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tea-party! and looking forward to spring...

Hi everyone,

So today was our lovely tea-party at Iris' place! Iris, Hanna and Daphne are a group of friends I really don't see often enough, so every time we meet it is a great pleasure to catch up with each other, laugh, and let our celtic and other crazy features run free. We had a table full of food (like scones, spinach pastries, cup cakes...), to which I added some cinnamon-ginger cookies, that had worked out very well this time! What can go wrong on a day filled with friends, tea and yumminess?
Also because some of us are not doing well these days, it felt good to see each other; it is nice to meet friends online but in these circumstances it is preferable to be in a situation where one can actually see and hug each other. So we had serious talk, girl's talk and a lot of fun, just like things should be.
It was my second tea-party in a week, as Sanne celebrated her birthday in a similar way, last wednesday. That party was also a huge success, not in the last place because of the delicious apple-pear pie Sanne and Hanna had baked together.

The last time I am finding it more important than ever to spend time with friends. Not only ,y near friends, in person, but also virtually, with those dear ones who are living further away; I wouldn't want to do without Florine and Anna, for example. And Maela, who is in Ireland now; we exchange letters on a regular basis. It gives a rich feeling to have such a network of friends; people who may not always be near, but still there for me. I hope my friends know how much I value them; otherwise I hope they will read this blog, and know it from now on ;-)

Health news: These last days I am doing a bit better than earlier this long winter, and I try to profit if this by seeing friends, going out and have some fun, and by working harder on my studies. I am a bit on behind now, because I had been too tired to work for weeks, so I seriously need to write on my paper for Breton now (on some different versions of gwerz Pontcallec),  and the one I am writing for medieval Latin. this one really sucks; basically we are working on the same subject as the teacher is investigating in her personal research, how convenient, and it involves transcribing and translating a text (12 pages), and writing a paper on it. It is really too much of work for a capable student like me, I wonder where she thinks I will get the time to do this? But never mind. The last subject I am working on is Historical Grammar of British Celtic, which thankfully does not require a lot of work to follow.  Maybe these three subjects are not so much of work altogether, but because I have been ill it seems a bit overwhelming to me at the moment.

I am really longing for spring, warmth and sunshine. I am sure it will give me a sunnier view on things. And with spring, the colloque in Rennes also approaches! I have even set my days with Gwenn now, for when I will stay at her place; apparently there will be a traditional fest-noz (the dancers are also the singers) in the village during my stay! Yay!
Another thing that surely will give me a lot of pleasure is cycling to work in springtime. The road to my work goes through forests and meadows; in a month of two they will be wonderful, full of green and flowers.


Laouen get ma ranndi newez!

So I moved house! It's been almost a week now that I live in my new place, and I am so happy with it! I felt in love with the place the first time I walked from the station to the house and saw all the pine trees that are surrounding it, but now that I am actually living here it is even better than I could have imagined. I saw it as an advantage that I already knew my new housemates, but I couldn't have dreamed that it would be so relaxed to live together: we all just live our own programmes, but when we are all in the house we have dinner together, we hang out in the living room, and talk a lot about Celtic, linguistics, beer and life. I do not have at all the feeling I was intruding in other people's lifes in moving in with them; I also feel very much grounded already because I have my own room (properly heated! no more cold!) with my own furniture, all my books and my cd's in their cases, proudly showing off on their Ikea shelves...I am a born materialist and I am the happiest when I am surrounded by my own stuff. 'Home is where my books are'.
In this place, where I can start my days with stretching out before my window, watching 'my' trees, I feel stronger and more confident than I have felt for a long time. I found back my love for and creativity in cooking, I have the discipline to do my homework and to shut off the computer afterwards instead of harvesting cows in Farmville, and I listen to some of my favourite but long-neglected cds in doing so: classical music and ethereal. I have rediscovered for example Irfan, Les Tisserands, the Cantigas de Santa Maria and everything by Jordi Savall. And I read books! Like, sitting on the bank with a glass of ale, a bag of crisps and a good book! It had been ages ago that I found the tranquility for such an activity.
I have the feeling I will have a very happy time in this place. I even feel less homesick, probably because I am surrounded by a landscape that looks a lot like some of my favourite parts in Breizh...

For now I am going to enjoy a free weekend: this week was the last one of the second trimester, and today I finished my last paper. Monday the new trimester will start with Medieval Latin, Historical Linguistics of British Celtic, and a 'personal paper', not related to an official subject in the curriculum, on gwerziou (Breton ballads) from the Vannetais. I am sure I am going to have a lot of fun!

PS: W000T I am purple! In fact I am blue and magenta (=a dark shade of pink) and I do like those colours and wear them a lot. Cool quiz!
you are darkorchid

Your dominant hues are blue and magenta. You're the one who goes to all the parties but doesn't quite fit in at every one... you know what you want, but are afraid of what the world might think of it. You're a little different and that's okay with them, and if you're smart it's okay with you too.

Your saturation level is higher than average - You know what you want, but sometimes know not to tell everyone. You value accomplishments and know you can get the job done, so don't be afraid to run out and make things happen.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the spacefem.com html color quiz


As I had in mind to post more often in the new year, this might be a good moment :-)
Also because I SHOULD work on a paper that is due for friday, but I am not very inspired. I wrote a lot on it today, and then..I forgot to save my work. So I have told myself I am not allowed to go to bed before I have redone all that work, but..arrgh I don't feel like it. I spend this whole afternoon on this really ingenious table of personal names in the welsh poem Pa Gur, and their occurances in Culhwch ac Olwen and the Triads...I am a dork, really. Which idiot forgets to save his work?
It might have happened because I am a bit ill: I spent the better part of last night hanging above the toilet, as sick as a dog, and I am still recovering a bit.

Oh well...
I'd better talk about the nice things that are in front of me: wednesday evening a bunch of friends will come over for a wild tea party, each of them bringing tea and cookies, and if possible some musical equipment. I am sure it is going to be fun! If I find the time I wouldl ike to bake some crepes for the party, with chestnut cream. Yummy. I have a new crepe recipe, a traditional one from Cornouaille, which I found in Le Tour de Bretagne en 80 desserts gourmands. It makes even thinner and  more crunchy crepes than the recipe I used before (from The Chronicle of Celtic Folk Customs, by Brian Day), which was already pretty good.
I hope my friends will be just as enthousiastic about the recipe as I am...

Saturday will be D-day, and that's D for dilojein, moving home! I am going to live in Zeist, together with two friends from my studies, in a nice flat with a view on the forests of Zeist! There's pine trees everywhere, heather nearby and even some dunes, I have been told. The first time I walked to me new chez moi I got really excited by all the green that surrounds the place, and this on only ten minutes by train from the city centre! I also got very much reassured by a talk with my new housemates; I believe we share a lot of ideas about living together, and will make an harmonious household wherein each one will have his own place. We plan cooking together every evening, which is a good idea because I find it hard, sometimes, to have the discipline to cook for myself alone.

And the congress in Rennes is approaching, too! I am so much looking forward to it, already planning lots of things to do, but even more daydreaming about everyone I will see again, the fun we will have together...I also will have to do some obligatory things, like going to the library to find sources for my MA thesis, and finding out which steps I should take to be admitted as a trainee-schoolteacher in Diwan, but even these things I am looking forward to. They are all steps towards the future I hope I will get.

Now that the days are getting longer and the weather a bit warmer I feel more and more hopeful, and I have started looking forward to many things again. Have you noticed the air is getting softer? Spring is near!
The Old Ways may be lost, but still...

The rythm of the sea
a hypnotizing hanter-dro
is calling me home

The winds of freedom
empowering worn spirits
are calling me home

Stable rocks, bravely resisting
the foam that's ever attacking them
No current would take me away, they promise
calling me...

And here I am, trembling
for fear my heart be pulled out
the call is so strong

When shall I answer?



1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
euhm...I volunteered on a festival (Gouel Erwan)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never make them

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully not

5. What countries did you visit?
The Netherlands; I am still there.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
I'd like a bit more surity about the future.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 28. The day I had to return to the Netherlands. I was so immensely sad...

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I got my BA, Cum Laude even!

9. What was your biggest failure?
That was in Pondi. I am not going to talk about it. Or maybe that was the biggest BLUNDER of the year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, I have been slightly ill for a few months; I am doing a bit better now.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Bought...uhm..Yeah, I think that was a book, 'Le Breton parle' by Meriadeg Herrieu. The book has been out of print for some thirty years, and I managed to find a first-hand example in Keranna. Hell yeah!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The De Parscau family's (Gwenn, Mikael, Annie, Henry and the rest), because of their huge hospitality, friendliness, musicality and the Kernow Breizh festival! And Bibi's, for his help and support :-)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
It is not politically correct to put that online. There are a few, though...

14. Where did most of your money go?
apart from the obligatory rent etc., travelling, books, cd's, going to pub :-)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
the Kernow-Breizh festival!! and my visit to Karnag with Anna :DD And Gouel Erwan!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
The 'O seasons, o Castles' album by Katell Keineg, and everything by Loened Fall.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
-happier or sadder?
-thinner or fatter?
much thinner
-richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Dancing and singing, being happy

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
crying and daydreaming

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
at my parent's with the traditional 'christmas crew' we celebrate christmas with every year.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

22. How many one-night stands?
One night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Grey's Anatomy

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't do hate.

25. What was the best book you read?
I guess that was 'Les vaisseaux du coeur' by Benoite Groult.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Oh, I had many! Can't choose just one.

27. What did you want and get?
Don't know...I have done many happy things this year, went to dancings parties, met a lot of friends, had fun, swam in the sea...

28. What did you want and not get?
Baroque dancing lessons.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
The secret of Kells!

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was at my parents and did not really celebrate it. 22.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
having a special person (as in romantic relationship) to end the year with...

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
wide trousers and walking shoes :P

33. What kept you sane?

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
mmm...Ronan Gueblez.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The politics of controlling people everywhere; Public transport payment by chip, camera's everywhere, fingerprints on passports.

36. Who did you miss?
Too many friends

37. Who was the best new person you met?

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
If I don;t follow my heart I get ill and unhappy: even if the way my heart tries to show me is much more insecure than than the road that would be sensible, it's better to follow the way to happiness. Otherwise life loses its purpose.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Try to remind myself that I was happy here
until I knew that I could get
on a plane and fly away"
(Dido- Sand in my shoes)


A Breton Christmas story

As I can't travel today because of the heavy snowfall, I can't go to my band rehearsal and have to stay at home with my parents I am visiting this weekend. It is a pity there is no band rehearsal, but the sight of these white trees, fields and roads is worth something, too. And it gives me time to cuddle with my cat, play piano and flute, and listen to music; I was just listening online to "Noël en Bretagne", a Christmas cd by Yann-Fañch Kemener. On the last track of the cd he tells a traditional Breton version of the classic Christmas story, which I'd like to retell for you all here on my blog...:

When a decree went out from the emperor Augustus that all had to return to their hometown to be registrered in the books of the state, Joseph and Mary, his pregnant wife, had to go to Bethlehem. But Bethlehem was full of people who had come there with the same intentions as our couple, and they couldn't find a place to sleep. When something is scarce it becomes immediately expensive, so the hotel-managers of Roman Age Betlehem had the time of their life and asked ridiculous prices for their lodgings: prices a simple carpenter as Joseph could not pay. They went from one inn to the other, and everywhere they were told that sleeping places were not for normal people now: only the rich and powerful could afford such a luxury.
Until they came at a particular rich-looking place: Joseph had lost all of his hopes already, but on insistance of his wife he tried this last place they hadn't tried yet: "I can't give birth to a babe on the streets, you know that as good as I do!"
And the owner of this last hotel was a good man, and gave them a place to sleep; not in his hotel, as it was full, but in the shed with the animals. He sent his young daughter Berc'hed (Brigitte) to lead them the way; and both Mary and Joseph pitied the child, as she was blind and could not use her arms.
They did not give it another thought but went to sleep immediately, as they were death-tired from the day's travel.

But in the middle of the night Mary woke up and told Joseph to find her someone to help her, as she was about to give birth to her child. And Joseph went into the house, to search a woman to help his wife, but was told that all female servants and family-members were busy atending to the more important guests, and no-one could be missed to help this woman to deliver: she would have to do it on her own...."I can help", sounded a small voice from a corner of the kitchen. "No Berc'hed, you can't, you're blind and disabled!" And in the same instant, Berc'hed could see and move her arms! WOW!! Against such a miracle the hotel-manager could hardly say a thing, so Berc'hed went with Joseph to help Mary give birth to her son. The babe came healthy into the world, and Berc'hed stayed all night to care for it while the tired mother slept. For this service she was rewarded with the ability to cure little children, and give help to women in labour.

Berc'hed has become a mighty saint in Britanny as in Ireland, and many chapels and songs are dedicated to her. And, like that other important female Breton saint, Anna, she is a part of the 'holy family': as Anna is the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, so is Berc'hed the little Jesus's nurse.

Nedeleg laouen!!!
(merry Christmas)



Snow!! As I woke up this morning, I found the world around me changed into a kitchy christmas card. And although waking up was a bit difficult (I REALLY don't like feeling the cold floor under my bare feet), when I had succeeded performing this quest I was very impatient to get out! So out I got... to the town centre! The cathedral was covered in snow, so that all small ornaments, normally barely visible, were outlined in white. Beautiful! I wanted to go to the cathedral cloister-garden as well, but for some reason it was closed for public today...I remember a winter afternoon some years ago, when I went walking with Hanna after a Medieval Latin class, and we ended up in the cloister-garden: the snow over there hadn't been touched by anybody yet. Reason for us to start a snow fight! This time I had to go to work anyway, but a small walk in a snowy town-centre was obligatory!

At work I was surpirised to be presented with a small paquet of Christmas yummy-things: I hadn't thought I would get any present, as I ahve only worked there for some three months now. Nice!

Last weekend I went to the Midwinter Fair ath the Archeon, my old working place. It felt like coming home! Only now I realised how much I had missed the Archeon. Although I was very happy to see and hear Orfeo and the Kelten zonder Grenzen/Celts without Frontiers again, my absolute highlight of that day was crashing in the Bronze Age, helping the smith to blow the fire, talking with old colleagues and even teaching some children how to make a rope; I can;t be in the Archeon without starting to work, haha. I told some people about what was going on at the place, explained what the smith was doing, I spinned some wool on a real prehistoric hand-spindle, like I had done a million times before...I enjoyed the fire, the company, the honest cold winter weather.
In the afternoon there was a Midwinter celebration by Turning Wheel, which I attended. It was a nice ceremony, and it was good to have this meditative moment in such a full day. In the evening I went to see Rapalje in the upper hall of the medieval monastery, but as everyone had the same idea, I ended up on the balcony, from where I could see the band as well and was not in the risk of being squeezed by the masses...I also bought a some things: a bottle of chouch (mead), some losse incence (i liiiiiike incence) and a bone hairpin which I love already.

Right now I am on holidays, officialy; which means I have lots of work in front of me, Middle Welsh translations and a paper to write.

I'm going to work a bit!

Bev on c'hoazh

Hi everyone,

My last posts dates from October 24. Today we live on December the twelfth...Yes, I have been out of the running. As most of you know, I presume, I am living quite a hard time: I still long very much for Brittany, and Dutch every day life is difficult. I 'd never thought my Masters would be this amount of work; it is like a full-time job. Besides my studies I sit in the OC (Educational Comission) of the Modern Languages sector at university, which also asks his toll in the form of energy. And energy is exactly the thing that lacks me when I feel like I felt the past months. And lastly, when in the same week I received a very disappointing note AND had thieves in my house, I broke down a bit. I didn't feel safe in my house anymore, and I thought that from now on I would have no chance whatsoever to be admitted to a PhD programme, which has been my secret wish for some time now.
At the moment I am doing a bit better though; I have talked with friends who have really helped me; I have planned a trip to Rennes, in the last week of April, when there will be a congress on the origins of the Breton language; and I am playing in a new band, about which I am very enthousiastic! I love playing music together with others, and the musical choice of this project is exactly what I like. And I play together in it with Sanne, a hood friends, and Fieke, who also played in Cesair! It's a small world...
I am very much looking forward to my trip to Rennes: off course the congress will be fun, but I almost can't wait to see my friends again! Drinking tea with Anna, going to the Westport with the Kejadenn guys, chatting on Middle Welsh with Bibi, maybe, if it will be possible, visiting the family at Kastell Gwenn...I would love that. But the Morbihan is far from Rennes, and I am not sure there will be time. But already, visiting Rennes! Going to the Marché des Lices! To the book market on the Plasenn santez Anna! Chilling out in the park Thabor! Drowning in the sheer mass of Breton books in the library...Going to a fest-noz, or at least seeing a band playing in the Ty Anna or elsewhere...Drinking cider and chouchenn!
Yes, this prospect, and the feeling (only the feeling) it might all go well with this PhD after all, makes me feel better. And even if the PhD plan doesn't work out, that doesn't mean my life will be a failure, to say it dramatically. I can still become a teacher, or a musician maybe, or a fortuneteller, or a workless traveler....Mum! Dad! Just joking! No need for heart attacks ;-)

For the moment I try to live in the 'now': I try to finish my homework before each class (that isn't as easy said as done), I try do be a good 'university politician' in the OC, and when I have some spare time I play music, meditate, write in my diary, try to occupy myself with the things I think are important in life. Like friendship...yesterday I saw Martine in Hofman (A cafe here in Utrecht) for the first time since I left for Brittanny. It was like the year hadn't passed! That is, off course we had both things to tell each other, and things have changed, but, as Martine put it, when you really know each other's personality and are friends on basis of just that, rather than on shared activities and the like, time does't matter.
Today I posted a lot of christmas cards to friends. I you dont get one, don't be offended: this just means I don't have your address. I am very bad at keeping updaté with everyone's addresses, as I always forget to write them down when someone gives me his one. So if you want te be sure to have a christmas card, just mail me your home address!! I wrote cards in four languages: Dutch, English, French and Breton. At the moment I hope they are traveling to five countries: the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Brittany and Ireland. It gives me a very rich feeling to have all these friends, these people that are important to me, and also the knowledge that they care about me makes me feel thankfull, and stronger.
I keep saying I dont do the 'christmas feeling' this year. And it is true I am not getting very excited on Christmas dinners, presents and trees, but I do feel better than before, my heart warms when I think of my dear ones, and I have new hope on a good future. If that isnt a Christmas feeling, the whole thing doest exist.

I am a bad blogger

    For I have sooo many other things to do!
Well, so many...actually, it's only studies, studies and studies. This MA is much thougher than I thought it would be, and it is eating my time! Especially now, in the end of the trimester. This morning I finished my paleography assignment (transcribing and editing an Old Irish poem) and now I should be working on my Middle Breton paper (Vannetais forms in a17th century Christmas Hymn). I tried to start on this, several hours ago. But first I went off to do the dishes, then to was my clothes, and finally to take a walk. And here we are again, end of the afternoon, drinking a cup of homemade hot spied wine (yum) and writing an LJ update for the first time in weeks.
I went walking for almost two hours! That wasn't planned. But you see, it was such a lovely weather...well, it wouldn't be within everyones definition of 'lovely'. Actually it is grey with drizzling rain. But it is fresh with a nice wind and..I walked in the fields, and they all seem enchanted in this weather. The stillness....like every moment a spirit could appear, or a group of fairies might be seen dancing between the numerous mushrooms. That might be my fantasy, as I have read far too much on breton folklore the last time.
But still...some people talk about 'winter wonders', but to me the end of autumn is the most magical tyime of the year. The contrast of grey drizzle against black silhouets of trees having already lost their leafs, and the flaming colours of other trees still bearing them...the mocking 'laughter'  of a duck, a silver 'reiger' flying slowly and lowly above the water of a canal...This time of the year is magical. The air is so full of sound, movement, 'atmosphere'...

I wish all of you who are celebrating it a very happy samhain.


The last two years I have written a blog on the first signs of Autumn the day I remarked them. I take pride in the fact that I am very sensible to changements in the air, and quite accurate in telling when the seasons actually change. This year, I am a bit late and it is very well possible that I missed the actual turning of the season. I was busy with a fight against flu, cold and melancholy.
Untill this week. My cold is still not over, but I feel my spirit is getting lighter, more open to the 'real' world as well as to my inner worlds, and I am making plans, working schedules (university is keeping me busy!) and poetry. I also start to remark the changings in the air. I don't know what came first; actually, I guess I am in better spirits now thanks to the golden light Mother Nature gifts us each afternoon and the fresh, but not yet cold air. Breathing this air gives me energy and makes me want to dance and sing!
I also enjoy immensely another sign of the coming Cold Season: the arrival of coals, cullyflowers and pumpkins in the marketstalls, as well as apples and pears. I found out we're having an excellent Organic Market here in Utrecht, were one is able to buy fresh local produce every friday. Another link back to nature!

Half an hour ago I meditated for the first time in ages (more signs I am doing better), and was surprised by a golden sunbeam that fell just on my face. In the stillness of my meditation, after a day of hard working (I've spent the better part of today to transcribing Old Irish) I also heard the birds singing outside.
For a moment I was totally happy.

let's hope it stays.