York has many beautiful antiquarian book shops, which for me are dangerous places to go… Nearly each time I go in, I come back home with bags of new titles. Next to lots of lovey shops, York boasts a huge amount of pubs and cafés. So as A and I sat down for a nice cup of coffee, I dug out my latest book, Medieval English Love Lyrics. As a native Frisian speaker, reading medieval English is not as hard as it seems, as still quite a few old and obsolete English words sound familiar to me in my native tongue.
As we walked out of the café and made our way home through the medieval gardens of the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, a few lines from a 14th century poem came back to me:
Bytuene Mersh ant Aueril
When spray biginneþ to springe,
þe lutel foul haþ hire wyl
on hyre lud to synge.
Between March and April,
When branches start to bloom,
The little bird enjoys
To sing her own song.
To me, these lines are a little like time-travel: we read the words that were written more than half a millennium ago, and they still move us today. What I liked even more was the fact that the Hall is from the same era as the poem, and in its gardens the trees and branches were blossoming, and the birds were singing. At the same time everything and nothing had changed.
With all these beautiful shades of green, and this sense of Spring all around, I went home and decided to stitch my latest design in fresh green and golden hues. The new pattern is another new Quaker design I’ve created – the pattern is completely original, with a nod to the gorgeous Quaker samplers made at Ackworth school in Yorkshire. You might notice the little swan, often found on Ackworth Quaker samplers. The pattern should be available in my shop in a couple of days. Edit 15.03.16: The pattern is now available, here!