Saturday, September 23, 2017

Housework, Visiting, Travel

Someone has to do it, right?

It's been my life the past few days. Because I don't want to leave a dirty house--or more to the point, I don't want to come back to a dirty house. So I've been catching up on the cleaning that was half-done all summer while I ran around telling stories, gardening, canning and all the other things that crowd up summer.

I must say it sure is nice to have it all clean. It reminds me of how much I love this place, this nest we've created. I love going places for sure, but coming home is such sweet pleasure.

My oldest son and his wife are here too, as they had a wedding to attend. They live on the other side of the state so we don't see them often. As we and they get older, it seems like conversations are so much more enjoyable. We don't see eye to eye on politics but we can always find a middle meeting ground, and I learn from them as I hope they learn from me.

This morning Larry and I fixed one of those big country breakfasts--omelets with peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese, sausage, salsa, toast and fried apples. All homegrown except for the mushrooms and cheese and toast. We lingered over it a long time, just chatting.

I was so surprised when my son told me that his son has enlisted in the Navy. He's in college now but will go in when he graduates this coming May. Grandchildren! One never knows what they will do next. I am very proud of him, worried too, which goes with the territory. Oddly, this is the only one of my sons who did not go into the military--but now his son is.

We are almost packed and ready to leave for Ireland. Everything, I believe, is ready. Someone to watch over our place and care for our animals, passports, rain gear (it's Ireland, after all), good walking shoes, map, charged camera batteries, etc, etc. I will try to post some pics as we travel, but have no idea if it will be possible. I'll definitely be posting them when I get home. Sligo, Clare, Galway and Kerry are on our itinerary.

So until I can post again--stay well!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Friday, September 22, 2017

First Autumn Morning


Day is creeping up from the horizon. I hear an acorn fall, tapping leaves and branches on it's way to the ground. Another follows, then another. In the air, the faint vinegary scent of overripe apples. A light winks across the sky, early travelers on their way...to where? The plane is so high I hear no whisper of sound. A mile or so away a dog barks. A cock crows to chase the creeping evil night things back into the ground and shadows.

Autumn enters quietly, like a quiet sigh after the flamboyance and rush of summer. She will be flashy enough herself soon with brilliant gowns of scarlet and gold, but her arrival is like a shy understudy who will win the starring role in the end.




Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

An Old Story, A Mysterious Tunnel


My Aunt Flo, who passed away last week, lived in Grantchester, England, not far from Cambridge. When we visited her there the first time, my cousin Les (her son) offered to take us for a walk where his father had walked daily--my Uncle Ted would walk into Cambridge every day along a footpath by the River Cam, get his newspaper, and walk back. The path he walked was very lovely, and it must have been a treat to see the fields and trees change with the seasons.

Recently I came upon a story in an old collection of Cambridgeshire tales about a mysterious tunnel. According to the story, there was a fiddler named Robert Ling who was walking to a fair in Royston--the village my parents lived in when they were first married in WWII, but this story was much earlier, in 1724.

Was this the house in the story? Built about 1452, and listed as
"Manor Farmhouse" on the registry of historic buildngs
When the fiddler reached the path to Grantchester it was almost dark so he decided to go into the village and stay there for the night. He secured a room at the pub and was just having a pint or two when some builders came in. These men had been replacing tiles in the old Manor House, and when they removed old tiles in one area, they found the entrance to a stairway leading down into darkness. They had knocked off work and come to the pub to discuss the tunnel over a glass. In the course of the evening the fiddler was drawn into the conversation, and one of the men had an idea--send the fiddler down the tunnel playing his fiddle, and they would follow above ground, listening and following the music until the fiddler emerged at the other end.

Ling agreed to the plan, and they all went to the Manor House and made their way to the uncovered stairway. Ling tucked his fiddle under his chin and proceeded down the stairs into darkness, playing as he went. The builders trailed along above, and followed the sound of the music out into the garden and out into a field. The sound grew fainter and fainter until finally it was gone. All was silent.

The men hurried back to the tunnel entrance and waited for the fiddler to return, but he never did. No one ever knew what became of Robert Ling and his fiddle.
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The story was so curious that I looked it up online, and found it mentioned in another book, the World's Greatest Unsloved Mysteries by Patricia Fanthorpe. The author noted the Grantchester tunnel was supposed to have connected to King's Chapel in Cambridgeshire; in this version, the fiddler attempted to explore the King's Chapel end when he disappeared. But she states that an exploration of the Grantchester end of the tunnel at some point showed that it did not go to Cambridge, but seemed to be heading toward the local church. She went on to say that there is a remarkably similar tunnel story placed in Norfolk, with the fiddler's name being Jimmy Griggs.

So who knows which is true, or if perhaps there is some truth to both legends? It's a fascinating story, and I hope that when I get back to England I can visit the old Manor House and maybe see the tunnel entrance myself, if it is still in existence.



Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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