Friday, 6 January 2012

12th Day after Christmas

Adoration of the Magi, folio 52r
Last night was 12th Night, the eve before Epiphany and so traditionally the last night of Christmas revels. A 'Lord of Misrule' would turn the mediaeval order of things upside down and "rule" as master of the revels. He would be of lower standing -- literally inverting the status quo.

In Scotland he was known as the 'Abbot of Unreason' and here in France as the 'Prince des Sots'. Whatever his name the revels were often pretty wild and would have resulted in many a bleary eye and pounding head at services on Epiphany as the cover of the Jethro Tull album 'Minstrel in the Gallery' does a fine job of illustrating! 

The same cannot be said about those who make up the retinues of the three Magi in the illumination from the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry on the left; although they do look to be indulging in quite a bit of chatter!
Minstrel in the Gallery, © Jethro Tull

We always keep our Christmas cards and decorations up until Epiphany so today we have been busy tidying up the house. As sorry as we are to once more pack the decorations away we do like the return to an 'emptier' house. It may feel odd for a day or so but then all 'feels' normal again. We always have a real tree so it has been dispatched to the pile of wood/branches we have designated to be chopped for kindling or chipped for mulch; it will be chipped.

One of the other little traditions we have is we leave our presents out as well -- books being the exception as they are often already being well perused!

Sarah brought us each a beautiful crotchetted scarf as a gift when she came and stayed. One has lovely sage green and beige stripes, the other is in pale blue and taupe. She made them herself. We had a job trying to keep Katinka from sleeping on them! They are made of deliciously soft wool and are nice and fluffy. Mademoiselle took one look and decided that they were obviously meant for her!

scarves from Sarah

Meteo says that it will turn colder so we are looking forward to putting them to good use.
Perhaps today is a taster: blue skies and bright sun, but colder than recently. There was even a slight touch of frost this morning.

17 comments:

Jean said...

We had frost this morning and a beautiful day, a perfect winter's day in fact - thank goodness the strong winds and driving rain have finished - for now, anyway !!

The scarves are beautiful and ideal for a cat to snuggle up in. Surely you're not going to deprive her of them.........!!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jean - we're in negotiations with her!! ;-)

Perpetua said...

I love the illustration! As you know from my own post, our decorations won't come down until tomorrow at least and the house will feel very bare and dark. But I know what you mean about the emptiness being nice after the clutter of decorations.

I love the scarves and wish I could crochet as well as knit. I really must set to and learn!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - I'm hopeless at both knitting and crochet; or anything similar! Not domesticated at all--apart from being able to cook. A

The Broad said...

Yes, this evening we are all cleared up -- except for the Christmas cards piled up for a final perusal. I will put them away and then keep them for a year. The house is now all straight and orderly and as you say it is quite a good feeling and at the same time for feeling a bit wistful ... Then again, all too quickly 'that' time will be upon us again!! Love the illustrations in this post!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Broad - we do the same with our Christmas cards :-)

Carolyn said...

Do I see a Boston rocker being used as a scarf support? Very nice!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Carolyn - it could well be. Parents bought it well before I was born.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Carolyn - you got me curious .... so we did some detecting: it's a nichols and stone black lacquer rocker.

GaynorB said...

I can never manage to keep the tree and decorations until Epiphany and take ours down on January 2nd.

The scarves are indeed a lovely present. Have you decided which is to be yours or will you lay claim to both?

SP said...

I always feel that Laughing Boy and I are rattlng around in the house after the tree comes down and family/friends go home...it takes about a week for me to feel normal again.

SP

the cuby poet said...

It is so interesting to see how you keep your traditions.The village trees are waiting to be mulched then composted all to be collected next week some time. No frost here just another dull grey sky. I love the album Divinities by Ian Anderson ex Jethro Tull - this is just for interest.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - in Holland they chuck their trees out straight after Christmas. Always felt it was very depressing to see them curbside from the 26th.
As to the scarves - Niall is quite taken with the sage-y green one and I love pale blue & taupe so it was easy :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@SP - yup; found the house very empty this morning.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Cuby - dull grey here today as well :-(

the fly in the web said...

Spoiling us again with the Tres Riches Heures!
I loved those scarves....I can't knit, but i love knitted stuff and they look superb. Not just my opinion,it's supported by feline judgement!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@fly - gotta keep the public happy ;-)
I have deep respect for Sarah crocheting them -- I am totally useless at this type of thing.