The Month Of November

The Month Of November

by Michelle Brett

Michelle Brett looks at all the offerings November brings, from the garden to the kitchen and of course, bonfire celebrations

November retained its name from the Latin novem, meaning nine, from when it was the ninth month of the Roman calendar. The Anglo-Saxon name for the month was Blotmonath, blood month, as this was the traditional time to slaughter the animals and preserve their meat – much cheaper than keeping the animals alive during the winter months. This also lent itself to hearty feasting, as those items that couldn’t be preserved were cooked up.

Poppies are worn by many in the first two weeks of this month in honour of Remembrance Sunday, commemorating the military and civilian servicemen and women from the two World Wars and the later conflicts. Always held on the Sunday nearest to Armistice Day, 11th November, when the First World War ended at 11am in 1918: one hundred years ago.

In the Garden

Only the hardiest of vegetables are left in the kitchen garden, carrots, parsnips, leeks and winter cabbage to name a few – but aren’t they the hearty, warming vegetables that we crave now that the weather is turning colder? Tulips are great for the tardy gardener – they can be planted late and will provide an amazing late spring display. Plant them at three times their own depth, and they can go pretty much anywhere except soil that lays very wet. Why not plant them amongst violas and pansies in pots to get a continuous display? Now’s the time to start to feed the birds. There’s still plenty of food for them in the hedgerows and gardens, but they need to know where to come in leaner times.

In the Kitchen

The ingredients that we associate with the festive season appear this month: cranberries, clementines, satsumas, almonds, sweet chestnuts and walnuts, among others. Goose, turkey and venison, cod, mussels and sea bream are all in season this month as well.

Facts and Figures

“Remember, Remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot…”

All of Sussex’s Bonfire Societies are now well into their yearly events, and what a sight to behold it is too. Monday the fifth will see Lewes’ roads and railway station close, in anticipation of probably the largest annual event that our County Town has to offer. With over 30 different processions, each society has their own route which will come together to march through Lewes town.

In the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, the Parliament of England in 1606 passed the Observance of 5th November Act 1605. It required church ministers to hold a service of Thanksgiving annually on the 5th November, which everyone was required to attend. This law was repealed in 1859 by the Anniversary Days Observance Act which repealed several laws mandating political or state services.

The sea temperature will drop to an average of 14.7° here on the south coast this month. We lose another one hour and thirty-six minutes of daylight, leaving us with just over eight hours.

For those born in November, you’ll be either under the Scorpio or a Sagittarius star sign, with the birthstone being a topaz, and birth flower a chrysanthemum, meaning compassion, friendship and joy. Famous birthdays this month include Billy Connolly (24th), Art Garfunkel (5th), Prince Charles (14th), Demi Moore (11th) and Kim Wilde (18th).