Tuesday 1 November 2011

One thing you may not know about me......

I rarely read novels.    I find my attention span is low and I lose interest very quickly.     One thing that has always fascinated me,  is writings on the English countryside.     The myths, legends and old country beliefs that link the fabric of the landscape.
Tales of witches abound, linked with such creatures as hares, bats and toads.    
Springs and wells were once the objects of pagan worship.....we have an old well in our garden.
I remember the day we discovered it.    My husband and I lowered a bucket into its depths.
Should we drink.   I decided I would.   I can remember Mr P's face and his words.   "Well if you are going to drink it, then so will I.  That way we will die together."    We live to tell the tale....the water is wonderful   :)
One of my great joys is walking the English countryside with Nella each day.     I like to sharpen my senses to observe and appreciate more closely the ways of the natural world.     I collect feathers, bones and many other objects en route.    Poppi and Riley love to look at them on a cold winters evening when they sleep over.      I teach them, the little that I know, and find it a joy that they are fascinated by my stories.
 Let me leave you with an extract from one of my books.....Amazing and Extraordinary facts on The English Countryside by Ruth Binney.
 The Sacred Tree

It was beneath the oak's spreading branches that the wizard Merlin is believed to have worked his enchantments and because of its associations with the gods is said to be the first to be struck by lightning in a thunderstorm - farmers will plant oaks near buildings to act as lightning conductors.   At Yule, the ancient ritual from which many of our Christmas customs derive, an oak log was always chosen as being the most likely to draw the sun back to the earth.   To the Druids, whose name means 'oak men' the tree was - and still is - sacred, and thought to embody the spirit of their god Esus.
The mistletoe, which occasionally grows on it as a semi-parasite, was believed to guard the tree from evil.    Cutting it with a golden sickle, on the sixth night of the moon will, they believe, preserve its magic.

Many many months ago a fellow blogger asked if I would do a post on 'Ten things you may not know about me'  To be truthful I have forgotten who asked but I did say to her at some point I would join in.   I forgot :)     So todays post is the first......I thought I would write something every now and again through the winter.....until I have completed my task.


  1. This is fascinating, Cheryl! I knew a little bit about the Druids, but I didn't know all this information about their beliefs about the oak tree. I've always felt my old oak tree was bit magical, but more for the stories it must know after standing for so many years. You know I enjoy novels, but I find folklore and history intriguing as well. This is so much more interesting than the usual "10 things about me list"--I'm looking forward to the rest of these posts this winter.

  2. I would have tasted the water too. Poor Mr P. He does worry. Life is an adventure with you. I am sure he appreciates that.

    I like reading about the spirit world of different cultures.

    I read a novel now and then. My favorite readings are books about the cycle of life in different areas. Such as _The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady_ by Edith Holden, which is one of my favorites. I get it out often with the change of seasons. I love her illustrations. This encourages me to do the same. It also makes me realize that people have been doing the things I like to do for eons. When we travel often there is a naturalist that lives in the area that has written a book about the "year" in the area. Often they use 20+ years of experience to write about that year giving you a great overall look at the area that you can't get just visiting a few days.

    I will look forward to reading more about you.

  3. I'm also not a big reader, which is funny since I've made my living as a writer and editor for 20+ years. I find I really like young adult historical fiction (Ann Rinaldi in particular) because i seem to be able to still relate to young people coming into adulthood, and I like the historical setting, and the books are generally a quicker read than traditional novels.

  4. Tku Rose,

    I am glad you found it interesting. I was a little unsure of doing it this way, but your comment has re-assured me. To be truthful, sometimes I get a little of weary of writing about the same thing over and over.

  5. Hi Lisa,

    I think you would also love

    A Countrywoman's journal by Margaret Shaw.
    It has beautiful writings and wonderful illustrations. It was hidden in a drawer for over seventy years. The records date from 1926 - 1928.

    Your work often reminds me of her :)

  6. I love to read stories about the moors and old English countryside. I also love the history of your monarchs, especially Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Elizabeth I.

    I am an avid reader and do enjoy good novels. At a give time I always have at least three books in process; a novel, a non-fiction book, and a biography.

    How wonderful for Poppi and Riley to have a grandmother to guide them in nature, fairies, druids, and the like.

  7. Hi ncmountainwoman,

    The moors are amazing...I have driven along the winding roads, when the mist hangs low.....so very spooky.

    Elizabeth 1 was a most fasinating queen.....never a dull moment.
    I love the Tudors.....and am blessed to live near many old castles etc that relate to this period.

  8. Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you for another inspiring and beautiful post. That is so exciting that you found a well in your garden.
    The book you mention looks lovely, as does A Countrywoman's Journal... two more for the ever-expanding Amazon wish list I think! I must admit I am a book addict, especially if it has anything to do with nature and herbs of course. I don't get chance to read many novels these days but I do love getting stuck into a good story when the opportunity arises. I recently bought a book called 'Red Sky at Night" by Jane Struthers which is all about old country wisdom. I haven't read much yet but it looks good so far.
    Much love to you xxx

  9. What an interesting post, Cheryl! How fun to find a well in your garden. I don't know if I'd have been brave enough to drink from it, but I'm glad you and Mr. P did and live to tell the tale. How exciting!

    I love to read, novels, biographies, non-fiction. Well-written historical romances (as long as they're not too mushy or silly) capture my fancy as I learn about the history of a place that way.

    I'll have to look for the book you are reading. It sounds interesting and I know there is magic in Grandfather Oak. I will be sad to leave him, but the new family coming in will appreciate him as well. I intend to give them a tour and introduce them to all the trees in the back yard.

  10. HI Lucinda,

    Very exciting finding the well. The water is crystal clear. I can taste the minerals in it.
    I wonder who else has drunk its waters.......

    I wonder if you would be kind enough to let me know what you think of 'Red Sky at Night' when you have finished it.

    Happy Wednesday to you....

  11. Hi Wendy,

    I do so hope all goes well with the move.
    I have been thinking of you ....

  12. Dear Cheryl,
    Getting to know you better is delightful. I can see you walking with Nella...finding treasures and sharing them with your Grandchildren.
    I know a bit about the Druids....my Oak tells me stories.
    Wonderful post.
    Sherry, who already misses the butterflies

  13. Cheryl,

    What a beautiful post! I too am in love with learning the myths of the land - it is such an amazing feeling to know that the people before you felt the same sort of magic in something that you feel - and to learn how they articulated it. I also love to pick up treasures when I go for walks - my husband teases me that I will crowd us out of house and home with all my rocks, feathers, acorns and other such things I have stashed around :) The books you've mentioned look very intriguing - perfect timing as I am putting together my Christmas wish list!

    A lovely post, and a lovely detail to know about you!

  14. A lovely post. I rarely read fiction too. My husband doesn't get it. He's an avid fiction reader. I can't explain why I just prefer reading books about fact. I guess I think there is so much out there in the 'real world' that I have yet to learn or understand and I want to be reading about these.

  15. I love reading about folklore, what the seasons, plants and nature in general meant to our ancestors. Quite a bit of it weird - I've just been reading about Holming in Wales were young men would beat young women with holly branches on St Stephens Day. A lot of it makes sense though. A lot of people have really lost touch with the natural environment.