Wednesday, 16 July 2008

What is Myrrh Anyway? Spread the Word

If you are a regular (or irregular) reader of this blog and you've enjoyed the odd snippets of Christmas info I've dropped in now and again, then why not spread the word.

Yes, that's right, I want you to help me promote What is Myrrh Anyway? This could be achieved by something as simple as an email to friends and family, including a link to this blog, or, if you have your own blog/website, mentioning it there, with a link.

Let me know how you get on (by emailing and there may be a prize in it for you - a signed copy of book when it comes out!

What more could you ask for?

Good luck!

Christmas Bees

Many people are familiar with the various traditions associated with Christmas Eve but there are a number of older legends that have been forgotten over time. One of these is specifically associated with midnight on Christmas Eve. At this time that bees supposedly hum their own hymn in praise of Christ.

Having never kept bees or been anywhere near a beehive at midnight on Christmas Eve I cannot confirm or deny this myth, but I think it's good that we don't explode every longer held belief associated with such a magical time of year.

And talking of superstitions surrounding bees, did you know that if a bee enters your home it is a sign that you will soon have a visitor? If you kill the bee, you will bring bad luck on yourself, or the visitor will be particularly unpleasant. And it gets worse; a swarm of bees settling on a roof is a sure sign that the house will burn down!

I wonder what our apiarian friends would make of this little number...

Monday, 14 July 2008

I dream of tangerines

As a child, one of the things I could guarantee finding in my stocking on Christmas morning was a tangerine. If you want to know why tangerines are such a staple of the Christmas stocking then you need to read What is Myrrh Anyway?

But, while you're waiting for the book to be published why not while away a few minutes with Tangerine Panic?

And talking of tangerine dreams, didn't they have something to do with a certain 80s motorbike-based-Knight-Rider-wannabe TV show?

The original Stag-do

One of the things you can read about in What is Myrrh Anyway? (when it's published in October) is how the traditional mummers' plays helped influence the development of the popular pantomime.

The words ‘mummer’ and ‘mumming’ either come from the German mumme, meaning a ‘mask’ or ‘masker’, or the Greek momme, meaning specifically ‘a frightening mask’. To hide their true identities (disguise being an important part of the mummers' ritual performance) many mummers wore masks made to look like different animal heads. One of these was the stag.

Just such a 'classic' Medieval mummer mask appears in an fourteenth century illuminated manuscript in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University. A marginal panel in the lower right corner of the verso of Plate 21 shows a stag masked mummer leading four other dancers (two women and two masked men) to a musical tune provided by a man playing the lute.

The stag mask itself is particularly ancient, dating to the stone age in Europe. A painting on the wall of a cave named Le Trois Freres in France clearly shows a shaman wearing a stag mask and costume. The style of the paintings in the cave place the image at the end of the Ice Age, around 15,000 to 10,000 BC!

Modern Wiccan believers see the stag as representing the powerful male spirit of the animal world, 'the source of masculine energy; he is the raw force, wisdom and law'. Some Medieval writers also identified the stag as a force for good, determined to stamp out evil, as in the natural world the animal will trample any snakes it comes upon.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Massive Match Wits Giveaway!

How would you like to have a copy of Match Wits with the Kids, signed by the author... and for free?

Well, if you would, then make sure you're outside the Department for Children, Schools and Families (Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT) between 8.00am and 10.00am this Friday 18 July 2008.

Icon Books are going to be giving away 500 free copies of Match Wits with the Kids and I'll be there to sign them as well. All those involved in the giveaway will be wearing Match Wits t-shirts and will be happy to explain why this is the most important book of the summer.

Match Wits with the Kids - a little learning for all the family!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

JG on BBC London 94.9

Tomorrow morning, Sunday 13 July (in case you're reading this any time other than Saturday night) I am going to be on the Sunday Schedule, with Lesley Joseph and Roland Rivron, on BBC London radio 94.9FM.

If you're able to, why not tune in at around 10.30am to hear about, not only Match Wits with the Kids, but also an event linked to the book that will be taking place in central London this coming Tuesday. You really don't want to miss this!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

What is Myrrh Anyway?

It is less than three short months now until What is Myrrh Anyway? hits booksellers' standards up and down the country (and in Canada, or so I am led to believe) but I have come to realise that some people may be wondering where the title comes from.

Well, wonder no more. Just check out the clip from Monty Python's Life of Brian below.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Visit my new store

I have recently created my own online store, with the aid of Amazon Associates, so if you would like to purchase any of the books written by myself simply follow the link at the top of the sidebar, or click here.