My crabapple, Red Sentinel, keeps on giving;
it’s a medium sized deciduous tree with showy pinkish flowers in spring
and edible fruit in autumn;
Red Sentinel also has gloriously coloured autumn leaves.
Blackbirds will be glad of the fruits as soon as the weather turns cold
when there’s little else on offer for them.
Mince Pie season officially - traditionally - began yesterday.
Originally rectangular in shape, mince pies were abominated as ‘Popish and superstitious’
by Puritans, and were described thus in 1656:
'Idolatry in Crust! Babylon’s Whore
Defiled with superstition, like the Gentiles
Of Old, that worshipped onions, roots and lentils.'
Later, however, the ‘solid, substantial, Protestant mince pie’
became the champion of the English Christmas against
‘imported foreign kickshaws’.
Ah well, from Evil to Virtue and back was ever just a short distance,
if it suited the prevailing fashion.
Personally, I dislike mince pies;
they’re too sweet, too sticky, too unimaginative for my palate.
is sold in outdoor markets everywhere.
Folklore says that it is on no account to be brought indoors until Christmas Eve.
Clearly, nobody told the owners of this barn restaurant.
Most powerful of all against evil is the rare oak-mistletoe, which should be gathered at New Moon without the use of iron, and never allowed to touch the ground; but mistletoe grown on apple trees or the sacred hawthorn is also especially worth having.
Mistletoe is likewise an aphrodisiac and a plant of fertility, hence perhaps the originally Welsh Border custom of kissing beneath mistletoe boughs decked with ribbons, nuts and apples. After each kiss, the lady concerned should pluck a berry and throw it over her left shoulder; and when the berries come to an end, so should the kissing.
There are an awful lot of berries on a bough!