Saturday, 27 May 2017

A Valediction

Dear Reader,


After all the horror of this week I thought a small piece from Francis Kilvert's diary for Thursday, 28th May, l874, might lift the spirits.

"At the dairy is was butter morning and Fair Rosamund was making up the sweet rolls of rich golden butter.  Mrs. Knight says the butter is so golden at this time of year because the cows eat the buttercups.  The reason why the whey is so sweet and wholesome in May and June is because the grass is so full of flowers and young sweet herbs.  When I go to the Common Farm to drink whey I think of my grandmother, my mother's mother, Thermuthis Ashe, then a fair beautiful young girl, and how she used to come across the meadows from the Manor house to this very dairy, and drink whey here every morning during the sweet May Month."

Whey is the liquid remaining after the milk has been curdled and strained. Throughout history it was a popular drink in inns and coffee houses.  When Joseph Pratley was at Daventry Academy (1752-55) he recorded that on the morning of Wednesday, May 22nd, 1754, he "went with a large company to drink whey".  This might have been "wine whey" which was popular then.  Dairy whey remaining from homemade cheese making has many uses.  It is a flour conditioner and can be substituted for skimmed milk in most baked recipes that require milk such as bread, pancakes or muffins.

And we all know the nursery rhyme by Dr Thomas Muffet (1553-1604) written for his stepdaughter:
                                                       Little Miss Muffet
                                                       Sat on a tuffit
                                                       Eating her curds and whey ......
                                                       Along came a spider
                                                       Who sat down beside her
                                                       And frightened Miss Muffet away

This was first printed in the "Songs for the Nursery" collection published in 1805.  And no wonder Miss Muffet ran away; it probably wasn't the spider that frightened her, but the thought of having to eat curds and whey for breakfast.


A Valediction

To innocence
to childhood
to youth
to skipping about
to making daisy chains
to looking into the mirror
seeing someone pretty
to wearing gypsy clothes
feeling exotic in them
to flirting and being flirted with
to kissing someone new
drowning in that indescribable
feeling of lust and love
to smoking king size cigarettes
to being passionate about something
daydreaming about a bright future
to changing the world
making poverty unknown
the poor rich

But knowing now the truth
about old age being shite
hello to fudge and ice cold gins
small pleasures and quieter things

With best wishes, Patricia


Rebecca said...

Very poignant!
By the way, we are going to make Daisy chains when I next come over!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful reminder of love, lust and excitement of youth. Let us not go gently!