Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Year's Turning

I can hardly believe that it is so long since I last posted here, the Winter Solstice and Yule have both passed and we are are almost into the New Year. Thank you to all those who left Christmas greetings in the comments, I read and appreciated them all.Above is Kaitlyn wearing her Christmas gift from Aunty Cesca and Uncle Neil when she was here on Friday. Teddy belongs to me but she has discovered him - and some of his friends :) - in the last couple of weeks and now loves to play with them when she comes over.

The season passed quickly and was very enjoyable, I received a lot of lovely gifts but one of my favourites was this lovely piece of Blue John from one of my friends. The area around Castleton in the Hope Valley is the only place in the world where this is found, I shall try and get out there and go down one of the mines next year and take some photos - if it's allowed that is.

Just before Christmas we had a really interesting talk on the history of hats at WI. The speaker brought dozens of examples and this was the oldest, it dates back to the late 18th century and is French, it is called a bergiere and is the sort of thing that Marie Antoinette and her ladies would wear when they played at being shepherdesses at Le Petit Trianon. If I let you guess from now until next Christmas I'll bet you'd never guess what it is made of! It is made entirely of -wait for it! - horsehair!! This was very expensive indeed as there was, as you can probably imagine, a fairly limited supply of it. It was mixed with plaited straw to make less expensive versions.

This is a 1920s hat and I really rather like it.

I was encouraged to try on this wonderful Edwardian creation afterwards, must admit I've always had a secret liking for these as being very flat crowns I can wear them whereas the modern day large hats with large crowns as well as large brims make me look rather like a mushroom on legs:)

This is a rather better view of the hat!

The last few photos are images from a recent walk, this one of a frosted angelica seedhead needs clicking to see how lovely it really is.

Bilbo Baggins who hasn't appeared very much recently.

This crow allowed me to get really close and take several photos,in fact he was practically posing for them.

I turned the camera up to catch the beautiful tracery of bare,black branches against a clear blue sky.

Hopefully I shall be posting more regularly again once we are past the New Year, I haven't had my camera with me as much as usual so 'must try harder' from now. Happy New Year everyone.


Janet said...

You look beautiful in the hat! It's definitely you. I, on the other hand, need those tall crowns otherwise I look like a flattened mushroom!

I've been busy myself but hopefully things will be getting back to normal now that HB is on the mend. It was enjoyable to see your photos of the trees and the angelica. You have a good eye for photography.

Leanne said...

lovely piocs Rowan, love the teddy!! (and the trees)

leanne x

Val said...

I went down the Blue John mines many many years ago (perhaps 40?) and my husband bought me a lovely heart pendant made of it. I treasure it still, as he is not one for giving presents, to this day!

Happy New Year!

peppylady (Dora) said...

2007 has had in moments.

I'm not sure what to expect out of 2008 anyhow only fool would try to predict and I'm not feeling foolish at this time.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Happy New Year, Rowan! Good to have you back with us.
I've been down the flooded mine at Castleton, I think it might be called Treak Cliff Cavern (I was 18 at the time and wearing a mini-skirt!). I remember having to duck down in the boat as there was virtually no headroom in parts.

Ragged Roses said...

Hello Rowan - I've just shuffled over from the chocolate box to read your post!!! Glad you had a good Christmas too. I love those hats, wouldn't it be wonderful if wearing hats was fashionable again. I liked all the ones you've shown, especially the twenties one. I had no idea that hats could be made from horsehair! Wishing you a very Happy 2008

Amy said...

Is that a purple amethyst crystal you received? It's so pretty. I enjoyed seeing your photos and catching up on your news :-)

World Wide Alternative said...

Worth waiting for I must say!
Happy New Year to you & yours...Xxx

OhSoVintage said...

The 'Marie Antoinette' hat was really interesting and I would have had no idea it was made from horsehair! I love the photo of the trees. Happy New Year to you.

Breezy said...

Rowan you look very dashing in that hat! Very you. Just popped by to wish you a Happy 2008

meggie said...

I hsve missed your wonderful posts.
Nice to see you back, with lots of interesting pics.
Your lovely Granddaughter with a Teddy. You in the hat.
Frost. Crow. Skyscape.

Happy New Year, & I look forward to your wonderful wordsmith ways in 2008.

rel said...

Golly, I've missed you!

But you've returned with such a flourish and a delightful portrait to boot, that I must forgive your absence.;)
The photo of the lacy tree tops silhouetted against the sky is captivaing.
I wonder if the "crow" is a descendant of the one who visited "Elodie" in my novel....I'm sure they're related. ;)Did he converse with you?
You splendiferous Christmas card was enjoyed by the entire family! Thank You, and Happy new Year to you and all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rowan, I have never heard of "blue john" before. It sounds very interesting but for some reason, that photo isn't showing up for me. I will check back later tonight and see if it shows up. I love hats, particularly vintage hats. The horsehair mustve been very itchy? Lovely pics. I also love the pics of the robin in the previous post. Isnt he a precious little thing?! Happy New Year Rowan!

Naturegirl said...

Rowan what lovely pose with the hat!
Wishing you peace love inspiration and blessings as we move forward to a NEW YEAR!
hugs NG

PAT said...

It's good to see you again, Rowan!

I love the photo of Kaitlyn!

You look wonderful in the hat! Thanks so much for writing about the history of hats! I have a wide brimmed hat, I bought in Charleston SC. I tend to buy narrower brimmed hats, but couldn't resist this one. I wear it even though it makes me look a bit like a mushroom!
Happy New Year!

Linda G. said...

First the robin and then the crow..I think you're a bird whisperer, Rowan! And we benifit with the great pictures.
Still, it's the picture of Kaitlyn and Teddy that I keep returning to..such a special shot:)

Love the hats and you in one..

A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you and yours Rowan!

Kim said...

I love that hat on you too Rowan, it really suits you.

Kaitlyn's a little poppet, isn't she :)

A very Happy New Year to you and your family

Kim x

Tea said...

Great pictures! Have a wonderful New Year Rowan!


Julie said...

Dear Rowan,

I am so glad you are back and blogging. Right now I am reading "Abundance" by Sena Jeter Nasland(sp?) about Marie Antoinette. It is very interesting so far and purports that she was much less the villainess history has made her out to be.

Looking forward to many interesting posts about your corner of England in 2008.

Hugs, Julie

Strawberry Lane said...

So glad you are back. You look simply stunning in the hat.

Have a wonderful New Year!

Rosie said...

Love the hat photos - you have some interesting speakers at your WI. Happy New Year to you and very best wishes for 2008:)

Julie said...

P. S.

1. Still can't see the photo of the Blue John. Hmmm...

2. You look fabulous in that hat. You should wear hats all the time!

3. Good to see Bilbo B. again.


Anonymous said...

The hats and Kaitlyn are lovely (of course!), thanks for your kind comments about the blog too. I hope you have a wonderful new year full of lovely things.

Rowan said...

I've reposted the photo of the Blue John so I hope it's visible now:)

Anonymous said...

A very happy, healthy 2008 !!!!!
Oh wow that hat looks really good on you. Such a shame such hats aren't worn anymore. They are so beautiful !!!

gfid said...

wishing you many, many good things in 2008. your Blue John looks a lot like purple amethyst. lovely stone. i wander by occasionally, but seldom post.... just had to tell you how beautiful your garden is, and that i had a bluejay who was as sociable as your robin. a garden just isn't complete without birds and their songs.

Jenny said...

I'm so glad to see you back to posting- I think a lot of people took an extended break over the holidays. Kaitlyn is lovely in her new clothes, and I would have loved the talk about hats. Wishing you a wonderful 2008!

kate said...

Hi Rowan,

Happy New Year, even if I'm late. This last photo looking up at through the branches is beautiful.

You look amazing in the Edwardian hat ... I love it!

And here's a big hello to Bilbo Baggins - he hasn't been around much at all!

AM still trying to get my head around a horsehair beret. It is cute though.

Anonymous said...

We tried to visit the Blue John Mines a good few years ago but they were closed at the time. We had a nice afternoon wandering around a small village close by though.

Like you, I'll probably try to get there again this summer. Thanks for reminding me :)