Category Archives: Stories

A Kinrowan Estate story: Brandy (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, to Tessa, her botanist friend who … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Walking: Sunny Days

On sunny days in the winter, as long as the wind is not too strong, a walk outside can be just what the doctor ordered, especially after days of snow and gloom. It’s wise to take a pair of sunglasses, … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Blizzard (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, her botanist friend who is on an extended botanical collecting trip in the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere. She copied her letters into … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Several Annies

It was a dark and stormy night. More precisely, it was a dark and stormy Wednesday night and I’d escaped to the weekly Chix with Stix gathering in the room behind the Library. Most of the time it’s the domain … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Santas! (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, to Tessa, her botanist friend who is on an extended botanical collecting trip in the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere. She copied her … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Watcher

. . . standing shadowed near the Year Fire, pale eyes reflecting sparks, pale face ruddy in the flames, a great golden horn at his side, a molten circle lit by the flames of year’s end, year’s beginning. He comes … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: da Vinci’s Dragon

We’ve a board near the Pub where everything from when Chasing Dragonfly will be playing next to tasters being wanted by Bjorn, our brewmaster, are posted. And then there’s a sheet of parchment that really gets an argument going, any time the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Black Death

Ahhh, one moment, jeune fille avec les cheveux rouges, while I get us coffee. Now we must pass through the Pub to my office so be very quiet as we don’t want to wake all the sleeping musicians, elves of various … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Old Ben, the Steward

Dear Anna, You asked about the story you’d heard about Old Ben, the Steward in the early Sixteen Hundreds, who helped create the publishing house that is now here. I can’t tell you much about him, as where he came … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Falstaff’s Fireplace

Come in — the staff’s doin’ its annual cleaning of the Fireplace in the Pub. And a bugger of a job ’tis given the massive size of it! Of course, it could only be done after the workers from Local … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: The Hunting Party

This was related to me a couple of days ago by one of our visitors: I heard it only faintly, the jingle of harness in the courtyard. The men I’d been watching heard it, too. The pale man I’d never … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Wooden Shoe Fiddle

The Neverending Session is oft times at its very best when the weather grows colder and the days get far shorter. So it’s not surprising to this old publican that the number of musicians dropping in here at Green Man … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: All The World’s A Stage

From The Sleeping Hedgehog, date unknown. No idea if it’s a story retold there, or a true story transcribed into written form. Not that it really matters, does it? There, my friend. I am not good company tonight, but if you can … Continue reading

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Growing Up in the Mountains

We just called them “the mountains,” but you have to say it a particular way, sort of like “ma’untns” — that’s close, anyway, even if not quite there. There’s a certain lilt in your voice that you’ve got to have … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Venison Stew (A Letter to Tessa)

A letter from the journal of Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria to her friend, who was staying in Constantinople as of this letter. Alex, as she was known, copied her personal … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: A Handfasting

The note outside the Green Man Pub read in a rather fine cursive script: Celtic Pagan priestess needed for hand fasting in Oberon’s Wood on Summer Solstice. Sky-clad obviously and able to tolerate drunken, off-key bards and terrible sword jokes … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Getting Ready for All Hallows Eve

All Hallow’s Eve is only few days away, and the Staff is deep in preparations. Mind you, a lot of those are just fun and games: putting up decorations and scurrying around with secret costume plans. Some of the more inventive … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Guy Fawkes Day (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, It’s nigh unto Guy Fawkes Day and Iain’s Library apprentices got the jones to put on a full-blown celebration, which The Steward agreed to fund, provided that Iain gave them a full lesson on what Guy Fawkes Day really means in … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: Wandering Through Time

Oh, hullo. Yes, it’s me, Robert. No, no, the other Robert. I was just — what’s that? Well, I don’t doubt at all that I look a bit confused — I am confused. I’ve lost my reading room, you see. … Continue reading

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A Travel Abroad story: Moonshine

Yes moonshine, or white lightning as it’s often called by those who make and drink it. I’ve been reading a book on moonshine,  Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine by Max Whitman. I’ve been interested in it as it shows … Continue reading

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What’s New for the 2nd of October: June Tabor does grim ballads, a Latina rocker named Cecilia Villar Eljuri, Lucky Peach’s guide to cider, a Breton peasant’s memoir, music by Guy Clark, a film from Guillermo del Toro, a noir comic, and other matters…

Only thin, weak thinkers despise fairy stories. Each one has a true, strange fact hidden in it, you know, which you can find if you look. — Diana Wynne Jones in Fire and Hemloc Now it is by some storytellers said … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Pudding Contest

Her name was Bronwyn ap Tewdwr and she was our guest judge for the annual pudding contest. ‘A pudding contest?’ you ask. And I say, ‘Why not?’ Real pudding, like real ale, is a long way from the packaged puddings … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Most Unusual Tea Party

It couldn’t have been any more atmospheric, for on that deep winter afternoon a dirty leaden light filtered feebly through the high narrow windows of the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room. Outside one could hear the ‘Winter wind as it … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Night of Wine and Madness

Come in. Yes, the party is here in the Pub tonight. There will be rituals in the hills and the Wood later, but I advise you to avoid them. Join me here, at least for the time being. I can’t … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: Truly Shitty Celtic Metal

They called themselves a Celtic metal band — they weren’t exactly metal, but I couldn’t in all honesty call it folk in spite of the fiddler, and they did certainly know how to mangle a jig or a reel all … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: You’re Invited to A Pig Roast

You’re invited to our first pig roast of the year which is coming up this weekend. Needless to say, you need a pig. Figure two pounds of meat per person. More if you’re feeding them all day long, as properly … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Porridge

Englishman Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary once slammed porridge, defining oats as ‘a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’ Obviously he never had a good bowl of hot porridge with applesauce mixed … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Dolmens

I was passing by the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room when Iain was lecturing the Several Annies on a subject that was dear to his heart:  ‘There are a number of  dolmens — ceremonial standing stones — scattered about the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Chicken Pot Pie

Making chicken pies starts with slaughtering enough chickens to feed thirty or so hungry folk. A chicken dressed out yields two pounds of meat which is enough for four to six people depending on what else gets added in. All … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Rebekah And the matter of Jewish baked goodies

If we’ve left the impression in these posts about the Kinrowan Estate that the Several Annies, the Library Apprentices here, are the ones that are the learners and we who teach them are just the teachers, then we’ve given you … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Huddled Masses Orchestra

So have I talked to you about this group? It’s not akin to the Neverending Session, which is always here in some form, or even the resident Chasing Fireflies contradance band, which has several core members but adds other musicians … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Blackberry Cobbler

Whisht! Hush now, will you, shhhh! Quick, over here, let’s go in the hallway under the window … outside the kitchen! Oh, dear me, that’s better! Have a seat, Miss Denise seems to be elsewhere, this is her favorite place … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Breakfast for the Neverending Seesion players 

Oatmeal drizzled with cream, fat pork sausages sizzling with fat, eggs both simple and fancy, bread thick with butter and strawberry jam, scones with clotted cream, calves liver, bacon, lobscouse, crispbreads, tea, coffee, Turkish coffee… At some point you stop … Continue reading

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A Story Abroad: Travel in Tea Country

I and many others here never developed a taste for coffee, though the younger Estate staff live on it, as the The Steward notes at budget meetings — it’s not cheap to get good beans roasted well. We solved that problem … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Troll under The Bridge: The Design Process (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, Imagine an old forest witch, a crone with a cackle and gnarled hands. Well Justina did one of those when she was here the first time. Alas the Troll proved more elusive in design. Much more elusive. And … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: My Snuggery

Snuggery is informal British slang for a comfortable or cozy space. And that’s what my office is, behind the Green Man Pub. It’s actually a space specifically designed by me when I took the job as Pub Manager here at … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Fiddles

Fiddles. They’re everywhere. The fairies may very well have brought the harp and pipes to Ireland and gifted the population with them, but sometimes it seems that, if they brought the fiddle to anyone, it was to get rid of … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Midsummer

Nearly Midsummer, and life around the Green Man offices has started getting a little weird. Oh, all right, a little weirder. Zina Lee here, reporting in from Kinrowan Hall on abeautiful warm June day. I’ve been noticing that the young plants in the gardens and window … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Green Man

The Neverending Session was off elsewhere one quiet night in the Pub recently and Finch was tending the bar, so I stepped outside to play a few tunes to clear my head after several hours of doing the Pub accounts. … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: A Hidden Bookstore

It’s been jocularly observed that the presence of many books in one place can actually warp both space and time. I’m Iain MacKenzie, the Head Librarian here at the Kinrowan Estate, and I’m not sure that this view is so … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Danse Macabre (A Letter to Anna)

Greetings Anna, You’ll be tickled to know that Jack is putting back together the medieval music group called Danse Macabre that he had here well over twenty years ago. Of course, there’ll be new musos including my wife, Catherine, joining … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Reading Groups (A Letter to Anna)

Dear Anna, When you were here over the Fall you asked me how reading groups got started here. As we were headed out for a contradance with your partner and me with my wife, I forgot until now. And when … Continue reading

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Rook’s C’mon 

Rook is another one of those fascinating little discoveries that I love to spot and single out for attention. In this case, they came to me by way of Folk Tales‘ publisher, who sent C’mon to me with a side note stating that … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Gutmansdottir and The Wild Wood

Gutmansdottir was her family name and the only name she went by. She said she was a botanist and was interested in studying our Wild Wood, the area of the Estate that’s  virtually unchanged for over a thousand-years, if not a … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Waltzing Matilda

Her full name was Matilda Anna Grace O’Reilly. Her friends called her Maddie, but many knew her simply as a fiddler named Waltzing Matilda. Her passion was waltzes, both playing existing ones and composing new ones. Her tale is like so … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: May Day

Or, more precisely, “May Day at the Estate,” which is just a few days away. So what’s planned for this very special day? Well, if past years are any clue, this is the way it goes: I lead off the … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate story: Irish coffee

Let me tell the tale of Irish coffee while I fix you one. It is said the very first Irish coffee was invented by Joseph Sheridan, a barkeep at an airbase located in Foynes, a small town in the West … Continue reading

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A Kinrowan Estate Story: The Endless Jam

Midsummer’s coming! Time for the season of outdoor delights and endless nights, and guests coming and going through all the strangest Doors in the Green Man Pub. Have you heard the Endless Jam? No, not the Neverending Session; we’re almost … Continue reading

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A Travels Abroad story: Amsterdam Street Food (A Letter to Gus)

Dear Gus, We’re in Amsterdam now, as Ingrid’s seeking out those botanical bulletins that Tamsin and you wanted. (Be glad that the endowment fund for the Estate is a fat one, as these will be costly, says my dear wife.) … Continue reading

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Karen Wynn Fonstad’s The Atlas of Middle-Earth

I overheard an interesting conversation that took place during High Tea in The Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room here in the Estate Library on a rainy afternoon while our Librarian was taking a break from fussing over the edition of Green Man Review he … Continue reading

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