If you celebrate Easter then every good wish for that. If you do not, I just want to wish you a wonderful weekend. Here are some Romanian ‘Easter eggs’, from the Bucovina. They were made for this, 2017, Easter by my friend Violeta Macovei in the village of Paltin.

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Christmas is getting closer and much as I, being an old traditionalist, like to ignore it until Christmas Eve, I can’t do that as far as sending Christmas cards is concerned. So today I’ve devoted to making some.

This year I thought I’d do something with pictures of Romanian decorated eggs; decorated with Christmas scenes and symbols is not traditional, nor is feeding a ribbon through so it can be hung on the Christmas tree. I think I can take ‘credit’ for this as a suggestion made when I was working in a project to try to increase the income of the ladies who decorate the eggs.

Egg2_1060835 Egg1_1060834

I cannot take any credit for the one below – again it is not ‘traditional’ but the relatively small number of women making these wonderful paintings on hens’ eggs have no artistic training – it’s a natural talent. Some of the nuns in the monasteries paint eggs like this too.

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However, I have some people I want to send a Christmas card to who cannot see – tenants in the houses supported by the small charity for which I work and a couple of work colleagues. What about them?

What better than enclosing a CD with some of the wonderful Romanian Christmas carols, very beautiful and very different to the carols I was used to before I went to Romania.

Here are just three from the ‘Christmas card CD’ I have made this morning (hopefully if you click on them they’ll play on your computer – they’re MP3 files not the CD audio files).

22 Colindul clopotelor               21 Linu-i lin             19 O, ce veste minunata

22. The carol of the bells    

21. I can’t translate it – smooth (like the music)    

19. O, what wonderful news

– sung by the superb ‘Mira’ choir of the ‘Lord’s Church of St. Nicholas’ in Iasi, Romania (Lord in the sense of ruler, of Moldova, Stefan cel Mare – Stephen the Great). The only musical instrument in the Romanian church is the human voice, if you discount the bells and the toaca (the wooden board drummed to summon the faithful to prayer), of which this Iasi church has neither. I have been lucky enough to hear this choir many times when I lived in Iasi, not just at Christmas. The church is the one in which I was married.

The third carol is my favourite, perhaps because it is the first I learned by heart and surprised my pupils each year by singing it to them. For you, I can assure you that Mira is much better!

You’ll find Mira on YouTube:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNmJVKjeQpM

soul guide   hand taken

serene work    on graceful curves

symbol stories writ

I haven’t yet settled down to attempt an edit on my first short story of a couple of days ago. It seems to me that to edit is much more difficult than to write first time. Is that generally so?

The idea comes, it pours out onto the keyboard. And there it is.

I tinker with the words. The idea secretes itself among the mocking letters. I turn them over but the idea stubbornly plays hide and seek.

But which idea? There were many (and many more as yet unwritten).

To hell with it; I’ll write a haiku around one of them. 

Food

One of the great things about starting a blog, which I’ve very recently discovered, is that through people leaving comments or ‘likes’ you discover superb blogs on the things which interest you.

First of all food. Forget the ‘celebrity chefs’ in the UK; have a look at the recipes which appear regularly on this ‘amateur chef’ across the Atlantic.

http://rantingchef.com/author/rantingchef/

Decorated eggs

I’ve just got around to typing up another article I wrote about the Romanian decorated eggs when I was a volunteer there. This was for a British audience. I’ve added it on a page under the Romanian menu heading.

Writing

I’ve never managed to crack the ‘creative writing’ thing though I’ve been a writer, professionally, for almost exactly 50 years. It ranges from writing, and even editing, technical management magazines; writing advertising copy of many different kinds; newsletters for all sorts of organisations, mainly in the voluntary sector; and the sort of stuff you’ll find on this blog.

So it was great, especially with my Romanian connections, to find Cristian Mihai’s blog, again as a result of him ‘liking’ a post of mine.

If you’re interested in creative writing, you’ll find this really interesting:

http://cristianmihai.net/category/blog



I’ve now added a page with four articles I wrote back in 2002, for the Easter edition of a Romanian magazine, on various aspects of the eggs originally decorated for Easter in northern Romania (under the Romania menu heading). Some things I turned up in research, including interviews with egg decorators, I have not seen elsewhere so I think they should be recorded somewhere; why not here?

I hope to be visiting some of the people and places mentioned during a short trip to Romania in August and will no doubt be blogging about that on my return to the UK.

The four articles are:

From village school to regional network

A tradition truly preserved in Iasi county

A rebirth through the children of Slatioara

From red eggs to Faberge eggs


Volunteering and egg decorating in Romania

Thanks again to members on the forum, I seem at last to have cracked the menu and pages thing. So now I’ve managed to put up an article I wrote in 1998 for a Romanian magazine on my experiences as a volunteer in Romania for, at the time, five years. I went on to stay another 6.1/2 years before returning to the UK in 2004.

Another project I worked on was helping the women in Bucovina who decorate eggs with their marketing. As result I wrote a few articles about egg decorating and will be putting some of these up soon. I did quite a lot of interesting research on the tradition so it seems to me that it is worth having them on record, especially as I haven’t seen much of what I wrote recorded elsewhere. I don’t any longer have electronic versions of them (some, for a mag I was editing, were done in Quark) so I’m having to type them all in again from paper drafts which fortunately I kept, but at the same time translating them to English. I may eventually be able to find the pictures which were in the articles, or at least some of them but that might take a while so I’ll be putting them up without the pictures pretty soon and hope to find the films/prints eventually.

I’ll be back in Bucovina and Iasi for a short time in August and meeting some of the egg decorators mentioned, so it’ll be interesting to see what has happened since the time I was writing, 2002.