Now then, I know 10 am might sound early but think of me…I’ll have been up all night panicking so I’ll need to see friendly faces. Please come and give me and Lizzie a warm welcome! She’ll be drawing, live, and you’ll see the drawing come to life on a gigantic screen. I’ll be telling you all about how to eat your garden before the slugs can get to it.
….is sold out, although there are lots of other lovely walks during the festival. Have a look here!
Incidentally, I’ll be making Kendal mintcake for the event, which I’m hoping Jules at Black Mountain Gold will dip in chocolate. It’s highly likely that, as usual, I’ll make too much, and it’s also highly likely that some of the excess will be available at both Jules’ place and at Book-ish, so if you’re in town, have a mooch around both shops and pick some up!
Ever tried a sherbet lemon cocktail? Or a bonfire toffee one? If you’re at my talk about Great British Sweets this Sunday, part of the Hay Winter Weekend, at the Swan Hotel Ballroom, I’ll be sloshing shaking and stirring and you’ll be sampling and giggling. The Ballroom is a suitable lavish and rococo setting for such a grown up event. you might need to cut and paste this link since I still haven’t worked out how to do it properly.
After last week’s debacle, when. I tried for the first tome ever to catch a bus in rural Wales and the bloomin’ thing zoomed straight past me EVEN THOUGH I was hopping up and down and waving my arms….I’m going to try again tomorrow! If The bus stops this time, I’ll be documenting the entire journey from a sleepy little village called Llanfrynach to the comparative metropolis that is Crickhowell!
(Now you have to use your imagination to put a picture of a big red bus HERE)
I have been VERY slack at posting info here (slaps wrist) but all that is about to change. There’s so much going on this year that I’m going to make a concerted effort to post here regularly so that anyone who is interested can see what I’m up to and maybe even come along to a forage somewhere!
The first bit of exciting news is The Hedgerow Handbook is released, in France, in French, on June 4th. The publisher is Larousse, which makes the whole thing even more of a thrill for me, because I still treasure a heavy yellow and black volume, The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, which I loved and a kid and which is still a favourite.
(This is taken from The Signs and Symbols Sourcebook, Harper Element)
The original Valentine was an amalgamation of two or three different
men, all named Valentine, and all martyred to the Christian
cause; one of them was either martyred or buried in Rome on
February 14. However, a certain amount of “spin” was necessary to
make St. Valentine fit convincingly as a replacement for the existing
pre-Christian Lupercalian excesses. A story was put about that
Valentine defied the Emperor Claudius’ decree that fighting men
should not have sexual relations in case their strength was sapped. The
Emperor was not in favour of the new religion and to be a Christian at
this time was hazardous to the health, but Valentine continued to
proselytize despite the sentence of death that hung over the heads of
anyone caught doing so. Later, he presided over illicit Christian weddings.
According to another legend, prior to his execution, he fell in love
with the jailer’s daughter and left her a note with the words “from
your Valentine” written on it. Part of the Lupercalian festivities
included the young men drawing lots for available young women; these couples
then spent time together during the festival, with sex the main agenda. The
Church invented a lottery, too, although it was a slightly tamer version.
People pulled the names of various Christian saints out of the hat, and then
attempted to emulate these worthies for the rest of the year. Understandably,
this custom failed to excite people’s imaginations as much as its saucier
forerunner and drawing lots to put couples together started again in
the fifteenth century, a sort of medieval version of speed dating,
except faster, although its intentions were supposedly more innocent
than those of the Lupercalia. Despite this, it proved very difficult
to suppress the memory of the Lupercalia, and today the Church
rarely celebrates St. Valentine. However, as a secular celebration
of love and romance Valentine’s Day is a great success. The heart,
as the major symbol of love, is seen everywhere at this time.
What is ‘Cultivated Foraging’? Well, generally we think of foraging as searching for edible wild plants, fungi, etc.
However, what many people don’t know is that many of the plants we grow in our gardens also have hidden qualities; many of them are edible, often deliciously so! Think of roses, firethorn, himalayan honeysuckle, fuchsias….there are lots and lots.
I’m currently completing a book on the subject, illustrated once more by the lovely Lizzie Harper who also provided the delectable pictures for The Hedgerow Handbook.
If you’d like me to take you on a tour of your own garden to investigate which plants might be full of hidden surprises, I charge £30 per hour plus travelling expenses. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon! I also take tours in gardens that are open to the public but this needs a little more planning.