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Tag Archives: ‘Under Milk Wood’

Sunset, Dylan Thomas and Earrings

Last night’s sunset was absolutely gorgeous! The crimson and golden glow crept across our sitting room so we went upstairs to capture the beauty of the setting sun sinking into the sea.

Today is International Dylan Thomas Day. I love the works of Dylan Thomas especially Under Milk Wood which I used to teach to GCSE students many years ago. I was brought up on this version on two long playing records with Richard Burton as the First Voice and here, for your delectation, is that wonderful voice with the inimitable words of Dylan Thomas.

Some time ago, I was offered the chance to have some earrings made, as a gift while in lockdown. The maker was unknown to me but here today, in the infrequent post, came a beautiful little pair of handmade silver and crystal earrings which I shall treasure. They are just 1″ long and very pretty. Thank you very much Karen.

 

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Bee Stamps, Flowers and Favourite Words

Today some lovely new stamps have been issued, beautifully illustrating some of our native bees.

New stamps

New stamps

2   I was in Penryn today and their flowers are as lovely as ours in Redruth.

Flowers in Penryn

Flowers in Penryn

I love Dylan Thomas’ Play for Voices, ‘Under Milk Wood’. As a family we used to listen to it on a pair of 78s so I grew up with these wonderful words in my head and later I was able to choose it as a modern play to teach at GCSE. Here are the wonderful opening words:

FIRST VOICE [very softly]

To begin at the beginning:

It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and- rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine to-night in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows’ weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives. Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrogered sea. And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields, and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wet-nosed yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing.

Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep.

And you alone can hear the invisible starfall, the darkest-before- dawn minutely dewgrazed stir of the black, dab-filled sea where the Arethusa, the Curlew and the Skylark, Zanzibar, Rhiannon, the Rover, the Cormorant, and the Star of Wales tilt and ride.

Listen. It is night moving in the streets, the processional salt slow musical wind in Coronation Street and Cockle Row, it is the grass growing on Llareggub Hill, dewfall, starfall, the sleep of birds in Milk Wood.

Listen. It is night in the chill, squat chapel, hymning in bonnet and brooch and bombazine black, butterfly choker and bootlace bow, coughing like nannygoats, suckling mintoes, fortywinking hallelujah; night in the four-ale, quiet as a domino; in Ocky Milkman’s lofts like a mouse with gloves; in Dai Bread’s bakery flying like black flour. It is to-night in Donkey Street, trotting silent, with seaweed on its hooves, along the cockled cobbles, past curtained fernpot, text and trinket, harmonium, holy dresser, watercolours done by hand, china dog and rosy tin teacaddy. It is night neddying among the snuggeries of babies.

Look. It is night, dumbly, royally winding though the Coronation cherry trees; going through the graveyard of Bethesda with winds gloved and folded, and dew doffed; tumbling by the Sailors Arms.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

 

And here, for your delectation, is the wonderful Richard Burton reading those words:

I shall be without any internet contact for the next few days as I am going into hospital to have my left hip totally replaced. I’ll be back soon and have scheduled a few posts for you to enjoy.

 

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Dylan Thomas, Diamond Raindrop and New Cardigan

1   As my regular readers will know, I am a huge fan of the writing of Dylan Thomas. I love his poetry and even more, I love his play for radio,   ‘Under Milk Wood’. I used to read U.M.W. with my GCSE literature classes before the curriculum dictated only a few plays that we could read. They grew to love his humour and his marvellous use of language almost as much as I did. Of course, they loved that the name of the seaside village where Under Milk Wood is set is named, Llareggub, bugger all backwards!  He died in New York having continued his reading tour despite having a serious chest infection and he died of pneumonia at only 39. What a tragic waste of an incredible talent though he has left us some magnificent treasures. I have posted herehere and here about his work. Click on the links for some Under Milk Wood, Poem in October and Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.

2  I found this beautiful diamond of a raindrop in a newly formed Lupin leaf.  Click on the photo for really beautiful detail.

Raindrop in a Lupin leaf

Raindrop in a Lupin leaf

3   Today I have finished of the multi-coloured cardigan for Grand-baby B by sewing in all the ends. I am very pleased with it though I think it’ll be a while until she grows into it. Better that than too small!

For Grand-baby B

For Grand-baby B – I just love the buttons!

 

 

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Under Milk Wood, Bird Visitors and Wild Winds

1   Another duvet day but with the special treat this morning of hearing some of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood on the radio. That is my favourite piece of literature even above Romeo and Juliet! Just listen to Richard Burton reading the opening lines by clicking here. It’s 60 years since UMW was first broadcast. Mum and Dad bought the recording on two 78rpm records and played it often and so I grew up hearing the best radio play ever.

2   It’s the Big Garden Bird Watch today (where people all over the country count the birds in their garden or park for one hour over the weekend) and, feeling better, I took my duvet downstairs to watch for the birds. The weather is still so wild that there were few but in the odd moments between showers and gusts of wind, one or two of our regulars called in.

2    The wind has been every-which-way today. The weather vane hasn’t known which way to go!

Blowing West?

Blowing West?

...or East?

…or East?

 

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Turkey Broth, Chocolate Truffles and Dylan Thomas

1    Working to banish the bronchitis blues, I served up homemade Turkey broth for lunch.

2    Delicious chocolate truffles, a birthday present from L also help!

Delicious truffles

Delicious truffles

3    Listening to Richard Burton reading the opening to Dylan Thomas’ masterpiece ‘Under Milk Wood’ is another tonic for the soul.If you want a real treat, just listen to this  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuPO2Kvqlms

“To begin at the beginning:
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows’ weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.”

'Under Milk Wood' by Dylan Thomas

‘Under Milk Wood’ by Dylan Thomas

and if I have caught your interest, you may like this link too.

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/dec/24/darkness-under-milk-wood-dylan-thomas

 

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Asparagus Festival, ‘Under Milk Wood’ and Duck Egg Dinner

1   My lovely neighbour told me about the Cornwall Asparagus Festival which was being held just down the road in the Penventon Park Hotel. It was a delight! I watched Arty Williams Chef at The Cove, Maenporth, a local award-winning restaurant,  http://www.thecovemaenporth.co.uk/ demonstrating a beautiful dish of Asparagus, Goat Cheese with a Red Wine and Caper Dressing. It looked, smelled and tasted wonderful – a real treat for the taste buds!

Arty Williams at the Asparagus Festival

2   I arrived home to find Richard Burton on BBC Radio Four reading the opening of ‘Under Milk Wood’ by Dylan Thomas which hundreds of my former pupils will be able to tell you is my favourite piece of literature of all time! Another wonderful treat!

3   There were Duck eggs, from The Cornish Duck Company, on sale at the festival as well as asparagus from the largest growers in Cornwall, John and Jenny Keeler from Tregassow Farm  so for supper tonight we’ve had Delia Smith’s Sauteed Asparagus with Duck Egg and Parmesan. Beautiful!  The recipe is up on my Recipe page.

Sauteed Asparagus with Duck Egg and Parmesan

 

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