In 1906 Edith Holden started a Diary, now known as ‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’. In it, she observed Natures cycle through the months of the year, writing simply about the weather, the birds, the flowers and the natural world around her. All the pages are beautifully ornamented with her original artwork and favourite poems. In this Blog, I’m going to try to emulate her Diary in a modern way. For a start, this is a blog on a computer, not pen and ink lovingly written on paper! However, I hope that the end result will have some similarities, in that I want to capture day by day, month by month the steady rhythm of Nature through the year. For although our 21st century lives are hectic, chaotic, noisy and deafened by electronics, the beat of the natural world, which is the backdrop to all our lives whether we notice it or not, remains ever the same. So take a sedate, gentle and steady-paced journey with me through the next year, observing the natural world. Our way of life may have changed almost beyond recognition since 1906, but nature is doing what it always has done, the cycle of nature remains constant and reassuringly predictable. In that respect, nothing has changed. ‘ No Winter lasts forever; no Spring skips its turn.’ (Hal Borland)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

August 1st.

August was the sixth month of the Roman calendar, and  so originally called Sextillis, but was later renamed Augustus in honour of the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. 
The Anglo-saxons called it 'Weod-monath'-weed month. The 1st  of August is Lammas day and was traditionally the first day of  The Harvest Festival, and the beginning of Autumn. The wheat harvest was celebrated and it was customary to take a loaf of bread  to church to be blessed, the Anglo-Saxons called this 'hlaf-mas'- loaf mass.
 Now is also the celtic festival of Lughnasadh.

Folk-sayings about August.
' Dry August and warm doth harvest no harm'.

' If the first of August be warm, the winter will be white and long'.

' If the 24th of August be fair and clear
 then hope for a prosperous autumn that year'.

Traditional days in August.
1st august- Lammas day.
24th August-St Bartholemews Day.

Lammas Ritual.
'Blessed be the Harvest,
Blessed be the Corn Mother,
Blessed be the Grain God,
For together they nourish both body and soul.
Many blessings I have been given,
I count them now by this bread.
Guardian of the East, I pray for your indulgence.
Hear me now as I request your aid in the cycle of life.
As your winds blow through fields of ripened grain,
Carry loosened seeds upon your back
That they may fall amidst the soil
That is our Mother Earth.'

Summer Sun- Robert Louis Stevenson.
 "Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes."

A brilliantly hot start to the month. This evening the Usk valley was bathed in a beautiful golden glow, the heat still coming in waves from the warm earth. The wheat fields towards Trostrey looked vibrantly golden, almost like sand dunes. A true Lammas day, with the fields full of golden ripe wheat and the hedgerows bursting with their ripening fruits; elder berries, hawthorn berries,hazel nuts, rose-hips, blackberries and masses of hops winding its way up through the hedges and trees.

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