Celebrate the Small Things. May Day During Lockdown

Hello and welcome!

I haven't been blogging recently but as tomorrow is the 1st of May I'm here to tell you about the ancient English custom of Bringing in the May to welcome springtime. Cuttings are traditionally taken from flowering shrubs and brought into the home. I have pink weigela, white lilac, and blue ceanothus in my garden with which to fill vases to festoon the house. Not the traditional blossoms but will be very pretty.

This time in the year is full of promise. Shakespeare's 'darling buds of May' are burgeoning on the Old English roses, and hopefully will not be shaken by 'rough winds'. Courgette and dwarf runner bean seeds that will transform, as if by magic, into food for the table have germinated on my kitchen windowsill, and soon can be planted out of doors.

When I was a little girl, in the 1950s, we were taught country dances in primary school. On May Day a maypole was set into the playing field, and we children would perform the old dances for our parents. This included the ritual of weaving the ribbons that we were holding around the maypole. These traditions didn't make it into the high-tech world of modern schools but they are still practised in a few places in England. In normal times, in the nearby village of Eakring, young girls dressed in white, wearing garlands of flowers in the hair, would be weaving ribbons in their dance around the maypole in the ancient ceremony associated with fertility. Then the Queen of the May from the previous year would be crowned by her replacement. But these are not normal times. We are all practising social distancing and so must occupy ourselves within the home environment. How have you been spending your time?

For a few days, the late April weather was unseasonably glorious and I took full advantage, reconfiguring my small garden - digging a vegetable plot and laying an area of lawn.

On days when the weather is wet, and sometimes when it isn't, I bake. Scones and tea bread; and lately I have been bitten by the breadmaking bug. My bread isn't perfect yet but I'm practising at least twice a week, trying out the different approaches of online chefs and bakers. I have made bread a la Jamie Oliver, Phil Vickery, and Paul Holloway. I prefer the last of these. I tell myself it is not because I'm mesmerised by his amazingly blue eyes, but who am I kidding. Actually, he has a top tip: before kneading the bread dough, sprinkle the board with oil rather than the flour that is usually recommended. This makes the flour mixture easier to work and produces a silky smooth dough.

Nailed it!

Finally - I burned the midnight oil yesterday and produced an article about the selfless bravery of the residents of the renowned English village of Eyam in 1665,  during the Black Death plague. It seemed timely to tick it off the to-do list now. Here it is - Eyam and the Black Death

If you would like to join the Celebrate the Small Things Friday Blog Hop then hop along to Alexa Cain's website by clicking the logo on the right of this page. There you will find a link to place on your own blog and a list of other blogs that you might want to read.

Bye for now.  Have a great weekend.


Janet said…
Bringing in the May sounds wonderful! This time of year truly is full of promise. My garden has been slowly waking up over the last month--apple trees blooming, bleeding heart and violets adding a bit of color, irises budding and about to bloom. I spent most mornings this week weeding and preparing vegetable beds for planting (we can't plant out till late May/early June b/c of late frosts). Today it's windy, so I'm stuck inside, but the view outside my window is still lovely.
GlenR said…
Hi, Janet. Thanks for dropping by. Your garden sounds great. I see you are writing a couple of novels. Good luck! It’s still on my to-do list.