Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The Chestnut Centre - Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park








On New Year’s Eve 2017, a small private zoological park near Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire, closed its doors for the last time. The zoological or wildlife park was opened in 1984 and was home to many birds of prey and several different species of otter. Set in a wooded valley, pleasant and green, the park could also boast a wild herd of fallow deer.






The reason for the closure is the retirement of the owners, Carol and Roger Heap. Since the closure the necessary animals have all been successfully moved to new homes. Many of the birds of prey, predominately owls have been moved to the National Centre for Birds of Prey in Helmsley, Yorkshire, which is owned and run by Carol and Roger’s elder son and his wife Vicki.







All the remaining animals and birds been rehoused at the New Forest Wildlife Park in Hampshire. This park is managed by Carol and Roger’s younger son Ed and his wife Clare. This couple also run Battersea Park Children’s Zoo. Conservation is clearly a family concern as many of the species of otter and owl at the Chestnut Centre and other parks, are threatened in the wild.





I visited the Chestnut Centre some years ago now, spending an enjoyable day exploring the valley, spotting Scottish Wildcats, Stoats, Pine martins and even a fox, all in their respective pens. Although known as the Owl, Otter and Wildlife Park, the Chestnut Centre did not in any way neglect those other wildlife species. Naturally the primary focus was the otters and never had I seen; nor seen since, so many different species of otter.




Looking back there is some sadness that Derbyshire has lost another wildlife park, as Riber Castle Zoo near Matlock closed twenty years ago. However, we should remember that the animals from the Chestnut Centre have all found new homes, the important work of breeding and conservation can continue. The work of the Heap family in this field should not be underestimated and I wish Carol and Roger a happy retirement.






Inana's Descent to the Nether World




From the great heaven she set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven the goddess set her mind on the great below. From the great heaven Inana set her mind on the great below. My mistress abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld. Inana abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld.


When Inana entered, the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line were removed from her hand, when she entered the first gate the turban headgear for the open country was removed from her head. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the second gate the small lapis-lazuli beads were removed from her neck. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the third gate the twin egg-shaped beads were removed from her breast. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the fourth gate the ‘Come, man, come’ pectoral was removed from her breast. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the fifth gate the golden ring was removed from her hand “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the sixth gate the lapis-lazuli measuring rod and measuring line were removed from her hand. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she entered the seventh gate the pala dress, the garment of ladyship, was removed from her body. “What is this?” “Be silent Inana, a divine power of the underworld has been fulfilled. Inana, you must not open your mouth against the rites of the underworld.”


When she had entered the E-kur, the house of Enlil, she lamented before Enlil: “Father Enlil, don't let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don't let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don't let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason's stone. Don't let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter's wood. Don't let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”


In his rage Father Enlil answered “My daughter craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. Inana craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. The divine powers of the underworld are divine powers which should not be craved, for whoever gets them must remain in the underworld. Who, having got to that place, could then expect to come up again?”


Thus Father Enlil did not help in this matter, so she went to Urim. In the E-mud-kura at Urim, when she had entered the E-kiš-nu-ĝal, the house of Nanna, she lamented before Nanna: “Father Nanna, don't let your daughter be killed in the underworld. Don't let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don't let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason's stone. Don't let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter's wood. Don't let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”


In his rage Father Nanna answered “My daughter craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. Inana craved the great heaven and she craved the great below as well. The divine powers of the underworld are divine powers which should not be craved, for whoever gets them must remain in the underworld. Who, having got to that place, could then expect to come up again?”


Thus Father Nanna did not help her in this matter, so she went to Eridug. In Eridug, when she had entered the house of Enki, she lamented before Enki: “Father Enki, don't let anyone kill your daughter in the underworld. Don't let your precious metal be alloyed there with the dirt of the underworld. Don't let your precious lapis lazuli be split there with the mason's stone. Don't let your boxwood be chopped up there with the carpenter's wood. Don't let young lady Inana be killed in the underworld.”


Father Enki answered: “What has my daughter done? She has me worried. What has Inana done? She has me worried. What has the mistress of all the lands done? She has me worried. What has the mistress of heaven done? She has me worried." Thus Father Enki helped her in this matter.  He removed some dirt from the tip of his fingernail and created the kur-ĝara. He removed some dirt from the tip of his other fingernail and created the gala-tura. To the kur-ĝara he gave the life-giving plant. To the gala-tura he gave the life-giving water.


“They will offer you a riverful of water, don't accept it. They will offer you a field with its grain, don't accept it but say, “Give us the corpse hanging on the hook.” They will say: “That is the corpse of your queen." Say: “Whether it is that of our king, whether it is that of our queen, give it to us.” They will give you the corpse hanging on the hook. One of you sprinkle on it the life-giving plant and the other the life-giving water. Thus let Inana arise.”


They were offered a river with its water but they did not accept it. They were offered a field with its grain but they did not accept it. They said to her: “Give us the corpse hanging on the hook.” Holy Ereškigala answered the gala-tura and the kur-ĝara: “The corpse is that of your queen.” They said to her: “Whether it is that of our king or that of our queen, give it to us.” They were given the corpse hanging on the hook. One of them sprinkled on it the life-giving plant and the other the life-giving water. Thus it was that Inana arose in triumph.


http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr141.htm

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Ockbrook Morris Dance Out 26th July 2017





Like another of my recent posts this report is deliberately produced as a retrospective narrative. Many of my reports are reviews of past happenings and significant events. This is yet one more of my more journalistic accounts, written in the middle of a long and very hot summer, while looking back at a previous summer, only slightly less long and hot.


Wednesday the 26th of July 2017 was an evening of fine weather, little or no breeze and energetic dance routines. I once again visited the Royal Oak in Ockbrook, a village not far from Derby. Once again to watch and enjoy traditional dance demonstrations, by enthusiastic and talented performers. Two groups performed over the course of that summer evening in the adjacent carpark of the pub, the Restless Soles Appalachian Dance Team and Chip off the Old Morris Dancing Team.


Restless Soles are a mixed gender side performing Appalachian clog. They are a spirited and entertaining group whose dance steps display surprising complexity. Chip off the Old are an all women Morris dance side or the ‘Cotswold’ style. Somewhat more restrained in presentation, their performances have less kicking but still include plenty of jumps.


To observe two styles of dance in such juxtaposition, was in many ways a repeat of my experience at this same pub. That was earlier in the month at ‘Feet on fire - the Ockbrook Morris Day 1st July 2017’ when three groups performed (see link below). One is able to enjoy and appreciate, different styles of presentation, both complementary and contrasting.


The experience, like that of the earlier event and those I have attended in previous years, had a certain refined quaintness. So stereotypically English, so rural and oh so terribly middle class. Seated in a beer garden, with cider and cheese cob is so wonderfully ‘traditional’ and so very correct.


An evening at the pub on a warm summer evening, is something I really should participate in more often. Performances such as these make the perfect excuse and I am so looking forward to the 2018 season.


Videos on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=119hbJZ6opY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72y4_5XD2d4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwNwGO5gWKU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTuCQDQNnAg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlnUBN9AsC8&t=6s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf6m8LVv6E4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No2vYEE5LBg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOz84zP-_vs&t=3s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86baHIG2FiU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT8y89VyMVo


Restless Soles Appalachian Dance Team
https://www.facebook.com/Restless-Soles-Appalachian-Dance-Team-696104067248536/


Chip Off the Old Morris Dancing Team
https://www.facebook.com/ChipOffTheOldMorris/


Feet on fire - the Ockbrook Morris Day 1st July 2017
http://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.com/2018/07/feet-on-fire-ockbrook-morris-day-1st.html