Thursday 29 December 2022

Horse play

Evening👋 Sneaking back on here for a quick chat whilst enjoying a few work free days. We've enjoyed a a lowkey Christmas with family and a bit of merrymaking with Mythago on Boxing Day at our local favourite watering hole. Normally we just dance and then follow it on with a music session, but this year we changed it up a bit and threw in a repeat of our Holly and Oak King story in the mix. The weather was fabulous which I think helped matters [plus a glass of mulled blood orange cider!], but we had a very appreciative audience. My parents popped along and incredibly it's the first time they've seen one of our tales in the ten years I've been with the side. We normally only do them at "events", but perhaps doing them at pubs could be the way forward.

So here we are nearly at the end of the Old Year and pondering the approach of the 2023. As per normal my only resolution is to make no resolutions....a nuanced tweak here and there during the forthcoming months as I see fit works much better for me and takes the pressure off. However, I would like to go to a few more type folky events as a visitor rather than always as a performer. I'm aiming for one a month, but time will tell if that proves too ambitious. Fabulous as it is to be part of the action it also means that don't see as much. Weather permitting I'm starting with a local wassail next month in addition to the two Mythago is down for. The Sussex apple howling [wassail] tradition doesn't include any horses as far as I know, so it's been a real pleasure to dance alongside some of the Mari Lwyds both at the Dark Gathering in Cornwall and at the Winter Solstice in Stonehenge. The latter one made me chuckle because the "rider" [the operator] had just the skull on the pole in the stones....normally they are dressed in a gown and bedecked with ribbons as are the ones below. However, this particular one had apparently had a tiff with its troupe and refused to get dressed in the carpark so naked she stayed! More likely it was something to do with the inclement weather conditions on that particular day.

My luck was in when these two lovelies were in the boot of the car parked next to us on our Boscastle jaunt. The owners very kindly let me photograph them. They are the Mari Seren and the Mari Sol [on the right] from Monmouth. The lady had to make some replacement teeth for Sol because the skull was so old!

For those who might be interested in this folk tradition I wrote about it here  and there's the poem "Ballad of the Mari Lywd" by Vernon Watkins here

May I wish you all the best for 2023. Many thanks for all dropping by and the information you share in your lovely comments.


Saturday 24 December 2022

Christmas 2022

 In all of the years I've been blogging I don't think I've ever take any photos of snow in December. This was the lovely view which greeted me after I finished work one day.

Sending everyone festive greetings however you choose to spend Christmas. 

Aril, Mr GBT, TYM & Humphrey


Friday 23 December 2022

"No more twist"

 I twisted Mr GBT's arm  to take a couple of hours off from his furniture making and join me over at Nymans as my regular client was away last week. We struck gold as it was another of those bitterly cold, but clear, bright Winter days that I love so much.

As ever the National Trust know how to do a highly original Christmas with a dash of class with just the right level of whimsy. This year Nymans has based the garden and house around Beatrix Potter's charming "The Tailor of Gloucester" and effortlessly carried the display through from the outdoors to inside. It was a favourite tale of mine as a child, but I haven't read it for many years and so it reminded me of the detail of the story. It has inspired me to add more children's fiction into my reading mix in the New Year [it's good to take your adult head off once in a while I find] and I intend to reread some old stories and find some new ones. I have already been lent "Dark is Rising" by Susan Cooper so my campaign is underway! Anyway enough of my waffle...let's get back to huge cotton reels and teeny mice shall we🐁🐭 


Thursday 22 December 2022

Tip Topper

 My name is Aril and I have a problem....every bleeding time I see one of these toppers I cannot resist the urge to pull over and photograph them😁 I think there must be a team of stealth elfs who sneak out after dark because they appear overnight and then disappear just as mysteriously. I note that this year they have been secured in place because some "walked" suspects the tea leaf was wearing beer goggles at the time. I started a fortnight ago and a whole crop have since sprung up. As I reached double figures my little brain started to whisper about making it a tidy 12...except now I see I've miscounted and it's actually a baker's dozen I've managed. Ah well for those not in favour of the schmalz of the festive season [I've just about reached my limit] I thought I'd get it all out of my system in one go🎄🎅🤶⛄ Please feel free to scroll past!

The one below is the biggest on top of the double post box in the centre of town.

I don't have a favourite, but this one is the closest to my home and only popped up yesterday....I love the the depiction of the pig-in-blanket [close up just because🐷]

Some of those shown have teeny mice on [made by the same elf one suspects] and tomorrow's post will be featuring more mice, but the content is National Trust related not specifically Christmas!


Wednesday 21 December 2022

Yule 2022

Yule blessings to all and hail the returning light. We made it into Stonehenge again at the kind invitation of the Cotswolds Druid Order. It was fabulous to be part of their Winter Solstice celebrations, but there was nowt around in the way of sun....let's just say the conditions were rather more challenging than on previous occasions 🌧 However, I'm delighted to say that the wizard/shaman kit I made for the side had its inaugural outing even if it was a slightly surreal experience to see one of my fellow dancers performing in it. It was the first time I'd seen the whole lot worn together as I'd already passed over the mask before I'd finished the front. I hope to get a clearer photo of it for my own records when the weather is rather more clement!


Tuesday 20 December 2022


 Morning....isn't the sunshine such a gift after all that rain of the last couple of days. I could have stayed here and wrapped some presents, but I can do that later on this evening. Much better for body and soul to get out early and enjoy the beautiful weather before I go to work. Naturally I was on the hunt for specific festive related content [I'm a girl who likes to have a plan up her sleeve], but I wanted to make the most of my time so please pour yourself a mulled wine and enjoy a couple of minutes out of your busy day. Just the sights from around the town centre.

To start with this one is pretty random. I think the home owners have had some greenery cut back and suddenly this topiary rabbit popping up from behind the wall has appeared🐇

Over the last few years the people who live along the Causeway [the prettiest part of the town] have got together and coordinated an advent calendar. Many of the windows are repeats, but you can always bet that this house will come up with something new and the detail of the Laboutinesque red soles so beloved of many a celebrity!

These bike stands are on a pedestrianised street, but loading and unloading is allowed out of trading hours so they have got rather dinged, but it does make for more interesting shapes.

I'm not big on Christmas adverts [we put the TV on silent when they come on...I know I'm a marketing nightmare], but even I can't have failed to have heard of Kevin the carrot. He's appeared as part of one of the new crop of post box toppers which appeared last week.

These last two shots are a personal nod from me to the sad news of Terry Hall's passing. The bands signed to the 2 Tone label formed the soundtrack of my young teenage years. At 14 had you asked me to list my top three male singers it would have been Terry Hall, Paul Weller and Suggs. I'd just like to thank Terry [and the other band members] for the catalogue of music by the Specials and Fun Boy Three he's left for us. My introduction to ska added greatly to my breadth of musical taste and brought a whole new genre of sound into my world.❤


Friday 16 December 2022

Moments of joy

This TED talk really resonated with me. I have discovered that I'm quite well suited to finding moments of joy. Hope everyone has a good weekend!



Tuesday 13 December 2022

Richard III woz 'ere...briefly

Yup.....four days was all King Richard managed before he lost his life at the Battle of Bosworth. The information from the RIII society said his body was hastily transported to Leicester for burial in the Greyfriars...and there he lay beneath a modern carpark until his remains were found in 2012. We went to look for ourselves and all you get is a small pile of stonework tucked away in the corner. That's all that's left of the original site. Too underwhelming to merit a photo as far as I was concerned.

That all said Leicester is a fascinating city and wears many different faces. It has history stretching back to the Romans and nowadays is a vibrant multicultural place. It gets a bad press, but I went without any preconceived ideas and loved it. Seeing it's several months since we were there I regret that the details have wandered out of my head, but we did have a look round the Guildhall, St Mary de Castro's church and the Castle Gardens. However, I prefer to record it as a series of pick and mix images and memories. For me that's my favourite way to experience new places. Hope you like my little homage...better late than never eh!

Having read the notice on the chair below I heeded its warning and decided against sitting on the chair above!!


Peace and Love

 Peace and love...two things the world needs more than ever. I saw the painted house when I was away recently and came across these two beau...