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A Beech tree [right] with Cow Parsley in Roos Churchyard, May 2017
One hundred years ago Edith Tolkien sang and danced for her husband in a “hemlock glade” at or near Roos in East Yorkshire.  Unfortunately, unless some more information becomes available we cannot be sure of the precise date, but examination of the flora Tolkien mentions suggests a date in May or very early June 1917.  Tolkien refers to the understory in the glade as ‘hemlock’, but it is much more likely that the plant he was referring to is commonly known as Cow Parsley.  You may read more about the various members of the umbellifer family and their flowering times here.

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April 2017

Once all the reporting is done, there are always the finishing touches to put in – pictures, checking that there is no descriptions left merely as “description” (the default used in the macro I use), and not least writing up these opening comments, usually complaining about my lack of time ….

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March 2017

Given the delay of these transactions, it will be no surprise that I am keeping busy with other, non-Tolkienian, matters. The last month or so up to Easter was quite more than usually busy at work, and Easter felt deeply well-deserved 🙂 For that reason, I continue to cut down on my personal commentary, and largely just provide links to articles that I find interesting – or which have intrigued me with the promise of being interesting if I had the time to read them…

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J.R.R. Tolkien by Pamela Chandler. © Diana Willson
J.R.R. Tolkien by Pamela Chandler. © Diana Willson

As an author, J.R.R. Tolkien remains one of the most popular writers in the world, with book sales in the 250-300 million range and earning a position where he is widely regarded as the father of modern fantasy. Those book sales have not only touched millions of people the world over – and led to the creation of this Society – but spawned two blockbuster film trilogies which caused Forbes to declare Tolkien as the third highest-earning “dead celebrity” behind Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. (more…)

February 2017

‘Busy as a bee’ is, I believe, the English expression that matches my life at the moment, though I will happily accept that ‘bee in the bonnet’ would be an appealing expression to apply to me ….

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That’s part of the title of a little opinion piece by Thomas Honegger in the latest issue of Hither Shore (v. 12, dated 2015), “To whom it may concern – a Reviewer’s Complaint.” Honegger’s complaint is over a lack of “a certain minimal level of professional quality” in Tolkien studies. He mentions fact-checking and proofreading, but his main concern is lack of bibliographical research, scholars unaware of major and basic work in the areas they are covering. “How are we going to advance Tolkien studies if scholars in the field are ignorant of each others research?”

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