Snordwich Chronciles, VI: Winter Penitence

Back in Plumville, Lord Snordwich’s tenant Robert Fowler and his wife Elvina prepare for the coming cold.

Robert and Elvina live a one-room cottage with a small gardening patch and chicken coop. They are one of the poorest families in the village, but have always managed to scrape by. Elvina prides herself on keeping their little home clean and tidy, and her husband meticulously rations out their food and fuel to ensure they have enough to see them through the year.

It is the first day of winter, and Elvina is making soul cakes to celebrate All Souls’ Eve.

These flat, buttery cakes are traditionally given to local children in exchange for their prayers for the dead, but, since there are none old enough, Robert and Elivna share theirs with their neighbours, John and Juliana.

As the sun sets, the church bell rings to ward evil spirits, to keep them from cursing the living or leading the dead astray.

Among this year’s departed is Robert’s father, an honest, patient man beloved by the his friends, but sickly throughout his life and finally dependent on the charity of the church. On this hallowed evening, Elvina sets a place for him at supper, to sustain him on his journey to the afterlife.

When she and her husband retire to bed, they leave a candle burning above the fireplace to help him light his way.

In his All Souls’ service the following morning, Parson Reviers honours the good men and wives the village has lost that year.

The Feast of All Souls and its vigil are holidays, but on the following day Robert and Elvina must return to work. Although their small garden and birds provide them with just about enough food, to afford other necessities they must find ways to supplement their income. Elivina is a competent joiner, and is currently making a new table for Goodman Brewer, which Robert will deliver in exchange for cloth and coin.

Robert himself rents a fishing boat from Plumbob Hall and takes it out onto the river. Any salmon he catches must be surrendered to Humphrey the Cook for his lordship’s own table, but a portion of the rest Robert may keep to eat or sell.

The need to make ends meet is more urgent than ever before, as the couple are expecting their first child.

They are both apprehensive about new arrival. Elvina remembers how difficult she found it when four noisy, messy younger siblings erupted into her parents’ orderly household. And while Robert knows that their children will eventually be able to help them with the cottage, he is anxious about the cost of extra clothing, medicine, bedding, and food.

On Wednesday evening, Goodwife Jardine sees Elvina safely through her delivery. Her daughter, Aelfgiva, has light brown eyes and a strong, healthy grip.

Mother and baby will stay at home until they have received their blessings, so the following morning Robert goes to church alone. The service it to celebrate the Feast of the Children, a joyful festival that precedes three days of penitence and fasting. On her way to hear the sermon, Juliana stops by the house, bringing Aelfgiva a stuffed sheep she has sewn together out of scraps of fabric.

The seasonal ban on eggs, butter, meat, and other rich foods begins at sunset, so for lunch Elvina uses up some of the hens’ eggs in a thick herb omelette.

The rest of the eggs she pickles and stores in the cellar for later in the winter.

Aelfgiva’s naming ceremony is held on the first day of the winter penitence. The following celebration is not lavish, but the villagers are happy to come together over steaming bowls of fish stew, and Robert is relieved to have avoided providing a more expensive meal.

Jaclyn plays with a wooden dragon her parents must have given her for the Feast of the Children.

Eda checks on Aelfgiva, who continues to grow hale and happy.

The days that follow provide more chances to fish. On Saturday, Robert and John rent a boat together. They see Henry Yates out on the river too.

Fish are in high demand during the winter penitence, and Humphrey the Cook is happy to buy Robert and John’s share of the day’s catch to fry for the high table.

The fast will end sunset on Sunday. In preparation for the evening feast, the village wives bring their uncooked loaves to the bakery. They spend the morning there, chattering, nursing their infants, and tying bundles of mistletoe to hang up in their homes.

The road up to Plumbob Hall is bustling from dawn to midday. The following day is the Feast of the Nativity, and the Cecils’ festivities draw guests and entertainers from all over the barony. Many sorts of people make their way up the hill, while riders from the manor bring down white and gold samite for the church altar. Sir Thomas Ros and Ralf the Groom stop at the tavern for a drink of Snordwich Sunset.

In the evening, the villagers gather in homes across town to break their fast. John and Juliana visit Robert’s cottage with spiced buns and a cured ham.

They stay up late into the night, and, when the bell strikes twelve, everyone heads to the church to see in the Feast of the Nativity with a midnight service.

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14 thoughts on “Snordwich Chronciles, VI: Winter Penitence

  1. This is like a little peak into history, and you do a wonderful job of making it seem very authentic!! Only one question…why was the Green Dragon drink purple?? lol (it’s actually my favorite color!) =) I am looking forward to more of the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, whoops!! Thanks very much for catching that. I have a mod that gives me different colours of nectar but I made the wrong prediction about what colour this mix would turn out! I wrote the description in the post just before my sim did the pouring, and I forgot to update it. It’s now called ‘Snordwich Sunset’ 🙂 The creator of the mod has actually helpfully provided a tuning file so you can select which fruits come out which colour yourself, but some of the grapes have names that are different from the ones that show up in game so I’m not sure which is which.

      I’m glad you’re liking the posts, and I really appreciate all your comments 🙂 Midwinter is kind of a hectic time of year with all the different celebrations (more of which to come in the next part), and I’m enjoying that, but I’m also looking forward to getting some more normal play time with these sims as well.

      Happy simming! xx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the Fowlers – along with the Yates’ they’re probably my favourites (Jaclyn is growing up so cute!). I always seem to love the ‘underdogs’, or in this case, the poorest families! I love their little house, the cellar is particularly cute. I’ve not used the canning station in a while, and had never though to pickle eggs. They look so cute suspended in the jars, even if I wouldn’t find them very appetising!!

    I’m just catching up on all your posts today, looking forward to reading about what’s been happening in your game!

    Misslcd.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reading through a few chapters before bed (also lot shopping for my salmon woods save so been going through your barnacle bay builds as I knew someone had to have some nice 30 by 20 homes rather than 20 by 30 and I found what I needed. :)) I really liked this one can really see the origins of Halloween/spooky day in all souls eve. I must say your sims always have the best noses. Love the picture of Robert listening to the Baby, the look on his face is just great. Jaclyn Is quiet possibly one of the most adorable sims 3 toddlers I’ve ever seen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lovely to see you 🙂 Yes, I think 30×20 is tough because the garden has to go at the side; I just have the two I think (Tidal Retreat and Love Nest). Glad you found something to work for you.

      And glad you enjoyed the part! Haha, yeah Jaclyn’s got such a cute little face 🙂 Thank you for the compliment about the noses! I do find that’s the feature that usually needs changed the most with EA premades (the eyes too, but they mostly just need shrunk).

      Like

      • Yep i downloaded both of them. I only needed two homes that size so was perfect. 😀 Salmon woods is very nautical so your builds go perfectly. I’m ashamed of myself I have entered the clutter side of CC O_O. Its a major problem I can see why you always said you didn’t want to go there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh that’s great!

        Lol, oh no you’ve been pulled in! Haha, no need to be ashamed though 🙂 Whatever works for you and your game. Tbh I’m a bit envious–there’s so much stuff I’d love to have. I just worry I wouldn’t know where to stop.

        Do you have somewhere where you post how you’ve been decorating? Would be great to see what you’ve done with all that lovely clutter xx

        Like

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