Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thursday 8th Dec.

Spottiness; The laser lights are working and I see others in the village have their outside lights as well, xmas is on its way.  Today I shall make a start on a wreath, love the greenery of the season, especially the carols, Holly and Ivy even though it is a bit kitsch, except perhaps (which is my favourite) The Boar's Head carol by Steeleye Span and Maddy Prior  justs rolls pagan with medieval historical tones round the house, though of course if you do read the history, christianity was imported at a later stage.

Reminds me of a story I read the other day, this was about a Whitby custom, whereby the locals have to build 'a penny hedge' in the sea and it has to last for three tides.  Well it all goes back to three young nobles who when hunting for a boar in the forests round Whitby, found the boar had taken refuge in a monk's cell, where it died.  The three young hooligans demanded the body of the boar from the monk but he said no, and then of course he was beaten almost to death by them,  They were called to appear before the abbot, who was quite happy to sentence them to death but the dying monk spoke up for them and asked that each year this hedge be built in the sea, must find the original words in the book and so it came to pass.

Well poor chickens all over the country have to stay inside according to DEFRA, no wandering round in the fields for a month because of this Avian flu that is going round in the wild birds, especially those migrating birds.  Not sure what to do, my little lot will go 'stir crazy' if they don't have their ramble around in the afternoon, but heavy fines?

And if you want the words to The Boar's Head

The boar's head in hand bring I 

Bedeck'd with bays and rosemary. 
I pray you, my masters, be merry 
Quot estis in convivio.

Caput apri defero 

Reddens laudes Domino.

The boar's head, as I understand 

Is the rarest dish in all this land 
Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland 
Let us servire cantico.

Caput apri defero 

Reddens laudes Domino

Our steward hath provided this 

In honor of the King of Bliss; 
Which, on this day to be served is 
In Reginensi atrio.

Caput apri defero 

Reddens laudes Domino.

About this song:

"The boar's head carol" is a traditional Christmas carol dating back to 16th century England. This song is sung on Christmas day at Queen's college, Oxford, where the custom of bringing a boar's head to the dining table is still maintained.
This tradition has its origin from the Pagan custom of serving boar as the first dish at Roman feasts. This is what Wikipedia says about the origin of the tradition at Oxford - Legend has it that a scholar was studying a book of Aristotle while walking through the forest on his way to Midnight Mass. Suddenly, he was confronted by an angry wild boar. Having no other weapon, the resourceful Oxonian rammed his metal-bound philosophy book down the throat of the charging animal, whereupon the brute choked to death. That night the boar's head, finely dressed and garnished, was borne in procession to the dining room, accompanied by carolers singing 'in honor of the King of bliss'. Shows how useful it is, to have a heavy book of Philosophy lying around!
Translation of the latin terms used:
Quot estis in convivio - all who are feasting together
servite cum in cantico - serve it while singing
In Reginensi Atrio - within the Queen's Hall
Caput apri defero - I bring the boar's head
Reddens laudes Domino - Sing thanks to the Lord.


  1. Learned a lot of new things with this post. The pagan is always so dark and dangerous. Reading "The Book of Kells" right now, not sure I am enjoying the darkness of it.

    1. Gosh I have never read the Book of Kells, only looked at the fine art work. History is always dark because only the most interesting bits are written about. The boar features quite heavily in the Iron Age culture I think.

  2. I hope that you will be able to make a little bird-proof run for your hens so they can peck about a bit.

    Steeleye Span singing The Board Head is on a cd on my play list at the moment. One of my personal favourites too. I didn't know the origins of this though - thanks for enlightening me.

    1. Had a neighbour over yesterday, she said it would not be possible to keep her hens confined so they would plead ignorance of the request by Defra. Took the information from Wiki, who are pleading for money at the moment, normally send them £10 a year to keep it going........

  3. I am not religious - on the contrary. But for me Christmas really begins with the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve.
    We went into M and S Food in Northallerton today - absolutely sold out of Pigs in Blankets.

    1. 3.0;clock snuggling down in front of the fire and listening, best time of Xmas. When they sing the Boar's Head it is really in a very bass note.
      I remember when you could also serve prunes with wrap around bacon as well, or was it something else, the little sausages of this season shouldn't be too difficult to find. J said yesterday that she bought packaged bread sauce, which I found shocking ;)

  4. I recall learning The Boars Head Carol somewhere in my teens--liking it because it because it was 'different'---and very rousing.

  5. It is a fabulous rousing carol, especially sung by Steeleye Span and Maddy Prior.