Presently June 2022 Travel News

durdle.door.england. presently june 2022 timelesstravelsteps.com

June 2022 Travel News and Tips – festivities and beauty in all forms plus flip flops, barefoot dances, and wind-tousled hair …

“It is the month of June. The month of leaves and roses. When pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses.”


June 2022 is the first of the summer months and with it brings festivities and beauty in all forms. From Royal celebrations, Father’s Day (Sunday June 19), Juneteenth (Sunday June 19, USA), Pride Month to Summer Solstice, summer flowers and longer days for BBQ evenings. The beauty of June is to be found in the simple pleasures of flip flops, sunbathing on luxury catamaran or sand in between your toes on a vast stretch of golden or white sandy beaches. Blowing bubbles with our kids, water fountains and let’s not forget the soft serves!

As wonderful as the month of June is and we are feeling the higher temperatures and humidity of the season in London already, the heatwave has come a lot sooner than expected — it is a worrying sign of climate change that calls for everything we could do to save our Earth.

However, the Southern Hemisphere enjoys the changing colours of the season as it moves from autumn to winter. With Winter Solstice on either June 20 or 21 marking the shortest daylight hours. With cooler and fresher days, the countries in the Southern Hemisphere are a haven for those who want to escape the humidity of the Northern Hemisphere.

The month of June also tells us that these beautiful long days are gone before you know it — and soon, you shall be in the second half of the year.

Related reading: Read about the origins of June, birthstone, birthflowers, myths, legends, traditions, celebrations, superstitions along with rhymes, quotes and sayings — Presently June 2021

Welcome to Presently June 2022, our monthly e-column

June 2022 travel news | timelesstravelsteps.com

1 | JUNE 2022 AND LONDON UK

June had never looked more beautiful than it does now in London! With Union Jacks and floral colours everywhere you go in London, the charming city London is amazingly beautiful.

In the United Kingdom, June 2022 began with the 4-day bank holiday weekend (Thursday June 2 to Friday June 5, 2022) to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The long weekend offered many opportunities for us to come together to celebrate the unprecedented anniversary as well as to travel abroad or enjoy a staycation.

If you are considering travels in the coming months, you may find the following travel news useful.

2 | JUNE 2022 TRAVEL NEWS | COUNTRIES WELCOMING VISITORS

As summer gets underway, travel seems to return to some normalcy with more countries loosening their Covid-19 restrictions.

2.1 | UNITED STATES

As of June 12, 2022, all travel restrictions to and within the United States have been lifted. Travellers are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. The rules as to mask wearing are not definitive at present. For example, New York City airports such as JFK still require mask wearing indoors. Some airlines may also require mask wearing during flights. Therefore, please check for the latest guidelines offered by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as regards mask wearing during flights and in public transportation.

Travelling to the USA as a Visitor

Non US citizens or non Green Card holders travelling to the USA requires that you get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. An ESTA is valid for 2 years and allows for multiple entries. Apply for your ESTA via iVisa for instant delivery or from the official website of the US Customs and Border Protection.

NB: An ESTA does not entitle you to automatic entry to the USA. You will need to go through border control at point of arrival.

Our Best Selling Activities in the USA

Outdoor and nature activities in the USA are presently popular. You may want to give the following activities a go for best experiences:

1 | Tour aboard the Boston Duck

Climb aboard a unique amphibious vehicle and discover Boston on land and on water in one non-stop journey. The World War II-style “Duck” takes you along historic streets and into the Charles River on an 80-minute tour of the city. Check availability on the Boston Duck Tour.

2 | Sightseeing Tour of Bryce Canyon National Park

Experience the difference a local guide can make — join a 3-hour small group guided tour and discover the must-see sites such as Thor’s Hammer, the Cathedral and the Natural Bridge Walk along with stone amphitheaters among towering hoodoos. Learn about the flora, fauna, history, and geology of this uniquely beautiful landscape. Check availability and book your space in this highly recommended and popular tour.

3 | Everglades National Park Airboat Tour

The Everglades National Park is a diverse landscape providing crucial habitats for rare and endangered species. Take a ride on an airboat, which is designed to operate well in shallow water and marshlands and view alligators, turtles, and even the elusive Florida panther. Book your experience of the Everglades National Park.

4 | NYC Summit One Vanderbilt

Immerse in a multi-sensory art experience at every turn and enjoy vantage points of New York from the open-air terrace and indoor lounge, perched nearly 1,100 feet above Manhattan. Learn more and book your immersive experience either by day or by night for unique timeless memories.

5 | Cruise around Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Take a 60-minute boat ride and sail within 100 metres of the world’s most famous monument, the Statue of Liberty. Cruise under the Brooklyn Bridge and over to Ellis Island. Enjoy views of Lower Manhattan from both the east and the west sides along with views of the iconic Freedom Tower. Check availability on this best selling activity for New York City.

6 | From Page: Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Explore, marvel and capture many photos of the two most famous natural formations in the world. The Lower Antelope Canyon is where the “pillars of light gleam through the cathedral-like canyon ceiling” affords plenty of picture opportunities.

Later, the tour takes you to the mighty Colorado River for a visit to Horseshoe Bend, where the river meanders around rocks creating a horse-shoe loop — views much loved by travellers. Enjoy a visit to these two attractions in half a day guided activity.

2.2 | CANADA

Canada is open to vaccinated travellers only. You do not have to provide a pre-arrival positive test. However, masks may be required in some outdoor and indoor venues.

2.3 | EUROPE

Vaccinations and pre arrival testing requirements have been removed by most European countries. Local mask mandate may still be in place in some outdoor and indoor venues.

France, Spain and Portugal still require unvaccinated travellers to have a negative entry test.

Related read: Guide to Seville TravelSanta Cruz Neighbourhood, Triana, Bohemian Seville, Plaza Espana, Real Alcazar, Seville Cathedral and more…

The Netherlands still bans unvaccinated travellers to its country.

Related read: The Complete Guide to AmsterdamAmsterdam Bucket List, Where to Stay, Dutch Culture Food, Surinamese Cuisine, Best Transport options from Airport to City Centre, and more…

OUR BEST SELLING ACTIVITIES IN EUROPE

1 | FRANCE: Catamaran Cruise in Cannes

Set sail aboard a modern catamaran across the Bay of Cannes from the old port of Quai Laubeuf. Head towards the Île Sainte-Marguerite and to islands of the Lérins Islands group, or make your way over to the Corniche d’Or to moor either between the islands or in a cove along the Esterel Massif. Get some time to swim and snorkel in the Mediterranean Sea (masks and snorkels provided). Learn more about this activity and book your timeless experience in Cannes.

2 | PARIS: Eiffel Tour Direct Access to Summit by Elevator

For this activity, you shall meet the greeter to collect your entry tickets to Eiffel Tower Summit, 2nd Floor Eiffel Tower, 1st Floor Eiffel Tour and Eiffel Tower entry ticket. Access to Eiffel Tower Summit is by elevator. Check availability and book your Eiffel Tower experience before your travels.

3 | LONDON: Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio with Transfer

Go on a magical full day trip to the Warner Brothers Studio from Central London. Dive into the wizarding world of Harry Potter and experience Platform 9 ¾, ride the Hogwarts Express as well as step onto the famous cobblestones of Diagon Alley, featuring the shopfronts of Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Flourish and Blotts, and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Check availability on this best selling activity and reserve your experience to avoid disappointment.

4 | LONDON: Tower of London and the Crown Jewels Exhibition

Explore the Tower of London at your own pace. Built by William the Conqueror in 1086 castle – a secure fortress, royal palace, and infamous prison. Spot the ravens that live on the premises and find out why they are known as the guardians of the Tower. See the memorial dedicated to those who were executed on the castle grounds. Visit Beauchamp Tower, White Tower, the torture chamber and the magnificent collection of Crown Jewels. No visit to London is complete without a visit to the Tower of London.

5 | HUNGARY (Budapest): Evening Sightseeing Cruise along the River Danube

Enjoy a 1-hour evening sightseeing cruise on the historic Danube River and sail between the Buda and Pest sides of magical Budapest. During the cruise you will see the majestic Chain Bridge and Elisabeth Bridge, and the Buda Castle on the hill, amongst others. The cruise will circle Margaret Island. By far the most magical sight is of the Budapest Parliament Building, glowing in gold and surreal. Audio guides in 30-languages are available. Reserve your experience of an Evening Cruise on the Danube.

Related read: Castle Hill Budapest | 30 Top Things to do in Budapest | Szentendre in One Day

2.3 | MEXICO

Mexico welcomes all travellers and does not have any entry restrictions.

2.4 | AUSTRALIA

If you are fully vaccinated, you can travel to Australia. Pre arrival tests are no longer required but you may be required to undertake tests when travelling interstate within the country.

2.5 | NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is still closed to non essential travellers but plans to relax its rules to international travellers as from July 2022. Fully vaccinated travellers with a pre departure negative test could visit New Zealand at this time.

2.6 | ASIAN COUNTRIES

Entry to most of the Asian countries for non-essential travel is relatively strict. In most cases, travellers are required to be fully vaccinated and have a negative pre arrival test.

The Philippines are open but require a negative pre arrival test.

Japan is still closed to tourists.


Related read: For countries already welcoming visitors, please refer to the previously written Presently series on Travel News 2022.


3 | How is Summer Solstice Celebrated in UK

The Summer Solstice is a popular event celebrated at the world famous neolithic monument, Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Thousands gather from the night before to watch the first sunrise on the longest day in summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The Stonehenge sunrise on 21 June 2022 over the Heel Stone is watched and celebrated just as it was 5000 years ago.

Stonehenge is one of the oldest and most mysterious landmarks in the world and attracts millions of visitors each year. If you wish to experience the Summer Solstice event at Stonehenge in June 2022, contact the official website of English Heritage who manages the event and Stonehenge for Summer Solstice Open Access Information.

Important Note: At time of writing, Rail Strikes are scheduled for June 21, 23 and 25 in the UK which means travellers journey across the country will be severely affected. If you are planning on experiencing Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and/or visit Stonehenge during this time, you are best to reach the destination by car.

Recommended related read: Complete Guide to Visiting Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture Not to Miss (information on how to get to Stonehenge along with a little history included)


TRAVEL OFFERS FOR JUNE 2022

An all inclusive holiday is still the trend this summer with our trusted partners coming up with great offers for single, couples, family and group travels. Look up the following providers:

Related read: 10 Benefits of Package Holiday You will Love to Know


Travel resources at a Glance

Planning your dream vacation? Excellent! Here are all the Resources and Practical information you need for your self-guided or guided vacation.

Legal entry/Tourist travel Visa

Check Visa requirements with iVisa, a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry.

Flights

I have a few choices. Search Google flights because they offer very competitive prices. You could also try Opodo for cheap airfares. For special experiences, go to On the Beach and Jet2Holidays. My all time favourite has been Qatar Airways for long-haul flights for the comfort and their first-class service. I use British Airways as well. For all other global deals >> kiwi.com

Accommodations

My favourite website for booking hotels is booking.com – I love their flexible cancellation policy which means I’m covered till the last minute. I also like that the totals show up for the whole stay so it helps me budget better. Other favourites of mine are Millennium & Copthorne Group of Hotels and Resorts for their consistent high quality accommodations and service. You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain that caters for all budget. For accommodations in UK that has a personal touch and affordable luxury, stay at Hotel du Vin.

Unique experiences & tours

My all time go to resource for unique experiences and tours is Get your Guide. I am also a fan of Viator for their special deals. You shall find suggestions on recommended tours sprinkled throughout TTS on each experience I write about.

Travel insurance

Never travel without travel insurance and never overpay for travel insurance! I use and recommend World Nomads for your travel insurance needs. They even insure on the go. Before purchasing any any travel policy, read through the terms to ensure that the plan is right for you and your trip.

Travel essentials

Never travel without these! I use and fully endorse all the products on this page but especially: High powered wireless power bank, Universal travel adapter and unlimited portable pocket wifi.


Catch up with all travel guides and tips so far written in Timeless Travel Steps


finally … June 2022 Travel News

There are virtually no restrictions these days in travelling domestically and travelling abroad is becoming easier. Masking mandates might still be present in some places and it is worth checking prior to travel. As we continue to explore more, remember to always travel consciously, safely and make small changes that add up to big differences to save Earth, our Home.

As the newly radiant sun steps forth from spring time , wrapping us in warmth and brilliant days, the sky blazes in blue with the drifting of the birdsong and steady buzz of young bees along with summertime pollen. With blooms just as pretty as they are, playing begins from the youngest to old, smiles, laughter and jokes run free. Out comes flip flops, barefoot dances, and wind-tousled hair. Jazz begins in the way we walk, eyes dance upon meeting — so whatever we do, let us make the most of the here and now of what the glorious month of June 2022 offers.

Until next time,

Georgina xoxo

June 2022


My sincere wish is for you to enjoy our articles, and if at all you find the information helpful to your travels, use the links to book your holidays or activities. We earn a commission at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support. You may wish to support Timeless Travel Steps in other ways also.


This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. We may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce.


Please support the humanitarian efforts for Ukraine in any ways you can — here are some links where you could do so:

DEC Ukraine Appeal

UNICEF Ukraine Appeal

OXFAM Ukraine Appeal

PLAN INTERNATIONAL Ukraine Appeal





AN OVERVIEW OF THE BOLEYNS AND THE HOUSE OF WINDSOR

Anne boleyn | timelesstravelsteps.com
the boleyn lineage | timelesstravelsteps.com
History of Britain | Timeless Travel Steps


June 2022 travel news | timelesstravelsteps.comJune 2022 travel news | timelesstravelsteps.com

Presently May 2022 News

presently May 2022 News | timelesstravelsteps.com

May 2022 – Travel News and More

Now that the fresh cold winds of winter are gone, the rains of early spring make her presence known. We are told, “April showers bring May flowers” – hopefully, not all plans get rained on in May 🙂 as normalcy in travel takes pace, cautiously.


 “The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.”  — Lady Gregory


We begin the sweet month of May 2022 with May Day, a glorious 3-day weekend along with ancient celebrations of folklores, and dancing.

The month of May is known as a month of transition. We move from spring into summer, with spring flowers blooming, birds chirping and delightful warm days in the northern hemisphere. With adorable bluebells and daffodils along with Hawthorn and Lily of the Valleys adorn the grounds. Beautiful mountains and colourful meadows make it perfect for biking through those scented lush fields. Whereas in the southern hemisphere, summer is long gone, autumn winds creep in and nights get chillier. May is definitely a time of change, wherever you are in the world.

One thing for sure though, that whichever hemisphere we are at, be it spring or autumn, May breathes new hope, joy for days ahead and much fun for travel adventures as more countries ease travel conditions for travellers.

presently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com

Welcome to Presently May 2022, our monthly e-column

presently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
presently May 2022

If you have been thinking of travelling lately after these months of restrictions, it might just be the right time to do so. With none or relaxed travel entry rules, and low airline fares, along with warmer days, there seems no better time to pack a carry-on and board that flight!

Georgina: We undertook a trip to Budapest, Hungary in late March into early April 2022, and it was awesome. No PCR tests prior or post but only mask wearing during the flight, which I would do anyways. Travel was almost pre restriction times.

COUNTRIES WELCOMING VISITORS

Let’s take a look at some of the countries who are welcoming visitors with relaxed Covid entry rules as from May 2022. As rules change regularly, please ensure that you check for the most up-to-date information with the respective official government travel website before finalising your travel.

COUNTRIES IN EUROPE

1 | United Kingdom

— All travel restrictions for visitors are lifted. There is no requirement for the Passenger Locator Form, or to present a negative result upon arrival. Face masks are no longer mandatory and unvaccinated travellers no longer required to submit pre-departure tests. Check travel requirements for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


2 | Cyprus

Cyprus. presently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
presently May 2022

If you are vaccinated or have recently recovered, there is no requirement to test to enter the country. Cyprus has also got rid of passenger locator forms as from April 18. Travel Safely to Cyprus.


3 | Czech Republic

All travel restrictions including the colour-coded system for various countries have been dropped. Travelling to Czech Republic.


4 | Greece

— As from May 2, all Covid rules and mask wearing are lifted. Check Travel Greece.


5 | Sweden, along with Denmark, Latvia, Norway, Poland and Hungary

have dropped all travel restrictions. Read more: Sweden; Denmark; Latvia; Norway; Poland; Hungary.

Recommended read: 30 Very Best Things to do in Budapest, Hungary.


COUNTRIES IN ASIA

1 | India

Bada Bagh Temple India | Presently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
Bada Bagh Temple India | presently May 2022

India has relaxed travel restrictions for tourists in light of a stable situation for cases of Covid-19. This means termination of air bubble arrangements and some travel returning to pre-Covid level of services. Before travelling to India, ensure you check:

1 | India’s current Entry Requirements and Restrictions;

2 | Coronovirus in India;

3 | If travelling as a tourist, you need to get a visa before travelling. Ensure you have a valid India Tourist e-Visa. This can be for a duration of 30 days, 1 year or 5 years depending on your needs and eligibility.

The UK Government – Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ADVISES AGAINST ALL TRAVEL TO:

1 | The immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan;

2 | Jammu and Kashmir, with the EXCEPTION of travel by air to the city of Jammu and within the city of Jammu, as well as travel within the Union Territory of Ladakh.

3 | Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg, the city of Srinagar and the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

Learn more on safety and security in India


2 | Singapore

presently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
Marina Bay Singapore | Presently May 2022

Since April 26, Singapore has eased travel restrictions for visitors. Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to take pre-departure tests and this includes children age 12 and under. However, unvaccinated visitors are still not welcome to the country. Read more on travel restrictions eased in Singapore.


3 | Thailand

Erawan National Park Thailand | timelesstravelsteps.com
Erawan National Park | presently May 2022

As from 1 May 2022, all travel restrictions related to Covid are relaxed. All fully vaccinated visitors no longer need to take a PCR test at either pre-departure or post arrival. However, you still need a Thailand Pass. Thailand Pass requires you to upload proof of vaccination along with a health insurance policy of up to $10,000. Unvaccinated travellers are no longer required to undertake a pre-departure PCR test but you need to be quarantined for five days upon arrival. On the fifth day, you need to undergo a PCR test. You are also required to show proof of hotel booking for the five days on the Thailand Pass form. Read more on Thailand entry requirements.


TRAVEL OFFERS — All-in-One Package

airport. May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
presently May 2022

There is a great advantage to booking an all-in-one package holiday. A popular style of vacationing, you get to choose the type of holidays, either low cost or high-end without the stresses of booking at multiple sites. Additionally, some tour operators of package holidays provide the added services of a representative of the tour operator at the destination.

Recommended read: A Complete Guide to 10 Benefits of a All-in-One Holiday.

If you are looking for some very special deals, you may like some of the offers by our trusted partners presently have:

1 | SANDALS

presently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
presently May 2022

Make everlasting memories – save £££ and head to a luxury holiday resort that comes with an all-inclusive vacation package for Couples Only.

Everything is Included. All That’s Missing is You”

Save up to 45% plus up to an extra 5% off and up to £700 booking bonus.

*Offer ends June 6, 2022 > click on the graphic below


2 | EasyJet Holidays – Save £100 on your Summer 2022 Family Holiday

Save £100 on your Summer 22 easyJet family holiday (Minimum spend applies)

“last call” for peak summer – Selling out fast, secure your family holiday now!

Conditions: Save £100 off your holiday on minimum spend £1000

*Although EasyJet is promoting this as a family code but there are no restrictions on party size – anyone can use the code as long as the min spend threshold is met.

Validity: Valid on holidays 11th May 2022 to 31 October 2022 inclusive

Bookings: 9am 11th May 2022 to 11pm 17th May 2022

How: Code is FAMILY100

Terms and Conditions to take note of:

* £100 off per booking with promo code FAMILY100, min spend £1000. Spend/saving amount is per booking based on the total price and code must be applied on the ‘extras’ page of easyJet.com/holidays. Promo code valid for new bookings made between 9am on 11th May 2022 and 11pm 17th May 2022 for holidays completed by 31/10/22. Offer applies to all easyJet holiday destinations from any UK airport, subject to availability. Prices are subject to change. Offer may be changed or withdrawn without notice. Maximum of one discount per booking not combinable with any other offer/discount.

If a booking including this discount is changed/cancelled, the discount will no longer be valid on the new/amended booking. Booking Conditions apply. easyJet holidays Ltd (ABTA Y6633) is ATOL protected (11694).

Recommended read: EasyJet Holidays Protection Promise



TRAVEL OFFERS — ON THINGS TO DO

Presently May 2022 News

1 | English Heritage

English Heritage is the champion of some of England’s most treasured and iconic buildings and monuments. They are guardians of 400 historic places which encompass 6000 years of history. You can experience history and travel back in time at all of the 400 sites, including Stonehenge, Tintagel Castle, Osborne, Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Castle. While you can visit each historic place individually, you would benefit much with an English Heritage Membership. An individual membership starts at £66.00 a year but it costs far less now with the English Heritage 15% off Gift & Annual Memberships code.

Hadrian's Wall | May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
Hadrian’s Wall | May 2022

With the warm weather coming our way, you can make the most of your weekends and free time exploring the priceless and historic properties in England with your membership. I was given an annual membership as a gift at Christmas and am absolutely going to enjoy the year visiting and exploring some of the 400 historic places.

Join from as little as £4.42 a month. Use code “EH2022” to redeem 15% off Gift & Annual Memberships. Code expires 31st May 2022. For use on NEW membership purchases only. 

If you are a non UK resident, you may not need an annual membership but perhaps, a discounted ticket for the duration of your visit to the UK. An Overseas Visitor Pass gives you access to 100 historic places for one price. You could select the sites and work them into your itinerary to suit without having the pressure of time to visit within a day or so.

Buy your English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass

Buy your Annual English Heritage Membership: use code ‘EH202’ – valid till May 30, 2022. Click link below:


Stay Connected with Timeless Travel Steps for the latest and best tips on Travel


Recap of what has been happening since the last e-column in March

Presently May 2022

Yes, since March 🙂 I don’t really know where April went! 🙂 🙂

So, if you haven’t read TTS publication since, here they are:


finally…

bluebells.may 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com
presently May 2022

While the happy earth looks at the sky, and sings, carpets of bluebells and daffodils cover the ground. Butterflies flutter in the air, reawakening the darling buds of May. With brighter and warmer days ahead along with some extraordinarily good deals on flights and package holidays, I shall be travelling more within the UK and to Europe than previously. Whilst I hope to bring new and more travel stories to you, travelling also means less time writing 🙂 but you shall always have the best from Timeless Travel Steps.

My sincere wish is for you to enjoy our articles, and if at all you find the information helpful to your travels, use the links to book your holidays or activities. We earn a commission at zero cost to you. As always, we appreciate your continued support. You may wish to support Timeless Travel Steps in other ways also.

As normalcy returns and we embark to explore more of our beautiful planet, remember also to travel consciously and safely.

May is a special birthday month in my household and I look forward to celebrating with my family whilst embracing all that this merry month has in store. I wish you to enjoy the warmer days ahead, whatever you get up to.

Georgina xoxo

May 2022

Please support the humanitarian efforts for Ukraine in any ways you can — here are some links where you could do so:

DEC Ukraine Appeal

UNICEF Ukraine Appeal

OXFAM Ukraine Appeal

PLAN INTERNATIONAL Ukraine Appeal



presently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.compresently May 2022 | timelesstravelsteps.com

Presently January 2022 | Traditions and New beginnings

Presently January 2022 | New beginnings

We are here! We are on the 2nd day in a brand new month, in a brand new year – January 2022. 2022 has tiptoed in gracefully, giving us the momentum on fresh thoughts, fresh energies and the path for new beginnings … so they say 🙂

I agree with all the positives and completely in agreement with January 2022 being the month for new beginnings but I’m not so sure about the energy part! After a month of indulgence in delicious food, roasts with all the trimmings, Christmas cake, and wine with family and friends, I am as slow as molasses on 2nd January! Now, I gotta lose all the pounds I’d piled up, but ahh, I have the 333 days or so for that, right?

Anyways, January 2022.

With January being the first of the twelve chapters, let’s take a look at what Presently January 2022 is all about …

Welcome to January 2022 e-column

Presently January 2022
presently January 2022

About the month of January

There is a certain magic that comes with the very first month of the year. January is the beginning of everything I want. Another year of opportunities, new dreams, the magic of new beginnings, the same me but this time with bigger goals. January 2022 means moving forward with a lot of new dreams and time to get my fitness in tow.

I imagine the month is also a time to sit back and enjoy the snow (or rain and more rain) it brings, winter’s butterflies, hot chocolate, cold nights and frosty mornings. Cozy socks, a shot of port on the side table, a book in hand with winter warm log fires (I’m old fashioned, still prefer to turn pages of a book to kindle). January is perfect to set aside time to plan ahead for the year without allowing the dismal weather along with the dark days of winter to get us down.

While we cherish the cold, frost, dark days of winter, log fires, life on the slow and the snow-lined streets, Presently January takes a brief look at the months origin, traditions and lores along with its special birthstones and flowers.

Origins of January

January was established as the beginning of the year by the Romans. The month takes its name from the god, Janus (Latin meaning ‘door’). Janus was the spirit of ‘opening’, the protector of gates and doorways, that denote the “beginnings and endings.” According to legend, Janus had two faces, which enabled him to look forwards to the year ahead for new beginnings as well as backwards to the past year for reflection and resolution.

Given his incredible ability, the Romans would offer sacrifices and made promises to Janus and exchanged good wishes. It is this custom that is said to be the origin of making New Year resolutions.

The Anglo-Saxons called the first month Wolf Monath. This is when the wolves come into villages in search of food.

Recommended read: Presently March

Festivals, Celebrations, Traditions and Lores in January

January 2022
presently January 2022

1 | New Year’s Day — January 1

New Year’s Day is the first day of the first month of the year. It is a time to look forward and to make wishes for a good year ahead. It is also a day of holiday.

Celebrations to welcome the new year generally begins the day before, in late evening, on New Year’s Eve. The new year is generally welcomed with fireworks, singing and parties in many countries. In UK, there are extraordinary fireworks display in London, and other main cities. In Scotland, the new year is welcomed with a spirited festival called Hogmanay. As Big Ben strikes midnight, the fireworks over the Thames begins and people link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne, to remember both old and new friends.

2 | Twelfth Night — January 5

January 5th marks an old English custom and brings Christmas merrymaking to a close. In ancient times, the Celts ended their 12-day celebrations of winter solstice on this day. It is customary to mark the end of Christmas merrymaking with a toast with each other present from the wassail bowl.

3 | Epiphany — January 6

Presently January 2022
presently January 2022

January 6th sees the celebration of Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. According to tradition, on this day, there were three wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus. These were “gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

The word epiphany comes from the Greek word, epiphaneia which means “manifestation.”

In some countries where Epiphany is observed, it is a day of celebration where gifts are exchanged. A King Cake is baked with a lucky bean inside and the lucky bean finder is “crowned” as the king of the feast.

More popular in the UK is Epiphany Tart, originated in the Victorian era. Just a fancy name for a delicious jam tart 🙂

4 | St Hilary’s Day — January 13

In the past, January had been the coldest month of the year in UK, with plenty of frost, ice and snow. One particular day was noted due to past cold events, January 13, also known as St Hilary’s Feast Day.

January 13, 1205 is known as one of the severe winters in history. On this day, River Thames in London froze over. Ale and wine turned to ice and were sold by weight.

5 | The tradition of Wassailing

January 2022

Wassailing is an ancient English Yuletide drinking ritual that has been part of Christmas and New Year celebrations as far back as the 1400s. It is a beverage more usually drunk on Christmas Eve and on Twelfth Night.

Wassail is a drink made with hot mulled cider, or wine with spices and drunk in plentiful amounts to enjoy with others in a lively way.

6 | New Year Day Superstition

In medieval times, farmers would place a flat cake on one of the horns of a cow. They would then sing a song and dance around the cow until the cake is thrown to the ground. If the cake fell in front of the cow, it means prosperity for the year ahead and if it falls behind, it meant the opposite.

7 | Unluckiest Day

According to an old Saxon belief, January 2 was one of the unluckiest days in the year.

8 | The year’s first moon

The year’s first full moon is known as Wolf Moon and is on 17 January 2022. The name Wolf Moon originates from the Native American legends. Wolves would howl outside of Native American villages when the full moon appeared. The relation of wolves to full moon also appear in various mythologies including Scandinavian and German.

January birthstone

presently January 2022
Garnet January gemstone

January’s birthstone is the Garnet. The word “garnet” originates from the 14th century word “gernet” which means “dark red.” It is so called as it resembles the red seeds of the pomegranate.

Garnet is a symbol of love, luck, health, loyalty and friendship. It is a gem often traditionally gifted between couples on their second and eighteenth wedding anniversary

January flowers

January 2022
striped carnation
presently January 2022
snowdrop

There are two flowers associated with the first month of the year – Carnation and Snowdrop. Both of these flowers are delicate, representing love and distinction.

January Quotes

Here are some of my favourite January quotes:

“JANUARY,
The first month of the year,
A perfect time to start all over again,
Changing energies and deserting old moods,
New beginnings, new attitudes.”
— Charmaine J. Forde

“To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.” — Jean Paul

Recommended read: The BEST New Year Quotes | 91 to inspire a fresh start in travel

What to look forward to from TTS

As January 2022 has begun, so is my excitement in sharing my travel stories with you. I shall be sharing on my travels to Scotland, Seville, Milan, Venice and day trips as well as weekend breaks in England. Presently series will take a new approach and content, to be published on the first Sunday of each month. Expect to receive a once or twice weekly dose on travel inspiration and/or travel tips right to your inbox if you have subscribed. If you haven’t yet, please do so with the link below.

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Finally …

January comes around every year like a train on schedule and whatever it is we decide to do for the rest of the year, make sure we stay positive and work smart to make things happen. Stop worrying about things we cannot control. January 2022 marks a new beginning – both in business and in our personal life. Always remember that while we’d better get aboard the train, the journey is not about reaching the final destination, the end line. It is about how you get there. Take time to enjoy the ride gracefully, pausing to take in the fresher air, sunshine and the fragrance of flowers along the way.

Have a wonderful year ahead

Georgina xx

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Presently December 2021 | Winter Sparkle, Christmas & Auld Lang Syne

Presently December 2021 | Winter Sparkle, Christmas & Auld Land & Syne

I love the wrapping up of gifts till midnight, filling up Christmas stockings with little gems, indulging in hot chocolate and spiced cookies amidst a background of Christmas songs. Children delight in the magic that December brings. December is the month for Christmas movies, carolling and pantos. Time of celebrations, that brings family and friends together, a time of giving. A time for re-uniting old friends who gather around a fire, sharing tales of old over Bailey’s and ice!

As December is very much associated with Christmas, much of the month’s traditions and festivals are related to this special day in Christian calendar.

Let’s take a look at what Presently December has in store for you …

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Welcome to December e-column

About the month of December

With winter solstice officially on December 21, the month marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the time for blue skies and summer sunshine!

For most, winter means it is the time of rain, wind and snow but the icy serenade also brings out the warmth within. The purity of snow, ringing in our merriment, inviting our feet to play and the spirit to laugh. The winter wind, and the brilliant rays brings uniqueness and excitement. Sunshine and cold. Sparkle and ice. Though cold, it feels warm even when the north wind bites.

I remain cozy within a woollen hat, snuggly scarf, and cosy footsies. Of course, there are days when I stay under the warmth of a duvet, fingers wrapped around a mug of hot chocolate. Yet, there are days, when winter takes my hand, and leads me to appreciate its beauty, allowing for quiet poetry to form in my soul. It is but the dawn of spring where flowers will soon blossom.

So, while winter is here in this December month, Presently December takes a brief look at the origins of this special month, the customs and traditions at Christmas along with December’s birthstone, flowers and lores.

Origins of December

December is the twelfth and the last month of the year in Julian and Gregorian calendars but it was originally the tenth month in the Roman calendar (until 153 BC). It’s name comes from the Latin word, “decem” which means “ten.”

For the Anglo-Saxons, the month was “winter monath” or “Yule monath” because of the tradition of burning the yule log around this time. When the Anglo-Saxons embraced Christianity, they called the month “Heligh monath” or holy month because the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in December.

December 25 marks the mass of Christ, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago.

As such, a lot of the month’s traditions relates to Christmas. December begins with the season of Advent, a time to prepare for the Christmas feast.

Festivals, Celebrations and Traditions in December

November 28 – December 24: Advent

The word “advent” means coming and it refers to the coming of or the birth of Jesus Christ. The tradition of Advent began in the 1800s.

Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas, and covers four Sundays. The four Sundays usually begins with the Sunday closest to the end of November and the period of Advent goes right through to December 24.

The Advent Wreath and Candles

The Advent wreath is a circle of evergreen laid flat to symbolise to Christians of God’s eternity and endless mercy which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath symbolises hope that Christians have in God. Hope of renewal and hope of eternal life. In it, four candles plus one is placed.

The advent candles represents to Christians the light of God, coming to the world through the birth of His son, Jesus Christ. During each of the four Sundays before Christmas, it is customary to light a candle to embrace the journey of the Christmas story, and the last one, which represents Christ, is lit on Christmas Day.

The four traditional Advent theme for the candles are:

1 | The Candle of Hope – God’s people. Christians celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ;

2 | The Candle of Peace – The Old Testament Prophets. Christians celebrate the peace we find in Jesus Christ;

3 | Candle of Love – John the Baptist. Christians celebrate the love we have in Jesus Christ;

4 | The Candle of Joy – Mary the Mother of Jesus. Christians celebrate the joy we find in Jesus.

The 5th candle is a symbol of the birth of Jesus Christ. As Christians light this candle on Christmas Day, it reminds us that Christ is the light of the world, and if we follow him, we will have the true light of life.

December 6 — St Nicholas Day

St Nicholas is the patron saint of children. In European countries such as the Netherlands, St Nicholas bring sweets and presents to fill stockings of well behaved children. This tradition evolved to Santa Claus in the USA and Father Christmas in the UK with gift giving rounds performed later in the month.

December 17 — Lord of Misrule

The festival of Saturnalia has its origins in ancient Roman times. This was celebrated in honour of the god of agriculture and was a day event. It eventually grew to be a 7-day feasting and merrymaking beginning December 17, blending into Christmas, and Twelfth Night.

During this festival, the slaves enjoyed a holiday. They received presents, allowed to wear informal clothes, and permitted to play gambling games. They were waited on by their masters for the duration of the festival. It then became customary to appoint a ‘master’ to oversee the celebrations. In England, this character appeared as the Lord of Misrule, who presided over the entire period, sometimes beginning from Halloween (October 31) to Candlemas (February 2).

December 21 — The Winter Solstice (1st day of Winter)

The Northern Hemisphere welcomes winter officially on or near December 21.

The celebration of Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, is one of the oldest celebrations in the world. Celebrated by the pagans, they welcome the longest night, and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the North Pole is at its furthest point from the sun.

There are two Winter Solstice traditions worth knowing:

1 | Mistletoe and the Oak Tree

The mistletoe and the mighty oak tree are both symbolic at winter solstice. Oaks were regarded as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe that grew on them were regarded as a symbol of life during the dark wintry months. The Celtic priests would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and offer it as blessings.

2 | The Yule Log

The Druids also started a tradition with the Yule log. They thought that the sun stood still for 12 days during winter. During this time, they would lit the yule log, to conquer the darkness and to banish all evil, so good luck will come in the next year.

December 31 — New Year’s Eve

As it is the last day of the year, many sees the year out with celebrations and welcoming the new year with parties, singing, dancing, fireworks, champagne and good wishes. As the clock strikes midnight, people link their arms with each other and sing “Auld Lang Syne” — a song that reminds them of old and new friends.

Auld Lang Syne is from an old Scottish dialect and is translated to mean as “times gone by.” The song is associated with Robert Burns and is believed to be written in 1700s.

It is customary to stay up late to see the year out. There is also the tradition to open the primary door of the house at the last stroke of midnight to allow the old year out and the new year in.

Superstitions and Lores of December

December Superstitions

“The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune”

“Wearing new shoes on Christmas day will bring bad luck”

“Good luck will come to the home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season”

December weather lores and sayings

“A clear star-filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good crops in the summer”

“Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green”

“If Christmas day be bright and clear;
There’ll be two winters in the year.”


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December Quotes

Enjoy December moments with these beautiful quotes:

“Remember This December, That love weighs more than gold.” — Josephine Daskam Bacon

“December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory….” — John Geddes

“There’s something super special about December.” — Charmaine J. Forde


December birthstone

The gemstone for December is Turquoise. It is regarded a love charm, symbol of good fortune and success. It is believed to bestow the wearer a relaxed mind, calm, and balanced mind as well as protection from harm.

Turquoise is opaque with a blue-green colour. Bluer stones are considered more valuable.

Zircon and Tanzanite are also considered to be December birthstones.

December birth flower

December’s flowers are the Holly and the Narcissus, both symbolising Hope.

The Holly is a symbol for domestic happiness, representing luck, fertility and truth.

December plant

A popular plant at Christmas brighten-up any room! December plant is the Poinsettia. Also known as the Christmas Star, the Aztecs believed it to be a symbol of purity. It represents good cheer, success and celebration also.

All about Christmas …

If you are Christmas crazy as I am, you may enjoy these posts:

Christmas highlights in London | Timeless Travel Steps | Timeless Travel Culture History
32 best Christmas song lyrics for festive Instagram posts
75 Christmas Captions & Puns to Grow Instagram during the holiday season
42 Christmas movie captions
Best Christmas Lights in London
London's Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer
quirky things to do at Christmas
Christmas markets in London

What to look forward to from TTS

I shall be catching-up with friends I hadn’t caught-up with since two Christmas’ ago (we all know what happened last Chrsitmas!) and doing all the things I usually do at Christmas – shopping, movies, baking, planning, my yummy Christmas cake, red wine, Baileys & ice, maybe some port, reading and just chill!

I very much look forward to 2022 and am excited what it may hold for TTS as it goes/grows from strength to strength which would not be possible without your support. I am grateful for the time each of you take to read, to comment, to get in touch and share my stories with family, friends and on social media. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THAT YOU DO TO SUPPORT TIMELESS TRAVEL STEPS and I.

TTS returns with new publication in January. Stay tuned.


Subscribe, if you haven’t already for the latest on Travel News, Travel Offers and Travel Inspiration. Just drop us your email address and enjoy valuable destinations guides for free at your convenience.


Finally …

While I love all things Christmas, and as a Christian, I am thankful for a blessed year. I am also mindful that 2021 has not been a ‘good’ year for many, challenging normalcy as we know it.

Some of us have lost loved ones, and Christmas will not be the same without them. Losses comes in many forms, not just in the passing of our dearly beloved, but also separation and break-ups. While missing someone we love is one of the hardest emotions to overcome, we must take the time we need to heal our sorrow. Take all the time we need, there is no need to hurry. We are, our “best friend” we could count on. Slowly, and surely we press on with courage, for whatever the future holds, we must trust, believe, move forwards and upwards, knowing that we are not alone and are watched over from above.

As we look to the new year, hold on to what is good. Treasure those beautiful memories. Let go of what is bad. Embrace travel — it always has answers even in silence.

We will be okay.

Georgina xoxo


Wishing ALL our family, friends, patrons, supporters and readers a “Very Special & Merry Christmas 2021” and if you do not celebrate Christmas, enjoy the “Very best of Winter Holidays with family & friends.” Have an awesome New Year’s Eve, wherever you are on our beautiful Earth.

TTS Team


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Presently September 2021

Presently September 2021

And then the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and Autumn was awaked.

Raquel Franco

… and it is the wonderful month when I welcome the fresh cool air and the fragrance of the season. Colours of scarlet and gold and their gentle playfulness in the soft light of autumn. Parks are awash with spectacular colours of foliage. Fallen leaves that looks like crusts of brown sugar and cinnamon. Those scarlet and maple leaves create more beauty than I can ask for!

The equinox marks the start of this wonderful season, and harvest celebrations to look forward to with apple picking and pumpkin carving. It’s time to gather up the harvest and prepare for the winter months ahead.

While I embrace the cooler weather, I wrap my coat around me a little tighter rather than letting it flap in the breeze – a melancholy reminder that the sun has taken a step back, allowing autumn to have her moments. I love the season and all that she brings including the showers 🙂

Welcome to September e-column

About the month of September

The month of September is the ninth month in the current Gregorian calendar and comes from the old Roman word, ‘septem’. “Septem’ means ‘seven’ because it was the seventh month in the Roman calendar.

To the Anglo-Saxons, the ninth month was called ‘Gerst monath’, meaning “barley month“. They harvested barley during this time and brewed their favourite autumn drink, barley brew. They also called the month, Haefest monath which meant Harvest month.

For the Romans, the month of September was looked after by the god, Vulcan. Vulcan was the god of fire and they believed September to be associated with fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Presently in September, school term begins with the end of six-week long summer break.

A quick look at the history of September

Previous to the current Gregorian Calendar, Britain followed the Julian Calendar up until 1752. The Julian Calendar was based on the solar system – the time Earth takes to rotate around the Sun. Hence, a year was 365.25 days. Over time, the Julian calendar was considered inaccurate as it drifted away from astronomical events such as the winter solstice. Thus, Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 to correct the inaccuracies.

However, it is important to note that not all countries adopted the switch straightaway. It took more than three centuries for all the countries to implement the switch. Russia, Greece and Turkey were the last countries to adopt the switch as late as the early 20th century.

Note: The Gregorian calendar was born in 1582, introduced by Pope Gregory XIII

September birthstone

September birthstone is the sapphire, which is thought to guard against evil and poisoning.

Sapphire is typically blue, a colour caused by the combination of iron and titanium. The vivid medium blues are more valuable than the lighter and darker tones. Sapphires also appear in other colours. The popular ones are red, known as rubies.

Sapphires are said to symbolise purity, truth, trust and loyalty. They also encourage divine wisdom and protection.

September birth flower

September birth flower is the morning glory (above) and the aster. The aster is a symbol of powerful love while morning glory symbolises affection.


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September Traditions, Festivals and Folklores

Harvest festival in Britain

Traditionally, harvest begins on September 24. In medieval England, there were a number of ceremonies and some are still observed in rural England.

“Calling the Mare”

Calling the Mare was a ceremony where the farmers would gather the last sheaf of their harvest to prove that they had reaped the best crops. The would use the last sheaf of their harvest to shape a mare and send this to their neighbour, shouting “mare, mare”. This is to remind them that wild horses would come and eat their harvest if they didn’t gather it in quickly. The last farmer would have to keep the “mare” on display till the following year to signify he was the slowest farmer.

Corn dolls

The custom of making corn dolls dates back hundreds of years. Corn dolls are believed to be the spirit of the corn goddess.

It was believed that the corn goddess lived in the corn and would die when the corn was harvested. So, the farmers saved some of the corn. Corn dolls were weaved out of these last sheaves to make sure the corn goddess stayed alive and rest in until next spring sowing.

Traditions in Britain

Michaelmas Day

Michaelmas Day is celebrated on 29th September and is associated with the feast of St Michael, patron saint of the sea and maritime. Traditionally, the day also marks the last day of harvest.

Michaelmas Day is sometimes also known as Goose Day. Goose Fairs are held in some English towns but geese are no longer traded. A popular one is the Nottingham Goose Fair which is now held around October 3.

Note: “Lammas” meaning “loaf Mass” was a custom celebrated on August 1, to mark the beginning of harvest. On this day, farmers would bake loaves of bread from their new harvest and give it to the church. This custom stopped when King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic church. Instead, harvest day is celebrated at the end of September along with Michaelmas Day.

September Taditions around the world

Moon Festival

The Moon Festival is the second largest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. This has been celebrated in the Chinese calendar for over three-thousand years and typically takes places at the end of September in the Gregorian calendar.

The Moon Festival occurs on the full moon nearest the fall equinox, when the moon is the brightest and roundest. Celebrations involve brightly coloured lanterns, dances and games. People gather together to give thanks for their families, harvest and best wishes for long life and happiness.

Sayings and Poems in September

Sayings in September

Some popular sayings for fun:

Heavy September rains bring drought;

September dries up ditches or breaks down bridges;

Married in September’s golden glow, smooth and serene your life will go;

Poems in September

“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze. 
–  John Updike, September

“‘Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.”
–  Thomas Moore, The Last Rose of Summer, 1830

“Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.”
–  Rainer Maria Rilke


Re cap since July e-column

The following are articles published in the month of August, if you had missed them:

The Jacobite Steam Train Travel in the Scottish Highlands
day trips from Milan
the London Pass
Charming City London
The Incredible History of Britain - A tapestry of humanity
Monthly e-column


That’s a wrap from me for the month of September.

Whatever you get up to, enjoy the fall colours and the gentle breeze. Soon, it will be time for log fires, cosy socks and hot chocolate with marshmallows 🙂

Till next time,

Georgina xoxo


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Presently September 2021
Presently September 2021

Sources

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Presently September 2021 first published at timelesstravelsteps.com

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Presently July 2021

Presently July 2021

The summer morn is bright and fresh,

the birds are darting by

As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool clear sky

William C. Bryant (1794-1878)

… and it is the favourite month for picnics and ice cream

Welcome to July e-column…

About the month of July

July is the second month of summer and is on average the hottest month in the northern hemisphere! In the southern hemisphere, July is the second of the winter months, equivalent to January in the northern hemisphere.

July means summer holidays and longer days are here! Schools are nearing the end of their academic year with summer break just around the corner and families planning their summer vacation.

Longer warm days are here too, with the month dedicated to picnics along with the official ice cream day to look forward to :). Besides fun days, July brings celebrations, typical Dog Days of Summer and this year in 2021, the greatest all time favourite sports of UEFA Euro 2020 and The Championships Wimbledon! An awesome month of July 2021 indeed!

A quick look at the History of ‘July’

Unlike the months of May and June that are named after Greek goddesses, July has its origins in a mortal who ruled an empire. Julius Caesar was a Roman general, statesman, a historian turned dictator and reformed the Roman calendar. He was assassinated in a legendary fashion during Ides of March.

Julius Caesar is responsible for the calendar as we know it today – twelve months, 365 days and a leap year every 4 years based on the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. However, the Julian calendar was inaccurate with some missing days. The Gregorian calendar which we now follow was born in 1582 to correct these inaccuracies.

As we know, July is the seventh month of the year but in the Roman times, it was the fifth month and was called ‘Quintilius’ which means ‘fifth’. The month was renamed ‘Julius’ in honour of Caesar who was born on 12 July.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month of July ‘Heymonath’ which refer to ‘haymaking’ or ‘Maed monath’ that refers to the ‘flowering of meadows’.

Birthstone

The July birthstone is the ‘ruby’. Rubies are believed to protect the wearer from evil.

The word ‘ruby’ is derived from the Latin word ‘rubeus’ which means ‘red’. High quality rubies are transparent, vibrant, purplish red. Cloudier rubies are less valuable.

Birthflower

The birth flowers for the month of July are the ‘larkspur’ and the stunningly beautiful ‘water lily’.

Larkspur generally symbolises good luck, laughter and lightness. The white form is a symbol of lightheartedness; pink means fickleness and purple is for first love.

The majestic water lily‘ instantly enhances a quiet pond or lake with its colourful flowers and beautifully shaped leaves.

The starry flowers and uniquely shaped leaves float placidly on water while deeply rooted in mud below. Water lily bloom in a range of colours from spring through to autumn. The stay rooted in the mud over winter and regrow the following year. It’s leaves can be rounded, star-shaped, jagged or straight.

The ‘water lily’ represents  innocence, purity, fertility, pleasure, celebration, hope, rebirth, wellness, and peace in many ancient cultures. In particular, the flower is associated with re-birth in Buddhism and Hinduism because they close-up in winter and re-open in spring. Besides its religious meaning, water lily is generally a symbol of all that is true, good and beautiful, representing good fortune, peace and enlightenment. 


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Traditions

The UK is no stranger to traditions often celebrated with festivals and regatta. With summer sunshine well underway in July, the month has a number of festivals to look forward to. Here are four that are popular:

1 | Henley Royal Regatta

It has been a tradition since 1839 where the Henley Royal Regatta takes place during the first week of July. The Regatta started on a single afternoon of rowing and now, over five days. The rowing takes place on a stretch of River Thames at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. However, this year the event is scheduled to take place in Henley from Wednesday, 11 to Sunday, 15 August 2021.

2 | Swan Upping

Swan Upping is the annual census of swans that takes place on River Thames in July. Swans are counted and marked on a seventy mile journey over five days up the Thames.

3 | Whitstable Oyster Festival and St James’ Day

The Whitstable Oyster Festival traditionally falls on July 25. It is the accepted day for the festival in conjunction with the feast day of St James of Compostella, who is the patron saint of oysters.

The town of Whitstable on the north coast of Kent is associated with oysters for hundreds of years. Relying on customs and traditions, the festival has evolved from year to year, while retaining its individual character and continues on till today. The roots of the festival goes back to Norman times. Whitstable was an established fishing port and it was customary then for the fishermen to celebrate with an annual thanksgiving ceremony.

4 | Haymaking

We have all heard the phrase and the wisdom associated with – “to make hay while the sun shines” – to make the most use of a favourable situation while it lasts. It can’t be truer when it comes to haymaking!

July is the month for haymaking!. All across the country, hay is being cut.

To make hay, the field is cut.  The grass spread, and turned over three or four times until it is dry. Then it is rowed up, baled and put in a barn as quickly as possible before the rain comes. The process can take up to a week. If it rains in the middle of the process, the hay must be left in the field until the sun comes out to dry it off.

Lores, sayings and poems in July

1 | St Swithin’s Day

St Swithin’s Day takes place on 15 July each year. According to traditional folklore, whatever the weather is on the day, it will be so for the next 40 days and 40 nights!

An old poem on this legend goes like this:

“St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain

Full forty days, it will remain

St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair

For forty days, t’will rain no more”

And the story…

St Swithin born around the year 800 and became the Bishop of Winchester. He requested that, upon his death his remains be buried outside in a simple tomb “where the sweet rain of heaven may fall upon my grave”. According to legend, when his remains were moved inside the Cathedral, there was a great storm. It rained for many days and weeks thereafter.

As the old saying goes, if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, it will rain for the next forty days and forty nights. If St Swithin’s Day is dry, the next forty days and forty nights will also be dry.

Not sure if any one takes the prediction literally but according to weather experts there is no statistical evidence to support forty days dry or forty rainy days following July 15 since records began in 1861.

2 | Poems in July

“Answer July—
Where is the Bee—
Where is the Blush—
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July—
Where is the Seed—
Where is the Bud—
Where is the May—
Answer Thee—Me—”

Emily Dickinson, “Answer July”

“Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.” 

Sara Coleridge, “Pretty Lessons in Verse”

“The Summer looks out from her brazen tower,

Through the flashing bars of July.” 

Francis Thompson, “A Corymbus for Autumn”

“The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying.  Its fragrant, delicate petals open fully and are ready to fall, without regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun.  It is so every summer.  One can almost hear their pink, fragrant murmur as they settle down upon the grass: ‘Summer, summer, it will always be summer.'”

Rachel Peden

3 | Other folklores associated with the month of July

Ne’er trust a July sky.

If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.

No tempest, good July, Lest the corn look ruely.

Whatever July and August do not boil, September can not fry.

Celebrations in the month of July

canada.day.presently.july.2021

July 1 is the National Day of Canada. It celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, the effective date of the Constitution Act.

alice.in.wonderland.july.summer.2021

Annual celebration of the much loved classic children’s book – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

july 4th | presently July 2021

July 4 is the American Independence Day. A national holiday celebrating the anniversary of July 4, 1776, the day on which the original 13 colonies of the United States declared independence from British rule.

chocolate.summer.july.2021

World Chocolate Day July 7 2021 – Celebrating all things chocolate! 🙂

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July 11 2021. The UEFA EURO 2020 final takes place on Sunday 11 July kicking off at 21:00 CET postponed from 12 July 2020. Wembley will also host the semi-finals on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 July.

bastille.day

July 14 2021 – Celebrating French Independence. Bastille Day is a holiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille, military fortress and prison which took place on July 14, 1789. A violent uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution.

olympic.summer.2021

The Olympics – the world’s biggest sporting event, held every four years. Scheduled to be held from July 23 through to August 8 2021.

Postponed from 2020, this time it will be held in Tokyo Japan.

National Picnic Month

July was founded as the National Picnic Month by the American Bakers’ Association in 1952. It seems perfectly understandable why the month is dedicated to picnics. The warm air, bright blue cloudless skies stirs up the appetite. Garden vegetables, fruits, cheese and pickles make outdoor eating easier. With longer days, there’s no rush to head home but to enjoy the warmth of the sun for as long as it affords you to.

The word ‘picnic’ is derived from the French word, ‘piquenique’ which originated around the 17th or 18th century. It means a social gathering where each one bring some food to share in a leisurely style of eating – sort of 18th century al fresco French dining. A bottle of wine, loaf of bread, lots of cheese and fruits for a leisurely meal under the blue sky.

And the best of July must surely be the National Ice Cream Day!

National Ice Cream Day is celebrated every third Sunday in July which means it is July 18 this year. A day is decreed as National Ice Cream Day by President Reagan in 1984 by describing ice cream as ‘‘a nutritious and wholesome food enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States.’’ The US still lead the way in the consumption of this delightful frozen treat but it has sparked cravings world over and is celebrated annually.


Recap since June e-column

Here are all the articles published in June and the latest in July if you have missed them:

city walking tours in Amsterdam
Royal Windsor Steam Express - Unique train travel | Scenic train journeys in UK
cycling in Amsterdam
Amsterdam by bike
canal biking in Amsterdam
Delicious Dutch culture food in Amsterdam
10 practical travel information for Amsterdam
Explore Amsterdam with superb value I Amsterdam City Card
best food walking tour in Amsterdam
Presently June 2021
Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel - Amsterdam
Best of England UK
June 18 2021
Ultimate guide to the best of Amsterdam


Summer 2021 seems so different from the last. Crowded beaches, busy parks and cities are alive again, with so many of us out and about basking in the summer sunshine. The longer days are so welcoming and the warm sun just livens up a dull moment.

Whatever you get up to this July, remember your scoop on the wafer cone and time in the parks.

Till next time.

xoxo


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Presently June 2021

Presently June 2021

It is the month of June,

The month of leaves and roses,

When pleasant sights salute the eyes,

And pleasant scents the noses.

– N.P. Willis (1807-67)

…. and it is the favourite month for weddings

Welcome to June’s e-column…

About the month of June

June means Summer is here! A time where things really begin to get into full swing with beautiful bouquets, delicious fruits and vegetables. Each day lasting a little bit longer and summer evenings become a treat to look forward to with the undeniable urge to get out there and enjoy the sunshine. This is not the case if you live in the southern hemisphere though. In the southern hemisphere, June is just about the time when winter starts to set in, the days are shorter and nights become cooler and fresher. Wherever you are in the world, June marks the first half of the year is here and the next six months to look forward to.

History of ‘June’

June is the sixth month in our modern day Gregorian Calendar and it was the sixth month in the Julian calendar as well. This was not always the case. June was the fourth month of the year in the earlier Roman calendar and the year was made of 10 months – all these before Julius Caesar came to power. Then, around 46 BC, the Julian Calendar was born when two months were added to the year, making it 12 months in length and June became the sixth month with 30 days.

Origins of ‘June’

There are a couple of theories on how the name ‘June’ came about. One theory rests upon the Latin word, ‘juvenis’ meaning ‘young people’ who were celebrated during this month. Another theory, and I am much inclined to accept this one is that the month was named after the Roman goddess of marriage and well-being of women, Juno.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month of June, sera monath, meaning “dry month.”

Why is the month of June popular for weddings?

Traditionally, June was the month to marry.

It was the belief that goddess Juno, for whom the month of June is named was the protector of women in all aspects of life, especially so in marriage and in childbearing. Therefore, a wedding in June was considered most auspicious.

June weddings also comes from the Celtic calendar. On the Cross-Quarter Day of Beltane, (May Day, May 1), young couples were paired off for three months. If their courtship lasted the duration, they would wed on the next Cross-Quarter Day (Lammas Day, August 1). However, the waiting period was shortened and the couples would wed in June, thereby bringing about the popularity of June weddings.

Aside from traditions, June makes a perfect month to marry because the weather is better, more predictable (less rain) and makes it easier for guests to travel to get to the wedding venue.

June birthstone

June’s birthstone is generally considered to be the Pearl, along with Alexandrite and Moonstone. Pearl is by far the most popular of the three. With their natural beauty, pearls have been beloved for centuries.

Pearls are associated with purity, honesty and calmness. It is said that if you dream of a pearl ring, then expect romance to come your way. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the tears of joy from the goddess of love, Aphrodite. The ancient Egyptians associated pearls with Isis, the goddess of healing and life.

This natural gem with exquisite white lustre, has a demure glow, and create a look that’s simple, elegant and appropriate for any occasion.

Alexandrite – an extremely rare gem that changes colour. In the daylight, it is blueish green and becomes purplish red in incandescent light.

Moonstone – a gem that shimmers like moonlight. The clearer the gem, and bluer the sheen, the more valuable it is.

June birthflower

Presently June 2021
Presently June 2021

June’s birth-flowers are the rose and honeysuckle – both associated with all things love, desire, generosity and affection.

Rose – has inspired many poets and painters for centuries and has more symbolic meanings than one can imagine! A pink rose is said to mean ‘happiness’, a red rose means ‘I love you’ while a white rose represents ‘innocence, purity and new beginnings’

Honeysuckle strongly means ‘everlasting bonds of love’

June – Folklore, Festivals, Superstitions & Traditions

Summer solstice

Summer solstice – the longest daylight hours of the year is June 21 or it could be June 22 on a leap year. It is the day when the sun is at the most northerly point which creates “the longest day” of the year.

Summer solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge, Wiltshire to a great extend. Thousands gather to watch the sunrise on this special day of the year with cheering and revelling. Stonehenge is a sacred place for the Druid and pagan community who perform rituals, invoking a great sense of awe and humility.

Read > Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture. Learn more about summer solstice celebrations along with the possible theories surrounding the construction of these huge stones which have stood there for thousands of years and no one knows how it got there!

Midsummer’s Day

Midsummer’s day comes after the summer solstice, the longest day in the northern hemisphere and the shortest day in the southern hemisphere. which is the middle of summer – on June 24. It is a day associated with witches, magic, fairies and dancing.

Traditionally, on the eve of Midsummer’s day, many bonfires were lit all around the country. This was done in praise of the sun, as the days were getting shorter and the sun appeared weaker. So, bonfires were lit to energise the sun.

Superstitions associated with Midsummer’s Day

As we know, roses are special in June. Roses were even more special on the eve of Midsummer’s Day. Superstition has it that any rose picked on the eve of Midsummer’s Day will keep fresh until Christmas. It has also been said at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, girls should scatter rose petals before them and, the next day their true love will visit them.

Well Dressing

Presenly June 2021 | Well Dressing
© Well Dressing Derbyshire

There are ceremonies called ‘Well Dressing’ that takes place at various times during June as well as throughout summer. Wells of fresh water and springs that come from underground streams have always been considered special, so some wells are decorated with greenery and beautiful pictures of flowers and moss.

Some Well Dressing events for 2021 are cancelled but you could look up locations via Derbyshire Well Dressing link for a future visit.

Weather-lore and sayings

‘A calm June puts the farmer in tune’

‘June damp and warm, does the farmer no harm’

Recap of what has been happening since May e-column

The month of May flew by very quickly – with more walks in the local country parks, trips local and away, and birthdays to celebrate, along with more writing on the city of canals. Here are all the articles written and published in the month of May and up to the latest in June:

Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam
3rd June 2021
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel - Amsterdam
1st June 2021
Amsterdam Bos Netherlands
30th May 2021
Amsterdam Uithoorn
27th May 2021
Amsterdam | See and Do | rent a bike
24th May 2021
Stroopwafels in Amsterdam
22nd May 2021
Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City
13th May 2021
Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397
11th May 2021
Amsterdam City and Regional Public Transport Travel Pass
11th May 2021
best value public transport ticket for Amsterdam
8th May 2021
Amsterdam Inspiration - Travel quotes and sayings
6th May 2021
Lady Arbella Stuart | History
2nd May 2021

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On a final note…

The month of June is an interesting one and certainly made me smile when I stumbled upon the lore on the rose petals in my research. I must admit, I did not know very much about the Well Dressing festival or how widely it is celebrated still in modern day , so I hope to make it to one of the festivals next year. As well, what a beautiful portrayal of the priceless jewel, pearls – a natural gem every girl should be bestowed with along with roses of all colours 🙂

I am hopeful that the month of June henceforth will bring good days of warmer sunshine and will make exploring UK possible. I have a few trips planned this summer, bbq Sundays with family & friends and I look forward to some relaxing ‘me’ time.

Whatever you get up to, have a splendid rest of the month of June.

Till next time,

xoxo

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Presently May 2021

Presently May 2021

As the first day of May dawns, it begins with celebration of May Day that dates back to ancient times. Rich in folklores of maypoles, Morris dancing and May queens, the day is now known as Labour Day or International Workers Day. The day also marks the mid-point to summer in the northern hemisphere, and the beginning of autumn in southern hemisphere. The beautiful month of May ushers in longer and warmer days where the fresh cold winds of winter are gone! With birds chirping, rainbow hues of spring flowers everywhere, and right about the time when delicate, beautiful Lily of the Valleys and Hawthorne adorn the grounds, hopeful of joyful, fun and bbq days ahead 🙂

Whilst we work hard to be accurate, and provide the best information as possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.

About the Month of May

May is the fifth month in the Gregorian Calendar, has thirty-one days and is associated with spring in Northern hemisphere and autumn in Southern hemisphere. May 1st is notable for its May Day celebrations – spring celebrations which has its roots in medieval and astronomy. However, May Day has developed into a celebration of workers day worldwide, popularly known as Labor/Labour Day. The day is a public holiday in European countries, the Russian Federation and in some Asian countries. In USA, Canada and Australia, the date is said to vary.

In UK, the first Monday in May has been a bank holiday in Scotland since 1871. The early bank holiday Monday in May was only introduced to the rest of UK in 1978.

Origins of ‘May’

May is named after the Greek fertility goddess, Maia who was celebrated for the growth of plants. The month is a time for great celebrations in the the northern hemisphere as it is the time of ‘rebirth’ where the flowers begin to bloom and crops begin to sprout.

The Anglo-Saxon called the month of May, ‘Tri-Milchi’ because with the lush new grass meant that the cows could be milked three times a day! The month was first referred as ‘May’ in about 1430s. Prior to this, the month was Maius, Mayes or Mai.

May birthstone

May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring and those born in this special month can proudly call Emerald as their birthstone. Emerald carries a rich green colour of spring and radiates a beautiful and brilliant tone. Emerald, derived from the word “smaragdus,” means, quite literally, “green” in Greek. A symbol of ‘rebirth’. Emerald is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth.

May birth flower

May adorns us with the delicate and sweet scent of Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn as its birth flower. There are many myths and legends surrounding these flowers.

Lily of the Valley

Lily-of the-Valley are one of the most fragrant blooming plants that has been around since at least 1000 B.C. This spring flower is a moisture loving, woodland flowering plant. They are sweetly scented, nodding and bell-shaped white flowers. The stems are of medium bright green. Lily of the Valley flowers grows easily and are native throughout cool temperate northern hemisphere. Red seed pods remains after flowering which makes Lily of the Valley attractive after blooming and very carefree.

With its delicate flowers and sweet scent, Lily of the Valley is a favourite of many. The flowers are a special favourite of royal brides.

There are many myths and legends that surrounds the origins of Lily of the Valley. Here are just two:

Some say that the Lily of the Valley appeared when Eve’s tears fell after she was evicted from the Garden of Eden. Others say that when St Leonard fought a fearless fight against a dragon, the lilies appeared wherever the brave warrior’s blood fell.

The sweetly scented Lily of the Valley is said to symbolise humility, sweetness and the return of happiness – a perfect gift for Mother’s Day should it fall in the month of May.

Hawthorne

Hawthorne hedges have been around since Roman times and are a favourite for bees and about three hundred species of insects. They commonly grow freely in hedgerows, woodland and scrubs. While they grow well in most soil, they flower and fruit best in full sun. Hawthorne are also no stranger to gathering numerous folklore and superstitions.

Hawthorne: pale green leaves, pale pink flowers – sign of spring turning to summer.

Hawthorne fruits known as “Haws”

Hawthorne’s pale green leaves are the first to appear in spring with an explosion of pale pink blossoms in May – a sign that spring is turning to summer. Flowers are highly scented, white or occasionally pink with five petals, and grow in flat-topped clusters. Its fruits, once pollinated by insects, develop into deep-red fruits known as ‘haws’.

The myths and legends surrounding Hawthorne are many and here are two:

Hawthorne is a pagan symbol of fertility and associated to May Day since ancient times. It was used as Maypole and its flowers and leaves were used for May Day garlands and wreaths for the Green Man! Hawthorne is also associated with death and must never be brought into the home. It is believed that Hawthorne blossom inside the house will bring about death, illness and grave misfortune. In medieval times, the smell of Hawthorne flowers was equated to the smell of death, the Great Plague.

Having said that, the following is going to make you smile 🙂 – something that is associated with death, Hawthorne timber is used for making cabinets and veneers as well as boxes, tool handles and boat parts. It also makes good firewood and said to burn to high temperatures. As for the young leaves, flower buds and young flowers – they are all edible! They can be added to salads and the developing flower buds are said to be particularly good, though you are not advised to eat the haws.

About ‘May Day’

In UK, as in most parts of western Europe, May Day marks the end of harsh winter months. Although summer does not officially begin until June but May Day has traditionally been noted as the beginning of summer. May Day celebrations in UK has gone on since Roman times for 2000 years. The Romans celebrated the Festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flower which marked the beginning of summer. The festival was celebrated from April 28 through to May 3.

Origins of May Day

May Day is said to have its roots in astronomy! The ancient Celts believed that May 1 is the half-way point between spring equinox and summer solstice. The solstices and equinoxes were called “Quarter Days” and the mid-points was called “Cross-Quarter Days” marking the beginning of a season.  Equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter days are all points of Earth’s orbit around the sun.

May Day Traditions and Celebrations

Many villages across Britain celebrate the ancient spring May Day festivals of maypole, Morris dancing, music and entertainment.

The Maypole Dance

The Maypole Dance has its origins with ancient Celts. The ancient Celts celebrated ‘Beltane’ to mark the peak of spring and the beginning of summer. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic word ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and ‘teine’ from the Gaelic word meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun. In ancient times, the Celts also danced around a real tree brought-in from the woods, praying for good crops and fertility. The tall tree (pole) usually garlanded with greenery and flowers and hung with ribbons. These ribbons were woven into complex patterns by the dancers. The dances are part of spring rites to ensure fertility.

Watch Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh Virtually

For the younger generation, maypole day was a day for courtship. If a couple were paired by sundown, then their courtship would continue for six weeks to get to know each other. They will then marry on Midsummer’s Day in June. Maypoles are still part of some village life and villages dance around it.

In some parts of Britain, May 1st is known as Garland Day. Children from English rural villages would parade with garlands of flowers, sometimes fastened to a stick.

Morris Dancing

Beltane Border Morris Dance

Another tradition that is seen throughout May is Morris Dancing. This is a traditional English form of folk dancing performed by a group of men or women. Morris Dancing has been performed for hundreds of years in villages of rural England and passed down from generation to generation. They wear different colours of clothes depending on which part of the country they come from. There are several thoughts as to its origin and is believed to have originated from the Moors of North Africa. Many different groups perform Morris Dancing at the Medway Sweeps Festival.

Learn more about Morris Dancing > Morris Ring, Tradition and History

Other festivals, traditions and celebrations

Although the May Day celebrations had been observed for centuries, with even Jack-in-the-Green making an appearance in Hastings and May Queen being crowned, but over time, the celebrations have altered from their ancient folk roots, becoming more centred towards their own communities, while still embracing their traditions. If you would like to attend one such festival, look up some of the following best traditional May Day events: