The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Happy Easter

Pheasnt'e eye narcissus/The Poet's narcissus

Pheasnt'e eye narcissus/The Poet's narcissus

When Easter is early, it’s rare that we have good weather. But what is good weather? We need rain so badly in the east of England that four days of rain were good for me. I just feel a bit sorry for those who took an Easter trip somewhere in the UK, hoping for sunshine.

Twenty years ago I moved into the cottage and my mother and I spent the holiday here. Easter was early that year too but the weather was sunny. We worked in the garden and guzzled hot cross buns at tea time. Back then we had to share my meagre selection of gardening tools so our progress was slow. But it was a happy time and each Easter I look back at those few days. The excitement of a new place to live and stay and a time of promise.

And that is what Easter means to me. A time of promise. The cottage garden is filling with spring flowers and the bluebell buds are just starting to open. The long border that runs from the gate to the cottage is filled with Pheasant’s eye narcissus (The Poet’s narcissus), leucojum nod their heads amongst the purple honesty (lunaria).

I’m not a practicing Christian but their Easter message is reflected here in our garden. Rebirth is trumpeted with the flowering bulbs, early perennials and all that fresh bright, squeaky clean green growth that we only see in the spring.

Last night I sat up late beside the fire with the Min Pins and watched a fascinating programme about the choir at Salisbury Cathedral. As soon as I heard the children singing I remembered an old passion of mine – choral church music of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. In this music I used to find a similar freshness, beauty and sense of hope.

So today I searched the Internet for a few of my old favourites and found that they moved me even more than they had all those years ago when I was in my early twenties. Just click on the links if you would like to listen to them too.

‘Kyrie’ From the Missa Papae Marcelli by Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina (1524 – 1591)
Miserere, by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652)
William Byrd (1540-1623) Ave Verum Corpus


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  1. Fiona, these are beautiful, thank you so much for the links. Can’t believe it, I used to sing Kyrie and yet I haven’t heard it for years.

  2. Veronica

    Belated Happy Easter, Fiona, Danny and MinPins! I love that music too. You love it even more if you get to sing it — it’s glorious being a part of it.

    Do you know about You can find nearly any music in existence on there — great for enjoying long-lost favourites.

  3. casalba

    Yet another thing we have in common! Unfortunately Dr. M. is one of those dogs you see posted on YouTube who “sings” to certain types of music so he totally ruins my enjoyment of Oldey Pokey music. Silent as an Easter lamb when Dan listens to jazz (which I could never get my head round).

    Happy Easter to all at The Cottage.

  4. Freerangegirl

    Happy Easter both of you – our weather here has been perfect – rain, rain and more rain! And boy did the ground need it!

  5. Thank you Fiona for such beautiful music – that’s cheered my morning up immensely. Are you familiar with the works of Harry Christopher and The Sixteen (sometimes listed the other way round, The Sixteen and Harry Christopher, confusingly). I’m sure you’d love them.

  6. Happy Easter Fiona and Danny

  7. Magic Cochin

    Happy Easter Fiona and Danny!

    Easter is a time of hope and rebirth in the garden – wasn’t it the Oestra festival that was taken over and rebadged as the Christian Easter?

    BTW if you want a fix of wonderful choral music, you can go to evensong at King’s or John’s college chapels in Cambridge for free in term time. Just wonderful!


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