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weatherwitch (Lost in the woods of Yorkshire)

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Dolls' Houses (Shire Library)
Dolls' Houses (Shire Library)
by Halina Pasierbska
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.73

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent knowledge, 4 Sep 2007
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The author is a complete expert of the Dolls House in Britain and Europe and this shows in this book and its related book, Dolls House Furniture by the same author. There are a few photographs the same between the two books but this is because the earliest dolls houses and their contents are very rare so early examples are almost unknown. Dolls Houses gives a highly informative account of the fascinating social history of how baby houses of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and their evolution into the dolls houses as we know them today. Changing fashions and technology affected the design and build of the houses. The different houses and designs over the centuries can be seen by the very clear photographs both in colour and black and white of which there are many examples and the whole book is easily accessible and highly informative to anyone interested in the history of the dolls house. Although only 40 pages long it is literally jammed with details and photos, and also lists of suppliers and places to visit connected to dolls houses. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone seeking more knowledge of the history of dolls houses to present day designs.


Great Northern Christmas
Great Northern Christmas
by J. Keith Proud
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, 23 Oct 2006
My copy of this was printed in 1983 but a further edition was printed in 1998.

This has been a good fascinating read & I've learned much about customs from the area in which I live & of those around me. I am pleased that the book begins with an excellent explanation of Christmas and how its dates & details changed over the centuries particularly in the 4th & 6th centuries AD. This also covers in brief the Roman festivals of Saturnalia & the Kalends & shows how German customs came over here as well influencing modern celebrations.

As a pagan I find the customs and celebrations of Christmas to be fascinating since of course so many of these predate Christain times here. I have learned much from this book, although certain areas I did find to be not so interesting but this was more personal preference than the book itself.

I was unaware for instance that Yule logs were also known as clogs in these areas, & that its burning time, traditionally seen as twelve days actually varied from place to place, I was also unaware of the Yule candle lit on Christmas Eve & relit every night until Twelfth Night with superstitions about its behaviour and use. It is believed this custom is of Scandinavain origins. This was practised by Christians as well, & I personally wonder if this now the origins of the Advent Candle burnt daily up to Christmas nowadays? Another one which seems to have changed is apple-bobbing, which we are more accustomed to seeing at Halloween celebrations now, but formerly took place on Christmas Eve in the north & rather than water this involved a lit candle & the risk of a singed or burnt nose!

There are 14 chapters & some fun illustrations which have been taken from an 1894 publication. There are rhymes & folklore aplenty in this, details of Mummers plays & Sword Dances, & details of all aspects of Christmas events, celebrations & customs & the variations between different area & locations of these as well. There is even a chapter called Christmas Eating with seasconal recipes from the past, although I won't be trying the Yorkshire Salad myself as the ingredients are lettuce, onions, vinegar, black pepper & treacle!!

This is an excellent book, packed with fascinating information. This is sadly very hard to find but worth it if folklore & traditions interest you or you live in the areas covered & would like to know more about our ancestors celebrated their Christmas.


Image Magic: Hisory of Poppets, Effigies and Image Magic
Image Magic: Hisory of Poppets, Effigies and Image Magic
by Sir James George Frazer
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative on Image Magic, Poppets etc, 23 Oct 2006
Firstly the book is slightly confusing in the way it is presented. Nowhere did Jones mention other than on page 1 with a reference to Frazer and the words "(see later)" that some 85% of the book is a chapter from Homeopathic or Imitative Magic which was first published as part of The Magic Art by JG Frazer, Macmillina Ltd, 1911. The only mention of this is on the second page in with the above information. Nor does it make it clear whether the pictures included are from the original chapter where they are shown or added by Jones as the 1998 author. However since some photographs show exhibits from the Musuem of Witchcraft which was not around at the time of 1911 then these have been added by Jones, which I feel the book should make clear. The photographs are not always of the best clarity but the illustrations are, however the book is extremely informative and really excellent value for the information contained within.

I have a few niggles about Jones work here, I do not hold with the idea of a Great Mother Goddess worshipped across the ages and across continents, at least not in the format to which I am sure he is implying. It is also inaccurate to refer to the greatest of these figures (in the UK) to be that of the goddess style figurine found at Grimes Graves since within archeaological circles there are disputes as to its having been placed there by one of the archaeologists at the time which makes it unreliable as evidence for this. And on a personal note, Jones although a prolific writer on witchcraft has referred (elsewhere) to wicca being present in the sixteenth century etc, seeming to mix up witchcraft with wicca, one being ancient, the other 20th century started by Gardner. This has little reference really to this book but the belief lies underneath all the writings of Jones.

Image Magic consists of two chapters, the first one being Image Magic dealing mainly with interesting UK information and facts and written by Jones. Again as with all his writings on past events and reports he clearly shows where he got his information from, something many of todays authors on witchcraft and associated works seem to forget or do poorly. Chapter 2, Homeopathic or Imitative Magic is the chapter of the same name from Frazers The Magic Art and deals with image magic from all around the world, and is absolutely fascinating and highly informative. I would expect given the age that this section of the book was originally published that many of these practices recorded died out years ago from general practice or memory save for that of those involved with or interested in knowing, using or keeping alive some of the old ways of image magic.

This really is a fascinating litte book especially for those interested in this type of magic and witchcraft.


Witchcraft, Toadlore and Charms of the Northern Counties
Witchcraft, Toadlore and Charms of the Northern Counties
by William Henderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book but misleading title, 23 Oct 2006
This book was first published as "Notes On The Folklore Of the Northern Counties of England & The Borders" by Longmans Green & Co in 1866. Although it is an excellent book I feel let down by the toadlore in the title, this lead me to believe that the book had lots of information on this subject. I do not feel that one paragraph and that with excerpts from plays in it, justifies the modern version of the title. Also much of the book covers many other areas including much from Europe, which makes me find the title even more misleading. That's why it only has three stars, excellent in other ways but if you bought it for the toad folklore knowledge alone then extremely disappointing.

That said, the book really is a fascinating read to those interested in the charms used and folklore of our ancestors. I discovered much of which I was not aware previously, including an old north country rhyme "Whenever the cat o' the house is black, The lasses o' lovers will have no lack." I think I should get myself a black cat ;)

Although there are no illustrations save for those on the front and back covers this does not detract from the book. I will definately read this again. It has not been easy to get hold of this book but I am glad that I finally did, even if it wasn't what I expected it to be. Definately worth its price.


Discovering the Folklore of Plants
Discovering the Folklore of Plants
by Margaret Baker
Edition: Paperback

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 23 Oct 2006
This really is a good book, filled to the brim with folklore about plants, including some trees as well. I've always found any book published by Shire Publications to be factual, well researched & well worth reading & this book was no exception. The plants are listed alphabetically & are very easy to find, the bibliography lists 23 books. This is a book aimed at those interested in real plant folklore, & is not suitable for those seeking modern witchy folklore 'translations' by the ca$h-in authors who abound these days. As the author used the now contraversial The White Goddess by Robert Graves as one of the reference books for her research she does occasionally refer to the White Goddess to mean something along the lines of Goddess worship or as similar to Gaia, which for a non-Pagan author of a book first published in 1969 is quite acceptable to me.

Whilst you may enjoy reading this book, those around you may eventually wish you would be quiet as exclamations along the lines of 'I never knew that,' every few minutes do drive your nearest & dearest to temporary insanity, especially as the temptation to read out the really fascinating sections is just too much not to do! The folklore covers Britain, Europe & America with mentions of other countries lore too sometimes.

I do have a few problems with the book though, page 9 has an unfinished sentence at the end of Aconites background & folklore but was the only publishing error I noticed. That said, I really wished for cross referencing when it came to events, etc. Plant lore for particular festivals is listed only within that particular plants folklore, rather than also listing which other plants might have been used at that time. Halloween is the most popular time of divination in folklore for non-Pagans & it would have made it easier to access that information if you wished to search for plant usage for that festival, if they had been cross referenced too. That said, for only 5.99 this book is outstanding, I have seen many books for around 25 that have no where near this kind of information so who I am to complain?!

I have refered back to this book many times, it really is a bargain indeed.


A Little Book of the Green Man
A Little Book of the Green Man
by Mike Harding
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 5.24

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent & informative, 23 Oct 2006
This small, compact hardback book is aimed to show the hidden world of the Green Man in the churches of Britain, Ireland & Europe & is neither biased towards Christian or Pagan interpretations of the Green Man. Priced very low for a hardback book, it is jammed with snippets of information & really is an absolute must.

Every other page has a full size colour picture with the explanatory page opposite also being interspersed with small colour pictures. Mike Harding, probably best known to most as a stand-up comic & for his Radio 2 folk music show has spent over 25 years searching for the Green Man both in Britain & elsewhere around the world.

Images shown are discussed within their context & tales of mythology & folklore are recounted as well. The Green Man appears on roof bosses, on pillars, on bench ends, misericords & in Borneo in church wall paintings. His spread is far yet his image remains essentially the same. The very unusual Green Man depicted as actually wearing jewellery by having a sun wheel around his neck at St Bartholomew's in Much Marcle is also featured in this book.

Whether you have just a vague interest in the Green Man or are a more serious student of his background, this is a book that you will surely want in your collection, you won't regret buying it.


Voices from the Twentieth Century: Women at War
Voices from the Twentieth Century: Women at War
by Nigel Fountain
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 8 Feb 2005
This really is a superb book. Beautifully presented, full of photographs, copies of war posters and the accounts of the women themselves. It deals with World War 1 and World War 2 and it is a truly stunning social history of this time, telling how perceptions of these women were received and treated during the war by their fellow male workers, their own families and neighbours. They tell tales of tales of sadness, tales of fun and laughter, of how life was, how the war affected them and what they did.
The Imperial War Museums sound archive was used both to reference from and also to produce what really made the book all the more unique and special for me, an audio CD of almost 70 minutes of the women's stories in their own words and voices. It is one thing to read of these stories, words on print no matter how moving the stories may be, but quite another to hear the women tell the tales themselves. This book is truly superb, and excellent value for a hardback accompanied by an audio CD. It really brought the subject to life, made it a reality for me as it was for these brave and enduring women who lived through those times. The best book about women's lives during the war that I have ever read.


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136 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 8 Feb 2005
I finally managed to obtain one of these recently after a long search. It was an item recommended to me by the hospital. They are frequently used by the bigger hospitals for rheumatology diseases such as Raynauds Disease or Scleroderma. It improves the circulation to the hands (and/or feet) and improves the skin condition too. It is a heat therapy treatment that can be done at anytime at home and as many times a day as you feel like it too. The heat helps also to combat joint and muscle pain and the heat itself enables the user to gain a little more mobility in their hands. The treatment is also good to help with elbow pain too. When you peel the wax off it was recommended to me to roll it around in my hand which again helps make the joints and muscles work immediately after receiving the treatment. Then you simply drop it back into the bowl and it will melt back to liquid.
It comes with 6 lbs of wax and 60 liners, which I have been reusing too since they can be used several times. These are wrap your hands or feet in once treated with the wax, to maintain the heat for a longer 10-20 minute treatment rather than the shorter treatments. The wax should last a very, very long time before it needs replacing. I was rather dubious about having to keep it permanently switched on for my type of use but the appliance is designed with that in mind, however you must have a safe and secure place to keep it when in use. It has a wide base so hopefully shouldn't get knocked over easily. It is a good size to fit your foot in to, many of the other brands don't seem as big.
My only problem is that I am unable to tell temperatures, and I know that I cannot treat my feet on anything but the lowest temperature setting and my hands on the next setting. However the benefits of the treatment far out weigh this slight problem, I bought it to help my circulation and to help my joint and muscle pain and it has definately done that, the other benefit which I wasn't expecting what that it really would improve the quality of the skin in the treated areas. My hands and feet look really nice now, with a healthy glow to them. I am very pleased with this product indeed. I only wish they were more widely available in this country like they are in America.


The Common Toad (Shire Natural History)
The Common Toad (Shire Natural History)
by Fred Slater
Edition: Paperback
Price: 2.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 Feb 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this book because I wanted to know more about these ancient creatures that l find under my home and in large numbers in my garden. I have learnt so much about their lifestyles, habitats and behaviour from this fascinating book. There are both colour and black and white photographs and several illustrations too in the book, and a small section on the mythology and history of the common toad. Only 24 pages long the book is full of superb information into the lifestyle of the common toad, and at just 2.50 really is an excellent buy for anyone wanting to know more about the common toad.


The Wren (Shire Natural History)
The Wren (Shire Natural History)
by Edward Allworthy Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: 2.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 Feb 2005
A superb small book, filled with fascinating facts about the lives, habitats, behaviour and biology of this tiny bird. Although only 24 pages long the book is up to the usual excellent standards I have come to expect from the Shires series of books, and has both colour and black and white photographs. The mythology of the wren is mentioned and I learnt much about the lifestyle and behaviour of this shy wee bird I regularly see hopping about my garden with the beautiful enthralling song. A really fascinating bird, a fabulous book and fantastic value at just 2.50.


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