Monday, 21 June 2010

Summer Solstice combined with Good Housekeeping

Arise, Oh Sun!

The 20th century greets midsummer day
at Stonehenge
in white-robed anticipation.

When ancient druids worshipped in Britain,
Stonehenge was already a ruin, its priests dead and its builders forgotten.
Such is the power of the lintelled sarsens on Salisbury Plain, people still
come to make their own prayers.

If that's not your bag, you could

gather and dry herbs this month.

'Of leaves choose only such as are green, and full of juice, and cast away such as are any way declining, for they will putrefy the rest. Dry them well in the sun (and not in the shade, as the saying of physicians is): for if the Sun draw away the virtues of the herb, it must needs do the like by hay  . . . . which the experience of every country farmer will explode for a notable piece of nonsense. Having well dried them, put them up in brown paper, sewing the paper up like a sack, and press them not too hard together, and keep them in a dry place near the fire.'

(Culpeper, English physician 1653)

if, however, you are too lazy to do that,
you could

catch yourself a fairy to do the work for you.

Fairies being particularly active in the period between midsummer and St. Peter's Day, now is a good time to bind them to your service; but if you do see the fairies, be sure you never tell.

(late 17th century)

I know of a long-established way to catch yourself a fairy, which I am willing to
divulge, for a small consideration, naturally.

Or else, you could look it up yourselves in 
Elias Ashmole's manuscript, late 17th century.

Whatever you do,
with Midsummer Eve so close,
be sure to keep your house clean.

Farewell, rewards and fairies
Good Housewives now may say
For now foul sluts in Dairies
Do fare as well as they
And though they sweep their hearths no less
Than maids were wont to do
Yet who of late for Cleanliness
Finds six-pence in her Shoe?

Not Me. folks.


  1. I love the sampler of herbs. And I might just have to find me a fairy.

  2. You HAVE had fun, Friko! Now I'm off to sweep the hearth and gather some herbs.

  3. Beautifully composed Friko! I enjoy your uncanny ability to segue from one topic to another. Happy Summer Solstice to you!!!

  4. Well, you have me smiling. a good thing to do on a Monday morning with all my housecleaning and laundry ahead.

  5. But me. Friko.
    You made my day.

  6. friko - housecleaning gets done all the time 'round here one way or another but it's hard to keep up at times and so the dust bunnies and ragons take over their little hidey holes and drift around looking for new lands to conquer. a lovely post. steven

  7. to paraphrase Mole in Wind of the willows "bugger houswork!" I think mankind has made enough species extinct without adding dust bunnies to the list don't you?

  8. You had me until the housekeeping part. Plus, I think having a fairy around just might be a little annoying. I'll just continue to enjoy my filth.

  9. If I spot a fairy in amongst the herbs, saying a prayer at sunrise, then what?

  10. I got all my laundry done. Does that count?

  11. Oh , THAT's why there's no sixpence in my shoe ?

  12. been thinking of you fondly. glad you survived the revels :) dear friend.

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  13. Sixpence? What about decimalisation? Do we look for 5p pieces in our shoes instead? And who would be mean enough to want to catch a fairy anyway? I'm full of unanswered questions...

  14. Hi Friko -love the picture of the herbs -quite fancy having a go at drying a few myself. Looking forward to meeting up in Shrewsbury. Its a bit like trying to balance plates here at the moment. What about 2nd half of July or maybe early August if that would suit you?

  15. ellen abbott - but never tell!

    Vicki Allen - and when you're done, come and be my good fairy.

    Bonnie - the same right back!

    Tabor - housecleaning and laundry on the same day? does that not somewhat confuse the issue?

    Bayou - Gut, hoer'n wa jerne !

    steven - one way or another - that goes for me too; but I don't search for cleaning, usually.

    her at home - that is a good maxim, well worth adopting! Count me in.

    marciamayo - I don't think you can see fairies, the appear magically, by night only, and allow you to wake up to a pristine house.
    Anyway, that's the theory.

    Martin H - Well, then you'd be very lucky. Fairies go back to the bottom of the garden at sunrise.

    20th century woman - Seeing that it's you, I'll let you off the heart sweeping.

    S&S - exactly!

    Cloudia - thanks for the thought, Aloha!

    Jinksy - Better than full of questionable answers . . . .

    mollygolver - it's a date, either one.

  16. Friko, this is a wonderful solstice celebration, right here!

    No dusting going on in my house, though strangely I did do some dusting last week. Does that count?

    You do make me laugh.


  17. Hi, Friko!
    This was great! I am soooo catching a fairy to do all my hard work. Can I keep her forever or is that over-doing it a bit?

  18. Would you be so kind as to find one of those fairies and ship it over here? Express post would be best as I don't know how long a fairy would last if the mail took too long. As far as I know, there are no fairies hereabouts, and I could really use the help of a gardening fairy. As for the rest - well, if you send a fairy she (it) could take care of all of it so that I could put on a bed sheet and visit the ruins.

  19. The fragrance from your herbal sampler has reached the Upper Midwest! Did you dance among the thyme at midnight? Hope you can drop by too - I recall a Summer Solstice of 21 years ago

  20. Thank you for the journey towards the North, as down here, I nearly did forget about this day. Herbs - mostly enjoyed now in me tea. Please have you all a nice Wednesday.


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