Explorer and Independent Biologist

Monday, 31 January 2011

Imbolc, Askam and Badger

Imbolc is the festival that falls half-way between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). Imbolc has existed for centuries until it was renamed Candlemas by the Christians. Traditionally it is celebrated on 1-2 February but, as usual with these festivals, nobody minds if the celebrations are extended a few days on either side.

Imbolc is not Spring, but it may be the herald of Spring. We may expect to see the first catkins dangling in thin sunshine, and the first snowdrops in bloom. 

Above all, it marks a noticeable lengthening of the daylight, the time when thoughts turn to cleaning agricultural tools, sewing early seeds and checking if the pregnant ewes are safely through the worst of winter.

This year I was honoured to have my Australian 
friend and fellow blogger Badger*
(who presently lives in Vienna)
visit me in Maalie Court, Askam-in-Furness,
to share the Imbolc Festivities.

One of our Imbolc celebratory suppers.
Badger is speechless with amazement that an Englishman
can cook such an appetising looking pike pie

The foreshore of Askam-in-Furness is dominated by
salt marsh, where boats are hauled up 
into the creeks for the winter;
Or simply left to die.

Badger takes a stroll around the salt-marsh...

 ...and takes some 'arty-farty' pictures
of decaying boats

 Badger steers us into the Queens Arms pub
for an Imbolc pint of Cumbria Ale.
Or was it two?

I find the first Snowdrops of the year in to time
to mark the Festival of Imbolc

A Very Happy Imbolc
to all my Readers
You may light any candle stubs left over from Yuletide 
to keep the Ghosties away

*You may discover more about Badger and his blog here


  1. badger looks as if he is enjoying himself mate..did you go to the Black dog? did he have a red hot McEwans??

  2. Badger is also speechless at the size of a pie cooked for just two people!

  3. Did you get through all the pie in one sitting?
    I will light a candle for all the little ghosties who are hanging around and want to find their way home.

  4. You are a great host. I love having visitors and showing them my favourite places. I hope to see some snowdrops this weekend.
    I've written a post about the Welsh referendum which might interest you.

  5. Wonderful photos. I find these boats lying about fascinating. Will they be water-bound again, some of them that is?
    I wonder did the pub have Guinness? Arthur Guinness was a fine man, and has quite an amazing legacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Guinness

  6. Simon: unfortunately the Black Dog has recently changed hands and isn't properly operation yet. Next time!

    Badger: I thawed out and ate the remaning portion tonight!

    Lorenzo: Almost, just a little left for me to freeze.

    Thanks Ellee, I hope you find your snowdrops. Another 3-4 weeks and the early migrants will arrive!

    Donsands: Thanks, yes some of them are just moored there through the winter, and, yes, most pubs here serve Guinness!

  7. I used to celebrate Imbolc, but as a Winter hater, it was all just too depressing. Harbinger of Spring, my foot. It was the dead center of Winter--the crappiest time of year!

  8. Hi Maalie, I guess St Valentine is the next festival for us to celebrate. What better one could there be!