Category Archives: Yuletide

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).

ange-e

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.

Here,

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

Shetland,

whaar da gale soonds a hellery, an

da spindrift flies juist laek snø

ida mörkin.

VENNLIG HILSEN fra

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

Shetland,

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

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Passage

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…

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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
your
kind eyes,
support and
help in any way
along this
path.

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:

Namaste:-)

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Yule

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

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

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

What
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.

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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 🙂

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slider

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.

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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histoire d’amour

20131227-135306.jpg I fell in love with theatre at the very tender age of 12, at a time of searching… Theatre is a fabulous discipline within the world of expressive, performing arts. It has the power to get you out of your shell (or carapace, according to armour thickness!) and it teaches you a myriad of life skills. It is a lifelong craft that each of us develop in our own ways. It has the magic of unveiling a kaleidoscope of emotions, which we learn to harness as we journey through life, the wider stage 🙂

Every experience records its catalogue of fond memories. From the primal steps – with Le Théâtre 80 d’Amiens under the joint direction of Françoise Longeard & M-L Debourle back in 1981 – to NTS’s Ignition, under the joint direction of Wils Wilson and John Haswell (2012-13).

And if 2013 began with unchartered territory, mobile theatre, thanks to friend & playwright Jacqui Clark, who invited me to take the extra mile with Ignition, the year ended with a very similar experience – pantomime, thanks to friend & Mrs Theatre in Shetland, Izzy Swanson.

Although I have spent over thirty years learning to tread the boards from both sides of La Manche & half my life bathing inside British culture (my teaching time at The BRIT School for the Performing Arts included) the tradition of panto was totally alien to me till last Yuletide, when my peerie South African sister took me to see one at The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. The child within laughed & applauded so shamelessly & heartedly.
When Izzy tailored me a part for Aladdin, this year’s major Shetland production, I embraced this brand new adventure! I was warned of a huge commitment till the winter solstice, but what a voyage – fabulous human adventure! Hours of rehearsals, friendships woven from unknown threads, sealed both on and backstage. The joy to forget it all once we slip inside our characters… “Belonging to a Director on the pain of death”

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Open Door Drama did not only welcome me with open arms, but allowed me to start flourishing among the group.
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Hours, days, weeks of sheer toil, devotion, laughters, madness filled the latter part of autumn…

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Pantomime is outrageous; it pushes you to (and beyond!) your (more or less) known limits. It is a form of theatre that incorporates music, a chorus line, under the joint musical direction of Jane McLaren & Norman Wilmore, into acting – it makes you do just about anything! It is fun above all 🙂
And when we stepped inside Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre, it took a whole new dimension. From the scheduled tech rehearsals in early December till the performance run (9-21/12) we invested the dressing rooms & metamorphosed for the audience’s pleasure, as well as our own as a troupe. 20131227-150020.jpg
And who did we turn into every night? Hmmm, here are some of us 🙂
20131227-150421.jpg our two heroes, Aladdin (left) & his brother, Wishy-Washy
20131227-150616.jpg their mother, Widow Twankey
20131227-151343.jpg their sweethearts, Princess Balabour & Lady-in-waiting, Sue-Shi

20131227-152010.jpg Balabour’s folks, the Empress Ming-In (left) the Emperor Ming (right) & his vocal servant (centre)
20131227-152255.jpg their own Imperial Standard, as The Lord High Chamberlain
20131227-152554.jpg the two rogues, Abanazer & his servant, Karjac (left)
20131227-152825.jpg Spirit of The Ring
20131227-153001.jpg Bish, Bash & Bosh (from right to left) the Imperial Guards
20131227-153616.jpg Genie (of the Lamp)
20131227-153857.jpg the joyous Chorus
20131227-154129.jpg our Three Geezers
and

20131227-154844.jpg the interpreter, pictured here with The Empress…

As part of the anecdote, have never ended up my final repartie with a raspberry to so many good folk in my life (before!) – but it was part of the panto, and what a scream!
Treasured memories forever tattooed in my heart. The afterwards’ party & Award Ceremony remain private among cast, supportive crew and Directors… Within the four walls of the Garrison Theatre, that is ;0)

Thank you, everyone – troupe & wonderful audience, you know who You are 🙂

Molière once shouted “vive le théâtre!”

May you all reign & shine for a thousand years

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Happy Yuletide!

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Our Nordic sun might have peaked at 6 and a bit degrees’ elevation on the day of the longest night, tis the season to be merry!

Yule, also known as Midwinter, Mother’s Night or Winter Rite, is that moment of blackness, crowned by candles & cinnamon scents around many homes, including my own 🙂

Tis also the moment to exchange a present, as well as to embrace the hope for the return of the sun.
Since my South African gang is reunited with Austral summer, I opened my peerie sister’s gift today, knowing she opened hers before she flew off to Gauteng. We are bound by love & spirit.

Here,
a peerie string of micropoetry for your pleasure 🙂

60N Yule

When sky awakes,
smell green of pine, cinnamon night,
Yule has its ghouls,
gales and gold
gifts.
#micropoetry fae #60N

————

Mother’s Night –
dreamer of
light,
clad inside lace,
whatever crescent of the moon.

-//————————–

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Oh, and the rainbow flag will fly on 25 December fae Shetland, since have just been invited to spend the day with my South African friend Paula & Magnie at Girlsta 🙂

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First review

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The madness of Aladdin has kicked off with flair, bangs and style at Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre.
Already, Shetland News was seduced by the show.
Here, its very first review. Enjoy 🙂

Shetland News Review

We shall aim to flare up & fuel the tale till 21 December. Fabulous fun.
A full blog entry with insight photos will follow. Meantime, I must get ready for tonight’s performance 😉

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aladdin

panto poster Weeks of hard work, madness, laughters and devotion to theatre, with a different twist yet again since Ignition with NTS, are gradually making their way towards the lights of the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick for the purpose of solid entertainment. Since I am bound by secrecy, I shall simply add, this is  total madness! A great classic revamped with a plethora of hilarious moments, blended by The Open Door Drama group, written and directed by wir Izzy Swanson. It is now coming to fruition and let’s hope Shetland  comes to laugh with us, as the festive season gets under way.

It has been a fabulous adventure so far.  Time to break a leg 🙂

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Arcania by the Wood

photo Arcania has many places – from its northern edge by the great northern ocean to its more southern edge, closer to the warmer shore bathed by a star we call our sun. Not that its north end never sees it, but a difference in latitude makes subtle changes, especially in winter, as light dimmers in various ways and lingers a little longer…

Trading salt for berries

For the very first time in moons, I traveled back south of the vol de nuitancient wall – that once separated the wild & rugged north from its greener and gentler slopped south – in order to reunite with loved ones. I left my island tip in a storm at twilight to fly away from Force 10 winds. The whole journey proved a wild adventure from the start. In between flights, I paced myself. I was so eager to arrive and look through the eyes I last gazed at four years ago. And then, on approach to my destination, broken clouds let me remember how populated south is, as Tinsel City unveiled itself a few minutes before landing. However, this was not quite my destination, which lies on the edge of the wood, in between two hillsides, where spirits wander free from tarmac and concrete.

arcania by the wood [2] Every morning has its birdsong, every twilight, its majesty. How I longed to be reunited with this corner of Arcania. A (southern) Woodsman’s world where fire roars in between logs, smiles and orange. For Arcania has many faces too. Every square of it has its own dwellers. My hosts opened their door for a special Yuletide.

I love Arcania by the Wood.

We trudge back through time and brown leaves, h0ld kissing gatesloyal Braxie at every stage and admire every now. Led by loyal Braxie the golden Labrador, every walk turns a new quest. For the first time, we walked beyond the Fairy Tree, as young ones grow and wish to trek beyond its edge. We sometimes walk by Hideaway Cottage to avoid the main road;

bicycle at hideway cottage

on the edge of the wood

inside the wood with moss and leaves

stumbled through miles of mud, blackberry bushes and dead leaves, before we reach its edge. The wood is also home to clawed, furry  and scaled creatures, so dear to Arcania. As we cross a footbridge, scaled   ones welcome us at eye level… Their many eyes focus on us. You do not really notice them at first sight, since they camouflage at leisure. Others hide under piles of leaves, and remain there until twilight… Their coat of armour shines beneath the shafts of light, that add colours to the ground.

arcanias dwellers [6]

arcanias dwellers [4]

arcanias dwellers [5]

They are the guardians of the forest floor. As night returns, children are warned to stay in the safety of their own cottage, closer to their hearth, as the wood turns into a forbidden forest, where colder spirits wander free among the nocturnal dwellers. Higher up towards canopy level, owls & other birds of many enchant every tree.

arcanias dwellers [1]

 A single encounter with either of those wild creatures could cost you a limb or two. But the fiercest of all, wander loose around trees. It is said to be so territorial and fierce, others keep well away, even the three-meter dragon that seeks its solitude among mud and dead leaves. So we watch where we trudge and stravaig! Always further, where we seek light, the wood offers an opening.

Arcanias dwellers [3]But Jae-Jae the big cat knows every inch of the old wood. he will scent you and use his stealth to check you out. Braxie has flair to detect him. During day time, he will not strike, as Arcanians wander without fear from the sun.

Now, we have reached edge of the wood. Rolling hillsides and on the other side of the woodenclosed trees define more open countryside. It is warmer and enchanting. In the distance, red kites glide through the eddies and make the most of winter light. Voices gather at edge of fields and walk together to the road. We come back home in time for lunchtime or for tea.

The wood is home to light and darkness – its beauties & its beasts, but when night comes, it is time to enjoy the moon behind glass, as I too stay warm among my kind after twilight. Every woodsman knows that.

And until my return to my northern shore, my Arcanians will share their home, for they have a great sense of love and warmth.

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Yuletide Collaboration: A Christmas Carol

In the Presence of Spirits by James MacKenzie The great fun about  December resides in the fact that we are crossing swords with night, sleet, gales, deadlines and this mid-winter solstice (for those of us who belong to the Northern Hemisphere…) It is the darkest of moment in many respects. Over the past few weeks, I have had the great opportunity to be invited to a a collaborative project at UK scale through ArtiPeeps. I still remember yesterday, when my partner in crime, artist James MacKenzie, tweeted me about mounting excitement about the Project’ release online. It has been a fun experience and a grand collaboration with Jamie. I quickly peeped at ArtiPeeps’ blog at lunchtime, and discovered the unveiled works from all collaborators. Well, here it is, everyone, and I hope you too enjoy it!

A Christmas Carol

Wishing you all a wonderful Yuletide, with all the very best for 2013.

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