Stir Up Sunday.

It’s Stir Up Sunday today (22nd November 2020) and I am making my Christmas puddings. Traditionally the preparation of Christmas puddings began on Stir Up Sunday- a term which comes from the Anglican church for the last Sunday before the season of Advent- 1st – 24th December. The name comes from the beginning of the Collect for the Day in the Book of Common Prayer:

‘Stir up we beseech thee , O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.’

And in the words of another great book:

“‘Oh what a wonderful pudding!’ Bob Cratchit said and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage.”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Bronte BBC Radio Drama Collection.

The Bronte BBC Radio Drama Collection by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover image for The Bronte BBC Radio Drama Collection

I really enjoyed these Bronte dramatisations. I had not read more Bronte than I had read, but couldn’t bring myself to wade through all the others. These radio dramas were perfect to help me know the narratives. Brilliant casts helped me through quite a few car journeys. Even more interesting was the interview with Rachel Joyce (The Making of the Bronte BBC Dramas) at the end. Here they talk about the process of making and recording a dramatisation- the acting and movement involved and also the process of rewriting a book for a drama, what to cut and what to keep/ what works and what doesn’t- especially important in well known and well loved Classics like the Bronte books.

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East Sussex Online Book Club: Belonging by Umi Sinha.

This month the East Sussex Libraries Online Book Club book is Belonging by Umi Sinha. I read this when it was first published as I travelled around North India, which seemed appropriate. Click the link below to watch the library interview with Umi- talking about Belonging, writing and India.

Umi Sinha talking about Belonging.

This socially distanced interview was at Newhaven Library in East Sussex.

Remember, Remember the 5th of November.

Bonfire Prayers

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and the Parliament,
Three score barrels of powder below
Poor old England to overthrow.

By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match,
Holler boys, holler boys, ring bells ring
Holler boys, holler boys, God Save the King!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o’cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to rinse it down
A faggot of sticks to burn him.

Burn him in a tub of tar
Burn him like a blazing star,
Burn his body from his head
Then we’ll say old Pope is dead.

Hip Hip Hoorah!
Hip Hip Hoorah!
Hip Hip Hoorah!


Lewes Bonfire celebrations, held in the county town of Lewes in East Sussex are probably the largest and most famous Bonfire Night festivities in the UK. Not only do they mark Guy Fawkes Night – the date of the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 – but also the memory of the seventeen Protestant Martyrs from the town burned at the stake for their faith in the sixteenth century, as part of the Marian persecutions of Protestants during the reign of Mary I .

The main procession is made up of seven separate societies putting on six separate processions and firework displays throughout Lewes on 5 November. As well as this, 25–30 societies from all around Sussex come to Lewes on the night to march the streets, which potentially can mean up to 5,000 people taking part in the celebrations, and up to 80,000 spectators attending in a county market town with a significantly smaller population.

Sadly this year celebrations will not be taking place due to Covid-19 restrictions and the new Lockdown measures in England- fingers crossed for next year.

From a shop window in Lewes.

Meanwhile take a look at the link below, taken from YouTube for a taste of the evening.

Happy Halloween 🎃

“Trick or Treat! Give me something good to eat. Give me candy. Give me cake. Give me something sweet to take!” “Trick or treat’…

Halloween- also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.

The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.

Halloween will be different this year with Covid 19 showing no signs of going away. However we can still carve and display our pumpkins, cook our Halloween food and scare ourselves with a horror movie.

Happy Halloween…!

Bloody Brilliant Women by Cathy Newman

Bloody Brilliant Women: The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention by Cathy Newman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bloody Brilliant Women by Cathy Newman

A celebration of brilliant women through the centuries, from the Saxon women who were near equal to men and had influence and freedom of intervention in public affairs, up to the present day. A twenty first century of #MeToo, the public movement against sexual abuse and harassment of women by powerful and prominent men; and #HeForShe the male ally ship for gender equality. Where did it all go wrong for women in between? The equality women had in the Saxons, lost and despite spending centuries fighting for, never quite regained is brilliantly told in this informative social history. Kept me entertained on the journey to and from work for a week.

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