Saturday, 7 April 2007

Happy Eostre

This stylised hare sculpture set in the English countryside, is beating a drum. It is set on a hill, which slightly affects the perspective, so that the cows grazing below give an exaggerated indication of scale.

Original photo - sculptor unknown, location unknown, somewhere in UK

Its only 2,000 years or so that, instead of welcoming Eostre the Goddess of the Dawn, of new birth, of the return of the longer sun days, we are instead asked to consider the crucifixion and resurrection of a male figure, and its all down to the Romans. Prior to these last 2,000 years we, in England at least, would have been celebrating spring and venerating the land and its creatures.

Ceiling Boss circa 12th Century
St Hubert's Church, Corfe Mullen, Dorset

Also, thanks to the Romans, we have brown hares. Did you know that the DNA of the European brown hare is closer to that of the roe deer than to the DNA of rabbits. No contest.

Artist Madeleine Floyd

I saw my first hare when I came to Dorset. Walking my Airedale along the roman road near the local hill fort, which was conquered by the Romans around AD43 , she shot off after a hare. I was not worried, its was a game my Airedale could not win, but she did not know that. The hare was fast, and each time my Airedale seemed to be lagging behind, the hare stopped, sat down and waited for her to catch up, then took off again. My Airedale was soon out of sight, but I was confident in her good sense, to return to me, and her sense of direction, to find me. What seemed ages later, she returned, absolutely knackered, and I could see the hare in my binoculars, sat down facing our direction. Here is my Airedale on a more relaxed spring walk.

Wonderful animals hares. Here is one I photographed, across the border in Wiltshire, which regular readers my remember.

Back to the Romans. The hares were introduced for food and, for drink, the Romans terraced the hills both sides of this little river valley and planted vines on the chalk. It must have been a bit warmer then. A few winters ago during a torrential downpour, after weeks of such downpours when the ground was sodden, the grazing field above my garden showed by the rivers of water running down the slope, the outlines of the agricultural terraces and ditches. The effect, similar to information gained from crop marks in summer, lasted only a few minutes, so I have no record of it. Those terraces probably were old medieval lynchets, rather than evidence of Roman viniculture, but interesting nonetheless.

When I lived the other side of the big river (that this little river feeds into) I inherited a vine along the south east side of the barn conversion that was my home. In the 1920s the barn was alongside a kitchen garden and I found fragments of the original planting of cherry, sloes and a cordon pear tree on the short south west wall. In the few short years I lived there, it was never warm enough to ripen the white grapes. The birds were happy feeding off them.

There was a lovely little vineyard near here when I first moved to Dorset and its champagne method was a medal winner, but the family retired to sail off the Scottish coast and the incomer grubbed it all up; said the soil was barren. He is fertilising it in rotation with the help of a small collection of dray horses that he breeds, schools and enters for the Boujolais Run to France and back. Isn't life wonderfully connected when it is lived on the land.

On another track entirely ...
I am brain befuddled recently. I know why; Lupus flare following the skull surgery and current systemic steroid starting to run out. In my head I hear my self making perfect sense. Only by other's reactions do I know it is not always 100% so. My Bump asked: Are you ok ? Why ? You sound a bit spaced out or distracted. No I am fine. As in, not sufficiently befuddled to have to worry about it.

Blogging Mone has kindly emailed me offering to translate some valuable Swedish site info on CFLs - see my light bulb moment below. BMone - I cannot see through the process so please wait for me to catch up. I can react to posts with comments (I think) but I cannot follow a process because its all a bit foggy. I have written about this aspect of Lupus brain fog before, and explained why, and why also I am not stopping to find the link to put it in here, because I will get lost and not find the way back. Yes, I know I know how to do it but I cannot find the route in my brain. I can create stuff, like writing this (spent ages trying to find out how to spell eggsagerate and boujolais/beaujolais, bowjhulay), but not take a planned process of action. Does that make any sense ? Yonks ago Charles called it malignant fatigue. I renamed it Dawson's Fatigue.

Thankfully it is the holiday, so it doesn't matter. I have been nowhere and done nothing for two days, and plan the same for the next two days. After then I will phone the doctors' surgery and book the next steroid assault on my butt.
This, from cartoonstockdotcom, is for Goldfish



Blogger Charlesdawson said...

You're being a bit mean to the Romans, Sally! They didn't invent Christianity, after all!

Your verification code this am is "charxm".

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 09:09:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Awww...I love that picture of Airdale Sally! We do have hares here in our housing area, even though there are so many people, dogs, cars and other challenges. There is a forrest nearby, and I suppose they are just curious or fed up with their forrest diet. First I was pleased to see them, but much to my disenchantment they started eating my tulips.
The idea of making three hares share three ears, seems to be known in many places. In a town not far away from where I gre up, there is a famous church window featuring the same motive.
Translation: Don't worry. Just tell me when or if you need it.

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 10:03:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Charming !

I was just trying to ~hint~ at the Roman involvement with the Jewish question, about them murdering and all, then washing their hands of the whole affair, then for (was it) Charlemange (yea gods but my spellin is crfap) to pick it up and take it, just like world wide, ok sorry western bit world wide.

Because in my brain fuddled way I am aware of the huge complexity of history and attributation, but heck its a bank holiday and my brain needs a rest.

And I like hares, but hate the fact they didn't always live here and they didn't hop over themselves but were brought as food. And I can't drink the wine because of the drugs.

(thank god for a commenting visitor, I thought all my blogging friends had gone off visiting relatives, or for walks, or sat stuffing chocolate bunnies and too spaced to blog.)

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 10:04:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Morning Bloggingmone. Your comment didn't show until after I had replied to CD.

I am fascinated that the ancient hare motif is known elsewhere and excited that it is in a stained glass window. Can you remember the name of the church/town.

I hope my brain is in gear more next week after my big weekend rest, and I will come back to you on the CFL thing.

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 10:09:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Morning Sally,
it isn't a stained glass window. There is a stained glass window behind it, but it is made of stone really. Sculptured or whatever it is.
The window can be seen at Paderborn Dome in Northrhine Westpalia. Have a look here

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 10:57:00 BST  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Fantastic. :-)

I was ribbing my Christian sister about how, when he was older, I would tell Alexander about the true meaning of Easter.

"What, you mean the pagans?" she said, "But that's all to do with sex! You can't tell Alex that."

So instead he gets to hear about a Jewish political rebel suffering one of the more sadistic and tortuous forms of execution there is to save us all from sin because we're such a bad lot. But hey, at least no rumpy pumpy...

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 12:43:00 BST  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Clicked publish instead of preview - I should have said "original" rather than "true"; my attitude is not nearly so disrespectful as that probably sounded. Christians do celebrate the true meaning of Easter to them and I do respect that.

And culturally, two thousand years (or strictly speaking, 1200 years since the Synod of Whitby where they chose the date) does count for something.

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 12:46:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Goldfish, can't remember today precisly what, but quite a lot got sorted at Whitby didn't it, from a Christian point of view. Speaking of which, a friend came back from a recent visit there (envy) and was astonished that I knew it was the Goth capital of the world. How did you know that ! she asked. (Thinks: Thanks to Goldfish.) I love the fact that Easter is still calculated by the Christians according to the moon and stars, astro-logically. Quite a few Christians think its the government that keeps moving Easter each year !!
I think the annual Chocolate-fest is due to lack of rumpy pumpy.

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 16:23:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks Blogging Mone. I will go Google it; blogger comments doesn't like the link. I love stained glass and sculptured stone. And hares.

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 16:27:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Nope sorry BMone, google is not interested in helping me out. Could you type the link out something like this:

www dot whatever at whateveragain dot com

Thank you in anticipation.

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 16:37:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

I have no idea why blogger doesn't like the link. Anyway, the picture can be seen at

If you like to google for more information and more pics, just type: Hasenfenster Paderborn

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 17:27:00 BST  
Blogger spotted elephant said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post and all the pictures! The brown hare being more closely related to roe deer than to rabbits-that's priceless!

Sorry to hear about the severity of the brain fog. You very likely cope better than me-I find it so irritating I get into a bad mood for days. (But I only have to deal with it once in a great while.)

Your Airedale was beautiful!

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 18:19:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks BM, on my way.

Hi Spotted Ele - glad you enjoyed your virtual visit to England !

My fog is only a light mist, that swirls around and its affects are not that different to intoxication ... slower, bumbling (sorry Bumble !), getting things mixed up, not realising that what I have said doesn't actually mean what I meant. Not serious, and I seem to have a little bit of control, ie. physical rest helps to offset the worst. So I am fortunate that I can take time out. I do not have the dense black fogs that others have to cope with.

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 18:59:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

The Easter Bunny is an American invention, I think. Does anyone know why? I know the hare thing was a no-no in polite society because of their courting habits and sex rituals, but really, are rabbits any better?

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 19:28:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

I didn't know hares' courting habits and sex rituals are a no-no. I thought that was the notorious rabbits (sorry Bumble) but Hares I have seen and they are masters/mistresses of the courtly dance. Polite even.

Years ago when I was walking, in a field not a million miles from the town by-pass, with a group of friends we stopped to watch a circle of eight to ten hares. Each pair of hares did a figure of eight around the next hare in the circle. When that pair stopped another pair in the circle began. We stood silent in amazement. This is why hares are sacred.

I have seen two hares in a small glade in the corner of field, dancing around each other, and their joy was palpable.

I understand that the boxing hares so often reported are in fact two females. I can understand that !

Monday, 9 April 2007 at 20:27:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Charles, there was a problem with your latest comment on comments moderation. Can you check your temail and re-comment. Thank you.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007 at 13:29:00 BST  
Blogger spotted elephant said...

Charles-I don't know the history of the Easter Bunny, but knowing America, it was invented to boost consumerism.

Rabbits are NOT polite-they will mate anytime and anywhere. If a male rabbit can't find a female rabbit, he will attempt to mate with any nearby animals.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 at 02:28:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Charles's lost comment was about his Mum used to watch hares from a farm in Dorset but they seemed to become rare, and what effect changes in farming practices may have had on the hare population.

Charles, they are plentiful now where there are no footpaths and therefore no brightly coloured 'anoraks' or dog walkers.

Some farming practices are beneficial to hare populations, altho' most are not. On arable land, if the farmer uses chemical sprays, these have the effect of masking the scent hares lay from their pads, so predators have great difficulty scenting hares on arable land. Eight hares eat the equivalent of one sheep, so if hares are very plentiful in one area, the farmer may arrange a shoot to cull them. Which is sad, and illustrates the imbalancing effect on nature that some farming practices have.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 at 09:42:00 BST  
Blogger seahorse said...

What a great post, even if i came to it a bit late :-)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 at 23:35:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thank you Seahorse, you are very welcome.
Glad you survived your move.

Thursday, 12 April 2007 at 09:39:00 BST  

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