Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Harvest and Autumn

I've been having some fantastic walks and blackberry foraging expeditions with my friend Patricia.
We discovered a lovely little patch, very close to where both of us live, and it has been so much fun to pick the berries, chat, then go home and make jam and crumbles!

Even a handful of berries livens up an apple crumble! I use eating apples, then it needs very little sugar.

The same friend invited me to a Hallowe'en "Samhain" (Irish word for Hallowe'en) party. I wasn't sure if it would be my kind of thing, all I knew was that there would be a bonfire and that it was alcohol-free. I decided to give it a go, as everyone else had plans, so a party was definitely better than sitting home alone!

It was about 40 minutes drive from Dublin, down winding country roads, but we got there just fine.
A beautiful sweeping driveway led to a huge, well-lit house, and as we parked, people were assembling and greeting each other. We registered and paid, then went and had a cuppa.

We were invited to write out something we'd like to let go of, wrap it around a twig and offer it up to the fire. That's my twig in the picture above!
About 8.30, everyone was invited outside for the bonfire ceremony, and my word, what a bonfire! I've never seen one so big, or so well built. It lit first go, and flames licked the sides and in seconds it was a well established and warm fire.

 We all put our little twigs on the fire, stood and chatted for a while, and listened to some drumming.

Then there was dancing in a huge room in the house, and a lovely looking butternut squash curry with jasmin rice. Oh, and chocolate brownies! And more tea!

The dancing was electric! It was hard to believe that it was an alcohol free scene, and there were people of all ages. We really enjoyed dancing to the rock beat, and when we got tired there were some bean bags to relax on. I took the above photo from my bean bag! The muslin with autumn leaves was a very effective decoration.
We explored the house a little too: it's used as a Shamanic healing centre, and they had massages and other things on offer in the beautiful rooms.

Just like Cinderella, we had to leave the ball at 12.00, as Patricia had to collect her daughter and friends from a disco.
We certainly enjoyed the night; I was so glad I had accepted the invitation!


  1. Wow, sounds amazing! I would have loved to go to that party too.
    I am envious that you are getting blackberries at this time of year. Perhaps the Irish climate is more conducive to them. I feel I hardly had any this year, blah! and I do love them. In fact, I was always told that if you pick blackberries after 1 October, the witches will have touched them... which comment ties in quite well with the Halloween theme, doesn't it! :)

    1. It was amazing Jenny; something for everyone there!
      This year has been particularly good for blackberries, I think they would normally be wizened by now. We have the same "no go" after Nov 1!! and yes, youe comment does fit in well with the Hallowe'en theme!

  2. Like Jenny I’ve had hardly any blackberries this year. Round here they are dry and shrivelled up and not worth picking.

    Sounds like you had a grand old party. I love bonfires. Not fireworks though, they frighten the dog.

    1. I think I've got the last ones now Friko, but I so enjoyed picking.
      The party was great, would definitely go back there! I love bonfires too, though they're not allowed in the city. Fireworks are illegal here, but you'd never think that when you look around on Hallowe'en! People go "up North", which is under UK jurisdiction, to buy them! Typical Irish solution!

  3. I think it sounds like a fantastic way to spend the evening... despite the lack of imbibing. ;) I like the idea of writing and burning something we'd like to let go. I may just try that when I'm settled at my new place and enjoying an outdoor fire. Your crumble looks delicious!

  4. I'd be wary now, of offering stuff into fires, it's a thing I've had to do here in India a fair bit. When there are poojas (worship ceremonies) going on. But the eats sound lovely. Anyway, if you're okay with offering up twigs to the fire lord, it shouldn't be a problem. Because a lot of that goes on where I am at this time of year. Thanks for sharing, this is an interesting post indeed.

  5. I think it just goes to show that sometimes we need to take chances.
    Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time. I'm so glad you shared those last two shots. I was so wondering what the inside of that house looked like.
    Love the sound of the 'giving up' ritual.

  6. Glad you had such an enjoyable day. Must have been wonderful.

    Hugs ~ Eddie

  7. I would have thought twice about a journey like that but so glad that you took the chance and enjoyed it all.
    Was lovely to share the photos and I like the idea of letting the twigs/problems go on the fire. Very good.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  8. What a fun way to spend an evening, and I like the premise of the twigs as well. (Even more than that, I love that crumble. Fresh berries are far too expensive for mere mortals here in Israel...)

  9. This is a really good idea that you have going on. manufacturing

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