Showing posts with label Folklore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Folklore. Show all posts

Sunrise over the Bottle Tree

My garden bottle tree this morning. It's coming along nicely, but I need more coloured glass bottles...

Bottle Trees have a rich history in folklore. They are meant to bring good fortune to the garden by attracting bad spirits that prowl the earth and trapping them inside their bejewelled glass walls. The bottle tree is already sparking an idea for a short story some time in the future...


We helped our friend move his belongings to North Wales this past weekend as he is about to start work with the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway As we were lucky enough to enjoy some lovely early autumn sunshine whilst there, we took the opportunity to spend the afternoon visiting Portmeirion, which is located right on his new doorstep.

No Parking Sign near entrance to Portmeirion
To many, Portmeirion's celebrity comes from it serving as the location for the 1960s television show The Prisoner. This show soon became a cult favourite and brought the fear that the village might be spoiled by the inundation of tourists. To help avert this, the owner, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis introduced a levy in the form of an entrance free to Portmeirion.

Entering Portmeirion
One of the strange statues that adorn Portmeirion ~
what is that in the creature's paws?

The unique character and striking appearance of Portmeirion was designed by Williams to assauge his love for Italian architecture. He constructed the village between 1925 and 1975.

Portmeirion is now a charitable trust, making an income by renting self-catering cottages and rooms in the village, running numerous shops, various cafes and restaurants, as well as continuing to charge an entrance fee to the village for tourists.

Votive coins hammered into tree strump in Portmeirion Woods

A Redwood tree in Portmeirion woods


The large-scale village chess board

The village of Portmeirion is a must-visit for anyone travelling through North Wales, be they Prisoner fans or not. A real curiosity of a place, walking around the unique sights and sounds can really get the creative juices flowing. Noel Coward wrote Blithe Spirit whilst staying in the village and I would have loved to have settled down in one of numerous seating areas there to take pen to paper myself.
Today we were hindered by having to undertake the long drive home in the afternoon as our visit was a rather hurried walk through of the locale. Maybe next time though...

The Hylder-moer

According to early European folk tales, the tree-dwelling spirit, the Hylda-moer, would haunt those who cut down their trees. Furniture made from their trees would also be haunted, the occupants of the house being pinched black and blue by the resident wood spirit. This little titbit of research has inspired events in my forthcoming Christmas ghost story, which I hope to have published by Crimbo 2020 :)


Another Summer Solstice Celebration post, this time on a pretty little herb I found growing naturally in my garden - Feverfew:


Feverfew was used in medieval Europe to relieve many ailments, including inflammation, menstrual pain and general aches and pain. It was also used as a protective charm against plague.

One of my cats exploring a Feverfew plant



Borage - A Beautiful Talisman for Courage

I continue my Summer Solstice celebrations publishing some of my gardening photography with one of my favourite plants:

Borage, a.k.a. Starflower, is famed for its reputation as a giver of courage and bravery. Just tucking one of its flowers into your pocket before a particularly stressful situation is said to be enough for this most beautiful of herbs to work its wonder. Such was this plant's mettle-inducing reputation that ancient Celtic warriors and Roman soldiers partook of its magick by drinking Borage wine before engaging in battle.

I don't know how true these claims for its courage inducing qualities are, but I am sure that their eye-catching splendour really does lift ones spirits.


To celebrate this year's Summer Solstice, I am going to post some of my older photographs, which celebrate the beauty of the flowers I have grown over the years. I will start the ball rolling with Hollyhocks:

Hollyhocks growing in my old garden a good few years ago

Hollyhocks have been used and admired by Pagans throughout history. Remains of the plant have even been found in 50,000 year old graves. Medicinally, the roots of Hollyhocks have been used to help clear chest infections, to stop bleeding and incontinence and to prevent miscarriages. In Victorian times, the pretty blooms were said to worn by fairies as skirts. Eating a mix of Hollyhocks, Marigolds, Thyme and Hazel, was also said to induce visions of the Faery Folk. The ripe seedpods of Hollyhocks have been used magickally to attract wealth to its owner and were grown in gardens as goodluck charm for the family.

Elveden Forest, Norfolk

Elveden Forest

Elveden Forest is believed to be alive with faery magic. Passing the forest on my way home from my holiday weekend in Norfolk, I could not help myself but stop off here to stretch my legs a little, despite my recent back injury. I was unable to walk very far into its magickal terrain, but I hope I captured a sense of its beauty and enchantment in the few photographs I took of the forest.

Sunshine Seeping Through The Leafy Boughs Of Elveden Forest

There have been numerous reports in Elveden Forest of faeries luring travellers away from their paths and into the faery realm. Beguiling music, the tinkling of bells and strange ethereal laughter have all been reported beneath the boughs of this magnificent forest. Such is the strength of this faery folklore that the forest even takes its name from these strange, alluring tales:  Elveden - literally the den of elves. 

Be Careful Not To Be Pixie-Led in Elveden Forest 

Horsey Wind Pump, Norfolk

On our way to Horsey Gap the other day we stopped off at this impressive building - Horsey Wind Pump.

Horsey Wind Pump is a drainage windmill situated on the Norfolk Broads. It is a Grade II listed building. Its current structure was built in 1912 and the construction was carried out on the site of the original 18th century Horsey Black Mill. It was designed to drain water from the surrounding land that that it could better be used for farming. The windpump remained in working order until 1943, when it was struck by lightning. The National Trust is currently managed by The National Trust.

Horsey Wind Pump

The building is said to be haunted by the sounds of playing children who drowned in the nearby waters and the fact that the wind pump leans to the west is explained by a lovely piece of folklore.

Horsey Wind Pump

A man, desperate to own some of the land adjacent to the wind pump, wagered his soul to the devil in a rowing race along the nearby waters. The Devil easily won the competition but the fearful loser raced from his boat where he took refuge in the wind pump, bolting the door closed behind him. The Devil, furious at the man welshing on his bed, beat and pounded and pushed at the wind pump for the entire day and night before finally giving up and moving on in search of other souls. When the terrified man left the wind pump the following morning, he saw the building now leaned curiously away from the front door.

World Dracula Day

Me (or my shadow) Overlooking Whibty Abbey's Graveyard

It's #WorldDraculaDay today, so I thought this was a good opportunity to share some of my photographs of Whitby Abbey and its cliff edge graveyard. This Gothic location features strongly in Bram Stoker's Dracula and is certainly up there as one of the most atmospheric places I have visited in the UK.