Castle marsh v1Here we are in the middle of Yuletide again.  It’s such a busy time, but very enjoyable, and although he would never admit it, it’s a time Fred finds very stressful these days.

There are a lot of duties on the King of Marsh, and he’s already despatched three of them, starting with the Solstice Speech, which traditionally reminds us of the passage of the sun round the sky and the Circle of Life.  This is not exactly what Fred’s Philosophical Thoughts say, as he has it on good authority that our world travels round the sun.  This year, with the help of one of the people that came to the summer study last year, he set up a complicated sculpture in our newly extended Library.  People can set it in motion and watch the balls that represent the earth, sun and moon, and other planets too, all whirring round each other.  It’s fascinating, but I’m supposed to be telling you about Yule.  So Fred has adapted his speech, which still focuses on the passage of time and renewal, but the older people complained and muttered about “progress for it’s own sake”.

Next day we had a large party for all the children in the Castle.  For some reason there are a large number of birthdays during Yuletide, so we decided to have one large party so that nobody misses out.  George set up a number of puzzles for them to solve at various locations in the castle.  They solved each puzzle to find out where the next one was.  I think everyone enjoyed it hugely.  Fred does the start and finish and gives out prizes and extra gifts so everyone gets something.  George wasn’t actually here for it.  He went off in his flying machine on an errand of mercy, somewhere up north.  He got back yesterday though, and told us all about it over dinner.

Today is our first Narrathon.  We do not have our own Narrator yet, but two came to stay for Yuletide, and apart from telling us stories on alternate nights, they explained to all how a Narrathon works and said anyone could take part.  I think a few young people have been getting coaching from them in how to present their stories best, practising voices and speed and suchlike.  I used to love Narrathons at Dimerie, so I’m delighted we have one here now. These two narrators will also spread the word that we have a vacancy for a permanent Narrator too.  Although Prince Lupin seems to have fixed his problem by appointing a Narrator for a year, which gives all of them the opportunity for a prime posting.  I don’t think we’re quite at that stage yet!

We have stolen another idea from Buckmore too: the next two days we have what we call an arts and crafts fair where everyone can display their handiwork, and give instruction to others on how it’s done.  I hope it will be a success.  I’m pleased that we have two families visiting, skilled in stone-carving and in glass-making, who will be demonstrating their skills to us. We have no experience in these skills at all.  George and his team will also be giving flying lessons if the weather is good, but I’m afraid at present it is very windy and that might mean he has to cancel them.  He had a very bumpy landing this morning and had to drag his flying machine out of the reeds.

On Green Willow’s Eve we have our Games day.  The first two games are the race round the courtyard and the run round the walls.  Fred tried that when he was young and fell off.  Apparently nobody has done it for many, many years, but they do it in other castles, so we thought we’d try again as a formal event.  Then there will be a cross-country race George calls orienteering, which he brought back from one of his foreign trips. The competitors will go out into the marsh, with a map, to follow a route to certain checkpoints, and they have to do them in the right order.  They start at one minute intervals to prevent following.  There’ll be prizes for different age groups. We’ll be able to get a bird’s eye view from the castle walls. It should be fun!

Then on Green Willow Day we walk all the way round the castle on the outside, all the inhabitants, and when we get back we gather round the fire, Fred makes another speech, and we sing our Marsh Folk anthem together.  Then in the evening there’s a party and we welcome the new year.

And New Year’s Day is our second wedding anniversary!  Time flies, doesn’t it?

Yuletide, by Queen Kira of Marsh
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