A Medieval Fayre and a Good Yarn

As many of you know, I’m a crafter and get to attend all sorts of fairs and events around Devon, One of my favourites takes place on the Saturday closest to Michaelmas, every September.

It’s Colyford Goose Fayre of course, and several thousand people visit, many dressed in Medieval costume. There’s an opening parade through the village, where everyone follows the mayor into Springfields.

ladies

Morris Dance is a must.

morrisStalls of all kinds with treats to buy.

I really wanted a besom, and not to sweep up with.

There are things to entertain the whole family, quintain, greasy pole, apple pressing, thatching displays and archery.

All kinds of foods are on offer, I can’t imagine how they got the pizza oven in place. As always the ram roast was a great success, but not for me. I planned to have some pancakes but left it too late and they were sold out, so I sulked and tried a chocolate brownie which was way too sugary and not chocolatey enough for my discerning palate, hey ho, such is life.

The stars of the fayre for me by far were these two guys.

storytellersThey have mischief written all over their faces!

This guy and his bouzouki accompany the storyteller.

And this is Dave, from Rattlebox. I only got to listen to one of his stories, the Boggart, but it was wonderfully told and I was hooked from the beginning. Hooray for Colyford Goose Fayre, it was a lovely day out!

 

 

Santa Eulalia’s Geese

The day we arrived in Barcelona we were shattered, but determined to hit the streets after a bit of a snooze. Wanting to get out of the Ramblas as soon as possible, seeing a sign for the cathedral seemed a good idea. The Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia as it’s called in Catalan, was on the must see list.

We soon became distracted by the sights and sounds of the city, but knew we must be heading in the right direction, and once cooled by an ice cream we soon found it.

 But it had just closed, so we had to wait half an hour, which we spent people watching on the steps.

Eventually we were allowed in, to admire the Gothic vaults built between the 13th and 15th centuries.

bac4Remembering to look in all directions.

bac5The Cathedral, which is the seat of the bishop of Barcelona, is known for its rather unusual cloisters and I have to confess that was what particularly drew me. There’s an odd looking fountain, but in the background . . .

Yes, geese, thirteen of them, representing the age of Santa Eulalia when she was martyred in Roman times.

Despite the crowds, the cloister was an extraordinary peaceful place, and it warranted more time than our tiredness would allow. Maybe next time.

bac9In the absence of any food, I think she would have been happy to chat.

I’m leaving you with this beautiful Madonna and Child, there was something about her that touched me, I hope you can see it too.

Companionable

Walking through a field of large black and white Friesian cows can be a little anxiety provoking, if something spooks them and they stampede, it can be very risky, so much as I like them, I tend to keep my distance.

Never mind, my two favourite breeds of cattle are the Belted Galloway and these Highlands, both small breeds and even with horns there’s nothing scary about them. Highlands have been around since the 6th century, hardy little beasties that can tolerate very cold climates, and root around under snow to find food, on sparsely vegetated uplands.

They seem to thrive on Dartmoor, gathering in companionable groups, always with a benign look on their faces.

companionsIf you can find their faces beneath their shaggy overcoats!

Paula has give us five words to choose from as the theme for her Thursday Special, and i rather liked companionable. You can pop over and choose one for yourself if you’d like to join in, you’ll find  warm welcome.

Quest

I’m glad the weekly photo challenge is back this week, does anyone know what happened last week? This weeks theme, Quest, seemed tricky at first but then it fell into place when I remembered meeting this knight.

questWhose particular quest was to get me to take photos of him!

And then a song sprung to mind from my infant school days – yes I can still just about recall those dim and distant times.

When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old,
He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand,
For God and for valour he rode through the land.

No charger have I, and no sword by my side,
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride,
Though back into storyland giants have fled,
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead.

Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
‘Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed;
And let me set free with the sword of my youth,
From the castle of darkness, the power of the truth.

By Jan Struther circa 1931

Anyone else sing that song way back when?

Thursday Special, Deconstruction?

Paula at Lost in Translation has a really difficult challenge this week – for me anyway! She says that the way deconstruction applies to art is

‘Deconstruction is a way of understanding how something was created, usually things like art, books, poems and other writing. It means breaking something down into smaller parts. Deconstruction looks at the smaller parts that were used to create an object. The smaller parts are usually ideas.’

But is this art or science?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn case you’re as mathematically minded a pea-brain as I am, this is a cryptogram.

Who thinks this ticks the box?

Dorset Buttoned Up

Whenever I go to Bridport Art’s Centre for a craft fair, I meet a lovely lady called Marcia, she makes buttons, Dorset buttons. Here she is concentrating on the tiny stitches.

db1Marcia has been making Dorset buttons for about 8 years, but the craft, known as ‘Buttony’ began in 1669, in a small Shaftesbury workshop, belonging to Abraham Case. The buttons with names like High Tops, and Dorset Knob became the most popular ones in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, spreading to Europe and even to the colonies. I’d be interested to know if anyone in Australia, Canada or the United States have ever come across them, Ruth perhaps?

As demand for buttons increased, so the cottage industry grew, with many farm working families finding that they could earn more money, without the drudge of hard labour on the land.

In 1851, at the Great Exhibition, the Button making machine was introduced. This struck a fatal blow to the workers, some chose to emigrate to the colonies, those that remained suffered dreadful hardship.

The skills of Buttony have not been lost, they are still being skilfully and artfully made by people like Marcia. She makes the Blandford Cartwheel design among others, and has brought their beauty into the 21st century, making them into lovely bracelets, earrings, brooches and cuff-links. She’s also created an ammonite shape alongside the usual round. Here is some of her work.

And what could be nicer than a bold cartwheel brooch adorning a beret?

db3

Marcia says, ‘As a farmer’s daughter myself, the realisation of what these peoples must have suffered, is my inspiration to be part of a growing interest in bringing this beautiful craft to the attention of the modern world.’

Thank you Marcia for your enthusiasm about Buttony and your lovely company!