Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Hi everybody. To those of you in the USA, I wish to send my condolences for the tornadoes you've been having. Unusual for this time of year, I think. This brought me on to thinking about the weather and climate in general. We have been hearing about dreadful storms all over the world recently. There was Katrina and Sandy in the USA, Hyan., however it's spelt, in the Philipines, not to mention our own little 'hurricane' in the UK. There have also been floods in Sardinia and many other places, like Bangladesh. I apologise if you have had some of this dreadful stuff and haven't got a mention.

It got me to wondering why the various governments of the world seem to be unwilling to do anything about climate change, because this is what this is. The experts have warned us that there will be an increase in these kind of storms, and flooding in various places, not to mention droughts in others, unless we do something to stop it. What is more important--economics or the future of the world? Maybe even the future existence of humanity!

Or is the world trying to rid itself of the species that has done so much damage to it? (Gaia theorists) or maybe God is punishing us (religious folk) for the wanton damage we've done to our world. This is our home. The only one we have. We are a long way from being able to 'move house', if that will ever be possible. So we should try to do what little we can. Each of us. Our governments won't do anything worthwhile.

So WALK whenever possible instead of driving.
Close curtains whenever it is cold outside and getting dark. This will save heating.
Don't turn up your heating if you feel cool, put on another jumper. (Or even the first one.) We cannot expect to wear t-shirts in winter the same as in summer!
Turn your heating down a couple of degrees. You'll barely notice it. (Especially if you've put on that jumper!)
Make sure your house is well-insulated. Loft, double glazing, cavity wall insulation, carpets on floors. A lot of heat is lost through uncarpeted floors!
Turn lights off when you are not in the room.
Use energy saving light bulbs.
Use a cheaper energy source for cooking. A halogen oven will cook food with much less electricity than a conventional oven. You can even cook meals in your microwave.

When I was growing up, we didn't have central heating. We had a coal fire in the living room, but nothing elsewhere. I've got up with ice on the INSIDE of the window, and got dressed in bed as it was so cold in the bedroom. I wouldn't like to go back to those days, but I think we expect too much and are burning far too much of our precious resources and ruining the planet to boot.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

I am planning to publish the next extract from my Fantasy Novel, The Wolf Pack shortly. Watch out for it. you can see the previous 2 extracts on earlier blogs. If you want to know more, visit my website--vmsang.moonfruit.com.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

I apologize for not blogging last week I was actually staying in Brighton for a few days with my daughter and her family. She was over from Dubai where she is currently working.

Anyway, as it was Halloween last weekend I decided to blog about that. I did some research, courtesy of the Internet, of course, and have found out a bit about it. It seems that the 'experts' are in disagreement as to its origins. Some say it is the memory of a pagan festival, but others that it is Christian. Seems to me it's a bit of both.

In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III said that there should be a couple of days set aside to honour and remember the dead of the Church. He said that All Souls Day, when all dead Christians should be remembered, should be on October 31st, while the saints should be venerated on November 1st (All Hallows Day). Now it just happens that these days were also celebrated in the Celtic pagan world as Samhain (pronounced sowain). It was the end of summer and the beginning of the dark months of the year. It was seen as a time when the veil between the worlds of the living an the dead was thin and the spirits could cross the divide. These spirits needed to be propitiated to ensure survival overe the harsh months of winter. They were offered food and drink, or a portion of the crop. Spirits of the dead were said to revisit their old homes, and it was customary to set a place at the table or a chair by the fire to welcome them. Divinations were also performed at this time of year, especially those concerning marriage and death. In Scotland people walked around the fields with torches, and maybe in Sussex too? as in Sussex there are still torchlight processions around this time, the most famous being at Lewes.

Bonfires were lit at this time and some customs included jumping over the fires. Some people dressed up and went through the streets making a lot of noise to frighten the spirits. Biting apples tied onto a string was also a tradition. All this happened long before the Gunpowder Plot!

 In the north of England, at this time of year, people used to go round the houses 'soul-caking'. This was a custom whereby, in exchange for a small cake (a soul cake) the recipients would promise to pray for the souls of dead relatives.  I found a recipe for soul cakes from Cheshire on the net at Recipewise for anyone interested to try them. They sound quite nice actually.

There seems to me to be much in our current traditions that reflect both the pagan and Christian traditions. I do not believe that Pope Gregory chose those dates to honour the dead just by co-incidence, especially as I understand that he chose to put many Christian churches in places that had been holy to the pagan religion on the basis that people had been used to going to that place for worship and would probably still do so out of habit. Other Christian festivals have also been put at times when the pagan folk celebrated. Examples are Christmas (Yule) and Easter (Beltane). My conclusion to this is that Halloween is a mix of Christian and pagan ideas, but that the Christians deliberately put their celebrations of the dead at the same time as the old pagan festival, and also, Bonfire night has become separated and hi-jacked by Guy Fawkes, who was not burned at all. He was due to hang, but threw himself from the scaffold to avoid it and died of a broken neck.

I will be publishing another extract from The Wolf Pack next week.