29 December 2010


I first heard this song on BBC, a coverage of the Cambridge Folk Festival.
It has become my song of the year after it was constant repeat the last couple of days.

Roots - Show of Hands

Now it's been 25 years or more
I've roamed this land from shore to shore
From Tyne to Teign, or Severn to Thames
From moor to vale, from peak to fen

Played in cafes, pubs and bars
I've stood in the street with my own guitar
But I'd be richer than all the rest
If I had a pound for each request

For 'Duelling Banjos', 'American Pie'
It's enough to make you cry
'Rule Britannia', or 'Swing low...'
Are they the only songs we English know?

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
They're never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
They need roots

After the speeches, when the cake's been cut
The disco's over and the bar is shut
At christening, birthday, wedding or wake
What can we sing 'til the morning breaks

When the Indians, Asians, Afro-Celts
It's in their blood, below their belt
They're playing and dancing all night long
So what have they got right that we've got wrong?

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
They're never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
They need roots and

Haul away boys, let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We've lost more than we'll ever know
'Round the rocky shores of England
We need roots

And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wales
Well, I've got a vision of urban sprawl
There's pubs where no-one ever sings at all

And everyone stares at a great big screen
Overpaid soccer stars, prancing teens
Australian soap, American rap
Estuary English, baseball caps

And we oughta be ashamed of all we walk
Of the way we look, at the way we talk
Without our stories or our songs

How will we know where we come from?
I've lost St. George and the Union Jack
That's my flag too and I want it back

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
We need roots

Haul away boys, let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We've lost more than we'll ever know
'Round the rocky shores of England
We need roots...

I'm living in a country which has no idea what its roots are.
I come from a country where everybody things that the roots are Dirndl and Lederhosen or a bunch of wanna-be sailors singing sea shanties.
It's part of it, but it's not all.
I have been fortunate to grow up with a lot of roots, but I see them disappear when I go and visit my home country, my home town.

But the worst I've experienced so far is The Netherlands. Language dying out and being replaced by US/Uk slang, denying roots and heritage, lying about history and no folk culture. Volendam is not roots.
No stories, no songs.

What are our roots?

27 December 2010

Rambling on

Christmas with the family has been survived.

Since both my parents and my sister live not here, but in the same small city in Germany it is up to hubby and me to do the travelling.
We set off on the 16th, which also happened to be my Dad's 70th birthday.
That was celebrated with nice company and food.

On the 17th we set of to Cologne, where we visited various Christmas markets.
The oneat the Dom - sucked. The nicest thing was the light and the Dom itself.

Cologne 2010

Mediaeval one - sucked. The band was nice and we had some fun with the soap lady and the coffee crew, though.

Cologne 2010

Cologne 2010

Old town one - decent!!!

Cologne 2010

Cologne 2010

We travelled to Siegburg, just to see the mediaeval christmas market there. Which did not suck at all, but was a lot of fun and entertainment.

Siegburg 2010

Siegburg 2010

Siegburg 2010

Siegburg 2010

Siegburg 2010

We also ventured to Duesseldorf and yes, the christmas market there sucked as well.
What is it with all the food and alcoholic beverages? Where is the art, the spirit, the craftiness?

Christmas saw us returning to the aforementioned little town and tons of snow. With ice underneath. Oh joy....

I didn't much like Christmas.
That is both usually and particularly.

I have to come up with something less alcoholic (my parents hardly drink and I drink maybe two beers during the evening and night, but the rest of the extended family drinks like there is no tomorrow. On every occasion. And there are lots of occasions. My sisters mother-in-law turns into an awful, violent and insulting hag. Really great! I somehow get that my Mom has some problems with that lady. She is more decent when sober, though.)
Something that involves less stress on our part.
I just don't know what yet.

We came home to something like this:

Winter 2010

Moist air, anybody?

I loved the present I got from my parents. A wooden train. With tracks. You can't understand this, but it used to be my favourite toy when I was a wee little pixie.
I will display it and I might even post pictures once I have it constructed the way I want it.
It's not the same train, but it's a wooden train. With tracks. My dolls will love it!

I also got myself a second-hand spinning wheel. Now I just have to get the hang of it. Which sounds easier than it is ;-)

Spinning Wheel with Roving

Spinning Wheel with Roving

I managed to knit the hubby a scarf (his request and he chose the yarn).
I also got 80% done on a shawl for dear little me.
I got some colourful yarn for a cowl for dear little me.

I got to see the rerun of the Doctor Who Christmas special. I cried.

I decided I need more mediaeval markets and events in my life. There is very little of that here in the Netherlands, so there will be some travelling involved.

Now we are enjoying the remainder of hubby's vacation. There will be a visit to the cinema. Some shopping. Lots of cat cuddling. Some spinning and knitting. Reading - oh, how I love reading. Food.

And to leave you on a fantasy dream -

Your fairy is
Hazel Elfwand
She is cheerful and friendly.
She lives in places hexed and tainted by black magic.
She is only seen when the seeker holds a four-leafed clover.
She wears black feathers and rose petals and has transparent green wings like a cicada.