Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Cunning Folk and London Trees


Went to the launch of my son-in-law George's folk CD the other day, in an underground room in a pub, just the kind of place folk music should be heard.  George's passion is British folklore and landscape, and the CD, "Cunning Folk" had this theme.  Although I'm sure you'll think I'm biased, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and hearing the songs performed live, and was very sorry when it was over.  The band's also called Cunning Folk, and if you look on the website here you'll hear one of the CD tracks about the Pendle Witches, and see it's accompanied by an animation by Richard Mansfield.  As you see the film's graphic style is 17th century broadsheet woodcut style - something I've certainly never seen before in an animated film!

George is also keen on craft beer so he arranged for some special Cunning Folk ale to be brewed for those who came to the launch. Only 400 bottles were created, so, I guess this is a collector's item - though I do intend to drink it soon. 


Here's another pic of George, this time in the New Forest in Hampshire, recording ambient sound near the Rufus Stone for a project he was doing about ancient trees.  Interesting trees are one of his passions and at birthdays and Christmas a gift for him is usually perfect as long as it has a tree somewhere about it. 


If I had to say whether I was a tree person or a sea person, (have you noticed that people are usually one or the other?) I'd opt for the trees.   The following photos were all taken in the last two or three weeks in Kenwood, a public park on Hampstead Heath, London. How nice that they're there for everyone to see. 



Magnolias and daffodils...


Catkins


...  and blackthorn, the latter 2 both taken about 10 days before the magnolias.  I liked how they seemed to be reaching out to the world, eager to be up and off. 

And, when I come down in the morning at the moment, the cherry tree outside the window is the first thing I see. For a moment I feel as it if has been snowing in the night.  

  
I never thought particularly of cherry blossom before visiting Japan - I mean, it is beautiful but so are other blossoms.  Then I learned a bit about what it means symbolically to some Japanese (see this link) and so I always notice it a bit more now. 

So I am really happy, appreciating the spring, my favourite time of year, all about hope and new beginnings.  Sure, it is transient, and winter comes, but life continues. 

What's your favourite season and what do you like about it? 

67 comments:

  1. Like you, I am a devotee of Spring because I love the flowers and the trees though growing up near the equator our seasons were more wet and dry and stuff was always growing. I miss having banana trees, mango trees, papaya and pineapple, peppers, gardenias, zinnias and other things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - I guess the wonderful experience of having bananas, mangos, and other tropical fruits, and those beautiful flowers, had a penalty of Spring not being quite as special as it is when you have lived through a cold miserable winter!

      Delete
  2. What a lovely post. I enjoy folk music and I'll have to check out the link. And seeing your flowers makes me think spring is in the house in your part of the world. I wish it would hurry up here. Our snow is gone but we're supposed to get more over the weekend, then warm up again. The weather is like an EKG!

    I do love spring but I think summer is my favorite (although a warm spring wins out there!)

    All in all, Jenny, this is such a lovely way to begin my day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jeanie! It sounds as if your winter is reluctant to take its leave, but your wonderful (most recent) Easter post was marvellously full of colour, light and warmth!

      Delete
  3. Well I suppose I’m a sea person as I live next to it, but I’ve always counted myself a tree person too and that’s one of the things I miss most about living here, especially in the Spring. We used to have a cherry tree where we lived in UK and I miss that too; enjoy yours whilst you can, it looks gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is the transience which is part of its charm, I think. It's faded now but a morello in the garden is in full bright white bloom.

      Delete
  4. I am not sure what my favorite season is and I know that I used to be a sea person for sure but now I would be hard put to have to choose between the water and trees. I love the ones here in my yard so very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to be definitely a tree person but these days I realise what everyone loves about the sea. Just grown up a bit I guess! :)

      Delete
  5. Sounds a talented fellow, your cousin. Read his blog about the witches. I like trees a lot, but there's just something mystical about the sea. My favorite season is spring, watching the new growth, the return of the butterflies, things awakening. Too often we have a very short one and then it's the long, hot summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there is something to be said for a hot summer. I hate it when summer is grey and drizzly.

      Delete
  6. I enjoyed reading about the Pendle Witches - it's fascinating and the video is great. The animation is a perfect compliment to the song.

    Even though I like the sea, I'm definitely a tree person. The blossom photos are lovely. Due to some unusually cold weather this year, the blossoms here in Tennessee have been late. They are just beginning to bloom - and unfortunately another night of frost is expected this week.

    My very favorite season has always been autumn (it reflects my melancholy soul) but spring is my second favorite. It's a joyous time of year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes,the story of the Pendle Witches is chilling... and I am glad you liked the animation, I love it too. I knew you would say you liked Autumn best, of course but it's interesting to know Spring is your second choice, not dramatic brooding darkness of winter. To be honest, all seasons have their charms, though.

      Delete
  7. It is hard to say which one is my favourite season; maybe spring, for all the light and colour it brings after some largely monochrome months. But I also love summer, and autumn... It is easier to say which one is my least favourite season, winter. But even that has its own charms! I don't want to miss any of the four, really.
    The magnolia trees are so beautiful, aren't they! There are two huge ones in my street, I pass them twice a day at least. It's always a bit sad to see them shedding all their beauty and become realtively unexciting green trees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand liking all the seasons. I suppose I think Spring isthe best because of what it represents, not just what it looks like. New growth, optimism, resurgence.....

      Delete
  8. I suppose I love all seasons except winter!! Your tree pics are lovely - and your son-in-law is fab!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a talent all rolled into one your son-in-law is, what with trees, beer, and music running through his veins. What more could a girl ask for!

    All the spring blossom and flowers are just wonderful at this time of year. Love it all! And, how lucky you are to have such a view from your very own window.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I grew the cherry from a pip, first in a pot, and finally when it was large enough I planted it just outside the window... it has grown like mad ever since then! I think it prefers being in the ground to being in a pot.

      Delete
  10. You are right about Spring!
    Great photos once again.
    Now, about that beer...?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think most people would pick spring especially those of us who go through winter. My daughter lives in a place that has little difference between the seasons. Although I sometimes envy her near perfect weather, I also know how lucky I am to see and appreciate the joy of spring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's the idea of appreciating things more when you know what it is like not to have them, isn't it?

      Delete
  12. Love the pictures. I love spring as well. Usually here though, we get snow, mud and rain for spring but this year it's been darn lovely.

    PS: Air fryers take little to no oil to make fried-like foods. I never fry my potatoes but I did use oil in the oven. So thanks to the air fryer idea, I thought I'd give baking oil free a try. Just saved myself a bundle in money and space, as I don't need the air fryer.

    Anyway, if you're interested, air fryers and reviews are on Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I will look into air fryers - thanks. I'm getting less and less happy about oil laden foods, even though I do like deep fried foods.

      Delete
  13. My favorite season id the fall, probably because, as a painter, fall has the most colors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here in Britain we have no native trees with those dazzling reds, although we do have some pretty good colours. But what they lose in saturation, they make up in subtlety.

      Delete
  14. So many lovely blossoms around you! Any season that is not hot like summer is a good one for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think super hot is really unpleasant. I almost prefer super cold, although I had almost permanent earache in Toronto in winter, my ears react very badly to extreme cold.

      Delete
  15. That cherry tree, it is so beautiful and what a lovely thing to greet you in the morning.
    I'm definitely not a fan of winter, I never have been, it's so dark and I don't like to see trees without leaves but snow can be a magical thing. There is a certain time of Autumn that is so romantic, I'm partial to that. It's hard to pick one because they each have such wonderful elements. Spring is beautiful - the colors - but the light of spring always seems a bit harsh to me, not like the softer light of summer. I'm a bit odd, aren't I? No one see's the seasons exactly the same as others. But they all hold such holy beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that is the real truth of it, there is beauty in nature no matter what the season. And once you narrow your vision down to smaller and smaller things, you seem to see more in them. So a dead leaf in autumn can really be as beautiful as a rose.

      Delete
  16. Spring used to be my favorite but I am older now and prefer cooler weather, so autumn it is!
    (Spring is usually hot in Georgia.)
    Also, I love the story of the cherry trees given to America from Japan!
    AND I love all trees too but that does not exclude me loving the beach!
    (HA! Didn't you say on Graham's blog that you use "love" a lot? Looks like I do too!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there are worse things that lots of love, aren't there! :D Maybe we shouldn't be bothered about over using the word :D

      Delete
  17. Aha, I'd never thought about it before, but now I know I am a Tree Person. No wonder I can't take any interest in the cruise industry so many of our friends are embracing with relish these days. Give me a garden, a drive through the country, or a great cityscape any day. Magnolias and daffodils are wonderful, can never see to many of those! George sounds like a most engaging and interesting son-in-law.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Patricia. I am not attracted to cruising either, because those very huge ships don't really seem to have much to do with anything, not the sea nor the places they pass through. Well, I guess that is not the purpose of them to be fair. But like you I prefer my feet on the ground. I do love watching the sea these days. It can be truly hypnotic. I used not to have the patience, I think!

      Delete
  18. I enjoyed listening to God's Country.... thanks for giving the link. Yes, it is blossom time but my major blossom tree has gone... it had to be cut down because it was trying to cover the kitchen window. Oh well, there are other blossom trees, but mostly pink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always prefer white. Pink and white is nice - at present I have a bramley apple which is the prettiest thing. I have an idea that I used as a child to admire a picture of apple blossom on the bath cubes I always used to buy older relatives. At least that's the only reason I can think of that they always bring bath cubes to mind!

      Delete
  19. My favourite season is summer. I hate being cold and I hate the long winter nights. I want to be warm enough to enjoy long country walks and sitting in the garden reading.

    We have a cherry blossom tree in the front yard which is just starting to blossom. It produces so many flowers it's really spectacular. I'm very much a sea person (I'm Pisces!) but I love trees as well, there's something so solid and reassuring about them.

    Not a folk enthusiast, I'm sorry to say, though I've always liked Fairport Convention. I went to a gig a few months ago and they're still brilliant musicians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the sense of potential and space and relaxation a nice English summer can offer. But beautiful though the green countryside can be in the rain, I never can quite get away from the feeling of how nice it is to be in the Mediterranean with a pool and the knowledge that every day will be warm enough to use it.

      Delete
  20. I do so love trees and because of this, think I might love George...

    Seasons? Not really sure, but looking out of my window now, tis probably Spring. (The birds are twittering and the trees and bushes are swaying gently in the breeze - the bush that touches this window has nesting wood pigeons, all this under a near all blue sky offering a home to the sun. Quite tranquil and lovely is all this)

    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna, it sounds really beautiful. Your description sums up the atmosphere of what I particularly love about Spring.

      Delete
  21. Your comment about the sea or trees and preferring one or the other is an interesting point. I love both trees and the sea, in fact mother nature has become a very important part of my life since David died! I just see things in much more detail. It is a dream of mine to be in Japan for the cherry blossom one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sometimes get the impression that the Japanese are fond of spectacular displays of certain flowers. There's a wonderful wisteria tunnel in Japan which I would like to visit even more than cherry blossom time. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/wisteria-tunnel But then wisteria is one of my favourite creepers.

      Delete
  22. I, too, would be biased if I were you...and proud to be so! :) I love the song, George's voice and interpretation. I wish him all the very best.

    If asked, I'd have to answer I am both a sea and tree person...see! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lee, I told George what you said, he's looked at this post and is very pleased at the kind comments. Hope you have a super Easter!

      Delete
  23. I love all the seasons - each one has a special place - but detest incessant rain! Spring, of course, is always full of newness, promise - and colour. Love the folk stuff - sounds great - and used to attend (as well as try and play) folk sessions in pubs etc. Beer, of course (or, ale, rather), goes with it so well...however, some folk-lovers can be a little precious, don't get rock 'n' roll - and don't understand why others get turned off by the 32-verse whinge! Great Pendle witches stuff - I keep meaning to blog about them myself, it all happened relatively nearby. Tell George, "Well done and keep it up!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and I detest incessant drizzle, when the weather doesn't seem to be much except rather wet and rather cold in a boring and undramatic way. Thank you for your kind comments to George - he was pleased to read them. Yes, please do blog about the Pendle Witches. I think a lot of people believe the hills are rather spooky - which they might be, indeed... but I feel the story of the witches is a dramatic one which brings to life just how differently people thought and acted in the past.

      Delete
  24. My dear friend, I have so many doubts, I would not know if I stay with spring or autumn, what happens to me is that when either of you will enter, I wait with intensity, here in our north the spring is slow, winter comes And it leaves as it wants of her and it costs to him, the autumn is much more intense, although as you know by my photographs, the flowers are for me very special and I enjoy them intensely. A big hug, my dear friend, a good weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you carlos! I always love your photographs which capture the atmosphere and weather of your wonderful walks. I hope you enjoy Easter, my friend!

      Delete
  25. Thank you for linking. I enjoyed all of them, Jenny.
    My favorite season is spring. As you know ,in Japan, April is the special season. Sakura is blooming, school starts and companies begin a new business year. Love of sakura is special feeling for the Japanese.It is a part of DNA I think. Sakura appears in many Japanese arts and cultures, as well as used in Haiku as a season word. I like your spring flowers. They are so beautiful. I think I have not seen Catkins in person.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tomoko. Yes, it is interesting how the cherry blossom is so loved in Japan, with many layers of meaning to it. Not just the beauty but the ideas that it represents too. I wonder what is the national flower of Japan? When I think of answering "cherry blossom" I tell myself that this is not exactly what I would call a "flower" because it blooms only once a year, on a tree. But maybe one should not be too fussy about the translation. :) In England our official national flower is a rose.

      Delete
  26. I'm keen on craft beer myself.

    Tree or sea person. I've never heard that. Here we say that people are either mountain people or beach people. Althogh I'm actually both. Beautiful photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if I would fit into either "mountain" or "beach" categories. That's an interesting thought....

      Delete
  27. It would be quite rare and lucky and also talented to be able to sing songs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One must also have a passion for making music, I think, don't you?

      Delete
  28. It must have been a proud and happy occasion to go to the launch of your SiL's CD.
    I tend to think in terms of mountain people or sea people, but tree people adds another interesting category - difficult to choose, but I think that I lean slightly towards mountains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I have to say which kind of landscape I like to look at, I would probably say mountains. And yet, I have really loved East Anglia for so long!

      Delete
  29. First, I have to check out the book you wrote about Lewis Carroll. I didn't know about it. Second, George sounds like a fascinating man with so many talents and interests. Finally, spring flowers are so wonderful. When I lived in Sweden, spring was my favorite season; here in the desert mountains, winter is. Summer is just too hot and spring and fall seems to go by in a flash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Inger, for checking out my Carroll biography. If you read it, I hope you like it!! I do love your current header, and reminds me that on the times I have seen the desert, I have always been most impressed by the magical (though usually short lived) displays of flowers.

      Delete
  30. The Pendle Witch Trial is an extraordinary and terrible account. The 'woodcut' illustrations are so appropriate.
    I'm very impressed by your window, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, coming in and seeing it there like snow was a strangely disconcerting feeling, in fact! as if the seasons had begun going in the wrong direction! :)

      Delete
  31. Your SIL is quite talented. I seem to like the beginning of every season. I like the change. We don't have big changes here but they are there if you stop and notice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, Darla. Your morning walks show how much you notice the details, and how rewarding it can be.

      Delete
  32. What a beautiful window, so many lovely details, and then the cherry tree too.

    Your SIL seems very talented!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - cherry tree has now faded but other trees in the garden are coming out.

      Delete
  33. There is something special about cherry blossom. Our neighbour has a cherry tree right outside our bedroom window. Just now it is looking splendid.

    My favourite season is Summer when we have a proper one with hot weather and I like both trees and the sea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, although "when we have a proper one" are the important words, eh! :)

      Delete
  34. Dear Jenny - That’s so nice you have a musician in your family. The live at the pub sounds so British. The audience who are partial to craft beer would have been happy.

    Though I was born and raised in the seaside city, I’m a tree person. The photos of the tree blossoms with the yellow undergrowth at their foot are fantastic. I’m glad to know you can see Sakura out of your window. “Snowing” made me remind of Sakura blizzard in their last stage.

    I like the season of gradual brightening followed by the bursting out of colors and new life, though I prefer autumn for the cool, crisp air, brilliant colors like the last flame of life, and the feel of liberation from the notorious hot, humid summer of ours. This year, while mesmerized by the fleeting beauty of Sakura, many people look concerned (not overly but a little) about the tension between USA and NK led by a unpredictable president or a highly over-reactive, merciless dictator respectively. Nonetheless we enjoy ourselves in our daily lives. Have happy days ahead.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete

Blog Archive