Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ed Miller, The Last Trip Home

A've aye worked on farms an frae the start
The muckle horses won my heart
Wi big broad backs they proudly stand
The uncrowned kings o' a' the land
And yet for a' their power and strength
They're as gentle as a summer's wind

Chorus (after each verse):
So steady, boys, walk on
Oor work is nearly done
Nor more we'll till or plough the fields
The horses' day is gone
An' this will be our last trip home
So steady, boys, walk on

Now you'll hear men sing their songs of praise
Of Arab stallions in a race
Or hunters that fly wi' the hounds
Tae chase the fox and run him down
But none o' them compare, I vow
Tae a workin' pair that pulls a plough

And a' the years I've plied my trade
And a' the fields we've ploughed and laid
I never thought I'd see the time
When a Clydesdale's work wid ever end
But progress runs its driven course
And tractors hae replaced the horse

As we head back, oor friends have lined
The road tae be there one last time
For nane of them would want tae miss
The chance tae see us pass like this
They'll say they saw in years tae come
The muckle horses' last trip home

Flower of Scotland

O flower of Scotland
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

The hills are bare now
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly held
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

O Flower of Scotland - Scotland's (unofficial) National Anthem.
The Flower of Scotland, written by Roy Williamson of The Corries

Happy Saint Andrews Day!

Music & Lyrics by Dougie MacLean. Published by Limetree Arts and Music

I don't know if you can see the changes that have come over me
In these last few days I've been afraid that I might drift away
So I've been telling old stories, singing songs that make me think about where I came from
And that's the reason why I seem so far away today

Ah but let me tell you that I love you and I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me and now I'm going home
But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything I've ever had

I have moved and kept on moving proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing found others on the way
I have tried and I've kept on trying stolen dreams, yes there's no denying*
I have travelled hard, sometimes with conscience flying somewhere in the wind

Now I'm sitting here before the fire, the empty room, the forest choir
The flames that couldn't get any higher they've withered, now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking, my way is clear and I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands have shaken and the kisses flow Oh I will disappear

Ode Written On The First Of December

by Robert Southey

Written on the FIRST of DECEMBER, 1793.

Tho' now no more the musing ear
Delights to listen to the breeze
That lingers o'er the green wood shade,
I love thee Winter! well.

Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,
Sweet is the summer's evening gale,
Pleasant the autumnal winds that shake
The many-colour'd grove.

And pleasant to the sober'd soul
The silence of the wintry scene,
When Nature shrouds her in her trance

Not undelightful now to roam
The wild heath sparkling on the sight;
Not undelightful now to pace
The forest's ample rounds;

And see the spangled branches shine,
And mark the moss of many a hue
That varies the old tree's brown bark,
Or o'er the grey stone spreads.

The cluster'd berries claim the eye
O'er the bright hollies gay green leaves,
The ivy round the leafless oak
Clasps its full foliage close.

So VIRTUE diffident of strength
Clings to RELIGION'S firmer aid,
And by RELIGION'S aid upheld
Endures calamity.

Nor void of beauties now the spring,
Whose waters hid from summer sun
Have sooth'd the thirsty pilgrim's ear
With more than melody.

The green moss shines with icey glare,
The long grass bends its spear-like form,
And lovely is the silvery scene
When faint the sunbeams smile.

Reflection too may love the hour
When Nature, hid in Winter's grave,
No more expands the bursting bud
Or bids the flowret bloom.

For Nature soon in Spring's best charms
Shall rise reviv'd from Winter's grave.
Again expand the bursting bud,
And bid the flowret bloom.

Robert Southey (12 August 1774 – 21 March 1843) was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. Although his fame has been long eclipsed by that of his contemporaries and friends William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Southey's verse still enjoys some popularity.

*paintings by GEORGE MORLAND (1763-1804)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

The whole of life

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

The season of Advent has begun, the season of waiting.

Advent (from the Latin adventus meaning "coming") is a liturgical season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Advent marks the beginning of the Western liturgical year and begins on Advent Sunday, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, Dec. 25. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting by Israelites for the birth of the Messiah, and the waiting by Christians for the return of Christ. The most famous hymn of Advent is "O Come Emmanuel." Its lyrics, based on the Prophet Isaiah, articulate the hopeful anticipation of the Advent season:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Originally observed as a time of fasting and penitence, the emphasis of the season of Advent is one of expectation and anticipation for the coming Messiah. The season of Advent starts out in a sombre tone and for the first two weeks, purple and blue are the primary colors used in church. On the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (gaudete means rejoice) pink or rose are the primary colors used. This shift in color symbolizes change in emphasis from expectation to celebration.

In 2011, the Advent season begins on Nov. 27, 2011 and ends on Dec. 24, 2011. The Eastern Churches' equivalent of Advent, Nativity Fast, is 40 days long and began on Nov. 15, 2011.

The themes of the Advent season are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Lighting of candles, especially the circular Advent wreath with five candles is an important tradition of the Advent season. Each Sunday of Advent, one of four candles is lit -- with the final candle, the Christ Candle, being lit on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wonderful Video about Dog Breeds

The insanity has begun...

I am buying only hand made or made in USA this year for gifts. Sorry about the add with this. The video cartoon is worth watching.

LAU "Wintermoon" 2009

LAU - (Kris Drever, Martin Green, Aidan O'Rourke) Words Kris Drever / Music Drever/Green/O'Rourk


Thursday, November 24, 2011

A National day of Thanksgiving

During the American Revolution in the 1770s the Continental Congress suggested a national day of thanksgiving. In 1817, the state of New York adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and many states soon followed. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November. Some historians believe the day was chosen that is might be a remembrance of the anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod in November 1620.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Song - Mary Chapin Carpenter

The Holidays in 2011

Chanuka falls late this year it is close to Christmas which is cool. 2011: December 20-28. What is also really cool is December 22 is a Solstice Day in 2011. Kwanzaa is December 26 to January 1 each year. The holidays are in alignment. PEACE!

Ode to Autumn

By John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,---
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

First Snow Along the Hudson River 1959

First Snow Along the Hudson River 1959 by Régis François Gignoux (1816–1882). Gignoux was a French painter who was active in the United States from 1840 to 1870. He was born in Lyon, France and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the French historical painter Hippolyte Delaroche, who inspired Gignoux to turn his talents toward landscape painting. Gignoux arrived in the United States from France in 1840 and eventually opened a studio in Brooklyn, New York. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, and was the first president of the Brooklyn Art Academy. George Inness and John LaFarge (1835–1910) were both his students. By 1844, Gignoux had opened a studio in New York City and became one the first artists to join the famous Tenth Street Studio, where other members included Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, and John Frederick Kensett. He returned to France in 1870 and died in Paris in 1882.

Holidays are for joy, not pollitical correctness

It's not yet even Thanksgiving here in the States and a friend has begun the rancorous debate on another page about saying happy holidays vs. Merry Christmas. It's a shame we have all fallen for this political correctness bullshit. If someone says happy Hanuka to me I will return the greeting. If they say happy Yule or solstice I will return the greeting. Most of my friends are agnostic and many still say Merry Christmas, it's just not something that should polarize people in my humble opinion. The holidays are supposed to be joyful. What ever you say to express your joy this holiday season you can count on me to NOT be offended and to share in your joy. Fighting about holidays is painfully sad. So many people are offended because they want to be offended. They look for things to become angry over in an attempt to get attention or so they can react and create drama. It never fails to amaze me how many people live for the adrenaline rush they get from fighting with everyone around them. Let us all put aside our petty differences now and look for common ground and a way to peace during the holidays and keep that alive in the new year as well? PAX

Monday, November 21, 2011

George Henry Durrie

John Schulter, after a painting by George Henry Durrie, 1867. George Henry Durrie is the artist behind many of the Currier and Ives prints we all know so well.

George Henry Durrie (1820-1863)

Connecticut Painter of Rural Genre Scenes

By Amy Spencer

George Durrie is best known for his winter landscapes, which were popularized when the firm Currier & Ives published them as prints.

George Henry Durrie was a nineteenth century artist who developed a unique expression for the depiction of winter farmyards and landscapes. Durrie produced around 300 paintings over the course of his career. The earliest of these works were portraits however, by the early 1850s, Durrie had begun to focus increasingly on painting rural genre scenes and winter landscapes of New England. These winter scenes are considered his finest achievements.

Most of what is known about Durrie’s painting career has been learnt through his account books (1839-1852) and from a diary he kept from January 1, 1845 to July 1, 1846. The account books document Durrie’s commissions, sales, and exhibitions, while Durrie’s brief diary offers insight into his personal affairs and interests.

Durrie was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1820. His father was an emigrant from England and his mother was a descendant of Governor William Bradford, a Mayflower pilgrim who became a leader of the Separatist settlers in Plymouth Colony.

In 1839, Durrie and his older brother John began taking painting lessons from Nathaniel Jocelyn, a renowned New Haven portraitist and Honorary Member of the National Academy of Design. Durrie studied with Jocelyn for two years. During these formative years Durrie’s account books indicate he was already taking commissions to paint portraits.

Much of Durrie’s early career was spent as an itinerant painter, traveling over the countryside in search of portrait commissions in smaller towns and rural areas. In 1839, Durrie traveled to Hartford and Bethany, Connecticut, and then from 1840 to 1841, he worked in Naugatuck and Meriden, Connecticut, and in Freehold and Keyport, New Jersey.

Throughout his life Durrie had a strong interest in the church and its music. He played violin and bass viol, and often sung in church choirs. His diary reveals it was not unusual for Durrie to attend church three or four times each Sunday. While painting in Bethany, Durrie attended rehearsals for the Episcopal Choir where he met Sarah A. Perkins. Durrie and Perkin married on September 14th, 1841. The couple had a son, George, in 1842.

After getting married, Durrie and his wife lived briefly in Monmouth County, New Jersey, before settling in New Haven. Under the patronage of Judge James S. Lawrence, Durrie painted many portraits throughout the year of 1842. His account book shows at this time his portraits were between five to fifteen dollars each. To supplement his income, Durrie did other painting jobs such as altering portraits, varnishing, and even painting decorative motifs on window shutters.

Durrie first showed his works in public exhibitions in 1843. His exhibited a portrait at the National Academy of Design in New York City, and two portraits at the New Haven Horticultural Society. The following year Durrie exhibited five more works at the State House in New Haven. One of these works was his first recorded winter scene. Durrie sent another winter landscape, The Sleighing Party, to the National Academy in 1845.

In January 1845, Durrie left his wife and child to travel to Claverack and Hudson in New York. Later in the year he moved to Petersburg, Virginia where he remained for six months painting portraits. Durrie’s second son, Benjamin, was born in 1847. His only daughter, Mary, was born in 1852.

By the 1850s, Durrie’s local reputation had started to grow and he was established enough to give up his itinerant lifestyle, setting up a permanent studio at 5 Marble Block in New Haven. In 1853, Durrie had a house built on Temple Street where he lived with his family for the rest of his life. During this time Durrie began to specialize more in rural landscapes, as demonstrated by a public sale of his works in 1854. An advertisement in the New Haven Daily Register reads: “Having engaged for a few months past in painting a number of choice Winter Scenes, [G. H. Durrie] would offer them at public sale to the admirers of the fine arts… It is needless to add that no collection of pictures is complete without one or more Winter Scenes.”1 Durrie exhibited two more winter scenes at the National Academy in 1857.

Durrie’s landscapes are characterized by pale yet bright colors and by the repeated use of certain motifs, such as an isolated farmhouse, a road running diagonally through the composition, and a hill in the distance. They are appreciated for their freshness and originality, and are quite distinct from the predominately summer scenes produced by Durrie’s contemporaries in the Hudson River School.

In 1861 the printmaking firm Currier & Ives further popularized Durrie’s work through publishing two lithographs of his winter landscapes, New England Winter Scene (1858) and the Farmyard in Winter (untraced). Two more of Durrie’s works were published in 1863 and a further six after his death. The last print to be published was Home to Thanksgiving (unknown) in 1867. It depicts a young man, having returned home by sled, being greeted by his family on the front porch of their home. It has become one of the most Durrie’s most iconic images.

Durrie died at his home on October 15th, 1863.

Durrie had a modest reputation during his lifetime, however after his death the Currier and Ives prints ensured Durrie’s works were kept in the pubic eye. Since the 1930s, Durrie has been increasingly recognized for his paintings following posthumous recognition in books, articles, and numerous one-man exhibitions. Most of his paintings remain in private collections however important examples can be viewed in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the New York Historical Society, and the Fine Arts Museum in Boston.

Barnyard Friends by Lucy Ann Leavers

Lucy Ann Leavers was a 19th Century British artist born in Nottingham. She flourished from 1887 through 1898, is best known for her paintings of genre scenes and animals. Often painting in a large scale, her work is characterized by a highly finished style and her choice of compositions, which often put animals in amusing situations. She exhibited seven works at the Royal Academy between 1887 and 1898.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christ the King Sunday

Today is Christ the King Sunday. Christ the King is a title of Jesus based on several passages of Scripture. It is used by most Christians. The Roman Catholic Church, together with many Protestant denominations, including the Anglican Churches, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists, celebrate the Feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year (before a new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent, the earliest date of which is 27 November). The Feast of Christ the King is thus on the Sunday that falls between 20 and 26 November, inclusive. Originally, the liturgical calendar had this feast on the last Sunday of October prior to All Saints Day, where it is still celebrated in the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. The title "Christ the King" is also frequently used as a name for churches, schools, seminaries, hospitals and religious institutes.

A Sat in late November

We had a very warm day here for late November. It got up to the 50sF. Tonight the wind is picking up but the view of stars tonight is just wonderful , the sky is mostly clear but there are some high clouds to the southeast and east and a spooky little moon hiding under the blankets.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November Snow

by Joseph Pacheco

The first to fall is the first to go.
Earth wears its mantle damp and chill —
Patina of November snow.

Leaves raged with fire just days ago —
Now grays, ash browns, pale yellows tell
The first to fall are the first to go.

Remains of harvest in desolate row
Brace for the final winter kill
Beneath their shroud of November snow.

The rakes now dry, the plow and hoe
Await Spring’s promise to fulfill —
The first to fall are the first to go.

Lit by the sky’s anemic glow
The pines are standing stiff and still,
Defiant of November snow.

In barns of silence wait those who know
What lies beneath the fields they till —
The first to fall are the first to go,
Together with November snow.

©2007, Joseph Pacheco

Joseph Pacheco is a 76 year old Nuyorican, retired NYC school superintendent living on Sanibel Island, Florida. He began writing poetry at 70, and has published two books of poetry: The First of the Nuyoricans/Sailing to Sanibel and Alligator in the Sky. Two of his poems appear in our other seasonal anthologies: “Cold Winter Morn in Florida” in the winter collection, and “Dejection on a Florida Summer Afternoon” in the summer collection.

The snow has returned

Cati the Cardigan Welsh Corgi has found one of the last apples that just fell off our tree.

The fence looks just right to me now.

The posts are cut down now to the same height except the one we left high for a bracket for the bird feeder. I think it looks much more balanced now. I am very pleased with Jim's handiwork.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Freedom for the Corgis.

Cati and Jack love their fenced in yard. They now can go outside any time without being on a leash!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Will ye go tae Flanders by Karine Polwart

Sung by Karine Polwart

Will Ye Go Tae Flanders?

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
We'll get wine and brandy,
Sac and sugar candy,
Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O.

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Tae see the bonnie soldiers, my Mally O?
They'll gie the pipes a blaw,
Wi their kilts and plaids sae braw,
Ae the fairest o' them a, my Mally O.

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Gin I tak the royal shillin there my Mally O?
Will ye tae a foreign shore,
For tae hear the cannon roar,
And the bloody shouts o' war, my Mally O?

Will ye go tae Flanders, my Mally O?
Tae see the bold commanders, my Mally O?
Will ye see the bullets fly,
And the soldiers how they die,
And the ladies how they cry, my Mally O?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Show Of Hands - Arrogance Ignorance and Greed

Show Of Hands - Arrogance Ignorance and Greed

Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed
( by Show of Hands)

All I wanted was a home
And a roof over our heads
Somewhere we could call our own
Feel safer in our beds
There was a storm of money raining down
It only touched the ground
With a loan I took I can't repay
And the crock of gold you found

At every trough you stopped to feed
With your Arrogance, your Ignorance and Greed.

I never was a cautious man
I spend more than I'm paid
But those with something put aside
Are the ones that you betrayed

With your bonuses and expenses
You shovelled down your throat
Now you bit the hand that fed you
Dear God I hope you choke

At every trough you stopped to feed
With your Arrogance, your Ignorance and Greed.

You're on your yacht, we're on our knees
Through your Arrogance, your Ignorance and Greed.

Toxics bring you tact and soul
Poisoned every watering hole
Your probity, you exchanged for gold

Working man stands in line
The market sets his price
No feather bed, no golden egg
No one pays him twice

To enter thrift and caution
Your only sound advice
You know you doubt yourself and meaning
And alone at every dice

At every trough you stopped to feed
With your Arrogance, your Ignorance and Greed.

I pray one day we'll soon be free
From your absolute indifference
Your avarice, incompetence
Your Arrogance, your Ignorance and your Greed.

Show of Hands is an English acoustic roots and folk duo comprising singer-songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer. In recent years they have been accompanied on tour and in the studio by jazz double-bassist Miranda Sykes. Steve Knightley and Phil Beer met as teenagers while playing in different bands in Exeter, Devon, where they grew up. They eventually got together and for a short period played in pubs and clubs, even undertaking a disastrous summer tour of Sweden when they were both 16. As school finished, their lives went separate ways. Knightley went to university in Coventry, collected a degree and teaching qualifications, and ended up in London playing music in a rock band in his spare time. For Phil Beer the leap to professional musician was immediate. Throughout the years he played with many different people, including the Arizona Smoke Revue and then from 1984 with the Albion Band. In the mid 1980s Knightley returned to live in the West Country, and so he and Phil Beer got together casually to play a few shows. This continued until 1991 when it became obvious that the partnership had the potential to become a full time career. Beer left the Albion Band and Show of Hands was born.

Our new Picket Fence is Half Built

Monday, November 7, 2011

Romans 12:2

I find sometimes that the best thing to remember is Jesus instructs us to be in the world but not of it. Christians should be someone detached from the political may-lay. Of course we as Christians care but we put our faith in God not in man. Until western nations wake up and start really caring about people instead of money there will not be positive change. While I am something of an activist I understand things are in God's hands. Faith is more about letting go than hanging on. Prayer and actively promoting peace and kindness in our lives can move mountains. God's politcs are the politics of love and forgiveness. * Romans 12:2-And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

Sunset on a perfect day of Indian Summer

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christopher Delaney plays Banjo in Scotland

Christopher Delaney of Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland Plays banjo.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sicut Cervus Desiderat / Palestrina

Westminster Cathedral Choir performs Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Sicut Cervus Desidera

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Traditions and festivals in November in the West include All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Mischief Night, Bonfire Night, Rememberence Day and Stir Up Sunday The name comes from the Roman word 'novem' meaning nine, because it was the ninth month in their Roman calendar. Few people find November pleasant. The Anglo-Saxons called November 'Wind monath', because it was the time when the cold winds began to blow. They also called it 'Blod monath', because it was the time when cattle were slaughtered for winter food. The poet T.S. Elliot called it 'Sombre November'.

Sir Walter Scott, in his long poem Marmion, wrote in 1808:

November's sky is chill and drear, November's leaf is red and sear (withered)'

The first week of November has always been a time of festivals and celebrations marking the end of the harvest and beginning of Winter.

In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made 1st November a church holiday to honour all the saints. This feast day is called All Saints' Day.

All Hallows

All Saints' Day used to be known as All Hallows (Hallow being an old word meaning Saint or Holy Person). The feast day actually started the previous evening, the Eve of All Hallows or Hallowe'en.

Christians remember all the saints

On Saints' Day, Christians remember all 'men of good will' (saints), great ones and forgotten ones, who have died through the ages.

Saints are men and women from all ages and all walks of life, who were outstanding Christians. Some - the martyrs - died for their faith. All of them are honoured by the church.


All Saints' Day, together with All Souls' Day are know collectively as Hallowtide.

All Souls' Day - 2 November

On All Souls' Day the Roman Catholic Church remembers all those who have died - not just the great and the good, but ordinary man-in-the-street. Families visit graves with bunches of flowers and in church the names of the dead may be read out on request. In some parts of the country, All Souls' Day ends with a play or some songs.

All Souls Day Tradition

According to tradition, a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land took refuge on a rocky island during a storm. There he met a hermit, who told him that among the cliffs was an opening to the infernal regions through which flames ascended, and where the groans of the tormented were distinctly audible. The pilgrim told Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, who appointed the following day (2 November 998) to be set apart for 'all the dead who have existed from the beginning of the world to the end of time'. The day purposely follows All Saints' Day in order to shift the focus from those in heaven to those in purgatory.

Soul Cakes

Before the Reformation, it was customary for poor Christians to offer prayers for the dead, in return for money or food (soul cakes), from their wealthier neighbours.


During the 19th and 20th centuries children would go 'souling' - rather like carol singing - requesting alms or soul cakes:

A soul, a soul, a soul cake.
Please good missus a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry.
Up with your kettles and down with your pans
Give us an answer and we'll be gone
Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate
Crying for butter to butter his cake
One for St. Peter, two for St. Paul,
Three for the man who made us all.

The 'Soulers' would go around the houses singing this song and often joined by their old friend, the hobby horse - only at this time of the year, he is called the Hooden Horse.

What is a Soul Cake?

A Soul Cake is like a hot cross bun but without the currants or the cross on top

Soul Cake Recipe


175 Gram Butter, softened (6 oz)
175 Gram Caster sugar (6 oz)
3 Egg yolks
450 Gram Plain flour (1 lb)
Pinch Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground mixed spice, or ground allspice
Warm milk

Oven: 180 °C / 350 °F / Gas 4. bake 20-25 minutes.


Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks. Sift flour and spices, add and mix to a stiff dough. Knead thoroughly and roll out, 1/4 inch thick; cut into 3 inch rounds and set on greased baking sheets. Prick cakes with a fork and bake; sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar while still warm.

All Souls' Day Superstition

It was believed that All Souls' night when the dead revisited their homes, so lit candles were left out to guide them and meals and wine were left as refreshment.

Mischief Night

The 4th November is called Mischief Night in some parts of the country. This was the night when all sorts of naughty things were done - the main idea being to put things in the wrong place.

In north-east Derbyshire and south Yorkshire villages, children would engage in a bout of Jolly Minering. A local variant on Penny for a Guy traditions, the aim was to raise money for sweets and fireworks. Their alms song started like this:

We're three Jolly Miners, and we're not worth a pin,
So give us a piece of coal and we'll make the kettle sing.

The song itself comes from an earlier time when the aim of the activity was to gather coal, either for the 'bonfire hole', or simply to light fire to cook and 'make the kettle sing'.

Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night) (5 th)

Bonfire Night is the most widespread and flourishing of all British customs. The day was declared a holiday by decree of Parliament after Parliament was saved from being blown up by Guy Fawkes in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Until 1859, all parish churches were required to hold services this day. Unlike today, celebrations were heard throughout the day, with bells ringing, cannons firing and beer flowing.

A little Halloween Dinner for two.

The Rams Horn

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