Thursday, 18 October 2012
St. Lukes Little Summer . . .
One of the things I love most about this beautiful country which I have come to call my own are all of the lovely little feast days on the calendar, most no longer celebrated except by the very devout . . . but marked out nonetheless. Today, the 18th of October, is marked as St. Luke's Day. Venerated as the Patron Saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, butchers and students, this is his feast day. I like that there is a Patron Saint of artists . . . what a nice thought.
When the sun shines at the time of St Luke's Little Summer . . . this country is at it's very loveliest, the floor of every wood having been carpeted with thick layers of leaf . . . in every shade of gold, yellow, red and russet imaginable.
The hedgerows hang with fruit and berries . . . ablaze with the fiery red banners of the wild cherry, and in the garden . . . if you are lucky and the weather is mild, you may even glance upon a few butterflies. Red admirals, painted ladies, brimstones and peacocks perhaps may be found fluttering fitfully amongst the ruins of the once glorious herbaceous borders. There was a beautiful herbaceous border at the Manor when I worked there, often visited by these flirtatious winged creatures . . .
There is a robin, never far from our kitchen door. He pours out a silvery song, establishing his tenancy over this little patch of territory . . . and all at once the birds . . . which just the week before we had thought gone forever, have magically all appeared once more, flitting quickly from hedgerow . . . to feeder . . . and back again. If you glance down upon the tops of the hedge of an early morning, you will see the heads of little sparrows popping up and down amongst the greenery, bidding welcome to the day . . . that's if the sun is shining. It is a most cheering sight to behold.
St Luke's day seems to mark the high point of Autumn's glory, a point from which there is a quickening descent into the depths of the declining year . . . only how many weeks to Christmas now??? Less than nine . . . it hardly seems possible, but there it is . . . starkly staring at me from the Calendar which hangs on the utility room door beneath the stairs.
Tis time to bake my Christmas fruit cake, and stir up my Christmas pudding so that they have time to develop those lovely flavors which we so enjoy each year. But not today . . . for it is St Luke's day . . . and if the sun shines, we will be enjoying these last vestiges of this year's autumn glory.
Tis also said to be the one day of the year when young girls can have some insight into their future marriage prospects. Before going to bed they must put on their faces a mixture of spices, honey and vinegar, and once in bed they must say the following rhyme:
St Luke, St Luke
Be kind to me,
In my dreams let me
my true love see.
Is it any wonder I have fallen so much in love with this beautiful land with all of it's quirks and fancies, traditions and rolling scenery? I thought not!
A happy thought to begin the day on . . .
"There are moments of such pure, sublime, unparalleled perfection that they will force you to close your eyes and hold on to them as best you can. Life is a series of these moments. Everything else is just waiting for them."
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Cheesy Bacon, Potato and Cabbage Gratin. Lovely . . .
Happy day all!