... St Jude, the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes, seems rather a good name for my recent antics ...
|St Jude by van Dyck (1619/1621)|
I don’t fall into the lost causes group ... but life has sort of thrown a few wobblies, nothing serious luckily ... just stupidity!
The St Jude storm struck us ten days ago ... trees were downed, sadly some people died ... power lines were felled, transport was disrupted ... however it was not nearly as bad as many had predicted.
It was around this time that I realised I was going to East Anglia to see a friend – but 24 hours earlier than I was expecting – my brain had atrophied!
|Sycamore tree down - but the one|
to the right could be susceptible too
- at least I get more light in, now the
sun is lower in the sky
It was Linda’s birthday up at the Nursing Centre and I knew I wouldn’t be there, but had thought at least I’d see her the day before ... I’d organised a flower card for her, so knew that was coming and I dropped off a birthday card for her to open on the day ...
... then I’d emailed Lenny and asked if he could write her a birthday email ... which I knew she would love ... and which I was able to put in an envelope for her to open on her birthday: making it special. Lenny has been a ray of sunshine for her ...
The storms did come through – we had a tree down ... it was rotten, but thankfully wasn’t tall enough to crash into the building – the tree next to it probably would do some damage and would crush my car as I don’t have access to the garage (I rent). I didn’t hear it crash down ... 5.00 am is my time for sleeping soundly apparently ...
|Abbeygate, Bury St Edmunds|
I went away by train and just took my time in case there were residual travel delays - thankfully not. No storms were due, so I leave my car at the back.
I had a lovely time up in Bury St Edmunds ... a walk round the town, off to see Lavenham and Long Melford ... all three very interesting historical sites. Suffolk, or East Anglia, are areas I don’t know much about ... so I’m looking forward to going back and having a good look round.
Bury St Edmunds may well date from Roman times, but was one of the royal towns of the Saxons. Sigebert, King of the East Angles, founded a monastery here about 633 AD, which in 903 became the burial place of King Edmund, who was slain by the Danes in 869, and owed most of its early celebrity to the reputed miracles performed at the shrine of the martyr king.
King Edmund freed the town from all secular services, while Canute then freed it from Episcopal control. The abbot was made lord of the franchise by Edward the Confessor.
So you can see from the historical names ... Bury St Edmunds has lots to offer ... as has Lavenham, which in the medieval period was, due to its wool and trade, among the 20 wealthiest settlements in England.
Love Lavenham! seems to be its brand name ... it is as they say one of the finest and more beautiful medieval villages in England. Once again ... history abounds ...
|c/o Lavenham village website|
I’d arranged tickets to go back to Houghton Hall, Norfolk and see The Hermitage paintings, on loan from St Petersburg and Washington, part of Sir Robert Walpole’s great picture collection (Britain’s first de facto Prime Minister).
|This painting was stolen from|
Houghton Hall in 1990 -
"The White Duck" by
Jean Baptiste Oudry (1753)
Some of these had been sold by Sir Robert’s grandson to Catherine the Great of Russia to pay off some of the estates, accumulated debt. The others that came from Washington and private owners ... had similarly been sold on by the Russians in the 1920s and 1930s.
Somewhere around this time we had Hallowe’en ... nothing untoward happened in East Anglia ... Sussex had that in store!
But generally in this the 21st century Hallowe'en now dominates our landscape ... I have to say I prefer it when we reflect our different cultures ... and don't become one homogenized cultural morass ... so we remember our historical roots ...
... Bury St Edmunds was the setting for the witch trials between 1599 and 1694 ... and today has a witchcraft exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum.
Now we’re into November ... good luck all you NANOWRIMO participants ... happy writing ...
... right into All Soul’s Day ... the remains of a mummified cat were discovered in a Lavenham roof ... it would have been placed there to protect the building’s owner from evil spirits!
|iphone photo from guide book ...|
showing the devil watching
St Michael weighing his souls:
part of the panel
"The Wenhaston Doom"
While in another local village The Wenhaston Doom, a 16th C (pre-Reformation) panel painting depicting the Last Day of Judgement in which St Michael can be seen weighing the souls of the dead, while the Devil looks on is a wonderful historical treasure.
Somewhere around this time I get home to find Lenny has sent Linda a beautiful bunch of carnations, with some chocolates and a tiny birthday cake ... what a surprise – she was delighted and I was so happy she'd been made to feel special ... what an amazing kid.
|Carnations from Lenny|
All Soul’s Day arrives as do more storms over the weekend ... so I decide to leave my car at the front – then at 8.00 pm the alarm goes off ... frustratingly it is sensitive and tends to go off in the wind and the rain ... so I need to go out to switch it off ...
... on returning I keel over ... I think ‘oh bother’ and then bounce ... well I realise my face isn’t in too good a shape, everything else seems ok, and after being patched up I wait out the night.
|Revellers in Lewes, East Sussex|
with their tar torches
I have to say to my staggered amazement I have one or two minor, hardly apparent, other bruises or dents – while my face isn’t that bad either. I have a cut between the eyes, above my lip but below my nose it’s graunched ... and obviously I have two wonderful very puffy red and yellow eyes ... much the same colour as this Lewes photo!
I’m on anti-biotics for the graunch ... but can see, can breathe, have my teeth, no headache, no bruising ... in fact I’m just counting my blessings rather quietly ...
The staff at the Nursing Centre and Linda took one look at me and went AARGH ... Lenny’s favourite word! ... and burst out laughing into fits of giggles ... I’m not sure at the beginning whether they thought I’d got made-up for a Halloween scare ... well that will provide much amusement and that’s what life is about, and Linda has ‘news’ to tell Gilbert, another of her visitors.
|Catrinas - one of the most popular|
figures in the Day of the Dead
celebrations in Mexico
Now we’re onto November the 5th .... the day we celebrate the failure of the Gunpowder plot ... when the Catholics were foiled in their desire to blow up the Houses of Parliament ...
So tonight we’ll be having lots more snap, crackle and pops, with some rather loud explosions to make us jump, but thankfully I still have a head I can hold up and eyes still clear to watch the strontium-red, calcium-orange, copper-blue, barium-green, titanium-white powders as they colour the sky ...
Here’s to a more peaceful end of October/November – Hallowe’en – All Soul’s Day – Guy Fawkes’ sorry night of failure ... next year!
|An iphone photo from the Guide|
Book of the mummified cat
Once again ... good luck to all NaNoWriMo entrants ... as I admit I’m grateful to St Jude looking after this lost cause ... how do you fall flat, bounce and come away with ... not a lot to show for it?! Lucky me ..
I wrote quite a good post last year on Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes with cross references to Christian and Pagan festivals ... but didn’t refer to the Spanish Dia de Muertos ... which is celebrated in Mexico – but I know other bloggers mentioned it. eg Tasha at Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax (always hooks me this blog title!) ...
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