31 December 2011

Would this be described as gallows humour?

On a recent trip to London to see the Da Vinci exhibition, which we didn't get into as a result of lack of planning, ie we didn't have tickets, J_ and I ended up in the crypt of the stunning and very ancient St Martin in the Fields.  Perusing the preserved gravestones of ladies long dead we came across one that made us laugh, maybe because we are not familiar with the conventions of gravestone inscriptions from 400 years ago, who knows.  Anyway, we found it interesting and so I have transcribed a copy for a little diversion as this year ends and another is just about to begin:

Here lies buried the body of


Miss Frances Jones daughter of Arthur

Lord Vicecount of Ranelagh, by his wife the

Lady Katherine Boyle who was daughter

To Richard Boyle Earle of Corke and Lord

High Treasurer of Ireland.

She died in the prime of her age, hav-

ing never been married, the 28th of

March in the year 1672.

Enough and leave the rest to fame.

Tis to commend her but to name.

Courtship, which living she declined

When dead to offer; were unkind.

Where never any could speak ill.

Who would officious praise spill

Nor can the truest wit or friend

Without detracting her commend.

To say she lived a virgin chaste

In this age loose? and all unlaid?

Nor was where vice is so allowed

Of virtue or ashamed or proud

That her soul was on heaven so bent

No minute but it came and went

That, ready her last debt to pay

Modest as morn, as midday bright

Gentle as evening, cool as night

Tis true but all so weakly said

Twere more significant: she’s Dead.


All there is left for me to do is wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for reading




7 December 2011

Burning of the Clocks Wednesday 21 December 2011


The nights are closing in fast in the run up to the shortest day of the year and with it the annual winter solstice celebrations with Brighton's Burning of the Clocks 2011.



Having become a regular fixture on the winter calendar, this free event sees a procession through the streets of Brighton with imaginatively crafted paper lanterns wending their way to the beach to be burnt on a bonfire.
Beginning at around 6:30 pm the route heads along North Street, Ship Street, Bartholomews, East Street before finishing at Madeira Drive. For the best viewing position, the organisers Same Sky recommend going straight to Madeira Drive to watch the parade from there.  Although it is a relatively new tradition its ethos and purpose make it feel ancient and pagan. Something to do with parading through the streets as part of a community, lit by candlelight and ending with a ritualistic bonfire on the beach as drummers beat out the end of time. Everyone is welcome to join in and make a paper lantern to carry through the city and then burn on the beach as their own token for the end of the year. As each lantern is hand-crafted each one becomes a unique offering representing the makers wishes, hopes and fears, to be passed into the fire. The organisers say, ‘once we burn our hopes and fears the heat of the fire brings up the new sun, the pendulum starts, the clocks tick and all is saved. The silence is broken by the cheers and music of the new solar year’.

Burning of the Clocks, bonfire 2011


Burning of the Clocks Fireworks



Some might say, only in Brighton could such a pagan event take place. But I don’t, I love a bit of hocus pocus.


However, without donations it looks like this may be the last time this magical event takes place, so please donate and help this new tradition to survive.

Wednesday 21 Dec 6.30pm