Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fiery End


Photograph courtesy Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales

They said you were comfortable
In your early days
You were younger

Everyone wanted a part of you
On your sturdy arm  
Needing total ownership 

No one was able to have you
You were aloof icily
Forever standing alone

I never liked you anyway 
Just like your owner 
You're joining him

Barbara M Lake ©
Trinidad, WI
November 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

To all my American friends, a very Happy Thanksgiving

May your lives be filled with
blessings and an abundance of all things good 

May your day be filled with joy as you give thanks and may you be surrounded with love, peace and fulfillment on this special holiday.
 and  I  simply cannot let this day pass without posting my all time favourite photograph.
If anyone is having problems trying to find the turkey, you may just want to check unlikely places around the house!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Sorry friends!

Am not around here at all until after Saturday.  Am part of a team bringing the final touches to a Convention being held on  on Saturday 24 November and it's all systems go!  I need sleep!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Carols and Gas

Magpie 143

Verdon 1917, by Felix Vallatton
Photo courtesy Tess Kinkaid. Magpie Tales on Blogger

Christmas Day
Nineteen fourteen
A friendly call
From the trenches
Both sides and allies 
Wandering into no man's land
Exchanging gifts
Singing carols
A game of football
United in Christ
Boxing Day
Nineteen fourteen
Back to the trenches
Fighting a war
With mustard gas
And bullets

For my grandfather who was there and whose birthday it is today
He did aged 98 in 1981

Barbara M Lake  ©
Trinidad WI
November 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Divali - Festival of Lights (A Repost) November 2012

 Divali - Festival of Lights (Trinidad Style)

Today Tuesday 13 November  is the Hindu Festival of Divali otherwise known as the Festival of Lights which celebrates light over dark, good over evil. 

Divali was first brought to Trinidad by Hindu indentured labourers in 1845 and is a five day festival. The word Divali itself means "row of lights" During the festival homes are completely cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lamps are lit as a greeting to Lakshmi, gifts are given and festive meals are prepared. 

The climax of Divali is the lighting of deyas after sundown - a delightful experience that should never be missed. In yards, open spaces, staircases, roundabouts and porches, deyas are lit by the thousands. 

They are also placed on bamboo stalks bent into fantastic shapes and designs. In villages where there is a strong Hindu presence, it is common to see whole streets decorated in this manner.

Bamboo bending is an absolute art in itself and it takes hours to produce the beautiful designs.  The men normally work in teams to create the centre pieces for the festival. Last year (2010), in the Trinidad Guardian, according to one team leader, Boodram “Gable” Bissoondial, "one of the first things is to start with the end in mind."  Meaning what you want the product to look like when completed. 

Bamboo is not just bamboo. One has to choose the bamboo very carefully. For “road way” bamboo designs (bamboo lengths running parallel to each other placed on short stubs), Gable noted that you need to choose long lengths of bamboo that are not very wide in width. He said, "for bamboo that would form “rose designs,” you need to consider width more than length, since you have to split that type of bamboo into eight pieces. 

Safety is of major importance when bamboo bending. According to Gable, there is no need for "fancy-fancy" (local expression) tools, just the need for rolls of wire and two-and-a-half inch nails, with hammer in hand.. The pieces of bamboo must be tacked down to ensure they don't fall out causing harm to anyone and the edges of the bamboo have to be shaved so that no one can be scratched. Unshaven bamboo can be painful!

he following is taken from and written by Dr. Kumar Mahabir (October 14, 2009) 

Divali is the defining event that marks Trinidad as a multi-religious, multi-ethnic society with Hindus comprising the second largest religious group (24 percent) after Roman Catholics in the twin-island population of 1.3 million people. While Divali is essentially a Hindu festival, people of all faiths actively join in celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. Non-Hindu adherents are attracted to the festival's universal message as well as to the extravaganza that is not only unique but also provides a clean environment for the cultivation of a healthy body, mind and soul.
Nowhere else in the world do non-Hindus and non-Indians actively take part in the lighting of over 10 million deyas on a single night in the year. These tiny clay lamps are lit in homes, yards, streets, offices, public parks and playing fields. It is perhaps only in Trinidad that one can find split bamboo tubes transformed into magnificent works of art on which the deyas are placed. The split bamboo strips reach out toward neighboring houses, streets and communities to symbolize the popular local mantra "all ah we is one." 

To all my Hindu friends and all who will be celebrating, Shub Divali

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget 11/11/2012

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields.

Sunday 11 November 2012
Photographs below taken from The London Mail on Sunday

Overseas: British soldiers, part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, observe a moment of silence during a ceremony at a NATO base in Helmand province, Afghanistan


Old soldiers Never Die

My heart is in my mouth today as I remember that attending Remembrance Day Services worldwide and seeing my father on parade was part of growing up.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Magpie 142

Charis, Lake Ediza California 1937, by Edward Weston
Photo courtesy Tess Kinkaid Magpie Tales on

With easy grace you look
Into my camera
Which loves you so
As do I
Your adoring husband

Pure elegance unmatched
By any other
Who I may know
No one else
Love of my life

Barbara M Lake ©
Trinidad WI
November 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Souls and Happy Birthday Wishes.

Photo taken from  All Souls' Day Customs  adapted from Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs by Fr Francis Weiser

All Soul's Day is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away.  It is celebrated on 2 November, or if it falls on a Sunday. on the 3 November.  The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy at all Masses and those Masses are to be Requiem.  

The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine that  those souls which leave the body not perfectly cleansed, or have not fully atoned for past sins cannot yet see God.  Those left on earth can apparently help these souls by praying for them, giving alms and offering Masses which will help in their release from Purgatory.

There are many customs and rituals followed in various countries. In Trinidad, the cemeteries and grave yards are cleaned up in the days leading up to All Souls.  Relatives normally visit the family graves on the 1 November (All Saints) to pimp and preen for the following day.

Today many families will go to their family plots or single plots, gather round and even bring picnic baskets.  Tonight every non-forgotten grave will be lit up by candles so that the cemetery will just, for one night of the year, be bathed in candle light.  It would be nice to think that the visitors will put candles on the forgotten graves as well.  I think it's as well to remember that not all graves that appear to be  'forgotten', actually are.  Circumstances don't always allow for people to visit.

I like the customs of some European countries where a candle is burning at the grave continuously as it was for my Austrian grandmother. Sadly there is no one left to burn the candle but I know the cemetery keepers do tend to keep the flame alight.  Then there are the countries where the grave has a photo of the deceased with the burning candle.

It would seem that this day of remembrance comes from the ancient Pagan Festival of the Dead.  The Pagan belief is that the souls of the dead return for a meal with the family (hence the picnic baskets??)  Candles in the window would guide the souls back home and another place was set at the table.  Children would come through the village asking for food to be offered symbolically to the dead, then donated to feed the hungry.

The Christian  origins of the day have been attributed to various religious orders - some say the Cluny Order, others the Benedictines.  If it was started by St Odilo of Cluny  at the Cluny Abbey in France, the tradition is 1012 years old.  Other monasteries throughout France adopted  the tradition and it quickly spread throughout the western church.  It was only in the 14th century that this day was officially recognized by Rome.

So this evening I will light candles by the photos of my parents.  I do this on birthdays, anniversaries and sometimes just on any day that I feel like it.

And when we have said a prayer and blown out the candles, we will light the candles on my husband's birthday cake and give thanks for his life as he goes rushing into another year with guns blazing.  He  thinks he's still twenty!!!

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

1 November 2012 All Saints, a Repost

Today 1 November is All Saints Day which is believed to have been established in the early part of the fourth century and was known as 'Martyrs Day'.  All Saints is a Feast Day which honours and remembers  all Christian saints whose names we know and those we don't.  Western Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans celebrate this feast today whereas the Eastern Orthodox churches observe it on the first Sunday after Pentecost. 

In the early days many Christians were persecuted by the Romans and died for their belief in God.  To remember those martyrs, various dioceses set aside special days to celebrate.  In the early seventh century the Roman Emperor handed over the Pantheon Temple to the Pope who removed the statues of the Roman gods and consecrated it as 'All Saints in recognition of those who had died  from persecution during the first three hundred years after Christ.   Pope Gregory III instituted the 1 November as 'All Saints' in the diocese of Rome as he consecrated a chapel to all the martyrs in st Peter's Basilica.  Pope Gregory IV extended the feast to the entire church and that is where it remains today except in the Orthodox churches.  

That is how people came to be made saints in the early days and when Christians became free to worship openly, the church found other ways to recognize sanctity.  Early in Christianity people were made saints by popular acclaim which was then sanctioned by the local bishop.  For the last 500 years, the path to sainthood has been a much lengthier process  and includes necessary proof of extraordinary sanctity.

In Catholic countries this day is a Public Holiday and is seen as a holy Day of Obligation meaning that one is required to attend Mass.  In other countries, the day is moved to the nearest Sunday.  Countries and cultures have different ways of acknowledging and celebrating this feast.  In Spain, Portugal   and Mexico offerings are made.  In Belgium, Hungary and Italy flowers are brought to the graves of dead relatives.  In other parts of Europe such as Austria, Croatia, Poland and Romania it is customary to light candles which are placed on the graves.  In parts of Asia such as The Philippines it is also observed.  Relatives go to the graves of the dead, clean and repair them, lay flowers and light candles.  In France,   church services are held but by evening the focus has moved towards the dead.  People crowd cemeteries and there is much cleaning and lighting of candles.  All Saints is closely tied to All Souls' Day, held on the 2 November which is dedicated  to prayers fir the dead who are not yet glorified.  

'All Saints' is not a public holiday in Trinidad  but the tradition of the living, visiting the family grave in preparation for the 2 November, is strong and very much part of its culture.  On the  night of the 1  November,  some Trinidadians still put lighted candles in their windows carrying out the age old belief that 'lost souls' will be able to find their way home. 

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