Tuesday, 17 November 2009

soul cake

You must have heard that song already. The lyrics are based on an old, traditional verse sang out by the "soulers".
To understand what the song's about you have to refer to the tradition of baking soul cakes. This is what wikipedia says on that:

A soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for all Saints' Day or All Souls' Day to celebrate the dead. The cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who would go from door to door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern Trick or Treating.

The tradition of giving Soul Cakes originated in Britain during the Middle Ages, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

The cakes were usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinammon, or other sweet spices, raisins or currants, and later were topped with the mark of a cross.

Soem more insightful information is here, together with the recipe:


And now the song, the song:)

A soul cake, a soul cake,

Please, good missus, a soul cake,

An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,

Any good thing to make us all merry.

A soul cake, a soul cake,

Please, good missus, a soul cake,

One for Peter, two for Paul,

And three for Him that made us all.

God bless the master of this house

And the mistress also,

And all the little children

That round your table grow;

The cattle in your stable,

The dogs at your front door,

And all that dwell within your gates

We’ll wish you ten times more.

A soul cake, a soul cake…

Go down into the cellar

And see what you can fi nd;

If the barrels are not empty

We’ll hope that you’ll be kind;

We’ll hope that you’ll be kind

With your apple and your pear,

And we’ll come no more a-soulin’

Till Christmas time next year.

A soul cake, a soul cake…

The streets are very dirty,

Me shoes are very thin,

I have a little pocket

To put a penny in;

If you haven’t got a penny

A ha’penny will do;

If you haven’t got a ha’penny

God bless you.

A soul cake, a soul cake…

Monday, 16 November 2009

Dear Santa Claus

So, have you started writing your letters to Santa Claus? A friend that I met the other day said she hung hers up on her fridge door, so that it is clear and visible, if Santa happens to pass by.

If I were to write such letter, I’d have only one request, although I might choose from dozens of possibilities. The new, long awaited and perfect for this season of the year – Sting’s new album If On A Winter's Night. I told my husband that this is my dream to come true under the Christmas tree, and well, he accepted. Isn’t that a great prospect of musical delight for Christmas time and after?

However, my dear husband tends to be really forgetful; last year on the Christmas Eve I asked this innocent question if he had picked up my Christmas present from the shop. Luckily indeed, it was Wednesday or Thursday, the bookstore was still open and he managed to get it, last minute, so to speak.

So, this year I repeat every now and then, to make sure he remembers. Why is the album worth listening? You may check and see tomorrow, I’ll present one of the songs. Doesn’t mean that I’m going to sing it, though…

the other day - pewnego dnia
if Santa happens to pass by - jesli Św. Mikołaj będzie przypadkiem tamtędy przechodził
dozens of possibilities - dziesiątki (dsł. "tuziny") mozliwości
long awaited - długo wyczekiwany
every now and then = from time to time

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

a november day recipe

So I asked my group of brilliant intermediate Students to come up with a recipe. In the recipe they were supposed to procure a remedy for a rainy November day. First, they looked puzzled and all I heard about the classroom was "watch tv". But the final outcome of the brainstroming looks quite impressive:

1) take a day off, stay at home, watch tv, read books
2) go somewhere warm (Egypt, for example)
and a somewhat less pricy version of 2) would be:
3) invite your friends to cook together
4) go to the gym or to the cinema
5) take a walk with your umbrella, smile to the rain

Nice, don't you think?

come up with (e.g. an idea) - wpaść na pomysł, wymyślić
procure - dostarczyć
remedy for/against sth - lekarstwo, środek zaradczy

Monday, 9 November 2009

i wish

There is mist all over outside the widnow. The air is so moist that you could drink it for breakfast. The leaves are gone, only a few of them are still hanging on the naked branches. Red roofs in the background, as if behind a greyish film, bring some cheerfulness to that window scene.
I wish November was less self-evident.

mist = fog
moist - wilgotny
in the background - na drugim planie
greyish - szarawy
film - przesłona