Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Venerable Bede

ABC Wednesday
December 7th, 2016

The letter is V for The VENERABLE BEDE

In the first place the title "Venerable" is bestowed on Anglican Archdeacons
and on saintly Roman Catholics.

In order to live up to the adjective one must be wise and esteemed, respected and reverential,
 and being ancient helps as well...

The Venerable Bede fits the bill!

He lived and died in between the twin monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow in the northeast of England between 673 and 735 AD.  

Widely regarded as the greatest of all the Anglo-Saxon scholars he wrote or translated some forty books on every area of knowledge, including nature, astronomy and poetry.  However his most famous writing was on theology and history and his best known works is the
 Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

He is remembered today as the earliest English Historian, whose work has shed light 
on a period of English history that would have otherwise been unknown.

The Venerable Bede's bones have been in Durham Cathedral since 1022, 
when they were brought from Jarrow by a monk called Alfred, 
who had them buried alongside Cuthbert's relics.  

They were moved to the Cathedral's Galilee Chapel in the 14th Century.

When we in the 21st century become too complacent and pleased with ourselves 
we might remember our beginnings
 and the wondrous things accomplished by the people of that time, the Dark Ages,
without benefit of the technical devices which aid us today, - 
and I think especially of Sir Google as being pertinent to this blog!!!

More interesting Vs here at ABC Wednesday
 with thanks to Roger, Denis, Leslie, Melody 
and all who have helped make this meme so fantastic.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

This and That

December 4th, 2016

It snowed the other day - just a little skiff that soon disappeared and the fabulous mild weather we are having returned.

Today it snowed in earnest during the night, and a northerly breeze makes one loath to go walking.  It was not always that way, - I loved the winter, but that was the blue sky-dry frost-sunshine prairie weather.  We got Bruce's winter coats out, but he forewent a walk in favour of a romp in the snow in the back garden and I didn't bother to get my winter togs on...

Watching curling, and knitting.  One very large pair of lovely red socks with blue toes all finished, and now on to a pretty pink hat for the last little girl great grandchild.  Out of eight great grandchildren only two girls...the boys are an exuberant joy, but the girls are a sweet and rare treasure too.

It was Light-Up here on Friday.  A great parade they tell me, and afterwards Santa and Hot Chocolate and all the wonderment of it all.

There is a Christmas Craft Faire, and I went looking for unusual Christmas gifts;  delighted and surprised, as usual, with the talent that springs to public life with a chance to display it. Art work, jewellry, knitting and beautiful quilted pieces.  Marvelous bakery items, wooden toys, candy and home made Christmas cards.

I went twice around the Faire before my knees started to complain, and came home with some sweet knitted hats, some teas and biscotti, a couple of pair of earrings, and some fabulous small apple pies made by one of the ladies of the Eastern Star, who grow older each year but persevere in their participation of this Christmas celebration  I had one for supper, - delicious!

Today I planted the paper whites.  The amaryllis in my header is blooming with great vigour and enthusiasm.  It inspires me to dig out all the Christmas decorations and choose which ones will brighten the house this year.  Always the Creche, of course, and the ones that touch the heart because of sentimental memories, but it is not possible to cram the decorations of a five bedroom house into this smaller space, - I hear Charles telling me that as I make my decisions, and as usual I have to agree with him.....

I have just received the very welcome news that those of us who have been struggling with the Ukulele to meet band requirements will not have to be playing at the Senior's Dinner after all.  Oh, I was so pleased... Even though I forgot to say White Rabbits when the 1st of December dawned my son tells me I must have some good luck left over from other months when I DID remember.  It is one thing to play Silent Night tenderly to oneself, quite another to be on display in public at this advanced age!

When I went to bed last night I made a little mental note to waken at two and listen to the Christmas Horn Concert (Berlin Philharmonic) which was to record in the far reaches of British Columbia at that time.  Eleven A.M. in Berlin....

I did waken, but alas, my Ipad in the bedroom didn't seem to be synced with my PC, in the computer room, and I will have to wait and hear the Christmas Horns in the Archives.  I went back to sleep listening instead to the Piano Guys, and their Advent and Christmas offerings.

Beautiful - especially their rendition of O Come O Come Emmanuel.

I appreciate so much that one of the "meadow" sons not only gave me the Ipad but rigged up an intriguing way for me to watch it while drifting off to sleep...spoiled rotten!

Off to put some chicken thighs, honey, nutmeg and veggies in a casserole for supper, and to listen to Cecelia Bartoli on the Knowledge Network,  And maybe I'll have a small sip of Orange Brandy while I watch....

Monday, November 28, 2016

Shari Ulrich

ABC Wednesday
November 30th, 2016
The letter is U, for Shari ULRICH

A Canadian musician-songwriter
(born in San Rafael, California)

who lives not far from home on Bowen Island
on the west coast of British Columbia

A musical instrumentalist, she plays violin, mandolin,
guitar, piano and dulcimer

 It seems that she has been around for ages, close by
and sometimes playing locally 
at our Grist Mill.

She performed on the coffeehouse circuit around Vancouver
in the early 1970s, then formed the Pied Pumkin String Ensemble
with Rick Scott and Joe Mock.

Here she sings Fear of Flying with the Hometown Band (Valdy's Band)

In 1981 Shari won the Juno Award for "Most Promising Female Vocalist"
and has been part of the Canadian Music Scene ever since.

She continues to perform solo (often accompanied by her
daughter, Julia Graff) on violin, piano, mandolin,
guitar, accordion and vocals, and occasionally tours 
with the Pied Pumpkin and other Blue Grass and Folk Bands
she has been associated with.

And here she sings a beautiful version of the same song
with The Pied Pumkin Ensemble in 2012.

For more interesting Us click here
at ABC Wednesday with thanks
to Roger, Denise, Leslie, Melody
and all other ultra-special helpers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


ABC Wednesday
November 23rd, 2016

Letter is T, for Turtles

I am very busy Threading and Treadling 
in the loom room, 
but Ogden Nash to the rescue!!

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.

For more interesting Ts visit here
at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and Leslie
and their terrific helpers.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Christmas is coming.......

November 18th, 2016

The kind of morning that makes your bones ache as you step out the door, - damp and overcast and very Novemberish....  There is snow in the mountain passes, and as I look out my imagination leaps forward to Christmas and snow hanging heavy on the branches, glistening through the Christmas lights.  That first fall of snow, - that fills your heart with memories of prairie winters and skating and toboganning and the lovely dryness of the cold.

Later on, as the cars pass by and the snowplows come and make mounds of snow dotted with bits of dirt they have scooped up, somehow winter loses its' charm.  Those are my thoughts as I finish my second cup of coffee, and contemplate Christmas giving.

Wrapping gifts, packaging up parcels, the annual Christmas letter, lights and garlands - what am I prepared to give up when my energy refuses to match my boundless enthusiasm????  Shall I keep the memories of Christmas Past precious in my mind and be content with just one tradition, a simple Great Grandma Christmas Eve come-as-you-can Stew?  And maybe a box of shortbread for everyone....and books for the Great Grands....

I think about all the knitted hats and mittens I would like to make for the little ones, - all the Christmas weaving I might do if I had started twelve months ago, - and then I think about the email from Owl and Chickadee advertising their children's books, on sale for Christmas giving.   I have always been the kind of Grandma who tucked books into Christmas parcels, - do little kids still like books?  Are big kids still enthralled with knowledge and adventure between the covers?  I am going to look into what they have to offer and fill the morning hours with cheer!

Looking online, - same as lying on the floor, leafing through the Eaton's Catalogue in days gone by!

Off to google Owl and Chickadee and see what they have to offer!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

S is for Swift

ABC Wednesday
November 16, 2016

The letter is S, for SWIFT

Monday morning I awaken full of enthusiasm for working in the Loom Room.

I have a naked loom which must be dressed, and the first task is to turn skeins into balls that I can wind a warp with.


and while I am busy doing this humdrum task my mind wanders to other things I must do today.....ABC wednesday flits through my mind, - along with S, - for the Swift I am using,... for the bird who lives mostly in flight....for the essay and satirist, Jonathan Swift.  I am on to something!!!!

The Swifts are the most aerial of birds and the larger species are among the fastest fliers in the animal kingdom.  Even the Common Swift can cruise at 70 mph.  Compared with typical birds swiftlet wings have proportionately large wingtip bones and by changing the angle between the wingtip bones and the forelimb bones they are able to alter the shape and area of their wing, maximizing their efficiency and maneuverability.  Like the hummingbird they are able to rotate their wings from the base.

They have a short forked tail and very long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.  Most of their lives they spend in the air, - catching insects on the fly and even sleeping aloft.
The nests of many species is glued to a vertical surface with saliva, and the genus Aerodramus use only that substance, which is the basis for bird's nest soup. Over harvesting of this expensive delicacy has led to a decline in the numbers of these swifts.  Remember that when next you order Bird's Nest Soup...

The other Swift I am familiar with is Jonathan, the essayist, satirist, political writer and clergyman.  He was born in Dublin on November 30th, 1667.  His father died two months before he was born and as a consequence his mother, hoping to give him every chance possible, gave him over to Godwin Swift, her late husband's brother, and an attorney.  After an impressive education Jonathan Swift turned to writing and to the priesthood.  His first political pamphlet was titled A discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome. Further writing earned him a reputation in London and the Tories asked him to become editor of the Examiner, their official paper.  After a time he became fully immersed in the political landscape and began writing some of the most cutting and well-known political pamphlets of the day,  When the Tories fell from power Swift returned to Ireland and took the post of dean at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

While leading his congregation at St. Patrick's Swift began to write what would  become his best known work, Gulliver's Travels.  The book was an immediate success and hasn't been out of print since its first run,  which is quite a record!!

Gulliver's Travels is an adventure story involving several voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon, who, because of a series of mishaps en route to recognized ports, ends up instead on several unknown islands living with people and animals of unusual sizes, behaviors, and philosophies, but who, after each adventure, is somehow able to return to his home in England where he recovers from these unusual experiences and then sets out again on a new voyage. Here is a little taste of his first voyage, and if you haven't read Gulliver's Travels yet find a copy and find out about his adventures with the Brodnagians, and others.

More interesting Ss here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and Leslie
as well as their Super helpers

(The Super Moon is shining down upon me as I write this)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

I was up early..

Caught the morning rising of the sun and the pink clouds he scattered in his wake; 

showered, fed Bruce and Callie 
and settled down to a breakfast of toast, peanut butter and honey.

I examine the contents of the peanut butter jar, taking stock with the grocery list in mind.  At one time I didn't often eat peanut butter - it was a standby for making a sandwich for Charles (who loved it) when I was 'out to lunch with the ladies'. 

Now I watch as this smooth brown comfort food disappears from the jar, and enjoy it with my memories....

I keep on the breakfast table books that are easy to delve into momentarily, to read and enjoy as I eat.  Present literary company is a collection of short stories by Anne Enright, and Mary Oliver's compelling 'Upstream" essays (which I find hard to put down...)

I am coming to the end of Mary Oliver (although nothing says I cannot flip the pages and start over again from the beginning!)  The paragraphs on 'Winter Hours' is particularly relevant  to my habitual early rising.  A cameo - "winter walks up and down the town swinging his censer, but no smoke or sweetness comes from it" and I think of how it will be in a few short weeks when the leaves are all gone, and the frost is bitter in that dusky time before the sky lightens and the sun returns for his brief mountain-limited visit to the valley in December...

Here at the back door we have not yet reached that time of the year, and the rowan tree still clings to its radiant funeral garb.

A morning at church, home for lunch, a visit from my daughter as we watch those nice athletic young men in a curling championship on T.V. and soon it will be time for Radio City and Brahms Requiem with the Vienna Philharmonic and the legendary Herbert von Karajan conducting.  Kathleen Battle is the female soloists and my clock has just struck three, so I must leave my wanderings here and go to listen....I am not over the moon when it comes to Requiems, but love Kathleen Battle!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Well, it was beautiful and serene and I knitted a few inches on a nice lacy scarf I am making....

While I watched daylight disappeared and we are well into the long, November evening.

Time to forage in the fridge and see what would make a satisfactory omelet
for a Sunday night supper.......