Thursday, 25 October 2012

St Emilion

Another place visited this summer was St Emilion, a beautiful town with steep cobbled streets, albeit almost completely turned over to 'wine tourism'.  There are some vast wine 'caves' to explore beneath the streets and the amazing Monolithic Cathedral, also mostly underground and held up by huge metal supports.  My photos.

Montaigne's Tower

In August I had the opportunity to visit Montaigne's Tower near Bordeaux.  At the time I was reading How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakwell an excellent introduction to his life and work.  Also bought a bottle of Montaigne wine as the estate also contains a vineyard.  Photos by me.

Events in Hastings

There are some interesting events taking place in Hastings over the next couple of weeks - frustratingly I won't be able to go to any of them.  This weekend sees the first Ingrid Pitt Queen of Horror Festival (I think this is the official site).  There are some impressive guests including James Herbert, who I have to confess was a writer I read far too much as a teenager and the gorgeous Madeline Smith.

Less well publicised is the Black Huts Festival run by a local publisher and featuring Iain Sinclair who remains one of my favourite writers, many of his chums will be there as well.  I sometimes feel that there are too many events down here, but the most irritating thing is that the few I really want to go to nearly always take place when I have other commitments.

Bun Ceremony Under Threat

The latest Folklore Society newsletter contains some bad news regarding one of London's most unusual and interesting annual commemorations, which takes place every Good Friday at the Widow's Son pub in Bromley-by-Bow.  On this occasion a sailor from the Royal Navy places a bun in a net above the bar containing the buns from previous ceremonies; it commemorates the hot cross buns a widow is said to have baked every year in a cottage on that spot in the hope that her son would return home from sea, sadly he never did.  The legend can be found in my Folklore of London book amongst other places and there is an earlier post devoted to it.

It now appears that the pub has been bought by a property developer who wants to turn most of the building into the inevitable apartments ('luxury' no doubt).  The local newspaper covered it here.  It would be a very sad thing to see yet another pub-related piece of folklore vanish - when I was writing my folklore book I was dismayed to discover how many pubs had totally disappeared, been converted to flats or had stopped ceremonies and commemorations that in some cases went back many years.