Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Bumper bundle: Jeanie at 80, A Christmas poem, and dark thoughts on politics after Berlin

Jeanie and the big Eight Oh!

Oh, oh
the big eight oh!
But darling don't forget
that every year
sweet Jeanie dear
the lovelier,
the sexier,
the friendlier,
the charminger.
the lovelier
the cleverer,
the lovinger
you get.

the big eight oh
could bring the best years yet!

Christmas and the oak tree

When the sun is weak and the nights are long
You hear Earth singing a different song

The mist rises white from the trees all around
And life sleeps deep in its home underground
The deep dark earth, soon to be our home,
This is the place from where visions come.

The visions rise and seem to me
As solid as the trunk of the old oak tree.
And none would believe them if they didn't know
That something like the oak from dull earth would grow.
And just as improbable and just as odd
To this dark earth came the son of God.

Thoughts after the Berlin Killings

This isn't a poem it is a plea. There are thousands of deranged young men who can be persuaded that they can serve God or some other higher cause by killing people.  Probably a few deranged young women too.  The siren voices on the far right tell us we must pull up the drawbridge and keep them out.

We have to face the nasty truth that trying to live outside the horror is not possible any more.  When I was born in the 1930's Syria was several weeks journey from England.  Three hundred years ago it was months or years. Today we can do it in an afternoon.  Often and for most of us this is wonderful.  We can fly down to the med for a few days holiday. But it means those who hate the world can reach out and kill some of us now and then.

Incidents like the Berlin killings are going to happen and are going to get more and more common.  But Berlin is still a better place to live in than Aleppo. The solutions of the far right will only maker the world a nastier place for all of us. Men of good will must first acknowledge that more mindless killings like those in Berlin are going to happen, and that, despite this, the world will be a better place if we treat refugees with compassion and strive to find a way to end the ghastly wars thaet still stalk the world.  For the first time since 1945 it is clear that we live in dangerous times.  We must speak with truth and honesty against dangerous voices.  If we do no,t it will be the horrors of Aleppo that bring horror in our streets and not just the horrors of Berlin.

Nick Mellersh Christmas Eve 2016
I regret that I cannot express myself more coherently and more eloquently.  But I hope you will join me in speaking up for kindness and compassion amidst the mess the world sxems to be in.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mummers Sat 17 December 2016 on Minstead village green and round the pubs

The Minstead Mummers of 1912. Photo taken by famous Folk photographer called King
  Minstead has a long tradition of Mumming.  This photo above was taken in Minstead in 1912.  The photo below shows the current group of Mummers in the Trusty in 2008.  In the old photo one of the characters is an Abbott.  The Abbot family are still in the village and provided the script (hidden in their attic) that we still use today.  Be sure to see us this year.

    We resurected the Minstead Mummers almost 40 years ag and have performed it every year on the village green since then.  We come as a climax to the carol singing and the visit of Father Christmas. We always need more performers so if you would like to have a go, ring Nick Mellersh at Minstead.

The current generation of the Minstead Mummers performing in the Trusty in 2008

What are Mummer’s plays?

Mummers plays are traditional Christmas plays that have been taken around the pubs a big houses for many many years.
    The text with its talk of “Turkish Knights” and St George might well go back to medieval times.  Many people think so. They believe the plot of killing and resurrection is an example of the “old year” being killed at the winter solstice and the “new year” rising again.  Others see the tradition only going back to the 19th century. What we know for sure is that Mummer’s plays were performed in almost every village in the South of England one hundred years ago.  Minstead’s troupe of mummers was photographed in 1912, see the photo above. The great grandson (or possibly the great great grandson) of St George in the picture lives and works in the village today. Mummer’s plays traditionally end with an appeal for money and one hundred years ago this could be very profitable.  You could, so they say, earn as much in one night’s mumming as in a month of farm work.  We keep up the tradition of begging for money but nowadays collect for some good cause.

What is special about Minstead Mummers?

In simple terms - we are the best.  The troupe acts with verve and humour and we have added a few modern touches.  Each year there is a new topical joke and to suit the 21st century we have a female doctor and a female blonde (or brunette) bombshell to light up the proceedings.  Unlike many troupes our performers have all lived or are still living in Minstead and we perform a Minstead script handed down from the people you see in the 1912 photograph.  We are the real thing.
    We will be out and about on Saturday 17 December on Minstead village green and in the pubs in Minstead, Cadnam, Brooke, and Fritham.  Don’t miss us.  Below is the film of our 2014 performance.

This post of the blog is a special one for the Mummers play.  I intended to get this onto the village website but haven't done it yet.  This blog is normally for my poems and you can see some by looking at the earlier post.  Jeanie runs a blog too.  Currently it is about her iPad paintings.  See it here.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

2 Down - In memory of Pat and Michael Roberts

2 down
And 3 across.
Three sisters standing
Above their parents' grave. Now both gone home to earth,
Ex Pat, Ex Michael.  Two Irish buried in this English ground.

Both dead and yet we see them still. Caught in this moment.
Living in their daughters.

We raise a glass with them.
                                                               Nick Mellersh 2016 
 I love this photo.  Somehow the three daughters standing together seemed, between them and their contrasting looks and characters, to catch the essence of their parents. The smiles, the love, the passing grief and the recovery from the loss of their parents seem miraculously captured in the moment.  Photographs are sometimes wonderful.

And on another subject: I have n't  put anything up for a long while but there is big news on the ebook front.  Illustrated fluteplaying will be avaliable soon from Just Flutes.  Tell all your flute playing friends.

Also Jeanie has an exhibition of her ipad pics up in Minstead Church now (Dec 2016).  Go and have a look if you are local. It's a lovely show.