Thursday, 8 January 2015

Under the Beech Tree

I've decided to carry on marking the passing months for 2015.. this time with a photo and a few words.  Some of you already know that our home is right next to a woodland.. and we have a big, beautiful beech tree just over the back fence, our garden is half under the spreading branches of this lovely tree.

Under the Beech Tree
January 2015
So at the beginning of each month this year I'm going to take a photo of this tree and watch it change as the months go by.  I thought it might be nice to include a little trivia about the month from here in the UK too :)

Under the Beech Tree - January

Gemstone - Garnet
Flower - Carnation

Botanical illustration of carnation flowers from Italy
image from VintagePrintables
Anglo Saxons called this Wolf monath.  One source states this was because wolves came into villages looking for food now, and another source says it was when Nobles went wolf hunting.

We haven't had wild wolves here in the UK since 1680
St. Hilary's Day on the 13th January is reputed to be the coldest day of the year.. since especially cold events have started on, or near, this day.  In the year 1205, around the 13th January one of the most severe winters in history began, with the Thames River in London freezing over, and beer and wine freezing solid in their kegs and having to be sold by weight! The freeze lasted until 22nd March.

The coldest winters in the UK were between 1683 - 1716, it was a 'mini ice-age'. During this time the Thames froze over on 23 occasions - 5 times it was thick enough to hold a Frost Fair; an impromptu festival on the Thames - recently described by BBC News as being a cross between a Christmas Market, a circus, and an illegal rave.  They had printing presses making souvenirs, drinking, food stalls, side shows, tents, ice bowling and dancing.  On the very last Frost Fair in 1814 they marched an elephant across the ice alongside Blackfriars Bridge! Poor pachyderm! 
Image from BBC News Magazine
follow the link and you can zoom in and explore


Heather Woollove said...

Deborah- Thanks for reminding me that this cold weather could be worse! (The festivals sound like fun, though!)

Els said...

Well .... I don't think the Thames will freeze over this winter .... ;-)

(probably we won't have our famous 200 km ice skating tour either)

FeltersJourney said...

Els, I don't think it'll freeze lol. That 200km skating race sounds gruelling! You'd have to be fit, that's for sure!
It's often the 'back end' of winter that is coldest here.. so I'm keeping my thermal undies at the ready :)

Heather I love that they had impromptu 'raves' on the Thames back then.. I like that folks knew how to party even when life was so tough.


Beaker Button said...

My Mum has a beech in her garden. It's beautiful, and I've often thought of doing the same. Looking forward to your photos.