Jack in the Green

This traditional event was alive and well in Hastings, East Sussex, England over the May Day Weekend. Four days of festivities involving parades, dancing, singing, drumming and eating were carried out in the highest temperatures known at this time of year for a couple of decades.

A bit about the tradition, from Wikipedia:

Jack in the Green, also known as Jack o’ the Green, is an English folk custom associated with the celebration of May Day. It involves a pyramidal or conical wicker or wooden framework that is decorated with foliage being worn by a person as part of a procession, often accompanied by musicians.

The Jack in the Green tradition developed in England during the eighteenth century. It emerged from an older May Day tradition—first recorded in the seventeenth century—in which milkmaids carried milk pails that had been decorated with flowers and other objects as part of a procession. Increasingly, the decorated milk pails were replaced with decorated pyramids of objects worn on the head, and by the latter half of the eighteenth century the tradition had been adopted by other professional groups, such as bunters and chimney sweeps. The earliest known account of a Jack in the Green came from a description of a London May Day procession in 1770. By the nineteenth century, the Jack in the Green tradition was largely associated with chimney sweeps.

The tradition died out in the early twentieth century. Later that century, various revivalist groups emerged, continuing the practice of Jack in the Green May Day processions in various parts of England. The Jack in the Green has also been incorporated into various modern Pagan parades and activities.

Enjoy the very amateurish photos taken while juggling cap, drinks, food and sunglasses…

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Sunday in the Park

‘Sunday in the park, I think it was the 22nd of October…’

You can see what I’ve done there, if you’re into your Chicago tunes from the 70s.

9 a.m. and just a few walkers and joggers were around, a beautiful alternative to the seafront for an early morning walk.

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And it you don’t get the Chicago link here’s the song…


Strummed out

(Another poem written while consuming an early morning coffee, inspired by a lone guitarist on the pedestrian street)

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Grey hair bun-tied,

left leg beating the beat,

sunglasses shading eyes from cloudy skies,

strumming for a latte,

or something stronger,

interrupted by handshaking passersby,

well-wishing with zipped up wallets,

reliving teenage hopes of fame,

and one night stands,

now playing for pennies,

and one night hostel rooms,

80s Brit pop mixed with 60s simple shorties,

thinking he cuts a mean Mick Jagger in a rundown seaside town,

watching rainclouds drift,

not groupies beckoning,

crowds drifting around his island of 6 string melancholy melodies,

voice strident strong as they pass with eyes shopfront fixed,

even the seagulls have pecked the red button to exit,

raindrops fall,

but no happy cyclist with handlebar girl is he,

another rainy morning with cap waterfilled,

and coin deserted,

by dusk enough for a beer,

and dreams of what might have been,

decades lost ago.


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Writers’ inspiration…or not

Lovely sunny warm weather here this afternoon and a walk to the hill behind the castle gives beautiful views across the sea. The sort of views that ought to inspire a writer to put pen to paper, more likely in poetic manner. But the warmth can also lead to drowsiness and laziness, and the desire to find a comfortable seat in the sun, or even a comfortable seat in a nearby wine bar…

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All quiet on the coffee front

A visit to a neighbouring town found me taking a coffee in Mr Bean’s around 9.30 a.m. and it was remarkably quiet. It was an overcast day with drizzle but then again you thought that might have sent people scurrying into a coffee house for a drink and chat.

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There were a group of older women behind me who had come in in ones and twos so were clearly a ‘ladies who do coffee’ group of some kind. And I only just realised this establishment does two shots of coffee as the default setting, I wondered why I found today’s cup a little strong after several visits elsewhere last week specifically asking for one shot only. With a blood pressure check on Thursday I thought it wise to keep my caffeine intake lower before the pesky nurse bans me from all types of coffee. Can you stand going into a coffee house and asking for a tea?

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Just discovered in one of my laptop folders a little opening scene I wrote after coming into this coffee shop back in 2015. I was going to add it here but I better read it through first in case it sounds too banal and cliched. I’ll put it up tomorrow.


Writer’s break

It’s 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning and a perfect time to write. Yet the sun is shining for once this September so down goes the pen/laptop lid and it’s walking shoes on and a flask of coffee in the backpack and a trek along the wonderful promenade at Hastings. Of course you have to dodge the joggers and dog walkers but  it was a beautiful scene this morning. And there’s not much better that seeing happy dogs running in and out of the sea. Even tempts you to get one yourself…

Perhaps this afternoon when the muscles start to seize up and the feet ache, the laptop lid will be lifted and the fingers start to type. Or maybe I’ll just fall asleep with a good book.

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Bank Holiday writing

Lovely sunny warm day here on the south coast, just far enough away from the ‘haze’ of Eastbourne. What better way to start Bank Holiday Monday than a latte on the seafront and jotting ideas down on a notepad. Plenty of people to watch and plenty of conversations to overhear for potential ideas in writing.

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A gentle breeze to cool the warming sun helps too although after a while it can make you sleepy and less likely to keep writing. Easier to listen to a well spoken couple discussing their South of France holiday while munching on their bacon baps…

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And on the beach families are appearing as they discover Hastings does actually have sand when the tide retreats…

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