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This page is for all homesick British Citizens the World over. Devoted entirely to all things British (Bad Weather included).Nostalgia in the Extreme!!!!!
British Items for Sale
1./ 1911 Coronation mug of George the 5th and Queen Mary of Teck,the beautiful Mary.This is a nice Staffordshire mug of a difficult to find Coronation,which took place nearly 100 years ago. This mug is in a nice clean condition, and is priced at £35.
2./The Complete works of Shakespeare.Nice black bound edition, early 20th century by Odhams press. £25
3./ The WindsorStory, The Bigraphical account of Edward the 8th and Mrs Wallis Simpson,a very nice book this for the Edward/Wallis collectors. £25.
4./ Castles. A wonderful book and very informative on the castles of England and Wales.Plenty of pictures, which give a vivid insight to our wonderful castles,a great British treat. £25
5./ Henry the 8th. Queen Elizabeth the first's father. Very informative book,and enjoyable to the enthusiast of British Royalty.£25
6./ Book of British Villages. Full of nostalgic thatched cottages and the pretty villages scattered around the british Isles.A must for the ex pat living abroad.Wonderful cloured photos through out. £25
7./Royal Doulton plate of the 50th anniversary of WW2. Showing Winston Churchill with his Victory salute.The plate is a limited edition, and is in a very good condition. £45.
ShopEnglandOnline Your British Grocer of Choice in the US - The finest quality British food, gift, and kitchenware products, shipped worldwide from the USA, at very competitive prices, with customer service that is second to none.
Spicers of Hythe - We are a long established and family run traditional food and gift hamper company offering high quality hampers for delivery all over the world.
Poems and stories to make all British Pats more homesick.
THE SONG OF ENGLAND. BY Alfred Noyes.(Lines taken from the poem)
THE SOLDIER By Rupert Brooke.
Lines taken form SHERWOOD By Alfred Noyes
THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON 1666. By John Evelyn
SEA FEVER by John Masefield
THE FLOWERS by Rudyard Kipling.
DEBT by Eileen Soper
Britain has always been noted for it's wildlife artists and writers.One of the most famous in the 20th century must surely be Eileen Soper, who lived with her parents and sister in the heart of England, Hertfordshire, and the house was aptly named"Wildings". Not only was Eileen a wonderful wildlife artist but she was also a poet.Here are 2 of her poems which are forever - "England"
JOHN WINTER by Laurence Binyon.
taken from the poem)
There is a song of England that none shall ever sing;
So sweet it is and fleet it is, that none whose words
are not as fleet as birds upon the wing,
And regal as her mountains, and radiant as the fountains-
Of rainbow coloured sea spray, that every wave can fling
Against the Cliffs of England,the sturdy cliffs of England
Could more than seem to dream of it, or catch the flying
Gleam of it, above the seas of England that never cease to sing.
There is a song of England, that wanders in the wind;
So sad it is, and glad it is-
That men who hear it madden and their eyes are wet and blind,
for the Lowlands and the Highlands, of the unforgotten Isles.
THE SOLDIER By Rupert Brooke.
If I should die, think only this of me,
That' there's some corner of a foreign field,
That is forever England.
There shall be in that rich earth ,a richer dust concealed,
A dust whom England bore,shaped,made aware,
Gave once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers,blest by the suns of home.
taken form SHERWOOD By Alfred Noyes.
Sherwood in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake,
Grey and Ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake,
Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn.
Merry, merry England has kissed the lips of june,
all the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon,
Like a flight of rose-leaves, fluttering in a mist,
of Opal and Ruby and Pearls,and Amethyst.
GREAT FIRE OF LONDON 1666. By John Evelyn
Second September, 1666,
This fatal night, about ten, began the deplorable fire, near Fish street, in London.
3rd of September. I had prayers at home.
The fire continuing, after dinner I took coach with my wife and son,and went to the bankside in Southwark, where we beheld that dismal spectacle, the whole city in dreadful flames near the waterside; all the houses from the Bridge, all Thames Street, and upwards towards Cheapside, down to the Three Cranes ,were now consumed; and so returned, exceeding astonished what would become of the rest.
The fire having continued all this night (if I may call that night which was light as day for 10 miles around, after a dreadful manner) when conspiring with a fierce Eastern wind in a very dry season, I went on foot to the same place;and saw the whole South part of the City burning from Cheapside to the Thames, and all along Cornhill,Tower street,Fenchurch street,Gracious street,and so along to Barnyards Castle, and was now taking hold of St Paul's Church, to which the scaffolds contributed exceedingly.The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonished, that, from the beginning,I know not by what despondency, or fate, they hardly stirred to quench it; so that there was nothing heard, or seen, but crying out and lamentation, running about like distracted creatures, without at all attempting to save even their goods; such a strange consternation there was upon them, so it burned both in breadth and length, the churches,public halls, Exchange, hospitals, monuments, and ornaments; leaping, after a prodigious way, from house to house, and street to street, at great distances one from the other.For the heat, with a long set of warm and fine weather,had even ignited the air, and prepared the materials to conceive the fire, which devoured after an incredible manner, houses,furniture,and everything.
Here we saw the Thames covered with floating goods, all the barges and boats laden with what some had time and courage to save, as, on the other side, the carts, carrying out to the fields, which for many miles were strewed with movables of all sorts, and tents erecting to shelter both people and what goods they could get away. Oh, the miserable and calamitous spectacle! such as haply the world had not seen since the foundation of it. All the sky was of a fiery aspect, like the top of a burning oven, and the light seen above 40 miles roundabout for many nights. God grant mine eyes may never behold the like, who now saw above 10,000 houses all in one flame.! the noise and cracking and thunder of the flames, the shrieking of the women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of the towers, houses and churches was like a hideous storm; and the air all about so hot and inflamed, that at the last one was not able to approach it, and were forced to stand still, and let the flames burn on, for nearly 2 miles in length and 1 in breadth. The clouds also of smoke were dismal, and reached near 50 miles in length. A resemblance of Sodom or the last day.
The burning still rages.All Fleet street, the Old Bailey,Ludgate hill, Warwick Lane, Newgate, Paul's chain, Watling St., Now flaming, and most of it reduced to ashes.The stones of Paul's flew like Grenades, and the melting lead running down the streets in a stream, and the very pavements glowing with fiery redness. so as no horse, nor man, was able to tread on them.The Eastern wind still driving the flames forward.
It crossed towards Whitehall' but oh, the confusion was then at court. It pleased his Majesty to command me, anong the rest, to look after the quenching of Fetter Lane end, to preserve if possible, that end of Holborn, and they began to consider that nothing was likely to stop it but the blowing up of so many houses to make a wider gap than any which had yet made by the ordinary method of pulling them down with engines..This same stout Seamen proposed to do to save the whole city,but some tenacious and avaricious men, etc., would not permit, because their own houses were involved.
Then the wind abated, and by the industry of the people, when almost all was lost,infusing a new spirit into them, that the fury of it began sensibly to abate about noon.It then broke out again in the Temple; but the courage of the people and many houses being blown up, that the fire slowed down.The coal and wood -wharfs, and magazines of oil, resin etc., did infinite mischief, and the poor inhabitants were dispersed about St Georges field,Moorfields and as far as Highgate, some under tents, some under miserable huts and hovels, without a rag or any utensils, bed or board, who from riches and easy accomodation in stately and well furnished homes, were now reduced to extreme misery and poverty.
I represented to his Majesty the case of the French prisoners at War in my custody. and besought him that there might be still the same care of watching at all places contiguous to unsiezed houses.It is extraordinary the vigilance and activity of the King and Duke, even labouring in person, and being present tp command, order, reward and encourage workmen; by which he showed affection to his people and gained theirs.
.His Majesty got to the Tower by water. to demolish the houses about the Graff, around the White Tower, where the magazine of powder lay,which would undoubtedly have destroyed the bridge and sunk the vessels in the river.The goodly church St Paul's, now a sad ruin, and that beautiful portico ( for structure comparable to any in Europe) now rent in pices, flakes of large stones split asunder, and nothing remaining entire but the inscription in the architrave, showing by whom it was built, which had not one letter defaced It was astonishing to see what immense stones the heat had in a manner calcined, so that all the ornaments, columns, friezes, projectures of Massive Portland Stone, flew off, even to the very roof, where a sheet of lead covering a great space, no less than 6 acres was totally melted. The body of one bishop remaines entire.Thus lay in ashes that most venerable church and near 100 more. All the lead and iron work melted, the exquisite Mercers chapel,The sumptuous Exchange, the August fabric of Christchurch, all the rest of the companies halls, splendid Buildings, arches, all in dust; the fountains dried up and ruined, and the very waters boiling; subterranean cellars and ,wells and dungeons, still burning and the stench and dark clouds of smoke everywhere.The people who now walked about the ruins, appeared like men in some dismal desert, or in some great city laid waste by a cruel enemy, to which was added the stench that came from some poor creatures bodies, beds, and other combustible goods. Sir Thomas Gresham's Statue remained entire though fallen,when all those of the Kings since the conquest were broken to pieces. Also the standard in Cornhill and Queen Elizabeth's(1st) effigies had little detriment, whilst the vast iron chains of the city and the bars of the prisons were reduced to cinders by the heat.My hair was alsomst singed by the still intense heat.
I went again to the ruins, for now it was no longer a city.
FEVER by John Masefield.
I must go down to the seas again to the lonely seas and the sky,
and all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song, and the white sails shaking,
and a grey mist on the seas face, and the grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide,
Is a wild call and a clear call, that may not be denied.
And all I ask is a windy day, with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume and the sea gulls crying.
FLOWERS by Rudyard Kipling.
Buy my English posies
Kent and Surrey May-
Violets of the Undercliff,
wet with Channel spray,
Cowslips from a Devon Combe,
Midland furze afire -
Buy my English posies
And I'll sell my hearts desire.
God gives all men all Earth to love,
But since man's heart is small-
Ordains for each one spot, shall prove,
Beloved over all.
Each to his own choice, and I rejoice
the lot has fallen to me.
In a fair ground, in a fair ground,
Yea, Sussex by the Sea.!.
BACK TO TOP
That is left to me,
For all my days
Seasons shall bloom in memory;
The birds give praise
For you who went
Your splendid way alone,
And,laughed at death,
Until your laugh was thrown On unreturning winds.
I shall not see
The morning break on English Fields again,
Or, hear the lark, or feel the Summer rain,
Or find the Spring.,or any precious thing:
The early flower; the golden harvesting;
The rickyard when the colour dies away,
And one by one the stars dispel the day,
I shall not see; I shall not beauty know
Without remembering what my heart must owe,
For all my days, a debt too deep to pay;
These things I keep -
You went your splendid way!
Lines written by Eileen Soper.
You brought me a posy sweet
That I might feel again
The mosses growing at my feet
And touch the silvered rain.
You brought it not in vain.
Such woodland flowers I brushed to cheek
When days were young and gay
Yet now are long away.
But are these flowers? Or a brush of gold
That in my eager hand I hold?
And can this flame once more set free
A humble painter's ecstasy?
The Maritime traffic of the Exmoor coast was at it's height in the mid 19th century.From 1800 to 1865 nearly 50 vessels were launched at Ilfracombe.A 33 ton sloop called the Unanimity cost her owner Squire Luttrell, in 1798, £106.10s.9d to build .Minehead harbour served as a windbound port for ships bound out of the Bristol channel to Newfoundland, and it had a steady import trade of woollen yarn from Ireland to be sold in the yarn market at Dunster, to the weavers of West Somerset and North Devon. Watchet Harbour was the port for the Brendon Ore trade.Vessels arrived from Swansea with Coal and timber from the South Wales Valley towns. The influence of the sea and seamen made it's mark in the lovely villages of Exmoor. At nights in the local inns, sea shanties would be sung around the peat fires, often by local lads who had deserted the farms for the sea.One of these lads had achieved great distinction in America as a singer.His real name was John Short (1839-1933) but Yankee Jack was the name that he went by.Yankee Jack from Watchet Harbour, sang for Cecil Sharp, 57 Sea shanties of which 43 appear in Sharps'"English Folk Chanteys". Yankee Jack went to sea in his teens and spent over 30 years in Merchant ships sailing all over the world, including voyages in North American ships at the time of the American civil war.He eventually came home and retired from the sea to live once again in the old harbour town of Watchet, where he became the town crier.This next poem could have been written especially for Yankee Jack, and all the lads who preferred the sealife to the landlife.
John Winter, that so oft
Silent he sits apart?
The neighbours cast their looks on him;
But deep he hides his heart.
In Deptford streets the houses small
Huddle forlorn together.
Whether the wind blow or be still.
'Tis soiled and sorry weather.
But over these dim roofs arise
Tall masts of ocean ships,
Whenever John Winter looked at them
The salt blew on his lips.
He cannot pace the street about,
But they stand before his eyes!
The more he shuns them, the more proud
and beautiful they rise.
He turns his head, but in his ear
The steady Trade-Winds run,
And in his eyes the endles waves
Ride on into the sun.
His little child at evening said,
"Now tell us ,dad, a tale,
Of naked men that shoot with bows,
Tell of the spouting whale".
He told old tales, his eyes were bright,
His wife looked up to see,
And smiled on him; but in the midst
He ended suddenly.
He bade his boys goodnight, and kissed
And held them to his breast,
They wondered and were still. to feel
Their lips so fondly pressed.
He sat absorbed in silent gloom,
His wife lifted her head
From sewing, and stole up to him,
"What ails thee, John?" she said.
He spoke no word.A silent tear
Fell softly down her cheek,
She knelt beside him, and his hand
Was on her forehead meek.
But even as his tender touch
Her dumb distress consoled,
The mighty waves danced in his eyes
And through the silence rolled.
There fell a soft November night,
Restless with gales that shook
The chimneys, and beat wildly down
The flames in the chimney nook.
John Winter lay beside his wife,
'Twas past the dead of night.
Softly he rose,and in dead hush
Stood stealthily upright.
Softly he came where slept his boys,
And kissed them in their bed;
One stretched his arms out in his sleep;
At that he turned his head.
And now he beant above his wife,
She slept a peace serene.
Her patient soul was in the peace,
Of breathing slumber seen.
At last, he kissed one aching kiss,
Then shrank again in dread,
And from his own home guiltily
And, like a thief he fled.
But now with darkness and the wind
He breathes a breath more free,
And walks with calmer steps. like one
Who goes with destiny.
And see, before him the great masts
Tower with all their spars,
Black on the dimness, soaring bold
Among the mazy stars.
In stormy rushings through the air
Wild scents the darkness filled,
And with a fierce forgetfulnes
His drinking nostril thrilled.
He hasted with quicked feet, he hugged
The wildness to his breast,
As one who goes the only way
To set his heart at rest.
When morning glimmered, a great ship
Dropt gliding down the shore.
John Winter coiled the anchor ropes
Among his mates once more.
Navy which defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, was quite a small fleet.It
numbered only 34 ships, of which no more than 21 were of the first line, and
even these varied considerably in tonnage and fighting power.The ships were
not kept continually at sea.It was very expensive to keep a sizeable warship
in commission, and, except in time of danger or when they were being used
for a special expedition, the Royal ships were laid up in harbour and their
crews paid off.But when the Queen's Navy did take to sea, it was among the
best aflost.In times of emergency, such as the crisis of 1588, it was supplemented
by privately owned armed merchantmen, and othet smaller craft including fishing
vessels and coasters.
Before Elizabethan days, a warship was regarded as being little more than a floating platform for Artillery and Soldiers, who would grapple and board the enemy.The mobile fighting ship armed with heavy guns capable of firing broadside was still a comparitively new development, but it was one in which English sailors and shipwrights had taken the lead.The traditional tall,top-heavy galleons had their high forecastles and sterncastles lowered, and the new vessels were built to a sleeker,modern design.
The Ark Royal was the flagship of the English Admiral, Lord Howard of Effingham, in the battle against the Armada.Reputedly unmatched for sailing qualities, she was a good example of the new design of Warship, built low at the head but high at the stern.
The English dealt the Armada a crippling blow when they sent fireships into the Spanish fleet as it lay anchored off Calais.The Spanish Commanders fled in confusion, and their troubles were aggravated by lack of food, water and ammunition and a deep water anchorage. The towering forecastles made the Spanish ships look huge, but in fact there was little difference in tonnage between the Spanish and the English ships.The biggest ship in either fleet was the 1.100ton "Triumph", commanded by the English sea dog Martin Frobisher.
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory--
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the Rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved's bed;
And,so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
Percy Byron Shelley.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room.
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
A.E.Houseman. 1859 - 1936.
Charlotte Bronte the eminent English authoress talking about her sister Emily Bronte creator of Wuthering Heights.
My sister Emily loved the moors.Flowers brighter than the rose bloomed in the blackest of the heath for her; out of a sullen hollow in a livid hillside, her mind could make an Eden. She found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; and not the least and best loved was - Liberty.
Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; without it ,she perished.The change from her own home to a school, and from her own very noiseless, very secluded, but unrestricted and inartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined routine (though under the kindliest auspices), was what she failed in enduring. Her nature proved here too strong for her fortitude. Every morning when she woke, the vision of home and the moors rushed on her, and darkened and saddended the day that lay before her. Nobody knew what ailed her but me - I knew only too well. In this struggle her health was quickly broken; her white face, attenuated form, and failing strength, threatened rapid decline. I felt in my heart she would die, if she did not go home, and with this conviction obtained her recall. She had only been 3 months at school; and it was some years before the experiment of sending her from home was again ventured on...............She was never happy till she carried her hard won knowledge back to the remote English village, the old parsonage - house, and the desolate Yorkshire hills.A very few years more she looked her last on those hills, and breathed her last in that house, and under the aisle of that obscure village church found her last lowly resting place.
These are the last lines written by Emily Bronte, the authoress of Wuthering Heights.c1846
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's Glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.
O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever present deity!
Life - that in me has rest,
As I - undying Life - have power in thee!
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts: unetterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main.
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of immortality.
With wide embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.
Though Earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And thou were left alone,
Every existence would exist in thee.
There is no room for death,
Nor atom that his might could render void;
Thou - Thou art being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed...
Emily Bronte.Haworth parsonage.Yorkshire. R.I.P.1846
Old Irish Verse.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm
upon your face,
And the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And,until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
The Emerald Isle, so called because of it's bright green emerald fields.
A patchwork of fields, whitewashed cottages,neat farmsteads,castles and meandering roads.
Ireland is always green thanks to the effects of the warm Gulf stream, that brings the gentle rain.
Everywhere you go in Ireland you will see flowers.Flowers in the hedgerows,flowers abound on the cliffs,flowers in every garden and every windowsill of every cottage.Subtropical vegetation thrives in Ireland, particularly in the West., and it is in the West you will find the wonderful endless beaches,washed by the wild Atlantic ocean.Who can forget the setting sun going down on Galway bay?
The Irish song that says "when Irish eyes are smiling"sums up the friendliness of these wonderful people, for, no matter how busy they are, the Irish will always find time for a chat and a yarn to any stranger that happens along.A smile comes as naturally to the Irish as does breathing..The warmth of their welcoming Gaelic words - Cead mile failte- which means "One hundred thousand welcomes", and the love of the hearth in the Irish home, where a fire burns, even in the Summer months, fuelled by turf and of course peat, and the blue spirals of smoke from every cottage chimney, signifying that there is a "cuppa" or cup of tea brewing for anyone who cares to enter the welcoming cottage home....
Mary Stewart is one of
the great romantic figures in British History.
Mary was born at Linlithgow on the 8th of December 1542.Her father, was James the 5th of Scotland.The difficulties and dangers which had baffled the efforts of so many Stewarts grew rife again with new complications during the minority of a woman ruler, and poor Mary Stewart was destined to be added as yet another victim of what was at root the feudal turbulence of the history of Scotland the brave.
Torn by the rivalries of the great feudal families, weakened by the powerlessness of the sovereign to co-erce them, Scotland had never been able to stand alone, but had always been a pawn in the game of rivalry between England and France.
Mary spent the first 6 years of her life in the castle of Stirling, but in 1548 she set sail for France, the country of her mother,the beautiful Mary of Guise.Everyone praised the beauty and charm of the little Mary Stewart,even the uncouth Scotch which she spoke came prettily from her mouth.Henry the 2nd of France spoke eloquently of the exceptional grace of the child - "the most Perfect child, Henry had ever seen".Mary received every advantage which the brilliant French Court could offer as she grew from infancy to womanhood.Always tall for her age and well built,like her mother,Mary inherited the chestnut hair of her father, and the pale delicacy of complexion.Her best feature was her wonderful red/brown "sidelong" eyes and her long graceful fingers, which she used with an elegant grace throughout her life.She was without doubt a very beautiful woman, very charming, and exceedingly well mannered. Elizabeth the 1st was never her equal in looks, and she knew it.
At the age of sixteen, Mary married the Dauphin Francis, a boy a year younger than herself.They loved each other in an affectionate way because of their youth but it was always sincere.He and Mary succeeded to the French throne in in 1559.However, by now it was obvious that Francis was in poor health, and his days on this earth were numbered.Francis died on December the 6th in 1560.Mary was left, a mourning widow, to face a future in the country of her adoption, the half barbarous Northern Kingdom of Scotland.
With the death of Francis the power of the Guises fell for the moment.Catherine -de-medici had little affection for her daughter in law Mary Stewart,and it was with heartfelt sorrow that Mary took her leave of France and all her friends, and set sail for Scotland on the 14th of August in 1561, for Scotland and her new life.
The new Catholic Queen of Scotland had a difficult task ahead of her.Her mother had roused the dormant opposition of the nobles by a too open reliance on France, the greater Nobles had each their feudal following, while the king had no regular force.The most striking figure of Scottish Protestants, which by now were on the increase, and the most redoubtable enemy of Mary Stewart was John Knox..Knox was the most feared preacher of the "new" faith.Monasteries and Churches were destroyed by his fanatical followers.Scotland was indeed a country in turmoil and Mary had inherited the title of it's Queen, a title which the beautiful Mary would happily have relinquished if only to return to her beloved France.
Of suitors, Mary was sent more than enough, from the day of her first husband's death. Elizabeth the 1st who had decided to let bygones be bygones,had adopted in public,a pose of romantic affection for Mary, although in private, was jealous and suspicious and hated Mary for all the beauty and charm that she herself did not possess.Elizabeth really desired that the Queen of Scots should not marry, or should marry beneath herself.Mary eventually married Darnley against the wishes of her cousin Elizabeth. The most factious and dangerous nobleman of the period.He was 3 years younger than Mary, who was by birth his Royal blood cousin.He was very tall and handsome(Remember that Mary was tall for her day, when most women were very small) he had fair hair and complexion to suit, but he had no balance or strength of character and no idea of restraint.Very soon after the marriage, Mary soon lost her patience with him, he was foolish,idle and inordinately ambitious.In 1566 Mary gave birth to a son in Edinburgh castle.The news borne quickly to Elizabeth, who responded with poignant jealousy and is recorded as saying,"The Queen of Scots has a fair son, and I am but a barren stock".Mary after the birth of her son, grew even more distant from Darnley and her passion seemed to grow for Bothwell who shared much of the Queen's company during her convalescence.Darnley contracted Smallpox, a common didease in those days,and Mary feeling sorry for his sad pleadings eventually took him back to Edinburgh but really to his eventual death.Mary did try to nurse him back to better health,and she had softened towards him,but she must have known of the plot to kill him,it is almost impossible to believe in her innocence.Then on the night of February the 10th, Mary rode off into the city of Edinburgh to a masked ball,and on that same evening, the house where Mary and Darnley were then living, was blown up with dynamite, causing a terrific explosion.Darnley's body and his servants were found some distance from the house.But it was not the explosion that killed them,they were probably strangled, by an unknown hand.Mary received the news cooly,and showed little or no grief on Darnley's demise.
Mary married Bothwell with Protestant rites on the 15th of May in 1567.It was a sad function.The resulting situation was found to be impossible.Only Argyll and Huntly supported Bothwell.Eventually,they parted and so ended another stormy period in Mary Stewarts life.Bothwell sailed for Orkney,and became a pirate, he was eventually caught and imprisoned in Denmark, where he died after 10 years of raving lunacy.
Suddenly, all Scotland turned agaginst Mary, she was reviled and hated on every side.Even her captors reviled her with hateful epithets.Mary was now a prisoner.Through the streets of Edinburgh the public joined with the soldiers in a hideous tumult of hatred.Eventually <Mary was taken to Kinross,and kept a prisoner in the castle which stood on a rock in the middle of a lake, a mile from shore.The rooms Mary were kept in were wretched.It is said that she gave birth to still born twins in this castle.Europe was aghast at the murder of Darnley,and the reckless course of action that Mary took in marrying Bothwell. Her consent was then to be obtained to the Coronation of her son,Darnley's son,and,failing this she was to be charged with the crimes of tyrranny and the murder of her husband.She signed on the 24th of July an act of demission.Five days later the infant prince was crowned at Stirling.The feudal forces had once more triumphed in Scotland.The latter part of her life,spent in prisons, relieved by phantom plots and delusive hopes, stands in marked contrast to the earlier part of her life,where great hopes were pinned on the succession of the lovely young Queen of the Scots.
Eventually, tricked into entering England by Queen Elizabeth ,Mary spent the rest of her life imprisoned in various English houses.Years of tiring imprisonment, robbed Mary of her youthful looks, and she became ill with arthritic complaints and other illnesses, doubtless caused by the cold and draughty rooms of her "prisons" in England.
On a cold day in February, as Mary lay ill in bed,:Lord Shrewsbury and the Duke of Kent brought the warrant of her execution.Her spirit was undaunted, but there was a natural shuddering of the flesh, and in the end she lay weeping.Her last hours were spent in prayer and writing personal letters, and in dividing her personal effects between her faithful ladies in waiting,who were in a deep state of distress themselves.
The ladies then dressed her soberly but richly.Then the final door knock came, and she was escorted to the gallows.One of her servants carried a crucifix before her as they descended the stairs.Two of her servants were allowed to stay with her to the end, Elizabeth Curle and Jean Kennedy.
The great hall was draped in black as well as the scaffold.The Queen took her place,keeping her composure.The Dean of Peterborough approached to exhort her, but she stopped him with the words that she was settled in the Catholic Faith.The Dean then prayed for her repentance.She was refused the ministrations of the chaplain. Her ladies then removed her upper garments, and in the crimson and white of her underdress, the servants then tied a handkerchief over her eyes, and she was then guided to the block, still praying.Her head on the block, she kept repeating her Catholic prayers, when the 1st blow fell on her head, the 2nd and subsequent 3rd blow severed her head from her body..Her head was then held up for the 300 spectators to see, and was greeted with silence.The head then fell from the headdress and wig that she had been wearing, the hair on the fallen head was actually white, whitened before it's time through illnesses,the features had contracted in the agonies of death and the lips moved for a further 15 minutes.Everything that belonged to Mary was burnt in the fire in the great hall, even the drapery, lest they should be carried away as relics.A little dog of Mary's which had crept beneath her skirts, and pitifully whining, was carried away to be washed as Mary's blood had stained it's fur.
Mary was laid to rest in an enormous lead coffin in Peterborough Cathedral, but when her son King James became King of England and Scotland, he removed her body to Westminster Cathedral, where it was re discovered in Victorian times during the search for King James's coffin, lying deep in a huge vault, in the furthest proximity from the entrance, and lying in a chamber amongst many small coffins of Royal children that had died since Mary's death..It was almost as if the Queen's coffin was put as far away as possible from the other Kings and Queens who also lie in the vaults of this great Cathedral in London..The searchers were so moved by the spectacle that Mary's coffin, which incidentally was in a remarkably good condition,remained untouched, but the surrounding stacks of other small coffins were tidied up, recorded, and laid neatly around Mary's coffin again.In one of the small coffins lay the remains of Mary's grandchild, who was born after his grandmothers death.
BRITISH POTTERIES - COALPORT.
Coalport was established in 1795 by John Rose.The Coalport Pottery was built on the canal bank opposite the old Caughley Pottery(pronounced Calflee).Eventually the 2 potteries combined in 1814.Rose's early wares were poor in translucency, flawed and black speckled.However after 1810, the china was so much more improved and was distinguished by it's soft white tone, and very creamy translucency.
After 1820, the Porcelain became even more pure white and finer textured.During the reign of George the 4th, Coalport excelled in producing wonderful dinner,dessert and tea services,painted in brilliant colours with highly burnished gilding.From the early 1830's,Coalport china became even more ornate - lavishly ornamented with masses of flower encrustations..Vases,clock cases,inkstands, baskets,jugs etc., were overlaid with hundreds of tiny flowers, an these wares are usually referred to as Coalbrookdale.The backstamp of this period may be so marked as Coalbrookdale, although much of Coalports wares were unmarked.
Coalports Felspar Porcelain was so exquisite that F.W.Rose was able to copy the magnificent pieces of Sevres,Meissen and Chelsea.No expense was spared in emulating the rich colours of Sevres,the Claret of Chelsea and the Mazarine blue of old Derby.So accurate were the copies, that it is difficult even now to distinguish the Coalport copies from the originals..Coalport has therefore become,one of the finest names associated with great English Porcelain.
Old Court Cupboard.
There is no definite evidence whether Harri Bach (little Harry) was born in his shirtsleeves or not; but it is known for certain that he lived the greater part of his life in that dress,and that he died in it. For Harri was a countryman to the roots of his hair- a piece of the rock from the uplands of the Cothi, that had slipped into the cogs of the modern machine. He came from the parish of Caio, Red Caio of the Romans long ago, a kindly,restless,beautiful countryside, with Mynydd Mallaen as a grey rim behind it.
If anyone were to ask for a description of Harry in one word, "Little pig"would get as near the truth as anything. Not a pig remember, but a little pig,the cleanest,friendliest, jolliest little creature of them all. He was fair, round and short legged, with the slightest touch of the Berkshire nose; and the bristles of his short ,strong neck shone like silver wires. Nobody noticed when his hair and his fierce moustache began to go grey and then white, for it's natural tint was grey-white. And this effect was added to by his trade of Stonemason, with the stone-dust filling the folds of his shirt that was made from the wool of the Pencilmaren sheep.
That particular evening, Harri Bach was alone in the front room of 13, Bethesda Row, Glanllwchwr, whilw the rays of an Easter sunset pierced through the blue grey mist that rose from the ugly coal tips before him. It was a long narrow room, with 2 steps leading up to the kitchen behind.Most of it was filled by a big table with a crimson cloth on it, and a row of cheap leather chairs close against the walls.On the walls there were the usual pictures that you see in the homes of the first generation of people who have come from the country - poor pictures of beloved parents, enlarged at the Jewish shop. together with all sorts of china ornaments and little nicknacks gathering dust on the mantelpiece.There was also a sampler with the date 1772. The flames of the fire danced happily over the room, throwing strange patterns over the old Court cupboard the Cwpwrdd Tridarn - that stood, shining with beeswax, in the right hand corner, near to the kitchen door. This was Harri's cupboard, the only piece of furniture that he owned in the house. His aunt, his mother's sister, had left it to him in her will; probably one of his ancestors had made it..In it ,Harry kept his few private treasures, his accounts book, his file of bills from that brief period when he had been a flourishing house builder.
He thought more of this cupboard than of all the rest of his little property put together, though he had only recently come to realise it. Whenever he felt perplexed in this little confined room,he somehow found that he had turned to the old CourtCupboard...Without his knowing it, this cupboard acted as a sort of anchor in the depths, keeping his personality from being shifted by the ebb and flow around him. He had looked at it so often in this meditative mood that his eyes seemed to penetrate far beyond it. Through this old Court Cupboard, the very fibre of the hills like himself, he gazed as through a glass into his own heart, and sometimes into the strange distances beyond. He did not see the glass because of what he perceived beyond it..............D.J.Williams (1885) Translated from the Welsh by Dafydd Jenkins.
A GOOD AND STEADY TRADE.
The "Corner Shop" where I was apprenticed was one of the oldest establishments in the town, and Abel Hughes, my master, was considered a meticulous, fair minded and far seeing man. His shop contained general drapery, but his chief trade was in cloth and flannel, which were always of the best quality.In those quiet days there was seldom any bustle in the shop, except on Fair days, and it is my belief that it was no cause for regret in Abel Hughes's mind that Fairs did not occur more oftener than 4 times a year..Yet, the Corner shop was the scene of a good and steady trade.......it was patronised by old customers whose families had "dealt" there longer than could be recollected..They were mostly country people, and the majority were Methodists, for those words of Scripture, "Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household faith" were well observed in those days. As I remarked, Abel Hughes stocked the best quality material, and expected reasonable profits. He never over priced his wares, and would not reduce his prices by half of a penny. If the customers did not like the goods, he begged them by all means not to buy them. I never once heard him swear that this or that material was worth more than he asked for it. Petty lying in business was not so general on those days that any man should find it necessary to "swear".. I don't believe that Abel ever spent a halfpenny on advertising; the only service which he ever sought from the printer was the making of bill heads.His shop window was small, and the panes of glass about a foot square, for plate glass had not then come into fashion..What little window dressing there was could easily be done in an hour, and needed repeating only once a fortnight.
The shop was rather dark even on a bright day, and the smell of Moleskin, cotton cord, and velveteen, was so thick that I felt it could be cut with my scissors. When a customer entered, the first thing that Abel would do would be to hand him or her a chair and start a conversation. And,that is how the customer would be engaged for half an hour, sometimes even an hour, or even longer. But usually, he or she would buy a valuable parcel, and the transaction would end with an invitation into the "house", to have a cup of tea or a bit of dinner.. Very little trade was carried out after sunset, and, although the shop was fitted with gas light, only one jet was lit - something to show the shop was not closed. There was very little book keeping. One book was sufficient, a long narrow one, which served as a day book and ledger, and when a customer paid his or her account, there was need only to draw a cross on the book in their presence, which served as the receipt.
There was nothing in the business methods of the shop which one could not imagine Noah having performed in the same way- had he kept a shop before the great flood. And, yet Abel Hughes was doing well and making money. What would have happened to him today? Yes, today - when people are scheming so much to add to their customers anyhow; - no matter how; when winning a customer, and making money are, to many, many matters of greater consequence than eternity, and eternity of no greater significance than a yard of grey calico.
By Daniel Owen - 1836 - 1895. Translated from the Welsh by D.M..Lloyd
famous poem by Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage,Rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightening they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men,the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage,Rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn,too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, Rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage,Rage against the dying of the light.
by Dr. Thomas Jones.
His Tenor voice was admirable; musical, beautifully modulated, and of remarkable carrying power. Lloyd George had not the rich overflowing organ tones of Gladstone, rolling out sentences, clauses, parentheses 'like the Atlantic waves on the Biscayan coast'; it's compass was narrower, it's quality lighter, it was flexible, caressing, a melodious witchery, mockery , savagery.On the topmost notes his voice became rough and shrill. He played on all the strings of the human heart and matched with each the mobile landscape of his face and bodily posture - the alluring smile, the scowling visage, the thrilling whisper, the eloquent pince - nez dangling from its black silk ribbon, the menacing finger, the arms outstretched to the uttermost. If his voice had not the sonorous rotundity of Gladstone's or the unrelieved pugnacity of Joseph Chamberlain's, he abounded in a sense of fun; his humerous sallies convulsed his audience and there were moments when he reduced them to tears. S.K.Ratcliffe comments: "It was all done with absolute mastery. Not a paragraph bungled; not a stroke, or a joke, goes awry." Emotional, dramatic, rhetorical, and never too long, he was always the incomparable actor with a perfect sense of theatre.
MEMORIES OF WALES
The Second World War in Britain was best summed up by the following words,hardship,fear and faith,ration books and something called "the black market!".The black market stood for Fresh Eggs,Butter,Cheese, Chocolate and Hosiery! My Father's youngest sister was "the supplier" in our family as every month or so, she would hire a car to take her miles into the Welsh countryside looking for fresh supplies from the isolated hill farms.How delighted Mother would be to use a fresh egg instead of the powdered variety and to spread a little fresh butter onto our bread instead of the tasteless lard!.However, most of our wartime groceries,such as they were, came from the corner shop of Mr James Jones or Jimmys shop!.
It was Jimmy who helped struggling families through those darkest of years, Jimmy's was the meeting place for the War weary women and their hungry broods and the Elderly gentleman who were too old or too sick to fight Hitler and the Third Reich.
Every 4th morning we took our dough in long black tins covered in towels to the rear of Jimmy's shop to the bakehouse.Jimmy's brother was in charge of the ovens and when we passed our tins to him, he would give us a ticket with a number on, and this we would hand back to him later on in the morning when our bread was ready.The smell of the bakery hung in the air like Nectar from the Gods,and the bread was a deep golden brown dusted with flour.Mother liked our bread well browned but Rosie's mother liked theirs lightly browned.I remember the day when Rosie tripped in the lane and Sam the terrier ran off with the bread,Rosie didn't sit down for a week afterwards.
Jimmy Jones was a big man, well at least he was to us kids as we looked up to him.He always wore a large white apron tied at the front,and he always sported a spotted Dickie Bow, sometimes the bows were blue and sometimes red.To enter the shop we had to climb 3 steep steps, and the door which always stuck a bit would trigger a welcoming "Ding" of the bells as we entered.The floor was the usual scrubbed white boards covered in a sprinkling of fresh sawdust, which gave off the pleasant aroma of smoked bacon and strong cheese.
Jimmy's shop was large,it was a square shape and well laid out.The bacon counter was on the left as you entered, joining on to the cheese and the produce section.At the very top all the tinned food was laid out in neat rows, with the boxes of dried peas lined up to give the appearance that there were many more stacked up behind,but in reality there was only the front row, times were hard, very hard.This section then led to the right hand side of the shop.The first part was the potatoes and the vegetables,such as there were, leading finally to the clothes section with rows of socks,underware and black stockings like spiders legs hanging from the wire supports.The ration book ruled over every purchase,sometimes Mother would save up her rations to buy us a new item of clothing,often depriving herself of the very basics of food just as long as we didn't suffer or go without.
Around the shop there were at least 4 chairs placed at strategic points,these were usually occupied by 9am and would not become vacant until 6-7 pm in the evening when Jimmy closed the doors.Jimmy was a very fair person and everyone had equal shares of produce depending on whatever he could purchase.I remember my mother telling Jimmy that her mother,my grandmother was poorly and how we were going to try and visit her the next day if we could get a tram as fuel was rationed and the trams were very sporadic. Jimmy semt a messenger boy over to our house later in the afternoon with a little parcel of Butter,Cheese and 2 slices of Bacon,with a note which said,"for your mother,Mrs Bees,please convey to her my warmest wishes,"signed Jimmy Jones,Proprietor,Grocer and Purveyor.
Living as we did far away from London, little did we realise what was happening to London and the blitz..Our world centred around the village where we lived, and all this talk of War and France seemed to us kids to be taking place in another World.As long as Jimmy was looking after all of us we knew we would survive come what may.Just up from Jimmy's shop was our favourite lady, Mrs Francis.She it was who we would run too whenever we were bored or just tired.Many happy hours were spent sitting in her pleasant porchway, while she sat on her old leather chair telling us stories of the "old days" when she was a child herself.Across the front door hung a deep wine coloured Chenille Curtain pulled back by a sash with a long tassel hanging down.The tiles in the porch were an emerald green and the Turkey red carpet square that lay neatly on the porch floor,tempting us to sit down as the evening sun settled in the Western skies.All of this gave our cosy surroundings a warm and safe feel, so very different to that other World out there where all our Dad's were fighting those awful Nazis who wanted to take our homes and our freedom away from us.Dear Mrs Francis,who lost her husband in the 1st World War,giving us the warmth and love that she would doubtless have given to her own family if only her young husband had survived.
We eventually moved away from that village after the War,it seemed to change when all the men came home, it wasn't such a happy place to be-after the War.I wonder what happened to Jimmy, and Mrs Francis and Rosie my friend and Sam the terrier,perhaps they are still there sitting in the porch waiting for me.
Rossetti 1830 -94
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned;
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet,if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember,do not grieve;
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
It is a beautiful thing to feel that our friends are God's gift to us.
Thinking of it has made me understand why we love and are loved,
sometimes when we cannot explain what causes this feeling.
Feeling so makes friendship such a sacred,holy thing.
There is no surer bond of friendship than an identity and,
community of ideas and tastes.
What sweetness is left in life,if you take away friendship?
Robbing life of friendship is like robbing the world of the sun.
By: Anne Brontë
Yes, thou art gone! and never more
Thy sunny smile shall gladden me;
But I may pass the old church door,
And pace the floor that covers thee,
May stand upon the cold, damp stone,
And think that, frozen, lies below
The lightest heart that I have known,
The kindest I shall ever know.
Yet, though I cannot
see thee more,
'Tis still a comfort to have seen;
And though thy transient life is o'er,
'Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;
To think a soul so near
Within a form, so angel fair,
United to a heart like thine,
Has gladdened once our humble sphere.
by Thomas A Kempis
"But set thyself
to bear tribulations,and account them the greatest consolations:
for the sufferings of this life, although thou alone couldst suffer them all,
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in us."
In the years to come,memory
will hold precious,
Not the brief moment of triumph, but the love and
sympathy of comrades, and will seek to recall,
Not the plaudits of success, but "The touch of a vanished hand,
and the sound of a voice that is still"
Do you remember the days that are over,
Long days and gold days we spent in the sun,
Green of the meadow and pink of the clover,
Magic of laughter and innocent fun.
Bond of the sea and the sun shall unite us,
Beauty of Spring that we shared with a song.
Thoughts of those free happy days to delight us-
Never too weary, and never too long.
The Harpsichord 1972
No greater sound 'doth my ear applaud,
Than the sound of the lonely Harpsichord,
So far removed from madding crowds,
Is more at home in ghostly courts -
where turrets rise and turrest fall -
I sit and hear the harpsichord.
The Garland,for my love.
No shining pearls from orient seas,
No wondrous sapphires brilliant blue -
Strung on a golden string could make -
A garland rich enough for you.
Nor all the em'ralds glorious green,
And, rubies rich in crimson hue,
Mix'd with the opal's glow could make -
A garland rich enough for you.
But in the woods deep shaded bower,
Where grow rare violets richly blue,
I'll gather all these gems of blooms,
And. make a garland,love for you.
Or wander where sweet roses blow,
Of gentle,fair,or flaming hue,
I'll gather all these gems of bloom,
And make a garland,love for you.
With fragrant lilies of the vale,
Laced tenderly with morning dew,
I'll gather all these gems of bloom,
And make a garland,love for you.
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