Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Midsummer Mirth

I am a little late posting this as Midsummer was last week, I wrote it at the time then life got in the way and here we are ...

Dear Zander & Gaia

Well my darlings, what mirth we did make yesterday in our own chaotic special way.  Midsummer!  The day of the year I look forward to most, though the duality is ironic as from this point onwards the days will shorten once more, the wheel turns.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends. (Act v. Scene i.)

Pucks Monologue from the very end of A Mid-summer Nights Dream, I know it word for word, still. My favourite character from my very favourite play. I first studied it when I was a girl, 14 and I can still see the vibrant images I conjured up in my head of the faery folk making mischief and merry on midsummers eve. Little did I know then, though I may have had the slightest of inklings, how important Midsummer would become to me. Perhaps, that is why I was so taken with the play in the first place. Remind me to read the whole play to you when you are older and I am certain that a production is put on every year in the gardens of one of the colleges here in Cambridge, we must go!

Annoyingly only the patch of mud is focus here
but this is the moment it was leading to, you wouldn't put this little guy down, he wasn't too happy about it

For the first year since you were both born we have all been together for this day. I long for us to belong to a community where we can celebrate and while away the long mid summer hours with other kids running round us, other grown ups taken by the spirit of the day, feeling deeply connected to the Earth, but right now we are solitary in our celebrations. Perhaps in time this dream will manifest but I know this day will always be special for us wherever we are. And next year, oh what a treat we have in store for you. Yes, for the first time you will see the Midsummer sunrise at Stonehenge. Daddy and I started going there to celebrate Solstice before you were born and on a day set to be balmy it is an experience like no other!
It is a shame I found the camera battery end down in a cup of cold tea on Soltice Eve, consequently I have very few photo's of the day. Another day that fate had it in mind I should savour as a secret but for you I'll paint the picture in your minds here as well.
We had the paddling pool out the day before and I'm glad we did as it was hotter!

... but intrigued by my impromptu relocation of the kitchen to the patio outside, you jumped in and out helping me bake saffron and lavender biscuits, who'd have thought those two flavours would go together so well.

And I made the perfect spanish Tortilla for tea (Daddy's favourite) with rosemary and feta rye bread.  And for pudding the apple and almond tart of my childhood. A little more rustic looking than my Ma's but twas delicious anyway!
And you darlings ... you helped me clean and wash the playroom floor! Ordinarily I'd either have left it till after dinner then screwed about how much I had to do and woken up with a grump on the next day ,or I would have relegated you to the purple room with a DVD. But I could feel you needed me closer and I needed you but I needed a clean floor too. With that I set up towels for us to sit on and we scrubbed, rinsed and slid our way across the playroom. Truly, I don't think the floor has ever been cleaned so attentively!

We've done midsummer crafts a plenty - Zander you practiced your cutting (very impressive!) and made midsummer spirals with me. I love that they are luminous - we couldn't find shiny gold card so I thought what the heck, day glo will do just fine, I like them better I think! We made rainbow bees from pinecones and coloured wool and you drew me a picture of me in a flower, dreadlocks and all, you darling boy. And we tie dyed some old clothes, gave them new purple life!


We acknowledged our connection with nature and took some of our fresh home-grown organic carrots to Flora the horse who lives in the meadow by the river. Then beetled slowly along the meandering waterway past the house boats, through the grazing daft looking cows to the park where hide and seek was perfect for playing in amongst the child sized bollarded willows that are growing there. I could never understand why they cut them back at such an odd stumpy height, watching my two imps weave in and out I suddenly realised!
To great excitement Daddy and I cut down a couple of tree's in the front garden ... a conflict of interests I hear you say ... we'd rather not be cutting down tree's and on midsummer's day i hear you say! But when they're steeling your sunshine and providing maternity wards to thousands of sticky greenflies you have to dodge every morning then I think it's allowed. And in any case, the wood is not going to waste, oh no ...


You know what?  It only took me an hour and a half, two hours including fine tuning time. 

The branches are sunk about six inches into the ground - I made holes with a stake and mallet first then twisted the branches in one full turn so they sat secure in the bottom of the hole.  And I popped a rugged stone down each side of the branch to hold it firm at the top of the hole.  I had six bigger heavier main poles and bound these together at the top.  Then I crossed two ever so slightly shorter ones over each main pole to make a lattice of sorts.  From there I just wove random branches in between and have left branch structures in tact which looks beautifully natural.  I am extremely pleased with the sturdiness of it. 

Tree Blocks! I have been waiting for this opportunity since you were born Zander. We can have all the tree blocks you could ever want, free, with love form Mother Earth! Smooth sycamore wood and gnarly budleigha for added interest. And of course I saved some slender branches for us to make into trelis and stakes in the garden - the cucumber will be happy.
We set a solstice fire burning after dinner, watching flames lick and lash as we snuggled close for favourite stories and hot chocolates warming our toes and each others hearts by the fire. Laughter, cuddles, sunset sunlight. My children, my creations, my masterpieces.

Maybe you think I'm crazy but I felt very close to the energy of the mother earth, the green goddess yesterday, she was closer.  They say those with faery blood feel it when the veils between the worlds lift. I feel something.  I like having one foot in faery land and the other loosely wobbling for a grip in the (un)real world. Once you were in bed I sat by the fire as the embers glowed I meditated on things I'll leave behind as another phase begins, things I'd like to bring into our lives and I'm thankful for all I have.

And the night draws to a close.
Brightest blessings & sweetest Midsummer nights dreams
All my love
Mummy X


  1. Such sweet memories for your own faeries were made there. Sometimes we need to leave the camera behind and just be. xxx

  2. What a beautiful post and blog I'm sure. I will be back when time permits. I've just wandered over from The Barefoot Crofter.

  3. Hello, I hope you find your old comments? I am back reading your lovely blog and found this post. Its a curious thing, the relationship this world has with fae. I was very close to it as a child, one of these little girls obsessed, and saw them everywhere. When I wanted another baby after 20 years of a (childless) gap since the last one, it wasn't God I spoke to. Imagine after all these years they found a way back in. I dont know how it happened really.
    Anyway, love your blog.

  4. Thank you Valerie, very much a believer here too and I'm sure given my enthusiasm my children won't escape the faerie's magic either. Sometimes I think my friends think I'm mad the way I go on about faeries and pixies to my children - as if I'm leading them astray but Zander doesn't see rotting tree stumps in the woods when we're out a walkin' he see's them as faery castles and immediatly has to embelish them ... so even my boy is a believer, not just a girl thang. Much love X