Category: Fairy Tales

Twelve Days of Christmas

It seems there is precedence to giving and receiving excessive amount of gifts and presents during the Christmas season as defined by my childhood favourite Christmas carol/rhyme, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Partridges: 1 × 12 = 12

Doves: 2 × 11 = 22

Hens 3 × 10 = 30

Calling birds: 4 × 9 = 36

Golden rings: 5 × 8 = 40

Geese: 6 × 7 = 42

Swans: 7 × 6 = 42

Maids: 8 × 5 = 40

Ladies: 9 × 4 = 36

Lords: 10 × 3 = 30

Pipers: 11 × 2 = 22

Drummers: 12 × 1 = 12

Total = 364

The receiver would be responsible for many geese, swans and has to fork out for cows to keep the maids in employment.

She has to move out of her small flat into a mansion with many rooms, where she can escape when the  cocophony of drums and pipes gets too much as well as the house party she has to throw for the raving ladies.

What can the ‘true love’ be thinking?!!! 🙂

Twelve Days of Christmas, art from www.forbes.com

Twelve Days of Christnas, art from www.forbes.com


Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree2

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Greatest Love Tandems of All Time

The Kiss, painting by Edvard Munch

There is nothing better than a good love story. The sadder the ending the more iconic the love story seems to turn up.

As a homage to St Valentine’s, we shall make a list of the most romantic love duos of all time.  The list by the way is not in any order.  And if you have any suggestion that you wanted added, do let us know!

Greatest Love Tandems of All Time

The List:

  • Mary & Joseph
  • Adam & Eve

… ‘The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” so the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
– Genesis 2:19, 21-22

  • Anthony and Cleopatra
  • Romeo & Juliet (Shakesperian classic)
  • Marie & Pierre Curie

– this love duo was made from  science heaven; they were both Nobel prize winners.  Marie Curie: “I have the best husband one could dream of.  I could never have imagined finding one like him…”

  • Sandy Olsson & Danny Zuko (Grease)
  • Rachel Green & Ross Gellar (Friends)
  • Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Phillip
  • Queen Victoria & Prince Albert
  • Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson – Edward gave up his throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson
  • Monica Gellar & Chandler Bing(Friends)
  • Mickey & Minnie Mouse
  • Bonnie & Clyde
  • Popeye & Olive Oyl
  • Robin Hood & Maid Marian
  • King Arthur & Queen Guinevere
  • Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton
  • Isis & Osiris
  • Scarlett O’Hara & Rhett Butler
  • Pocahontas & John Smith
  • Elizabeth Bennet & Mr Darcy ( Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice)
  • Tristan & Isolde
  • David & Victoria (Beckham)
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Patric Jane & Teresa Lisbon
  • Heloise & Abelard
  • Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
  • Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt  (Now to divorce!)
  • Ralph De Bricassart & Meggie Cleary
  • Clark Kent & Lois Lane (Superman)

  • Miss Piggy & Kermit
  • F Scott Fitzgerald & Zelda Fitzgerald
  • Napoleon & Josephine
  • Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund ( Casablanca)
  • Rachel & Jacob (Biblical story)
  • Ronald & Nancy Reagan
  • Robert Browning & Elizabeth Barrett- Browning

 

Knick Knack Paddy Whack

How wonderful is this? An old nursery rhyme given the Bob Dylan treatment. Wow!

But then again, this  rhyme, though hard to understand, is so catchy that it also became some sort of theme tune for that brilliant Peter Falk’s Columbo.

 

Knick Knack Paddy Whack

This old man, he played one,
He played knick knack on my thumb.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played two,
He played knick knack on my shoe.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played three,
He played knick knack on my knee.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played four,
He played knick knack on my door.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played five,
He played knick knack on my hive.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played six,
He played knick knack on my sticks.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played seven,
He played knick knack up in heaven.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played eight,
He played knick knack on my gate.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played nine.
He played knick knack on my spine.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played ten.
He played knick knack once again.
With a knick knack, paddy whack,
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home.

There was a monkey Rhyme

IMG_1008

Elm Tree Photo by PH Morton

There was a monkey

 

THERE was a monkey climb’d up a tree,
When he fell down, then down fell he.

There was a crow sat on a stone,
When he was gone, then there was none.

There was an old wife did eat an apple,
When she had ate two, she had ate a couple.

There was a horse going to the mill,
When he went on, he stood not still.

There was a butcher cut his thumb,
When it did bleed, then blood did come.

There was a lackey ran a race,
When he ran fast, he ran apace.

There was a cobbler clowting shoon,
When they were mended, they were done.

There was a chandler making candle,
When he them strip, he did them handle.

There was a navy went into Spain,
When it return’d, it came again.

Robin Red-Breast in our Garden

Little Robin Redbreast

LITTLE Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree,
Up went Pussy cat, and down went he;
Down came Pussy cat, and away Robin ran;
Says little Robin Redbreast, “Catch me if you can.”
Little Robin Redbreast jump’d upon a wall,
Pussy cat jump’d after him, and almost got a fall,
Little Robin chirp’d and sang, and what did Pussy say?
Pussy cat said “Mew,” and Robin jump’d away.

Robin Red-Breast in our Garden

The songs of the birds and insects wordlessly transmit the law of the universe.
– Hong Zicheng

ALL ABOUT THE ROBIN

One of the first birds to return in the spring—migrates north early in March—sometimes remains during winter—stays north as late as October or November.

Domestic—generally preferring to live near the home of man.

Song—though short and always the same is in tone wonderfully expressive of happiness, love, anger, or fear, as the case may be.

Black head—wings and tail brown—touches of white on throat—entire breast a rusty red.—Female duller and paler in colouring, growing almost as bright as the male in the autumn.

Food—principally insects and worms—does not disdain fruit, berries, cherries, etc., but prefers insect food—a ravenous eater.

Nest—outer layer composed of sticks, coarse grasses, etc., seemingly rather carelessly arranged—on this the rather large round nest is woven with grasses—plastered with mud—lined with softer grasses.

Eggs—greenish blue—four in number—young have black spots on breast—generally two broods reared in a season—sometimes three.

A robin redbreast in a cage

Puts all heaven in a rage

A dovehouse filled with doves and pigeons

Shudders hell through all its regions

A dog starved at his master’s gate

Predicts the ruin of the state

– William Blake

Cooks’ Rhymes to Remember…

A rhyme is so useful, every cook must learn in full.

Rhymes to Remember…

“Always have lobster sauce with salmon,
And put mint sauce your roasted lamb on.
In dressing salad mind this law
With two hard yolks use one raw.
Roast pork, sans apple sauce, past doubt
Is Hamlet with the Prince left out.
Broil lightly your beefsteak—to fry it
Argues contempt of christian diet.
It gives true epicures the vapors
To see boiled mutton minus capers.
Boiled turkey, gourmands know, of course
Is exquisite with celery sauce.
Roasted in paste, a haunch of mutton
Might make ascetics play the glutton.
To roast spring chickens is to spoil them,
Just split them down the back and broil them,
Shad, stuffed and baked is most delicious,
T’would have electrified Apicius.
Roast veal with rich stock gravy serve,
And pickled mushrooms too, observe,
The cook deserves a hearty cuffing
Who serves roast fowl with tasteless stuffing.
But one might rhyme for weeks this way,
And still have lots of things to say;
And so I’ll close, for reader mine,
This is about the hour to dine.”

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Magpies On The Roof

Magpies on the Roof

Peter was inspired. His mojo is back.  He is again taking pictures of everything, inanimate and animate including animals, vegetables and minerals.

I have to admit that Peter does take beautiful photos.

But what gladdened my heart  were the photos of the two magpies nonchalantly pearched on the tv aerial on our roof.

Mind you I am not in any way superstitious but a couple of lovely magpies on the roof was a joy to behold. They made a pretty picture.

The old nursery rhyme came to mind immediately.

One for sorrow

Two for joy

Three for a girl

Four for a boy

Five for silver

Six for gold

Seven for a secret never to be told.

Magpies Superstitious Rhyme

Magpies – Photo by PH Morton

Magpies Superstitious Rhyme

The rhyme below was the original version of the magpie rhyme.  It was first recorded around 1780.

“One is a sign of sorrow;
two are a sign of mirth;
Three are a sign of a wedding;
and four a sign of birth.”
one for sorrow

one for sorrow

Two for joy

Two for joy

Three for a wedding

 

Four a birth

Four for a birth

……………
The one following is the modern version which everyone is more familiar with.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.

———-
I think it is this rhyme that is giving beautiful magpies a bad name. I must say, I am not superstitious – well not really, but if I see just one magpie I do search for another. 🙂

Old Weather Rhyme

 

Touch wood, the weather here in London is quite mild so far, so much so that I spied bluebells starting to sprout from the warm soil of the garden.

I hope it will not snow this year, I do not want my growing bulb plants to perish in the cold.

Below is a very quaint and quirky rhyme I found on Project Guttenberg file.  It talks about the weather.  It forecasts the mildness or the ferocity of the climate!  Quite fun but please take it with a pinch of salt.

Jean

…………………

Photo by PH Morton

Old Weather Rhymes

If New Year’s eve night-wind blow south,
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If west, much milk, and fish in the sea;
If north, much cold, and storms there will be;
If east, the trees will bear much fruit;
If north-east, flee it, man and brute.
If St. Paul’s day be fair and clear,
It does betide a happy year;
But if it chance to snow or rain,
Then will be dear all kinds of grain;
If clouds or mists do dark the skie,
Great store of birds and beasts shall die;
And if the winds do fly aloft,
Then wars shall vex the kingdome oft.
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spune;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
The hind had as lief see his wife on the bier,
As that Candlemas-day should be pleasant and clear.
If Candlemas-day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if Candlemas-day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
When Candlemas-day is come and gone,
The snow lies on a hot stone.
If Candlemas is fair and clear,
There’ll be twa winters in the year.
February fill dike, be it black or be it white;
But if it be white, it’s the better to like.
When the cuckoo comes to the bare thorn,
Sell your cow and buy your corn;
But when she comes to the full bit,
Sell your corn and buy your sheep.
If the cock moult before the hen,
We shall have weather thick and thin;
But if the hen moult before the cock,
We shall have weather hard as a block.
When the wind’s in the south,
It blows the bait into the fishes’ mouth.
As the days lengthen
So the colds strengthen.
If there be a rainbow in the eve,
It will rain and leave;
But if there be a rainbow in the morrow,
It will neither lend nor borrow.
A rainbow in the morning
Is the shepherd’s warning;
But a rainbow at night
Is the shepherd’s delight.
No tempest, good July,
Lest corn come off blue by.
When the wind’s in the east,
It’s neither good for man nor beast;
When the wind’s in the south,
It’s in the rain’s mouth.
When the sloe-tree is as white as a sheet,
Sow your barley, whether it be dry or wet.
No weather is ill
If the wind be still.
A snow year,
A rich year.
Winter’s thunder
Is summer’s wonder.
St. Swithin’s day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithin’s day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ’twill rain na mair.
The bat begins with giddy wing
His circuit round the shed and tree;
And clouds of dancing gnats to sing
A summer night’s serenity.
At New Year’s tide,
The days are lengthened a cock’s stride.
If the red sun begins his race,
Expect that rain will fall apace.
The evening red, the morning gray,
Are certain signs of a fair day.
If woolly fleeces spread the heavenly way,
No rain, be sure, disturbs the summer’s day.
In the waning of the moon,
A cloudy morn—fair afternoon.
When clouds appear like rocks and towers,
The earth’s refresh’d by frequent showers.
As the days grow longer
The storms grow stronger.
Blessed is the corpse that the rain falls on.
Blessed is the bride that the sun shines on.
He that goes to see his wheat in May,
Comes weeping away.

January Brings the Snow – Sara Coleridge

This was written by Sara Coleridge (23 December 1802 – 3 May 1852), the third child and only daughter of the famous poet of the Romantic Period, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his wife Sarah Fricker.

January Brings the Snow

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes loud and shrill,
Stirs the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children’s hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the hardest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.

Sara Coleridge

Sara Coleridge

The above poem is beautiful.  Truly evocative. In just few words, each month of the year is given a very apt descriptive value. I have to confessed that I am partial to January as it is my month of birth. I love January. Although it has 31 days, I feel that the month passes so quickly. Perhaps it has to do with what occurred during the previous month, yeah LOL, Christmas holiday. And first of January is a bank holiday as well and also many employed people like me tend to take and include the first week of January into the Christmas holiday. So in effect, January could only be 3 working weeks if one is lucky.

My next favourite month is March. It is that time when the days get longer and it becomes brighter and less gloomy, although it can still snow, it is not so dark anymore and the British clock go back an hour.

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