Archive for the ‘Traditions & Superstitions’ Category


Shiny! Pandora bangles seem to be all the rage this Christmas…

This is a sudden post. And all because there was a long queue of people through the door of a shop in Cardiff the other day and I was surprised to find it was the Pandora jewellery shop. The ideal Christmas gift for young and stylish women?

Very shiny, quite expensive, needing no thought at all, or maybe too much thought, (more…)

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Rainbow skull by Chris Padgett on Flickr – click on the image to go to his page…

I like to do a post for Halloween and in previous years I have featured owls and Jack o’ lantern and Will o’ the wisp.

As a former archaeologist, I have always (more…)

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My ash trees in June…

Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn good sirs,
All on a midsummer’s morn.
Surely we sing of no little thing
In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.

My back garden – my world – is full of ash trees. And I fear for them, as the threat (more…)

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Face above the door, a Cardiff side street…

This magnificent face is above all the front doors of a row of old semi-detached houses in a small Cardiff side street that I often walk along.

He intrigues me so much that (more…)

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Miniature daffodils in the garden, in flower in time for St David's Day

Oh how we love our daffodils, here in Wales. And especially today, March 1, St David’s Day – our national day. We have a choice – to wear a daffodil or a leek – so most people choose the daff and an easy way is to buy a charity daffodil pin from Marie Curie Cancer Care. I’ll be wearing mine.

It’s also a day when (more…)

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The Circle of Legends in Tintern, Monmouthshire

Back in the summer I was totally smitten by this circle of six ancient wood-carved figures in a forest clearing in Tintern, Monmouthshire.

The figures themselves, sculpted from oak (or in one case sweet chestnut), are not ancient, but the people they represent are historical and mythical characters at the heart of this part of the country.

They were (more…)

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Blue owl by Fluro-Knife - love it, the colours are so cold and alien...

I heard a tawny owl (Strix aluco) in the garden last night, for the first time in months. It’s an eerie sound and how appropriate for this Halloween time of year.

But this post is not a nature ramble but a collection of modern images of owls – see also my posts on the art of penguins and peacocks.

In this post I will mention the goddess Athena, witches and wizards and share with you some owls depicted using various media. In most cases clicking on the image will take you to the source of the picture.

Owls are surely (more…)

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Nativity stained-glass window from the Church of St Mary, Swanage, Dorset...

I hope everyone out there has a lovely Christmas/Holiday/Yule.

Also a prosperous 2011 – or at least a healthy one.

If you are in the mood for looking at old churches, go to my ancestral places galleries.

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This rather handsome young Jack Frost by ArmadaRyu obviously doesn't feel the cold...

We have now had a couple of light frosts this autumn, and there’s an “Arctic blast” on the way this week, so I thought I would look into the words frost, hoar and rime, which I always thought meant the same thing, but apparently not…


Frost on a car windscreen a few days ago...

According to my Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary (1980), frost means: a state of freezing; temperature at or below the freezing point of water. It comes from (more…)

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Cat and Jack o' Lantern by Robb Mommaerts


This is a swede lantern just like I used to make - click on the image to go to a Scottish 'tumshie lantern' article...

Halloween is drawing near so I thought I would look at pumpkin lanterns – and the swede lanterns I am more familiar with from my Welsh childhood. A swede? You may also know it as a Swedish turnip, yellow turnip or rutabaga.

Here in the UK there is a long tradition of making lanterns from turnips, mangelwurzels and swedes for harvest time in general, but it was the Americans who started to call them Jack o’ lanterns in 1837 and to associate them with Halloween, in 1866. Thanks Wikipedia for telling me all that.

American traditions have taken over in the UK now, not only by replacing root vegetables with jolly pumpkins, but also (more…)

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