Sunday, 5 January 2020

January weather


Dear Reader,

I know it is still a bit early for snowdrops but because they are so entrancing, bringing the hope of spring, I long to see one peeping up in the garden.

Although we don't know whose hand it was that carried the first snowdrop bulb to Britain from Europe we do know that they were being cultivated in British gardens in 1597, the same year that Shakespeare bought his largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Snowdrops were once called Candlemass Bells.  As a symbol of purity and light they were brought into churches on 2nd February - Candlemass Day - a Christian feast that commemorates the ritual purification of Mary forty days after the birth of Jesus.  It also marks a more ancient festival celebrating the middle of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox.


I went to the panto this week to see Puss in Boots.  But I must say I was very disappointed.  I suppose I wanted to see a traditional panto with Cinderella, or somesuch,  falling in love with the prince and singing a sweet duet at the finale.   And not too much noise.  But this rendering I saw was noisy and I couldn't really follow the story as it was so convoluted, and difficult to hear.  But the audience seemed to love it so it must just be an age thing, and I will probably give it a miss next year.


January Weather

We know from recorded history,
that in St. Merryn
a hundred years ago,
there blew great winds
and the sea was smoking white.

We know it was warm in Kent,
where the thrushes thought spring
had come, and piped away.
And primroses were a yellow carpet
in North Norfolk,
or so the parson wrote.

We know of cutting winds in Hampshire,
of icicles and frost, and
in Skiddaw on a mild day
a brown spotted butterfly was seen.
We know that hungry church
mice ate bible markers,
hungry people died of cold.

And we know that this dark winter month
had days of snow, that wild clouds
gathered in the sky, unleashing icy rain,
churning up the plough.

And yet, again, we also know
the sun shone in that distant year,
it was warm enough to push through
early snowdrops, and Holy Thorn.
Life was glimpsed, here and there,
all life struggled for its moments.


With very best wishes, Patricia

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