Pictures of the Past

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bunty pic

More on this below but you may have seen this hamper before, it featured in my (highly entertaining) Christmas blog. I have opened it since. The results are shocking.

We shall also be roaming through Ireland, Finland, Norway and a few other spots via intriguing pictures of the past.

Here first though is me!!!!

farm step

Yes this is quite a while back. The inscription on the back states; Adrian on the front steps of Farberry Garth Farm near Warter Priory where Nana and Pop lived.

Yes we lived in Warter.

coracleSo did these guys by the looks of things.

The coracle, this old picture from the west of Ireland shows how portable these boats were, although the old text says they were used for fishing in rapid-running rivers, I think perhaps they would be put to much better use in stable waters. It also says that ‘Caesar’ adapted them for his Iberian campaign. They are much older than that, , well into pre-history I would say. These pictured where said to be made of split birch and canvas, I am sure over all leather would have been the most used surface.

The photos here (with the exception of the Bunty pic) were taken between 1890 and 1935. There were no credits with them and some are rather grainy, I felt they would be of interest to reenactors, costume makers, historians etc.

Of interest to folklorists too. This one intrigued me. We are still in Ireland. With some sort of rebel gang, which is now largely forgotten: The Straw Boys…straw boysYes the straw hats were a disguise as well as making them look terrifying, what scares me most is that they would dress in women’s clothing.

I am reminded of the Cat People, much feared in Celtic lands, but not now recalled who – or indeed what, they were.

Now this one, clearly, isn’t from way back then, as I have just painted it…

ice cities -01colouredIn fact it is a blatant attempt to get you to read more of my blogs by clicking the link through to my Viking Comics Inc. Graphic Novel written with older school children – Oski and the Amulet.

(Do come back here though! The best is yet to come.)

We are off to the Pyrenees Mountains now, for a folk dance.folk dance The rather disparaging text says, that as well as a flute and a violin, the piping chap also played a primitive form of wire piano struck with a piece of metal. Hang on! He is playing both at once. The ‘flute’ is some sort of one-hand pipe and the wired thing looks like a wonderful old traditional instrument. I want to know more! I want to hear theses guys (and I want to hear whoever sang with them!).

We are off to old Esthonia now.esthonian croppedWonderful old costumes. I wonder how much of this is recollected and still worn today in the form it is here from over a hundred years ago.

We are looking here at style of dress from the Petseri district; Unique costumes were popular on the many islands around the coast too.

Come to think, I want to know more about such people’s lifestyles and interests.

The stories…

Now this feller told stories…tellerNebulous shapes of a bygone age weave and drift from the telling of this Guernsey teller, who went so far back that all of it was true. All of it was believed in the moment of telling, for there are things to the world which are other than we know. If only we knew now; perhaps if we go to Guernsey there will be someone there who remembers him, and remembers his tales.

Mayhap he knows of the elves.

His companion has clearly shifted all that straw in the huge bale behind her. I note she has a hay bailer rather than a pitch fork, if my memories of the days I would sit on that step and watch the Wolds farm workers are correct. For it has two prongs not three.old-pitchfork-isolated-over-white-25223928

I am transported now to Russia. I am planning to do a blog on strange and quaint sayings and proverbs from around the world, and my favourite is perhaps the Russian one I read:

‘Beware of pitchforks, for they make three holes’ – Discuss.

(Do please send me ones you know.)

He doesn’t have string round his trouser legs though like Awd Mr Bott.

Off we go now to the Sheep Islands, better known perhaps as the Faroe Isles. It says in the blurb from over a hundred years ago; ‘belonging to Denmark’, is that still the case?fearoe coupleDescribed back then as an optimistic people, I hope they are all feeling as jolly now. I particularly like the feller’s hat – can you still get them?

(The shoe fastening style is of interest too.)

Is it time for a break from the black and white?

Yes!dads car croppedThere’s mum all dressed up ready for another adventure. There is the car! They got stopped everywhere they went – by curious coppers.

For those of you who are into the details of such a thing, it is a Mini sub-frame with a boxed steel outer frame welded on and a single wheel axle at the back. They went everywhere in it.

Oh yes and plywood.

Back to black and white. A totally different place to the Faroes, but just as flat – Holland.hollandAnd yes there are flowers on the whip. It was their wedding day you see.

Northern Holland we are in (perhaps that is a bit steeper). What you do is, you drive around all the local villages with your engarlanded whips and throw out sweetmeats (as we used to call goodies) (as we used to call chows) (as we used to call sweets)… As you might call candy. Phew, we got there in the end.

When we arrived at the end of the Forth Bridge (they still haven’t built the fifth one) Dad still had all the takings from the raffle he had ran the night before. As best man at a wedding he was informed of a similar tradition to above. This was the sixties, so I am not sure if it still goes on. He was told they had been collecting coppers (great big pennies and ha’pennies) and gave him a bag full. He was instructed that as they drove around the villages he had to throw a few out whenever he saw children congregated. So he thought, ‘Well, I’ve sent a cheque (‘check’ in the US, if you still use them), so I might as well add in all this silver’; tanners, bobs, two bob bits and perhaps a two & a sprat or two. IE quite a lot of money.

Gosh what an uproar there was. Never forgotten. They still discuss the generosity of Yorkshiremen up there.

(Between the third and fourth bridges somewhere I think.)

(One of my little geographical jokes there did you see?)

Moving on…

They have even stranger customs in Finland…finsAnd I have no more to say about that.

This isn’t an island…speech blob 001

But Stromo is (please add your own two little dots to the top of the last letter O).stromo girlsAnd these are the Stromo girls.

Apparently Faroe was one big island till Norway went and dropped a bit of it’s coast by mistake. See Geographical joke no. 1.

After that Thorshavn was the central island of 21, 17 of which were inhabited just over a hundred years ago, (Is that still about right for nowadays?).

These girls where described as speaking a dialect version of the Norse (Is that still the case?)

I like the different headress thingies.

Now.

It is Bunty time.

I used to steal my sisters Bunty comic as soon as she put it down. mainly because of the cut out dolls – free in every issue.

cut out(Note the little tags – that’s what it was all about.)

But shock horror…

Well, shock horror 01

I opened the hamper.bunty pic

I opened the comic. There wasn’t a cut-out dressing up section!

I recovered.

I read the comic.

Shock horror 02.

I read it.

Well, I only read the front. It was enough.

bunty  coverHow horrendous! How funny it was back in ’84. Oh Bunty chats so. In she comes to the lesson on first aid. Oh how she chats. Nobody can learn a thing. Then Teacher has a great idea. Bandages wrap like this, she ties Bunty’s arms and legs to the chair. Band Aid sticks like this; she clamps shut Bunty’s mouth. Oh how they all laugh. Learning first aid and gagging and tying up the over chatty Bunty all in one lesson., Ho ho. Ha ha. Ho oh my god, have we changed that much! Its only thirty years ago.

Let’s run away to Sweden.sweden girlsThese happy Leksand girls were described as well-built and prepossesing. It is a shame we cannot see the multi-coloured nature of their aprons. I also think their hats are really cool.

This one said they were disappearing.lappsThe Lapps that is. I don’t think they did disappear, but perhaps the tents did. It is described as a Kota and I want one.

There are plenty more to come in the future, but for now, here is the last picture of this edition. I like this one.norway window croppedIt says that the Hardanger people are staunch advocates of the femine orthodox garb. It also decribes them as modern Norwegians. There is a suggestion that this is a farm house; although it is noted that the old log cabin farms are few and far between as they are being replaced by farm houses built of brick and stone – I haven’t seen too many of those either.

More from me soon. I am always glad to receive input.

adrianspendlow@gmail.com

I thought the next edition of this series might focus on the Americas and Australia.

But my next blog will probably be favourite quotes, so do please send some…

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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

plague doc 01 close up
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.

me ot
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

cb 04
All about my secret powers!!!!!

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The Dress
dress image
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.

Squash in a Recipe Adrian, Add a Dash of Mystery, then Feed Vikings

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At Last; The Marrow Mystery Revealed

This is one:-
a marrow
So let me guide you through a marrow recipe. I used this:-
harl side label
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.
mum picmum
There was a marrow plant still growing there.
tendrils
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.
me marrow
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.
stuffed
No one in Norway has heard of a marrow – extensive searches have been done by chief amateur researcher Tove.
tove with header
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.
cdn.hgtvgardens.com
(I stole this pic)
There are squashes everywhere, (over here).
yellow squashpump
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.’
‘Ah Squash!’
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.
tendrills
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.

deleted

There was one seed left.
seed by tove
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…”marrow

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.
slop

dying

Despite the hope there might be a miracle and it stays sunny right through October most of our hopes are for the future.

drying

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.

norway

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).

So.
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.

viking broth

Pancakes – Start with your squash – I couldn’t get a marrow.

marrow kiss 01

So I got a harlequin squash.

harliquin squash top

I said I got a harlequin squash.

harliquin

Yes, I said I got a harlequin.

harliquin squash bottom

I chopped it.

harliquin squash half

I saved the seeds.

haliquin squash 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.
Drain well.

harliquin squash cooked

No, really well.

kitchen roll

(That pic is actually marrow btw)
Now make the batter.
Here is the gung-ho method…

seive to bowl

[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…

m2

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!

harliquin squash pancakes cooking

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.
Leave immediately!
Get in that kitchen and cook another batch.
Be assured, they will want them.
And more.
And will come back for even more.

Postcard-1

Now.
We go hurtling back in time – for – Neolithic Cave Bread.
Here are ones I made at home (in Bergen).

tove cave cakes

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.)

cave bread bits 02

Chop that veg n stuff (and any cooked meat).

cave bread bits

Simmer the bacon and garlic in bits.

garlic and bacon

Mix the lot.

cave bread filling

Get it in your batter (this time feel free to be heavy on the eggs and cream and experiment with flour types).

cave bread batter

Serve.
(At Gudvangen I used 44 different ingredients and people at around twenty tents tried a bit)

fire

(Not sure who took this pic btw)
But before you go rushing off to cook by a cave…

This is a marrow.

-marrow

And this is the food of the Gods.

marrow fry

cooked
Remember that salt!

See also my other food related blogs – onetwo

For for chat and interest – Sparkling Words

(read the blog from the very beginning)

Memory of Otternes

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Memory of Otternes

Otternes Farm, Flåm Valley, Sognefjord, Aurland, Norway

image

When I sit here, I have sat here before. I am hobbit-like and living. In my sense of belonging, I know: I know this place.

image

Families are thin, thin on the ground, of the mountain. Long line of families in the mountains, dug in, right into its rock and earth and grass. There are long deep roots which hold us in place. Some say if you chop too many the whole mountainside will slide with us into the brakk below.

Yes here I belong, and feel I always have and if it is so and I have visited before it would have been in ancestral time a momentous occasion.

I still feel, when I stand there now, the haunting presence of one unallowed to love, ghostly appearance in the corner of story. Even with a broken heart one can still be of use up on the farm, never allowed to leave, no matter how the visitor requested. The corners of this history are cluttered with such figures. Then look upon the well. The well so deep and wide it speaks. Its dangers are voiced within its memory, “Do not throw yourself down here, as I did.” “As I did.” “As I did.” “As I did.”

image

For there is beauty here and love and light…

…and even in the dark-times-long there is the promise; the promise of moisture, the recollections of growth which knows it will return.

Others will come, for such is the way of a mountain farm. Love can be found in such a meeting. Small farm memories of seasons with only each other to survive and flourish for. Yet there will be gatherings and visitation where young hearts can view across the clans-collecting and see eyes; eyes which sparkle only for you.

This is why we bury the salmon. As a promise and a way of surviving. They will leap again, as will hearts.

We shall go down from our steep sides as will everyone among the wide spread hill families.

The leap. The leap will come. Nets will spread and one of us will leave one steep farm to join another. Here and there love will flourish among the catching.

The bounty is there in the grave. The grave of the fish, saving us throughout the winter.

So came the sheep. The flourishing is here too, with care. They also visit. New faces, growing adults, turning from teens, turn their flock this way.

image

The drove is long and this is a place where we can rest; to replenish. Fish is brought from grave, berry from jar, and water from the well is hung above the fire.

Some of these creatures have journeyed far, as have I. An instinct inside me sees the path. It twinkles elusively in my mind. I believe it is ancient. As the brown sheep belong here I am of a different wool.

image

Other drovers journeyed over the more flowing lands where I am from. Just as rugged, these moors were traversed to sea-going vessels which sailed up this very fjord I see flowing below to bring the trade.

As these pathways arrive here. I see them glittering as timeless memory moving in upon this land to spread and trade, spread and grow. My path stops here.

As soon as I sat upon this stoop, as my eyes twinkled, my long past had led me here and settled.

A part of me will always be here and always has. My path stops here.

For more on Otternes and Gudvangen including Adrian the Lamb and Johnny Chicken see here Farmer (Adrian) Giles

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http://www.otternes.no/en/

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My full blog selection

My opening speech at Gudvangen

Now try my Haunted House blog