a year later

There are many flowers in the church garden at the moment: still lots of snowdrops, daffodils beginning to come into bloom, and a few pale primroses. Perhaps loveliest of all are the beautiful mauve crocuses photographed here.

Almost excactly a year ago, I wrote about the crocuses in the post poetry and prayer, saying that they reminded me of hands folded in prayer or raised in gratitude to receive the gifts bestowed on the one who prays.
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year of the pig

We are now officially well into the Year of the Pig. And, frankly, if the Year of the Dog was a bitch, this year has already been a pig of a year.

Back when I lived in Spain, pigs loomed large in my life. So here I’m just going to gather together some old blog posts that have featured pigs and pig products, boars and other related issues, and also re-post a few relevant images, starting with this little pig who went to market and half startled the life out of me as he nestled in among the reconstituted crab sticks.
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shaggy dog story

Tomorrow is the last day of the Chinese year of the dog; as of Tuesday February 5th, we’ll be in the year of the pig.

Although I tend to always write at least one blog post to mark the Chinese New Year, I don’t really know a lot about the Chinese calendar. Nor do I know much about the zodiac, though a colleague once told me that if I was a Gemini born in the year of the dog it explained why I was a two-faced bitch. Everyone else in the staff room expected me to be very, very cross, but I reckoned it was the first witty thing I’d ever heard the guy say, so I laughed and treasured it up to use myself when it seemed appropriate.
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the crimson petal

I keep looking at the photos I took of hellebore flowers the other day and the only thought that comes to mind is about Byron swimming the Hellespont. Surely there should be some connection?

But, no. It seems that the Hellespont is the sea of Helle, who fell off a flying golden ram into the sea when trying to escape death with her twin brother Phrixus. Hellebore, on the other hand, although also derived from the Greek, combines ‘to injure’ and ‘food’.
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like a circle in a spiral

Years ago, if you wanted a copy of the words of a song, if you were lucky you might find them included on the album cover. If not, you could listen to the song over and over again until you managed to write them all down.

In the first case, back in the days before photocopiers became common, unless you actually owned the album yourself, you still had to copy the words out by hand.
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howling at the moon

All over the internet, people are talking about tonight’s eclipse and the “super blood wolf moon”.

Me? I’m just wondering how many adjectives you can reasonably put in front of the word moon, and what order should they go in.

I understand tonight’s full moon is close to perigree, so is what’s called a super moon. (Though so are the next two full moons. And, of the three, the one in February will be the superest.)
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they paved paradise

Years ago, I worked for around six months in the centre of Birmingham, somewhere in the shadow of the old Nat West Tower and directly opposite the – then brand new – Copthorne Hotel.

Returning to the area a few years ago, I couldn’t find any way to reconcile my memories with the reality: – the development and construction work in the city centre has been tremendous and the landscape has changed both along the skyline and at ground level.
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