Wednesday, January 11, 2017

haiku~~~~cold outside

engine turns so slow
under  icy  snow and stars
close the choke, and drive

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


he smiled at me
and I knew, that he knew what
was over the fence

Sunday, January 1, 2017

a very wordy and very interesting Suunday with..............

Prehistoric Holed Stones

On Sunday 18 December 2016, I set off with Terence Meaden from our base in Rosscarbery Co. Cork, Ireland to Sheep’s Head Peninsula in West Cork in search of the Caherurlagh Prehistoric holed stone. After arrival at the old butterhouse building at the Black Gate in Kilcrohane, it took us approximately an hour to locate the elusive stone, signposted 20 metres south of the Sheep’s Head Way walking trail, arriving shortly before sunset. The setting sun, which had earlier been revealed in all its glory for a few short minutes, was to be obscured by cloud during our visit.
The hole in the stone is narrower on one side than the other. The man with a bigger hand put his through the wider side and the woman put hers through the narrower side. The couple made their betrothal promises with hands linked through the stone.
The stone, having previously fallen many years ago, was re erected in July 2012 and its location is provided here. It stands high in a field that slopes southwards down towards the sea, which brings to mind a similar stone standing in an open field in North Ronaldsay, an Island in Scotland described in Frontiers informative article here.
There is a distinctive additional visceral element to being in the presence of a stone one can see through from two sides and pass one’s hands through. It is not therefore  surprising that when Christianity prevailed, these holed stones were particularly abhorred and actively destroyed. As a result, unfortunately, very few survive. In India, holed stones are often associated with sorcery, and many folk tales and legends are attached to the few that remain in Britain and Ireland.
Below is the holed ‘Ring Stone’ at Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire, being William Stukeley’s corrected proof of his ‘A view of the southern temple’, tab. xvii of Abury (1743) the reference is Bodleian Library MS. Gough Maps 231. 48.

The ‘Ring Stone’ at Avebury in 1723
The stone no longer stands, having been destroyed by the villagers of Avebury in the 18th or 19th Century.

Holed stone in the Avebury hills
On the hills east of Avebury in Wiltshire at West Overton, close to the polishing stone here, high on a windswept hill and far from the eyes of zealous pastors and their parishioners eager to eradicate all vestiges of our ‘pagan’ past, remains the holed stone photographed below:
Thousands of sarsen stones are scattered across the Marlborough Downs. Was this stone selected and re-positioned to act as a focal stone of some description? Its proximity 150 yards from the polishing stone where Neolithic man spent many thousands of hours polishing and grinding tools begs many questions. A short article on the stone is published here by The Northern Antiquarian. In this highland zone, it is easy to lose one’s sense of direction, so perhaps it was originally chosen simply as a distinctive marker of the location for visitors/customers where their tools could be worked on the polissoir, which effectively represented a Neolithic ‘industrial process’.
Trethevy Quoit in Cornwall, a Neolithic burial chamber constructed between 3700-3300BC, has a rectangular hole in the east corner of the capstone of unknown date, and drilled for an unknown reason.

A rectangular hole in the capstone of Trethevy Quoit.
Another unique and holed stone in Cornwall is the granite Men-An-Tol, two and a half miles northwest of Madron, near Penzance, and described by Historic England on Pastscape here. The holed stone was said to possess curative powers. To crawl through the hole nine times widdershins was said to be a cure for backache, rickets and scrofula, and children would be passed through three times. By placing a brass pin on the stone, questions were said be answered by the movement of the pin. The hole is 20 inches in diameter and large enough for a grown person to crawl through.

Men-An-Tol Photograph courtesy of Kim Iannucci
Known locally as the ‘Crick Stone’, MĂȘn-an-Tol in Cornish literally means ‘the hole stone’.
St Lythan’s chambered tomb here and here in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales has a port hole at the top of the triangular, rear stone, kindly photographed below by Kim Iannucci.

St Lythans Burial Chamber
Wayland’s Smithy in Oxfordshire, a Neolithic long barrow, here and dated by English Heritage to 3590-3550BC, has a holed stone included in its fabric.

Holed stone at Wayland’s Smithy
Below Holed Stones in Bolleit, Cornwall.

Holed Stones, Bolleit, Cornwall
A holed stone in Austria, photograph kindly provided by Sabine Schwaighofer.
I grew up on the south coast of England in Bournemouth, Dorset and, as a child, spent many hours aimlessly passing time beach-combing. As well as interesting sea shells and pebbles, my eyes were always on the lookout for stones with natural or sea-worn holes in them, as I had been told they were ‘lucky stones’. Perhaps in this childhood recollection is something of the fascination holed stones have always held for man. In earlier times, Dorset fisherman also adopted such stones as a protective charm against malevolent witchcraft.
Below: The Caherurlagh marriage stone at twilight, looking west, 18 December 2016.
Holed stones continue to be manufactured as garden and landscape features here in the twenty first century, so that perhaps distant future generations too can ponder over.
Thank you Murdo Macdonald for the two photographs below of Clach-n-Charra, Onich, Western Highlands, more on this stone here. 
Mr Macdonald adds Glen Coe is in the background of the upper photograph.

Clach-n-Charra, Onich, Western Highlands
‘This strange looking stone which seems to change it’s shape when viewed from different angles, from being thin to rather stocky, stands at 7 feet tall and is said to date from the Bronze Age.’

Clach-n-Charra, Onich, Western Highlands

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New years, superstitons or traditions, a ramble

For my newer readers who haven't heard the story, when I was 10 I decided to see what happened at 12 Midnight on Dec 31, my reckoning, remember that this was fifty years ago in a much simpler time, that it was something pretty spectacular.  So there I sat all curled up in a darkened house with the TV turned way down waiting to see the "ball" drop  in Times Square and the New Year begin, finally the countdown,  3-2-1 "Happy New Year" lots and lots of noise and confetti, while outside a few people were honking horns and shooting rifles, but everything seem to be over in a matter of a couple of minutes.   I was tired and crawled off to my bed. 
Every year since then I have managed to stay up and see the new year in, my all time favorite was the year that Dan Haggarty was a part of the celebration at some hotel with some host I can't remember.   Some years I had to set an alarm clock to make sure I was awake at the appropriate time.  Then there was the year that Dick Clark returned as host in spite  of having had a stroke,  that was so courageous, and so good to see.

One new year has otherwise mostly blended into the next, I sweep the thresholds and burn the trash, and start on the next days meal.  All that being done I settle down to the TV, or Facebook, or this blog and struggle to stay awake.  Perhaps the tall glass of water and ice laced with Old Crow, added to my mellowing, and tonight there is almost no traffic on the highway, save for those who are driving the  State trucks faithful plowing, scraping and applying anti-skid.  I have great respect for those folks.    But the silence is eerie almost other worldly.

New Year’s for the superstitious lot
On New Year’s Eve in 1921, the Columbus News published a list of superstitions and customs pertaining to this holiday. Montana is such a melting pot that customs, superstitions and traditions came from all over the world. Here is a synopsis of some of those:
•Quiet clear weather on New Year’s Eve means the year will be prosperous. But if the wind blows, it is a sign of pestilence.
•It is lucky to rise early on New Year’s Day, but if you wash clothes on the first day of the New Year, you will wash away a friend.
•If the ice melts on January first, it will freeze on April first.
•While the clock is striking midnight on New Year’s Eve, say this poem three times: “St. Anne St. Anne, send me a man as fast as you can” and you will be engaged within the year.
•Calling on friends is a longtime tradition on New Year’s Day. But in even earlier times, caroling was the custom. Bring the first carol singer who comes to your door on New Year’s into your house through the front door, take the caroler throughout the house and let him out the back door; it will bring luck to your household for the coming year.
•If the first person you meet on New Year’s Day is a man, you’ll have good luck; if it’s a woman, bad luck; if it’s a priest, you’ll die within the year; if it’s a policeman, you will have a lawsuit.
•Good luck will come to you if you place coins on your windowsill on New Year’s Eve.
Whatever your superstitions or traditions, party safely and have a prosperous New Year.

Ellen Baumler, Montana Moment
Ellen Baumler is an award-winning author and the interpretive historian at the Montana Historical Society.
Article Published On Great Falls Tribune

Ever since my bartending days, I have called New Year's Eve, "Amateur Night", and no I didn't make that title up, an older and wiser bartender did that for me.  You see some people have the perception that is the night when it is obligatory to get sloppy drunk.  Often these are people who don't drink during the year.  I mean really, what are they thinking??? But that is a whole nother ramble.

So with only minutes remaining to 2016 I wish you all abundance and happiness.
And just about the only thing I remember form 2 year of HighSchool Latin.
  Felix sit Annus Novus


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yule Log, or is it too early to get a start on next year???

Well what do you think?   I think it is never to early to start day dreaming about next year.   So I am sharing this with you.
Merry Happy everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

haiku~~~snowy angels

beautiful...falling snow
mind your trod, but it's too late
  making  snow angels!!!