The picture's got absolutely nothing to do with today's post - I just wanted to show you part of our New Year's Day walk. A lovely brisk hike with NAH in the cold from Midford to Wellow along an old railway track. I'll be posting more about this area during 2009, so this is a preview to whet your appetite.
I've really come here to answer a couple of questions from yesterday's popular YAWA 2009 gardening predictions. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments everyone. And well spotted Gail for finding Madame Zelda herself in the blue orb ;)
First up is Anna. She asked about the origins of the Moon in sixpence. I have to confess I'd simply adapted it from the phrase The Moon and Sixpence. I just wanted something daft and similar to what astrologers use in their columns and said phrase seemed to fit the bill. Anna's question made me look at it anew even though I'd originally taken the phrase from a popular restaurant in Bath. I'd always liked the name and I had a vague recollection there's a book of the same title. A quick Google yesterday revealed it's the name of a famous novel by Somerset Maugham, loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin. However, another Google to find out where Somerset Maugham found the inspiration for the title is where things got slightly surreal. He took it from the Times Literary Supplement's review of his previous novel, Of Human Bondage where the main character was likened to be:
...so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.
Have a look again at yesterday's post and you'll see how well the choice of words fitted Madame Zelda's prediction:
The Moon in sixpence warns you must be careful when catching up with all your garden clearing tasks left over from late autumn/early winter. For example, you never know when that hoe or rake accidentally left out may be found in a most unexpected (and painful) fashion.
Susan Tomlinson went on to ask what bedsocks are. Well, in Arabella Sock's context, I believe it's an affectionate name for her husband - perhaps you can confirm that Arabella? Of course in their literal context, they're exactly what they say they are - socks you wear in bed; especially useful if you don't have a partner to warm your feet on. My nan (aka grandmother) knitted me a hideous pink pair when I went off to university - ankle socks with a holey pattern and a drawstring you could tie to stop yourself from kicking them off whilst asleep*. My nan's reason for knitting them? She reckoned as I was going up north (to Newcastle from Birmingham), I would be in dire need of them during the winter. She was right. Much as I hate footwear and socks at the best of times, needs must when your student flat has no central heating.
* = my violent kicking tendencies whilst asleep are legendary in my family - at the age of 5 I kicked my dad's cousin Susan (aged 15) out of bed when staying at my great grandmother's in Grimsby. What made it worse was I slept on the outside of the bed and Susan was sleeping on the side next to the bedroom wall.
I hope that answers your questions satisfactorily, dear ladies. Coming up in You Ask, We Answer next week: January's Events Diary and Parsnips - the Definitive Guide.
Planned YAWA special supplement - The Alternative Gardening Dictionary. All those terms we or our English speaking cousins (wherever they are) use and we don't understand. Let me know if there's a particular word or phrase you'd like