Category Archives: Uncategorized

Who Gave This Ring to Her Lover?

Fascinating post. Courtly love amongst the Vikings.

Ring from the Middle Ages found in NorwayArchaeologist Brit Solli found this medieval ring on Veøya Island outside Molde. Photo: Ove Holst / Museum of Cultural History.

This beautiful French ring from the 13th century with a love inscription was found hidden inside a stone wall in a cemetery on the Veøya Island. In the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for noblewomen to have lovers, but who gave the ring as a gift and how it ended up in Western Norway, is a mystery.  

The gold ring with a red garnet stone has an inscription in French on the outside: ‘Eric between friends, and I am a faithful friend. A.M.’

We have to travel back to the old European culture and its honorable rituals for so-called courtly love – the close, extramarital relationship between a woman of noble rank and her young lover to understand the significance of this ring.

Inspired by the Ballads

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Harvesting fruit, creating memories

The most delicious fruit

The most delicious fruit

When I was a kid I once spent a summer in France. I remember sitting in a cherry tree gorging on the cherries until I could eat no more. And picking deep purple figs that were deliciously sweet and squashy. The fruit of the south.  Quite different where I grew up in Yorkshire. The fruit is of the north, but just as delicious. And now is the time to indulge.

Ripe plums

Ripe plums

Last weekend was harvest. The whole family in the garden to get in the fruit before it fouls. A good moment, productive, memorable, everyone working together.

Umpteen barrow loads of apples

Umpteen barrow loads of apples

Enough plums to feed an army

Enough plums to feed an army

Good experience for the kids

Good experience for the kids

Soon he'll reach higher than me.

Soon he’ll reach higher than me.

Even Mrs P is in on the action

Even Mrs P is in on the action

Picking and storing the apples, stoning and freezing the plums. Enough fruit to get through the winter and into the spring. We’ve harvested the fruit and we’ve also harvested the experience. These are family activities that will linger long in the memory.

Pack it away carefully...

Pack it away carefully…

We do actually have a cherry tree in the garden. Been there for 35 years, and I’ve never got a single cherry off it – the birds eat them before they ripen. So my cherry memories will remain in France. Apples and plums belong to England.

(If you like food blogs check out: http://stowell.wordpress.com)


Why do sunglasses cost so much…?

high class shades…?

Over the last 2 weeks I have been watching the uses and abuses of sunglasses. OK. So I like shades as much as the next person. But I wear them to ward off the glare of the sun (oh, I am kidding myself of course…). Not so everyone else. They are a statement of projected character. Let’s take a look…

Mother and daughter beauty queens?

Together forever sunglasses…?

What is it with the cost of sunglasses? I shelled out £150 for a pair in the airport (that’s minus VAT) – polarised no less, all to counteract that evil glare, of course…. Outrageous for coloured glass. What’s got into me?

Do NOT disagree with me sunglasses..?

And what happens to my eyewear? Gets swiped by my son of course. And he maintains they suit him better than me, so he has a right to wear them. Ah, the sacrifices of fatherhood…

Godammit! he DOES look good!

Everyone is in on the act. The eyewear maketh the man…, and woman!

high life glasses…?

Perhaps the genius of sunglasses is that they are sun glasses. In that they are worn when it is sunny, and that just makes you smile and feel good. Look:

high flying chick glasses…? (love the reflections)

11 going on 18 sunglasses…?

Because I’m a berk, I managed to lose my shades after 10 days (on a golf course – why on earth did I think I needed my glasses there?!?) So, on cost per wear, that makes about £15 a day. I am a numpty. Jeez, I should have just given them to Charles. here is the one and only photo of me with my shades on. (Can I claim on insurance – maybe it’s worth it….?)

dude posing shades…?

All photos – holiday snaps from last 2 weeks. The Leica ones are the best (can you see them…?) – now that’s where it’s worth spending the money on the glass!


A Rainy Golden Jubilee? Who cares!?!

I reckon a million people made it down to the Thames yesterday, to cheer on the Queen, the Monarchy, the Country and the Commonwealth. Of course it had to rain, but who cares? We seem to party all the more when we’re up against it!

First sight of the Queen!

And here she is, racing in a tuk tuk through the crowds to get to her boat and cruise down the Thames. No room for Charles, Wills and Kate. They had to follow in their own carriage!

And they’re off! Big boats, little boats, boats from everywhere. A river pageant!

The rowers.

Our Commonwealth partners – Canada out in front (racing the Aussies!)

Oi! you taking the mick out of our Queen’s hat style?

We didn’t mind the rain, because the excitement was mounting as the special boat drew nearer!

Flag with pride!

Is she here yet? Where is she?

There, there!

But no, false alarm. That’s the million pound specially built boat – which the Queen DIDN’T ride in…! What?!? A million quid for a boat, and she didn’t even go on it? Correct! (That’s so British…)

Gorgeous. Nicely rowed. A bit empty…

But wait, the tension rises again. This time it IS her. Hurray! Hurray!

The royal ensign…

QUEENIE!!!!!!! (in white…) Where’s Kate?

Wave the flags NOW!!!!!!!!!

By ‘eck, that was exciting! Thanks to the genius of McT, we could see what was going on (“Ummm, but busy isn’t it? What we need is a ladder! Hand on a tick” 5 minutes later, returns with a ladder – BRILLIANT!)

And champagne, doubly brilliant!

Immy decides it’s time to make some money – face painting! (you know, I don’t worry about Immy finding a job in the future – she can make a profit absolutely anywhere. A quid for the U Jack this time)

Under twos go free, so this one gets away!

Brits love a party – forget the baby, fill the pram with beer!

typical…

This chap’s had a few already…

Union Jack Jester

And when the heavens did open it was good that we were prepared

we can even be patriotic in the rain…

The boats carried on – indeed mocked the weather! Ha, we don’t care!!!

This one sprayed the people standing on the bridge, deliberately.

So, with the excitement over for the day it was time to say goodbye to our Royals,… until it all gets going again tomorrow!

Lovely painted ladies

Mum, don’t hang around for another 60… please.

Jubilation and singing, and happy kids. Not bad for a typical Brit Bank Holiday!!!

Immy chants the National Anthem.


Oi! that kid’s got my baguette!

1970-ish

I like my food, and it looks like I have always done so. This is me, aged 2? 3?. Got my hands on a baguette and I’m not going to give it up. France, no doubt. And here’s me, a year or two later, with a banana. Got a good grip on it, not giving that one up either. Suspect that’s France too.

1974?

And then it’s my kids turn. France again for the following pix. This time in the South, Uzes:

2002

2002

And then along came my daughter! A big surprise, as the Pecks hadn’t produced a girl in the whole of the 20th century. She’s made up for that – very girl, very loud

In Beziers, very pink, very smiley

Matching hat, very swish

And so the wheel turns. From father to son, and to daughter of course. Look, I even have the photographic proof. There’s my son, and he’s nicked my baguette!

Cheeky tyke!


I had to bribe them to get their portraits…

Once in a while we have a huge dinner, 3 families together, and the parents drink wine, whilst the kids charge about – all 8 of them. It’s bedlam. But it does give me a chance to make some portraits. Here are the kids:

Pals

Thank God for autofocus! The wine has put paid to any idea of Leica photos. Here I rely on the trusty Sony. Still manage to get a bit of blur though… Wine wobble?

Looking at kids is of course a way of staring into the future. I wonder how they will all turn out. For the time being, the boys play it cool, of course…

A footballer?

A musician...

Cricketer!

Chef - the boy eats for England and has hollow legs

If the boys go for cool, the girls go for GLAM! And quite right too:

Actress, definitely.

Pop star?

Model...

Princess, of course.

Next week maybe we should take a look at the adults; another way of looking at the kids future, you might say?

The bribe…? Copious amounts of ice cream I seem to remember….

Pals forever