Saturday, 21 December 2013

21st December - Yule be Happy

Yule: Winter Solstice - Dec 21st/22nd

The origin of the word Yule, has several suggested origins from the Old English word, geõla, the Old Norse word jõl, a pagan festival celebrated at the winter solstice, or the Anglo-Saxon word for the festival of the Winter Solstice, 'Iul' meaning 'wheel'.

In old almanacs Yule was represented by the symbol of a wheel, conveying the idea of the year turning like a wheel, The Great Wheel of the Zodiac, The Wheel of Life. The spokes of the wheel, were the old festivals of the year, the solstices and equinoxes.

The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. It also the start of the increase in the hours of daylight, until the Summer Solstice, when darkness becomes ascendant once more.

But unbeknownst to me, the Wassail was a real drink and I have found the recipe. Or at least a local recipe from the gower.

Yule Wassail
Wassail, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon wes hál, meaning 'be whole', or 'be of good health', or Old Norse ves heill, and was a salutation use at Yule, when the wassail bowl was passed around with toasts and singing. Wassail carols would be sung as people would travel from house to house in the village bringing good wishes in return for a small gratuity. The Apple Tree Wassail, sung in hopes of a good crop of cider the following year, other such as the Gower Wassail carol still survive today.

Recipe for Yule Wassail3 red apples
3 oz brown sugar
2 pints brown ale, apple cider, or hard cider
1/2 pint dry sherry or dry white wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger strips or lemon peel

Core and heat apples with brown sugar and some of the ale or cider in an oven for 30 minutes. Put in large pan and add rest of spices and lemon peel, simmer on stove top of 5 minutes. Add most of the alcohol at the last minute so it heats up but does not evaporate. Burgundy and brandy can be substituted to the ale and sherry. White sugar and halved oranges may also be added to taste. Makes enough for eight. Wassail!

Hmm - may have to try that sometime ...

In the meantime the wheel of life continues... Which is more than can be said of the wheel inside the washing machine!!. Having broken numerous paddles inside - costing about £9 each, and having just had the last couple replaced, the morning wash ended up with water pouring through the base into the electrics, fusing the house and plunging us into darkness - with tonight's party clothes inside, wet, dirty and unwashed....

A quick calculation shows that I cannot remember when we bought the washer. I seem to remember us having two for washing all the cloths for the Crimson Moon, but cannot remember what we did with the old one. But either way we have had it for a while and had very good use out of it..  Repair?? or replace??

Given that we are the Saturday before Christmas, and the Party clothes lying in a pool - and the house in darkness - well okay - I unplugged the washing machine and put the lights back on at the meter, rather than wander around with a candle like a demented Bob Cratchett... So, with the clothes lying in water, and since we possess a fine little trailer with a tarpaulin, it seemed more appropriate to pop up to Pemberton and have a look in Curry's to see what they had....

Now, I am no expert on washing machines.... That was Susie's area of expertise, but I did notice the £120 off, which was also a Hotpoint ( apparently the make of choice) and an enquiry to check that it was in stock for immediate delivery.....

So, an hour later we were installing the new (and Grey !!!  ) washing machine in its place. The old one is out in the rain waiting for the paddles to be removed - seems we may try to sell on EBay. Still have not got around to trying yet - though we buy large amounts off the 'net.

Seems to have worked...  Clothing suitably washed for partying at St Teilo Christmas Party, luckily only over the road as we were both windswept and rain blown by the time we got across. But a pleasant evening -. Why do Disco and Dance people insist on playing music too loud to speak ?? It seems that if you are having a pleasant conversation then the only solution  is to raise the volume which will miraculously fill the dance floor?? I do not think so!!  Not for my generation anyway !!! Maybe I am getting too old - but I seem to have been saying this for over 30 years so it may not be an age thing. I seem to feel a Victor Meldrew coming on  "I Don't Believe It !!!!"

Proud winners of the Quiz, only dropped one question - couldn't remember that Mud sang a Christmas No 1 and not Shaking Stevens. Two bottles of wine as a prize?? Thank you very much - that saved £18 at the bar....

Home relatively early - well all that music!!  No duties. Don't need to stay. Much nicer to pop home and have a nice glass before bed...

Night.. Slainte!!!

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