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)

Friday, 1 November 2013

November 1st.

November was the ninth month of the Roman calendar and takes its name from the latin word 'novem' meaning nine. Anglo-Saxons called this month 'Wind-Monath'- wind month, or ' Blod-Monath'- Blood month, as this was traditionally the month when they slaughtered their cattle.

Traditional days in November.

1st November- All Saints Day, and Calan Gaeaf-Celebrated in Wales as the first day of Winter. 
2nd November-All Souls Day.
5th November- Bonfire night.
11th November-Martinmas Day. Armistice Day.
22nd November-St. Cecilia's Day.
30th November-St. Andrews Day.

Folk-sayings about November.

' Wind north-west at Martinmas, severe weather to come'.
'Thunder in November means Winter will be late in coming and going'.
'Frost in November to hold a duck, the rest of the winter is slush and muck'.

A stormy, grey start to the Month. Still many gulls on the fields and now many flocks of redwings have migrated back for the winter. Saw a beautiful peregrine falcon flying up the valley, chased by an irritated flock of pied wagtails. They certainly weren't intimidated by it but perhaps they had safety in numbers! Along the lanes there are still flowers blooming; campions, herb robert and even some stitchwort which brings this country saying to mind;
'Flowers blooming in late Autumn,
A sure sign of a bad Winter coming.'- We will see!

November Sky - Edward Thomas.
November's days are thirty:
November's earth is dirty,
Those thirty days, from first to last;
And the prettiest things on ground are the paths
With morning and evening hobnails dinted,
With foot and wing-tip overprinted
Or separately charactered,
Of little beast and little bird.
The fields are mashed by sheep, the roads
Make the worst going, the best the woods
Where dead leaves upward and downward scatter.
Few care for the mixture of earth and water,
Twig, leaf, flint, thorn,
Straw, feather, all that men scorn,
Pounded up and sodden by flood,
Condemned as mud.

But of all the months when earth is greener
Not one has clean skies that are cleaner.
Clean and clear and sweet and cold,
They shine above the earth so old,
While the after-tempest cloud
Sails over in silence though winds are loud,
Till the full moon in the east
Looks at the planet in the west
And earth is silent as it is black,
Yet not unhappy for its lack.
Up from the dirty earth men stare:
One imagines a refuge there
Above the mud, in the pure bright
Of the cloudless heavenly light:
Another loves earth and November more dearly
Because without them, he sees clearly,
The sky would be nothing more to his eye
Than he, in any case, is to the sky;
He loves even the mud whose dyes

Renounce all brightness to the skies.

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