A very belated Happy New Year and may it be very good for you in every way.
I have recently returned from a wonderful holiday with my younger son Angus, super daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Thailand.
Thailand is a lovely country sandwiched between Laos to the north, Burma to the west, Cambodia to the south and Vietnam which lies to the southeast. On the whole it is a peaceful country apart from the occasional religious troubles in the south.
It is presently in mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died on the 13th October 2016. Having reigned for 70 years he was the world’s longest serving monarch. He was the only Thai king ever born abroad (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) and he was educated in the USA and Lausanne, Switzerland.
It is customary in Thailand on the death of its king for the period of mourning to continue for as long as a year. He was much loved and respected, having brought great stability to the country. He was revered almost as a God by everyone. Indeed the royal family is considered to be above reproach and woe betide anyone if they are caught saying anything derogatory about them; the punishment is harsh and immediate, resulting in a prison sentence.
Angus works for WHO (World Health Organisation) in Southeast Asia and has travelled extensively in that area on different postings.
I had not seen my three grandchildren for three whole years, an agony despite chatting regularly on Skype. It was just wonderful to get to know them properly all over again. Skyping is just not the same – there are no hugs. Three years is such a long time in a child’s life, and it was a joy to hear about their ideas, ambitions and thoughts on life in general and how they saw their futures. Mind you, these can change as there are so many options for the young nowadays and the work ethos in Southeast Asia is exemplary, so no problems getting them to do their homework etc! My elder son Sloane, from Sydney, was there too, so the whole holiday was completely perfect (despite the fact that I got a nasty chest infection on top of one I had already had!).
Angus lives outside Bangkok, but as always we went up to Mae Rim, a little village above Chiang Mai. It lies beneath the mountains surrounded by magnificent views, lush green vegetation of every hue and winding canals, all blending together, the scenery becoming a wonderful tapestry, a Natural Work of Art.
Every evening, the Evening Star Venus, led the way shining brightly in the unpolluted sky together with the other stars, which the longer I looked at them, seemed to come alive and breathe, and which have been there since the world was in its infancy.
I had first visited Chiang Mai some twenty five years ago when it was a small dusty village with one main street with small ones leading off — now it is a vibrant, sprawling metropolis, heaving with people of all nationalities. The heat and smells are still the same, some good and aromatic, some bad. A stranger could easily get lost in the bustling labyrinth of streets. As ever the food, fresh from the markets, is delicious. However, sadly a lot of the street markets have been closed including the wonderful flower markets – quite why, we didn’t really know. Luckily an excellent evening market remained, starting at around 5.30pm and continuing until late. It was full of an amazing array of goods, colourful clothes and shawls made by the hill tribes, whilst others sold fake designer goods of all description. Children and animals mixing in with their stall holder’s families brought an atmosphere of gaiety and a sense of unhurried family life as one wandered around stopping here and there. Bargaining was fun as usual for both seller and buyer and is a natural way of life. The starting price is nowhere near what they expect you to pay in the end, if you know the ropes, and my lovely Thai daughter in law is an expert!!!
We also visited a most special temple complex called Ram Poeng in the Suthep District of Chiang Mai. Thai Buddhists are all of the orange robed Theravada Order, the Forest Buddhists or sometimes called ‘Southern Buddhists’. The name means ‘the doctrine of the elders’ – the elders being the senior Buddhist monks. It was in a most lovely tranquil place set with shady trees and various different temples all with magnificent mythological beasts proudly standing guard outside. My grandson remembered being taught Thai mythology as a young child and so was a font of knowledge about which splendid beast was regarded as being the Guardian of the Rivers or another being Guardian of the Hills etc. We wandered around and could have stayed much longer drinking in the peace and solitude of the place. The Temple complexes have a special quality and atmosphere all of their own, just like churches, except that the area in which they lie is much more extensive and thus the setting carries a greater expanse of ‘energy’.
I don’t know when I have enjoyed a holiday more and I carry such happy memories away with me that when I go to bed, I feel I can open them up like a book I know and love, choosing which chapter I want to read and experiencing the joy and excitement all over again!!
I am now back and continuing to work on my book that seems to be slow in developing but which will definitely come to fruition before too long.
I have just finished my annual article about the events of 2106. Do please visit it on my website. http://shop.lucypringle.co.uk/riddles-and-rhymes/
My love and very best wishes for a wonderfully fulfilling 2017.
As the festive season draws nigh, I think that maybe we forget the real meaning of Christmas. It is not simply a Christian festival celebrating the birth of the baby who was born to become an inspiration to the world, but it has universal meaning. We do not know the exact date of this event and was not until the 4th century AD that Pope Julius I set 25th December as the date for Christmas. All religions going back to Pagan times believed in a God or a Supreme Being, and religions throughout the world belief in an unknown, unseen Divine Mind, Energy or Presence.
The frosty weather continues, with the trees and grass glistening like jewels in the sunlight.
I have a little solar panelled garden owl that lights up at night and enhances the whiteness all around bringing with it a feeling of magic and beauty.
The picture of a fog bow by Melvin Nicholson appeared this week in the papers. It is quite a rare occurrence and happens in the same way as rainbows in that light is reflected inside tiny water droplets and emerges to form a large circle or arc of approximately 42°C centred on the antisolar point, opposite the sun.
I am sending you images of some of the exciting and unique gifts that you will find on my website that may just be the answer you are looking for that special present.
May this festive season bring you much joy and hope for the future for all mankind worldwide. The world has experienced difficult times before of suffering for many innocent people but I am a great believer in the fundamental goodness of the human spirit in overcoming these ills and allowing the Light to shine through.
With love and great blessings,
Below are some of the gifts in my online shop.
All Shop Products
Latest Posting Dates 'Abroad' from UK ~ see below
Latest Posting Dates within UK ~ see below
I can remember when I was a child how the excitement of Christmas built up day by day. Just as the summers were always sunny so the winters were cold, frosty and snowy and sitting in front of glorious log fires and toasting chestnuts or curled up reading an exciting book was all part of the fun.
Several weeks before Christmas it all started with elder my sister Amanda and I being allowed to stir the Christmas pudding; I think I must have been very young as I remember it was quite an effort getting the large wooden spoon to move at all but I can still recall the lingering smell of delicious spices.
Next came the decorations; being allowed to help with the parents with Christmas tree; gold and silver stars, yards and yards of sparkling tinsel, fragile glittering glass baubles of all shapes and sizes which had to be handled with greatest of care in case they fell and broke, and then the crowning glory of the angel which had seen better days, right at the top of the tree.
Decorations seemed to be everywhere throughout the whole house or so it seemed to me and the excitement grew and grew.
We made presents for our parents and relations. When very small we just wrapped silver paper round chicken wishbones and tied them with blue or pink ribbons; as we grew a little older we made mats and purses from multicoloured raffia and later we made hand-embroidered handkerchiefs and little sachets. We also made calendars and of course we always hand-drew or painted our Christmas cards.
We always had a large jigsaw puzzle going throughout the Christmas period and we still love doing them to this day and can sit engrossed for ages carefully selecting that special piece that should go in just there but doesn’t always!
The house was always buzzing with our huge family, grandmother, Great Aunt, Aunts, Uncles and cousins who came to stay over Christmas, beds were made up, and rooms that we were normally used for other things became bedrooms, and suddenly it was all happening.
I remember groups of grownups and children coming to the house and singing carols and if it wasn’t too late we could stay up and listen to them. As we grew older, we also learnt the carols ourselves and the one called the Holly and the Ivy was one of our favourites.
I used to get so excited that sometimes I became ill, so when there were children’s parties I was never told about them until a few moments before putting on my party dress!
Christmas stockings were the magical start of Christmas day. There was always an apple and an orange at the toe of the stocking and then it was packed with exciting little gifts such as yoyos and coloured crayons, rubbers and little colouring books. Of course it was during the war, so there was not a lot from which to choose and certainly they were not filled with the huge expensive things that are now used to cram a stocking. (In later years this was also a moment of huge excitement and anticipation for my two sons.)
We joined everyone for Christmas lunch and Christmas tea and pulling the Christmas crackers was the best part of all. The Christmas pudding (which I didn’t like) was full of small pure silver treats such as silver sixpences, silver horse shoes, the silver Bachelor’s Button, the Old Maid’s silver Thimble and a silver Ring.
Christmas seemed to last at least a week as some family members had come a long way. As soon as we were able to write, we were made to write our Thank You letters within the first week after Christmas (the same for Birthdays) and this has remained a habit.
So now with Christmas approaching again within a few weeks, I have some wonderful Christmas presents suggestions for you from my web site. Special and unusual presents that can be enjoyed by everyone.
I still produce the ever popular and wonderful calendars, and you will also find special wooden jigsaw puzzles. There is only place in the UK that still makes wooden ones and they also make them for Prince Charles. Being wooden they will last from one generation to the next and they contain special little pieces relating to the subject such a small crop circles in the Crop Circle puzzles and riding gear in the White Horse puzzle.
I will try and write again before Christmas.
With love and great happiness.
Despite the wonderfully clement UK weather, we now suddenly find ourselves in November and starting to think about Christmas and the all too frequent worry about what to give people as a present. My new gorgeous calendar continues to show stunning photographs from this year’s crop circles and could be just the thing you are looking for.
Since 2000 I have been producing these wonderful crop circle calendars, every page showing a main crop circle image plus a selection of side images, some of other crop circles and ground shots and others of flora, fauna and ancient archaeological sites – taking you on journeys not just in this time honoured Isle of Albion but worldwide – which has made it an unique, popular and special calendar reflecting the beautiful circles enhanced by these exclusive side images, all blending into a perfect marriage of great photography.
Bertold Zugelder graphics continue to grace every page. Also you will also find special monthly quotations, some ancient, and some modern. All will make you think and wonder!
It really is a perfect gift for loved ones, family, and friends old and new. The calendar is the only one produced to a very high standard with ring binding in order that it will remain strong and intact during the whole year. It opens up into an A3 format with date boxes large enough for you to make notes and appointments. It also shows the lunar information.
You will find copies of past calendars in the same much loved format on my web site; a few years have already sold out as they are now Collector’s Pieces.
So far my fine reputation of dispatching the calendars orders rapidly remains intact and I sell the calendars worldwide.
I have already sold half the calendars I ordered from the printers, so please put in your orders as soon as you can.
Crop Circle Tours 2017
I have had so many enquiries already regarding my ever popular crop circle tours, and the special private entry evening visit to Stonehenge, that I felt I should give you the dates herewith.
I will take the first tour on Tuesday 25th July and the second tour on Thursday 3rd August.
Both tours consist of a crop circle tour and then an exciting optional extra event in the evening.
I thought I should let you know that it may be quite a strenuous day as we do a lot of walking, but those who do not wish to be so active can come at their own pace or rest for a while. We meet at 10am at the Silbury Hill car park (Silbury lies between Marlborough and Calne on the A4). We will set off in as few cars as possible to visit the circles. We have lunch at a pub (lunch is not included in the price) and then set off again to visit one or more circles. Last year we visited a circle in the morning and two in the afternoon. If there is only one circle available to visit we will visit sacred sites such as the famous West Kennett Long Barrow. At about 4pm, I will take everyone to Avebury where you can wander around the stones and really do whatever you like or come to the wonderful Honey Street Cafe by the river and enjoy their delicious home cooked cakes and tea or soft drinks. It is a very relaxed day fitted to everybody’s needs.
For the optional extra of the special private entry visit to Stonehenge on Tuesday 25th July; those coming will meet again at 5.30pm at Silbury Hill when we will set off. This will enable us to enter into the inner sanctum of the stones and see the sun set behind the stones. It is a marvellous end to a hopefully wonderful day. There is also a really splendid museum at the Stonehenge centre which I strongly recommend and those on the tour with me can enter for free.
For people coming with me on Thursday 3rd August tour there is an optional extra of flying over the circles after the tour in the early evening and also seeing the surrounding historic countryside such as the ancient Avebury stone circle complex and famous and sacred Silbury Hill, the largest man made mound in Europe. This is an incredible way of viewing everything in all their majesty from the air.
Due to the vagaries of our weather, it is advisable to bring wet weather gear and strong walking shoes. Also please bring water as it can be thirsty work!
If you are interested, do please get in touch with me as the information will be available on my web site.
I will try and write again before Christmas.
With all my very best wishes of happiness and joy,
The Ansty Crop Circle Mystery ~ Interview with Karen Price
Saturday 24th September 2016
© Lucy Pringle
In light of the debate and controversy surrounding the amazing Ansty crop circle, I hope you will find the following interview with Karren Price helpful in clearing up certain areas of misunderstanding.
The hamlet of Ansty (situated in the south west of England between Salisbury and Shaftesbury, Wiltshire) is a small and sprawling village lying on the A30 between ancient high banked narrow lanes – clearly once used as drover’s tracks. In the southern part of the parish is White Sheet Hill, on which there are Bronze Age barrows including a long barrow. Ansty is in the Vale of Wardour. The A30 Salisbury to Shaftesbury road follows an ancient course, north-west of (and parallel to) the Ridgeway on the greensand terrace, and includes the steep northern slopes of White Sheet Hill.
The Church of England parish church of Saint James dates from before 1210 and is a Grade II listed building. The south wall of the nave is considered likely to be a survival from the original building, and the font is also Norman.
Boasting some 120 inhabitants, Ansty has no village shop or post office. Ansty Pick Your Own (PYO) is therefore the only amenity and lies directly on the A30. It is clearly marked with roadside signs.
Driving in, you enter a large area where cars can park and farm vehicles such as tractors can manoeuvre. The PYO shop abuts a large shed containing farm vehicles and other farming equipment. To the south, and closest to the shop, are rows of strawberries placed in pots shoulder high to prevent the interest of slugs and avoid soil-borne diseases – and to make picking easy.
They are often covered in white plastic sheeting to prevent rain damage and protect the fruit. Beyond lie the various rows of fruit and vegetables. Further still are the fields. From the image below you can clearly see patches of green in the standing crop showing Convolvulus cneorum (Bindweed) throughout the entire field, not just on the flattened wheat.
The crop circle was in the field beyond and to the left of the raised lines of strawberries. It is visible from the shop.
If a crop circle were being made during night or day during a two week period, as suggested by other reports (including the week that Karren was away), surely people picking and attending to the rows of strawberries or working alongside the field in which the circle appeared, would have seen marks in the field? They would have been clearly and unmistakably visible due to its proximity. If this is so, can we conclude that the event appeared in one night?
Ansty PYO is no ordinary farm shop. Consisting of a farm shop, tea room and kitchen, and despite being small in size, the farm shop, as well as basic items, stocks delicious teas and jams, honeycombs, and mouth-watering home baked pizzas, Eccles cakes and Sally Lunn current buns to name but a few. The tea room is where people come for coffee or tea and to feast on Karren’s freshly baked goodies.
Just as Ansty PYO is no ordinary farm shop, Karren Price (also known as K) is no ordinary person. Small, and as slender as a whippet with her light brown hair tied back in a ponytail, she is a whirlwind of activity. You will find her serving behind the counter or baking in the kitchen – where she says she is happiest – or coming through with platters of hot freshly baked food just out of the oven.
Married with two active young sons, she somehow seems to manage to combine all three activities. She told us her husband does a ‘proper’ job. One of the things we noticed was how Karren seems to be on such friendly relations with everyone who came into the shop. She told us that she has many regulars, some of whom come at different times of the year, some to pick or buy fruit, during the summer months, and later in the year for pumpkins and Christmas trees; whilst many regularly come to buy her produce.
Karren is ably assisted by cheerful helpers. Run as a family business, the fruit farm was taken over in 1998 and since then has developed into what it is today. On the wall behind the counter are pictures of several maize mazes that Karren told us she herself had designed and made in the fields with her team.
The first one she made took six weeks to design, plan and place in the field. As they gained experience and skill they were able to speed up the process with the advancement of technology ‘…but we never achieved it in a day – very far from it!’ When asked if she could make the recent crop circle, she laughed and said that given all the time in the world, she couldn’t possibly have done anything like that.
She will soon be framing and putting up two images I sent her.
This then was the setting when the crop circle appeared in early August, one of the busiest times of the year. As soon as word got around, Karren unthinkingly opened it to the public and was totally unprepared for the hundreds of people who descended on her shop and disrupted her already busy life. Armed with microphones, recorders, cameras etc., and wanting to speak to her and her staff, she was inundated, and swept off her felt feet as though she had been struck by a bolt out of the blue.
A naturally courteous person with a ready twinkle in her eyes, interview after interview was requested by all and sundry. Eventually she declined to enter into any further debate on the issue as she was so exasperated at how things she had said had been chopped, changed and edited.
Gary King and I kept in touch with Karren over this period, respecting her privacy and gaining her confidence. She was therefore prepared to give us one last and final interview on the subject.
On the morning of Saturday the 24th of September we met in the courtyard at Ansty PYO shop. Just at that moment the representative from Wiltshire Air Ambulance arrived to receive money Karren had collected from people visiting the crop circle. The circle had been harvested on 24th August.
Seeing that Karren was busy with shop full of people we decided to drive around, and later returned to Ansty PYO to have coffee. Karren spotted us, and as the shop was having a quiet spell, she suggested we did the interview there and then. Sitting in the tea room with cups of coffee, she told us her story.
She made it quite clear from the start that she did not want to be recorded on tape, nor did she want us to comment on any negativity already written about her or the event. She simply wanted to rectify a few untruths that had been printed. She started off by telling us that she wanted to thank everyone who had visited the circle and told us that she had met some really charming and interesting people as a result. Regarding the question about when she and her parents went on holiday, it was clear that confusion surrounded this and she wanted to clear it up.
Point 1. On the 31st July, Karren together with her husband and children went on holiday to Devon (she even showed us a photograph on her mobile of one of her sons with bucket of crabs he had caught dated the 2nd August and another dated 4th August of the bay where they had been staying). THE CROP CIRCLE WAS NOT THERE WHEN THEY LEFT.
Point 2. Karren and her family returned home late on the evening on 5th August.
Point 3. Early on the morning of the 6th of August Karren saw the circle from her bedroom window. This was the first time she had seen it, and it was complete. Therefore there are just seven days when it might have appeared.
Point 4. Despite reports to the contrary they did NOT go on holiday with her parents. Her parents went on holiday shortly after she returned.
Karren explained that she ‘sat’ on the circle for several days uncertain what to do about it. It was enormous, covering two acres of crop. Her husband has a drone and took several photographs of the circle. He said that people were already in the circle.
Her PYO lies close to two airfields, Compton Abbas just a few miles away, and Old Sarum near Salisbury. Planes fly over the farm constantly. As reported in a previous article, a farmer’s herdsman daily moved the line of the field overlooking the circle and in which the cattle grazed, in order to give them fresh grass. He saw no circle partly made, or being made, in the field below during those seven days. As word got around, Karren decided to open the crop circle to the public.
The famous crop circle web site, Crop Circle Connector (CCC) published the first photographs of the event on the evening of 12th of August. (They had been notified of the circle about noon that day and in case it might be cut-out, Mr Gyro – Mat Stainton – flew over it that evening and took some photographs. He regretted not being able to include the hill behind it due to the light at that time of day.)
Regarding the suggested involvement of the a small American, Bellingham-based company called ‘Mothership Glass’ (run by the artists Scott Deppe and Jake Collins who make glass pipes) and the similarity of their logo to the crop circle, Karren said she had never heard of Mothership Glass until Saturday 13th August. She has never communicated with them, nor has the secretive Mothership Glass responded to any communications from any crop circle researchers.
In addition, Karren wanted us to report that she has very good relations with her neighbours. This seemed clear to us anyway by the happy, friendly relationship she had with all the customers visiting her shop; many of whom were local.
Karren was delighted to donate the profits raised from people visiting the circle to the Stars Appeal – £1107.16 and £1275 split between the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance and the Wiltshire Air Ambulances. Together with other donations, this makes the total donated from the Farm Shop to charities this year – to date – to almost £8000! Karren also managed to squeeze in training for the London Marathon this year!. Coming from a small family run business that is an amazing achievement!
In conclusion, one thing in particular struck us both when interviewing Karren. This was her transparent honesty and her determination to tell the truth down to the very smallest detail. Unless you have witnessed this personally face to face, it is a quality that may not be apparent over the telephone – especially if she is busy. (We both consider ourselves good judges of character).
Several people may have been disappointed when trying to get in touch with Karren, and a previously arranged interview during a time when she is not busy is a very different scenario to speaking to her over the telephone unexpectedly and hoping for a verbal interview there and then, when she may be extremely busy at that particular moment serving customers or baking in the kitchen.
I will write more about the symbolism of this crop circle and the many other aspects in my annual article but until such time as there is photographic evidence of the crop circle being made (despite all the claims) or any concrete proof of exactly how or when it appeared during the seven day period, this event must remain a tantalising mystery.