Welcome to my first newsletter for 2022.
I hope that you had a lovely Christmas and new year celebration with your family and friends.
Due to the ongoing Covid situation I had a quiet Christmas. I’m not keen to put myself or my family at risk by attending too many social gatherings , nor spend much time in crowded settings and let’s hope that we will get back to some kind of normality this coming year.
Now that the winter solstice has occurred, I can feel the turn of the season and the days are getting longer only by a minute or two every day.
In fact, when I was chatting to some friends in Connemara the other day, they described that the days would get longer “ by a Cock’s step” .. they explained that a cock walks with tiny steps hence the expression !!
But I can feel that spring is on the way – in fact I have seen daffodils ready to bloom and many of our trees are sprouting fresh growth – let’s hope we don’t get a cold snap !
My folklore sources tell me that Hansel Monday – the first Monday in the year is the day when a present or hansel was given by a master or mistress to the servants and by fathers or mothers to children. Long ago on that day people salute one another with “My Hansel on you.” Anything that comes into your possession that day indicates luck, such as a child, calf, lambs, or money. If you receive on Hansel Monday, you will sure to be lucky the rest of the year.
A very important date is Thursday 6th January which is the feast of the Epiphany and in Ireland it’s also known as ‘ Nollaig Na mBan’ – Women’s Christmas. On this day it is the custom for the women of the household to take the day off after all the toil during Christmas celebrations and the menfolk take over the running of the daily chores. Long ago the women often would head for the pub, or into town for the day and would really enjoy a fun day out with their female friends and neighbours !
As the days are short and the sunlight is weak the annual exhibition of William Turners watercolours go on display in Dublin’s national gallery. The colours are so pale and delicate on these 31 paintings it was a specific instruction of the bequest that they could only be exhibited during the month of January. Last year the gallery was closed but it is definitely on my list this year for a socially distanced visit .
In our workshop we will be starting back to work at full steam – we have to ship many of our QVC orders right away in order to get to the warehouse in good time for St Patrick’s day – I can’t believe this important date is coming so quickly and I’m already looking forward to a fun event that will be broadcast from a historic building in Ireland !