You up too? My old bones are aching far too much to sleep, so I thought I’d sit here in the Pub, a glass of something strong in hand, and listen to the Neverending Session who for some reason are playing Icelandic tunes tonight while I ponder how each winter’s just a bit harder to take. Oh, but the warm fire as I sit in Falstaff’s Chair does feel rather good!
Why Icelandic fiddle tunes, you ask? I, too, was wondering. Even here, in a building that was practically built on music, they were once an uncommon thing to hear. But Estate staffers have been collecting music for so long that it’s said we have a Fey recording somewhere of a carnyx being played at the burial of a Elf Lord — a sound that will send a chill clear to your marrow as it did to Roman soldiers encountering it in ancient Britain.
It is said that an Icelandic woman by the name of Kárhildur came here to share her herbal lore a century back on the invitation of Lady Alexandra, the Estate Head Gardener, and she ended up staying far longer than the Summer and Autumn she planned. Being here in the Winter meant she, being a violinist, shared her tunes and other much older Icelandic ones.
So do have a drink of Brennivín (Black Death), a particularly potent drink fashioned after a libation popular in Iceland, while we listen for a while. It sounds as though they’re just beginning ‘Rimur Og Kvaedalog’, a favorite of mine to play as well.