Weather Warning

I am writing words while seated at a borderland. My new watch has ceased to record any measurement, as this came from a respectable merchant the conclusion must be I have wandered into a place of possibilities. Though not a particularly inspiring vista. As far as the eye can see bleak grasslands, stroked by persistent moaning winds, the occasional rise in the ground breaking up the flatness, dark grey cover of cloud so pervasive it does not appear to have motion. Turning in all directions this would appear to be the circumstance for at least as far as the eye can see. This is not a place I would care to spend a night upon, the moon supressed by the cloud would not be able to shed illumination and such an environment would be ideal stalking grounds for things which abide in limited visibilities.

The grass is dry, hard stuff, appears to thrive in a place short on moisture; it is sucking sustenance from somewhere for there is no sign of rock, no earth, nor sound of water. I notice I do not feel chill from the continuing wind. This should be a winter, but the temperature is steady. A sullen, heavy warmth. Not freshened by breeze. Encouraged by the leaden sky.

So if this is a possibility what history brought about its domination?

Wherever this is the place is receptive to my thoughts, for the winds begin to birth voices far off at first, all discordant, becoming shrill as they grow closer. Conflicting. Arguments with neither side listening.

And these myriad angry reeds must have beginnings. So from all horizons come marching ghosts, rank upon rank, unfocused eyes narrowed in hate, mouths twisted in litanies of passions learned by rote.

I fear for I am at the centre where they must meet and will be witness and possibly caught up in their battles, battered about in a storm. For here they come, so close I can make out individual features; the ages, the races, the fashions. All sharing the sterility of confrontation. They meet, but do not see each other, they pass through me, they pass through each other. I am at the centre of a storm of voices and features, but no one sees the other. And on they pass marching over the horizons, away from each other, growing more distant. Once more I am alone.

So how often do these ghosts come back? Drawn by their dry, pointless passions, ever marching towards each other and never meeting. How much time was spent in their mortal spans upon this effort, giving up their potential for joy, love and accomplishment? At what stage did they cease to hold onto the value of Life and give way to this futility. I suppose there must have been conflict, and yet I saw no armed ghosts. Maybe those who took this option blew themselves literally out of existence. Are these hillocks and mounds the remains of cities and other artefacts now covered by the grasses?

So was this how it turns out. Now apocalyptic wastelands, no bones of cities and irradiated colourful vistas, no grotesquely shaped descendants with bizarre cultures. Did those who lived on hate and conflict suck hope and joy out of everyone? Did it become impossible to even live, much less thrive. And when we had finally ceased; weighed down by our depressing, bleak confrontations, had we polluted the world with this particular toxicity so much so that only harsh, leeching basic life continued?

Beneath a dull desolate sky.

We ended.

It would appear, not with a Bang, nor a whimper, just a bitter, derisive curl of the lip.

Who would have ever thought it?   

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A True History of The Isles Part 18- The Rule of William The Conqueror (and also The I)

In the previous seminars, we examined just how William came to be William The I of England. In this one we shall look at how he also became known as The Conqueror.

So although King of England William had many responsibilities. William, as we know originated in Normandy, which was not the same as France. In much the same way that neither were Maine, Anjou and Brittany to name but three. Whoever was count of Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Brittany etc in addition to fighting other counts, they also had to deal with troublesome relatives and revolting subject lords, of which there were many. Thus they were so busy they simply didn’t have time to recognise The King of France, unless he made it his business for them to do so by his leading a large army over their lands. And of course there were still some Vikings who had not realised their day was over, and it was time to stay Nordic and brood.

Realising he would have a regular commute across the channel William decided he would adopt most Anglo-Saxon laws as they seem quite well organised. Including a cleverly designed centralised taxation system .True he would have to adjust a few to prove that Norman nobles were always right in the eyes of the law (and possibly exempt from taxes), but he calculated that if he was tolerably affable to the Anglo-Saxon nobility and only execute those who lands he wanted he could arrange things to everyone’s satisfaction leaving him to deal with the more important business with Norman rebels, Maine, Anjou, Brittany etc.

However because 1066 had been momentous other people thought they should do stirring things as well and William was obliged to deal with the following.

A count of Boulogne who was useless but dissatisfied with his gain from 1066 and decided he wanted Dover; he tried to convince some folk who were rather Kentish to assist. It didn’t work.

There was an Anglo-Saxon Eadric who being wild thought he should rebel until William defeated him, thus with his wildness out of his system he settled down.

Another problematic person was a sleepless person known as Hereward, he avoided capture by convincing everyone Ely was an Isle but more importantly by being legendary. William being very cunning dealt with him by arranging the legend so that Hereward found he had been recorded as escaped to the continent at this point he lost his way.

The most troublesome of events for William with the exception of Norman rebels, Maine, Anjou, Brittany etc. was some surly Anglo-Saxon adolescent. This aetheling known as Edgar truculently invited some of those unsettled Vikings over and started rebelling in The North. William not sure if this was really Harold, or even Harald marched north with a large army intent on slaughtering anyone called Harold or any variation. This was called the harrying of the north, although technically should have been known as the edgaring. As his orders were vague on this matter most of his army didn’t bother to stop and check the names resulting in the North not recovering for many years. Annoyingly, although captured Edgar was let off and allowed to flee to the continent. As he was not legendary he kept rebelling until he discovered Italy and the Crusades.

In an attempt to stop all this rebelling William and those Normans who were loyal to him and not conniving with Norman rebels, Maine, Anjou, Brittany etc. went about England building castles at a prodigious rate, so much so that even Stonehenge was quite overlooked for a few centuries.

Thinking all was settled William went back to dealing with Norman rebels, Maine, Anjou, Brittany etc. However he found out some of his Anglo-Saxon earls were revolting, which his newly acquired common folk could have told him anyway. To punish them and remove some of their power he savagely abolished slavery, which undercut their property at a stroke. He then imposed a feudal system under which everyone belonged to the King, so nobles couldn’t sell anyone anymore as everyone was the king’s property. Many have railed against this system; they never having been at the very bottom end of the social ladder. To make sure no one would be inclined to question any of this William had everything written up in the Domesday Book. Although this sounds apocalyptical, it was actually one of the greatest Civil Service achievements of all time as it proved everyone was somewhere, and this could not be disputed as William had signed the book.

Because Williams was often away attending to Norman rebels, Maine, Anjou, Brittany etc. The scots under Malcom who was III invaded. This was in a way, fortunate for William as it gave his eldest son Robert something to do other than to plot against his father with Norman rebels, Maine, Anjou, Brittany etc. Robert successfully stopped the scots, invaded them right back and being a good Norman built a castle or two.

Having been told that the land to the west, was called Wales and some of its princes had earlier employed a few of his countrymen to invade and thus bother Anglo-Saxons William thought he should pay them a social visit. This he did with an army. What was rather puzzling to the welsh princes was the fact that he did not use his army to employ sword, flame or the new invention of harrying. The whole thing was rather peaceful and having made himself known he went away again, although the welsh did find few largish castles which hadn’t been there before inhabited by Norman garrisons.

It will be concluded therefore that William was a very active and mobile king, so it should come as no surprise that one day he died in the saddle in 1087 and thus not able to end the century in a proper and neat fashion.

In the next seminar, we shall consider the ramifications of this.

A True History of the Isles Part 17- What Everyone Else Was Up To 1000-1066

A True History of the Isles Part 16-Whose Throne is it Anyway??

A True History of the Isles Part 17- What Everyone Else Was Up To 1000-1066

The delay in posting this was due to the necessity of carrying out some very detailed research into the dynamics of the Scots, Irish and Welsh political circumstances in those turbulent years. (That and painting walls, watching the DVDs Captain America: Civil War & the one where Superman and Batman hit each other a lot, having to try and wrestle the book back from the characters out of Patchwork, and accumulating more music on Spotify that I can possibly listen to one month)

Anyway……

Of course everyone knows that Cnut was arguing with the sea, Edward confessing and Harold marching up and down England. But meanwhile other interesting things were taking place.

Scotland

Malcolm II started off the century quite well, he snatched bits of land off the Northumbrians which he claimed belonged to Scotland, fought some Vikings, and only let Cnut (the Canute) march into Scotland before they agreed Canute (The Cnut) could march back out again. In 1016 there was battle at Carham, in which the Scots and the Strathclyde fought Northumbria. Owen of Strathclyde conveniently died either of battle of or baldness and so that kingdom passed to Malcolm who died in 1034 due to a lack of sons.

Duncan I pretended he was old in an attempt to try and gain sympathy. He was actually quite young which allowed MacBeth to kill him in a battle in 1040 at Moray which at the time was not too keen on being part of Scotland.

MacBeth became king of Scotland but preferred to spend his time disagreeing with the king of Moray, or going on a pilgrimage to Roman. Therefore, since he had no time to bother other scots he was quite popular with them. As he was rude to the Anglo-Saxons who were practising being English, they didn’t forget. They also met someone called Malcolm who said he could do a much better job. Thus a Scotsman with English support invaded Scotland. Macbeth may have been slaughtered in battle in the ordinary way or confused by some trees he thought were moving. But history shows he was MacBeth and not ‘Shakespeare’s MacBeth’. Some locals thought MacBeth’s stepson should be king but since the only interesting thing about him was his name; Lulach mac Gille Coemgáin it was decided for best if he was assassinated.

Malcolm announced in 1058 that he was ‘The III’. And set to rule Scotland but the Vikings said he could only have the southern bit, so he built up his reputation by invading bits of England that no one apart from the locals cared about. He did not get very much involved with 1066.

 

Ireland

As previously recorded there was usually a lot of fuss who should be High King, that was until:

Brian Boru who had considerately changed his name from Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig. He was good at fighting and defeating lesser Irish kings as well at Vikings; the latter tried to cheat by saying they’d never really ruled bits of Ireland anyway. This was rightly dismissed as just plain whining and Brian Boru became king of Ireland; this claim was fortified by his dying heroically and nobly at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 when a viking treacherously slewed him when Boru was at prayer.

Because no one was really quite good enough to equal these achievements there was a period of quarrelsome kings (of all sorts of elevations), treacheries, betrayals, and all the other sorts of things which enable historians and writers of historical fiction to keep up their good work.

Because of the number of kings (still in the hundred or so) who wished to keep in with The Church, The Bards and The Metal Workers, culture flourished in Ireland, so much so that the Irish were able to think of the Scots are ‘rather provincial’ and so stopped the practice of sending Irish to Scotland.

So they really didn’t care at all what the Angles or Saxon got up to before 1066 and didn’t pay much attention when The Normans arrived.

 

Wales

The welsh kings had been constructively busy to the extent that by the 1000s; there were really only four welsh kingdoms Powys, Gwynedd, Dyfed/Deheubarth and Morgannwg. Many wished to make sure they didn’t once more end up in the embarrassing position of having to be legally obliged to listen to an English king. The best at this was Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. He had all the right credentials. He could rule two of the four kingdoms (Gwynedd and Powys), he had been betrayed and was at war with a brother, but above all in 1052 he defeated a combined force of Anglo-Saxons and some Normans who had arrived too early at Leominister (pronounced Leminister just be contrary). Having made alliances with some other Anglo-Saxons, a couple of groups of apathetic Vikings and maybe a few other folk, he was rightly crowned. At once he invaded England. His only opposition was Ralph The Timid of Hereford, and so the outcome was rather predictable. He was doing so well that Edward confessed he would have to recognize Gruffudd as a proper king. Later Edward confessed he might have made a mistake and let the Godwins sort it out. Tostig who was still behaving himself invaded but only won because Gruffudd died in 1062 of betrayals. He had two sons; one died of battles and the other exposed himself. Thus Wales was not really in a good position around about 1066.

Having established the position of the three other nations in the next seminar we shall exam how William The I (And Conqueror) felt they should be established.

A True History of the Isles Part 16-Whose Throne is it Anyway??

A True History of The Isles Part 15- The Road to 1066

Apologies and Just Plain Pleeze!!

I am sorry to have missed out on many posts. Some folk would say I have made a rod for my own back by following too many blogs. This is easy for some to say, my response is it is difficult to choose when there are so many interesting posts. I should of course organise my day to look at the ‘Reader’ field more regularly, however my mind is slower these days. After years of having to think at a frenetic pace in public service, it is tired and objects to such swiftness. It tells me that to look once a day should be sufficient to the way it organises my life. This does lead to a large number to scroll through, which would not be a problem if it were not for some of the quirks inherent in Word Press.Victorian writing

It is difficult to discern just what the problem may be. There is the nagging doubt; is one is up to the task of dealing with modern communications? There again, are these machines not our servants? You see I fail to see why WP has this obsession with me viewing the latest post. After all is it not good manners that one should deal with the earliest post first? This does not occur to WP, it seems to put up with me scrolling down to a post which may be a day or two old and even visiting the selected item, but once I try to move onto the next one WP becomes impatient with me. By its own speed of processing data it seems to think I am dwelling in the very deep past and insists on transporting me to something which has been posted up 36mins ago and pointing that even since the time elapsed in rushing me to this point there maybe later posts awaiting my attention. It is no use me trying to scroll back to where I was; WP will not assist in speeding me there, even if I beg by right-clicking the Black to Notifications, it seems quite dismissive and simply leaves me where I am. WP appears to believe I should spend most of day attached to the site and following every post as it arises and will not be satisfied with any reasonable human suggesting to any other variation.Me

Whereas I do concede that it would serve me better if I could seek some accommodation with the system which would enable me to make a swifter response, I do object to WP trying to interfere with me corresponding with other blogger. I fail to see why it should place a little red dot over its bell if it will not let me do anything other ‘like’. If I try to reply, beyond an emjoi WP will tend to become truculent, it will not respond to my keyboard unless I am thuggish with it and then halfway through it will decide my style in correspondence is so dated I am in need of assistance and in consequence WP convinces my feeble-willed mouse to summon up some kindly mid-western person who interrupts my flow with a cheery ‘Howdy. How May I Help You?’- I bear this happy soul no ill-will, if I were to need them on a street in a small town and they made such a salutation I daresay we would get on famously over coffee and suchwhich. But on WP I am confused, I was not intending to ask for help, what sort of question to frame is beyond me apart from maybe an existentialist ‘Why?’, which since this would be transmitted to someone seated in a helpdesk environment would come across as strange to say the least. This is bad enough, but WP sometimes grows bored with me typing away in a small box and decides it needs to transport me to a menu which it feels is far more in keeping with how it sees things. This has the same function, but does not seem to know what I was writing. This leaves me with the option to either start writing the same sort of thing again or tap onto that little bell and hope WP has kept my script. It does this in a sulky way, eventually allowing me to find where I was but still being truculent will not allow me to continuing to type. It decides to play games, it might make me go back to the bell and tap the icon again, I am glad it does not actually ring that would be annoying, it also feels the need to teach me a lesson and send me back to the fair neater other menu. Thus with my resolve, concentration and creativity ebbing away I am reduced to concluding swiftly and pressing send. WP then teases me by encouraging my laptop to display that little revolving circle for a worrying amount of time and not truly indicating whether my reply has been sent or not.solilqy

By now I have the feeling of walking in a cyber fog, not being sure whether my location is my own blog site or on someone else’s, in the meantime WP is pretending there are more (or less) posts than there could be by hiding some from sight. I lose track of temporal perception, forget I should have taken some medication which would explain something. In the meantime, the Word Document icon is glaring at me wishing to know why I am spending time on WP when there is a book to progress with. It is no use me trying to explain to Windows 10 my problems with WP, Windows 10 is unsympathetic to appeals for any assistance. Windows 10 seems programmed not to reply to anything but suggest you seek advice on a User Forum, which is populated by folk whose knowledge of computers is so far ahead of mine I feel I should be sitting under a tree cracking open things with big rocks.

By this time, I am either in a slough of despondency having been made by WP to seem foolish in the eyes of my fellow-bloggers, or it has triggered the latent anger which is simmering ever since Windows 10 decided it would not allow Windows Media to play 75% of the music I have downloaded or ripped telling me ‘there is something wrong’ or there is ‘some problem’. At this stage I resolve to meet out some sort of twisted vengeance on all programmers.yosemite-sam-vector I will seek out both those involved in Windows & WP, in the dead of night I will conduct an ancient British dance of vengeance in their back garden; in which the performer wears large clumsy boots and hops up and down upon a flower bed or vegetable patch. (Students of folklore are advised not to seek out the details, this is simply the product of my fevered imagination). If I find they reside in apartments I will rent the one above them and in the dead of night and by means of the overflow exit of the bath indulge in Robert Newtown/ Long John Silver and Charlton Heston /Captain Laughton spontaneous conversations, in the knowledge this will register in their bathroom and disturb them, either that or ride a child’s tricycle in the room above their bedroom while doing W C Field’s impressions. All of this is quite bizarre of course but am sure you can appreciate the lengths I have been driven to.

Of course by now I am quite exhausted by the whole thing and shall have to start again tomorrow.20160109_153650

How am I supposed to continue with my post encouraging folk to maintain a calm and balanced outlook in the light of recent political events with such trials and tribulations?

Thank goodness my Spotify Playlist has reached Bob Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’…ahhhh peace…….

Guest Post by Maria M…

Another reason to think there’s still hope for the Human Race!

the otherhood of one

I’ve mentioned my friend Maria before, though maybe not by name.  She is the one who encouraged me to start this blog in the first place.  More like she poked, and needled, and insisted and nagged until I did… lol!  And I’m very grateful she did…

She came to me today with a post she wanted to make on Facebook, expressing her thoughts and opinions about this past week.  We talked.  And having seen so many of my friends attacked for posting such things on their own pages, I was reluctant to encourage her to put it out there; she so rarely expresses herself this way that I didn’t want to see her get trampled for it.  She asked if she could post it here, and I thought it was a great idea!  My own experiences with WordPress so far have shown a community that usually respects and tolerates, even…

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How I feel regarding Trump and Angry People

Read and inwardly digest folks

Tiffany Belle Harper

Sorry to complain but I have to get this off my chest. I live in the UK. So things are ‘perhaps’ different here to other countries?

All countries (states/regions) are diametric. We may have varied cuisine, TV channels and favourite bands, groups, authors and community projects. That’s life. That’s what makes us enjoy exchanges – so that we may learn from culture and variety. (Not to forget those suffering war, poverty and destitution around the world).

Then there’s mainstream media we tend to share together (often forced upon us.) Mostly lies and deceit – agenda and biased opinion. Yet spiritually I believe we are one, to include nature – the animal kingdom. It can be cruel … nature has its own way. We don’t need to mess with it.

I don’t know anything much at all about American politics. I do watch a lot of YouTube channels and am fascinated by…

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For You, For Us, For Humanity. Please Share

Spread the word.

On this, November 11th, the day we remember the people who have given their lives  for their countries, I find the disparity between the ultimate in self-sacrifice and the continuing reports of disrespect and lack of empathy discouraging. I had a discussion on Facebook this morning with a man who told me that his daughter-in-law had been verbally accosted in a store while holding her 18-month-old child; there are so very many reports such as this and even worse coming in, it almost makes me want to hide. But I won’t, because there is something I can do.

For all the people who lack empathy in the world, I believe there are more who understand that we all have our struggles. And whether we deem them bigger than ours or not, a struggle is a struggle. An exhausted single mother washing her own dishes in an effort to control something

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