Scarborough Fair

Flax Blossom
Flax Blossom

“Tell her to make me a Cambric shirt,” well we do have a flax blossom in today’s picture, so that’s a good start. Cambric is a very fine linen thought to have been originally produced in and around the town of Cambrai in France. It is much used for ecclesiastical robes, (and laypeople’s underwear) Google notes.
We only have this one little plant, struggling up, bravely, through the road surface, so I can’t see us getting a whole shirt out of it and, to be honest, that fits in nicely with the overriding theme of the song.
Our little ditty has been around for ages – possibly since 1400-and-something – and occurs in a great many versions with a great many variations of the lyric. Scarborough isn’t even the only place you could be going to, all you really need is a not-so-true love (available in many different sizes and styles) and a few impossible tasks, (similarly simple to locate) and we are ready to go.
Of particular interest is the phrase “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.” Some people note that in some songs of the period, that seem to be related to Scarborough Fair, a repeated phrase “There’s never a rose grows fairer in time” is often used. There is a consensus that the aforementioned herbal concoction is merely a corruption of this more thought-provoking meme.
History and hindsight make such snuggly bedfellows, don’t they?

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