Thursday, November 22, 2012


I inherited these four watercolours from my husband. They were painted around 1900 by his mother, whom I never met, as she had died only weeks before I first met him in 1946. The pictures stayed packed away in boxes until after he died, but I have brought them out to see the light of day, and had them framed as a set.

The artist herself named the top two, and I made a trip to Whitby to visit the scenes myself - a rather eerie but somehow romantic experience, to 'meet' one's mother-in-law in such a way, 60 years after getting to know her younger son, and several years after his death.

Sandsend, Whitby

Arguments Yard, Whitby


The second two pictures, below, were un-named, but I began a search of the web to see if I could confirm my feeling that they too are Whitby scenes.  I found old photographs that seemed to be looking past Whitby Old Town Hall to Market Place, seen from a point very similar to the painting on the left. The one on the right shows a ruin on a hill which could well be the old Abbey.

I shall be immensely grateful if anyone is able to confirm these two last locations for me, so that I can name them all and hang them as a group on my diningroom wall.

Whitby harbour and Abbey ruins?
Now confirmed as the view from Church St, Whitby,
looking past the old Market Place on the right
towards the River Esk 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Welfare Cuts in the UK

On Wednesday the 11th January the House of Lords was debating the Welfare Reform Bill. They won the vote, by considerable margins, on three major amendments which they had tabled, in an attempt to mitigate some of the severest effects that the cuts will have on sick and disabled people.

Here are two articles appearing afterwards, in two newspapers at the opposite ends of the political scale.

Sonia Poulton in The Daily Mail - 12.01.2012:

We're all desperate for welfare reform, Mr. Cameron, but hiding the truth is not the way to achieve it.

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian - 13.01.2012:

Cameron's problem is that people are nicer than he thinks. When these welfare changes come into force, their savage effect will be seen – and then the public mood will turn.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Spartacus Report on Responsible Reform

This report into Disability Allowance Reform has been written, researched and funded by disabled people, who see their basic but essential support benefits under serious threat by government reforms. I am very concerned by its findings and the misrepresentation of disabled people that it exposes. Here is an extract from the press release that accompanied its publication:

"A report published today (9 January) finds that Government misled MPs and Peers over the hostility to disability benefit reform. It finds that Parliament has been given only a partial view of the overwhelming opposition to the Coalition’s planned reforms of a key disability benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It finds that this opposition was previously not released to public scrutiny by the Government.

It is based on the responses to the government's own consultation on its planned DLA reforms, which were only made public once disabled people requested them under the Freedom of Information Act. Findings included:

· 98 per cent of respondents objected to the qualifying period for benefits being raised from 3 months to 6 months
· 99 per cent of respondents objected to Disability Living Allowance no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits
· 92% opposed removing the lowest rate of support for disabled people. "

The report has already been backed by organisations and disability experts including:
Disability Alliance, Mind, Papworth Trust, Scope, Bert Massie CBE & Ekklesia.

I am backing it too.

Oh yes, and just in case you wondered: The fraud rate for disability benefits is less than 0.5%, but the Government wants to reduce recipients by 20%!

[Illustration by Andrzej Krauze, first published in the Guardian on 8th January.]