Turning the year

The winter solstice is at (London  time) 5:30 am on Thursday morning. Malcolm hopes to be asleep to miss it.

The place for the sunset on Wednesday would be Maeshowe on Orkney. Catch the webcam link (hoping it works) here.

Malcolm shall, of course, maintain the well-worn tradition established by his Dear Old Dad. Later on Thursday he will gaze out his back window and mutter the hallowed line:

“Good to see the evenings pulling out.”

It comes just about time

At this grim, grey mid-winter the sun, even at noon, doesn’t make it over the roof-trees of the next road south. The rotary clothes-dryer in the back garden of Redfellow Hovel never gets any sunlight — a commodity in any case sorely rationed in London (Latitude 51deg, 32min N) at this time.

To the Brythonic Druids this was the time of “the light of the bear” — Alban Arthan. It is no coincidence that the Arthurian cycle starts with Arthur’s birth at mid-winter, and ends at Camlann, as Tennyson romantically has it:

So all day long the noise of battle roll’d
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur’s table, man by man,
Had fall’n in Lyonness about their Lord,
King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,
The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,
And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark strait of barren land.
On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
Lay a great water, and the moon was full.

Once one has seen Slaughterbridge, along the B3314,  near Tregath Wood, in Cornwall, on a rare morning of hard, penetrating frost, little remaining emotional doubt where “Camlann” had to be remains.

Beannachtaí na Nollag!


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Filed under Britain, culture, History, Literature, railways, travel, weather

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