Saturday, 28 June 2014

More about the Celts, Anglo Saxon Jewellery and Summer Flowers

Anglo Saxon times in Britain from the 5th to 10th centuries followed the decline of the Roman Empire and were once thought to be primitive and terrible, the Dark Ages, but archaeology has taught us otherwise. 

It was a skilled culture where the Blacksmith, or craftsman, created beautiful book covers, swords, warrior helmets and jewellery. 

The enamelled brooches, rings, necklaces, bracelets were worked from iron, gold and silver into intricate filigree designs encrusted with coral, crystals, amber, glass, garnet and other semi precious stones.

The Anglo Saxon hoard, a vast collection of these items, was discovered during 2009 in a field in Staffordshire and was taken to Birmingham Museum where I was able to see some of it.

We have many artifacts now from the world where my novel is set, the 8th century, including amulets the Anglo Saxons would have carried, treasure which may have been meaningless to others but priceless in the owner's hands. 

We still have our own amulets today. Mine include the silvered Celtic Cross I bought at Swanwick, the UK writers Summer School, in 2008. It marked the beginning of my passion for writing and has had a bearing on my novel, Durstan, the Monk's tale. 

I also treasure my Mother and Father's photographs, the painting they did as a hobby; Grandmother's bracelet and Chinese lacquered table; an old musical box which was a childhood favourite and there's a few more.


Each of us too finds beauty in different places. The early Celtic Christians saw it in nature, the landscape and all of creation which they believed came from their God. 

And I love the abundance of summer flowers everywhere, their beautiful colours. I discovered this tub outside St Mary's Church in Warwick last week, when I passed by.

Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Tradition, Morris Dancing and Roses

Tradition is the handing down of beliefs, customs and legends from generation to generation by word of mouth or practice. It includes food; medicine; values; weddings; music and dancing. 

Morris Dancers wear colourful costumes, bells on their shins and use sticks, swords or handkerchiefs to entertain us. They became popular in England during the 15th century and can still be seen at traditional festivities such as the May Day pageant.

I was in Warwick on 17th May, 2014 when 138 dancers took part in a world record attempt to perform the largest Morris dance since 2007. They danced in the streets, were wonderful to watch and won the day!

Queen Victoria wore a white gown at her wedding to Albert of Saxe-Coburg on 10th February, 1840. It popularised, and may have started, the tradition of being married in white.

A red rose has long been the symbol of love. Robert Burns (1759-1796) wrote:

"O my love's like a red, red rose,

That's newly sprung in June..."

The later poem by Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) gives us a light hearted comparison:

"A single flow'r he sent to me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet-
One perfect rose......

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose."

It's the beautiful rose for me every time!

Thank you for visiting the Hope and Dreams blog. I hope you are having a great weekend.