I am at Standing Rock – re-blog this – make it be your status – your profile picture – your tweet – your anything – most importantly, your current location – let us all stand there – for the wonder which was destroyed by the invasion of the Americas – for the miracle of the tribes / bands / nations who still survive – for a sense of culture – of belief – for a sense of who you are – for freedom – (drink a glass of water before you decide) – (before you decide who you are) – this is freedom – and the moment has come to stand and be counted. Be counted
Share, share, share this story of Thanksgiving; until ‘Donald’ sees it and is reminded what it is all really about.
Thanksgiving, made possible by only one word…
By only one man.
Those pilgrims they landed they tried and they struggled. Nothing worked. They really suffered. Nothing grew, all the seasons were wrong. They came down with all of the things that were just like at home but different, different enough to do them real harm. They even tried hunting, but even that was other than they had known. This was a new country where God had made things other than they had believed would be possible. As many laid sick and indeed dying, they gave it one more try. A small band went out looking for game and they met with something totally unexpected. This is the word. This is the message. America (Americas) listen. This is the word. “Welcome.” This is what they heard.
How could that small band of travelling originals know one word of English, “Welcome” but they did so. They cautiously walked towards the struggling settlers and spoke the one word of English they knew “Welcome” all this way from the homeland.
This was the moment which gave the Americas English. This is the reason that as new settlers arrived they heard English. All along the coasts were settlements where it was the language and new arrivals from Germany, Poland, Spain, The Ukraine, from the known world heard and adapted.
This was the word of Squanto.
For that welcoming band (that small ‘nation’) led the poor settlers to another tribe but their own. They took them to a ‘nation’ where Squanto lived.
It was Squanto who took them in, who travelled with them, who settled with them for a while. He taught them how life was different here. They gathered seeds because of him. They learned the lore. The lore of this land the Americas. And they thrived.
In years to come, they would be all along the coast, coastal settlement to coastal settlement; welcoming the new arrivals in English, just like the tribal band before them, “Welcome” “Welcome” “Welcome”
This was the doing of one person, one person on this earth; Squanto.
Many, many years before, other strangers had come, they had come to take, and they took him. Squanto the slave had to work; had to work on an alien vessel, doing alien things. Hard they treated him, and hard he worked. Then came the time that they traded him. To yet another alien vessel, in an alien world, at an alien port.
From there he sailed with this new crew to another world. To a port, as he learned they called them. To the port of London. More beings in one glimpse than he had ever seen in his life.
But he saw his life ahead of him and he jumped ship. He left. He escaped. He survived. He learned the language. English.
Time went by and he had what he needed to know. The ships that landed here could go anywhere. So he asked and he asked, and one of these ships said yes. The captain agreed, yes he was going to the ‘new’ world and yes he would employ him.
All Squanto required in payment was nourishment. Nourishment and hope.
The journey was long. And it was hard.
The shore, at last, was before him. The captain was true to his word. Squanto was free.
He was not bitter. He had learned. And he knew one word more than any other.
Long was his walk, it took him years, but he got down that coast, till he started to recognise where he was…
And was he welcomed, he who had come back from the dead, all these years gone.
As an older wiser man, he taught all around him. The only way to survive in this ‘new’ larger world was to welcome. To welcome.
He taught this word to all who came near him.
And those settlers, all those years onwards were welcome.
All along the coast of the Americas his one true word echoed. “Welcome.” “Welcome.” “Welcome.”
The Battle of Hastings Revisited – and this time we win!
Yes we were there. 950 years ago and last week too. This time we won!
The course of the battle has been changed. We have a winning tactic. It might take a while for the victory to be definite but the story has begun and once a story starts it is very difficult to stop it. – It is quite easy to change it of course. Stopping a story is a different matter altogether.
It didn’t quite happen this year, it might happen next year, it may take another 950 years, believe you me the sling shot is slung and the ball is rolling.
Warning: for a true representation of what happened 950 years back you may wish to visit Jelling Dragon and buy the audio book Jorvik – York and the Vikings.
We won though!
It started with an argument. We are wondering now if it didn’t even happen. There was no battle. There was no Battle. There was no Battle before the battle and the battle happened in Battle. If you see where this is going.
Fact: There is no such thing as the Battle of Hastings (in my humble opinion). The battle took place at Battle. So perhaps it is the Battle of Battle. If, however, there was no such place as Battle before the battle, maybe it didn’t happen there either. If Battle was named after the battle, perhaps battles are named after Battle. So either all battles happened because of Battle or it could even be renamed ‘The battle over Battle’. (You can see how this discussion lasted a few hours, but to summarise.). If Battle is only Battle because of the battle and the battle is only a battle because it was in Battle they kind of rule each other out and it should actually, technically, be called “ “.
And so it was from this silliness that the course of history was changed. An idea was born. A plan of great bravado was suggested. With a ‘brave heart’ we would find allies among the enemy. This was the plan.
(“We call upon the descendants of Ragnar and Ganger Hrolfr to remember who they are! Let those of the ancient Germanic tribes unite again as should be.”)
It works, we are sure.
They will join us.
We will all be pals.
The war will be over. Next year…
Nothing. Yes we would do it.
“If I can have your attention please.”We had a little trouble with delivery.“You might like to hear what we have to say.”
“You are on our side.”
We needed to rethink. Be briefer. “Ragnar” “And Ganger Hrolfr.” “Remember them.” It was too noisy. It didn’t happen.
Got the job: Pied Piper, axe distributer, Rollercoastival storyteller, safe opener, God’s Bless Ya!!! promoter, travelling storyteller, Soldiers, Sailors and something a bit fishy star, silverware expert, office worker, Santa the Storyteller, supplier of CDs, beard ring commissioner, ghost walker, king of a land, celebrant, bell ringer activist, tour guide, patronised by Alan Bennet, forger of Francis Bacon, Viking Seer, lantern leader, Vikings, Folklore and bits about beer presenter, hut dweller, coordinator between funders, model maker, storytelling tutor, instrument maker, cartoonist, songwriter promoter, holiday cover, furniture remover, songwriter promoter, Battle reenactor, Hobb the pig man, Goth Fest host, art commissioner, miniaturist, Jelling mythology performer, piper, Viking ritual recreator, local history guide, Wyrd Sisters actor, Viking cook, researcher, gardener, Warrior entertainer, story circle host, Yellow Roader, Minster protector, partygoer, pig man, community worker, funding coordinator, bus misser, soggy.
Prices are £6 pp, concessions £5 and under 14’s £4.
Tours take about an hour and a quarter and usually finish near the Golden Fleece – the most vividly haunted place in York.
I say vividly haunted because although I know 21 different ghost stories for the Black Swan and not quite as many for the Golden Fleece I do beleive it is the place where you are most likely to encounter a ghost (I can’t wait to tell you about the best of them).
Recently three people fell over while on my tour! So take this as a warning, they were so wrapped up in the scary tale that they just went over, just like that.
There were mass screams recently, but that was because passing headlights cast a shadow of me the full length of the building beside me, I was flapping my arms and screaming at the time so it was quite a sight.
One tour I took split up at the end, and some went towards the door of the Golden Fleece. I went to them and said I will see you inside, I will just go and say goodbye to everyone else.
When I got back to the pub door, they were all still stood there. As I approached one of them said, “Will you go in first?” They didn’t know each other but had bonded in fear. I led them into the front bar and they all just stood there. One asked, “Which room are we most likely to encounter a ghost in?” I said it was definitely the back bar, so they all sat down. Eventually a young man stood up and announced that he was going to go into the back bar. The rest watched with admiration and fear as he walked through.
We are safe here at Barley Hall, my nosegays will stop you turning purple, and my visitors will keep me informed. Fore-armed is fore-warned and I sought to defend my position with knowledge. There was little need, for every visitor had something to impart. Yes I did have plenty to say at the start of my summer holiday stint but this was nothing to the array of facts and anecdotes. Soon I was passing along the wisdom of one to another and I will gather here some of the best of this.
Some of my newly gained knowledge is debatable; this does not mean it is necessarily untrue, just that there will be debate. The very room I am in has become a convoluted topic. Refer to the notice boards for what is perhaps the definitive answer even though many in the discussion would disagree. Even the name, “No, it is not a parlour” – A solar; sit in there in the sunlight and treat this place as a retreat. A place to craft for joy, a place to make all which is beautiful: here you can write and some say learn.
A few have disagreed that the parlour was a place to receive visitors. Although another interjected that one visitor would be invited in here among the family; the tutor – here we would learn our letters and our lessons. Rhetoric, logic and astronomy are among the topics which would be enabled by this. But nay, this was not the reception say many who contributed to this on-going discussion. The way in was the proving point of this camp of thought. You entered via the stairs; from there you would be in Lord Snawsell’s bed chamber. Here in, it has been read, was his office and softer furnishings.
So therefore this is where he would meet with you. The logic of this is in the access and the fact you would feel you had been welcomed whilst at the same time you would be aware that by being in his realm he retained power. There is logic in the aspect of access too it is argued; from there to get to the parlour one would have to go through Lady Joan’s personal chambers and then get in the way of the busy journeyman all down the long hall.
Not everything I hear, as I say, is definitely right and some things I hear are definitely wrong.
Barley Hall is loved, many revisit, many discuss, many compliment and recommend, but not all feel this way it seems. A passing hen party definitely didn’t like the look. As I was returning from a visit to DIG my way into the alley was blocked. I stood back to allow the party-wear ladies to leave the alley and they stopped suddenly. Looking up the street, “Oh we’ve been this way” – “We’ve been here before” – “We’ve been up there” – “We’ve been up there” – “We don’t want to go that way again” – “We’ve been this way”. Eventually they turned back and I had a path ahead of me, a slow path.
As they noticed the large window into the hall for the first time there were sounds of disapproval from one of these revellers. “Oh dear, I wouldn’t want to go in there” – “And I wouldn’t want to eat that” – “No, it looks awful in there” – “Ancient!” – “It’s like a museum”
Although most people are entranced by the peacock upon the table, the hen party in search of a meal and another drink were not the only ones to not fancy eating a bird which had been cooked and then repacked in its raw skin. “Never do that” visitors inform me, “Never mix cooked and raw”. “They certainly hadn’t heard of health and safety!”
Nosegays keep us safe, or at least perfumed. Gay meaning ornament back in the day; they were about the smell. Many report on the vast amounts of information on the medicinal, spiritual and nutritional uses of herbs; that is not a major concern when it comes to nasal orientated ornaments. It is all about the smell, the logic I am instructed, is that if the smell carried the disease you didn’t want it up your nose. The miasma must be refused access and to follow logic, if your nose was full of sweet smells then how could the horrid miasma get in! So visitors tell me it was not just about masking the smell, it was about keeping you safe.
If you wanted to be really safe, what better than a plague doctor mask. Fill that with herbs and strap it on. While you were feeling ultra-safe as a result of this constant experience of the sweet and beautiful you might want to go all out and get yourself a job.
Plague doctors are in demand it seems. An explanation of this which was given to me was that all the doctors were gone – in one way or another. It was a well-paid job I am told – while it lasted.
Not much in the way of skills was needed, according to some, all you needed was a stick, a big stick. With your mask on off you go, and prod people. Then all you had to do was tell them whether they are going to live or die (if in doubt go for the die option). The strange thing is, whatever the answer, they would thank you. I considered these offerings and discussed with other visitors. It is not so strange when you think, as I was asked to do, on the history of medicine. Throughout Europe ‘knowing’ was often more important than helping. ‘How long will they be?’ – ‘Will it be quick?’ – ‘Have you anything to make it easier?’ Another suggested this was still the main focus in many tribal cultures around the world.
I decided there and then, that once all my visitors had made a nosegay I was off to get a stick; the income would be most welcome – while it lasted.As not everyone wants a nosegay I will be here a while yet. Not that they are to be sniffed at, if you see what I mean. Much a sniffing and a pondering has there been.
Deciding of what aroma, of what herb one is holding a bowl of. Lavender is spotted by most, thyme only by a few and lemon balm by only one chap. Rosemary is spotted on sight by most, although one or two, including a rosemary grower, thought it was pine. The one which is most evocative is actually a flower rather than a herb as such. Some love it, most are reminded, reminded of something. A Greek flower which is gathered as a healing tea, camomile, just flowers, childhood memories, the bottom cupboard next to the pans; we were taken places. I was put off this bowl for quite a while when a girl said it smelt of hamster bedding. This smell was removed for me a little later by the power of suggestion; a lady said it made her think of her grandfather’s pipe tobacco. Now, whenever I hold the marigold bowl in front of me I am transported back to my childhood and the hint of sweetness within a heady aroma which would erupt into the room when granddad opened his pouch to stock up his pipe with baccie.
So far there are no reports of the plague coming to me from my visitors. No one has been spotted to be turning purple, well except for Mr Purple himself, but he is upon his bicycle platform out of the way anyway. The next edition will feature live frogs, alternative universes and elephants tusks among many other oddities of conversation. Remember when recalling this blog so far, it is all absolutely true – that people have told me these things.
Your tales and opinions can be added into the mix for discussion too. Be in touch.