Sunday, October 30, 2011

St Medard(us) , Little Bytham

The name on the church struck me as we drove through Little Bytham last Friday. I have never seen it in England before:
The church is a Grade I listed building. It is dedicated to two 6th-century French saints, St Medard and St Gildard (or Medardus and Gildardus); the dedication is unique in the UK. Virtually unknown in Britain, St Medard is still well-known in France, with at least 25 towns or villages named after him (as St Médard or St Méard).[2] Gildard, thought to be his brother, is less well known.[3] The villagefête is held annually on or near St Medard's feast day, 8 June.
St Médard is particularly known in France for his association with bad weather - and once, as a child, was protected from rain by an eagle which hovered over him.

His feast day is celebrated on June 8. It is believed that, as with Saint Swithun, whatever the weather on his feast day, it will continue for the forty days following, unless the weather changes on the feast of St Barnabas (11 June).
One day, soon, I shall make time to visit the village, which was once a railway junction. The East Coast mainline trains still run through on a viaduct.

and talking of weather . . . Brooklyn's had a foretaste of winter.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


A lot of people in the UK (England, in particular) decry Halloween as an American import.  In fact it's based on a long tradition.
In Scotland and Ireland, Guising — children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins — is a traditional Halloween custom, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.
 The practise of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.

When I first came to Corby in the early 1980s the local kids would dress up and go round neighbours' houses, saying rhymes like:

I'm an Aberdonian
I come from Aberdeen
I've come all the way to Corby
to get my Halloween 
The sky is blue
the grass is green
please may I have
a Halloween?
Now they're more likely just to say 'Trick or treat' but it is really just carrying on a long tradition of children 'begging' at certain times of the year. We always had 'Penny for the Guy' and  used to go carol-singing around neighbours' houses - and not for charity, either.

All generally good fun and a way for neighbours to meet local kids.

I spent Halloween 2007 in Brooklyn - it was delightful to see the elaborate decorations on certain houses, where children were obviously welcomed.
I'm afraid the home-made cats' ears didn't work very well.

The shops on one of the main avenues were nearly all open that evening and handing out candy goodies, and there was a good-natured parade with music.

One of the decorated houses

A store giving out candy

The traffic lights are not part of the costume
She looks a bit spooked? It was getting cold!

And another lovely idea - share or give a scary book!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I'm a little puzzled by autumn this year.  It has a shabby feel.  Leaves aren't changing as they often do to bright flames, but seem to be shrinking into dirty green then brown.
I went out to snap some autumn this afternoon, berries are good, Virginia creeper is red, but not a lot of golden.  Maybe I should have patience and wait for autumn-yet-to-come?

Oh, I did spot my first pumpkins in a window!

Virginia creeper looking a little wind-ravaged
some kind of seed pod
poppies flowering in late October

In  our local pocket park

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another tomato post

Here they sit, inside, ripening - I don't want to feel obliged to find too many green tomato recipes!  The round tomatoes are from two plants.  The plum ones are from another two - but not so prolific by a long way.

I heard tell there was a frost last week, but so far, though it has certainly been cold, I haven't seen frost.  Maybe I should get up early?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Doggy bags - go for it.

I enjoyed this article on the Beeb website.

It brought back memories of a lunch with a friend in Brooklyn at the Trattoria Mangia, where I found two large panini a little too much and they insisted I should take one away with me.  I looked for someone hungry - and found one - my daughter, who'd spent the morning with her friends and hadn't eaten.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Welland Valley Art Society Autumn Exhibition until 14 October

We've just been over to the private viewing and opening of the exhibition in Stamford. Harry has four paintings in the show.

Half Dome, Yosemite

Girl in a Hat

Lady with Cat

Then we spent a relaxed afternoon in the sun by the Welland.

Unfortunately, I left my camera card in the computer, so no pics of the ice-cream van, registration F7AKE, nor of all the people enjoying the weather.

A few more garden snaps

This probably illustrates my haphazard approach to tomato cultivation. Plants bought from the local shop at 50p a throw. Planted in a trough, then transplanted into this 'border' - I dug in some home-made compost. Then I cleared off for three weeks or so, and tried the 'two chances' method.  After strong winds, I staked them and tied them up.  I eventually chopped off some leaves and pinched off unwanted flowers.  Now, I'm watching the weather forecast for early frosts! 

I keep chucking banana skins under the plants, hoping they will work their ripening magic - all to do with ethylene gas, I think.

The hydrangea, in a large pot, has recently been allowed more light - I've chopped down the purple clematis as it's finished flowering.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Happy pumpkin month

Happy pumpkin days everyone!

Though it has felt more like mid-summer, and everywhere has been in festive holiday mood, from out-door cafes, to riverside walks and public parks, people are outside, smiling.

Trees are turning golden, but there is lots of green - my tomatoes are ripening, and I keep a weather eye on forecasts - no frost yet.