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Lost in Lindsey

The Thoughts and Adventures of a Lincolnshire Polytheist

A little walk in the woods

I spent a good hour and a half walking in the woods and fields around the village of Kirmington earlier today, with my friend Nicky. It was only a couple of miles but I managed to find my stick, which I think is going to be my staff for ritual purposes, but mainly it’s a good solid walking stick. It even has a kink at the right place for my hand and fits perfectly.

Anyway, here’s a few of my pictures from today

The arches in the stonework of this church are interesting. I wonder if it was once larger?

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Review: ‘Zen for Druids’ by Joanna van der Hoeven

Good evening. I’m spoiling you all aren’t I? Two posts in a week(ish).

I normally reserve reviews for my other blog, rosemariecawkwell.wordpress.com, but I thought I’d write this one here for a change. It seems relevant. I have a standard format for reviews, which, if you’ve ever been to my other blog, you’ll probably be familiar with. Onwards then.

Published by: Moon Books

Publication Date: 25th November 2016

I.S.B.N.: 9781785354427

 

Price: £8.99

Book received free in return for an honest review (My reviews are always 100% honest)

Official blog; Website 

Continue reading “Review: ‘Zen for Druids’ by Joanna van der Hoeven”

I should write more often

But I’m terrible at keeping up a correspondence with anyone.
I’ve been busy with my MA for the last seven weeks and I’ve just handed in my first assessment. I am also broke. That’s normal for me, I suppose, but I wish it wasn’t. Studying is going well amd it’s good to be back in am academic setting even if it is only one day a week. Actually, one day a week suits me, since I end up spending the next day exhausted, sleeping or curled up on the settee crafting. I’m in love with the university library, and it’s great to be able to discuss writing with my peers. I’m hoping to go to a writer’s conference next year. Some of my classmates are going so I should be able to get through it without too much panic, I just have to find the money for the ticket and train fare.

Winter is finally here, we had our first hard frost on Friday. It was great, I love a good frosty morning. Don’t enjoy the cold so much but that’s what layers are for. There’s something clean and cleansing about a hard frost in winter, when the air bites and breath smokes in the clear skies.

I’ve been ill, with a cold. I’m in to week three and I think I’m finally feeling better though I gave people a scare on Wednesday at Lincoln train station. I suddenly lost the ability to breathe, it felt like there was no room in my lungs. Asthma, it’s a sneaky bitch. I have also had my flu jab, because flu is viral hell and I’d rather not get that sick ever again. If you’re in one of the groups recommended to get a ‘flu vaccine and covered by the NHS, I heartily encourage you to get it, not only to protect yourself but to protect those who rely in herd immunity for protection. If you aren’t in the groups recommended to get the vaccine free from the NHS, but can afford to pay for it then I would encourage you to, for the same reasons. We all have a responsibility to look after the vulnerable in our communities and vaccines are a simple yet effective tool in doing so.

We’re in to Blodmonath in the Anglo-Saxon calendar, the blood month or sacrifice month when the herds were thinned to get through winter. It is the final harvest. I suppose it could be considered fitting that Remembrance Day takes place in November, the origin if which should have been the final harvest, the war to end all wars, a day of mourning for the bereaved. Unfortunately, the whole purpose seems to have changed from mourning to militarism. In the early days the parades were made up of grieving families, later, after the Royal British Legion got heavily involved – it is their biggest fundraising event -, as they still are, the parades became heavily militaristic with soldiers taking centre stage. The whole meaning of Remembrance Day has been co-opted in to jingoistic support for war, and the symbolism of the poppy a toy for right wing parties to throw around and bully people with.

The white peace poppy arose in 1933 as a response to what people saw was happening with the red poppy symbol. The Peace Pledge Union has been steadily and steadfastly promoting the symbol ever since. I only heard about the peace poppy a few years ago and I’ve slowly come round to the idea of wearing a white poppy or not wearing any poppy at all. 

I was brought up to always wear a red poppy in November and that not wearing one, not donating, was disrespectful to the dead and to those service men and women still fighting. It makes me uneasy to walk past air or army cadets with their boxes of paper poppies ob a string round their necks and collecting tins in hand; both because they are children wearing soldier’s uniforms and I find that sick, and because I still have the urge to donate due to social pressure. 

Politicians don’t care about soldiers, they use them to score points off each other. If they actually cared as much about soldiers and their surviving families as they do about poppy  symbolism then charities to support them, whether it’s the RBL or Help for Heroes, wouldn’t have to exist.

I’d rather support the cause of peace, and honour the original intention of Remembrance Day: never again. 

For more on the PPU and the peace poppy see here.

I’m going to attempt to sleep now since it is 1.41 a.m.

Bye

I declare, winter is here

I had to put the heating on yesterday morning. 

It’s that in between time when it’s freezing in the morning and the late afternoon but during the day it’s boiling, or at least tolerable. I never know what to wear.

I’ve started my MA at The University of Lincoln. I had my first day of seminars and workshops last week. It’s only one day a week, and one workshop plus one seminar per day, but I’m enjoying it, and it’s exhausting me slightly. It’s all the walking I have to do. It’s only a three mile walk to the train station but once I add in getting from Lincoln station to university and then back home again it adds up. Plus, people all day long, chattering constantly. They don’t seem to understand the concept of silence. The train is bad in the evening, one carriage for all the people leaving work etc. I end up squished, tired, overwhelmed by noise and really grumpy.

Last Saturday I took a trip to Leeds to see the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition at The Royal Armouries. It closed on Sunday so we just managed to see it. The exhibition was called ‘Warrior Treasures’, and ficused on sword furniture found in the Hoard. It was very interesting and there was some basic background information that I needed for my research (my next novel will be set in the late seventh century and the wars between Mercia and Northumbria). Overall though, I think they could have tried for a bit more dept to the exhibition. I did like the structure of the space and the Beowulf quotes, as well as the reconstruction of the damaged artifacts.
A few of my photographs from the visit


In other news, a Lincolnshire Heathens Facebook page has been set up and there is a moot tomorrow. It’s a closed group but easy to join if you send a request. Just search ‘Lincolnshire Heathens’ if you’re in or near Lincolnshire and are interested in heathenry.

The moot details are here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1578163785826197/?ref=4&action_history=null&source=4

I’m not a mod or anything by the way, I just think it’s nice that someone is trying to get a community together. There tends to be a lot of isolation and internet only communication among heathens (which I don’t mind, that’s my preferred form of socialising). Local groups are useful even if it’s just to remind people they are not alone.

Summer’s End; what shall we call it?

Afternoon, faithful but often disappointed by my lack of content, readers.

I’ve just got back from my weekly sewing group and we’ve started on the Christmas crafting. Yep it’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to gluttony and gifts. Before that we have Halloween though and of course in the pagan community it’s ‘Mabon’in a week. 

I do not celebrate Mabon; the name ‘Mabon’ has never been associated with the autumn equinox, it is the name of quite an obscure god appropriated by early members of the witchcraft tradtions as a festival name in the 40’s and 50’s. There is no reference to celebrations for the autumn solistice in any survivng Anglo-Saxon or Continental Iron Age literature, that I kniow of. That being said, September is called ‘Haligmonath’, christianised to ‘Harvestmonath’, by Bede in his Ecclisiastical History. It’s a holy harvest month; the grain harvest is long over, what we’re bringing in now is the fruit – apples and pears, blackberries, rosehips and sloes. The fruit of the orchard and hedgerow. The stuff that stored, pickled, made in to jams and steeped in alcohol provided a source of fruit through the winter. 

Next weekend I’ll be celebrating that harvest, thankful for the fruit that my ancestors survived on and thankful for the free food I find as I take the dogs out for a walk, or go for a stroll myself. I’ll be with a bunch of druids and pagans who have a different religious calender to me; we each will find different meaning in the same celebration, each as valid as the other.

If I don’t call Mabon ‘Mabon’, what do I call the autumn equinox? 

Nothing. Well, the autumn equinox, I suppose. But as a celebration? To me it doesn’t have a name. Haligmonath is the name of the month, a time to celebrate the fruits and last harvests. I might choose to celebrate it all month or I might choose to celebrate on a specific day, or I might do both. Joining other pagans in a festival is a bonus and I’ll take a different meaning from it than my friends who are druids or who are exclectic pagans, or who are Christo-Pagans. 

There’s room enough for us all to find our own meaning’s and to use whatever name fits.

My weekend ‘to do’ list:

  • Forage cooking apples, eating apples, brambles (if there are any left), sloes.
  • Learn how to make use of rosehips; forage rosehips.
  • Collect firewood if the rain stops long enough for them to dry out.

Best be off.

Rose

Apple pies and fire wood.

And now September, the holy month is here,

With the harvest almost in (there’s apples still hanging about out there), 

And the nights getting colder,

A fire with friends, a glass (or three) of mead,

And gratitude, 

At last,the bloody kids will be back at school next week.
Evening all,

How’s the summer treat you? It’s been lovely to me, my milk bottle legs are now an old bruise yellow colour, but my arms are as tanned as they get. France was fabulous, I groped some gods in the Louvre and ate the worlds best quiche, against which all other quiches shall hence forth be measured.


Now that it’s getting into September the apple tree down the road (literally, it’s on the road verge, not even in the hedge) is heavy with fruit and I like apple pie. I need to send the nephew up the tree to get more of them. I could only knock a few out with a stick. 

Do you know how to see if an apple is ready to pick? It’s simple, cup the apple in your hand and twist gently. It’ll come away easily if it’s ready but don’t try to force it. Or, hit the branch with a stick, any ripe apples will fall off. 

Now I’ve got a dozen apples I’m stewing the with two plums, cut up, a bit of water and some sugar. Cooked until some is pulp but some is still holding together, or whatever texture you prefer. 

While that’s bubbling away – on of my favourite smells – make the pastry. It’s a basic shortcrust pastry.

Pastry: 

200g plain flour

100g butter (or your preferred alternative)

Pinch salt

1tbsp sugar

A little cold water
Breadcrumb the flour and butter, add the salt and sugar and stir in.

Add a little water and form a stiff dough.

Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Roll out, make pie.
The actual reason I went out this afternoon was to collect windfall wood for a fire this evening. A friend is coming round with a bottle of mead she bought on her holiday. We will be sampling. The local woodland was a waterlogged field fifteen years ago dotted with a few mature horse chestnuts and some much younger rowens. The Woodland Trust planted it as part of their millennium community woodland scheme. It has since been extended, and in fifteen years I expect we’ll have a more substantial woodland. As it is, the smaller, original woodland is maturing nicely and there’s plenty of wood on the ground, no doubt helped along by the local children playing in the trees. I’ve had two 15 minute foraging sessions this week and I’ve got a couple of bags of wood to burn. 
Can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday evening, good company, home made food, mead and a fire.
Have a good weekend.

I am on holiday for the first time in 16 years. I’m in Paris with two of my closest friends. We got a bit lost but made it eventually. We are now watching the Olympics and drinking tea. 

Good news 

I’ve had some good news and a brilliant peice of feedback on the manuscript for my first novel. I don’t normally write about my writing her but I wanted to share sonme good news for a change.

I applied to study the MA Creative Wrtiting course at the University of Lincoln and they sent me an unconditional offer this afternoon by email. I immediately replied and accepted the offer. I have the last bit of financial paperwork to send off tomorrow after sewing club and then I wait for the enrolment paper work to come. I’m rather excited; it’s part time, one day a week but it’ll help me get out of the house and go for a train ride once a week, plus I’ll get some professional training and help with the writing.

That brings me to my next bit of news. On Saturday I went to a local writers event at Grimsby Library to do some networking and find out what platform people prefer for publishing their books. It was very interesting, I was given four books to review and one of the authors, Joy Wood, asked if I’d like her to read my MS. and she’d give me some feedback. I was flttered obviously; I can’t imagine anyone outside of my family wanting to read my stuff, but I sent it to her Saturday afternoon. She emailed me last nigtht full of praise for my novel.

I’ve finished your book, and all I could say is wow – you certainly have a great talent! Your writing flows beautifully. The story was well thought out, and the writing so good, if felt more like I was watching it rather than reading it.
Joy Wood, Author

Lammastidings

Morning people, 

I’m spending today at a craft and gift fair trying to make a little bit of money. I’m going to spend the time writing and reading when we’re customer free. I’m hoping we’ll get loads of customers though because I’m ridiculously short of money. I prey Ing, Frijja and Nehelenia bless our enterprises.

The local pagan groups are having their Lughnasadh rite today. It’s out in the country somewhere so I can’t go even if I was free. I hope they have a good day. 
In other news, I went to a local authors event yesterday to network and pick up tips. I also got given 4 books to review. Best be off, the fair’s open.
Edit: Lammastide, evening edition
Evening all, 
I’m back from the fair, had tea and then had a read to settle my frazzled brain; I actually managed sell enough to cover my table fee. My family came to the fair and raided our stall. We also donated a few bits for my nephew’s Lifestyle Challenge raffle next weekend. He’s trying to raise money to get a new bench for the fishing pond. Good luck to the boy. 

Anyway, this evening I’ve been reading other people’s Lammas/Lughnasadh posts and I’ve been thinking. Most people write that it’s the festival of the first harvest (Lammas that is; Lughnasadh has a different origin which I’m sure a Brythonic polytheist could explain better than I). Lammas comes from ‘loaf mass’ and there’s much to-do about the grain harvest. 

Some of those writers clearly do not live in agricultural regions. Lincolnshire is very agricultural with urban islands on the north and south coasts and in the centre at Lincoln. Harvest started a month ago, they’re bailing straw already. It’s late this year too. The variety of wheat has changed in the last century or so and the growing season has been extended by new varieties and the changing climate.
Gardeners, either at home or on allotments, have also been harvesting since late May, depending on the crop. I got mine in late and I’ve still been harvesting regularly for at least two weeks. Which reminds me, the garlic is out and drying on the windowledge, I’ve had two or three strawberries a day for the last week, my peas are still cropping but they’re slowing down. Luckily the green beans and runner beans are taking up the slack, starting yesterday. Against my expectations I actually have cucumbers growing. Still waiting for the tomatoes though. The salad leaves just keep on giving. Since poverty and all that, I’ve been thankful to my deities from the first moment I started harvesting because food grown means less to buy (and I recommend sugar snap peas straight off the plant for breakfast). 

Times, they be a’changing; most people are oblivious to plants and farming, so the focus of Lammas has become more flexible, in my observed experience. Which is why many now celebrate the ‘harvest’ of achievements etc. for the year. It’s great to see people’s achievements; I’m proud to say my three youngest cousins have received their Bachelor’s degrees this summer, and I’ve been accepted on an MA course. I’m considering declining it though, because I’ve found one more suited to me that I’ve applied for and I’m waiting to hear from. I’m not getting ten grand into debt for something that’s not right for me. My sister is also looking at Masters courses, and my first two novels are being read by critical friends to help me improve them. Never know, this time next year I might have got them published 😀

Back to my point? Did I have a point? I’m not sure; too tired to think straight. I think I’m rambling at this point and you should draw your own conclusions.
Good night, have a lovely summer.

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