Tag Archives: Christmas

Day 3 of 12 Days of Christmas : 3 French Hens & translations

Day 3 cover Little Red Hen French and EnglishDay 3 should be 3 French Hens but, since we couldn’t find said triplet chooks,
we decided to give you a singular hen —
red
— and appropriately, in French.

A peu près la même chose?
as our cross-Channel amis might say?

Which raises the tricky question of translation,
especially of beloved books like The Little Red Hen. Continue reading

Day 2 of 12 Days of Christmas : 2 Turtle Doves & Jewellery

2 turtle doves vector for day 2Two turtle doves are, perhaps, the most understandable of the strange gifts the True Love sent to his beloved. They are the symbol of perfect romantic contentment, billing and cooing and utterly absorbed in each other.

Whether she needed ten more pairs after that first gift, of course, is debatable. Continue reading

Day 1 of 12 Days of Christmas : A Partridge in a Pear Tree & P D James

day 1 partridge in a pear tree UK stamp 1977“Ooo yes, let’s do a series of book recommendations for the Twelve Days of Christmas,” we said.

But those 12 days of presents were really pretty weird. I mean, if a  pear tree was small enough to give someone as a present, it  wouldn’t be big enough for a partridge to perch in. A problem faced by the designer of the 1977 UK postage stamp, I notice. A solid bird, the partridge.

So our list is going to be associative, rather than literal, if you see what I mean. There is a connection, in our minds at least. But not always necessarily obvious. Continue reading

Christmas Wishes and 12 Days of Goodies to come

curl up in front of fire for 12 days of Christmas

Goodies to Come for the 12 Days of Christmas…

Starting on Boxing Day, we’ll be posting a daily fun episode of the 12 Days of Christmas, but instead of suggesting a song to sing, we’ll be focusing on books we have read and a few of the ideas — sometimes silly or frivolous, sometimes serious — they’ve given rise to.
Please join in with your own suggestions. We’d love to hear what you think.

Don’t miss the First Day of Christmas, here on 26th December
pear tree at the ready…

Libertà Christmas Wishes: Not Many Words, For Once

Last year, we gave you Town Mouse and Country Mouse.
This year, we’re doing something vaguely similar.
It’s up to you to decide which Hive member is which in our Christmas card, below.
We know, of course, but we’re not telling 😉

Since it’s Christmas Day, you’ve probably got plenty to do.
So we won’t add many words — mostly festive pictures that we hope you’ll enjoy. Continue reading

How Smell Evokes Memory and Emotion

smell evokes memory with oranges and fire

When I was a child, Christmas was the smell of oranges and cigars and the Christmas tree, resinous and strange.  Put any two of them together and it still bounces me right back into the past, bringing with it firelight, the bustle of friendly company, a sense of holding my breath in excitement. Smell is the first route by which I recall emotion.

Why smell evokes memory : the science bit

There is a reason for this, I find. Olfactory neurones in the upper part of the nose generate an impulse which signals the limbic system, that part of the brain which controls not only memory but also emotion, mood and behaviour.  Supposedly, this is one of the most primitive parts of the brain.

Smell — the fallen angel of senses?

Apparently, Helen Keller called smell “the fallen angel of the human senses” because we don’t use it any more to tell us there’s a tiger in the area. And I agree that we live in an intensely visual age, with more communication illustrated than ever before.

smell evokes memory when couples kissBut we do still smell food that has gone off.

And, even more important to the romantic novelist, smell is an important part of sexual attraction. Continue reading

Town Mouse and Country Mouse Do Christmas

Both Town Mouse and Country Mouse do Christmas at Libertà. After all, Libertà is an equal-opportunities hive. We don’t discriminate between Town polish (that’s sophisticated Sophie Mouse on the left) and Country bumpkin (that’s Joanna Mouse’s hobnail boots on the right).

Rackham town mouse and country mouse

Aesops Fables (1912), illustrated by Arthur Rackham.

Christmas shows what Town Mouse and Country Mouse have in common. AND what’s different. Continue reading