Monday, 20 March 2017

Summer Lady


Today is the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring. What better way to celebrate than by sharing the collaboration of Steeleye Span and Terry Pratchett.


video

From the Wintersmith Album

The Summer Lady
We've suffered enough, at the hands of the WinterSmith!
All had our fill of the frost on the ground.
Let's drink, to the health of the fair Summer Lady.
And wish her the best, as she draws the sun down.
Go back to your mountains, you cold-hearted lover! Your magic is broken, your mischief is done!
The time is at hand, for the fair Summer Lady. To take up her place, and to draw the sun down.
Let the seasons turn!
Let the rivers start a flowin'!
Let the hot sun burn!
And melt our frozen hearts!
Too long, have we lived in the clutches of Winter.
Too long, have we lived in the grip of the cold.
One wave of her hand, and the fair Summer Lady.
Will turn the white fields, into yellow and gold.
To breeze through the corn, on the first day in Springtime.
To lie under skies of magnificent blue.
Just look in the eyes of the fair Summer Lady.
She'll harvest our dreams and she'll make them come true.
Let the seasons turn!
Let the rivers start a flowin'!
Let the hot sun burn!
And melt our frozen hearts!
Let the warm winds blow!
Send the North Wind on his journey!
Sweep away the snow!

The Summer Lady's here!
She'll smile on the hillside.
She'll dance on the lake.
She'll shimmer with brightness.
When she is awake.
She can turn the sun blood-red,
In a hot burning sky.
But when Summer is over,
The Lady MUST DIE!!
So drink, to the health of the fair Summer Lady!
Bathe in her glory and be of good cheer.
As sure, as the Summer is followed by Winter.
We'll call on the Lady of Summer each year.
Let the seasons turn!
Let the rivers start a flowin'!
Let the hot sun burn!
And melt our frozen hearts!
Let the warm winds blow!
Send, the North Wind on his journey!
Sweep away the snow!
The Summer Lady's here!
The Summer Lady's here!
The Summer Lady's here!
The Summer Lady's here!

Writer(s): Rick Kemp, Robert Michael Leonard Johnson, Peter Knight, Julian Nicholas Hugh Littman, Liam Genockey, Maddy Prior, Terry Pratchett

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Last morning in Southwold



dawned bright and beautiful.







After breakfast, I walked Ron down to the beach while MWNN finished his packing.

















Took a picture of the 2nd holiday cottage of this trip (first pink cottage on the right), on the way back from the beach.





















A second view of the cottage, with the car in process of being packed.

















We locked up the cottage and I returned the keys to the Agents while MWNN moved the car to a shady spot. We met up again on the beach, had a last cup of coffee at our favourite beach cafe, and said goodbye to Southwold until next year.







Winterton  on Sea beach





Our birthday holiday, in October, is booked in Winterton-on-Sea, across the border into Norfolk.










Wednesday, 1 March 2017

March 1st 2017


St David's Day, Ash Wednesday, and the 48th anniversaryof the day MWNN and I became a couple.






The day began with the exchange of gifts before breakfast.











MWNN had an appointment at 12.00. After dropping him off, I walked Ron on Ransome's




As we approached the new Woodland Plantation, I was much impressed by the newly-laid hedge.















I picked MWNN up at about 1.30. We then went to the Bospherous Resaurant, where we had a really lovely lunch.






















As we pulled into the drive, we were greeted by fresh pink blossom on the young  bodnantense, which has flowered throughout the winter.











March 1st, 1969 - our first date, at a friend's 21st birthday party.

It was the end of the Swinging 60s, and they said 'all you need is love'. Add to that a lot of hard work, a little luck, and making the most of opportunities offered. Here we are, 48 years later, still a work in progress proving those who said it would never work, wrong.











Monday, 20 February 2017

Work in Progress




Don’t worry: being human is designed to be a work in progress~Dan McCarthy

Today is the 47th anniversary of the day MWNN and I were married, at Liverpool Registry Office, almost one year exactly to the day we became a couple.

I've always felt slighly bemused when people say they're going somewhere meaningful (to them) to 'find themselves'.  Where do they get the idea that the self is something complete and finished?  Do they believe that there is a lost self  'out there' somewhere, waiting to be 'found'?

The Knitter understands the 'work in progress' (WIP). It's the 'becoming' of a finished work, stitch by stitch, row by row, sometimes going back and picking up stitches left behind to complete a section (such as a sleeve or a button band) that form part of the whole.

Like Charles Fernyhough,  I believe that  self can feel such a sin­gu­lar fix­ture, hug­ging one’s here-and-now like a twenty-four-hour under­gar­ment, but actu­ally it’s a string, loop­ing back and for­wards in time to knit together our past and future moments.  

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Saturday Morning Walk









with Ron,

to Walsworth Common






















around the Common to the beginning of the nature reserve pond area,









along the river Purwell, to the Mill Stream Pub.



















and back home via Cambridge Road,




















to the new(ish)ly planted shrubs in the front garden.













A round-trip of about 2 miles; downhill on the outward, uphill on the return journey. Just as I arrived back home, the sun came out. I was glad that it had been cloudy during the walk as I was wrapped in many layers of fleece and rain-gear.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Return of


the Jedi    Meercat.



I thought I caught a glimpse of Baby Oleg in a new advert, in December, and promptly forgot all about it.

It popped up on my Youtube space this morning.

video

Could this herald the return of Oleg? It would certainly be an improvement on the past year's lame offerings.


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Farmer's Market


 I went there this morning to buy vegetables.







The stall holders pressed us to sample some of their wares.

And I fell in love with the Millwhites Original Scrumpy.


















MWNN was reluctant to try the ale, but was persuaded. He thought the Side Pocket Ale (fit for a toad - poop poop) from Tring was worth a few pounds for 4 bottles.






















We rarely pass up the chance to buy local honey, so bought the last jar of 'almost set' from Buzzworks.















Before we reached the veg. stalls, we met this lovely lady.

MWNN walked ahead with Ron so that I could have a chat with Glenn, and pet Jess, I was surprised how small barn owl females look when sitting still, having only ever witnessed them flying wild in the dark.









And the veg? I hear you ask.

We forgot all about them and finished our trip into town with take-away coffee and tea from Groundworks. MWNN can vouch for the excellence of the coffee.

Sometimes, you just have to give in to you inner Toad.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas fanfic


Again, this was written in 2004. It was a collaboration with two other fanfic writers. A chapter was posted live again, on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas, 2005. Each chapter illustrated something about that day from the song. This fic was probably my favourite, because it was a collaboration, and because it was our gift to the fandom over the 12 days.

The Twelve Days of Christmas




Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Winter myths


and the links to Christmas.

In Celtic mythology the Oak (Summer) King and the Holly (Winter) King were twins, pitted against each other in a never-ending fight for supremacy. Oak trees, sacred to the Celts, lose their leaves, while the  holly trees are evergreen. The Holly King is now known as Santa Claus. He wears red and bears holly leaves and berries in his hat. He drives a team of eight deer (or reindeer) because deer were highly sacred to the Celtic Gods. The number eight represents the eight sabbats of the solar calendar.

As cold weather approached, the Celts marvelled at how the evergreen holly trees, hidden amongst the leafy oaks during the rest of the year, now stood out prominently, with their red fruits, on an otherwise barren landscape. The Holly King had won the battle, as the incarnations of his twin brother had shed all their oak leaves and stood naked in defeat.



By the time the winter solstice arrives, the tide has turned. The Oak King’s flow in power is the Holly King’s ebb. The deciduous twin takes his first baby steps towards re-establishing his supremacy. The battle between the two Kings takes place; the Oak King kills the Holly King and takes his place. The Oak King is the modern-day New Year, the fresh and young child-god that beckons mother nature to re-new herself as he brings the warm rays of the sun back.



Dancing the Night Away weaves this Celtic myth into a piece of fanfiction.

Winter Solstice, the time of the year when the days get longer and the sun begins to return was truly a cause for celebration among our ancestors in Scandinavia. Their Midwinter Feast lasted at least twelve days. So there are the twelve days of Christmas.

At Midwinter, or Solstice, the Vikings honored their Asa Gods with religious rituals and feasting. They sacrificed a wild boar to Frey, the God of fertility and farming, to assure a good growing season in the coming year. The meat was then cooked and eaten at the feast. This is the origin of today's Christmas ham in Scandinavia.

 Another Viking tradition was the Yulelog, a large oak log decorated with sprigs of fir, holly or yew. They carved runes on it, asking the Gods to protect them from misfortune. A piece of the log was saved to protect the home during the coming year and light next year's fire.

During the festivities they burned a giant Sunwheel, which was put on fire and rolled down a hill to entice the Sun to return. According to one theory, this is the origin of the Christmas wreath.

Even the Christmas tree goes back to pre-Christian times. The Vikings decorated evergreen trees with pieces of food and clothes, small statues of the Gods, carved runes, etc., to entice the tree spirits to come back in the spring.

 Ancient myths surround the Mistletoe. The Vikings believed it could resurrect the dead, a belief based on a legend about the resurrection of Balder, God of Light and Goodness, who was killed by a mistletoe arrow but resurrected when tears of his mother Frigga turned the red mistletoe berries white.

The Yule Goat, (Swedish julbock, Finnish joulupukki, Norwegian julebukk) is one of the oldest Scandinavian Christmas symbols. Its origin is the legend about the Thundergod Thor who rode in the sky in a wagon pulled by two goats. An old custom was for young people to dress up in goat skins and go from house to house and sing and perform simple plays. They were rewarded with food and drink. The Yule Goat at one time also brought Yule gifts.


Old Man Winter was welcomed into homes to join the festivities. Dressed in a hooded fur coat, Father Christmas traveled either by foot or on a giant white horse. Some think that this horse may have been Odin's horse Sleipnir and that Father Christmas was originally Odin, who was often depicted with a long beard. When the Vikings conquered Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries, he was introduced there and became the English Father Christmas.







Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The Longest Night


I wrote this years ago. As it's set during the longest night of the year, and includes all my favourite bits of myth and legend about this season, I'm re-posting it again.



Friday, 11 November 2016

We will remember



 Today's date has enormous significance for most people. It's Armistice Day and many of us are observing two minutes silence right now.

A special dedication to my Granny's brother, James.


J.A. Ryder MM (Manchester Regiment)

The  dedication wall.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Birthday Month

October is a time for celebrating three family birthdays - mine on 2nd, MWNN's is today, and The Daughter's on 28th. For the past eight years, there has been an additional family member to add to the October list - Ron, on 24th. After The Daughter left home, we've usually organised a get-together on a weekend between 13th and 28th.

This coming weekend, The Daughter is taking part in her second 100mile ultra. There are two weekends left in the month to organise the birthday bash. Hopefully, the latest leak repair in the utility room will be finished by the time we get together.


"October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It us the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again ..... Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night." Hal Borland





Happy Birthday MWNN.





Saturday, 8 October 2016

Photo Retrospective

Southwold October 2016









Sole Bay Inn - our local for the week. Good food, great ale, very convenient location (our cottage was the blue one on the right of the picture).

























Southwold Lighthouse, right behind our cottage's rear yard.

Watching the beams rotate at night is mesmerising.


















Gunn Hill Beach Kiosk, the opposite end of the Promenade from the cottage,  is a good place to stop for a rest and a cuppa.

















Ron's favourite pastime. We managed two or three beach walks each day.













Digging out the castle moat.






















New sand cliffs are building up with each tide.























WWII mine used as a collection box for Shipwrecked Mariners.





















Unknown bird, photographed by MWNN, outside the cottage.




















MWNN serving tea at Sole Bay Kiosk.


















The one place we have yet to visit (because it's a wet-weather destination and we haven't had many wet days during our visits to Southwold) is the Electric Picture Palace.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Blackthorne Marina


MWNN, Ron, and I, spent a long-weekend on the boat. It's almost ready to take out for a couple of days, but there were a few things that needed doing to make it weather-tight and comfortable.




MWNN has moved to the forward cabin, to sleep on the new 4ft bed. I am relegated to the rear cabin, on the single bed. When the rear bulkhead was replaced, the door frames were removed to enable the new wood to slip into position. The frames, trim and draught-exlcluders have been missing since then.








Mr Chippendale clutching the wood glue







The first night, I woke regularly because of the cold. Although I had a warm duvet, I needed to put on an extra layer of clothing, with long sleeves. During the warm weather, it didn't matter. I welcomed the cool breeze. With night temperatures heading into single figures, and a lack of heat during the day, it became important that the frame was finished.











Mr Hepplewhite weilds the panel pins and hammer









MWNN set to work. Even though it was raining, he was able to work on the frame. The rear canopy provided cover, and prevented any incursion of rain as he worked.




















As the rain eased, I took Ron for a walk. The trees and shrubs look different now. The guelder rose berries are ripe, the blackcurrants are variable - some are still green, others plumo and black. The cones of the Black Alder confused me for an instant. At first glance, I thought they were acorns. But the leaf-shape was wrong, and there wqas no acorn cup.

We have two books of trees on the boat, but I find it much easier to identify trees by Googling.








After the storm






 Autumn has arrived, and, as we came back from our trip past the fishing lake, the sun gave one last, glorious burst to show the autumnal colours.








I slept better that second night. Not a puff of air came in through the door. Thank you Messrs Chippendale and Hepplewhite.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Season of mists


Blackberries







and mellow fruitfulness.












I spent a couple of days on the boat, hand disinfected  and then steam cleaned the floor. Between cleanings and clearing, I took Ron for a few walks along the Stanwick Lakes Trail, to Woodford.

Fully ripe blackberries




The hedgerows were groaning with  berries.











Viburnum opulus berries





Unfortunately, not all of them are edible.













I've been disappointed this year, at the lack of English plums for sale in supermaarkets. I bought a couple of punnets of Victoria plums and a couple of greengages (Rein Claud), but that's about it.

The local hedgerow mirabelle tree has disappeared. There is a dearth of plums this year.



MWNN drove up to the boat yesterday afternoon to help with some surgery on the gas fridge which problem. We drove home this morning to avoid the 31 degrees (in the shade) heat forecast for today. The season of mists and mellow fruitfullness doesn't usually include a heat wave.





Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Hot now, summer



in the city  town.

It's  lovely and sunny here in rural England, but I'm now housebound because it's too darn hot.





The town, nevertheless, is looking very pretty



















and summery.















Last week, we went into town and had lunch at Lusssmans the new restaurant in Sun Street.

The meal was a little pricey but well worth it for MWNN's freshly-made Sussex pork rillette starter and fishcake main course. My beefburger was beautifully cooked, tender and fragrently seasoned.









There was a Kids' Day in the Market Square, with the town train,


















a carousel,


















and a couple of Dennises













Hitchin TV, once again, caught the town in all its beauty, in the sunshine

video









In other good news - I have new summer walking shoes, that can be worn without socks..











Sketchers Go Walk 2










Amazon was great. The first pair I ordered were size 3 and wre tight across the instep. A free return (via Amazon Locker) and the second pair, size 4, arrived 24 hours after arranging the return.