Filed under myths

Edith Walks

I have often wondered why the UK has never produced an equivalent of Kerouac, of Hunter S Thompson, the wild, crazy, drug and alcohol fuelled travellers and story tellers. Yes, I know Britain is a lot smaller. Any road trip would be a lot shorter, but here’s a film that comes close. It begins with … Continue reading

Anselm Kiefer ‘Walhalla’

Anselm Kiefer ‘Walhalla’

Kiefer may be my favourite artist and I have no idea why, as I’m not usually into such weirdness. I love this huge exhibition, on at the White Cube till 12 Feb. It’s title refers to Norse mythology’s paradise for those slain in battle but also, this being Keifer and heavily into things Germanic, also … Continue reading

Wassailing Exotically

Wassailing Exotically

Here’s a gem from the V&A museum, a wassail set, but not for country yokels! This is made of lignum vitae, an expensive hardwood from the West Indies, and ivory.   

Words and Image of a Nobody

Words and Image of a Nobody

There are a lot of images from our history that suggest there was some heavy drug taking happening – disproportioned people, strange animals etc. These are often accepted as elements of folklore but there may have been a more straightforward explanation, as a mans of insulting the rich and powerful without getting arrested. This was … Continue reading

Barnacle Geese

This is from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. I’ve heard this story before, but he’s the first I know of to send samples home.  Claikgeese [barnacles] of which I sent a jug full of shells to Basel from Langue d’Oc, are to be found in England, more especially in Scotland. And these shells grow … Continue reading

English Fairies

English Fairies

Here’s a piece from the wonderful A Field Guide to the Little People by Nancy Arrowsmith with George Morse: The word ‘fairy ‘ has been so often misused (especially by poets such as Spenser and Drayton) that it is very misleading to employ it as a scientific designation for a particular species of elf. the … Continue reading

A Woman Not to be Messed With

Our female ancestors are often seen as oppressed and controlled by men, but I defy anyone to try to steer this woman. This is from Addison, in his Spectator magazine, 1711: I have, very frequently the opportunity of seeing a rural Andromache, [he seems to be referring to the Amazon leader rather than Hector’s wife] … Continue reading

Naming Supernatural Beasts

This is a fine selection of strange beasts, from 1584. How many names can you recognise? Odd they are called ‘bugs’. This is from Hobgoblin & Sweet Puck Fairy Names & Natures by Gillian Edwards Our mother’s maids have so frayed us with Bull-beggars, Spirits, Witches, Urchins, Elves, Hags, Faeries, Satyrs, Pans, Faunes, Sylens, Kit-wi-the-Canstick, Tritons, … Continue reading

The Bogle of Mulgrave Woods

This is from Highways & Byways in Yorkshire where the author mentions country stories of gnomes and fairies that may continue their pranks today: There was one such in those Mulgrave Woods… Her name was Jeanie; she may still e there for aught I know, but few will go look for her when they hear … Continue reading

Fairies near Hawick

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border, Northwick Water, too, as well as Slitrig, was famed for its fairies – and for worse than fairies, if one may judge by the name given to a deep pool; the Deil’s Pool, it is called, a place to be shunned by youthful fishers. …Higher up … Continue reading