Saint Andrew’s Day.

Today (30 November) is Saint Andrew’s Day- the feast day of Andrew the Apostle and Scotland’s national day.

Saint Andrew the patron saint of Scotland,was born between the years 5 AD and 10 AD in a place that is now part of Israel. According to Christianity, he went on to become one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. Andrew’s brother, Simon Peter, was also one of the disciples. They both lived in Galilee, where they were fishermen.

St Andrew never actually stepped foot in Scotland his whole life! So why is he their Patron Saint? One story says that in the 9th Century, King Angus in Scotland was preparing for a battle against the English. St Andrew appeared to King Angus in a dream promising him victory and on the day of the battle, an X symbol appeared in the sky, which was the symbol of St Andrew. He vowed that if they won, St Andrew would be made the patron saint of Scotland – and that is exactly what happened.This is why the Scottish flag has the X-shaped cross on it, as it is St Andrew’s symbol.

Happy Saint Andrew’s Day Scotland.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, is based on the colonial Pilgrims’ 1621 harvest meal. The holiday continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day of feasting, football and family.

Unfortunately due to the 2020 Pandemic things might be a bit different this year. However there is the virtual option.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

Hastings, East Sussex.

View from East Hill

Today was a trip down the coast to Hastings. The town lies between two hills- East and West. It was attacked by the French during the Hundred Years War. The architecture is a fascinating mish-mash of styles ranging from Medieval to Victorian times.

The old town high street (George Street) is a diverse mix of antiquity and modern cosmopolitan. There are cute narrow twittens running off the Main Street up into the cliffs.

Enjoy a game of open air chess in the Old Town square.

Hastings has a thriving fishing community. It’s fleet is the largest in Europe that is launched from a beach as opposed to a quay or harbour.

A local character?

Bench on the East Cliffs.

Lastly Hastings was the birthplace of Grey Owl, a pioneer Of Canada conservation- said to have saved the Canadian beaver from extinction.

The Long Man of Wilmington.

The Long Man of Wilmington

The Long Man of Wilmington situated on the South Downs in Sussex.

Formerly thought to originate in the Iron Age or even the neolithic period, a 2003 archaeological investigation has shown that the figure may have been cut in the Early Modern era – the 16th or 17th century AD. The Long Man is one of two extant human hill figures in East Sussex; the other is the Litlington White Horse, also in East Sussex.

Another autumn walk for us on a bright Sunday on the Sunshine Coast.

Goblin Market

By Christina Rossetti.

Goblin Market (published in 1862) is a narrative poem which tells the story of Laura and Lizzie who are tempted with fruit by goblin merchants. It is one of my favourite poems generally and my favourite Rossetti poem in particular.

Evening by evening 
Among the brookside rushes, 
Laura bow’d her head to hear, 
Lizzie veil’d her blushes: 
Crouching close together 
In the cooling weather, 
With clasping arms and cautioning lips, 
With tingling cheeks and finger tips. 
“Lie close,” Laura said, 
Pricking up her golden head: 
“We must not look at goblin men, 
We must not buy their fruits: 
Who knows upon what soil they fed 
Their hungry thirsty roots?” 
“Come buy,” call the goblins 
Hobbling down the glen. 

“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie cover’d up her eyes,
Cover’d close lest they should look;
Laura rear’d her glossy head,
And whisper’d like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail,
One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.

… (extract)

It’s a fairytale world of temptation and mystery, exploring themes of temptation, sacrifice and salvation.

Ancient themes magically visited in beautiful lyrical language.

Bodiam Castle.

We spent Bank Holiday Monday at Bodiam Castle on the Kent/ Sussex border. It was built by Sir Edward Dallingridge c. 1385.

Sir Edward was born into the minor gentry c. 1346. Lady Elizabeth, sir Edwards wife, was a key figure in the castle’s history. She was heiress to the land of Bodiam and considerably wealthy to boot! Upon marriage Sir Edward was entitled to her land and money, which helped him to build the castle. A castle the size of Bodiam was large enough to house up to eighty servants.

On a natural note the castle plays host to bats, particularly the largest Daubenton maternity roost in England as well as well as a maternity roost of Natterer’s bats.

The castle stands alongside the River Rother and there is a beautiful walk following the river. The Tenterden to Bodiam railway also runs alongside the Castle stretch. There is nothing nicer than walking alongside the river with the castle on one side and the steam train passing by on the other. East Sussex is diverse and beautiful.

Rural villages. Northiam, East Sussex.

Today we did a rural village walk. Our route around the village of Northiam was taken from East Sussex Walks. In and around the rural villages by Sandy Hernu (ISBN 1857700597)

Our three and a half mile walk was quintessentially English on this late summer day.

An unexpected point of interest was Queen Elizabeth’s Oak. The remains of this huge oak tree is where Queen Elizabeth I chose to sit beneath and rest on her journey to the nearby town of Rye on August 11th 1573. She was served a meal under its branches brought from a nearby house. She then changed her shoes , leaving behind the original green damask ones as a momento of her visit. Apparently they still exist.

English Country Garden.

Chartwell Kent

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We’ll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you’ll surely pardon
Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden…

English Country Garden Song by Jimmie Rodgers

Battle of Bosworth.

‘Early in the morning men prepare their souls and their equipment for the forthcoming battle. Sounds of stone on blades and murmured Latin prayers are soon drowned out by the din of the drums calling the men to muster.’

On the 22nd August 1485 Henry Tudor brought a small rebel army to face the much larger Royal army of King Richard III.

The Battle of Bosworth heralded the dawn of the Tudor Age. England would never be the same again. The Church of England was founded and the British Empire was born.

‘Why, our battalion trebles that account:
Besides, the king’s name is a tower of strength,
Which they upon the adverse party want.
Up with my tent there! Valiant gentlemen,
Let us survey the vantage of the field
Call for some men of sound direction
Let’s want no discipline, make no delay,
For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.

William Shakespeare. Richard III Act V, Scene 3 Bosworth Field.

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Brushed up on my Battle of Bosworth today at: https://www.bosworthbattlefield.org.uk/

Clementine and Winston Churchill

Winston and Clementine Churchill. Bronze statue in the gardens of their home Chartwell, Kent.

By Winston Churchill’s own admission, his wife Clementine was a driving force in his becoming British Prime Minister and helping him steer the country through the second world war.

The above statue of The Churchills can be found in the gardens of Chartwell, their home for over forty years from September 1922 until shortly before his death in 1965.

I love this statue and like to imagine them both taking a quiet moment beside the lakes in the grounds of Chartwell, perhaps discussing the way forward for the country. ‘Behind every great man…’

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell

H

Batemans and Rudyard Kipling.

“We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself]said ‘That’s her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!’. We entered and felt her Spirit – her Feng Shui – to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the ‘new’ end of her was three hundred years old…”

Rudyard Kipling on discovering Batemans, his future home.

Rudyard Kipling’s Jacobean Batemans.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans/features/house-at-batemans

On this day in history

Three hundred and one years ago today, 25 April 1719, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe- the novel about a man stranded on a tropical desert island-was published.

Desert island risks: Robinson Crusoe at 300