Wednesday, 1 November 2017

November Days

 November, the Ninth month of the old Roman Calender. The Anglo-Saxons called November Blodomonath, which means Blood month, it was the month when surplus animals were slaughtered and salted down for the winter.

From around the 8th Century the Catholic church declared November1st  as All Saints' Day commemorating the Saints and Martyrs of the Christian Faith who didn't have their own days also known as All Hallows Day (Hallow meaning Holy, Saintly or to respect greatly, in old English) hence 31st October being Hallows'eve which turned into Halloween.

November 2nd is All Souls' Day when prayers were said for souls in purgatory. These 3 days in the  calendar are the Christian version of the ancient Celtic Feast of the dead or Samhain (From sunset on the 31st to sunset on the 1st) which marked the end of the harvest season and the division of the year between the lighter half of summer and the dark of winter. They believed the veil between this world and the other-world became porous allowing the spirits of the dead to pass through.

 If there's ice in November to bear a duck
the rest of the winter just mud and muck.

That's one of the well known weather sayings for November and there are several more in my books of weather lore, many linked to St Martin's Day on the 11th.

If on Martinmass it is fair and cold then winter will not last long

Wind North-west at Martinmass there is a severe winter to come

If the wind is in the south-east at Martinmass it will remain there until after Christmas

and then for St Clements Day on the 23rd
St Clement gives the winter

So many sayings, can any be true?

From Sara Coleridge's months of the year poem

Dull November brings the blast
                                                       Then the leaves are whirling fast

Which reminds me............... While looking through one book I found the paragraph that I couldn't find last month ........................ The order in which trees shed their leaves....................

 "It should be in this order...........walnut, sycamore, horse chestnut, lime, ash; then elm: then beech and oak; then apple and lastly young beeches and pollarded oaks, which may retain their withered leaves until they are pushed off by new growth in spring"

Then of course there are the dreary lines from the beginning and end of  the poem by Thomas Hood

No sun, no moon,
no morn, no noon,
no dawn, no dusk,
no proper time of day
No sky - no earthly view,
No distance looking blue.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member,
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

Thank you for comments yesterday, the bats and ceramic pumpkin from the mantle-piece will be put away tomorrow leaving just the autumn decorations until the end of the month.
I was interested to read all the various blog posts and comments about Halloween, like Christmas it seems to stir up lots of love/hate reaction. If you ignore the commercialism part, both Halloween and Christmas have been around for a lot longer than us and probably still will be long after we've gone. I can see no point in getting overwrought about either.

Back in a jiffy


  1. I think the leaf shedding list is broadly recognisable in my experience but I suppose the local micro climate ca affect things. Our poplar leaves, not in the list, are yet to rain down in any quantity but I see yours have already done so.
    I wonder if Thomas Hoo suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I felt a twinge myself when I was reading it.

    1. Our big walnut tree at the smallholding was always the first to lose it's leaves but there is one down the end of the lane still quite green. I wonder if its more to do with moisture in the soil?

  2. I do enjoy reading the old sayings and I love your photograph Sue. Very Autumnal. X

  3. I don't think I'd have liked to have been seated next to Thomas Hood at a dinner party! What a dreary poem, Sue. Hardly worth wasting paper on it, ha ha!
    I can vouch for walnuts being early to shed leaves - we often have them coming off our tree in August.
    Yes, a very interesting post, Sue, than you for this.
    Margaret P

    1. This is just the beginning and end of his poem No!. Probably satirical as I have a book of his poetry and some is comic verse

  4. Love your header picture. Although I have never met you, it seems very "you". Catriona

  5. I have noticed that our cherry trees are the last to change colour and to loose their leaves every year.

    God bless.

  6. Your posts are always so interesting and informative Sue! I love your new header! You should keep it for the month. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I have some ceramic jack-o-lanterns too and just turn them around and you can possibly use them another month.

  8. I like to hear all the old sayings and verses. It's very interesting.

  9. Nice to be reminded of these old seasonal poems and sayings. I haven’t heard the one about ice in November.

  10. Thomas Hood is a cheery soul, isn't he? ;-) Actually I know what he means; I used to live in the northwestern part of the US where November is dire. But now I'm in Florida where November is a lovely month of cool (relatively) temperatures and beautiful days.

    I have a friend whose heritage is Mexican. Her family celebrates Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) this time of year, which involves cemetery visits to pay tribute to deceased family members. I went with her one year; it was a very nice tradition.

  11. 1st Novembert is a holiday here in France. Halloween is celebrated in true American style by the youngsters: the older visit their family graves and leave flowers - mainly big pot plants of chrysanthemums, and clean and brush up the headstones etc. At our local cemetery, I saw one family with a mobile generator, pressure-washing their family grave. There's dedication!

  12. Thank you for this. I think i’ll Check back on the 11th to see what we may be in for!

  13. I think November is a lovely month and see lots of things that Thomas Hood apparently missed! I am still smiling at some of the other comments about the cheery fellow! :~)

  14. Nice post and I like what you did with scrabble letters. Nice idea. I bought some scrabble letters awhile back and made a little framed saying for our anniversary celebration. I liked the reading of leaves in order of falling, didn't know that one! Have a good week!