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Saturday, October 3, 2020

Saturday 3rd October

 Every day I read what people say about the books they are reading, and I am left in a dilemma as to what to read, so I go back to my shelves of books collected over the years.  Books give me a thrill but I can see people wincing slightly at my choice, not much fiction they say.

Well today I pulled out ' The Life and Death of a Druid Prince', a slightly fanciful reconstruction of the death of the Lindow man in a bog 2000 years ago.  Why? well Professor David Wilson, famous criminologist was on the radio this morning.  He mentioned writing a book that investigated a murder, which was pinned on the wrong man by the police - eg he was stitched up.  I felt sorry for this innocent young man languishing in jail all these years.. 

Lindow Man has been seen as a sacrificial death, he seemed to have been hung, hit on the head and drowned in the peat bog.  The golden Celtic torques are supposed to be reminiscent of the rope as well.  Three deaths, (a sacred triad) the number three is symbolic of course.  What I love about the book is that Anne Ross has shown photos of the Gaulish Celtic Gods showing the dark nature of another religion.  You can also find these gods in the Roman Bath Museum.

Taranis the Thunder God

Though I have been over this old ground years ago, the books beckon, or is it the gods?  Another book I pulled out, it has been nagging at the back of my mind for a few days now, is, 'Early Renaissance Architecture' by someone called Gotch.  The book itself is falling to pieces but within its scope are those marvellous old photographs of houses, probably long gone but relics of great ambition.

Tacitus on the goddess Nerthus...

"In an Island of the ocean is a holy grove, and in it a consecrated chariot, covered in robes. A single priest is permitted to touch it; he interprets the presence if the goddess in her shrine and with deep reverence as she rides away drawn by cows; then come days of rejoicing and all places keep holiday, as many as she may think worthy to receive and entertain her. They make no war, take no arms; every weapon is put away; peace and quiet are then alone, known and loved, until the same priest returns the goddess to her temple, when she has had her fill of the society of mortals. After this the chariot and the robes, and if you will believe it, the goddess herself, are washed in a sequestered lake; slaves are the ministrants and are at the same time swallowed by that lake. Hence a mysterious terror and an ignorance fullof piety as to that that may be which men only behold to die"


  1. I have changed my opinion over the last few years. I used to read books which I thought I ought to read. Now I read books I want to read and reject any which after the first few pages I know are not for me. As English is my subject that does mean mostly I read good fiction and being in a like-minded Book Group helps here. But each to his own The only other books I read are books about wildlife (H is for Hawk e.g.) and countless booka books about gardening, designing gardens, anything which I think might make me a better gardener!

  2. Well there you are. I have got rid of countless books on gardening, craft work and fiction, and unless I buy more books, my local library is hopeless, even their system for getting books from other points of the County are almost nil. For instance when I requested 'Salt Path' I was about a hundred in the queue. Perhaps there are too many writers in the world ;)

  3. The bog people have taught us so much. I once saw Tollund Man in a museum in Silkeborg, Denmark. There he was in his glass case, his skin like leather. It is estimated that he died 2300 years ago. His last meal had been a kind of porridge made from several grains - both wild and cultivated.

    1. Some of the rather frightening bog bodies are considered sacrificial, whilst others when found face down are considered executions for murder or adultery. Scandinavian peat burials are the most common, with the legend of Nerthus accompanying the fate of her consorts to their untimely death. But then that is only a story.

  4. Personally, I would reread the architecture volume. You might call a used book store, or look on EBay. Salt Path is pretty old and should be available as a used volume.

    1. Yes I have been looking at it Joanne, what is terribly striking is the profound ugliness of some of these enormous houses. I got the 'Salt Path' and found it a good read but will not bother with her second book.


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