The many interesting things told to me while I was working at Barley Hall.
The Nosegay Blog Too
The nosegay experience continues, and as promised in the first instalment, we will be visiting alternative realities, plus jumping hoops and drinking mud (participation is optional)
‘Ooooo that’s not healthy’, ‘Don’t use salt,’ they say. I don’t agree. Not at all. I say using salt is required. It is others using salt which is bad for you. Them, They, Others.
It is all the salt they put in stuff.
If you keep away from processed foods I reckon you will be just fine sprinkling a little salt on your chips (chopped fried potatoes), adding a pinch to your vegetable water and keeping a tub of the stuff on hand in the cupboard.
You already have a tub, a big thing with a shaker hole in the top, admit it. Go and have a look at it. There is quite a lot in there but it lasts ages and ages and ages and… – that’s enough Adrian, calm down they’ve got the point.
I say you can use the stuff to your heart’s content (?) and it will still be better than all that processed stuff you are using. They hide salt in everything. Even sweet things – crikey there is even sugar in salty things.
Don’t use them, cook proper food – and put some salt on it!!
To quote a fact which has been derived from long festered upon opinionation; there is more salt in one tin of soup than there is in the whole of Siberia. Fact (of Adrian’s).
Try it, stop using that packeted crap someone else has cooked for you in a factory five million air miles away and start cooking – with real food – and sprinkle a bit of salt on it too.
OK this is just my opinion, I am just an ordinary person saying what he thinks, and they haven’t put a stop to that just yet, but tell you what, try it.
Do as I suggest for a few weeks and then go and give that pot of salt in the cupboard a shake – hardly any difference! It lasts for ages (except in the hands of crisp-makers (sliced fried potatoes) and ready meal manufacturers). Tell you what, if you live by this for another, let’s say, twenty five years and if at the end of it you die of a heart attack – sue me.
And before you say it, yes I do know who ‘they’ are, and they are coming to get you (or me).
Please have a look at my recipes so far – one – two
This is one:-
So let me guide you through a marrow recipe. I used this:-
It isn’t a marrow.
I couldn’t find one anywhere. I had promised myself I would take one with me to Norway as a surprise.
There wasn’t one left in the whole of the allotments.
There was a marrow plant still growing there.
And I knew of one marrow plant in Norway. One. Just one. Big statement coming; the only marrow plant in the whole of Norway. Here I was, on my way over to visit it.
I am rushing ahead here however, because nobody knows what a marrow is or what to do with it. These two facts become true when you put them together. Well, not many know what to do with a marrow – the vegetable which has the potential to be the food of the gods – stay with me to find out how.
People might stuff one, but that is about it.
No one in Norway has heard of a marrow – extensive searches have been done by chief amateur researcher Tove.
Following the success of my recipe she just had to have some at home, but no. Norwegians (and possibly those of other nations) aren’t even that good at knowing what a squash is.
(I stole this pic)
There are squashes everywhere, (over here).
Squash is the generic name for these type of things, but if you ask for a courgette in Norway you get two in a bag labelled ‘Squash’. No. That’s not true, you would have to point, ‘There, those!’ ‘Those are them.’
So, no butternut, no harlequin, no patty pan, barely a pumpkin and nary a marrow.
The wonder of the marrow must be introduced to the world! I took some seeds over, with detailed instructions on how to grow such a delicate plant; start early in a warm protected place, plant a few at a time, so you aren’t putting them all out at the same time, and wait till they are robust before they have to brave the elements.
But no, they all got planted at once.
Rule number one – only ever leave them outside after the last chance of frost, (in Bergen that’s around early July, just before the rainy season properly kicks in). Out they went. A post frost plant is a sorry sorry sight.
There was one seed left.
I popped it covertly in a pot, (in a tub with the pepper root which is a plant which requires a future expose in Britain), it quietly secretly grew.
Now is the time to roll in the big cameras and for the lights to flash – “Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the only marrow plant in the whole of Norway…”
As much excitement as there was about this blooming monster plant I had a private worry. As the only one there it wouldn’t be pollinated. I had another secret, an illicit import. Two flowers donated by an allotmenter in a disposable coffee cup. Ooooo the excitement – I unpacked; I unpacked a cup fill of slop, brown slop. We fed it to the Bergenesque flower by droplet.
Despite the hope there might be a miracle and it stays sunny right through October most of our hopes are for the future.
The plan is to plant them in stages and introduce them to the veranda gradually. The home plan.
The rest of the plan is to fill the whole of Norway with big beautiful marrows.
We shall start with two magical places. Organic seeds will be donated to Otternes Farm and to organic garden centre Sogn Jord – og Hagebruksskule (www.sjh.no).
Let’s get cooking.
I have two recipes for you. The glorious (afore mentioned food of the gods) marrow pancakes. Plus my famed dish from Gudvangen Viking Valley, and from even further back in time, Neolithic Cave Bread.
Pancakes – Start with your squash – I couldn’t get a marrow.
So I got a harlequin squash.
I said I got a harlequin squash.
Yes, I said I got a harlequin.
I chopped it.
I saved the seeds.
Right: Littleish lumps, (the ones in the frying pan picture below are a touch too big), drop them in boiling (possibly salted) water. Make sure they are well cooked.
No, really well.
(That pic is actually marrow btw)
Now make the batter.
Here is the gung-ho method…
[Again this is actually marrow and just the right size btw btw]
Big bowl, bit of salt, bit of pepper, chuck in flour (my mum says self-raising flour is lighter but I say it is for wimps), bang in a bit more, a couple of eggs and a tiny bit of baking powder if you have it.
Mix with a splosh of water (mum says some people add a bit of milk too). It needs to be thick, creamy and able to run.
Alright, you want to add finely chopped onion? Well, OK, but not very much…
Right have you got your pan hot yet!
Just a little oil, well swirled.
Mix the cooked marrow with the batter and drop in small amounts. Remember to turn them!
Stop, you have cooked them at the wrong time. They are not a meal. They are a surprise. Sneak off, cook a batch. Pop them on little plates. Now then I strongly recommend; heavy on the salt.
No, a bit more than that.
Go through and stick a plate on each lap. They will look horrified.
Get in that kitchen and cook another batch.
Be assured, they will want them.
And will come back for even more.
We go hurtling back in time – for – Neolithic Cave Bread.
Here are ones I made at home (in Bergen).
Really they should be done on an open fire. On a hot stone or slate.
Whenever I start cooking them in Gudvangen I am dishing them up all night.
Once you have learnt farming techniques, harvested grain and milled it, (here’s my attempt), you will want to make this.
(or just pop to a shop)
Here’s the secret – Bang it all in; veg, berries, meats, dairy products and an ostrich egg.
Here is the Bergen kitchen version.
This is some of what I used.
(It would be better with Elk and Fenalår.)
Chop that veg n stuff (and any cooked meat).
Simmer the bacon and garlic in bits.
Mix the lot.
Get it in your batter (this time feel free to be heavy on the eggs and cream and experiment with flour types).
(At Gudvangen I used 44 different ingredients and people at around twenty tents tried a bit)
(Not sure who took this pic btw)
But before you go rushing off to cook by a cave…
The first written record of a person suffering from a state resembling Northern Light Frenzy is found in Norse mythology:
Furious [and] wild, the Valkyries flew over the sky, their helmets and spears flashing lights beneath the skull of Yme.*
The light flashed down on the head of Knut so his mind became splintered and he knew not the cows on the slope and therefore decided to [**] them.
*According to the myth, the gods created the world out of the dead giant Yme, with the skull shaping the heavenly firmament.
**The translation here is uncertain. The verb may imply 1)impersonate 2)gamble 3)waste 4)mirror 5)spray, flush 6)serenade with an instrument. The context suggests, in any matter, that nontraditional measures were taken in the situation.
In a recent comparative study of resourced medical journals, it has been discovered that Aurora Borealis might have drastic effects on the human brain after close…
Many weeks she had been thinking. Thinking forward to that day. The day of the ball. This was to be the biggest thing for weeks. We might not admit it inside us when we are really looking forward to things but the inner self sings of it; waits.
The girl of her was really excited, and who would be there was a part of it. They were the one who would make it. Make it the thing that it was. This was the magic of it here in the heart, the heart of the imagery floating.
Not that they needed to do anything. Or even be anything. Being there was enough.
Once you have a connection. Once that connection is promised to be real. Any amount of being a mundane miss in a little world of ordinariness will be acceptable. Just on the promise of what could be and the way that he thinks of you.
Such was the moment of walking into the castle, well the substitute for one. And the bliss of it. Look at the ripples and the train and the elegance. This all is actually nothing. If you want to know how it feels spend the weeks. Spend the, ‘at last here it is feel’, and the cold slow splendour of deciding to try on. Nothing. None of that is anything to the wearing of it.
The daring. Marching. Elegantly. With your friend hopefully keeping up. Looking as if you are together in this when actually you each are an entity with a dream-self within them, who, feeling the starch and the silk and the bodice of it, is walking in heel high and ready.
You don’t know at this moment that everyone is looking at you. You don’t realise anything. Anything really except the most perfect fantasy of it. The fantasy that runs into reality. They are looking though. They might not forget this.
He is, what matters, at this moment though. And it really is a moment, well an evening. There might be nothing but this dusk to dawn thing. We catch what we can and we move on somehow regardless. It all will be worth it, yes, well, if we can work it together. Thank you.
Greetings are made and step climbing is survived. She the figure we talk of here, steps up and asks. Makes all the pleasantries, asks. Says all the things that this beautiful fantasy is made of and walks in to this. The dream. The longing. The looking forward is here. We walk in. Holding the train and, almost forgetting about elegance, walk in.
By the way, asking, “Where is Alistair?” Just in there. Through in the garden. Through all the inner rooms, reception and everything, in, or out actually, onto the conservatory, patio, lawn area. This castle cum party home is rather elegant. Come in calls everyone. They all see how good she is. Feel the specialness of it. Come in, rather, out here.
And walk round she does. Trying not to hobble. Wanting to run at it. Taking the circle of it. Say hellos, circulate. Here he is. No he’s not.
It turns out. After many minutes. After very many minutes. After turning around here elegantly looking for him. The hostess is married to someone called Alistair. She thought you meant him.
‘Oh sorry,’ she says, amid welcoming people, ‘Oh that Alistair, he, didn’t come. He is ill somewhere. Sorry. Enjoy. Have a nice party’.
You can read minds, I am told, but only because I brought coffee at the right moment. Yes actually I can. I don’t, well, not generally, but I can. I wonder if I should. If I key in I can, and if I am asked. Then again I think perhaps I can only do it if it is team work; my spirits teaming with your spirits to your benefit.
I think that is how it works, then only if I have some sort of device; some artefact to rely on. This sort of thing gives me permission I think.
I hadn’t thought of it like this until it came up in conversation, but once I had thought of it lots of examples came flooding back to me.
“There is a pregnancy here but I cannot be quite sure who it is… it is like it is both of you.”
“How on earth did you know?” “Ah, but it is not you though is it.” “No, but I have been going through her symptoms with her as if it was me too.”
Actually that was before I had got out the usual runes and crystal ball; that is an exception though.
Often I don’t see all that much, or say all that much. When I said at a venue in South Yorkshire that I saw two men interested in her but she was unsure about one of them. The lady said, “Ooo yes, should I go back to him?”
I said I didn’t feel it was up to me to make such a decision for her but that I would look. There in the crystal ball was a firework crossing the sky. So I simply asked, “What happened on bonfire night?”
That’s all I said, for now anyway. Turns out they had been walking his dog on November the 5th on a moor in their area. He had let the dog off the lead, despite her concern and, of course, the dog took fright and, er, took flight.
He did not have time to search; his program was due to start. So he left her to it. Nearly two hours it took to find the poor terrified creature. She knocked on his door, he opened it, pulled the dog in saying, “My program’s still on” and slammed the door.
I did say more, I couldn’t help myself, “And you want to know if you should go back to him!?”
I often see things; I think it is their loved ones trying to prove they are around them. I recall describing a vintage coat that would never be worn taking up a third of the wardrobe: It was the young woman’s late grandmother’s.
Exclamations often come, “How do you know that!” – “Has he been in our house!” The latter being when I was reading tea leaves and described a shelf full of Chinese ornaments. I also at that session asked someone, “Have you been planting a tree this morning?” They had.
In the next session I recall seeing the broken umbrella a daughter had thrown in a bin before entering the hall. She turned and asked her mum if she had told me.
I have taken care to be sure no one can be identified in this blog; the following recipient will probably recognise themselves however…
With some of the things I’ve mentioned one might wonder what use they are but the following snippet was reported back to me later as being very useful.
I had seen details of a few things in the reading but promptly forgot all about it until my friend said, “You do remember how we met?”
I did I had done them a reading. I was reminded of what I had said, “Go in the marquee! – you are not supposed to but go in anyway.”
I had gone on to say they were looking out of a window of a big old building and there was a marquee in the grounds. As they were stuck for something to do they should go in. Apparently they did, it was some sort of amateur archaeology club and as my freind seemed interested they were let in.
There was a lot to be interested in and it was a long pleasant visit, so when a raffle ticket was offered it was seen as a way of making a contribution. It was a winner – the prize? A two week holiday.
At first the holiday was quiet. Everyone else staying there were in couples. Two other singles turned up though and the three of them got on great. My friend told them all about their book and it turned out these two new friends were publishers. They liked the sound of the book. They published it.
“So, thank you Adrian for your reading, I would never have gone in the marquee otherwise and I am very glad I did.
Perhaps I should do this sort of thing more often.
I’ve not gone into details here of the woman who changed her sexual preferences (in a sudden realisation of love) during the course of my reading but let’s just say that the woman she had arrived with thanked me as they left with a backwards glance and a very big smile on her face and both thumbs up in the air.
And it was dance. Something happened in Middlesbrough. I was there and I saw it. It happened. And it was dance. I saw.
Isadora, Janet Jackson. Vogue. Northern Soul. The god of all dance; Jagger was there – and the beautiful boy. We all stood there.
I didn’t know which world it was, there was a band on and. A band. And a band; the stage was tall. As one danced we watched. Then a band. Even a punk band. We stood for three lead guitars and a drummer. We danced. We stood. We danced.
Then the next band. Scream all you want to. Be Soul. Rock. Bare your soul. We stood there.
I so wanted to dance. So much. Someone stepped. We watched. It happened. Over in seconds. We watched, stepped; one then one then one. Only a moment.
I will remember forever the seconds forever. The beautiful boy. He was one. Thin-armed in tweed, jeans and Converse. We conversed in the way we saw. I stood there.
In Middlesbrough. As something happened. It could happen here. Hang back and see. In your moment; happen – be. It happened to me.
In seconds. I was the one for an instant. Stepped forward.
As if no one noticed they noticed. Another stepped forward. They danced. We stood. We danced. We didn’t dance. We danced. It didn’t happen. It happened. We danced.
Those Sparkling Words
Tove Gulbrandsen says of Adrian Spendlow: Your trademark: Constantly flowing river of interesting, important ideas. Funny, silly, crazy. And delicious overwhelming deep thoughts about the most important stuff in our lives. Always from a surprising angle. That is you. Your gift. Your ideas will never stop. You lift them out; serve them – to let everyone receive your gifts. That is why I want so many to be a part of these treasures you are giving us.
A great and handy tip for improving your life with a slow cooker which is really simple is to go through all your cupboards looking for anything you don’t really like and your fridge and freezer too (No really, this really works and you will be totally surprised at how much better things are for you once you do this). Tip them in and mix them all together, take the slow cooker and throw the whole lot in the bin!
To really really improve life from the inside out take a dozen gadgets from the hidden depths of your kitchen and throw them as well.
I could write you a list, but basically, if it feels tacky at all – it goes.
I am looking for contributors to a Viking comic book project. I have the text and the storyline and thought it would be exciting to ask artists to take part. The original mini adventure was created for the Jorvik Viking Festival for the Jorvik Group and I would like for it to gain a wider audience. Initially it will be just for fun as a blog. Although there is the possibility of future publications as a profit share. If you would like to hear more please do message me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Working title; The Hammer Flies.
(Art by Gramey Smith)
Friends all over the World
But you get those friend requests, and go over for a look. (Ever done this?) You are not so sure. They don’t look that genuine. I will just have a look at their pictures and see if they look real and active and genuine and things. I click, I’ve clicked confirm by mistake. Ever done this? I have.
You Are Guilty
Yes, you are one of them. Have a look. Your social networking sites. You don’t look genuine. If you are one of those who hardly have any pictures of yourself. You haven’t put anything up but emotive mottos and wisdoms with rainbows and waves. Impersonal stuff. You don’t look real. You are a cat. Even worse, I clicked through to a friend request’s page and they are a sheep. A sheep! Turns out I have met them loads of times, but I didn’t say yes cos they were a sheep.
Well the rant on that one.
The World and I
You may have read my prose poem blog (World) where I decided that the world as it is just will not do. I thought you might like an update. You are still not doing very well; the place is a right mess. Can’t you all just get along or something” I am totally fed of you all. I am giving you a last chance. If you don’t sort it all out or at least make some progress towards being ok with each other I am off. Off. I am going to find somewhere else to live. This is your last warning World. If you want me around start doing things a lot better. I am packing as we speak.
Swan Girl and Other Fortean Stuffs Forts
I am a Charles Fort fan… “I conceive of nothing, in religion, science, or philosophy that is more than the proper thing to wear for a while”.
Convinced, or want more… “I believe nothing. I have shut myself away from the rocks and wisdoms of ages, and from the so-called great teachers of all time, and perhaps because of that isolation I am given to bizarre hospitalities. I shut the front door upon Christ and Einstein, and at the back door hold out a welcoming hand to little frogs and periwinkles.” – that’s got yer.
I will give you one more shot and if you aren’t a fan by then I abandon you… “If there is an underlying oneness of all things, it does not matter where we begin, whether with stars, or laws of supply and demand, or frogs, or Napoleon Bonaparte. One measures a circle, beginning anywhere.” Anywhere! Crikey Moses I am a fan (am I alone in this?).
Just What I Fort
‘You’ll need a sense of adventure, curiosity, natural scepticism and a good sense of humour.’ Fortean Times
Back to the Present
I have had a bit of back trouble lately, a rare thing for me, but I have done some heavy lifting lately and yet I leapt out of bed this morning. It was agony. I trunched down the stairs and as I did my phone alarm went. It was on the table downstairs, and it was going like mad. I went to it, turned it off and went back up to bed. As I went up the stairs I thought to myself, that’s why I went downstairs, but, it hadn’t started till I was halfway down. In Norway this is part of the culture of Vardoger (English spelling) according to a harbinger feature in Fortean Times.
You and the Yew
There is a conspiracy. There has just been a new way of looking at the ancient yews. Some of them may well be up to five thousand years old. They are effectively immortal. Some have been proved to have been alive when ancient sacred tree groves were referred to (“Remove the idols but do not destroy the ancient trees as believers will come to see them and you can seek to convert them”) so if they were alive then, they were possibly ancient even then. There has been a sudden appearance in Welsh churches (where the most clearly defined ancient yews are visited very often by visitors from around the world) of official looking certificates stating, ‘The yew tree in this church yard has been proved to be 500 years old.’ IE there seems to be a conspiracy to prove that the trees were planted after the churches were built. Are these certificates a holy lie?
Just reads a great story of an actual young woman who disappeared in strange circumstances; not in Fortean times this time, but in an exciting looking blog MacCreig – The Encyclopedia of Fantastical Anomalies. Go have a look. I am looking into this story further and plan to tell a version of it at gatherings, with thanks to MacCreig. Great story.
Just passed a dentists and they had a huge hoarding outside: Buy our invisible braces – well what a waste of time and money, I’ve never seen any, have you!?
Uther Pendragon at Barley Hall
As a follow up to my Nose Gay Blogs I thought I ought to give Uther a mention. It was great fun working on the Nose Gay project and I met some amazing people. This older guy in particular; a slight even frail looking chap who came to visit turned out to be not frail at all and very active.
He saw my selection of herbs and said he would return with a bunch from his garden for me to display in a vase. So I asked him his name, he bowed and proclaimed, ‘I sir am Uther Pendragon’ He bid me farewell after telling me of his life as a Viking and then saluted; he did first world war stuff too and all sorts of eras.
When I returned to work a couple of days later there was a vase of herbs on my table.
Loony Old Witch
Talk of being medieval reminded me of the wonderful times I had as part of Robin Hood as the Loony Old Witch; here’s some fun footage.
I am a fan of i before e. I reckon it works fine, on words what I use anyway. There is a move against it however; it seems there are far more words that it doesn’t apply to than it does. Then I realised, we don’t need such a thing anymore, it is from a bygone age. Now I go for
Red line underneath – Let your software be believed.
Write any old rubbish it’ll put it right. Anything else is simply nuggets! (Ah sorry that was predictive text.)
Exciting times as I hear from a production company who want to make a pilot for a forthcoming television series – Spendlow TV!!!!!
They have received interest in the project and are making the pilot for presentation. Part of the series will be live shows coupled with interviews and we will be presenting a double bill with a different act each time. In the first show Legendary (myself and Celtic-Folk artist Olivia Jayne Newton) will be teaming with another act to put on an evening in a cosy York venue.
Tales from Older People
The Read All About It project for York Stars was a joy to experience and I was honoured to be Project Manager and to work with such a great team.. There are still some of the books left and I would be happy to send you a copy for free (Message me on email@example.com although I will charge you £2 for postage) or ask me at forthcoming performances.
Or read on line – The Stories – The Images
Here is one of the stories:
One of the people with connections with Norway is a lady by the name of Haldenby, who tells us that of the places she knows in the land of fjords there is a town to which she felt an affinity; Halden. Intrigued by this link, this link to the Vikings, the origins of this surname brought interesting results. There is a small Lincolnshire town called Haldenby, which suggests her family may well have come from there as surnames were often descriptions of origins.
The ending ‘by’ or ‘bi’ was used by the Norse settlers to mean settlement and Halden originally meant half-Dane. Given that all Vikings were often referred to as Danes it seems that descendants of Haldenby, such as this lady, were from a group made up of Vikings and local people who had mixed, worked and live together as a harmonious community, perhaps even with links from before that with the Norwegian town of Halden. A presentation was made to Miss Haldenby for her to display and share with others.
See also Gudvangen Viking Valley or Viking Heaven