Is it a coincidence that bees love the colour lavender?
It’s lovely to walk in the countryside; to hear the birds singing and feel the sun warm on your face. Our beautiful English lanes have many curves. We wander, asking ourselves the question, ‘what is around that bend?’
by Edward Thomas
Yes, I remember Adlestrop —
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop — only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
The thorn tree on Wearyall Hill which had its branches cut off in 2010. Glastonbury Tor is in the background.
Picture and note from Wikipaedia
My favourite bit of the Opening Ceremony on Friday was the beginning, the rural scene. It showed a mound or hill with a tree on top. The mound was to represent Glastonbury Tor. I wrote about that yesterday. The tree represented the Glastonbury Thorn. The explanation follows:
Excerpt from Wikipaedia
‘The Glastonbury Thorn is a form of Common Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna ‘Biflora’ (sometimes incorrectly called Crataegus oxyacantha var. praecox), found in and around Glastonbury, Somerset, England. Unlike ordinary hawthorn trees, it flowers twice a year (hence the name “biflora”), the first time in winter and the second time in spring. The trees in the Glastonbury area have been propagated by grafting since ancient times.
It is associated with legends about Joseph of Arimathea and the arrival of Christianity in Britain, and has appeared in written texts since the medieval period. A flowering sprig is sent to the British Monarch every Christmas. The original tree has been propagated several times, with one tree growing at Glastonbury Abbey and another in the churchyard of the Church of St John. The “original” Glastonbury Thorn was cut down and burned as a relic of superstition during the English Civil War, and one planted on Wearyall Hill in 1951 to replace it had its branches cut off in 2010.’
William of Malmesbury mentions Joseph’s going to Britain in one passage of his Chronicle of the English Kings, written in the 1120s. He says Philip the Apostle sent twelve Christians to Britain, one of whom was his dearest friend, Joseph of Arimathea. William does not mention Joseph by name again, but he mentions the twelve evangelists generally. He claims that Glastonbury Abbeywas founded by them; Glastonbury would be associated specifically with Joseph in later literature. Cardinal Caesar Baronius, the Vatican Librarian and historian (d. 1609), recorded this voyage by Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Marcella and others in his Annales Ecclesiatici, volume 1, section 35.
The accretion of legends around Joseph of Arimathea in Britain, encapsulated by the poem hymn of William Blake And did those feet in ancient time held as “an almost secret yet passionately held article of faith among certain otherwise quite orthodox Christians”, was critically examined by A. W. Smith in 1989. In its most developed version, Joseph, a tin merchant, visited Cornwall, accompanied by his nephew, the boy Jesus. C.C. Dobson made a case for the authenticity of the Glastonbury legenda.
Unfortunately in 2010, the tree was vandalised. Here is the report:
Excerpt from an article in the Daily Mail Newspaper December 2010.
‘Standing proudly on the side of an English hill, its religious roots go back 2,000 years. But a single night of vandalism has left an ancient site of pilgrimage in splinters.
The Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury has been chopped down in what is being seen by some as a deliberately anti-Christian act.’
What was your favourite part of the Opening Ceremony?
From ‘this is Somerset’
‘Glastonbury Tor played a starring role in last night’s spectacular London 2012 opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.
A crowd of 80,000 in the stadium, and an estimated audience of a billion worldwide, saw artistic director Danny Boyle’s Tor creation form a central part of the £27 million show depicting Britain’s ‘Green and Pleasant Land’.
‘The iconic Somerset landmark formed an eye-catching part of the ceremony, and was then used to fly the flag of each of the 204 competing nations when the athletes arrived at the venue.
After getting under way at 9pm last night, the ceremony reached a spectacular finale shortly before 1am this morning with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.
The cauldron, formed of 205 copper petals representing the competing nations coming together in London for the Games, was ignited by seven young Torchbearers nominated by a cavalcade of Britain’s past and present Olympic and sporting greats.’
Glastonbury Tor has a fascinating history… You can read more about Glastonbury Tor here.
Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the tree.
This beautiful picture was taken by John at Urbangiraffe.com and he has given me permission to use it, so thank you John. It shows the Olympic flags in Regent Street, London. What a colourful display.
I am more than excited about tonight’s Opening Ceremony. It promises to be the best concert I have ever been to. I am looking forward to some wonderful music and visual delights, which are yet to be unveiled. All that makes our British Isles so Great.
I hope that you all enjoy it too. Don’t miss it, will you!
I am currently working on a crochet project for the winter. Can you guess what it is from the picture above? It’s a blanket and I’m making up the pattern as I go along. I’m using browns, yellows and fawns and it’s coming along quite nicely.
Then I saw a new book in my handicraft shop. The cover was most attractive and when I peeped inside, I could see lots of different granny squares. That gave me some ideas. I bought the book and carried it home. I couldn’t wait to get started.
I made four granny squares and sewed them into the corners. Each one was slightly different. Here’s one of them, just peeking out so you can see it.
Here’s the book. There are some gorgeous designs in it. I’ll be showing you some later.
Today has been hot and sunny in my part of the world and I have been out to lunch with some old friends. It was great to see them again and share our news. These are people I used to work with back in 1986 and until 1998 so we all go back a long way. Sometimes I like being old. There is certainly never a lull in the conversation.
As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 &70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).