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♫    Music to dream by ....
on the album
'' Dream Attic"  2010  ♫

If Love Whispers Your Name
Richard Thompson

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Richard Thompson ©vcsinden2010



    October 29th 2012     Ready for tonight's full moon and for Samhain? - think I might be - been busy with autumny things for the last few days .....
   (Making magic?  The  Ogham wood  for this time of year is now  Wheat Straw or Reed - Ngetal ,  October 28th - November 24th)

leaf from a field maple ©vcsinden2012 Ink cap - a huge clump growing in Hurst Wood, Charing ©vcsinden2012 Pumpkins for cooking - Slindon Festival ©vcsinden2012

Misty autumn morning at Nymans ©vcsinden2012

Star funghi at the roots of an old oak ©vcsinden2012 Sweet gum leaves in October ©vcsinden2012
Pumpkins and squashes in variety at Slindon Festival ©vcsinden2012 Scarecrow - welcome to the church - Slindon festival ©vcsinden2012 Willow sculpture pumpkin - Slindon Festival ©vcsinden2012

Scare the Crows - Slindon Festival ©vcsinden2012 

Cornus leaves, glowing in October sunlight ©vcsinden2012 Field mushrooms for supper, Hurst Wood, Charing ©vcsinden2012 Field maple - scarlet levaes in October ©vcsinden2012

     Pumpkins and scarecrows photographed at the Slindon Pumpkin Festival in Sussex. 
Views and leaves
- Nymans, National Trust Garden & Hurst Wood.
(ink cap, earth-star and field mushrooms)  in and around Hurst Wood, Charing. 
Hens - belong to Muddypond and, like her, enjoy Autumn very much.

    If you're interested in the enchanted trees of the Ogham calendar, there is a new page on my website featuring the folklore and magick of the Yew tree - yew is used extensively at Samhain for fires and decoration.

With autumn fungi in mind, you might like 'Faery Rings a plenty- all ready for the Samhain dance', new on Muddypond's faery-tale blog
'Wolf Moons and Muddypond Green'




    October 16th 2012        And so it begins - the Sussex Bonfire Societies light up the skies ....

Guy Fawkes - the giant on parade with Hastings Bonfire Society ©vcsinden2012   
Sussex, not much of wing journey from where Muddypond lives, is known as 'The Fire County'. At present some forty towns and villages have their own charity supporting Bonfire Societies who lead the celebrations, each with its own distinctive flavour.

Faeries are extremely partial to bonfires, as they are of many venerable traditions be they mortal or magick. They go visiting - and this Saturday was the turn of Hastings.

The Bonfire Society Hastings - parading to the beach ©vcsinden2012

    The most famous of the bonfire parades is in Lewes - but it gets so busy that it's hard to see through the crowds. In Hastings there was room for as many mortals as wished to be there and more, with the huge bonfire and fireworks being on the beach. The Lewes Bonfire Society website has a good list of  2012 dates for all the societies, up until mid November.

Bonfire Society parade at Hastings ©vcsinden2012
Hastings Bonfire Society fireworks on the beach ©vcsinden2012
Drummers in the Hastings Bonfire Society parade October ©vcsinden2012
Fire and torch barrels at the end of the parade - Hastings Bonfire Society ©vcsinden2012 Bonfire Society - Hastings parade ©vcsinden2012
Drummers at the parade of the Hastings Bonfire Society on their way to the fire on the beach ©vcsinden2012 Fireworks at Hastings Bonfire Society celebrations in October ©vcsinden2012

 There's a good list of the Sussex Bonfire Societies with a link to each on Wikepedia here. If you'd like to learn more, the small book in the Folklore of England series - 'Customs in Sussex' by Tony Foxworthy 2011 - has a page for many of the societies and is a useful source of information.

Bonfire Society, October celebrations on the beach at Hastings. This picture is strictly copyright ©vcsinden2012

The vast bonfire on the beach, by the Hastings Bonfire Society on October 13th 2012




   October 11th 2012        October means Tenterden Folk Festival for Kentish folk .....

Illustration by John Hegley, Guardian

Tenterden Folk Festival ©vcsinden2012 Hunters Moon Morris at Tenterden Folk Festival ©vcsinden2012 learning to parade well - tenterden Folk Festival ©vcsinden2012

       You understand I'm sure that the faery-kind loathe the sound of bells - but that means the dark, doom-laden iron bells in towers, reverberating over miles, setting teeth on edge and wings a-quiver. Morris bells, tinkling in time to clashes, taps and stomps, now they're a different matter. The English fae have been watching these celebrations of music and dance for as long as they have been performed - and that's a long, long time.

Stuart Forester at Tenterden Folk Festival ©vcsinden2012 Tenterden Folk Festival 2012 ©vcsinden2012 Luke Jackson at Tenterden festival ©vcsinden2012

  Luke Jackson - young singer/songwriter supreme. You can follow his events on his website - next appearance in Kent at this point is Sunday November 25th in Canterbury.

     NB:  Anyone in the family that likes collecting conkers and making crazy creatures? There's a new Forest Dragon that you might like over on Muddypond's Hedgerow Crafts page today.


   October 2nd 2012        An extraordinary encounter with the ivy hedge .....   
     (Making magic? Need a wand or bark for incense?  The Ogham wood for this time of year is now  Ivy - Gort ,  September 30th - October 27th)  Red Admiral feeding on ivy nectar ©vcsinden2012

    Thinking about the magic of the Ogham trees and plants - as this faery wood warden often must - it's fascinating to notice how often the very tree or shrub that's suddenly showing off in the sunlight and catching all your attention, is the one that is currently ruling the Ogham calendar. You can read plenty more about the Ivy and Ogham magick here on the Eco Enchantments site.

Red admiral gorging on the nectar of the ivy flowers in early October ©vcsinden2012

   And so it was at the beginning of this week, when the sun shone brightly on the huge ivy hedge near my fallen oak. It was simply alive with insects!

    Reverberating with buzzes and glowing in great puffs of golden pollen as wings brushed the flower-globes; feet and hairs stained ochre; proboscis probing and pollen-sacs filled to bursting!

   It's not often that we even associate Ivy with flowers, but right now, on the very first day of its Ogham month, the flowers were covered in sweet pollen and made a luxurious banqueting table for so many different species of insect that I gave up counting.

The ivy headge at Eco Enchantments ©vcsinden2012

    All manner of honey-bees, flies and tiny stripey bumbles sped in and out of the ivy tangles, warm in the sunshine.

Tiny wood bumble bee on the ivy flowers ©vcsinden2012


    There was some extraordinarily BAD behaviour from a gang of huge, yellow hornets who were real bullies!

    They flew heavily around the flower balls, but didn't stop to feed. It seemed they were there for one purpose only - to BIF the BUTTERFLIES off the flowers! They didn't want the flowers themselves - they simply chose a butterfly - dive-bombed it hard, bashed it and made it fly away!

Comma feeding on the pollen of ivy flowers in early October ©vcsinden2012

Commas a plenty.

I didn't realise that she's named 'Comma' because of the white comma shaped mark under her wings did you? Wood wardens learn all the time!

Comma underwing, showing the comma mark ©vcsinden2012

   All the butterflies seemed drunk with the scent of pollen and posed soporiphically for their portraits.

The blackberries and elderberries are nearly over - but you still have time to make a wonderfully warming
Hedgerow Cobbler for an indulgent and filling Autumny pud!  See the new recipe on my Cooky Page

You might like the poetry and faery art of the blackberry and bramble kind, new on Muddypond's faery-tale blog
'Wolf Moons and Muddypond Green'




   September 23rd 2012         Rooftops, chimneys and faery stories in Barcelona .....

Museum Frederic Mares Barcelona - cane heads ©vcsinden2012
Cane heads - part of a collection in the museum Frederic Marės

    Just spent some more warm autumn days in Barcelona - so much to see. Even with the help of transport Flit on, Flit off Faery-Touristique, never enough hours! Markets, museums, monasteries, mojitas - and so much more.

   This one went to gaze at the skyline, at Gaudi masterpieces that she hadn't seen before. Knowing, as more melting curves and rippling wrought iron materialise, that this architect was no mortal - Senyor Gaudi had more than a touch of magick! As does most of the city.

Barcelona - waterfront ©vcsinden2012
La Pedrera - balocny ©vcsinden2012

Autumn by the water front and iron balcony rails of an apartment at La Pedrera, inspired by undulating sea weeds.


Gaudi chimneys and faery Muddypond Green ©vcsinden2012       As in all the best faery tales, rooftops and skylines make wonderful places to escape and dream for a while.

On the left you can see Muddypond, high up amongst the quirky Gaudi chimneys. Below the icing-sugar colours and dragon-scale tiles of Casa Batiló

Casa Batilo - Gaudi - Barcelona ©vcsinden2012
Kiss of Death - Barcelona Cemetery Poblenou ©vcsinden2012
La merce Festival Barcelona - the Giants ready for parade ©vcsinden2012
  The vast Cemetery at Poblenou, once on the city outskirts, makes a fascinating visit and is like nothing this very English fae has seen before. The famous marble 'Kiss of Death' contrasts starkly with the joyful Barcelona Giants back in Las Ramblas, ready for their entrance into the Festival La Mercė the following day -such a shame that I couldn' t stay to see them parading.
Barcelona Cemetery at Poblenou ©vcsinden2012
Sagrada Familiar - work progresses ©vcsinden2012 Monestir Sant Pau del Camp, Barcelona ©vcsinden2012
A glimpse of La Sagrada Familiar, Gaudi's greatest work, - begun 130 years ago and destined not to be finished even in this faery's long lifetime.  And of the cloisters of Barcelona's oldest church - Sant Pau del Camp - begun in 911 and still in use as a place of the spirit.

   Miss you beautiful city - but the woods, the brambles and wet autumn leaves are calling me home.

There are more of Muddypond's faery-tale Gaudi chimney flashes
here on her other blog - Wolf Moons and Muddypond Green



   September 10th 2012         Another tradition - sorry but it's that Autumny time of year!  A harvest character for you - the Carshalton Straw Jack .......

harvest Home by Margaret Tarrant
"Harvest Home" by Margaret Tarrant

        When the crops are 'safely gathered in' as they have been so recently - it's time for mortals and faere-folk alike to make their thank you celebrations. Across mother earth, traditional harvest rituals are still practised, passed down over centuries from the ancestors.

        In Britain, the final bundle of wheat to be cut is considered lucky. It might be bound into a corn sheaf and displayed proudly beside the harvest loaf, or, as seen this weekend in a sleepy Surrey town - used to make a Straw Jack. Quite a lot of local beer gets drunk in the process!

Carshalton Straw Jack outside The Duke of Wellington ©vcsinden2012 Carshalton Straw Jack crown with hops and wheat ©vcsinden2012
Leaving from The Duke of Wellington  Straw Jack is ready to process to the next pub, as his hop-decorated crown suggests.
Carshalton Straw Jack©vcsinden2012
Carshalton Straw Jack walking to The Sun ©vcsinden2012
Jack perambulates the streets after a quick jig in the Water Tower Gardens and on to The Sun for another beer - or two!

   As with so many of these characters, when Jack has had his day he must be destroyed. When the sun goes down he'll be pulled apart and ritually burned - so goes the ancient cycle of birth, death and re-birth. If you manage to take a handful of straw from poor Jack, burn half and keep half as a talisman to see you through the winter.

Carshalton Straw Jack - my bundle, saved as a talisman ©vcsinden2012

Carshalton Straw Jack arrives at The Hope for his beer and burning ©vcsinden2012
Carshalton Straw Jack musicians drumming Jack home ©vcsinden2012
Jack arrives at The Hope, nearing the end of his journey. Musicians and drummers keep him company every step of the way.
Carshalton Straw Jack ©vcsinden2012
Carshalton Straw Jack - waiting to burn ©vcsinden2012
Straw is piled and poor Jack pulled to pieces, each handful tossed into the flames with a blessing by the crowd happily waiting their turn.

    Have you noticed the new link on Muddypond's 'favourites' page to 'Where the Wild Roses Grow'? 
There you will find beautifully delicate hand-made faery and ogham-tree silver jewellery to buy or commission.
I know you will love it. Check the link here.



   September 4th 2012         Kentish Hops and the Faversham Hop Festival   
     (Making magic? Need a wand or bark for incense?  The Ogham wood for this time of year is now Bramble - Muin ,  September 2nd - September 29th)


"The lad who hops upon one leg
No doubt that business understands;
But do not boast of that, I beg,
For here, they're hopping with their hands!"

Rhyme published in 'Country Walks for Little Folks' 1858

Hop garlands and crowns for sale at the Faversham Hop Festival ©vcsinden2012
'Sur Les Docks' performing at the Faversham Hop Festival ©vcsinden2012
Hop garland crowns and tiaras, and a few of the results - watching a great French band 'Sur les Docks'

      Greyhound, 'retired and loving it' at the Faversham Hop Festival ©vcsinden2012Growing and processing hops for beer making used to be one of the mainstays of Kentish economy. Every 'hop garden', as they call the vast acres of hops growing up tall poles and trained along criss-crossing wires, at one time had its own faery guardian.

   The thousands of 'hop-picker' children, coming down to Kent from London with their enire families for the annual hop harvest in September, would occasionally catch a glimpse of one at dusk.

   Hops make a wonderful filling for 'dream-pillows' and a mild hop infusion or tea can be taken to calm nerves when wakeful night-time problems seem insurmountable.

kentish hop pickers, vintage postcard
Hop kiln at Selling, Kent, still in full use ©vcsinden2012
London Hop Pickers, taking their annual working 'holiday'
in the country, away from London smogs. Vintage postcard.
Hop gardens and drying 'Oast kilns' are still to be found in Kent.
This one, near Selling, was blazing away last night as the hops were piled
onto the floors above the furnaces.

Poem from "All Round the Year" by Edith Nesbit & Caris Brooke 1888

Hop bines at the Faversham Hop Festival ©vcsinden2012
Seven Champions Molly Dancers, letting rip at Faversham Hop Festival ©vcsinden2012
Kentish hops , ready for harvest in September ©vcsinden2012
Buying a hop bine for decoration,
or perhaps to make a dream-pillow.
Serious dancers - pair from Seven Champions Molly,
based at Frittenden, Kent
Ready for harvest yesterday,
looking up into the skies, near Selling, Kent

    Like so many of the older country-faery habitats, the hop gardens have dwindled. They're no longer picked by throngs of workers down for the harvest. You won't see the stilt-walkers cutting the ropes from the pole tops, or the children stripping the hop flowers from the bines.
    But the hops ARE still there, in their acres if you know where to look - so is that evocative bitter-sweet scent. And you never know - a faery guardian or two could still be on the look out - especially as the sun slips down behind the poles, and evening light takes all colour from the fields.

Great Western Morris at the Faversham Hop Festival  ©vcsinden2012
The Thameside Mummers perform at the Faversham Hop Festival  ©vcsinden2012

Leaping High! -  energetic and well rehearsed!
Great Western Morris
from Exeter

     St. George and the Mari Lwyd hooden - from
  The Thameside Mummers based in Leigh-on-Sea

Kentish hop garden with faery Muddypond Green ©vcsinden2012
The end of a long day, Muddypond taking in the evening scent of a Kentish hop-garden. 

  Like fairy poetry and art? Then you might want to read about the elves and fearsome spiders
  here, new on the Wolf Moons and Muddypond Green Blog.