As in Merrie Olde England that is.
Here's one (hopefully humorous) view of that sceptered isle!
Good evening SS,
With all due respect to the WSJ (though less so to its owner), I think the original quotation conveys a more appropriate image:
"This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."
But then I would, wouldn't I:-)
Well old chap (MOE style)
Here's one for you by way of thanks:
I was watching a BBC programme on "American Art" last week and one of the featured painters was John James Audobon. His great work, "Birds of America" , left me inspired and staggered all in the same breath. The sheer command of detail and sense of animation - some of the species seemed almost to be flying off the pages - was wonderful; and I know nothing at all of ornithology. The originals are housed somewhere in Philadelphia , and well worth a visit.
Ah yes Haitian born JJ Audobon was a genius and his works at the museum (Mill Grove) are awe inspiring.
May I also recommend the Norman Rockwell home and museum in western Massachusetts to complete your art journey? Norman's illustrations graced the covers of the Saturday Evening Post for decades and were painstakingly painted to reveal the inner minds of everyday men, women and children.
A very entertaining article! But a question to consider is ... what is an Englishman? This island has been invaded by people from many of the nations on the European Continent for well over 20 centuries. I understand (but could be corrected by any history gurus) that the original inhabitants of what became Angle Land (England) were pushed progressively westwards ... the Celts. The rest of us have a very mixed bloodline ... Viking / Roman / French / etc. For example, the Richard the Lionheart, referenced in the article, was actually a French Duke as well as the King of England. Ever since William (Duke of Normandy) successfully invaded England in 1066, we seem to have been at odds with the 'Continental French' ... and it is still so today, but now we seem to fight only on the financial front!
I always find it very entertaining to walk around areas of London and find history of both famous and infamous characters in close proximity. It is clearly down to the perspective us as individuals to try and assess which character fits in which category. Unfortunately, many of the celebrated 'heroes' of our past seem to have a darker side if one looks deeply. Given the performance of our current politicians, certain things haven't changed much. Perhaps we should review our previous methods of dealing with failed politicians ... for some, the fate of Oliver Cromwell or William Wallace may seem appropriate?!
I hope that you bought him a beer!
An interesting little story for you ... Irish. We were in a pub called Durty Nelly's (true name) near Bunratty Castle. In the pub, there were a lot of elderly Irish 'locals' who talked with tourists ... the tourists generally bought them beers (probably Guiness). There were many funny 'local' stories told by these gents. When we reached Cork (where we were staying with friends) we were told that most of these so-called 'locals' were bussed in each day from Cork! It irked me somewhat to have bought beer for an elderly conman! ... but that's Ireland for you. Still, Bunratty was an excellent castle and folk museum.
(I have permission from my wife ... Irish descent ... to pass on this story.)
Having been lucky enough to be a guest of the "British Mint", in Lantrassant (SP) Wales, I have total admiration for English history. They had coins and memorabilia from 1066.
The Marriott in Cardiff was very special and I love "The Castle Capital of the World, Wales"!
I am a bit of a castle-aholic. Anywhere that we see a castle, I just have to make a detour and have a visit. There are just so many in the UK. We've visited quite a few in Wales, even stayed in one in Scotland - Dunbeath Castle.
I am also a bit of a church-aholic ... if I see one with Norman or Early English features, we're pulling in and having a look around. Our local church dates from 1150 and is pretty stunning ... my daughter was married there ... it's about 5 mins walk from our house ...
While I was in Cardiff, Wales (Great Marriott), I had the chance to visit Cardiff Castle, and Breacons National Park. The British Mint driver told me there are more castles in Wales than any other country in the world. Your opinion? I saw a lot of them. Likewise, had the opportunity to visit Dover Castle. That was pretty spectacular. Too bad we did not have digital cameras in those days. Would love to have pictures of these places today!
I do not know if the driver was correct or not but it seems a bit doubtful to me. There is a huge number of castles in England, but I am not precious about the 'most castles' title, so the Welsh can have it if they like ... . I grew up in Kent near Dover castle, so I know it well ... unfortunately, all of my pics are non-digital and poor quality too. If you want to recap on Cardiff and Dover castles, have a look at this site ...
There are a good selection of pictures, if you click on the name. One of the most stunning is Leeds Castle ... in the South East section. Enjoy!