tirsdag den 31. december 2019

Grumpy WinterOwl.

   Diane's post on traveling away from snow and winter just made me realize that I live North of WiseWebWoman on Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland, and even North of Diane in Canada. We live on the 56th parallel North. According to Wikipedia we are regaled with a measly 6 hours, 57 minutes day during the Winter solstice. Ergo our days are even shorter, but as the Golf current keeps us warm, snow and real winter is a thing, we seldom see.
  And what you cannot see from the numbers, is that the Sun even during those almost 7 hours only clears the horizon by 11 degrees at 12 o clock. The murky, dark and moist thing, Denmark has as a bad substitute for Winter is not one of MotherOwl's favourite things. 
   For my readers on the Southern hemisphere: The 56th parallel South lies in the water just South of Tierra del Fuego, and a healthy bit south of Australia.
   No wonder, I find our days shorter and darker than most of the blog-writers' that I follow.
   Grumpy, murky MotherOwl speaking, sorry.

I put in a Sun in the photo - taken into the Sun this last day of 2019 a little past noon. It is not easy photographing the Sun.

Sunrise at 8.44. Sunset at 15.46
+ 5 minutes already.

... And now it is 4 o'clock. The Sun has set and the Moon is out.

I wish you all ...

The Prompts for Words for Wednesday 2020

  Now we know where all ther prompts for next year are going to allear. Here is the unfolded list. A cpmpact version have already appeared in my sidebar. 
  I hope to be able to continue Susan's story in the year(s) to come. 

January 2020: Mark Koopmans will be providing the prompts, but they will appear at Elephant's Child's blog.

February 2020: River is providing the prompts on her blog.

March 2020: Mark Koopmans again. Elephant's Child is posting again.

April 2020: Elephant's Child will be providing the prompts.

May 2020: Lee will provide the prompts on her blog.

June 2020: Messymimi will provide the prompts on her blog

July 2020:Cindi will be providing the prompts on her blog again.

August 2020: Lissa will be providing the prompts on her blog.

September 2020: River will be providing the prompts again

October 2020: Messymimi again.

November 2020: Margaret Adamson and her friends will be providing the prompts, but they will appear at Elephant's Child's blog.

December 2020: Elephant's Child again.

mandag den 30. december 2019

Poetry Monday :: New Year's Resolutions

   Jenny has decided, that the last Poetry Monday of the year will have New Year's Resolutions as its theme. 
   Also normally participating are: Diane, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

 Why New Year's Resolutions never get made by me.
At New Year everything starts over
New calendar, new month, new numbers,
It's time for a serious makeover
It's time to drop all that encumbers.
Decide to diet, decide to train,
Decide  to run - also in rain.
Decide to clean,
And not be mean
And to say Yes,
Learn to play chess.
Eat you greens,
Enjoy the beans,
Forsake all meats,
And every sweet,
Here, have a beet!
At New Year everything is new,
 It's now we start as it should be!
The only sorry thing, you see.
I cannot buy a fine, new me!

The first theme of the new year is now decided by Diane On the Border. 
This time mysteriously: something that goes fast.

torsdag den 26. december 2019

Words for Wednesday - Traditions but no answer.

Fresh from Cindi: Share a tradition you have at this time of year; when, why or how it became a tradition; and how it makes you feel.

I'm sorry, but this prompt pulls a blank. I / we have lots of traditions, old and nex mixed from many countries and creeds, but none of them makes my brain go into gear. Sorry, and
 Merry Christmas 
once again.

tirsdag den 24. december 2019

Glædelig jul -- Merry Christmas

Dette er et "automatisk" indlæg. Medens det udgiver sig selv, nyder Uglemor julemiddagen sammen med alle Ugleboets indbyggere, Uglemormor, Hvalrossen, Storebror og Trolden, der alle er kommet hjem til jul. 
Vi ser frem til juletræ og gaver, og til at finde barnet i krybben. 

This is an auto-post. While it is posting itself, MotherOwl is eating Christmas dinner with the other inhabitants of the Owlery, GrannyOwl, the Walrus, BigBrother and Trolli who have all come to the Owlery for Christmas.  
We look forward to our christmas tree and all the gifts and to see the baby in the manger.

mandag den 23. december 2019

Poetry Monday :: This Time of Year

  Theme for todays Poetry Monday is This Time of Year from Diane
  Let us hope we all have time to  write a poem. Normally also participating are: Jenny, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

It is this time of year
We meet those we hold dear.
We have a tree,
small as you can see,
But lovely nonetheless.

It is this time of year
Time for holiday cheer.
We'd like some snow,
For that special glow,
But we make do with less.

It is this time of year.
Christmas time, it is near.
He will be born
This early Christmas morn.
I wish you all God bless!

Merry Christmas!

søndag den 22. december 2019

Årets korteste dag - Winter Solstice

     I dag er det vintersolhverv. I dag er det årets korteste dag. Her er et billede af mt sædavnlige På vejen hjem-sted fra klokken lidt i 8 om morgenen.  Solopgang er det først om tre kvarter, nemlig kvart i ni.

-- 🌄 --

  Today marks the winter solstice on the Northern Hemisphere. It is the shortest day of the year. This photo was taken two minutes to eight in the morning. It is still dark. Sunrise will be at a quarter to nine.     

     En af vore med-landsbyboere er, som man her ser, meget glad for lys. De her lys brænder døgnet rundt på den mørke årstid. Uglemor er ikke en fan.

-- 🌄 --

   As you see some of our co-villagers are fond of bright lights, these lamps are lit around the clock during the dark half of the year, much to my dismay.

onsdag den 18. december 2019

No Words for Wednesday - December 18.

  This weeks prompt: Write a diary entry, dated 10 years in the future is brought to us by Cindi

  This is fun. Because  ... I have already some time ago written such an entry. It's dated "A day in the Spring of 2031". Not exactly 10 years, but close enough. It is the day Susan's husband is retiring. That day is going to bring a big change in Susan's and her husband's life.
  And, no, I'm not going to publish it ... I'm not even going to tell you any more. If I ever get my book written and published, I solemnly swear to send all of you, my encouraging WfW writers and prompt givers, a copy each. And should I die before this happens, the epilogue lies ready to be published here, and the how-to is written in my "notes to my family".

Susan as a grown up woman. Or is it me?

tirsdag den 17. december 2019

Busser igen-igen

Yet another bus-related rant: We now have to wait 57 minutes for our train every Sunday because somebody did not do their homework. We just so much hope that it is an error and it will be corrected.

-- 🚌 -- 🚆 --

     Så blev det den 15. december - og der kom nye køreplaner. 
     Men ... upsi, 57 minutters ventetid det meste af lørdagen og søndagen fordi Lokalbanen har fået nye tider, og busserne ikke er fulgt med!
     Vi går nu og håber på at det er en fejl, og at fejlen vil blive rettet!

Fra Movias hjemmeside om R-busser: LINJENS KARAKTERISTIKA - inaktivt link:
R-busser er kendetegnet ved at have faste minuttal og sikre korrespondancer til øvrige konceptbusser samt andre vigtige bus- og togforbindelser. Det tilstræbes, at R-bussen har en så direkte linjeføring som muligt mellem større byer. R-busser kører to gange i timen fra kl. 06-20 på hverdage og timedrift fra kl. 20-24 på hverdage samt kl. 06-24 i weeken-den og helligdage.
Nu skriver de i stedet: R-busser er kendetegnet ved at have faste minuttal og sikre korrespondancer til øvrige konceptbusser samt andre vigtige bus- og togforbindelser. Det tilstræbes, at R-bussen har en så direkte linjeføring som muligt mellem større byer. Med halvtimedrift i dagtimerne og timedrift aften og weekend passer R-bussen godt til passagerernes behov, hvor mange har fleksible arbejdstider og benytter bussen til fritidsaktiviteter og kulturtilbud om aftenen eller i weekenden.

Vi ankommer 9.31 ... toget gik 9.28 og går så først igen 10.28. Stationen er lukket lørdag og søndag. God fornøjelse.

mandag den 16. december 2019

Poetry Monday :: Time

  Once again, I just took all the words that rhymes with our prompt: time - supplied by Jenny. - and wrote a ramling nonsense verse.  
  Also participating are: Diane, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

It is time, time to rhyme
Time to climb, hang the chime
Scrub the grime, spare a dime
Punish crime, spread the lime
Pick the thyme in its prime.
It is time - Christmas time

Next weeks prompt will be supplied by Diane.And it is: This time of year

onsdag den 11. december 2019

Words for Wednesday - The Wand Tells a Tale.

  This week's prompt from Cindi is a bit different from what Words for Wednesday's prompts use to be. 
  "Look around you and choose an object in the room.  Now write something from the point of view of that object."

  The only thing I can think of, is Susan's old wand. The one that broke, when the magic disappeared from the countries of the North.
  It has been lying on my writing- and everything-else-table, all the time I have been telling her story. Now I give the word to the wand:

-- 🌟 --

  In the beginning I was a part of a tree. A wonderful big Japanese cherry tree. I was one of the topmost branches, Life was sweet, I could see the fields around me, changing every year from plowed fields, to greening wheat, to mature crops to being harvested and back to black soil over and over. I saw people harvesting with scythes in my youth, then tractors and combines took over, but the fields looked like they had always done.
  And when my tree was big enough, and the leaves dropped every Autumn, I could see the far away sea.
  The farm all the fields belonged to was built when or maybe even before my tree was planted. It was always there, When I was young, it was teeming with life, people, animals, and children, always lots of children. And horses. Those beautiful creatures, working in the fields all the workable months, and pulling carriages in Summer and sleighs in Winter, oh I remember the bells ...
  Then slowly the teeming life died down, pigs, cows, horses, dogs, cats, and hens, all disappeared. The motor vehicles took over the stables, and of the farmer's couples with children, farmhands and maids and their children, harvest helpers and even more children, only the farmer and his wife remained. They grew old, but no new ones took over. The farm fell into disrepair. And one day it all just stopped. A farmer came plowing, sowing and harvesting with a behemoth machine, but nobody lived nearby any more.
  It was a lonely time, a meditative time. I grew, but more trees grew around me.
  Every year the farm looked a bit more decrepit. I felt sorry for it. Then new houses slowly grew in the far away fields. The wind carried sounds of laughter, sploshing and frolicking from the sea, sometimes even people singing bawdy songs at night, disturbing the birds. The terrifying, yet pleasant smell of smoke was often in the wind.
  Strange people, dressed in black, looking serious and pompous came by car. They put up signs around the house, all the while speaking of demolishing and danger.
  But nothing happened until one day in early spring.  Some even more peculiar-looking people arrived. They re-hinged the doors and gates, they painted the walls, thatched the roofs and weeded the farmyard.
   And then children began arriving, in pairs, in threes, alone or in small groups, Strange things happened, magic was around. I could feel it in my sap. I quivered all over. I felt something was about to happen. And then a girl put her hand on my tree. I felt her calling to me. I yearned to answer the call, but I did not know how to do it. An old lady came and she also placed a hand on the tree. Then she sang. A song of magic, of big deeds and wonders great and small. I was filled by this song, so filled that I burst. It felt like dying. I fell from the tree, broken, more alone that I had ever been. I fell and fell. The green grass came ever closer, but then a small hand, the girl's hand, was there, intercepting me, breaking the fall. I felt her love, and loved her back with all my wooden heart. She took me everywhere with her, all the time caressing my bark, grasping me tightly in her warm little-girl hands.
  That very same evening we had our first taste of magic. She was happy, and so was I. Sparks flew, and we knew we were meant to be together forever.
  We learned the ways of magic together, Susan and I. We brewed potions, transformed clothes pegs into swallows, we even flew. We kept her warm and safe on many travels and through many dire perils and small adventures.
  But then the fateful Summer came. I still shudder when I think of it. The black wizard had arrived from his far away land. Susan and her friends fought hard and brutal, but always fair against him. Susan and I did awesome things that Summer, and even invented a thing or two. Oh, we worked together nicely. But he was strong and sly. He corrupted people's heart and soul. Not my Susan, but so many of her friends. We were afraid. And in the end we made the biggest sacrifice a wizard can make. We renounced our magic, so that the Nordic Countries could remain free and proud.
  That afternoon, as the day turned to evening, all the wizards were gathered. My Susan was so very brave, she was part of a small guerilla group. And they succeeded. Even thought their success was my demise, I was proud of her.
  As they all spoke that one, terrifying word. I felt the magic leave me, I was only an old, dry branch. As Susan fell from the steps of the building, limp as a rag doll, I broke in three pieces, forever beyond repair.

mandag den 9. december 2019

Poetry Monday :: Phones - Updated

  Today it's Monday, Poetry Monday. 
  Diane has set the theme, but dear Diane, Phones ... ? what a theme. Phones are prosaic means of communication - not at all the stuff poems are made of.
  Oh, well, a theme is a theme; and old MotherOwl just rambles along.
  Also participating are: Jenny, Mimi, and Merry Mae. They are all sure to do better than I. 
  I've been improving the poem a bit, corrected some typos (that kind you notice after hitting publish), and added a line or two.

Of course I have a phone,
an old-fashioned one of my own.
Whenever I grasp the bone*
and hear the dial tone,
I'm out of my comfort zone.

I'm known to moan and groan
whenever I pick up the phone.
And the seller, offering loan ...
I'll just put the handset down
With a slam to show off my scone (erm scorn).

Now MotherOwl has flown.
She's leaving computer and phone.
For the crazy winds have blown
Wilted leaves over driveway and stone.

* Danish slang for using a phone, as the old handset looked somewhat like a bone.

Next Monday we'll have Time, courtesy of  Jenny.

torsdag den 5. december 2019

Words for Wednesday -- December 5.

Cindi at Letting the Words Escape has given us these idioms as prompts:
 "Pardon my French."  "My mind is in a fog."  "You are on thin ice."  
I continue my writing of Susan's story, but I have found out that when I write it into a book, many of the chapters will be re-written, moved or even deleted altogether, so don't think that if you have followed the story here, you won't be surprised by reading the book. 

Susan was not the first to return to Unicorn Farm, neither was she the last. The tables in the barn were laden with bread and cold delicacies, and big, steaming pots of tea kept hot by magic.
  Thora and Taavi sat at either side of the doors. And when Susan entered, Taavi told her to place the lantern in one of the crates by the door, eat and drink, get warm and return  to him. She laded a plate and filled up a mug, then she stood by the stove, eating and drinking until she stopped being cold and hungry. She just stood for a few minutes, collecting her thoughts.
  Taavi bade her sit down next to him and tell about what had happened. Susan recounted all of what had happened to her, and ended up by asking if mice really ate candles. "You really listened in on the thoughts of a mouse. That was very good for a second try. Now, please, go and sit somewhere, before talking to anybody else I want you to write down everything you remember. And yes, mice eat candles. It's mostly wax and paraffin after all, not much to live off in that mixture, but totally harmless."
   Susan took her notebook and pencils and sat by a table near the stove. She wrote an account of her meeting with the mouse, and what happened afterwards. This made her remember the stone with a hole, and she pulled it out and looked at it. It was white, but the white was like some sort of rough glazing. Susan tried rubbing and polishing the stone. It did not change. She looked through the hole, and the world seemed just a bit more colourful. Taavi came over to her. "So, you found a lucky stone. What do you know about them?"
  "My aunt hangs them on her house in a string, she collects them. She says they bring luck and keep lightening away. I don't know if it's true or not. I do not remember reading about hem anywhere."
  "Bullshit! Don't people ever teach something useful nowadays? Oh! Pardon my French, Susan," Taavi said when she looked a bit shocked. "I keep forgetting that not all apprentices have wizarding parents."
  Susan smiled at him. "it seems there's more to lucky stones than luck and averting lightening," Susan said. "Could you tell me more. please?"
  "I could, but I do not have the time right now. Either you go to the library and find Stones and their Use by Magical Properties written by   Jasper Flint, or you wait until everyone is back. Or better still, do both. Go to the library, get the book, return here and read. When all green team members have returned, and my duties done, I'll come over and tell you a bit more. I think we can manage before school's out for today."
  "Thank you!" Susan said and ran out through the barn door, over the yard to the old living quarters on the other side. Inside the gate she turned right, opened the small blue door, and ran up two flights of old, hollowed stairs to the second floor of the building. She paused. Where was that library? A long corridor stretched in both directions with lots of doors. The only one she recognized was the one right in front of her. That was the infirmary, more often used as a guest room, and not in use right now. She heard voices coming from the other end of the corridor. Angry voices.
  "You are on thin ice, there!" she recognized Torben's loud voice.
  "Oh, but it is still more white than black, even if a bit grey on the edges." a woman's voice answered. Susan thought it might be Martine or Birgitta.
  "A bit!" Torben said in a loud incredulous voice.
  Susan made a dash for the infirmary door and got inside, not quite closing the door. Quickly and without a sound she pulled a stool behind the curtain in the niche meant for examination of sick people and stood on it.
  The woman's voice answered: "But  you told me to go on and call on him if I wanted."
  "It was a joke for Heaven's sake," Torben pleaded. "I never thought you'd actually do it."
  "Did you hear something? too" the woman asked full of suspicion.
  "No I did not. Old houses like this one are often full of strange noises," Torben answered, "and the door to the infirmary's open. You might have heard it creaking."
  "I'll check," the woman said.
  Susan stood still, clutching the stone. "I just hope she's not going to use magic," Susan thought.
  "No, no-one inside," the woman said and closed the door.
  Susan drew a breath, and realized she had been holding it for a long time. She dared not move until she heard the door to the teachers' rooms close and cutting off the voices. She had only been able to hear a few more words, non e of them meaningful to her. She opened the door and assured herself that nobody was in the corridor any longer. Then she walked away from the teachers' rooms. And on the last door to the left big letters said LIBRARY. Susan went inside, found the book in the section with books on nature and elements, and went down to the barn again with no further mishaps.
  Soon she was immersed in reading about lucky stones.
 "Lucky stones or Holey stones are also known as Holy stones, Wish stones or Witch stones or even Fairy stones. They are often hung by doorways, over beds to refresh your body, mind, and spirit with healing energy, or around the neck of an animal (pet or livestock) to protect from bad luck and to ward off evil spirits."
"Holey stones are know as Eye stones, too and used as truth stones; when looking through the  hole you will know if  another person speaks the truth. You might be lucky and see fairies if looking through the hole at the right time. But remember, fairies are tricky creatures, and do not take kindly to this sort of spying. If the Witch Stone was found in the ocean, looking at the water through the hole may aid you in discovering Sea Spirits, Mermaids and Mermen.  If it was found in a forest, it might help you connect with Dryads (Tree Spirits)."
"They can be used in weather magic for the breaking up of stormy weather. This is done by threading a cord through the hole and swinging it through the air."
"Some sources, especially in German call them Adder Stones or Snake Eggs and say that they offer protection against snake bites."
"Witch Stones are used as anti-magic amulets, because of the common belief that magic cannot work on living water, and since the holes in Witch Stones are made by the force of this element, the stones retain water’s anti-magic properties."

tirsdag den 3. december 2019

Unicorn Farm - Biology Lesson

Perpendicular - Languishing - Virtuous - Pedestrian - Typewriter - Dashing These words are still orphans of last Wednesday. The story continues ... without these words being used.

This biology lesson was strange. Take a lantern with a candle inside. find a place to sit alone, say the appropriate spell, and open up to the wildlife of the Island. The green team spread out, and when Susan no longer could see any of her team mates, she looked for a suitable spot to sit in.
  Susan found an old beech tree in a nice, sunny spot. She placed the lantern on a stump next to the big tree and sat down under the tree. She looked around. No life to be seen, only the leaves moved, not a bird, not a butterfly, not even an ant. But they were asked to restraint themselves to bigger animals, mammals were the best for this first try. Susan tried to open her mind, tried to feel the inhabitants of tree and leaf. She said the spell, carefully articulating the Icelandic syllables, and leaned back against the tree. The sun shone into her eyes, she closed them and listened. The leaves were softly rustling, a branch was rubbing against another with an almost inaudible almost bubbling sound. She considered moving closer to the water, but then again, she did not want to meet the mind of a fish or a crustacean. She would stay here, and hope to meet some sort of animal before she had to light the lantern. Of course she hoped for an owl. She had not forgotten the owls at Granny's clothes line. She had wanted to tell Thora about Granny's owls, but there had not been any opportunity. She wondered what the owls would tell her if they could, how it would be to be an owl, to be able to fly and soar through the air, to see in the dark, sit on the branches of a tree, and have a nest up there. What would owls do in rain, and how did they keep warm in winter? They did not hibernate as the hedgehogs, or fly south as swallows and peewits. 
  The tree she was leaning against had a very rough bark, and her back felt imprinted with marks. She was hungry, so very hungry. "Raisins," she thought, "Oh raisins would be nice. Or cheese. Or sausage. Sausage is better. But here is not any. There's a candle up there. I can eat that." Susan opened her eyes. "Candles? I do not eat candles. What nonsense is this; some kind of dream."
  Then she saw the mouse sitting next to her sandal. "Mouse," she said softly. "Was it your thoughts? Do you want something to eat?"
  The answer was in her brain, a tiny little thing, but very clear: "HUNGRY!" She slowly opened the lantern and pulled out the candle. "Do you really want to eat this?" she said incredulously, and placed the candle on the ground beside her. The mouse smelled the candle, the tiny whiskers twitching with delight. Then it began nibbling. Susan felt the hunger being sated, she leant back once more against the tree and studied the mouse. It was an ordinary house mouse, rather big, brownish, but very thin. She could almost see the ribs under the skin. The whiskers were constantly moving, the beady eyes darting to and fro and the nose was twitching even when the mouse was not eating.
  "What do you smell, little mouse?" Susan asked softly. The answer was a jumble of sensations, warm soil, earthworms, the fatty-brittle feeling of candle on teeth, birds' chirping, mouldy branches, smells of beetles and lizards, Sunshine on hot fur and beechnuts not yet ripe and tongue-curlingly bitter.Susan could only open up to all this, and try to make it meaningful. She tried thinking calming, do not be afraid of me-thoughts at the mouse, but she really had no idea if the mouse understood or not.
  When the mouse had eaten a large bite out of the candle, Susan picked it up again. She broke off the lower half and dropped it to the ground, cramming the upper half back into the holder inside the lantern. "You keep that, little mouse. Now I have to go." Susan said softly.
  And carefully, afraid to scare off the little creature, she got up, took the lantern and made her way to the beach. She walked along the beach, looking for belemnites among the stones on the beach. She did not find any, only a perfect round stone with a hole in it, a lucky stone. She held the stone in one hand and the lantern in the other. She had not wholly understood why the lantern was a necessary prop for calling and listening to animals. Except that it had worked in finding her a hungry mouse.

mandag den 2. december 2019

Poetry Monday :: Humming

 Today is Monday, and Monday means Poetry. 
 Today's theme is Humming from Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey.
 Also participating are:
Diane, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

  The short form and strict rules of haiku speaks to me. But sometimes a haiku seems to serious, too big a form for my petty thoughts. Long ago I was taught that haiku is serious, a polished bauble, a small piece of frozen eternity - like a gem stone. 
  I needed a more flighty kind of short poem with simple rules too. The Elfje is the perfect counterpart.

Gentle sound
Busy bees flying
Pollinating flowers and trees.

Next Monday's theme from Diane At the Border is Phones.

søndag den 1. december 2019

1. søndag i advent

Godt nyt (kirke)år --  Happy New (liturgical) Year

     I dag tænder vi det første lys i adventskransen og finder Jessetræet frem. Hvad Jesetræet er kan man læse lidt om her og mere på min anden blog.

-- 🕯 -- 

 Today we light the first of the four advent candles. We prepare the Jesse tree. What this is, I wrote a bit about  here and some more on my other blog

     Adventstiden er en tid til forberedelse og forventning. Vi nærmer os jul, vi forbereder os til Jesu fødsel. Langsomt gør vi hus og hjerter parate til den store aften.

Der er ingen adventsting i de tilgængelige emojis, så et hvidt lys må gøre det.
 -- 🕯 -- 
 There's no advent thingy in the emojis, we have to use a white candle.

Advent is a time of preparing and of waiting. We're getting cloer to Christmas. We're preparing house and hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

lørdag den 30. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 4

  And trying once again. Still missing: Perpendicular, Virtuous, Pedestrian, Typewriter, and Dashing
  The story continues, but the words just did not want to play. Maybe I'll have to continue the story until the words are used up or next Wednesday comes around. 

Susan awoke early next morning, She was cold, and had to go to the smelly outhouse. She pulled on her socks; and carrying her sandals she went quietly through the narrow corridor, into the living room, out into the entrance room and out trough the door. The door was not locked. It never was. Minor raised his head and looked at Susan. "Good boy, stay there!" She said quietly. At the outhouse door she stopped, the owls were no longer at the clothes line, a thin fog was lifting from the water, hiding the top of the trees.The sun was about to rise over the soft hills to the southeast, It felt as if the world was holding its breath.
  The Sun rose and shed a golden glow over the world, the treetops glowed and the birds all began singing at once. What a morning!
  Shivering from the cold Susan hurried into the outhouse, did what had to be done, and went inside the house again. She did not want to go back to the tiny guest room. The bed was uncomfortable and the room miffy. The straw mattress smelled good, but the donas were filled with lumps, mostly too heavy and either too cold or too hot. Most of the miffines came from the walls, really. Granny and Auntie G had decided that this part of the house should have its walls renewed next summer. They walls of the house were all made from timber frames, that originally were filled out with mud. The rest of the house had had the mud removed and bricks laid instead, and new windows too. But the two tiny guest rooms in the upper end were still mud walled.  Now the roof was renewed, the house would slowly dry out, and become less miffy. But this was still in the future. Susan sat down on the couch under the windows in the living room, she looked through the newspapers, nothing of interest there. She then turned around, kneeling on the couch and looked out between the rose geraniums into the garden. She was still cold. A spread, made of crocheted granny squares in bright colours covered most of the couch. she draped it around her shoulders, gradually she got warm, the birds began looking for worms in the lawns, the corn rustled as a fox passed through the tall stalks. She admired granny for growing corn. She had tried at home, with not much success, the stalks grew tall, but the ears never ripened before the frost took them.
  Granny came into the room, dressed and ready to begin the day. Susan turned around and said: "Good morning, Granny, why can't I grow corn like yours at home?"
  Granny startled, sat down upon a chair and said: "What a peculiar question. Firstly, you live up north; yes I know the distance is not that great, but there's a something, a border, a line, call it what you like. Down here we're south of that line, and where you live it's north of that line. And then it's the seeds, the planting and oh, so many other things. But this was not what I wanted to talk with you about. You've got the gift, I think."
  "Which gift?" Susan asked with surprise in her every fibre. "My birthday was a bit more than two weeks ago."
  Granny laughed softly. "The day before yesterday I told you about your great-great-grandmother, and you listened in the kitchen, as the woman from the fishing village came for me, I think you added one and one and got two."
  Susan nodded, not quite sure that she was right.
  "Yes," Granny continued, "I am, like my grandmother, a wise woman. There's not that much use for us any longer, I help the stubborn men in the fishing village, I sit by old dying people, I help out when there's strife and trouble. I also help plants to grow, sometimes. And I think you too, my little girl, has this gift. I see it in you, but it's somehow different ... changed?" Granny ended on a questioning note.
  "Yes," Susan said, "I'm like you and great-great-grandmother, and yet I'm not." I'm not good with people. I'm better with animals, and small children, those that do not say one thing and think another. I also love trees and I would like to learn more of your plant lore. But during these summer holidays my place is at The Farm."
  "I heard those capital letters," Granny said smiling. "I did not know a school was started up, I suppose the Icelandic Wise ones are behind this. They were always closer to the magic, or what you might call it." Susan nodded and opened her mouth.
  Granny put her finger to her lip: "Shush, Susan! Do not tell me any more. I smell troubled times ahead and I cannot betray what I do not know."
  Granny held Susan's chin and looked into her eyes. Now you listen, and afterwards forget most of this: "Your Mom does not have much of the Gift, only the empathy that goes with it, and that's a hard thing to be able to feel others pain and not being able to help. Auntie G has it too, but her broken heart has clouded her mind. She could do great things, but I suspect she never will. My only son has closed that door in his mind. It's not a thing for modern times and rational beings. And he's very rational and prosperous, at least in his own mind. Your aunt Dina is nice, but not Gifted. You, and probably the middle of Auntie G's girls have to carry the torch."


Susan felt very anticlimactic as she crossed the line of trees separating Unicorn Farm from the rest of the island. She had lived through so much the last two weeks, she felt like she should have grown at least a handspan. But still it was nice to be back. Her striped skirt hung at its place on the hooks, and the same did the green tunic. She quickly shed her light summer dress and pulled on her apprentice wear. She then ran down the length of the barn to join the green team on their way out into the sunlight. Today was biology day.

And this was the last post of the NaNoWriMo.
 My word count is approximately 12.200 words on Susan's story during November. 
I do not know how much you normally "have to" do, but I think this is quite a lot.

fredag den 29. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 3

The story continues ... the Words for Wednesday just did not want to be used, but I do not think this is an excuse not to post next installment in Susan's tale. Maybe tomorrow ...

Susan ate her dinner. As everything Granny cooked it was simple, delicious, and filling. When Granny came to refill the empty coffee pot, she handed Susan a tray of scones and jam. "Now, child, you carry this one into the living room for me. Auntie G is arriving, and everybody will be looking at her, telling her the news and not noticing you. Linda's more than half asleep on the couch, slip in next to her."
  Susan meekly did as she was told, She placed the laden tray on the table and sat on the couch next to Linda. Mum turned her head in her direction, but as she opened her mouth to speak, Auntie G came in, trailing a puff of crisp night air.
  "Oh, there you are, Gladys. Sit down, have a cup of coffee, and listen to the news," Mum said.
  Auntie G greeted her father and sat down.
  "You probably know about our buying and selling of land out in the old bog," Aunt Dina said. "Well if not," she said, as Auntie G shook her head no, "the story goes like this: We, that is me, Kurt, Elin and Benny, bought some land from an agency last week. It was a friend of ours who took care of the transactions. The idea was to buy these lots, and later, as they were sought after for the expansion of the town, sell them again and earn some money in the process. We already did this once, and earned some money; not much, but enough to get us hooked on the idea. That old bog is well situated, drained and prepared for building of houses. Roads have been planned, some paved and ready, some still gravel. Electricity is on its way, and water as well. It was a sure fire investment object. But something went wrong this time. It seemed likely that said friend was in cahoots with some criminals. At least that's what we thought. Because suddenly our money and papers and everything disappeared. We asked him about it, but he was not able to give any coherent explanation. We had a quarrel ... nothing but anger really came off it. And that's when Benny and Elin left.
  But this morning all the papers, and our money was handed back to us by the police. They had used him as a stooge to get to the criminals. We have apologized, he has done the same, and we're going to meet with him and the family tomorrow. I hope that you're coming along as well, Elin and Benny?" The last words were said, looking at Susan's parents, who looked at one another and then nodded.
  Susan was sitting on the couch. She tried hard to listen to the grownups going on about money and papers, but she sat in a warm, stuffy room smelling of rose geraniums, after a long day, and after having eaten Granny's delicious dinner. She did not really understand much, apart from the end result that seemed to be a return to Dina and Kurt's summerhouse, and closer to Unicorn Farm.
  But Grandma wanted to tell her something, the owls too ... Susan slept.

torsdag den 28. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 2

   For this chapter, I used 5 more of the words. I hope to carry on tomorrow. 

Dizzy (used yesterday)
Stable (used yesterday)

Susan ventured a look into the living room. Just about everybody was in there, Granddad, Mum, Dad, Linda, Auntie G's two youngest girls. Aunt Dina and Uncle Kurt were there as well. Susan wondered, what now had happened.
  Grandma called her into the kitchen: "Where have you been, Girl? We waited, and then we ate dinner. And later Dina and Kurt arrived. Now it's time for coffee."
  "I was at Auntie G's house, we made music, and then I went down to take in my dress from the line," was Susan's laconic naswer.
  Granny looke searchingly at her: "Now, in the dark? Did you meet anybody down there?"
  "Well if Minor and two hooting owls count as anybody, then yes. Did you know they lived down there?"
  "Yes, they have a nest, hole, whatever owls live in, down in the branches of the giant oaks by the water." Granny said with a small smile. "Didn't they scare you?"
  "Yes they did. I think, maybe if Minor had not been there, and I had not felt so lonely, I would have been scared witless. But  oh, we had played that stupid "find a matchbox-game. And all the others were bigger and better at it than me. In the end I just sat down even if I had not seen that darned box. And then that sneaky Lena, she asked me where the box was. She never asked any of the bigger girls. It was so unfair ... Then Auntie G took me into her kitchen, ad we made music until she'd got to go for rehersals at the theatre." Susan stopped, dried her eyes and blew her nose.
  "Yes and then?" Granny asked in a gentle voice.
  "Then I walked down here, but the kitchen was black and empty, I thought maybe I was late for dinner. I did not want to come in and have everyone looking at me. I felt lonely. Then I remembered the dress. Minor almost made me jump into the air by muzzling my hand, as I passed the outhouse, but he followed me to the clothesline, and it was almost dark, and the moon rose, and the bats came out. But Minor was there. Then I saw the clothesline, and it looked all wrong. One of the owls flew right over my head and down to the water. I was afraid, but I had Minor by my side, and he was not afraid. Then I spoke to the owl that stayed. It winked at me, I think, and then it moved further away, as if telling me I could go on and take my dress. I did it, but I think it is one of the hardest thing I've done for a long time."
  "Those owls are very big." Granny said nodding."They often sit at my clothesline when darkness falls. They are good at hunting mice and rats ... and keeping unwanted persons away. They once attacked and wounded a grown man who was here to steal something from Granddad's shed." Granny shook her head. "The owl talked to you,"  she said in a inquiring tone.
  "No, it was not talking exactly," Susan said. "But I ... I understood that it meant me no harm, and it was OK to take my dress."
  "We've got to talk later" Granny said. "Now eat your dinner. It's on the orange plate under the fly net. I've got to serve some coffee and cake for the languishing crowd."

onsdag den 27. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 1

 The Words for Wednesday are up on Elephant's Child's blog long before Wednesday comes to my little part of the world. But I wait until my Wednesday before posting. 
  Once again the words are given to us by Margaret Adamson and her friend Sue Fulcher.
  None of the words: Orange  - Dizzy - Perpendicular - Languishing - Virtuous - Theatre - Pedestrian - Laconic - Stable - Typewriter - Dashing - Branches  wanted to become part of the story. In the end I forced two of them to participate: Dizzy and Stable. The rest just have to wait. 

  For four days they were all busily at work thatching the roof.
  After work, Susan and Linda played with the two cousins and their friends. They walked Granny's dog, a collie, who was old and a bit mad. It was often trying to bite people, and once Lena, the youngest of the cousins, had bitten its tail in return. Susan loved the dog, and were almost always at good terms with it.
  Only once ... Susan was smaller then, it was winter and the streets had been frozen. She had been asked to walk Minor alone - once upon a time a cat named Major had lived with Granny too, but it was long gone. The walk had been fine, Minor had done what it was supposed to, and they were almost home when a cat ran past. Minor totally lost it and gave chase whit Susan hanging on for dear life sliding over the road and into a stone wall, until the leash broke. She went limping back to Granny, who said that it was a good thing that the leash had broken, "And if it ever happens again, just let go of him, he'll return when he gets hungry." She washed Susan's hands and legs, and sent her out to play again. But now Susan was older and heavier, she was not pulled over when Minor found something interesting, and funnily Minor never ever tried biting Susan.

  Tuesday in the late afternoon they played Find the matchbox. Susan was hot, and she was angry. She could never find the hidden matchbox. Everybody but her had seen the matchbox and sat down to tell they had found it. Susan was the last one. She was the youngest too, as Linda had made herself scarce when work was over.
  Lena hid the matchbox, and all the girls swarmed into Auntie G's living room. Susan decided that she would NOT be the last one to sit this time. But she could not find the box, no matter how much she looked. Two of the larger girls sat down, then Helen too. Susan slowly pivoted around, looking up and down, and then she too sat down. Cousin Lena called her out: "Susan, where is the matchbox?" O course Susan did not know. She had not found the box. But calling people out in this game was just not done. Susan felt ashamed of cheating, and yet she felt unfairly treated. She just sat.
  In the end Auntie G came and carried her into the kitchen. "Yes, Susan, all the girls are older than you. This just means you've got to be smarter." Susan stayed with Auntie G in the kitchen for a long time. Auntie G grabbed her guitar and started playing The Riddle Song. "Do you remember the words?" Auntie G asked.
  Susan began singing, and she remembered almost all the words of the song from the other night.
  "It is an old song." Auntie G said. "It was written more than 200 years ago, but I did nor learn it until a few weeks ago. I'll have to leave soon. Tonight is my night to go to the rehearsal and play music."
  Susan went down to Granny's house. No one was in the kitchen, darkness was falling, and Susan continued down the path, down towards the water. Today she was the one to have become wet, and her favorite dress hung on the clothes line just past the house. She felt very much alone. The happenings with the gargoyle and the werewolves could have been a dream.
  She went down the path, and the moon, gibbous now, rose over the trees down by the water. Susan felt something wet touch her hand and she sat down, dizzy with fear. Then she saw Minor, the faithful dog in the waning light. "Oh, boy, did you scare me!" Susan said, kneeling and caressing the dog. "Come, walk with me. I have to get my dress."  Together Minor and Susan walked the short distance to the clothes line, Susan's hand entwined in Minor's long hair. A bright rectangle of light fell from the window of the smelly outhouse next to the old barn, and Susan found it harder to see the ground. But the clothes line was close to the outhouse. It looked strangely foreign, misshapen in the evening light. And when Susan got closer, she saw four round eyes staring at her. Susan stared back. Eyes, here? Yellow green eyes opened and closed, and then with a penetrating hoo-hoo-hoooo! an owl alighted from the line, swooshed soundlessly over Susan's head, barely clearing the hen house, and flew off towards the river. The other owl still sat at the line.
  "Good evening, Owl!" Susan said. "Do not let me disturb you. I'd like to have my dress, but you can stay where you are, if you like. Your friend sat on my dress, you don't." The owl looked at Susan, and opened both eyes widely. Then it opened it's beak and hooted softly at her. The owl moved a bit further towards the end of the line, and Susan gathered her courage, patted Minor, and walked the two steps up to the line. Her legs felt heavy as lead, and her arms were heavy too. She slowly raised them, opened the pegs, and retrieved her dress. She bowed to the owl. "Good night and good hunting!" she said softly. The owl stretched its wings silently, folded them back together and hooted once more softly in reply. Minor slunk off to his favourite spot near the door, and Susan went into the house, from which she now heard laughter and people talking.

tirsdag den 26. november 2019

Jessetræet -- The Jesse Tree

 From the first Sunday in advent -- very soon now -- we start the journey through advent towards Christmas with the Jesse Tree. This is not a generally known thing in Denmark.  (Shower of Roses has a fine explanation).

-- 🌲 --

     I ugen op til den 1. søndag i advent, som er lige om lidt, finder vi en stor, flot gren til vores Jessetræ.
     Jessetræ?  Hvad er mon det. Det er en tradition fra den engelsktalende, katolske verden. Se for eksempel her hos Shower of Roses.

     Jessetræet er en rejse gennem bibelhistorien, fra verdens skabelse frem til Jesu fødsel.
     Hver dag hænger man et ornament, adventspynt,  på træet, hører en bibelhistorie og leger, snakker, tegner eller noget andet. Se mere her.
     Adventstiden er forskelligt lang hvert år. Der er altid tre hele uger og så mere eller mindre af den fjerde uge. Hvis juleaften er en lørdag, er adventstiden så lang, som det er muligt, men i år er den 24. december en tirsdag, så der er brug for 4 læsninger til den sidste uge.
     Vores plan ser altså sådan her ud:

1. uge 
Søndag 1. december   Læsning nr. 1 - Jesse rod - Es 11,1
Mandag 2. december  Læsning nr. 2 - Skabelsen - 1 Mos 1,1 - 2,4
Tirsdag 3. december   Læsning nr. 3 - Syndefaldet - 1 Mos 2 og 3
Onsdag 4. december   Læsning nr. 4 - Noahs ark - 1 Mos 6-9
Torsdag 5. december  Læsning nr. 5 - Abrahams forjættelser - 1 Mos 12-18 &; 21,1-7
Fredag 6. december    Læsning nr. 6 -Melchisedek - Hebr 6,9-7,28
Lørdag 7. december   Læsning nr. 7 -Isaks offer - Mos 22,1-19
2. uge
Søndag 8. december   Læsning nr. 8 - Jakob og Esau - 1 Mos25-30
Mandag 9. december  Læsning nr. 9 - Josef, drømmetyderen - 1 Mos kap 37-45
Tirsdag 10. december Læsning nr. 10 - Den brændende busk - 2 Mos 3,1 - 8
Onsdag 11. december  Læsning nr. 11 - Ørkenvandringen - 2 Mos 4,1-17,16
Torsdag 12. december Læsning nr. 12 - De ti bud - 2 Mos 20 & 5 Mos 4
Fredag 13. december   Læsning nr. 13 - Ruth - Matt 1,1-16
Lørdag 14. december  Læsning nr. 14 - Samuel - 1 Sam 3,1 - 18
3. uge 
Søndag 15. december   Læsning nr. 15 - Kong David salves - 1 Sam 16,1 - 13
Mandag 16. december  Læsning nr. 18 - Profeten Esajas - Es 9,1-6
Tirsdag 17. december   Læsning nr. 19 - Daniel i løvekulen - Daniel kap. 1-6
Onsdag 18. december   Læsning nr. 20 - Jonas og hvalen - Jonas kap 1-4
Torsdag 19. december  Læsning nr. 22 - Zakarias - Luk 1,5-25; 57-63; 64-80
Fredag 20. december    Læsning nr. 23 - Mariæ bebudelse - Luk 1,26-38
Lørdag 21. december   Læsning nr. 24 - Johannes Døberen - Mark 1,1-15

4. uge 
Søndag 22. december   Læsning nr. 26 - Josef  - Matt 1,18-25
Mandag 23. december  Læsning nr. 27 - Hellige tre konger - Matt 2,1-12
Tirdag 24. december     Læsning nr. 28 - Jesu fødsel - Luk 2,1-21
Onsdag 25. december   Læsning nr. 29 - Guds Søn - Joh 1,1-18 & Åb 22,12-16

mandag den 25. november 2019

Genjuan Habun Contest - 2017

And finally my contrubution from 2017. Winners can be seen here.

-- はいぶん --

  I see a mountain. Tall, triangular, looming in the horizon. I don't know it. I wonder. Is this Kilinmanjaro, Matterhorn, Sagarmatha? No. At first I am confused. Then a voice whispers in my mind. "Bow your head. This is the mountain of poetry. This is Ishizuchi-san." My mind repeats the strange syllables I-chi-zu-chi-san.
  Still guided by that strange voice, I go into a park.

Reading a kuhi
Ishizuchi towering
I am in Japan.

  Then I board a train. Open waters and bustling cities pass by. I get off and on trains several times. Still guided by that voice. Cities pass by: Otsu. Kyoto. Osaka. I buy and eat an eki-ben somewhere between the two lasts stops. I get off, walk for a long time, my legs seem to know the way all by themselves, but still guided by the friendly voice.
  It is a new place. Everything looks a bit strange, the smells are unexpected. Even the Sun shines in a new way. New, yet strangely familiar. I reach a cottage by a lake.
  I wake up. It's New Year's morning.

Poetry Monday :: Windows

 Today is Monday, and Monday means Poetry. Today's theme is Windows from Diane.
 Also participating are: Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

Windows are to look through,
Both in and out
It's not nice to look in, but I think we all do. 
Oh, there's no doubt.

To look out when the sun is shining,
Or rain pours down.
This sure is a window's silver lining
 Unless we drown.

I hate to clean my windows
But must admit
That a new cleaned, shiny window
is no mean feat.

I love to open windows
for summers winds
When snow arrives, my windows
Hides behing blinds
We also open windows
Of mind and heart
And what seeps through those windows
Makes us smart.

I love my open windows
In house and heart.
 For with those open windows
Kindnes start.

May the sun shine through your windows in the coming week
Next Monday, Jenny decidedthe theme: humming - we've got to speak!

søndag den 24. november 2019

Genjuan Haibun Contest - 2013

 My contribution for 2013. Winners to be found here.

-- はいぶん --
 Summer was meant to be forever. And now I see white hairs in the mirror. I see wrinkles. My joints are stiff in the morning.
 I go for a walk in my garden. Its never changing perfection is depressing. The tick tock of the deer chaser ticking the time away. Never an awry tuft of grass to remind us of life, of what it's like to be human.
 I sit by the pond, watching the frogs jumping in. Faraway music reach my ears, someone is practising the same few stanzas over and over again. A late bee is buzzing, seeking nectar in the wilted flowers.
 Night comes.

Harvest moon hanging
turning leaves white as my hair.
Summer has ended

 My wife is calling from the open door. Tea is ready. The fire is crackling. We sit by the fire. The tea is hot and strong the heat soothing to my senses.

Haiku in my mind.
Old logs give off joy and warmth.
Bountiful autumn.

lørdag den 23. november 2019

Genjuan Haibun Contest - 2016

 Haibun for Genjuan contest 2016. Winners here.

-- はいぶん --

Thursday Night
After the procession everything is stripped bare. The flowers are carried away by whiteclad servants. Then the books, the candles, the clothing, even the ornaments and the chairs.
The crowd is watching; slightly incredulous, yet bowing to the inevitable.
Then the lamentations begin. Sometimes a voice raises over the others, the crowd joining in. But mostly there's silence in the dark.

Candles deep in prayer
Around the Lord's resting place.
Touched by red light.

fredag den 22. november 2019

Genjuan Haibun contest - 2018

  Some time ago, I received an invitation to the annual Genjuan haibun contest. I have participated for a couple of years, but as I was unable to see the literary qualities in the winning pieces, as compared to the contribitions of the non-winners, I just stopped sending in anything. As Lissa so aply writes on her blog:  
The few writing contests that I was involved in all had the one thing in common - all the winning stories are boring. I am not saying they shouldn't win, I'm saying why does the most boring story wins? Maybe these stories aren't boring, maybe they are for a more sophisticated audience so I can't understand them and that's why I think they are boring. They just seems to lack something exciting or meaningful to me. I don't know. I just don't understand it.
Now I try publishing my pieces here one at a time. Please tell me what you think.
Maybe I'm just exposing my own naiveté, then so be it.

-- はいぶん --

This was my entry for 2018. The winners and honourable menitonings can be found here.

    Finally reaching the bus stop; burden placed squarely at a conveniently placed electricity box. The few minutes until the bus arrived was best spent relaxing my arms and catching my breath.

Red-brown across road,
A tabby cat closely follows.
Safety in heights.

  Suddenly, tired lungs forgotten, parcels left at the bus stop, I found myself running, clapping my hands and yelling. Of course siding with the poor squirrel confronted by ferocious claws and jaws. Wouldn't we all do the same?

  Arriving at my home stop, once again picking up my parcels. An old man stands at the bus stop looknig confused, consulting time table and wrist watch again and agin.
 "I'm suffering from de ... erm ...dem ..."
 "Dementia,"  I kindly asked. On his nodding, I proceeded to explain the time table and telling him the time. He seemed to know where and why to go, only the intricate skills of relating a time table to a watch eluded him. I was not afraid to leave him on his own.

  Finally lifting my burden, I plodded on; ignoring the yells from inside the gym: "Bloody Hell, can't you ever stop doing that?"

Squirrels and old men,
Sunshine on heavy parcels
Sorry for children.

torsdag den 21. november 2019

Words for Wednesday -- 20 November -- Part 2

As Susan, Linda and their parents were preparing to go to bed in Granny's tiny spare bedrooms, Susan asked Mom why they never slept at Auntie G's place. "She even has a real toilet, not this smelly outhouse."
"Auntie G often work night shift, so she do not like other people sleeping in her home. I also think she often brings home friends after work. She won't disturb us, or let us disturb her."
Next morning after breakfast, which they ate in the garden by the flagpole, Dad said it was time to go home.
"Oh," Granny said, "I had hoped you'd have stayed for a couple of days, we need to have the roof re-thatched, and Auntie G and her girls can't help all day. Myrtle has as you all know, started her own life, and only come visiting occasionally, The two younger cousins have both taken various jobs around here, and Auntie G has been called to work all week. It seems a lot of the staff at the hospital is either ill or on holiday."
"Roof thatching?" Mum said, "I don't know anything about it at all."  
"Actually it's quite easy," Auntie G said. "I can teach you before i have to be off for work. It's not difficult at all, just tiring, that's why we need many people to do it. You have to sit in the attic, there's not much room, but it's OK, The thatcher does all the hard stuff on the outside, he then puts a giant needle in through the reeds. Our job is to return the needle to the outside, in the right spot."
"Oh that's what all those giant rolls of reeds outside is for," Linda said. They smell so good."
Cousin Helen stood up and emptied the coffee pot at the base of the flagpole.
"Does it grow?" Susan asked.
"No, I don't think so," Helen answered. She carried a tray full of stuff inside Granny's kitchen and soon after they could see her head bobbing away over the hedge, biking off to work.
"I'm off too" the youngest of the cousins said. "I'm helping out at a lawyer's office for the summer holidays," she said to Mum and Dad,
"Well," Granny said. "The thatcher will be here shortly. I'll do the dishes, Susan could you please help me dry?"
Granny's kitchen was like herself, old, worn, practical and full of nice smells. Susan quickly and carefully dried all the thin plates and cups they had used for breakfast, then all the silverware, the pots and pans and finally the big bowl used for dough. Together Susan and Granny put away all the things. while granny cleaned out the sink, Susan shook the coffee grinder in the small bin for coffee grounds.
A knock on the door startled them and Granny hurried out. Susan stayed in the kitchen, straightening things, watering plants and listening.
It was one of the ladies from the nearby tiny fishing village, one of the men down there had had an accident. Granny grabbed her bag and left with the neighbour.

Soon after, the thatcher arrived. Auntie G took first Mum, then Dad, who was rather too big to fit into the attic, then Susan and finally Linda up and showed them how and where to return the big needle to the thatcher. As she had said, it was tiring, but not difficult. They took turns returning the needle all morning, Granny returned while Susan was up in the attic, and could follow her by looking through the rafters. Susan saw her put her bag back on the hook go into the kitchen, she heard the refrigerator door, and then Granny came out carrying a basket, which she took into the garden to harvest strawberries, salad, kale and peas for today's lunch. She called on Linda to pull some carrots, and Dad to fill the through by the pump.
The thatcher ate together with them, he was a local, and soon he, Granny and Mum were talking of people, they knew, their children, cousins, uncles and aunts. Susan and Linda slunk away when the strawberries were all eaten. Rye bread with sliced strawberries tasted good. And the freshly smoked eel, which Granny had brought back from the fisher's village was delicious.
They did not work for long after lunch, as the thatcher ran out of twine, but he promised to return with more the next day.
 Auntie G returned early, and she, Mum and Granny took Susan and Linda for a walk. They went through the white painted gate in the back of the garden, along the brook to the fishing village, passing many rickety piers and teepee-like constructions of long poles. In the village many of the inhabitants greeted Granny, Mom and Auntie G.
 They turned right into a cobbled street, passing the smokehouse with its characteristic chimney and turned right once again on the big road. They walked on, past Granny's house and the pottery, past the big memorial stone and all the way out to where the road became hemmed in by water on both sides.
 Out there Granny opened her basket. It contained coffee, mugs and pastry. It was a treat, and they all sat in the grass eating and talking.
Susan went exploring, and found a tiny graveyard almost hidden by the rushes. She went back and asked Granny why people were buried out there.
"It's the pest-cemetery," Granny explained. "Your great-great-grandmother, my maternal grandmother, is buried there as well. Long ago, when the village here was much smaller than today, and the roads worse and the water more often inundated the roads, my grandmother lived here. She was a wise woman, some might have called her a witch. She helped birthing ladies, set broken limbs, cleaned and bandaged wounds, and made herbal teas for minor illnesses. You must remember that a journey to town was long and hard for an ill person, and a visit from the doctor cost a lot of money, which the serfs and fishers here did not have. You can see the castle out there. The baron closed the gates and put out guards when the plague came here. He and his family all survived,. My granny was not so lucky. She and all the other plague victims were buried here. But all this happened long ago."

onsdag den 20. november 2019

Words for Wednesday -- November 20

 Today I have been impatiently waiting for the words, frequently updating my browser. Luckily Elephant's Child's Wednesday is earlier than mine, Already Tuesday before dinner, I had the prompts. I had already written this installment, but of course, I had to see, where the words took us ... and the words are not words, but wonderful photos by Bill Dodds. I used only one of them. The other photo will get an installment of its own.
 Lissa's comment on Grandmothers, and of course Elephant's Child's never failing inspiration had set my writing juices flowing. I continue where I left off with nothing ventured ... 
  There's not much magic in this chapter, only a hint.
"Mom, why don't we visit Grandma and grandad?" Susan asked. It was a long shot, but Susan knew that Mom would like to visit her mother, and they were very near the place where she lived.
"Oh yes," Mom sighed, "why don't we. It is such a long ride down here, and I'm sure she would be happy to see us. It would be a perfect end to this not so nice visit to my home town."

"OK," Dad said. "nobody's expecting us at home before next Monday anyway. Let's raid the baker in town, while you 'phone auntie G and tell her to inform your mother that we're passing by."
"No, no, no!" Linda said, kicking Susan's shin soundly. "I want to go home! I want to be together with my friends, and my Mario-game is out of battery yet again. I think something's the matter with it."
"Now, Linda, don't be silly." Dad said. "Mom should be allowed to see her mother too, now we're so close. And give me that dastard thing. I'll get some new batteries and look at it. I'm not an electrician for nothing, girl. And I bet you'll have fun playing with your cousins once we arrive."
Luckily Auntie G was at home and yes, they could visit. Granny and grandad were at home too, and the gooseberries were ripe. 
Granny and grandad lived on a giant plot in a still rural area not far from the bigger town. They lived in a small, old timber-framed house in the end of the plot nearest the brook. In the other end lived auntie G, Mom's older sister with her three girls, all older that Susan, in a house she had built herself. Auntie G was a strong, independent spirit. She played the violin, and almost any other musical instrument, only not wind instruments. Susan adored her, Linda did not much care for her, but the three girls were fun to play with. They liked to tease and teach their younger cousins. Their idea of fun, was to gather all the children of the small hamlet, drag them around in the gigantic garden in a blanket and throw them into the air using the same blanket and the four oldest children each holding a corner of the blanket. Together they also sailed on the brook in Grandad's boat, made things from straws, harvested apples, carrots, gooseberries and what else needed picking in granny's big garden.  Occasionally someone got wet, and Granny's clothesline was always filled up after such a day. They also played tag in the garden, Susan and Linda both remembered NOT to hold onto the nasty Devil's walking stick growing temptingly on a sharp corner, but one of the other girls were forgetful of the danger and got her hand lacerated by the many sharp thorns.
  Then it was time for gooseberry picking, many of the children from near by went home, Granny handed out bowls. But first she and the youngest of Auntie G's girls caught the rooster inside the hen house. Rasmus, as the rooster was called, was a very angry specimen, he was big and beautiful with big, sharp spurs which he liked to use.
 Susan stood at a secure distance, between the old oak trees down by the brook, and peeped between two of the giants, while Granny picked up an old broom, she kept handy for this purpose. Lena hid behind the door to the chicken coop, and as soon as granny had chased Rasmus the Rooster inside, she slammed the door and latched it. Rasmus' sad crowings could be heard wide and far while they picked all the ripe gooseberries.
  As darkness fell, Linda and the two of the thee cousins sat outside Granny's kitchen, cleaning the gooseberries, while Susan, auntie G and the middle cousin went to Auntie G's house. There Auntie G pulled out a fiddle which she handed to Helen, she strummed a guitar and gave it to Susan, then she grabbed her accordion. She placed herself so that Susan could watch her left hand: "This is A minor," she told Susan, placing her fingers on the relevant keys, "And this is C." She quickly showed Susan the most used chords. "If I play a chord you haven't seen, or do not recognize, just continue with the one you came from, until you grasp the next one. Let's try the Riddle Song." Helen placed the violin under her chin, placed the bow on the strings and counted 1, 2, 3.
The first repetition was awful, Helen forgot to sing and Auntie G shook her head. "No, Susan, that was supposed to be A minor, not E. Let's try again." Slowly Susan learned, and the fifth time around she hit the right chords every time. They played and sung all 8 verses, and applauded themselves on a job well done.
Lena came and told them that dinner was ready. They all gathered in Granny's small living room, and ate fish, gooseberry jam, fresh potatoes, carrots and corn on the cob. The dessert was apple cake, which is not a cake, but apple sauce layered with butter-and-sugar toasted breadcrumbs topped with whipped cream and with small clots of redcurrant jam inside. It tastes much better than it sounds, and all of it got eaten.

mandag den 18. november 2019

Poetry Monday :: Neighbours

 Today is Monday, and Monday means Poetry. Today's theme is Neighbours from Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey.
 Also participating are:  Diane, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

We're living on a corner, so we have many neighbours
Some loud, some not,
some young, some old
Some single and some married,
None boring - very varied.

One loves to labour
on his fences each day
one wields a sabre
like a pirate at bay
And a couple have already hung out their lights
They make all the nigths and my living room bright.
And once in a while, from "Mount Tabor"
Two ladies come visit all neigbours.

It should have been longer, but I ran out of steam. 
Next Monday, Diane says, Windows is the theme.

lørdag den 16. november 2019

Words for Wednesday -- November 13

  I'm still playing catch up, using the words from Wednesday 13th. 
  If you want to see what everybody else have written with these prompts, then go here. Elephant's Child is, as all through November, hosting the words, but they're provided by Margaret and friends. 
  This might not be the best I've ever written. But here it is.  

... Add insult to injury


Nothing ventured ...

  Nothing ventured, nothing gained could almost be the motto of my life right now, Susan thought as she looked through the car window. The fields of the quiet farmlands were slowly giving way to sprawling industrial complexes and square living blocks of the suburbs of the town. Doll houses for giants was a phrase she and Linda had coined for those dreary living commodes on a past ride. They imagined at night when people were sleeping, the giant children would arrive, pulling out one floor of the blocks like giant drawers and play with furniture and inhabitants. This had to be the reason why so many people often woke up somewhere else, with hurting bodies and not knowing how they arrived there. And also - more innocently - why people could never find car keys, umbrellas, books, glasses and so on.
  But today Susan felt angry. Their stay at Unicorn island had been cut short. Only one day had Susan been able to go to the Farm and join the lessons. Then something had happened in the world and doings of grown-ups, and now they were on their way back to Susan's home town.
  And to add insult to injury, Linda was happy they were going home! She had obviously fallen out with Beth and Wilma, just as dad with their dad. Now she sat on her end of the backseat demonstratively humming happy going home tunes.
  Susan stuffed her fingers in her ears and tried to concentrate on the book in her lap.
  But she was going to show them!
  The Unicorn Farm had a few rooms for boarders, and she had asked for permission to stay in one of these. Now she just had to find a way to get back to Unicorn Farm to use that room. She really needed to. She had so much to tell and to ask. That whole story with the Gargoyle and the werewolves. And the magic bestiary. Thousands of questions bubbled in Susan's brain.

And now I think I'll have to take a small break in my posting. I hope Wednesday's words will bring my writing mojo back.