From York’s Medieval building Barley Hall I bring you – The Nosegay Blog (My first ever blog)

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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. lyndsey and bruniYes 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.wizard

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.

jewelsA 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. nasaBut 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.

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Me at Murton Park Viking Village, York (Photo by Andraea)

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 cb 03everything 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.

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The view in the window (minus the peacock)

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.

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thats me that is

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.

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These ‘sticks’ are actually hand-made tent pegs found in the woodpile at Gudvangen, (Photo by Tove Gulbrandsen), put you could prod with them

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.

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Thats me sniffing that is, honest

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 bowlMarigold_AAS_1989_Golden_Gate 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. bike theif 08 14The 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.

Adrian

Here is the link to the exciting second half…. Nosegay Blog Too

For bookings and enquiries please visit www.adrianspendlow.co.uk

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I am Celebrating – three thousand views since I started blogging – here are some highlights

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I am Celebrating – three thousand views since I started blogging – here are some highlights

The wonderful wonderful experience of my Viking Comics Inc. first publication – The Hammer Fliespic 031b redone

Strange Jobs

I released my first singleam

cloud worldI previewed my Greek Myths CD

I was very pleased to see my pal Georg has started a blogEvening Trail

Viking Comics Inc. Two – The Horned God and the Wild Huntseeress toni

Viking Comics Inc Volume Threeoski light

Model-making Done for the DAyA new regular feature – Grumble Monthly

I declared a Kingsea king

I tried artwild creature

wizardTen years a storyteller

A plan to conquer the Viking worldsnapped zena and meI am going to Gudvangen

I play with toys

Toys

I did poems

I was things

I planned a fishing trip and saw mooseelk 03

(You gotta look at that one, it’s my fave)

I cut out dollies

ade silouhetteI met ghosts

Medieval Historybig hat smiles

best tellerI got wistful

I ranted

I cookedme n amanda

12049342_495805563939884_3566201213765577221_nI got spooky

I opened a festival (on TV)

I discovered whole worlds

News of Faeries (btw I am about to prove that little people exist)

Stay close

There is so much more x

My Haunted House – an autobiographical novella inspired by It Happened To Me featured in the amazing Fortean Times.

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My Haunted House – an autobiographical novella inspired by It Happened To Me featured in the amazing Fortean Times.

I saw the shadows straight away, if shadows they are, as soon as I settled into the apartment; weaving along the book shelves under the stairs and across the top of the TV.

Something which should not be there but was, or rather, an absence of what should be there which is replaced not by a shadowy shape as such but with a very dark nothingness. It is as if creatures have lived here and didn’t want to leave, as their memory of being alive fades all that remains is where they were. It was something like that anyway, and after a while it settled down as if they had got used to me.

They do reoccur at times; when there are disturbances or new visitors or when the shopkeeper is agitated, but more of him later.

I had felt shivers on the stairs and occasionally a feeling of being crowded as well as the shelves by the door rattling sometimes and even losing a few of the contents to the floor. I didn’t think too much of it at the time.

Not the actual shelf unit

 

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Then the project came in, three of us working together, Gramey at the computer, Helen and I at the table building the display incorporating his printed designs. At one point in the late afternoon I moved over to the settee of my one downstairs room to sit and write up a fee ideas. After a while Helen looked up and said, “Is your cat alright going out?” I haven’t got a cat and I told her so. “Yes it just got up from in front of the telly, its a funny looking thing, and wandered out of the door.”

I looked up as she pointed at the door, which was shut and indeed locked. “The door is locked and anyway I haven’t got a cat.” – “Yes you do,” came the reply, this time from Gramey over in the corner, “it has been laid on the mat all afternoon.” I haven’t got a mat.,

Not long after this I went along to the local spiritualists centre as they had a medium on, and I got a message. Among other things which he told me connected to my family, he also said that the house I had moved into was full of ghosts. They were everywhere, (he looked a little confused for a second), it is a portal to the world of spirit, no, spirits come and go through this door.

I was a little perturbed at the idea and mentioned my feelings to a friend over the tea and biscuits. She gathered a group around me. We had been talking for a while about having get togethers where we developed our own spiritual abilities, it was decided they all wanted to ‘meet’ my ghosts so the first session should be at my place.image

All of them were my age or older except for one younger woman of around twenty eight. We nattered over coffee and cake and then I asked if we were all ready for getting started. They all wondered how we should go about things, I suggested we kicked things off by going round them Pom saying what we wanted to explore. They thought I should go first so I said I wanted to find out more about my spirits and their portal. That was it, no more suggestions came forward, as they all wanted to get stuck into this job. Our evening was shaped; we meditated, we called upon our loved ones and guides to aid and protect us. Then the messages and images started flowing. One lady picked up on the shadow beings and described them in more detail, she detected a few distinct types, another felt airy fluttering in one corner and connected with light bright colour, another saw a flowing S shape hanging near the stair rail, and yes, you guessed it, a cat upon the mat.

More came from around the circle, at least one more cat on the stairs, a man in the centre rubbing his hands, a door through to the next door apartment (where my shelves are), cages here and there, and a few mealy smells like grains or seeds or some such. There was also mention of a feeling of being crowded and large creatures waiting to move through the wall. That one wasn’t solved on this particular evening but I picked up on the man too, I described him as being attentive as if waiting to see what we wanted, he had a large white old fashioned handlebar mustache and a short grey overall coat.

It was then that the younger one of us spoke up. She remembered visiting this place many times as a child. She came here with her parents to buy hamster food, it had been a pet shop. I was intrigued at the idea that the younger person among us was the one with the memories which verified our ‘messages’. Us older ones are more used to being the ones with recollections of how things used to be.

“The bird cages were over there,” she pointed near the window where the airy flutterings were detected, the empty shadows were where the reptiles, snakes and spiders resided, there was a door through to next door as that was the aquarium shop; this door was where my shelf unit stood – the portal had been discovered.image

She went on to match up the shop details to our memories, the wavy S shape was the tail of a chinchilla which perched up near the stairs and our descriptions of the shopkeeper match exactly to her memory.

People react unexpected ways when having such encounters and it turned out shopkeeper had been seen before. When I told Helen all about my spooky evening she said, “Ah yes, that’s the man I saw.” she hadn’t mentioned it at the time so I asked further, it was the day of the cat, he was in the kitchen, but she had only seen him through a gap in the cupboards when she had been sat at the computer. He had looked through at her as if wondering why she was there, but when she had stepped around the cupboards there was no one there, “You could only see him through the gap.”

I think the crowded feeling has been solved now, I hadn’t said anything about my experiences to the others in the mews, but my other neighbour at the time mentioned one day that he wakes up with a feeling his face is wet as if splashed. Not long after this I chatted to an old guy who does the maintenance. Before my place had been a pet shop, and my left hand neighbours the aquariums, they had been cow byres.

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The craft shop down on the main street had been a butchers and the cattle were brought up the mews to our places. This I think is the reason for the crowded sensation I sometimes feel. He went on to say that there was a doorway in my right hand wall and the cattle were led through there to slaughter. The other buildings between there and the shop were for butchering and storage.

I believe that I feel these creatures presence when they are nearing the time of transfer to their final destination, one at a time through the doorway. I then had a chilling thought; the wet splashing – that is the blood of the ghostly cattle as they re-echo their moment of dying. I haven’t told my current neighbours.

I do have a cat, I brought her with me from my old house; Fluffy – well the spirit of Fluffy.

We was a lovely cat and she adored me. She was a large chocolate brown with golden fleck. She never went out of the house, she was a rescue cat and my niece turned up with her for me. The RSPCA had her since she was found in a cupboard. Someone had moved out and locked her and her kitten in a small dark space with a pile of cat food. Six weeks it was till someone else moved in – and Fluffy was still alive, but only just. When she was brought to me she ran upstairs to the attic and hid under a bed. She would sneak down in the night and eat and use her tray; three months she lived like this, then one morning I saw her creeping round the corner of the loving room. She never went up to my attic bedroom again, well except on a few special occasions. If anything ever went wrong in my life, a loss or a sudden shock she could tell I was down. When it neared time that I was thinking of going to bed she would go and sit at the bottom of the stairs. As I approached she ran to half way up, and as she ran it was as if her mew box would rattle, ‘mewmewmewmewmew’. I would catch her up, she would run to the top, and so on all the way to the attic. She would stand by the door till I was in bed, then she would climb up onto my chest, but only for a minute or so, then she would meow and go out the door.

Obviously I was very sad when she passed away. Only a month later something went badly wrong in life and I took myself to bed feeling down. As soon as I lay down I heard, ‘mewmewmewmewmew’ and then a pressure on my chest, only for a minute or so.

After I moved I cycled past my old home and I got the overwhelming feeling that Fluffy was looking for me. I called to her and I am sure she followed me home.

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Recently there was another calamity in my life and as I flopped into bed I heard the familiar sound, ‘mewmewmewmewmew’ and then a pressure on my chest.

Fluffy is still with me.

So are my Bambi Angels.

I was invited to visit another spiritualist centre, this one was out in the sticks. A couple with a farm decided to build a church in their garden and, wow, people came from far and wide.

Sam took me along there to a development evening. It was a lovely friendly place and soon we gathered in a comfortable circle. As we were settling a late comer arrived; a very large man in really oily clothing came in and pulled up a chair. We started a guided journey then after a few minutes the facilitator said, “I am really sorry, I would never normally stop a meditation once it has started but you really do need to close your eyes”,.she was looking at oily man. He spoke in an incredibly deep gruff voice and explained that he always worked with his eyes open and then froze with palms open and eyes fixed ahead. As we continued I could not resist the odd peek as did everyone around the circle.

When the session drew to a close I was getting up to find a coffee when suddenly the dark oily figure was looming over, great big eyes bearing down into my chair, “You have spirits all around you,” boomed the gravely voice, “but not in the form of people who you have met, they are little animals, baby deer, bunnies, dormice, baby goats. Do you have a connection to animals?” I said that I didn’t especially (not counting my ghostly pet shop pals). There was a thoughtful stare, then, “Ah, they are cartoon animals, like Disney; Bambi and that.”

I think he saw my doubtful look, as, after a pause he went on to explain, these were ancient spirits, they had been gone so long no one would recognise their former earthly form so they could take any shape they pleased. I need their lightness and playfulness to stop me being negative.

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Now, to summarise, I am surrounded at home by three lots of creatures, Fluffy, the pet shop boys and girls, and my Bambi Angels.

Do not be thinking it’s all about animals, there is the shop keeper yes, but there is a regal lady to, although she is an occasional caller.

The honorable Lady Joan of Barley Hall no less, our Lady Mayor of long ago.

Barley-Hall window view

I was doing a series of storytelling sessions at York’s celebrated, rebuilt, medieval hall and had been including tales told to me of hauntings there. I was readying myself to be on my way to work and thinking what material to use when I had a sudden wish to look in my crystal ball. It would mean I would miss my bus but I just had to do it. Straight away I saw a tall elegant lady, (not your standard beauty perhaps but incredibly alluring), I hadn’t been thinking of her but I immediately said, “Lady Joan!” Then the voice filled my mind, “It is all green. I used to have colour.” An image of the long table appeared, then centred upon two tall jugs with thin handles, they had stripes down of slim bright colour.

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I put the ball down and rushed to work. I told the staff all about this, none of them had seen such pottery, then a quiet voice in the corner invited us to look at her recent purchase. She had visited a museum in Attick and bought the guide book. It had a pictorial section of Barley Hall when it was first opened. There on the table were the jugs I had described. It turned out later one had been broken so the other was put away. If you go in there now you will see it out on the long table.

That night when I got in I thought, I must write this story. For the sake of a bit of drama I held the name back till the end of the story. As I wrote, ‘It was Lady Joan,’ all the contents of my shelves by the door emptied out across the room.

That was the event which prompted me to encourage them to get that jug out of store.

I mentioned the chills on the stairs earlier and problems were accelerating. I came home recently and I had left the lights on and the door curtain open. As I was about to unlock the door I saw a shape under the table. It was a nothing. A snake was out of its cage. By I had the door open it had dissipated, I stood wondering and another bunch of things fell off my craft shelves and hit me in the back.

My nights were to become restless, as well as the increasing chills, I started being woken by my bed shaking, and then by loud rapping on my bedroom door.

A natural medium visited. After muttered discussions upstairs, she came down to say she ahd spoken to shop keeper.

He understands now that he is no longer alive and that I am the rightful resident, but he cannot move on as he cannot find his cats.

I am now about to call upon the spirit of my own beloved cat and ask her to find these cats and bring them to the shop keeper so they can rise up together.

 

“Fluffy!”

 

As I approach a thousand views I thought it would be a useful idea to do a blog summary

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As I approach a thousand views I thought it would be a useful idea to do a blog summary, so you can browse through the blogs so far. Catch up and enjoy…

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The Nosegay Blog

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The many interesting things told to me while I was working at Barley Hall.

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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)storyteller-4 accusing

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No Title
A haiku which perhaps isn’t a haiku

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Poem: For someone close
Intended to inspire, encourage and praise; perhaps it will affect you too?

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There are such things as elves
Exciting news featurecosta-rica-national-parks-rio-celeste-waterfall-1024x652

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Poem – For a friend and realisation

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Recipe blog – The Courgette Bake Recipe
By popular demand

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New Viking Heaven uncovered
shipBig news! (and I’ve discovered three more since.)

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Gudvangen Opening 2015
A very proud moment in my life.opening 2015
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Be Our Statesmen
A plea for a peaceful Politian

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Pancreatic Blog – a travelogue reblog
Quite comical if you like to read about me panicking.

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Memory of Otternesimage
A truly wonderful experience

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A Glimpse (poetry)

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Reaching out to my own heart in art and poem

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Introducing Farmer (Adrian) Giles
I think this might be my fave.image
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Will Not Do (The World)
You have been warned; I plan to move out
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Sparkling Words: A call for artists, a call for artistes and for Vikings plus recipe tips what more could you want? Oh yes, and free books.

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No no no this is my favourite!
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And it was dance
An inspiring memory (actually I was listened to at The Cavern as a result)

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So I Can Read Minds

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All about my secret powers!!!!!

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The Dress
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Thought it was time I added a short story for a change.
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Squash in a Recipe Adrian, Add a Dash of Mystery, then Feed Vikingsharl side label
Yes it is a mystery.
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Salt Rant

Perhaps this counts as part of my recipe series, perhaps.

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chloe back
This is not a Blog – it is a practice – and a call for artists too
Gosh this one is exciting and it is my most recent blog. Oh no. This is my most recent blog.

Sparkling Words: A call for artists, a call for artistes and for Vikings plus recipe tips what more could you want? Oh yes, and free books.

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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.

Recipe Tip
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!

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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.

Don’t be slow.

One of my real recipes

Comic Turn
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 (adrianspendlow@gmail.com). Working title; The Hammer Flies.
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(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.

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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.
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Rant over.

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.
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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?).
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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.
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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?

Swan Girl
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.

Advertising Rant
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.

big hat smilesHe 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.

Bee Spelling
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.)

Spendlow TV
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.
Legendary-1

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 adrianspendlow@gmail.com although I will charge you £2 for postage) or ask me at forthcoming performances.
Or read on line – The StoriesThe 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

Forthcoming blogs will cover; The Famous Marrow and the path to Scandinavia (a recipe blog), Reading Minds, The Dress (a short story with art) and of course the Viking Comic strip.

sparkle

My full blog selection

The Nosegay Blog

history-tabviking-life-taboldman-tabviking comics inc tab.jpgpoetics tab.jpgrants tab.jpgchat tab.jpgspooky tab.jpggby-tabnewsnext

The Nosegay Blog

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. lyndsey and bruniYes 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.wizard

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.

jewelsA 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. nasaBut nay, this was not the reception say many who contributed to this on-going discussion. The way in was the proving point if 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.

candle

Me at Murton Park Viking Village, York (Photo by Andraea)

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 cb 03everything 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.

Barley-Hall window view

The view in the window (minus the peacock)

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 doc 01 close up

thats me that is

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.

pegs 01

These ‘sticks’ are actually hand-made tent pegs found in the woodpile at Gudvangen, (Photo by Tove Gulbrandsen), put you could prod with them

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.

me quirky

Thats me sniffing that is, honest

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 bowlMarigold_AAS_1989_Golden_Gate 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. bike theif 08 14The 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.

Adrian

 

Here is the link to the exciting second half…. Nosegay Blog Too

For bookings and enquiries please visit www.adrianspendlow.co.uk