Poem Pics II – The Jacobs Well Project with Mary Passeri

efforts

Lovely to rediscover this sensitive thoughtful art-work

Poem Pics II – The Jacobs Well Project with Mary Passeri

As we have plans afoot to build a forthcoming exhibition (or two) I thought it would be a good time to share the poems and artwork created during our projects with older people.

Artist Mary Passeri especially invited those who endure dementia problems and their loved ones to meet with us; initially at Space 109 and then a whole series of gatherings at the beautiful old Jacob’s Well, both in York.

Here are some of the pieces created and some of the people involved.

Poems and art from this project were published and distributed around relevant centres within York and Leeds.

camp words
Mary’s art with my words
gift flower
Poem by Adrian
barbara thoughtful lightened 01
Barbara being thoughtful
barbara poem
For Barbara by Adrian
barbara poem 01
crafted gift
bickie pic poem
crowns n coppers lightened
blessing
Thank you Carol (background by Adrian)
together
kid 01
going back
tales upon arrival
Tales Upon Arrival
gloves lady
Image creation by Adrian
gloves lightened poem
Words by Adrian
mother
Her son’s words upon his return
stephies flowers
Stephies Flowers
pledge
respite conversation
storms
barbaras collection 01
The Team: Stephie Jessop & Ilaria Passeri
cap 01
was
mellow tomorrows
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Words Adrian – all art by Mary unless said otherwise
two kids 02
sadie
Word and image by Mary
nightie
Word and image by Mary
couple
Thank you Mary
camp 01
Artwork by Mary Passeri

Mary Passeri

(If I have used the work of others without crediting you in error do please let me know.)

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

With thanks to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for making these wonderful experiences possible. https://www.jrf.org.uk/

You will also like my Nose-Gay blog on the history of Barley Hall

Or you might just want a recipe for a change

Poem Pics Part I

Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norway; Live! – Revisited

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Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norway

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Welcome, welcome, you are all welcome. So good to see you all gathered here for the opening ceremony of this the 14th Viking Market here in Gudvangen Viking Valley.

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You are safe here, welcome; you can relax and enjoy yourself, even though you will be spending the day among huge, hairy, heavily armed Vikings.

barrel

We are glad to have you here eating our food, drinking our mead, looking at our stalls.

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Yes welcome, so relax you will be safe here – it is when we visit you that you need to worry.

“And we won’t be emailing, there will be no polite email asking if it is OK to visit. We will suddenly be there but you will know straight away. You will be well aware we are among you.”

This is a very special place; there is something magical about this valley. Everyone says so. You begin to feel the effect of being here straight away.

These Vikings here, as soon as they step off the ship they calm down, which is unusual I assure you. All the time they are here they are friendly, easy-going and peaceful – well most of the time.

me solo 02

Look at me. When I am at home I am a wild, dangerous, rampaging mad thing.

poster norge
georg

“Me too.”

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You will enjoy yourselves! Do you hear what I say, and can you see the shine of sharpness along the edge of my axe. You will enjoy yourselves!

pot

Besides, we have many things on our stalls which we want you to buy. We have been to many lands and learnt many skills; old, well-tried, traditional skills. We will enjoy showing you; try not to be nervous when you generously show your appreciation.

ship head

Yes, we have sailed to many nations. We have landed on a wide range of shores, seen people of many types – and robbed them, traded with them, I mean traded with them, yes, traded.

“Can we ask where you are all from?”

“Spain.” “Poland.” “Canada.” “Ireland.”

“Ah, those are the places we robbed.”

That’s where we got all these things we are selling.

stall 01

“Hey, stall holders, lower your prices.”

Yes visitors we will sell your things back to you quite cheaply.

“And you will be safe here. Adrian remind them how welcome they will be, and how safe.”

me solo.jpg

Yes, yes, safe, yes. We have sworn an oath, an oath. We wanted to reassure you so we oathed an oath, and when a Viking makes an oath they make an oath and the oath that they oath is an unbreakable oath which we have oathed; an oath is an oath is an oath. Let it be known that we have oathed.

“What is an oath?”

A promise; and a promise is a promise and…

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“Don’t start that again.”

barrel

No, right, of course, but we did; there is a ritual and a belief. To make that oath the first thing you have to do is – spit in a barrel.

“Spit?”

Well we skipped that bit.

“Yes well we are selling lemonade and mead to you. So we thought it best not to spit in the barrels. Or talk about it even…”

No sorry. No spitting. The barrels are fine!

A promise is a promise though, and it has to be kept. We worry about where we will go when we die.

serpent tower.jpg

Oath-breakers have to walk through a river of gushing ice. This ice is formed into axes, spears and knives – then, you step out – to be kept in a tower made of living serpents. Bitten and sprayed with burning poison for ever and ever and ever and ever.

Or until Ragnarok; the end of the world.

“So we keep our promises; enjoy.”

If, you enjoy hearing of the old mythos – watch out for the ravens…

ravens
warriors

A shadow will flicker over you. As you look up, the second raven will fly in from the world waters, by you see the third raven it will be too late. There it will be upon the mast of an incoming ship; a ship so terrible you will quake at the sight of it. The Vikings are coming, and they are no ordinary Vikings. These are Njardar. Njardar Vikingslag.

We are coming to you and charging onto your land. Hear the roar. See the gleam. A huge army of huge warriors are upon you. These are the best (the Mayor of Aurland himself said that we were second in exports and visitors and soon to become first, so it must be true). It is like the sky itself is filled, and they wait, with weapons high, only for a command to charge. Step forward the chieftain; Olafr Reydarsson. When he speaks we listen. He is big! Very big!

big

Well, his beard is big anyway. He will give the command; the word and we will all, roaring, act upon that word.

The word is…

“Welcome; you are all welcome to come and visit us in Gudvangen. Everyone is welcome, except those who do not make others welcome. Come visit.”

tents drawing

And so they do, in their thousands, from all over the world.

We have had a battle though, a long, hard fought battle – a battle to build.

harbour.jpg

As you step though those gates into the fourteenth Viking Gathering here at Gudvangen you step back into the past. Now. The long battle is over. Now. As you step through these gates you are stepping into our future.

hut

By the fifteenth Viking Gathering there will be a Viking Town. It is a two year project with the first row of Viking houses ready by May – I have put my name down for one of these already.

timber

Here is the first of the timber being delivered now…

glima
wrestling

You will be able to take part in the Glima wrestling…

dead

With hardly any risk to yourself….

galda.jpg

Hear Galda upon the holy hill…

leather.jpg

Learn leather skills with Hamish, or buy his bags from Annabelle…

lady shaga.jpg

Visit Lady Chaga…

slaver.jpg

Be warned; slavers are in the area and you are at risk…

male slave one.jpg

And it is no use complaining, we know that now.

But no, no, no, do not worry, as we have promised, you are completely safe here, well, until six o’clock. Once the market closes at six all promises are off!

“Oaths”

Don’t spit when you speak!

Oaths. Off.

Vikings will become Vikings again.

group 02

You will be greatly at risk – unless you buy a tunic and a pair of boots and stay here.

Then you will be welcome.

“Welcome.”

Before we actually open the market and get on with selling you your treasures back, there is one rather tricky thing which must be dealt with.

“Don’t tell them Adrian.”

No, we must.

“There is a rumour.”

kurs group

A terrible rumour.

“It has been whispered over and over as people come through the gate.”

We are now going to deal with that rumour.

“People have been saying that they have heard that a group of tourists with plastic wrist bands came here to visit and were never seen again.”

Never.

“Never.”

Never

“It is true!”

Never seen again!

mal.jpg

They bought Viking outfits and became part of this marvellous experience.

“Now we must warn you.”

This may happen to you.

story one mp 01a.jpg

“This valley is such a wonderful, unique place that once you have visited you never wish to leave. Many choose to stay and be here forever.”

group 01

This we must warn you of.

“But there is a greater risk, a great and terrible sadness and yearning which may come upon.”

Yes.

me solo flipped.jpg

“If you do choose to leave here you will regret it forever.”

You will always feel that you are not where you belong and will feel terribly, terribly sad that you did not choose to stay.

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“Terribly, terribly sad.”

elf table

“Now, finally, we welcome you with one piece of explanation about what you might expect here, here is the secret – it is all about love.”

opening flipped

“We will be opening the market again tomorrow.”

And this worries me greatly.

“I will be wearing my helmet. It was a wonderful gift to me and is an accurate reconstruction of a Viking age helmet.”

And why does it have a figure of a boar on the top?

“This is to signify that I command a team of specialist warriors.”

What kind of warriors?

“Berserkers.”

And you are wearing it tomorrow? This worries me greatly. I have pledged to always stand by your side. To dress appropriately and be there in the way that you need me whatever you ask of me. What does a Berserker wear?

“A small fur collar.”

And that’s it!

“Yes.”

helmet.jpg

Right I will have to get my outfit ready then.

“It worries me as well, I don’t think I will be standing next to you tomorrow.”

fight

(“And if you blog about it tomorrow Adrian, do not do a drawing.”)

Thinking about it, I will make a great berserker. If you put all the fighters and all the wrestlers in the field ready I will be able to beat the lot of them, I will clear the field.

If I come screaming across to them wearing nothing but my berserker outfit they will scatter. I will see off the lot of them.

berserker me

They will run.

“So will I!” “Enjoy yourselves today, because tomorrow is berserker day.”

opening

We now declare the Viking Market open!

“This is a marvellous experience, with Vikings and visitors from all around the world, none of the differences you might notice elsewhere matter at all here, all beliefs, all life styles are for elsewhere; here everyone gets along and shares the wonder which is Gudvangen.”

So it is spoken by Olafr (Georg) and this is the world.

parade 03.jpg
naming

Naming Ceremony photos and footage

Aurland Photography

2015 Opening Speech (more moving)

Skaldic Pieces

Future Skaldic Plans

To Become a King

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Behold the God-slayer Typhon – Doom of Zeus – Graphic Novel Fourth Draft

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Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

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Typhon is too giant for the earth.0034 ships a fly

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I have done a great deal of research in the build up to turning this very strange and ancient tale into a graphic novel so that it is all based on history, (unless it was the morphine). Some of the research work helped me create the individual features linked to below:

Athene

Hermese the Babe

The Great Goat-God Pan

The Three Fates

Doom of Zeus – the Making of

Creation Recording

The Handwritten text boxes titled Information Snippet add background details from the research work.

Yes this is what I have been busy with over the past months while in and out of hospital and beginning my long recuperation by the sea.

I came up with the idea of developing a graphic novel around a Greek myth earlier in the year and an independent publisher is now on board with an interest in hybrid publishing (that’s when you publish online and with a major distributor too).

It has been a dream for many years to do something with the quirky and strange Typhon and the terrible Zeus; their battle suited my online graphic novels perfectly.

We are probably a couple of hundred hours from the ‘for sale’ version, but I shall update here as pieces and text boxes are completed.

Please do share with friends as we will be asking for help shifting the finished product later in the year.

PS the first graphic novel from Viking Comics Inc. The Hammer Flies is almost ready for release as a slide show presentation – my first movie!

PPS Soon to become an epic poem, a poetess has commissioned me to illustrate.

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #2 The Exhibition and the Barguist Beast

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #2 The Exhibiton and the Barguist Beast.

(Re-posted)

Come along with me on an atmospheric walk around the winding ways of this ancient city where I utilise forty years of experience of hosting ghost walks around York. I shall write as I recall and be as true to the recollections of witnesses and to my own innate abilities as for accurate representation of historic events you may feel the need to go check such details out for yourself.

Oh yes, As we wander I shall try to remain true to my major influence for I shall be explaining as we go along the details of my claim to fame; Son of York’s first ghost walker.

Adrian Spendlow

#2 The Exhibiton and the Barguist Beast

As we head towards our second collection of ghostly encounters we roll away from the Theatre Royal towards a small arch in this broken section of the City Walls (They are called the Bar Walls really but you are probably a tourist).

window man

Pause here for a moment and look up at the guest rooms of the Exhibition pub (Actually tourists will later benefit from my simple guide to York further on in this feature). Do you see a face? No? A full figure of a man? A guest looking out in their underpants, or possibly sometimes without their underpants? Let us go in and find out a little more.

When I did go in there was a very enthusiastic welcome from (I think she was called Christine) Christine, who was thrilled to be able to share her experiences for you all; I have never seen someone so happy to tell of being scared half to death.

Not that the man in the window was totally scary, or at least not initially. She simply told her two workmates that one of them ought to get up there and tell the guest to put some clothes on when viewing Yee Olde Yorke. There was no need, it was explained to her, because there were no guests, they had all checked out that morning, there was nobody upstairs.

She found this cranky and interesting and not at all scary, well not until she checked the rotas and saw that she was on chambermaiding duties.

She saw no one upstairs and felt no presence so decided that the ‘guest’ was a different spirit to the one in the kitchens.

She did see him again but only from outside, and increasingly without any undergarments. It was the kitchen spirit who was unsettling however.

She remained pleased with herself. This seemed to be because she had a deeper experience than the other staff. Yet her experiences were always eventually verified.

Everyone picked up on the atmosphere in the kitchens especially after she had noticed it. Older staff acknowledged that there had always been something uncomfortable.

Like her those who had been there longer had problems with things going missing, crashing noises just as one was swinging in the door, or at other times things being found smashed.

It was Christine who saw things smashing first, well only by a split second. Her and one of the guys went in via the swing door together with arm-fulls of dishes.

butter
butter rough

“Look at that,” there was a butter dish hovering in the air. The instant her mate looked up to see it too it dropped out of the air. It smashed in the sink. She went on to see such things often.

glasses

It was her also who would notice when the spirit moved through into behind the bar. “Oh oh” was more or less all she would say, then things started to happen. Almost empty shelves would fill by the next time you bent down to add a pint glass. An upside down wine glass slowly sliding up its rack to crash to the floor. There would be a spate of such occurrences then things would calm and the kitchens would start having problems.

There was also a problem in the public area but Christine felt this was a different presence. When she was tidying up at ‘yucking out’ time she would find one of the wooden table tops to be swimming in beer. She would sort it, move on and look back to see it a-swim with ale again.

table

This went on over several weeks and then one evening she noticed a glisten and stood still to watch as the table top filled up with beer all on its own, as if the beer was welling up out of the wood itself.

As I watched this table anxiously and while we are ‘sat here’ in the warm let us cast an eye down the road to another haunted establishment.

jovik hotel

Just along Bootham and down to the left on Marygate, there are two places to tell of actually, down near the bottom is the Jorvik Guest House where a figure is often seen in the building; in rooms and in the bar, perhaps all the more spooky for its hazy dark appearance.

Back up the way towards the main road I will tell of a ghost which is so clearly seen it is often not thought of as a ghost.

squaddie times two
squaddie two

The Coach house hotel is the haunt of a soldier. In First World War trench gear he is most usually seen in the bar-room off to the right. At the far end of the serving area. How people generally react is to point out that the re-enactment guy was before them. Staff will say there is no one there and if customers get up from the left ha nd restaurant area sure enough there is only them waiting to be served.

As I am about to scare you about one of the letting rooms I am sorry to say I have forgotten which room this concerns, so when you stay there you will have to take pot luck.

Sit there at the mirror if you will, the chances are you will feel the presence of someone else sharing the long, cushioned, stool with you, look around and there is the indentation of them.

reflection

Slightly less common, although commented on by guests a few times a year, look up, in the reflection you will see the lady who shares your passion for long well-brushed hair.

on bed

Ask to change rooms if you will, but one of the other rooms has a spirit who sits on the bed in the middle of the night – at least the mirror lady doesn’t wake you up – sleep well.

Up behind the Exhibition and across the road is a building with a grizzly tale to tell, I am just waiting for the ghost stories to emerge.

pie

The bakery shop there was the scene of something ghastly. A customer was selecting a pie when something dropped down on to it – it was blood.

The residents of the flat above resided no longer. They lay dead. The story is that they had been taking benefit cheques off other residents and one had had enough of going without.

bakers

The flat was re-floored and re-let; the bakers reopened – nobody went in.

Back to hauntings or at least monstrous beasts but first torture along the way.

holeinwall
dungeon

The Board Inn – The Hole in the Wall – we are heading down the alley at the side of there but let us mention the ancient torture chamber reported in the cellar and the steps upon the stairs; the loo stairs. I am among many who hear footsteps behind them on the way to the loo. The many who see a door open ahead of them and feel there is someone else in the loos with them. Listen, someone left.

war etc

All these ghosts. This is York. An ancient place. Battles and sieges. Famines and wars. Jealousy and rages. Poverty and power.

under

There are more dead under the earth than there are people walking above on the surface. Small wonder that their essence comes seeping out from between the flag stones.

wo

It is not the dead we are concerned about just now it is becoming dead. Being scared to death. Jinxed. Hexed. Summoned. Cursed.

dog

We are stepping down into the realms of the Black Dog of Death.

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013

It is an ancient beast and it is down this alleyway, or the next, or the next. It is a sign you are about to become dead. Whenever it is reported seen there are simultaneous reports of death, or near death, or injurious states – down alleyways – read the reports.

longship

People have seen the hound of our alleys since the long-ships. Word of the dark creature slinking ashore litter the tales of remembrance of the Norse.

flame eyes

This dog is far older of course even than that and it is among the dead. Burial mounds, deathly places, battle scenes, aftermath, anywhere there is death.

dog two

York city sits upon death, it venerates it – thus we have the barguist beast.

dog three

Nip not down a ginnel, turn not from the main-way, stay in the light. The barguest beast gleams its red eye tonight.

Oh yes, listen here for those rules of York…

And here for the poem on the dog of death…

;

cat dog

Click links below to see previous editions

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #1 The Theatre Royal

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #2 The Exhibiton and the Barguist Beast

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #3 Tosh Alleyways

Son of York’s First Ghost Walker Wanders the Winding Ways; a Recollection – #4 The Burning

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I highly recommend: http://www.ghostwalkyork.co.uk/

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Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

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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. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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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.

Adrian

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

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Gods and Goddesses of the Greek Mythos Continued – Hermes the Babe

Gods and Goddesses of the Greek Mythos Continued – Hermes the Babe

Here is another of my characterisations of Gods and Goddesses, this one written while I was in hospital having the cancer taken away (nil by mouth for 19 days).

In this case though although it is an interesting storyline the God (if he is a God) Hermes is at best an anti-hero with the historic crimes division after him probably. There are those who leapt from Olympus rather than him turn them to ever staring stone.

Hermes – Cairn-man – Pillar of Stone – Toddler

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This man is not a god he is a pillar. An offspring of gods yet was born as an embodiment of an orgiastic pillar. Dance near him if you dare. Hermes is Priapus the totemistic virtue of a phallic pillar or cairn no less.

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His mother was Maia and if there was such a thing as fatherhood back then we would be saying his father was Zeus. Maia met Zeus because she was the daughter of Apollo then afterwards being with child she had a score to settle with her father for mistreatments. Gods being gods they grow fast, and Hermes grew fast, very fast, especially in intellect. By seven months he had mastered the bow and invented many things, then Themis gave him nectar and ambrosia of the gods or should that be Nectar of the Gods and Ambrosia of the Gods; and he was ready to  adventure. Ready for that vengeance from beyond the womb.

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He was followed by a gathering band of nymphs they made a wicked wilful travelling party. He was befriended by Cyllene. They played and sang and laughed. Cyllene showed off her enchanting musical ability and Hermes claimed he could make something far more mystical than that. Cyllene bid him to show it was true, Hermes said he would need some cattle hide to make the strings. Then when Cyllene told him of Apollo’s herd he knew he could get his revenge and build his instrument, he knew so much more too. Well well before we discover how great he is, he knew.

Yes this merry band agreed that little Hermes and they could smuggle the herd, but Apollo would simply follow and they would be found.

Hermes bid them cut large patches of bark from the Fallen Oak and to cut long grass to bind into cord. From these he showed them how to fashion shoes for the cattle and away they were led along a trackless path.

The cattle were gone.

Apollo was livid.

Apollo he searched but there were no tracks.

Then, by chance in his raging stampede around the land he found the Satyrs, led by the rogue Silenus they were greedy for reward, great reward, for Apollo was angry, very great reward.

Eventually, in Arcadia, the Satyr gang heard something unusual, unique in fact; strange music like no melody ever heard before yet dulled and distant. It seemed to be coming from far away and yet from everywhere. It seemed to be coming from below the earth and yet, – no it was, it was down below, it was. Eager as they were they could not help but dance. Dance, as they hunched and sniffed and searched

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Then suddenly they noticed a little way ahead by a gateway in a leafy copse the sultry, haughty, Cyllene idly taking the air. The music led them towards her.

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It was louder behind her and there at the back of the glade was a cave; the music was coming from there. “What is that music of the nymphs we have never heard before?”

Cyllene swung gently round towards them, “No nymph plays that marvellous tune upon that unique instrument.”

“No one can play better than the nymphs, no one has a better instrument than they.” The satyrs gaggled together in panic behind him, staring in quizzical fear.

“Hermes does.”

“Who is Hermes?”

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“Hermes is a babe.”

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The Satyrs stood mesmerised as Cyllene gracefully articulated the story of the babe who was born within this cave. He who had adventured across the lands at so young an age, who had acted with great skill and created a marvellous lyre like nothing ever heard before. Silenus enquired what this lyre was like and Cyllene told him how it was shaped like a tortoise because he had fashioned it out of a tortoise and cow hide twine. “So where did he get this twine?” “Are you calling him a thief!” Just as a fierce argument sprung up a few things happened at once. A great long-winged bird landed in the glade; this was the Sacred Crane sacred to Hermes and because of Hermes. Silenus glanced his eyes around the glade and there were two cow hides stretched between branches to dry. The grandfather of the babe of course had known that the crane was sacred, sacred to Hermes, and had followed it; Apollo suddenly appeared.

Silenus pointed at the hides, thus establishing himself a right to the reward, then to seal the deal he pointed at the cave.

Apollo strode in and down with a procession following. There lay Maia sleeping deeply a bundle in her arms. “Bring me that quickly grown man Hermes now,” shouted the mighty Apollo, “For he has stolen my cattle and shall be made to bring them back to me, at least all that live.”

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Maia threw back the covers and revealed a babe still in its swaddling bands and wrapped in a large leather hide. “How could it be that a babe such as this has done this thing you say?”

“I recognise the hide!” boomed Apollo and he snatch up the child and fled the cave.

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“Father of Heaven,” (and father of the babe unfortunately), cried Apollo as he bent to his knee in front of Zeus, “I accuse this babe”, (the bundle unrolled from his arms as did the other two hides from the glade), “of theft of all my herd.”

“Zeus looked down to Hermes, “I cannot believe that you did such a thing and I ask you to plead not guilty.”

“Well I did,” confessed Hermes standing proudly for all his small size, “and I am sorry. I shall return all that live and tell you of the flesh of the others”

Apollo stood looking dazed, enraged and confused.

I divided the flesh of each dead beast in to twelve pieces each as sacrifices to the twelve gods.”

“Twelve?” questioned Apollo, “Who it the twelfth?”

chain babe

Bowing with a smirk the tiny Hermes said, “Why it is I”.

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How Zeus laughed.

Hermes continued, “A twelfth of the flesh of each of the beasts I ate for I was ferocious hungry the rest I burned. Thus I have invented the first ever flesh- sacrifice. Now I shall give you recompense, follow me.”

He led Apollo in a flash back to the cave and he retrieved a bundle from beneath a sheepskin. “What have you there?” asked Apollo.

Hermes held up the tortoise-shell lyre in display and in the other hand held a plectrum, “This I also invented.”

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The music was mesmerising, the singing was praise worthy; it was full of praise also. Praise of Apollo, his nobility, his dignity his grace, his intelligence and, of course, his generosity. It worked, Apollo forgave him and nevertheless little Hermes led him to Pylus, playing all the way, to the cave he had hidden the cattle. He released them to graze and offered the Lyre to Apollo, he took it and thankful he said as I keep this so you keep the cattle. Hermes held up his tiny tiny hand and Apollo solemnly shook.

From the distance they heard the mountain top laughter of Zeus as he watched all Hermes’ antics.

As the cattle grazed Hermes gathered long grasses and wove them into a pipe. He played and he declared, “This is the shepherd pipe that leads any sheep to you.”

“If you will let me have this pipe I will trade you my golden cattle-herding staff; it also has the power to send the spirits of the dead peacefully to heaven.”

“I accept, in part, for the reedpipe is worth far more than the golden staff and I will accept the deal if you also promise to teach me the power of augury.”

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The distant laugh of the onlooking Zeus could be heard again from afar.

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“I cannot but my three nurses the Thriae can. They will teach you on the isle of Parnassus to read the flowing pebbles in the swirling bowl.”

“This is indeed a very ingenious, eloquent and persuasive Godling.” Chortled Zeus.

Upon their return Zeus bellowed at tiny Hermes, “You must promise forever from now respect the rights of another’s property and never tell utter lies.”

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“Then make me your herald great father, and I will never tell lies, although I shall not promise to always tell the whole of the truth in every detail. Furthermore I shall protect and preserve all divine property in your honour.”

(Apollo was chortling now.)

“You shall be my herald then, and you shall in that duty guide the dead to the underworld, oversee all matters of business, all treaties and all rights of way.styx

Even furthermore you shall teach us the twirling of sticks to make fire you shall assist the Three Fates (this he did and invented the knuckle bones, the alphabet, astronomy, boxing, the musical scale, gymnastics and weights and measures. He also learned the tree alphabet.)

Thus it was Zeus who chuckled quietly now for he had honoured and empowered him in such a way that he would forever be too busy.

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So it was that the now growing Hermes was presented with the adornments of Herald and proudly stood in the round hat of rain protection, the fast flying golden sandals and the beribboned herald’s staff which commanded respect from all when Hermes was engaged in matters of administration, (of which there were many).

Thank you Robert Graves

Recent blogs include from the Greek Myths, Athene , The Fates and Pan.

Behold the God-slayer Typhon – Doom of Zeus – Graphic Novel First Draft

Ales and Tales around York pubs.

and more as the Skald to the Chieftain inspired by Georg and Gudvangen.

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Viking Travel Course – Part One

Viking Travel Course – Part One
I am thrilled to be part of the team taking a group from University Wisconsin to Norway for a Living History course where we will develop skills and deepen knowledge in a sharing and encouraging way. the group of Students, graduates and others will be traveling from UW Green Bay in the US of A to Norway to visit Viking sites and live as Vikings in a recreated town.
The students will be reporting via blogging, vlogging and social media as part of their course, as will the team, so this is the start of my personal contribution looking at it all from the point of view of the storyteller.
How did I come to be part of this, some might wonder? Those of you who know of my work and travels will not be too surprised at this development; I am Skald to the Chieftain of a Viking town. As a full-time storyteller I travel widely, especially in the Upper Mid-West of America and in Norway. It is through these travels and performances that I have become part of things at the Viking Hus in the grounds of UWGB.
We are about to start recruiting students to become part of this adventure and hope to be taking up to 20 of you along with us. Who are we? Professor H Sherman, Head of History, UWGB, Katie Walkner, Professor of History, UWGB Manitowoc (and myself as Instructional Consultant). We are lucky to have Jemma Lund, Assistant Director of Study Abroad as part of the team, she will be the ‘Michael Collins’ to the ‘Buzz’ and ‘Neil’ of the lucky two instructors who will be heading off to walk the Viking way; Jemma will be coordinating from the UWGB end of things.
The students will each create a Viking outfit to take along and will learn and demonstrate a skill from a selection offered.
Our journey will be mid-May through to mid-June 2020 and the itinerary will be something like this…
Fly into Oslo, Norway to visit the Ship Museum, the nearby Folk Museum and to include the stave church there. We also plan to visit Viking Planet before heading off to Borre to be guided around the burial mounds and the Midgard Historic museum. A picturesque train journey over the mountains will lead us to Bergen to visit Hordamuseet and then a further journey of train and ferry will lead us deep into the Sognfjord for our stay in Gudvangen. Here in the Viking Town of Njardarheimr we will live as Vikings.
Freemen, Freewomen and crafters there will offer skill training in a wide variety of topics so that each of the students will learn at least one craft or skill and will then demonstrate for the many visitors. We will be active participants in all the shared experience of Viking life there, this will include events and activities as well as time with the Chieftain, the ‘Skald’ and other guides.
Future blogs will include useful links to creating your own Viking gear plus an on-line guide to all things Viking. Stay tuned for details and photos of the many skills you can learn and discover how you too can contribute to the development of Viking Valley.

For further details contact shermanh@uwgb.edu
Take a walk around our town (The link includes how to play Hnefatafl too)

Click here for Viking Travel Course – Part Two

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Saying Thank You

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The Story of Thanksgiving

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 infections which were just like at home but different, different enough to do them real harm. They even tried hunting, but even that was diferent 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 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 America 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. English was the first language they heard.

This was the word of Squanto.

For that welcoming band (that small ‘nation’) led the poor settlers to another tribe than 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 from Spain, they had come to take, and they took him. Squanto the slave had to work; had to work on an alien vessel, a huge wooden sailing ship, doing menial tasks. 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 America to Europe.

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, hundreds of miles, 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 America his one true word echoed. “Welcome.” “Welcome.” “Welcome.”

Welcome.

Be thankful and be welcoming.

welcome

For this is Thanksgiving.

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Steam Days Poetry modelled on my father’s memoires

Steam Days Poetry modelled on my father’s memoires

dad uniform

Lads on a Transfer

The boys who were James’ and Witty’s class

In the Motive Power Depot

Down at Old Dairycoates

Are signed up as their men

Supernumerary Cleaners

Replacing drafted soldiers

We were designated our seniority

Soon were going through the motions

Paraffin cleaning gears and couplings

Senior Passed Firemen supervised us

Training us up, by learning us ‘Improvements’;

Droppings and Steam Action

Buckeye and Loose Links

All of the couplings

Stephenson’s Link Motion

All about Walschearts

The joys of Joy’s Radial Valve Gear

We were learning the Eccentrics

Between their Side Rod Pins

Hoping at the end of the war

To be sent for None-Returner’s Duties

Through the office of the Shed Master

Down at Botanic Gardens

Motive Power Depot

To step up to an engine cab

But for now doing cleaning

It is back to the twelve seater,

Single flush latrine room

AS

Reporting to Miss Jackson

Her Docket Clerks Diagram men

From their three shift system window

Seniority always organised Link Men

Passenger, Goods and Pilot Links

Sickness, Spare Markings and Specials

Marked Diagram Sheets show Turns of Duty

Here, in clean overalls,

Young Ronnie was learning

The running of the railways

AS

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Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #36 The Poetry Mead

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #36 The Poetry Mead

A stunning new approach to the myths the Vikings loved; enlightening and challenging for the novice and veteran alike.

The Gods and Goddesses of the Nordic Mythos Prose Poems were created following research for Gods Bless Ya!! Rock Opera with Alda and Sigrun Bjork Olafsdottir and a forth-coming book with SigRun Viking Art & Design.

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The Poetry Mead

He was suddenly there, impossibly close, the handsome stranger. In his long blue cloak and wide-brimmed hat; he seemed somehow too big for his skin, and he loomed over the workers of the farm. They should not have looked in his eye, for they were drawn in, to fall among the worlds. Swirling wildly among the nine known worlds and all the unknown worlds as well, they could see and hear everything, and presently they came to hear their own inner voices; each other’s thoughts … “I’ve never liked you.” “You treat me badly.” “I work harder than you.” There should be less reward for you.” “I quite like your wife.”

The scythes were out, they fell upon each other in rage, and presently all were dead.

The stranger turned towards the farm, “You suddenly seem to be short of workers.”

“Yes I do.”

“I shall work your farm for you, and all I wish in return is some small piece of information.”

The work was done in no time. The fields tilled. The seeds in. The plants they grew and were harvested. In an impossible time, the barns were fuller than they’d ever been.

“All I wish in return is to know where your brother keeps his treasure.”

“I could not possibly tell you, I have promised.”

“You have promised me, and all you have to do is point to the place.”

They climbed the hill and peered down at a wide stone plain. He pointed.

The stranger went to the place and called down lightning. It cut and turned and wound and burned. Down to a cavern miles beneath the earth. In this dark cave with no entrance and no exit sat Suttung’s daughter. She sat there long, without even a mirror to know that she was beautiful.

The handsome stranger turned himself into a serpent and twisted his long way down the deep burrow to appear far below suddenly in his handsome robes. A torch appeared already light, “Oh you are beautiful, more beautiful than any other woman ever seen. I love you and I wish for you to come with me. All I wish in return is one small sip of your father’s treasure; the poetry mead.”

“I couldn’t possibly, I have promised, and my father would beat me terribly.”

“Yet you shall come with me and be my bride. You shall be my queen in my great citadel in the sky. In love forever. Just one small sip.”

She slowly, tentatively, pushed the three barrels forward. He took it all, wrapped it in his cloak, turned back into the serpent and left her alone.

The figure that now flew up to Asgard had the power of the mead; one sip would let your words cause love or war.

Yet deep below the earth in a cavern with no entrance and no exit, without even a mirror to know she was beautiful, Suttung’s daughter Gunnlodd sat alone. She cared not of the endless beatings she would receive; because Gunnlodd was broken.

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #1 Thor

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #2 Earth

 Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #3 Night

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #4 Augelmir

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #5 Heimdall

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #6 Eir

 Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #7 Vili

Norse Gods and Goddesse Prose Poems – #8 Ve

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #9 Siv

 Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #10 Hænir

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #11 Frejya

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #12 the Hyndla Lay

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #13 Freyr

Norse Gods and Goddesses Prose Poems – #14 All for the Love of Gerd

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #15 Skaði

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #16 Njörð

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #17 Frigg

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #18 BalderNorse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #18 Balder

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #19 Then Balder Was Dead

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #20 Iðun

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #21 Iðun’s Apples

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #22 Sól

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #23 Máni

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #24 Rán

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #25 Hel

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #26 Óðin

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #27 Huggin and Munin

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #28 Loki’s Salmon

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #29 Loki

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #30 Loki’s Monsters

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #31 Týr

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #32 Lay of Hymir

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #33 Wisdom Pool Wonder

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #34 Mimir

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #35 The Power of the Runes

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #36 The Poetry Mead

Norse Gods and Goddess Prose Poems – #37 Kvasir

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