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Centenary giveaway!

May 28, 2010

I have an announcement to make. [Clears throat, tings fork against glass] –  Ladies and gentleman, this is Dancing Beastie’s hundredth post. Hurray, we made it! I’m not sure what we’ve made, but let’s celebrate anyway!

Dancing Beastie started life last September, born out of the urge to record, share and explain what is weird and wonderful about living in an ancestral castle. It still feels like a new project. I’m still trying to get the balance right: in trying to avoid identifying individuals and locations in order to preserve their privacy, I have probably fallen into the trap of being too anodyne. This wasn’t meant to be just a blog of nature notes and pretty pictures. On the other hand, to write about what really feels important to oneself, right now, usually seems too personal and might just…well (shuffles feet)… embarrass us all. Anyway, despite my doubts and ditherings and crises of confidence, I intend to keep going and hope to improve. Meanwhile, thank you so much to everybody who has followed Dancing Beastie so far, or stumbled across it and stayed. Your support has been enormously encouraging.

So, let’s have a giveaway! To mark this little milestone, I’m offering a modest anniversary present. Firstly, a set of ten postcards featuring pictures selected from Dancing Beastie posts. So that you can share the love…

Secondly, a wee pocket guide to – well, it had to be – native British trees. This is a beautifully made little book, produced on recycled paper, featuring engravings from John Evelyn’s ‘Silva’ (1776).

The writer is a woodsman, whose notes touch on history and mythology but concentrate on the practical, giving fascinating snippets of information about, for example, the uses of various woods and berries for firewood, furniture and food.

Lastly, since you can’t have a giveaway without sweeties, I will throw in some good Scottish tablet. Those of you who know tablet will need no further incentive; those of who have never tried it have a treat in store! It is the Scots version of fudge, but infinitely superior: harder and crumbly, so that you can carve it with your teeth. Made of butter and sugar, it is unforgivably fattening and utterly delicious, especially with a cup of tea or coffee. (It won’t be home-made as I know a good source of it locally.)

If you’d like these goodies, please leave a comment below, telling us about your favourite tree – either a species or an individual. I’ll pick a winner out of a hat a week today. Have a lovely weekend, and thanks again for visiting!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2010 1:41 pm

    Dear Dancing Beastie

    Well, congratulations a hundred times over are due, I think. Your blog has been – and will, I am sure, continue to be – an absolute delight, whether you’re writing about the quirks of castle living, the wondrous trees, or time spent with your boys. And the thoughtful giveaway, is all of a piece with your blog.

    Having been introduced to the scumptiousness of Scottish tablet last November (up at Kishorn on the Applecross Peninsula), I can vouch for its delights too.

    Happy 100th,

    60 going on 16

  2. Jane permalink
    May 28, 2010 2:00 pm

    Happy Hundredth!It is a pleasure to have your words pop up in my Inbox and no matter what is going on, they will always make me pause for a moment and reflect upon the beauty around us that is so often taken for granted. x

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      May 30, 2010 5:50 pm

      Thank you, 60goingon16 and Jane, for your support and your generous comments. Your visits make it all worth doing.

  3. May 28, 2010 7:28 pm

    Happy 100th, Beastie!

    I am glad to have found you and may you keep on dancing.

    That is the beauty of blog posts – they can be about whatever you wish to share and the changing patterns and floating thoughts and … oh the wonderful photos, I love to see photos of where people live … only reflect what is important at the moment. I think it must be difficult to keep writing to a theme – you will eventually have said everything and end up repeating yourself.

    Hmmm, scottish tablet would be a great reward for all my hard labours on the elliptical, wouldn’t it? and I could read all about your native trees while I exercise the tablet away…..

    how lovely and thoughtful of you!

  4. May 28, 2010 7:34 pm

    Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you about my favourite tree.
    I think I will go for the sentimental. We had an enormous weeping willow in our back yard when I was growing up. It had a perfect fork in it for sitting in and reading. I recall reading Little Women up there, hidden among the delicate branches of long, slender leaves.
    I cried when it had to be cut down due its enormous roots reaching into the neighbours pool next door.
    There seems to be nothing more romantic than a willow.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      May 30, 2010 5:54 pm

      Delighted to be your supplier of exercising and dietary needs, Violet Sky! 😉 I think you are right about sticking to a theme: one inevitably either branches out or gets stuck. We shall see…

      Your willow story gave me a lump in my throat. Every child should have a tree that special to them – preferably one that doesn’t get cut down.

  5. May 29, 2010 6:40 pm

    Thank you so much for visiting me – wonderful to have found your blog. Congratulations on your 100th post. My favourite tree is one that is quite gnarled and almost sinister looking. It grows in the grounds of Balvaird Castle and has completely captured my imagination. It is a combination of location and the tree itself that wins me over. So beautiful.

    Thank you for holding this giveaway – the postcards look just lovely. I do a wee giveaway each month. Since you’ve plenty of Scottish Breakfast tea, perhaps next month’s will entice you. You’re welcome to visit anytime.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      May 30, 2010 5:58 pm

      A pleasure to have you here, Sophia! And I shall certainly be visiting you again, please. The tree at Balvaird sounds splendid, I must find it one day. It sounds a bit similar to one growing at the main gate to the ruined cathedral in St.Andrews: very twisted and Arthur Rackham-ish.

  6. May 31, 2010 5:30 pm

    Gosh 100 posts, eh, well done – we’re looking forward to the next 100!
    I have been pondering trees since Thursday and it is incredibly difficult to choose a favourite. I love cherry for it’s blossom, beautiful tactile bark and fruit to harvest (& apple for similar reasons). Acers are fabulous for colour in autumn. At my parents-in-law’s house, there is a holly which is a refuge and welcome resting place for woodpeckers, red squirrels, thrushes amongst other things but what really appeals to me about it, is the glorious colour in winter of the berries against the evergreen, glossy leaves and it has been clipped into an enormous lollipop shape, which is very pleasing. However, I surprise myself by saying, my favourite tree is the Cedar of Lebanon, a statuesque, elegant, Biblical,beauty much used by Capability Brown and the only conifer I like!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      May 31, 2010 5:37 pm

      Ooh, good choice, and a hard one with such seductive competition as you describe. Surprisingly, perhaps, we don’t have any cedars of Lebanon here – no mature ones anyway, though I think there is a young ‘un in the park. We do have an avenue of Atlas or Atlantic Cedars, which share many features with the Lebanese ones and are rather wonderful, though, dare I say it, not quite as wonderful as the latter.

  7. June 1, 2010 3:50 am

    What a very cool giveaway!!!! OK, I love all sorts of weeping trees–willow, cherry–as well as good ol’ Japanese maples. Of course, I live in the North East, so our maples changes oh-s0-beautifully in the fall. 🙂

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

  8. Wendy permalink
    June 3, 2010 12:19 am

    I just wanted to congratulate on your 100th post – well done! Your blog is pure delight for me – just love your photography. All your trees are lovely – would be hard to choose just one.
    I do love your gean tree though – bravely contrasting against the others…. but then the sycamore is so gorgeously green too!
    (please don’t include me in the comp. – I”m all the way in Australia)

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      June 3, 2010 10:58 pm

      That’s very altruistic of you, Wendy! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  9. June 3, 2010 11:22 pm

    Congratulations on your hundredth – I love so mamy species of trees and so many individuals, but think I will have to plump for wild apple trees as a (?) species, and also several individual ones that grow up here on my mountain – mostly in old hedgerows or pastures that are attempting to go back to woods.

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