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Pagans to the left of me! Pagans to the right!

Here we are nearly through the Summer fête season, and I haven’t posted about any of our entertainments. I suppose when you’ve described one brass band and table full of knick knacks, you’ve pretty much told the story.

Here’s something new to me, though — we bought a corn dolly at the last one.

“Corn” here means wheat, oats, rye or barley — whatever your staple carb crop may be — and not just maize. Maize being the thing-on-the-cob we call corn.

Except for tuna and sweetcorn, which is indeed tuna salad with corn kernels in. Which is like…yeah. It’s like that.

God, being a immigrant is confusing.

Anyhoo, a corn dolly is a little sculpture plaited out of straw, either as a love token at harvest time, or a receptacle to hold the spirit of the grain until she can be ploughed back into the earth in Spring.

Children of the Corn. Rosemary’s Baby. Wicker Man. Can I just trust y’all to come up with your own pop culture film reference for the place where I am currently at?

Thank you.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 26, 2010, 11:31 pm

It’s not exactly what you’d call ‘pop’ culture… but this from 1950 is amusing.


… not least for the accents – sorry ‘exents’. Nobody spoke like that, save for the Queen, BBC Announcers and ‘Besil Rethbone’, when I was a wee badger.

All the same, old habits die hard. Corn dollies enshrined the spirit of the corn maiden and were traditionally made from the last sheaf of corn harvested each year, brought into the house. put in a place of honour to see you through till the following season.

And by no means was this just a British thing (so you can stop that giggling at the back all you…. furrin furriners). It seems corn dollies were common more or less right across Northern Europe – so I guess that includes most of us.

As a passionate gardener, heaving great red onions out of the Sussex earth this afternoon, bursting with pride (both the onions and me) I find it hard not sympathise with the sentiment.

Already, the combine harvesters are trundling around, gathering in this year’s crop from the fields about us.

Sometimes it’s quite hard not to be a pagan.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 26, 2010, 11:38 pm

Oh, by the way, steve is correct — well spotted, steve! — SHERLOCK has won the Dead Pool with Daniel Shorr. I totally missed that.

Step forward, sherlock. And…y’all know what’s coming Friday. (Please, Zsa Zsa, cut a Weasel a break and die already).

Comment from Allen
Time: July 27, 2010, 12:00 am

I have a movie idea, “A Huffer in the Rye.” The protagonist is wandering through a rye field infected with ergot slowly getting crazier and crazier as he huffs the grain.

Then he can turn into a werewolf, and eat the de-rigueur young people vacationing in England for the summer. Been done?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 27, 2010, 12:02 am

While his limbs fall off one by one (another side effect of ergotomine).

Comment from Allen
Time: July 27, 2010, 12:04 am

I did not know that.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 27, 2010, 12:36 am

It cuts off peripheral circulation. I don’t remember where I read it, but there was a Medieval anecdote about a woman riding a donkey to see the doctor during one of the really awful outbreaks. She brushed against a tree and her leg fell off.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: July 27, 2010, 1:13 am

But ’twas only a flesh wound! You just come back, and she’ll bite yer legs off!

Comment from Armybrat
Time: July 27, 2010, 1:21 am

I spent 20+ years living in Kansas. Wheat weaving is an art passed among the generations. I don’t get it…but I’ve never been the farmers bored wife.

Comment from Mal
Time: July 27, 2010, 1:32 am

Harvest Home?
(And don’t run with those scissors…)

P’raps an updated bratpack film in which a group of six young men & women, having recently moved to England, inadvertently bake C. Purpurea in their artisanal bread. Hilarity ensues.
You could call it St. Anthony’s Fire..

Comment from Allen
Time: July 27, 2010, 6:51 am

Stampede strings, woven from horse hair for fortune. Rattlesnake hatband for luck. Elk skin vest for hunting success.

Check, check, and check. Pagan oh yeah.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: July 27, 2010, 11:43 am

A new dead pool. Ah, crap. I’m in Norway and will actually have to pay attention to what time the new one starts.

I am woman, hear me whine. 🙂

Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: July 27, 2010, 12:02 pm

… not least for the accents – sorry ‘exents’. Nobody spoke like that

The folks in the Not-A-Strip-Mall section of Edison, NJ, pretty much kept their accent intact since they shuffled over here from Cornwall (had to get it on-topic somehow, right) or some such outlandish place.

Overheard the following at a soccer match in 1995 or so:

“Bobby, ya went ter Ingerlund, then?”

“Ya, fer veck-cayshoon. T’were a root noise ploise, ba Oi wuz soorproised — naby noo Oi wuz froom Amerry-cuh.”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 27, 2010, 12:02 pm

Norway!? Well, there’s your problem, right there.

Comment from steve
Time: July 27, 2010, 12:41 pm

All praise and glory to Kansas Gman, who actually spotted it.

I went back to prowl that thread to see who among us had grabbed Zsa Zsa and saw a few comments regarding the recent demise of Daniel Schorr….

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: July 27, 2010, 5:34 pm

Yeah its all fun and games until someone ends up in the Wicker Man.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 27, 2010, 6:03 pm

Uncle B: it’s interesting hearing how the Queen’s voice has shifted over the years. She now has a much more demotic pronunciation than 50 years ago.

I have a very, very Received Pronunciation accent, but it’s not nearly as posh as when I left public school. Back then we all sounded like Terry-Thomas (and he was from Finchley.)

Comment from Hotrodelectric
Time: July 27, 2010, 6:36 pm

I have a very, very Received Pronunciation accent, but it’s not nearly as posh as when I left public school. Back then we all sounded like Terry-Thomas (and he was from Finchley.)

OMG- you mention Terry-Thomas, and now I’m thinking of “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. I guess that will have to do for my movie/corn reference. Sorta like playing ‘6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon’, but with a twist.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 27, 2010, 9:39 pm

I say, Mr Gillies! You ebsolute rotter! 😉

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: July 27, 2010, 9:53 pm

My great grandfather was from Penzance and proudly kept his Cornwall accent to the day he died (which was actually rather young, as he killed himself tripping over a fence whilst hunting with my grandfather).

And Stoaty,don’t blame me for Norway, my son fell for a Norwegian girl. It wasn’t my idea, I assure you.

Comment from B.C.
Time: July 28, 2010, 3:20 am

“Catch ‘Er In The Rye”, along with the sequel “Caught ‘Er In The Rye”.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: July 28, 2010, 3:39 am

When I first begam reading a lot of history and stuff, the British usage of “corn” caused me much confusion. For instance, there are lots of uses of “corn” in The Wealth of Nations, which I read when I was like 14. And the big deal about the “Corn Laws”.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 28, 2010, 5:40 am

If I didn’t mind paying £8 for a pint of beer and I didn’t really hate snow, I’d cheerfully live in Norway. Cleanest place I ever saw. And I didn’t see an ugly girl the whole time I was there. Nina’s son is lucky.

Indeed, Uncle B. I am an utter shower (pronounced ‘sher’).

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: July 28, 2010, 9:08 am

He thinks he is, David. 🙂 But it is expensive, all right. Not a place to holiday if you’re on a budget.

Comment from Wiccapundit
Time: August 1, 2010, 6:00 pm

Not film, but a pop culture reference nonetheless:

John Barleycorn Must Die

Great Traffic album, and of course the method by which we obtain “uisge beatha,” the Water of Life, or in our neck of the woods, the Lightnin’ (corn likker, of course).

Leave it to the pagans to build a Sabbat around it: Lughnassadh – the Feast of Lugh – and the celebration of the first (corn) harvest. Which, BTW, we celebrated last night.

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