Ask A Wench – Easter Traditions

Christina here with this month’s Ask A Wench. As it’s Good Friday today, I thought I would ask the Wenches what their favourite Easter tradition is, or whether they have any favourite Easter ornaments or decorations? Turns out they have quite a few of both!

Easter+bonnetPat:  When I was a kid, hats were a big deal on Easter. I LOVE hats. I have difficult hair and hats covered a multitude of sins. I could make a statement with hats. Of course, as a kid, it was my mother’s statement, but hats were cool. These days, I wear hats anytime I like, and I don’t need to take them to church on Easter.

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Forever Autumn?

IMG_0416by Mary Jo

Today's topic was inspired by a back room chat among the Wenches in which we extolled the delights of autumn: crisp air, vibrant colors, the recharging of energy after summer languor.  Several Wenches said they'd like it to be autumn all year round.  

But do we really want that?  So I asked: What  are your favorite seasons? Are there any you'd like to see all year round?


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Ask A Wench – The Influence of the Seasons

The other avenueNicola here, introducing this month’s Ask A Wench topic, which was sent in by Valerie Moore, who wins a book from me as a thank you. Valerie asks:

“How do the seasons affect your style of writing, if at all?” 

It’s an excellent question and gave us all much to ponder on. Do the seasons affect our actual writing style or is it more that the seasons affect our moods and this affects our writing? Certainly in my case, I find it extremely difficult to write about a season that is very different from the one that I’m in. At the moment I’m writing a book set in July whilst I’m in an English winter. I’m trying my best to remember the heat of the sun and the scent of roses whilst stepping out into the stinging rain and the cold wind. Winter can sometimes bring my mood down as well; that definitely affects my writing if not my style, and makes it more difficult. So here are the Wenches’ thoughts on this ever-fascinating topic, some lovely “hygge” ideas and some wonderful photography of the seasons from around the world.

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The Four Seasons

What’s your favorite season, and what are some of the special things that you love about it?

Autumn2017 As March is here, and bringing with it the first change in season of the year, the Wenches decided to use this month’s Ask-A-Wench feature to wax poetic on the above question: 

Anne: In the Southern Hemisphere, specifically in Melbourne, the worst heat of summer is, I hope, behind us and we're gradually slipping into autumn, which is my favorite season. The days are sunny and bright and nicely warm, but not roasting, and the nights are blissfully cool, sometimes with a refreshing nip in the air. Already I have bulbs nosing their little green shoots out of the earth, while the summer flowering plants keep producing.  It's a fruitful time of year and as well as eating lots of lovely fruit, I've made jam from the produce of friends' fruit trees and berry bushes.

2018Maytone2March is also the time of year I head a thousand miles north to Queensland, to attend my annual writers retreat. It's not a big event, nothing like a conference, just eight or nine writers meeting for a week, to reflect on our year, to plan our writing, to brainstorm, talk writing and publishing and, of course, to write. We've been doing it now since 2007 — that's the year I first met Mary Jo, Pat and Jo Beverley, well before I became a wench.

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Spring Cleaning

Daffodils in snow 2011c

Really stupid daffodils

Joanna here:

I’m in my fiercely picturesque little house in the mountains, not so much snowed in as iced in. When others can comment smugly on being under a foot or two of snow, I have to tag along behind saying, "I know it looks like only a little snow. But it’s ice. Solid, serious ice!" I punctuate.

Which brings us to Spring Cleaning .The vernal equinox is March 21 and charging down upon us at a great rate, even if some few of us Wenches are doing the blizzard thing.

My daffodils all up and down the woods were getting to be a big, sassy, yellow crop. They are now all frozen except for about a dozen I’ve got inside. I ran up and down the hill in freezing winds to save them. This morning I stopped by the pots of fuchsia in the kitchen and told them they should be durned glad I didn’t decide to put them out on the back porch last week when everything was all warm and enticing out there.

But I digress. Spring Cleaning.

For me this is moving al the furniture and sweeping underneath. It’s slapping a dab of paint on the door jambs where my cat sharpens her claws in the wood.(Twenty-two million trees outside and she comes inside to sharpen her claws.) And I’m metaphorically mudwrestling with all the computer problems I’ve been living with so patiently.



Wenches stack anne

Too many books? Impossible.

Pat says: 

Wench flowers mjp

Mary Jo's garden

Spring cleaning? What is this called spring cleaning? Every so often I get it in my head to paint a room or move the furniture and cleaning happens, but that’s seldom in spring. In spring, I’m outside in the garden. So maybe spring cleaning is hauling out dead leaves, spreading weed emergent killer, and planting pretties? Although this spring, after a rainy winter, we hired a window cleaner. All the glass in the house is now sparkly. But note, I didn’t do it!



We go to Anne. She’s nice and warm and I am all envious.

Anne here.

Even though it's autumn in Australia (we don't say "fall" — it's always "autumn") I'm approaching a kind of spring cleaning in that I'm

Wenches fend

What? You have clutter?

preparing (in between bouts of writing) to pack up my house and move out, in order for it to be renovated. Years of precious clutter are going to have to go. I'm a pack-rat, and even though I've battled this tendency for ages, teaming up from time to time with Flylady, and Marie Konda, and Feng Shui and think I've done pretty well, as I look around me, I have to confess I've only scraped the surface.

Still, there is a book to be written and a deadline creeping towards me, so that's my priority for now. If I can't manage to write AND declutter and pack up the house, I'll have to pay someone to stuff it all in boxes and store it, and I'll sort it out the other way. Like that old TV show — Your Life On The Lawn, where they'd empty a family's household goods and furniture — everything! — into the back yard, and then they'd only take back inside the things they really wanted.

Still, I'd rather do it all myself before I have to move. I don't have a date yet, so there is still a possibility I can finish a book AND pack up a house. Do you believe in fairies? No, me neither.


Susan says:

Right now the only one doing spring cleaning around here is my husband, who's outside as I write this, pushing the snowblower up and Wench Henry Meynell Rheam - A Maid Sweepingdown the driveway. So much for spring. But soon, like the the trees and flowers, we'll all be wanting to freshen up our look after the gray winter drear, emerging and blooming a little in the warmer temps and sunshine. For me, first off, I want to get fresh air in, stale air out. I like to clean a little, paint a bit, move some furniture–I want things to look and feel different once spring arrives. Really I'm not a stickler about a clean, organized home (as a mom to three boys, my housekeeping standards sank long ago!). I'll email the garden guys to do the yard clean up, sign on for a boatload of mulch, visit the garden centers and bring home some new plants and get those in–beyond that, I'm not much of a gardener (the allergies remind me of that each year!).  
Spring can be so energizing and lovely, but deadlines take precedence over seasonal changes. If there's time, I might tackle my office and sort out the papers and books, dust off the knicky-noos, or clean the closets, haul some things off to Good Will and generally straighten up. But spring cleaning is often an ideal more than a reality. This spring I'm working toward a deadline–so if I get anything done beyond opening the doors to let the fresh air dance around and blow out the old air, I'm doing good! The rest can wait a bit!    
Wench cleaning bear andreaAndrea admits cleaning isn't something she thinks about much:
Spring cleaning . . . hmmm, does that mean we only have to think about scrubbing and vacuuming four times a year? Now that’s an idea I could readily embrace! I am  not one of those people who subscribe to the “cleanliness is next to godliness” view of the world.  I do like things moderately neat, but a wee bit of dust here and there peacefully coexist. I do take a rather odd satisfaction in reordering my clothes drawers for the seasons. Winter sweaters go into storage closets as I delight in neatly folding spring top in lovely orderly piles. They look so organized . . . for about a day. My idea of luxury is having house elves, who would joyfully come in and scrub the bathroom every week. (Teddy heard me grumbling and has volunteered to take on those duties, in addition to copyediting myy manuscripts. I think he deserves an extra pot of honey.)
Mary Jo joins in with:

I've known people for whom spring cleaning is a near sacred rite, using toothbrushes to scrub Wench duck mjogrout, moving furniture to see what lurks below, and excavating cabinets and closets. 

I am not one of that breed.  I like to maintain a general orderliness, but to be honest, if I can't see dust and murky accumulations, they don't bother me.  I'm on the short side, so I am blithely unconcerned about the tops of bookcases and the dusty moldings.  My house is large, and many strange and curious things can migrate into hidden places.  On the whole, I believe in letting them rest in peace. 

Spring is often a time for general medical and dental appointments for me and the cats.  It's also a time to get the deck pressure washed and to think about what flowers to plant in the boxes out there. 

I notice flowers a great deal more than dust. <G> 


What about you? Are you planning an overhaul of the house, or your body, or your computer right about now as the seasons change?