Category Archives: december

Jul, Yule an aa

earth-spirits There is a date that rhymes with night

On my island, we call da mörkin, it signifies the darkness.

It is when night outweighs daylight so much our sun dares not elevate itself so shamelessly. And by the time we reach Yule, the Winter Solstice, it will just peep out by just a few degrees at its zenith. It will turn so lazy, it will just reach that “magic 5 degrees” and then returns to hide by ten to three.

Nonetheless, we now know we are on a high cliff face that will gradually hoist us back to light. This  word, da mörkin, derives from its Norwegian root, mørke. Like our  neighbours from the deep fjords, we light candles (though we do celebrate St Lucy’s) inside our homes and toast to Yule. A time of merriment around tables, trees and loved ones (for the most fortunates).


This year, I have adorned my home a little bit early to make sure I would be ready for Jul, Yule and aa.

With that cosmic slide into da mörkin, December deserves scents and lights, music away from gales, high tides hail stones and skelping rain that falls horizontal.

So I adorned my home with holly and pine cones to welcome Yule. Angels protect my home until Barbara and Conor decide to slip away from our shores. Like my good friends from the great fjords, I will celebrate on the 24th, with a good friend from Burra. And then repeat that Yuletide feast on the 25th in the comfort of my home, as my friend will join me in the afternoon… We shall sample a few goodies so seasonal and hope for both a little clemence from the sky. I know my Norskie friends will taste the same, as what they named Julestorm affect them too.We share that northern hellery after all… Just 24 hours delay between us.


my very best wishes for a peaceful festive season, less terror from a sickened world – light to those who need it most. Everyday I light candles to remember that darkness can be vainquished – that there is light at the end of tunnels.

And ultimately,

a piece for Jul, Yule an aa

God Jul på deg fra meg,

Godt nytt år,

og, så fint…

Eg drøymer om ditt land,

da cast iron stove at da farm, print fae da red deer ida snaa –

da peerie owl an blackie afore da day,

frozen apple fae dy gairden.

God Jul på dere fra


whaar da gale soonds a hellery, an

da spindrift flies juist laek snø

ida mörkin.


øy min.


In English, it notably translates:


Happy Yuletide from me to you,

Happy new year,

so fine,

I am dreaming of your land,

your cast iron stove at the farm, print from the red deer in the snow –

the small owl and the blackbird at dawn, frozen apple from

your garden.

Happy Yuletide to you all from


where the storm sounds so bad and vile, and

saltbuds flies like snow in

the darkness.

With all my love from this

island of mine.


© NatHall 2016



Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, blogging, celebration, colours, december, earth, fire, geopoetics, home, Hordaland, images, island, life, light, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shore, snow, spirit, verse, wind, winter, wishes, world, writing, Yuletide

Jul, Yule

     There is magic around every solstice & equinox. 

This year’s winter solstice is no different. I must thank my angels. On this occasion, he has a very earthly name, as Andy, for opening an unexpected door…

Andy is better known in WordPress as City Jackdaw. A fine poet, the  writer and fellow blogger, he is also an author & a friend.

Andy, THANK YOU ☺️ 

My poetry has now a home. Nordicblackbird has found her roost.

How magical and somewhat surreal to know a friendship struck in such way would lead to be united & bound by a same publishing house.

I feel ever so humble. 

What a wonderful Yule present 🙂

My forthcoming break (starting tomorrow afternoon) is all sorted out: that first manuscript will reach the Norwegian capital! 


Filed under 2015, 60N, blogging, celebration, december, Diaz, geopoetics, home, introduction, life, literature, north, poet, poetry, poets, project, shetland, shore, spirit, Uncategorized, verse, verse poetry, winter, world, writing


In between time, tides, meridians…

2014 had its magic moments – new friends, projects, travels, publications… Holding my breath when it mattered, smiled at the world without restraint, burnt my fingers, ego & pride…



Now my heart’s reconciled with each moment, I celebrate then & now.

Than YOU for being a part of it, wherever you are,
thank YOU for
kind eyes,
support and
help in any way
along this

As we prepare for the next stretch, let me wish you the very best –
may 2015 fill your eyes & hearts with smiles, health, joys, happiness beyond desires.
Let it guide you towards success.

I love that word that means the world of boundless beauty inside out:



Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, december, earth, geopoetics, home, island, life, north, review, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, Transformations, winter, wishes, world, Yuletide


Yule, Mother Earth’s rite of passage towards the coming Equinox.
From 60N,
it’s impressive –

Night overrides shafts from a sun that barely dares getting aloft…
A few degrees’ elevation to be precise.

In other words, light from our great celestial star becomes precious.
Shortest day, longest
sun eyes
directly into tropic of

does it
mean to islanders
inside a storm?

Candle-lit world, cinnamon scented sanctuary as darkness creeps earlier than thought…
Time to
open tokens of love, and
reconvene with a few friends – enjoy the magic of powder propelled & sparked to light us up for a moment. Live music shared in between hail and rain showers… Then a hot drink before retracing our own steps.



Time to regain precious seconds and gaze at return of the sun.

Have a wonderful Yule, festive season, Solstice Day, whatever side of the Equator 🙂


Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, celebration, colours, december, earth, fire, geopoetics, home, images, island, lerwick, life, north, scotland, shetland, spirit, winter, wishes, world, writing, Yuletide


pin islandais 2014First.

There is a first for everything.

Mood from our Earth, as sun gradually eyes the tropic of the Capricorn, we find ourselves in sometimes ruffling darkness. That’s when we start to light candles, ask Uriel for protection, stock in anticipation for leaner days, welcome winter & Mother Earth inside our homes – gather with friends for a moment.

We also provide for our friends, storm survivors in the garden.


First icicles on Saturday.

That’s when the island turns a whiteworld, even for a fraction of sandgrain in a timer… It suddenly brightens your heart. You want to rush in the garden, and adorn trees with suet balls, nail an apple onto the edge of a compost bin – mere offerings that makes you feel part of your world. In between spells of frozen rain, hail and snowflakes, blue reappears. The last great storm that broke havoc to the dwellers of the island with hail, lightning and thunder hell, was swept by gales somewhere outward.

les zigzags du facteur ce matin 13 dec 2014ma megane dans la neige 13 dec 2014joyeux noel 2014

Instead of beads, magic crystals.

master starlingbirds on canvas 6 Dec 2014funky visitor 5-6 Dec 2014

Just seven days to Yule, earth’s shortest day & longest night 🙂

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Filed under 60N, Arcania, birds, celebration, december, earth, geopoetics, scotland, shetland, snow, writing, Yuletide

year of courage

2013 – I still remember its first day. Mister Robin was singing high just outside my peerie South African sister’s home in the Chilterns. The sun had engulfed late morning. She woke me so gently. I was just about to start what she aptly named “my year of courage” – the start of my brand new life.
Although the term “abandoned” does not feature among the list regarding marital status, you don’t wipe out 22 years of married life in a few days…
How right she was to name it this way.

20131231-020243.jpg I returned home to my 60N Latitude with a heart re-charged with courage and the will to harness my life.
I will not delve into details, but will celebrate its highlights.

With “From shore to Shoormal” on the way to my doorstep, I prepared the book’s homecoming on this side of the Atlantic in view to launch it in Lerwick at the local book festival. Although Donna, my co-author, thought of crossing, our publisher would turn her voice.

Two main projects – NTS Ignition and ArtiPeeps’ Transformations – would keep me occupied with verse & performance. Again, Tai knows my creative writing function as “rails” along the path.


Within the Westside Writers’ Group, friend & author, Marsali Taylor steered another publishing project – the group’s primal anthology – entitled “Wirds fae da Waastside”. She also penned a first review for “From Shore to Shoormal” for the local newspaper. She and Laureen Johnson, co-Editor of the New Shetlander were my top choices for such task, since both can read English & French, on top of Shetland dialect. How fortunate & privileged to have such reviewers. My gratitude to both, as BBC Radio Shetland broadcaster, Marie Blance, for a February interview for The Book Programme 🙂

As spring gave way to summertime, I discovered a new passion – sea rowing among a team of great friendly ladies, who welcomed me among their “clan”.
And reinforced creative bonds with neon artist, Lili Morgan, through a new collaboration entitled Music.
Yet I would also discover the joys of keeping up with home & grass (!) as well as sharing my homeworld with visitors from other parts of the planet – gosh, how many times have I cursed Odin & Thor for hiding islands in seafog!

My resilience & love for “my Treasure Islands” won every time.

Within those months, I learnt so many new skills – from replacing a door sealant to handling power tools of all kinds. Summer is a short window to prepare home for the winter. With help & advice from two great friends – Magnie & Richard – I don’t feel so cold inside storms.

I also learnt my own limits, notably with grass cutting… Though my love for “wild” in “wildlife”, I accepted tall grass can live among flowers, bugs and nettles. I swapped a streamer for a scythe. Maybe next year, I’ll do better.

With September came Mr Blades, my publisher from New Brunswick. The book would be launched at Wordplay on the first weekend without fault. Joe discovered Ninian sunset & northern lights on arrival. To our surprise, we read to a lovely full house and made that day memorable.

Friends & guest readers, Marsali Taylor & Christian Tait – shared their own work, smiles and talent. Together with Steve Davidson & Alan McKay, who provided magic music, Joe and I smiled. The room was graced with both famous & unknown faces, who delighted spirit & heart. My deepest thanks to all involved – friends & public who attended this first book launch. Donna’s spirit filled the moment.
I say “first” launch, although two days before, another book came into light – the Westside Writers’ Anthology… So “first” happened on a Thursday (!)

With October, came a new friend – kindred spirit – Stephanie Spindler for a month. We both marvelled at the grandeur of my homeworld when she notably drove us to that magic peninsula called Eshaness. It never fails in sheer blue light 🙂

With Tai’s & friends’ renewed encouragements, I faced winter with a strong heart. Whereas creative collaborations continued within ArtiPeeps, Ovid & a new experience would keep me occupied at night. As light vanished, I found my way amidst a mix of old & new friends from the Open Door Drama group led by fiend & Theatre Director Izzy Swanson. Pantomime would lead back to Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre till the winter solstice.


So, there we are. On the final day of 2013, I am looking to a new dawn. Tai’s in the bush with her loved ones. Joe’s deep in snow. Everyone’s love and words of encouragement – either as family or friends – carried me through this frantic year.
I am grateful to your kindness. 🙂

May 2014 bring new light, good health and joys to each of your days.

Happy New Year / Bonne année / Glückliches neues Jahr to you all 🙂
May you find peace & happiness inside your heart.


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Filed under 2013, 60N, atlantic, celebration, colours, december, home, island, life, north, poet, review, shetland, spirit, winter, wishes, world, writing

from food 4 thoughts 2 food 4 taste buds

I love Twitter – that’s when you can communicate, share and catch up with what’s happening in your world.

And talking of catching up,

a Canadian born- Shetland based culinary poet was calling for some food challenge participation. Now, my love for food – in true Rabelais’ spirit – so, here is, following today’s earlier offering (as food for thoughts), a very first offering as food for taste buds. Please note they both satisfy pleasure 🙂

Here it comes, as an entry for the PASTA PLEASE call … Sorry, E, but, hey,am catching up at your evening’s tweet!
For Maya


Gratin de Macaroni aux Trois Fromages

Serves 4 / Preparation Time: 20-30min / Grill (Gratin) Time: 5-10 min (180C)


400 G Italian Macaroni

140 G Pancetta* (if you are not Vegetarian 🙂

Cheeses: Reblochon, Emmental & Gruyère, freshly grated

2 x garlic cloves, Herbes de Provence, coarse sea salt, pepper

For the Béchamel sauce: 50G flour, 50G butter, 5-600ML milk, grated nutmeg, salt, pepper,

Option(s): mixed wild mushroom/wild chanterelles (pack) / red onion


Plunge the dehydrated wild mushrooms into a small dish with water


1. Bring a large pan of water + dash of olive oil + coarse sea salt to the boil. Add the macaroni. Bring back to boil and simmer till al dente.

2. Drain and set aside.

Béchamel: (preparation Time: 10-15 min / cooking: c. 10 min)

1. In a (Le Creuset) large saucepan, melt the butter, add & brown the diced pancetta & thinly sliced garlic (with red onion/wild mushroom as an option)

2. Add grated nutmeg, pepper & Herbes de Provence & stir in the flour to make a roux. Add milk gradually whilst stirring at all times. You may decide the amount of milk according to sauce thickness preference. However, the Béchamel will be thickened by the cheese.

3. As the sauce begins to thicken, gradually add 1/2 the grated cheeses and continue stirring. Keep the other half for the gratin (dish top). Taste. Adjust seasoning according to taste. Set aside.

Preheat the grill oven to 180C


1. Grease a large rectangular earthware dish with butter.

2. Pour in the drained pasta and Béchamel sauce. Stir with care to ensure a balanced mélange (mix)

3. Sprinkle with the other half of freshly grated cheeses. Season, sprinkle with Herbes de Provence & pepper.

4. Grill for 5-10 min.

5. Serve immediately.

Serve with a side salad, and a chilled Chablis (wine)

Et voilà! Bon appétit 🙂



Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, december, festival, island, life, north, project, shetland, spirit, winter, world, writing