Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween thoughts ...



Vincent Van Gogh seemed to get it right for Halloween – what an amazing oil painting … it’s in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – a place I must visit sometime.

Skull of a Skeleton with  cigarette
by Vincent Van Gogh (c 1885/6)




(This is today’s featured picture in Wikipedia – so appropriate, I couldn’t resist putting it in).






Jenny (Hobhouse Balme) has recently visited Haida Gwaii and saw how the Haida peoples revered their chieftain dead … she had watched a ceremony on the raising of a mortuary pole earlier this year.



Mortuary poles late 1800s
c/o Cruising with Raven Song


Cruisingwith Raven Song gives a pretty good idea of their rituals, with an explanation and some more photos.  I was fascinated to learn about these indigenous peoples.




Hecate Strait separating the islands
from the Canadian mainland.
(Cape Scott is on the tip of
Vancouver Island)

Haida Gwaii means literally “Islands of the Haida People” – formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands … approximately half the population is of the Haida people.  It is an archipelago, north of the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.



The Queen Charlotte (1744 – 1818) mentioned here was the wife of King George III … hence the islands’ naming.



I’m back from my Devon, Cornwall and Somerset sojourn with Jenny, and on Monday Stephen Tremp is coming over to my blog re his new book Salem’s Daughters … so please look in …



... but on my travels we went to St Ive Church, near Liskeard, Cornwall – which was Emily Hobhouse’s father’s Church – he was rector for over 50 years!


We had tea in the Church and talked to some amazing village residents, who knew of people, who had actually known Emily … so Jenny was fascinated to find out more.


What was the mortuary block for St Ive Church, Liskeard

Well the tea went through … and guess where the cloakroom is situated … yes, in the mortuary building … no longer in use, I’m pleased to say!  It’s an interesting, yet very satisfactory for me, change of use!






Happy NaNoWriMo … may you all successfully complete your goals … I’ll be across to your blogs as soon as ….




Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

35 comments:

Deborah Weber said...

A lovely little collection of Halloween treats Hilary. I laughed at the idea of a mortuary cloakroom. I would SO keep a long black cloak and scythe propped up in there. :-)

Susan Scott said...

Welcome back Hilary! Is that really van Gogh's painting? Yikes, it's pretty scary. Also had a laugh about the cloakroom in the mortuary ...

Inger said...

Hi Hilary, I read a book about those islands and the people who lived there. I think it was a mystery of all things, which goes to show you that you can learn stuff from unexpected places.

I know you must have had a lovely trip, but I bet it must be nice to be home again too.

That painting could serve as an anti-smokig ad. I wonder why the cigarette. What was he telling us, or was it just for fun. Interesting for sure.

I don't know if my friend D. G. follows your blog, but I will mention this post to her. She lives in Vancouver and is very interested in all things relating to their First Nation Peoples.

My Life in the Charente said...

Glad you are back, bet you had a good time. I was brought up in a country where Halloween did not exist, to me it is simple a money making racket!!!!
Have a good weekend Diane

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary,
Love the pictures. Have a spooky evening.
Nancy

Jo said...

Had to google Emily Hobhouse. Are you sure the mortuary wasn't haunted. Very appropriate for this time of year. Never heard of Haida Gwaii either. Interesting stuff as usual Hilary.

D.G. Hudson said...

You might say Van Gogh had a excellent sense of humor. Smoking can turn one into a skeleton. And I wouldn't want to see any on Halloween anyway.

As for Haida Gwaii Islands - that was where Emily Carr, the artist, went to do some of her paintings, it was called The Queen Charlotte Islands when I came to Canada, too. In those days, it was unheard of for her to visit on her own in a remote native village. It didn't stop her. I wrote about her:
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2014/04/e-emily-carr-to-z-blog-challenge-2014.html

Happy Halloween!

D.G. Hudson said...

PS - I heard about your post via Inger, on the blogger's grapevine. . .

Nilanjana Bose said...

Totally love Cornwall, reminded me of your A-Z, and of course all my fav novels based there :) Sounds like you had a great holiday. Love the Van Gogh too, apt. Have a great Halloween!

Elephant's Child said...

What a coincidence. My partner (the smaller portion) is in Amsterdam at the moment. I have suggested he look out for that Van Goph.
Your travels sound great.
Off to check out the links. Death is something I don't think the western culture (such as it is) does very well.

TexWisGirl said...

quite a unique painting!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah - glad you enjoyed them and they didn't scare you off too much! Sounds an excellent thought at this time of year ... and if they'd been there - I'd have not visited!

@ Susan - thank you .. yes that really is a Van Gogh - isn't it incredible. Glad you laughed re the mortuary cloakroom!

@ Inger - I've got a book too and want to read more about it .. your book sounds more interesting, mine was more of a reference sort.

It is nice to be back ...

Yes - the painting could be used for an anti-smoking campaign couldn't it - I doubt Van Gogh's heirs would warrant that though.

Yes DG does - and thanks so much for sending her over ...

@ Diane - yes had a fun time ... well we didn't have Halloween here when I was growing up ... it's been adopted but I guess is for the sweets industry and as you say a money making racket.

@ Nancy - good to see you ... luckily no spooks here.

@ Jo - I've mentioned Emily a few times. I'm certain the mortuary wasn't haunted ... perhaps they come out after dark - and I didn't stay around to find out.

I didn't know about Haida Gwaii ... so it's been informative for me too.

@ DG - you're right .. Van Gogh must have had his tongue in his cheek when he painted this ... and I certainly would not like to wake up with the picture, let alone the skeletal cigarette smoker!

I didn't look too closely at the history .. leaving that for another day - but your mention of Emily Carr had me looking her up in Wiki - interesting lady and art works. I must look at your post tomorrow ...

Thanks - Inger said she'd let you know .. good blogger connections.

@ Nila - thanks re the Cornwall A-Z posts .. things were brought back to me too - and I saw areas I'd never visited ...

Van Gogh's painting is such a wonderful one for Halloween ...

@ EC - that's great ... I hope he visits and sees the Van Gogh in person - I hope to get across one day ...

I hope the links matched up to your expectations ... I agree we don't seem to do death very well do we ...

@ Theresa - am happy you enjoyed the painting ...

Cheers to you all - and thanks for visiting and I'm pleased to be around again ... Hilary

Sue McPeak said...

Hi Hilary....I have not seen this skeleton painting by VanGogh which is surprising since I have many hours of studying his work in Art History...maybe I have blocked it from my mind and memory...yeah that's it! So different from his other portrait and landscapes which I admire very much. His museum is also a place I would love to visit.

Thanks for sharing your 'Travels'. Found all of it very interesting. Really like your new look and template. Good job.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Out on the prairie said...

I will be happy to get away from the Halloween candy, but I am sure there will be leftovers tonight.

Friko said...

Still out and about at your usual pace, I see. Good for you. I wish I could do some gadding of my own.

Halloween is not a great favourite at our house, must be the age! Personally, I am far more in the Central European mode of remembering the dead at this particular time. But I could get used to Halloween . . . .

Denise Covey said...

Welcome home, Hilary! Glad you enjoyed your sojourn!
I've been lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, and boy, was that man prolific! That painting always scares me. Shows his graveyard humour. We don't celebrate Halloween in Oz. It came and went yesterday without a blip. I love the fun stories/traditions I read about and have been infected with the desire to write scary stories each October. Now I am continuing into November for NaNo...that's what it's all about.

Denise :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue - well I'm glad I put him up for you to see, especially if you hadn't come across him - or as you suggest you might have blocked him from your mind - I think I might have done that too. The oil painting is certainly different from others ... and yes, the museum does look a brilliant place to visit doesn't it.

@ Steve - thankfully I didn't get offered any 'candy' .. but now we move onto fireworks for Guy Fawkes night.

@ Friko - well it was for Jenny - though I was a very happy chauffeur for her and as I'd never seen these places it was really interesting. I forgot Halloween was on when I was in the house and could be called on ... now I'm in the flat I don't get offered sweets etc ... though I've seen lots around.

I think your suggestion about remembering the dead is a good one - as the central Americans do too ... I hadn't realised the Central Europeans practised that concept.

@ Denise - thanks ... you made a good choice visiting the Van Gogh museum - it sounds amazing. I guess the Aussies are too much into Spring right now .. so Halloween can pass on by. Scary stories are so rife at this time of year .. and it's spooky misty today!

Good luck with NaNo ..

cheers to you all and thanks for welcoming me back .. Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It was a mortuary - how funny.
Looking forward to Stephen's visit tomorrow.

Rosalind Adam said...

A mortuary converted into a loo! Hilarious. It could only happen in Cornwall! I do love Cornwall. Not so keen on Halloween though. It's too much about children begging for sweets from what I can see.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Glad you enjoyed your visit. I don't think I have seen that Van Gogh before - perfect for Halloween!

Don't forget to email me your address :-)

Vallypee said...

Nice one, Hilary! I've never seen that painting by Van Gogh, and as you say, very apt. Lovely to visit Cornwall! It has such a great history. Your photos look as if it was beautiful weather too. You get around that's for sure, and I really enjoy your posts for all th different topics you include x

Mary Montague Sikes said...

That is interesting to learn about the Haida Gwaii people. I had no idea they existed north of Vancouver Island. A few years ago we took a ferry from Seattle to Victoria BC and must have been close to those islands. I always learn something really interesting from you, Hilary!

Please visit my new art blog, The Artful Way, if you have time. Here's the link: http://theartfulwaysikes.blogspot.com/2015/10/carol-anna-meese-her-paintings-enhance.html?spref=fb I would love a comment there. Am trying to build up some traffic and get some followers.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex - it amused me ... and I'd seen another mortuary building in Scotland, that hadn't been converted to a convenience for the church! Perhaps they should consider that ... yes it'll be good to have Stephen here ...

@ Ros - useful buildings .. big enough for a wheel chair too!! I loved my journey round ... the West Country is magic, but Cornwall definitely so. Halloween I could give a miss too - far too many consumer products around - so I agree.

@ Annalisa - thanks we have a great time. I was pleased Wikipedia put the picture up as pic of the day for me to use .. and as you say perfect for Halloween. We've been in touch - thank you ...

@ Val - I hadn't come across the Van Gogh painting either .. so I'm glad I posted. Devon, Cornwall and Somerset - all amazing places to visit - I learnt so much ...

The weather was kind ...it rained just the one day, when we had some spare time to read, or write cards etc ... in a lovely setting at a funny hotel!!

Thanks I'm pleased I chose to write the blog as I do - I don't ever get bored and can post about anything .. makes it a huge learning curve, but interests me - and I'm glad you too.

@ Monti - the islands are north of the north tip of Vancouver Islands ... where the Haida Gwaii peoples settled with their traditions. I must read up more on them ...

I'll be over to your new blog .. well done - and you love to write, as well as your art .. which is really delightful ..

Cheers to everyone - thanks for the visit - Hilary

Stephen Tremp said...

Love the Van Gogh image! I may still do NaNo. We'll see. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Stephen - the post will be up shortly ... see you there anon.

Isn't the Van Gogh painting quite extraordinary ... cheers Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've never seen that painting! And with a cigarette...really extraordinary. He had more range of subject than I thought.

Your trip sounds like a good one!

Gattina said...

I have been in the Vincent van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and was sad and disappointed. The original paintings have lost so much of their bright and strong colors so that the prints look better. The paintings weren't probably not well kept. But still you can see what a genius he was !

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth - I just couldn't resist Wiki's picture of the day of Van Gogh's smoking skeleton. It does show a different light of Van Gogh's works doesn't it ...

@ Gattina - what a pity ... I've met others who've totally enjoyed the experience ... but you've seen the art works and I need to! He certainly was a genius.

Cheers to you both - the trip was exceedingly interesting. Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

Interesting as always Hilary. My father has a print of that Van Gogh hanging in his house, and like you I have always been impressed by it.

Lynn said...

I have never seen an image of the Van Gogh skeleton painting before today - amazing! He had quite the sense of humor, I think.

So glad you had a lovely visit and what wonderful touring you did!

Beate said...

Hilary, it's so good to see you again :) How are you?
I haven't seen that Van Gogh painting before. It's amazing! I also love the painting of the bat! :) I wish I had something like that on Saturday for Halloween. Maybe I can try to paint it myself? :D
It sounds like you had a wonderful trip.
I hope you are doing well!
Sending lots of hugs to you.
Beate

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Thanks for the heads up on this post. Yes, I've been having trouble keeping up with so many blogs and completely overlooked this one.

Anyway, I'm here now. Of course, I notice your mention of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Islands steeped in ancient First Nations folklore.

You are one busy lady and it was nice to see Stephen featured on your next post, yes, that post, the one I posted on before I got back to this post. Yes, I'm confused at the best of times.

Cheers,

Gary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rhonda - thank you. How fascinating to know your father had a print of the Van Gogh hanging in his house ... it certainly stands out as an art work.

@ Lynn - nor had I til it appeared on Saturday as Wiki's picture of the day - it just had to go in ... he was, they think, making a statement against conservative practices ... as we do today - using humour. The visit was fun and I'm looking forward to doing various posts about it shortly ...

@ Beate - lovely to see you too ... and it sounds like all is well and happy. I couldn't resist the Van Gogh painting, it is so evocative. I'm glad you commented on the bat painting ... I thought it was fun and grabbed it when I saw it ...

That's great if you can give painting a go ... I look forward to seeing some of your art works.

I have to do write ups of my trip ... and I'm doing very well thank you. Thanks too for the hugs - same back to the two of you.

@ Gary - thanks for coming by - for the Haida Gwaii peoples on the Queen Charlotte islands ... some day I will get a chance and read up a bit more on them, and the First Nations folklore and life.

I didn't go to the islands - though I'd love to! But including the 'storyline' that Jenny had been means I have a record of it.

Thanks for coming by - it's lovely seeing everyone - cheers Hilary

Joanne said...

running late on reading my fave blogs. But this was a treat, not a trick.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks so much Joanne .. so pleased you enjoyed the post! Cheers Hilary