Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, & Durham


A kindred spirit is ...

someone who feels and thinks the way you do.

Down my way, it's nature's way (2 of 3)


Marian Moore

Memory is not just the imprint of the past time upon us; it is the keeper of what is meaningful for our deepest hopes and fears. - Rollo May


_________________________ JOURNAL ENTRY NO. (4)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dear MaryAnn ...


This morning - by special invitation - my husband and I drove 30 miles north from our home in Tyne & Wear, to arrive safely at the lovely premises of Connect in Morpeth, Northumberland.  Fifty years ago, I had made the same journey, my destination being a rural village called Longframlington which is just north of Morpeth. I was then a rather anxious newly wed of just 20 years of age who was leaving her home and daily contact with her family in Durham for the first time. 

That aside, you may have heard mention of 'the pain of living' on this website, but never have I mentioned how community resource centres exist as charitable concerns throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles. Resource centres such as Connect in Morpeth provide care, advice and comfort to people in distress within the community. They are a proven necessity in a society so busy with its own affairs that too often our neighbours are strangers, and too often we totally lose direction in life with dire consequences to our mental health and wellbeing.

People need people.

In the early part of the last century, the pressures would have been very different for you, MaryAnn. I know for certain that had seven children, this being a large family to feed and cloth by any stretch of the imagination.  In times of trouble and trauma, the kindly people of Meadowfield in Old Durham were your resource. My mother, your father and a whole community took over the reigns when you were widowed.  This was not your only loss as many of your kin had died in tragic circumstances, including a beloved brother in the 'war to end all wars' (1914-1918).

My mother often delighted in telling me how she contributed to her family's income by scrubbing the Post Office steps at nearby Browney Colliery for half a crown. This was her first paid job when she was just nine years of age. She also made the bread for the family and a good neighbour, Mrs. Routledge, would be summoned from two streets away by 'a runner'. My mother - the oldest girl - could scarcely reach the table, never mind knead the dough. Stronger hands required than hers.

Despite all the hardship, your large brood managed to survive to adulthood intact both physically and emotionally. I knew them all well and can vouch for that, as they were part of my family support network. But, I have no clear picture of you, the grandmother I never met.  All I see are traces in my own children and now in my grandchild; all have inherited your dark, curly locks. Nor, have I any clear picture of your husband - not even a name now - but I rather suspect he was tall, well-built and fair, these being physical characteristics passed down to my sister and brother.  He kept canaries to test for gas at the mine where he worked.

Word poetry. 

'Hey, Bonnie Lad' tells more about the coal miner's life and why 'canaries' were necessary.  See poem at end of page.  Here's a snippet.

In the Maudlin Seam where the Pyrites* gleam,
Gan canny when you swing that pick,
For a spark in the dark is just all it takes,
For death to come right quick. 

A snippet here and there, that's all I have.  I gleaned somewhere along the line that you attended a spiritualist church in your colliery village. I've picked up that spiritualism is a form of worship, a religion very much in vogue in the early days of the last century when times were hard. I have to say that my mother passed on grave misgivings about dabbling in things beyond our ken. Perhaps this was rooted in her childhood memories. I don't know for certain. What I do know is that she was adamant on this score - and about taking pills in any shape or form.  Mental illness was not part of her reality, either.  Make what you will of that.  There's no one left to confirm or deny any of it.  

All gone.

Even some old family names elude me - apart from 'Great Aunt Mabel', an old lady I once met for a brief moment in time at Durham Bus Station years and years ago. I leave it to others to research the family tree in the future. But, try to remember it's the stories that matter. Names and dates tell one little about the life and times of a beloved person. Dig deep and find out about their culture; how they felt about things; what made them laugh; what made them cry. Make your search at one with truth, beauty and goodness and I know you will find it.  Stay connected; be a connector.

  • People's stories matter.
  • “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”  - Albert Einstein 
  • Marian @ Krysan
  • Elderwoman

_________________________ JOURNAL ENTRY NO. (5)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Dear MaryAnn


The above discussion called attention to the importance of 'community' to the wellbeing of human beings (now and in the past).  It attracted me to a small book that's been beckoning from the bookcase for a long while.  

The book is called, 'Rekindling Community: Connecting People, Environment and Spirituality'. It was written by Alastair McIntosh and first published in 2008. Alastair McIntosh is obviously from over the border in Scotland where many great thinkers were birthed - philosophers, economists, not forgetting the poets. I'm not disappointed and on opening the book find that Alastair McIntosh is indeed a scholar, a professor whose expertise lies in 'human ecology'. Here are a few words from the back cover of his book, a book also intriguingly known as 'Briefing No. 15'.

"With an emphasis on spirituality, Rekindling Community examines the implications of living as if all life is interconnected. It addresses both the theory of community and its practical regeneration. The contexts range from remote islands to inner city deprivation and even the world of corporations and government.  The results fortify our capacity to face the future and point to ever-deeper meanings of love."  McIntosh, 2008  

And so I end a short journal entry that introduces the idea that small is beautiful and linking together four key concepts still current the world over today.  They are:
  • spirituality,
  • interconnectedness,
  • community, and
  • regeneration. 

Add 'transformation' and 'love' to the list and you may be able to understand why I am intrigued by this new find from the bookcase.  Once more, I am reminded and connected back in time to the Age of Coal and will tell you more some other time.  Suffice to say that Fritz Schumacher was a man of many parts who saw (and wrote) more than most.

  • Lest we forget.  
  • “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”  - Albert Einstein
  • Marian @ Krysan
  • Elderwoman

_________________________ JOURNAL ENTRY NO. (6)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dear MaryAnn ...


Here are a few more words about 'Briefing No. 15', also known as the 'Schumacher Briefing'.

"I was really delighted when Alastair asked me to write a few words for this Schumacher Briefing.  In my youth I was also inspired by Small is Beautiful, and to this day continue to be uplifted by Fritz Shumacher's vision of a world in which capital serves humanity instead of humanity being enslaved by capital; a world in which people and nature co-exist harmoniously.

"Alastair is a thinker and writer in the same tradition, a man of compassion and integrity whose spiritual ideals shine like a beacon in the darkness of this materialistic age.  And, I believe that, like Schumacher, Alastair is helping to describe and unfold a more holistic worldview.  Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, 2008

Later, I plan to find out more about 'Fritz Schumacher' and his work, but that's enough for today. I finish this second journal webpage by reflecting on my delight that a young person close to me has chosen her option subjects for the next two years of school as follows: Geography, Business Studies, Art, and French. Coming from a home where thinking is allowed and happiness counts, this choice shows perception by a golden child looking to shape the future.  But, of course, I'm biased ... grandmothers usually are.

I meet many people of gold on my travels and, once again have cause to note that investment in people is key to the preservation and wellbeing of Planet Earth: investment in the family, in the school, and in the community. That's the true source of a nation's wealth - no more and no less.  And, might I add, that I didn't have to say anything to influence those option choices, other than what comes around naturally in quiet conversation by a family eating Sunday lunch.

  • Thinking allowed. 
  • “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”  - Albert Einstein 
  • Marian @ Krysan
  • Elderwoman




"Old McDonald Had A Farm" with The GiggleBellies 

Quote of the Day: The Internet is a place where people get to speak in their own voice about what is important to them. - David Weinberger


So, Hey Bonnie Lad

  • So, hey bonnie lad will you follow your dad,
  • Will you work down the pit with me?
  • By your shift is done, will you hew ten ton?
  • Will you work down the Nack with me?
  • Can you lay on your side, in a seam two feet wide,
  • And work till your neck would snap?
  • Each and every day can you learn to pray,
  • When you hear those timbers crack?
  • In the Maudlin Seam where the Pyrites* gleam,
  • Gan canny when you swing that pick,
  • For a spark in the dark is just all it takes,
  • For death to come right quick.
  • Have you got the guts to go down below,
  • To a thousand feet in the Busty?
  • Your pillow of coal down this black hole,
  • Your pick and your marra you trust in.
  • Can you crawl on in where the seams are thin,
  • And work on your back in the water?
  • When you look at the roof and it's all jet black
  • And think of your son and daughter?
  • Then one day before you're old and grey,
  • And you haven't been crushed or maimed,
  • When you cough and your spit is as black as the pit,
  • And your life is ebbing away.
  • So, hey bonnie lad will you follow your Dad?
  • Will you work down the pit with me?
  • When your shift is done, will you hew ten ton,
  • Will you work down the Nack with me?


* Pyrites. a combination of sulphur with iron, copper, cobalt, or nickel, so-called because it strikes fire with steel.

'One does not become fully human painlessly'.  - Rollo May


3,052 reads @ 2015-07-11

Tweet: krysan1

©2008 Krysan. All rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy Creative Business Support & Website: