Hello from Ireland, and here is my November newsletter.
I hope that you had a lovely Halloween and now the countdown is on as we head towards Christmas!
The clocks went back an hour at the weekend so now it is dark at 5 pm and I get the real feeling that winter is finally upon us.
We have had a lot of rain for the last week or so, but on Saturday the weather was bright and dry so I managed to get out for a stroll in the countryside. There are still some blackberries in the hedgerows, and I picked a few however, my folklore sources tell me that they should not be eaten after Halloween . This is because on that night the púca (a spirit or fairy ghost), often taking the form of a black horse goes about and crawls over the blackberries making them stale and unwholesome !
November 11th Marks the feast of Saint Martin , and in some places in Ireland especially in Connacht, north Munster and south Leinster, strange customs have been associated with the Feast of the saint. My trusty folklore source goes on the tell us that long ago on Martin’s Eve the blood of a farm animal or fowl was spilled and sprinkled in the corners of the house, on the door-posts and windows, and in the byre and stable. In some areas the blood was also used to make the mark of a cross on the forehead of each member of the household. .. Rather gruesome, don’t you think ??
A Wexford legend says that on one recurrence of this festival, November 11, the people in all the boats plying about the Wexford line of coast were warned, by an apparition of the Saint pacing along the waves, to betake themselves to the harbours. All who neglected the advice perished in a storm that ensued the same afternoon. In addition , no miller would set his wheel a-going, no housewife would yoke her spinning wheel.
The shops are getting ready for the busy Christmas season, and on Friday 26th The Black Friday sales will kick off. As you know we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland and the black Friday shopping did not exist in Ireland , but in recent years the phenomenon has crossed the Atlantic and the sales will kick off the holiday season . Mind you, I will be watching for a bargain too !!
In the meantime we launch FREE SHIPPING today so now you can shop for Christmas without the cost of shipping.
Finally , just as I was finishing writing this letter, I thought I should go and get a haircut , but once again my friendly folklore sources quote as follows ‘A man whose hair is cut on a Monday will go bald. Hence a kind of comic imprecation used in Kerry: “Lomradh an tuain ort,” “the shearing of Monday on you.”’ .. so I will put it off till tomorrow.
I hope that you have a lovely November and get to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends,
Stay well and with best wishes from Ireland,