time X

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14.03 | 05:51

Hi Joy, came across your blog while researching the Sanders, thanks for the interesting read about them and your lovely house.

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27.10 | 11:43

Michael ~ happily ~ and good luck ~ I'd like to know the outcome ~ joy peach

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26.10 | 14:33

I am in the same position. Amazingly, your case R(IS)1/93 - CIS/270/1991 is being used against me. Clearly, it got more complicated. Can I quote your blog? Mike

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28.05 | 15:41

Hello Joy. We have a new Merrywood Grammar group on Facebook if you would like to take a look - https://www.facebook.com/groups/509432799238158/

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