Updated: Aug 22
July's Newsletter - To read the full newsletter visit Cerridwen's Cauldron via the link at the bottom of the post.
Merry Met Virtual Traveller
Update - After a month of just almonds and then writing this newsletter, I got a little flurry of sugar - coated almonds, which I will of course share with you later this month. For now, here's the none sugar-coated version of last month’s freelance life. Spoiler alert, sometimes it's hard but it's worth it.
I’m not going to lie to you folks, this month has been a rollercoaster. Freelance life is always full of ‘yes until it’s no’, but there’s been a little more of that than usual this month. It’s often a yes to my ideas, my offer and the experience that I have is respected, but ultimately it ends up being a no because the cost of living is biting, heritage and the arts are woefully underfunded and if you can’t pay your staff, it’s unlikely you can pay a freelancer. So I’m left with just almonds. No sugar coating, just almonds.
In the Christmas bowl of nuts ready for shelling, other than the Brazil nuts, almonds were always the toughest nuts to crack but they were the ones I loved best. And sugar coated almonds … well that’s just 1980s wedding favour perfection.
Sugar coated almonds first appeared in the 15th century when sugar became more widely available and the art of dragée (sugar panning small edibles) was perfected. This confection has long been established as a wedding favour and originated from a Sulmona, a city in central Italy. The reason for them becoming wedding favours is that the bittersweet of the almond signifies the rollercoaster of marriage and the sweet sugar coating, the love that goes with it.
A little poem accompanies this tradition and it goes like this:
Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet. Five wishes for the new husband and wife Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!
These little sweets eventually crossed the channel and became popular in the UK. And so it is that the sugared almond perfectly represents last month’s freelance vibe: a lot of bittersweet hard work, but also a lot of love. I hope that I will soon perfect the art of dragée and sugar coat the heck out of June’s almonds.
In the meantime, I have a few events coming up in July for your consideration and for paid subscribers I will be compiling a little video chat about the folklore of stone circles, exploring the world of the crab spider in my next ‘Symphony of Animals’ and Kitchen Witching with wonderful mugwort.
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