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…
‘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.
Today sees the start of the Guinness Six Nations 2020. This will be the 21st Six Nations Championship, the annual rugby union competition contested by the national teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. As Wales meets Italy in the first match of the Championship I am reminded of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’:
by Rudyard Kipling
IF you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Winter afternoon treat at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne today. The epitome of old Englishness and luxury, I never tire of this fabulous hotel. Was interested to see whose shoes I followed into that beautiful building. Apparently Claude Debussy, Ernest Shackleton, Charlie Chaplin, Dame Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Bros have all preceded me:
Martin Luther King. Inspirational Baptist minister and political activist, he played a key role in ending legal segregation of African-American citizens and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
In 2017 I toured America’s Deep South and was moved beyond words to retrace Martin Luther King’s history.
‘You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say’ Martin Luther King’.
“The only way to spend New Year’s Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears.”
— W.H. Auden
“I do think New Year’s resolutions can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you? Since, because it’s an extension of New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”