Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Apples and pumpkins.... Oh, and don't forget the facial!!


Gemstone: Opal
Flower: Calendula

Visual Warning: This post is brought to you in the colours of Autumn!!

Looking out from my window, there is the most glorious Virginia Creeper, which is at its most glorious best in autumn, turning every shade of russet imaginable. This year, it is looking particularly superb. Autumn is simply my favourite season of them all. There are a few days early in the season, in which we have a glimpse of summer, pleasant warmth in which to bask, which is followed by crisper weather and the chance of hugely enjoyable walks amongst the fallen leaves. Of course it is the trees in their astonishing variety of colour, which are the stars of the show! One day, I plan to travel to New England in the fall, to see the world famous trees there too and to soak up the incredible autumnal views.

October Facts

October was the eighth month in the Roman Calendar, the word octem being the Roman word for eight. The Anglo Saxons called it Wyn Monath, because traditionally it was the month for making wine. October is designated as Black History Month, and as such, is both a month of cultural celebration and contemplation. On 18th October, St. Luke’s Day, it was traditionally a day when girls were supposed to have some insight into their marriage prospects. Us singletons are supposed to put on a face balm made from a mixture of honey, vinegar and spices and to recite the following rhyme:

St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true love see!

Personally, I think any true love would be highly likely to run in the opposite direction if approached by a woman wearing a face mask of vinegar, honey and spices!! But as Saint Luke is the patron saint of doctors, following in the footsteps of that particular tradition may well serve only to attract the timely attentions of the local psychiatrist!!!

Dates for your October Filofax: 

1st October:  The official beginning of English pudding season.  Traditionally made in a pie bowl, filled with leek, steak and mushrooms, and suet crust pastry sides and lid, covered in muslin, tied together with string, and steamed. Of course any filling of choice may be used nowadays, sweet or savoury. So enjoy your steamed puddings this month!!
12th October:  Columbus Day, USA.
21st October: Trafalgar Day and National Apple Day. There are hundreds of apple based events in the UK, literally too many for me to begin to list….so look up your local paper and possibly discover an Apple Day event near you.
24th October: United Nations Day.
25th October:  Punky Night. Hinton St. George, Somerset. This always falls on the last Thursday of October. It dates from the middle ages and is based on a true story. When the men of Hinton St George went off to a local fair and failed to return home, their wives and children carved faces from pumpkins, placed a candle inside and went searching for them by the light of a Jack O’ Lantern. The village still has a large punky procession and competition in which the best pumpkin is chosen. This tradition gets a special mention, as it not only dates right back to the middle ages, but also my dear dad, (pictured here at my Master's graduation,)  lives very near to that very village!!
31st October:   Halloween, (All Hallows’ Eve, ie the eve of All Saints’ Day.)  This is thought to be the one’scary’ night of the year when ghosts witches and fairies are believed to be particularly active. Traditionally, in the UK, it was also known as Mischief Night. The UK has imported the US custom of ‘Trick or Treat’ in which children accompanied by their parents dress up and call on neighbours and friends to collect sweets and treats. It is a night when we carve pumpkin tea light lanterns to display in our windows and is often used as an excuse to hold great fancy dress parties! The Irish story goes that Jack of the Jack o’Lantern fame, was a man who was not allowed into Heaven because he was a miser, and neither was he allowed into Hell, because he had played so many tricks on the devil. So, Jack was forced to walk until Judgement Day, finding a way home, just using his lantern.  

Religious Calendar: 

1st- 7th October:  The Festival of Jewish Tabernacles (Sukkot.)
 4th October:   Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi.
18th October: St. Luke’s Day. Traditionally seen as a day on which we get fine weather, often known as St.Luke’s Little Summer. (Hmm…. Wait and see on that one!!)
28th October: A celebratory Diwali display to be held in Trafalgar Square in London, called Diwali in the Square, celebrating the Hindu Festival of Lights. However Diwali itself is of course in November.
The Feast Day of St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, hopeless and despairing situations. Often he is prayed to in extreme matters of life and death. It is customary to give thanks when your prayers are answered, by publishing a thank you to St Jude in a newspaper, so that others then know that they can call upon his help too. 

October Dates in History.

1st October 1974:    The first McDonald’s burger chain opened in the UK in London.
3rd October 1906:    SOS officially became the Morse Code distress signal.   
(... _ _ _  Dit dit dit, dah dah dah... and repeat!!)
3rd October 1959:     Post codes were first introduced.
14th October 1066:   The Battle of Hastings took place. There’s such a pretty wee town there in East Sussex called Battle by the way!!

A Bliss Filled Hour…. Just for You!!

Your task for a shining hour this month is in honour of Apple Day on 21st October. You are to have apples somewhere on the menu; as apple sauce with pork, hot , or with cold meats or Stilton Cheese  in a sandwich, an apple pie or crumble, or in the form of an ice cold cider or scrumpy from the fridge. Or indeed both! Just don’t try to drive or do anything much afterwards!! Personally, I enjoy an apple with a ploughman’s lunch, and love to try new varieties. If you don’t like apples, then maybe give an all American pumpkin pie a go………… whatever you choose to do...... keep on shining folks!!

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