Posts Tagged ‘ wassail ’

Canal(s) +

It’s been far too long since my last post (in my opinion at least), so here is a small selection of edited highlights from the grim month of January. A short trip to Amsterdam takes first place – the first time we’ve been away together for other than work purposes for years.amsterdam

The (amazingly comfortable) night boat from Harwich was followed by a train journey across an icily beautiful Netherlands. As ever, lovely things seen but not photographed from the train windows; fixed in the memory that morning were the windmill covered in perching cormorants, and a white cat walking delicately across a frozen canal. We stayed in the Boutique Hotel View which fully deserves this plug – perfect in almost every way.

the view from our room - could you ask for more?

We did the things one does in that lovely city – the Rembrandthuis, of course, and the Rijksmuseum – and other galleries – and eating – and drinking . . .

Rembrandt's studio

Rijksmuseum - Fishing for Souls (Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne, 1614 - detail)

Other events – the candle-lit launch of Ian Marchant’s excellent new book Something of the Night. Funny, moving and filled with wise and correct observations on sex, religion and politics among many other matters.

ian marchant

Another local nocturnal event was the annual Wassail – health and safety happily not in evidence as the blazing globe of the Sun flew over the heads of the onlookers

wassail

An advance copy of Gardens of Cornwall landed on the mat – publication due on March 1st

gardens of cornwall

And finally another reminder of spring and summer – remember summer? – with the publication of a cover feature on Sissinghurst in the February edition of The English Garden

sissinghurst

Wassail, wassail

A new year, and this infant blog reaches its first anniversary. Quite soon it will be capable of stumbling forward on its own two tiny feet and one day perhaps breaking into articulate speech. That, however, is in an uncertain future. What we do know for certain is that Spring will return and the sun will be seen again – for Presteigne has held its Wassail, without which the world (Radnorshire, anyway) would remain forever in winter darkness. A good crowd gathered in the town orchard to drink quantities of mulled cider and eat everything possible that can be made from apples.

wassail

wassail

wassail

wassail

Under a clear starry sky and lit by blazing torches, songs (ancient & modern) were sung and the trees’ good health was drunk. All traditions have to start somewhere, so the songs included that antique ditty We Are Wassailing (trad., attr. Mr. Rod Stewart). Then the sun’s continued rising was ensured in a fiery ritual.

wassail

wassail

The Apple Queen lights the Sun

wassail

Spring will come again

A happy New Year to all

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