Sunday, 8 December 2013

Softest Clothing Wooly Bright

Just last month, Richard and I were following some of our favourite trails across the North Yorkshire Moors. Great childhood memories are stirred by treading the ancient broadstone slabs of Featherbed Lane that lead down from Aislaby - one of the Queen's narrowest highways. We also love to ramble on the moors above the tracks of the old Whitby to Pickering steam railway that still whistles, now with the help of many volunteers, through the Hole of Horcum, gladdening us with its cheery toot and wafting smell of burning coke. This year we ran like children to meet the passing train as it shunted through the station in Newtondale. The land here is boggy - to say the least - mud up to one's armpits, almost! It proved quite an obstacle, too, for George Stephenson, the architect of the railway. Finally, the difficulty was surmounted with the help of bales of sheeps' wool and wooden hurdles to give the ground sufficient stability to carry the track and the railway.
I thought you might be amused by the sign above that greeted us at the next turn! Now we are celebrating the special advent season and for me there is a little sadness this year because the composer of one of my favourite Christmastide carols died recently - Sir John Taverner. This setting of William Blake's The Lamb is very special to me - the words are below. Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb I'll tell thee!
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

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