Halloween, in its current form, is primarily a North American tradition. Its roots, however, spring from the old Celtic traditions of England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Wales. But the English don't observe All Hallow's Eve with the same vigour as the North Americans, who revel in Trick-or-Treating and spooky decorations, or even really at all. They have Guy Fawkes' Night and all those bonfires to see to!
Nonetheless, our recent trip to England was just at the very end of summer and so for me, I was already beginning to dream about the glorious colours of Fall leaves and ... Halloween. I think some of the pictures I took show that I definitely had "Halloween on the Brain" and show my strong fascination with anything slightly macabre or gothic - things that are ever present in wonderful, magical England!
Hover over images to magically discover their origin!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018 / edited 2019
Chapter 1: Creepy Cinderella's Arrival at The Grove
This dirty dolly entered the Grove recently. Dirty, deteriorating, sticky, smelly -- she seemed perfect for our yearly Hallowe'en display. I had not intended to alter her charms at all - except maybe, a bit of red splattering on her dress. I mean, really, she has changed colour and is literally disintegrating; if she had been stored properly, the story would be different ... and you have to have some fun, right? But as the littlest fairy in the Grove carried her 'round and 'round the thrift store, some magic must have happened.
I looked back to see her holding the doll close to her chest. "Mom! She's Made in England!" Well, that's gold. "Really?" I said. I flipped up her sticky hair and there it was on the back of dolly's neck. A bit more looking around and I kept reiterating - she can't live in the house, she is just too far gone - she must live with the Hallowe'en decorations and only come out once a year. But eventually I glanced down to see a loving gaze at the doll and heard the words, "I love her Momma".
So the challenge is on to restore Cinderella, so named for her brand of shoes, "No. 3 Medium Cinderella". This and the following information, is all I have on her so far:
If anyone knows of good sites to research this dolly - I would love to hear from you. The amount of information on vintage/antique dolls is absolutely overwhelming! Next week we will start to clean Cinderella - a change for this fairy tale character, who usually has to do all the cleaning herself!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 (gif courtesty of animated images.org)
(Oct 31/Nov 1)
the old Celtic end of
summertime and harvest
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan, 2016 / edited 2019
This is a poem I wrote as an assignment for a writing class I took a few years back. It uses a lot of rhyming and is meant to be in "Shel Silverstein" style. I hope you like it.
The Right Stuff
The big white cat looked
Up from the fence,
At the old oak tree
Leaving leaves less dense.
The white cat said, to the Oak King,
"Halloween's here, hear me sing.
I can hiss and spit,
And flash my eyes,
Arch my back against a full moon sky.
I be as scary as a black cat be,
Now what do you think,
You old oak tree?"
Not a sound rolled around
From that ancient soul,
But between its leaves,
Stretched a cat of coal.
His eyes they glowed
Like yellow flames and
He bared sharp teeth,
With an aim to maim.
"Best leave to me,"
He said with a boast,
"And wait this out
Behind that post.
The children are coming up the path
And I've got the stuff to make them dash.
If they see you, "puss, puss" they'll say
And laugh and carry on their way.
Shamed, the white cat,
Slunk and hid
Behind the post
As he was bid.
But when those posers came quite near,
He thought around the post he'd peer,
Just to see the garb that night,
Of witches, skeletons and the like.
But those kids they screamed!
And fled in fright.
Trick or treat bags
Thrown left and right.
For rounding 'round that post they'd seen
A BIG WHITE GHOST !!
(or so it seemed.)
The taunting black cat,
Added a caterwaul,
Laughed to the white cat,
"You're the scariest of us all !!"
So that's the story of the two old cats
Who learned that night (and it's a fact)
That there's more than one way to skin a cat!
(if you'll pardon the expression)
© Vicki Buchanan, 2014, 2016, 2019
For example, my paternal grandfather was born in 1907 but wasn't issued a birth certificate until 1945! Obviously, no one checked for birth certificates in those days as he had: attended school (although only for a couple of years), many jobs, got married, children and was rated 4-F for military service during WWII due to a broken back in childhood, and a metal plate in his wrist from a construction accident. I'm not sure what prompted his need to apply for a birth certificate but it is certainly interesting how he was able to function until the age of 38 without one! Just shows how different the times are now. He was born at home, and had to get statutory declarations from his mom, aunt and a former neighbour, together with a copy of his dad's handwritten entry of the birth in the family bible, in order to have his birth registered.
Wishing you a lot of cool stories to uncover with your grave-digging too!
Picture Frames & Photo Albums
That favourite picture of your loved one deserves a good frame. Most you will find these days are made of MDF - which is just not good enough! Real wood, metal or ceramic is much more long-lasting and kinder to the environment. Also, don't forget to print out your special photos and get them into albums. While I know it is space efficient to store photos on the computer, it is easy to forget that crashes, viruses and obsolete technology can render those photos irretrievable. I have heard horror stories at our local camera shop from people who have lost their photos - always print the special ones! One of my goals this winter is to sift through our family's virtual mountain of photos and compile a physical record of the precious ones.
Meadow Sweet Grove © Vicki Buchanan, 2016