Legends from the Ancient North


The house is halfway to Christmas. We have a tree standing only in its green glory, the house smells of baked orange slices and I’ve almost finished this year’s wreath. Everything is feeling wonderfully infused with tradition.

The connection between history and tradition is something I have been thinking about a lot recently as I prepared to return to blogging. This time of year makes me want to get on and make things; presents for friends, decorations for the house, food for my family. A big part of it is because it connects us to what people have always done. It is as true today as it was hundreds of years ago.

There was a documentary on last night about folk music and how we are starting to be less satisfied by what is manufactured and looking towards what can be hand crafted. A love of what is genuine and real, an interest in how things used to be made. This made me think about our oldest classic literature. Penguin have released a series of titles (all with beautiful covers) that inspired Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Out of all of the titles it was Beowulf that caught my eye. The oldest surviving work in English, it is definitely one that I am going to read in 2014. It is a work that is partly  a great story, but when read today it’s also about history, ancient customs and heritage.

We are all living on part of a larger timeline, and I can’t think of a better way of connecting to it than by reading the classics and by keeping traditions alive.