Quote of the Day: Fear God. Honor the King.

 

When my father, who was quite a colorful character, died in 2007, he was the subject of several obituaries in the UK. This one, from the local newspaper, is my favorite because it’s the most personal and tells the most stories. Most of them referred to a verse from 1 Peter 2:17, which Dad, who considered himself an old-fashioned High Tory, was fond of quoting: “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.”

Dad had a vast reservoir of sayings and quotations that could serve as a road map to his life. When one apposite to a particular occasion didn’t spring into his mind, I have a strong suspicion he simply made one up (you couldn’t tell). And over the source of an eventful life, he even became the subject of a few himself. A great many of Dad’s favorite touchstones are not suitable for rendition here, but all of them–including his regimental motto, Loyauté M’Oblige and the mock-Latin “illegitimi non carborundum”–speak to his sense of honor, his sense of self, his sense of purpose, his determination, and his sense that he was put on this earth to serve others besides himself.

Growing up in Dad’s shadow was sometimes tough. Learning from him and applying some of his lessons has sometimes been even tougher. But no-one, as far as I’m aware, has ever found himself less of a man or woman by emulating Dad. So, “little by little,” (another one, from an almost unreadable Victorian children’s book about a young and inherently noble boy who falls into folly and wickedness until he reconnects with God) his children do their best.

My father was born 100 years ago, on March 6, 1919. In a wonderfully entertaining monograph about his early life, he described the circumstances thus:

I was born, so I am told, over the shop of S. Ward Ltd. at 222 Broad St. Birmingham, on Thursday 6 March 1919, when Mother had ‘flu – not the 1918 variety but bad enough. Ergo I must have been conceived in August 1918 or thereabouts for Mother said I was a “prem” who was so small that I “would have fitted into a quart pot.” Since I grew to be the giant of the family, I take a certain satisfaction in the fact that I fooled them all!

It’s a lovely few pages of reflections on early childhood experiences and musings on life from the perspective of his old age. And so we have reminiscences of Nellie, Dad’s first Nanny, who married Harry a “pattern maker at Sentinel Steam Engine Works in Shrewsbury,” and who moved there to live with him after her marriage. Occasionally, Dad and his sister Isobel (bearing bags full of sausages and pork pies from the family butcher shop) went to visit:

Nellie had a permanent lodger. She was a Mrs. D’eath, though whether the Mrs. was actual or honorary I never knew. She was a dear old soul well into her eighties, who had been a Nanny herself for a lifetime to a prominent Shropshire family called Piggot, the last born of which (and clearly the darling of her heart) had been killed at Ypres a mere decade before, when he was not yet twenty. He was never out of her thoughts and I don’t think I fared very well in her mind by comparison.

Harry used to take me birds’ egging, sometimes on quite long trips, mostly in the area of Bayston Hill. We got there by way of the Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway from Shrewsbury Station and then walked. We had some happy times together. One thing that I learned in particular then were the dialect names for many birds. Dabchick for Grebe and Rosserette for Lesser Redpoll, Merle for Blackbird, Yaffle for Green Woodpecker etc.

I particularly enjoy this story about Nellie’s hat:

Nellie always wore a black straw hat as part of her uniform and periodically this had to be cleaned and rejuvenated by being washed in beer. One of the men brought a bottle back from The Granville and the operation always took place in the bath. I was, of course, avid to watch, but mother was always convinced that even the smell would debauch me and I was invariably shooed away with dire threats if I so much as sniffed! The bath was afterwards cleaned as if it was poison that had been put down the drain, instead of a pint of bitter!

It’s very clear that Dad was fortunate to be raised in an exuberant and boisterous family which had fun together and loved each other very much. Still, there were poignant moments:

One day when I came home from Mrs. Turley’s (school) I went into the dining room, where the crystal set made for us by Billy Pitt, the factory electrician, with its bank of multiple headphones was installed, I found Mother, with a pair of headphones over her ears, in a flood of tears. I said “What’s the matter Ma?” She replied darkly “They’ve given the Flappers the vote!” That must have been March 7, 1928, which was the date the voting age for women was lowered from 30 to 21, so I was just nine, the day before. (The bill was given Royal Assent in July of that year, at which point it became the Law of the Land.)

And life lessons from Mr. Nairn, manservant to Aunt Kate and Uncle Laurie, who lived in Oddington, Gloucestershire:

I went with him across the road to the village store as he wanted some tobacco. While we were in the shop a tramp came in: heavy corduroys strapped at the knee, waistcoat only – no jacket, flannel shirt, red and white spotted bandanna round his neck, scarecrow hat, no collar but the collar band fastened with a stud, bundle tied on a stick, the lot.

He was a big man who carried himself well. He wanted a loaf of bread – they made fourpenny loaves then – but as he had only got thruppence the shopman was going to cut a piece off one. Nairn, however, stopped him. He bought the Tramp the loaf – and half a pound of cheese to go with it and shook his hand.

When we got back in the trap, he said to me “never despise a countryman down on his luck – especially tramps! They are the salt of the earth.”

When Dad was fourteen, he was sent to Sebright School in Wolverly. (I doubt very much that he’d have been a good fit at King Edward’s in Birmingham, where his more academic brothers excelled. Dad, even in his youth was a bit of an iconoclast.) He writes:

The first couple of years or so are best glossed over. Apart from making the Under XV (rugby) in my first term and then the First XV in my second, I got nowhere fast. Indeed, one of my school reports was a gem. All the subjects were bracketed together and sideways across the bracket was written “He has no pretensions to any interest in any subject whatsoever.” Fortunately Mother saw the funny side!

I wish I had known my grandmother Louise, who died when I was six months old. She must have been a pistol. A tiny woman, and a pillar of the community’s good works, she married before World War I, bore six (ultimately) very large, very loud and extremely rambunctious children, stood by her husband and family through thick and thin (and there was plenty of both) and seems to have ruled the domestic roost with a firm hand and an unfailing grace. A strong woman. Unflappable, as it were (you can clearly see “the giant of the family,” center, back row).

Dad’s two greatest friends at Sebright were the school’s handyman:

who doubled as gardener, hedger, path maker, stone waller or just plain odd-job man. I do not know his name, nor can I find it out now, try as I may! He was known universally as “Not ‘Arf.”

He was Worcestershire born and bred and many would say he was a simpleton – or at the very most an unlettered, inarticulate country bumpkin. But when you got to know him and he trusted you, there was an enormous fund of wisdom to be tapped and a knowledge of the countryside and its denizens such as I have never seen before or since.

“Not ‘Arf” taught me how to set a snare, catch a mole, divine water and locate water pipes and drains, “swap” a hedge (and he threw great light on Hamlet as he did so!), dig a ditch, slake lime, lay a drain, stretch a fence wire, weave a hurdle (so that when I went on a Course in Field Engineering at the Royal Engineers’ Depot at Basingstoke in 1939, I knew more about reveting a trench with hurdles woven to fit than the Instructor did!), splice a rope and countless other things as well. He never could teach me to scythe, however.

. . .

He did have one eccentricity and that was his total aversion to any bicycle other than a Raleigh. When discussing the demerits of “them thar ‘ercules” (the products of the Hercules Cycle and Motor Company, Ltd., Birmingham) which were his particular bête noir, he often did appear to verge on dementia. His final peroration, which never varied, might well have given rise to his nickname. “They’m jus no bloody good. Not ‘arf’!”

And Dad’s other great friend was:

Chief Petty Officer (Stoker) John Church. As a young sailor he had survived HMS Hampshire which in June 1916 had struck a mine off the Orkneys when bound for Archangel and sunk with Kitchener on board. When I left Sebright, Church gave me a little wooden cross beautifully fashioned in teak which had been made for him by a ship’s carpenter friend from a bit of the decking to which he had been clinging when he was picked up. I kept it with me until it was lost in a fire in our house at Katabu in Nigeria.

John Church had an inexhaustible fund of naval stories ranging from the China Station to Spithead and back. All his service had been on the big ships and without doubt his favourite was “Spite” (HMS Warspite). I spent hours sitting on the enormous pile of coke in his superbly kept and polished boiler room listening to him. He was all rather like The Boyhood of Raleigh!

John Church must have fed Dad’s fascination with all things military, and as soon as he had the opportunity, Dad joined the Sebright Cadet Corps, an informal outfit that was sanctioned by the government as an Army Officer Training Program sometime in 1935. Meanwhile, Dad’s academic studies continued apace under the gifted F.E. Borland M.A. (Oxon).

Freddie Borland drank: we used to say that if you lit a cigarette lighter outside his mouth when he belched (which he did with an astounding frequency) it would “burn with a blue flame.” He smoked like a chimney. His hand shook in the mornings as if it was palsied and he cut himself shaving so often that we used to take bets on how many little tufts of cotton wool he would be wearing on any given day to stop the bleeding.

He was the most magnificent teacher I have ever met. He was only with us for two terms in 1936, but the following December, when I again sat the Cambridge School Certificate Examination, instead of failing it for a second time – as everybody expected – I sailed through with six “credits” (including Chemistry) and a pass in Maths, which meant that I had matriculated! I was seventeen and nine months old.

From that moment, Dad devoted himself almost single-mindedly to the pursuit of his real goal: a commission in an infantry regiment, and by the Fall of 1938, having successfully completed all his training, he “applied for a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Supplementary Reserve of Officers of a County Regiment.”

The Worcester Regiment having no commission vacancies at the time, Dad was sent over to the Warwickshires, and from thence to the 47th Foot, The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) where he was recommended, accepted, and commissioned on October 31, 1938.

Dad’s recounting of the home front training and exercises is amusing, and rather sad, as his dreams of a “soldier’s life” were deferred in the face of interminable tactical exercises and seminars. The home front alarums and excursions ended abruptly on September 3, 1939, when Dad and his mates listened to Neville Chamberlain declare that Britain was at war with Germany. His life in combat commenced shortly thereafter when he was sent to France.

Dad’s regiment was, it turned out, a perfect fit for him. Amalgamated from four other County regiments in 1881, its storied battle honors stretched across America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Crimea. And its motto, Loyauté M’Oblige, is another quote that could have defined his life.

It’s Old French. And it means “Loyalty binds me.” Quite similar to Semper Fidelis, but I like the very personal touch. Loyalty binds me. 

Dad was the most loyal person I’ve ever known. To his family. To his country. To his God. To his men. And to his friends.

I learned so many things from Dad during the fifty-three years we shared on this earth. But if you were to ask me which are the ones that have most affected the way I live my life, I’d say they were probably:

  1. Don’t do things by half-measures. Throw yourself into life, and never lose your zest for it. Take risks. Give it your all. If you’re going to make a mess of things, make sure you make it by standing for something, and not by folding your cards or running away. Whatever it is, face it. (Dad never knew when to fold his hand. A charming, sometimes very touching, but sometimes uncomfortable, infuriating, and even dangerous trait. Wonderfully reassuring, though, when Dad was in your corner.)
  2. Have faith. Faith in yourself. Faith in others. Faith in your God. Stand up for yourself, because you’re worth it.
  3. Take people as you find them, regardless of what you or others perceive to be their station in life. Value everyone you meet. All people bring intrinsic dignity and worth with them. Treat them fairly. Expect a lot from yourself. Expect a lot from others. If they disappoint you, or turn on you, don’t allow yourself to be used, and see #2. (That will happen far less often than you might think.) Forgive each other and mend fences whenever it’s possible; move on when it’s not. (It wouldn’t surprise me, knowing Dad, that like General Mattis, he had “a plan to kill everyone he met.” Lord knows, throughout his life, there were many who tried to kill him, sometimes in bizarre and extraordinarily unpleasant ways (not messing). But he never talked that way, and didn’t let that define him or the way he lived his life.
  4. No job is beneath your dignity. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Your personal worth, and your value as a human being are not diminished by performing the least skilled or muckiest of tasks, nor are they enhanced by your accomplishments at the top of the elite career scale.
  5. Loyauté M’Oblige. My loyalty binds me. Speak your mind, but make sure, at the end of the day, that you can live with yourself, that you did your absolute best, that you did what you promised, and that you stayed true to yourself and those you love. (Cue Polonius, not behind the arras, for once.)
  6. Keep your sense of proportion, your sense of humor, and your sense of the ridiculous in good order. Along with your faith, they are the things that will save you at life’s darkest moments. “Laughter is,” indeed, “the best medicine.”

I’ve told a few stories, here on Ricochet, about Dad’s further adventures in life, and many more of them are ably recounted in the obituary I mentioned above. Suffice it to say that Dad went from strength to strength after the war, in the Colonial Service, in academia, and in politics. Never, ever did he let the “unforgiving minute” go by without getting in his “sixty seconds worth of distance run.” Never. Not once.

God bless, Dad. You were a Dad for the ages. You were a “man for all seasons.” The mold is broken. I miss you, Daddy.

Happy Birthday,

Love,

Your Girl

I found the following poem neatly typed out on an index card (remember index cards?) and saved in one of Dad’s many shoe boxes of such things, after he died. Until then, I didn’t know where the title of his first book (Concerning Brave Captains) came from, and I never heard Dad quote anything else from it. Still, it must have meant something to him. It’s by Rudyard Kipling, and it was written on the death of Teddy Roosevelt. Similar in many ways to If, but much less-well-known.

“The interpreter then called for a man-servant of his, one Great-Heart.” — Bunyan’s’ Pilgrim’s Progess.

Concerning brave Captains
Our age hath made known
For all men to honour,
One standeth alone,
Of whom, o’er both oceans,
Both peoples may say:
“Our realm is diminished
With Great-Heart away.”

In purpose unsparing,
In action no less,
The labours he praised
He would seek and profess
Through travail and battle,
At hazard and pain. . . .
And our world is none the braver
Since Great-Heart was ta’en!

Plain speech with plain folk,
And plain words for false things,
Plain faith in plain dealing
‘Twixt neighbours or kings,
He used and he followed,
However it sped. . . .
Oh, our world’s none more honest
Now Great-Heart is dead!

The heat of his spirit
Struck warm through all lands;
For he loved such as showed
‘Emselves men of their hands;
In love, as in hate,
Paying home to the last. . . .
But our world is none the kinder
Now Great-Heart hath passed!

Hard-schooled by long power,
Yet most humble of mind
Where aught that he was
Might advantage mankind.
Leal servant, loved master,
Rare comrade, sure guide. . . .
Oh, our world is none the safer
Now Great-Heart hath died!

Let those who would handle
Make sure they can wield
His far-reaching sword
And his close-guarding shield:
For those who must journey
Henceforward alone
Have need of stout convoy
Now Great-Heart is gone.–Rudyard Kipling

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  1. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Wonderful read.

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy secretly Member
    Misthiocracy secretly
    @Misthiocracy

    She: Quote of the Day: Fear God. Honor the King.

    Fun fact: Those words are carved above the entrances to the conference room in the office of the Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition.  Fear God is carved above one door, and Honour the King is carved above the other door.  It serves as a reminder to the Opposition Leader that they’re supposed to be the loyal opposition.

    Since a 10+ year renovation of the Centre Block of Canada’s Parliament just got underway, it’ll be interesting to see if those carvings will still be there at the end of it all.  Seems like the kind of thing that could “go missing” after a decade (or more) of the place being off limits to anybody who might care.

    • #2
  3. She Member
    She
    @She

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    She: Quote of the Day: Fear God. Honor the King.

    Fun fact: Those words are carved above the entrances to the conference room in the office of Canada’s official Opposition Leader. Fear God is carved above one door, and Honour the King is carved above the other door. It serves as a reminder to the Opposition Leader that they’re supposed to be the loyal opposition.

    Since a 10+ year renovation of the Centre Block of Canada’s Parliament just got underway, it’ll be interesting to see if those carvings will still be there at the end of it all. Seems like the kind of thing that could “go missing” after a decade (or more) of the place being off limits to anybody who might care.

    That’s fascinating.  Thanks.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She: My father was born 100 years ago, on March 6, 1919.

    March 6th is a good day to be born. Plenty of great company. John of Gaunt, Jakob Fugger, Michelangelo, etc. A surfeit of generals and admirals, poets, conductors, scoundrels, and rogues, none of them living their lives small. Cyrano de Bergerac? Elizabeth Barrett Browning? Phil Sheridan? Bob Wills? Lou Costello? So many more.

    • #4
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    • #5
  6. She Member
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: My father was born 100 years ago, on March 6, 1919.

    March 6th is a good day to be born. Plenty of great company. John of Gaunt, Jakob Fugger, Michelangelo, etc. A surfeit of generals and admirals, poets, conductors, scoundrels, and rogues, none of them living their lives small. Cyrano de Bergerac? Elizabeth Barrett Browning? Phil Sheridan? Bob Wills? Lou Costello? So many more.

    None like my Dad.

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    Well, you know about those English.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She (View Comment):
    None like my Dad.

    None like any other, and all larger than life.

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    None like my Dad.

    None like any other, and all larger than life.

    Kiki Dee!

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I am so in awe of your father! Every time you write about him, my admiration for him grows. To have a father who left you with life lessons, guidelines to live by, shows how he was moved to make his mark on the world. And on his family. Thank you again for sharing him.

    • #10
  11. She Member
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    Well, you know about those English.

    Well, here’s a partial list of place names that MA apparently didn’t want:

    Penistone, Yorkshire
    Wetwang, Yorkshire
    Brown Willy, Cornwall
    Sandy Balls, Hampshire (of course, we do have “Blue Ball” in PA.  Also, “Intercourse”)
    Shitterton, Dorset (let’s see if that gets autoredacted)
    Puddletown, Dorset
    Cockermouth, Cumbria
    Twatt, Orkney Islands

    There are a number of (mostly medieval) street names that I just can’t bring myself to list.

    This map is great fun.  My sister and brother-in-law sent it to me for Christmas a few years ago.  Dad would have thoroughly approved.

     

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gagara Yasin!

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    Gagara Yasin!

    Thanks, @percival

    There’s also the day Dad and his buddies gatecrashed the Pope.

    Yet again proof positive that things didn’t happen to David Muffett; David Muffett happened to things.

    • #13
  14. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    She (View Comment):

    Well, here’s a partial list of place names that MA apparently didn’t want . . .:

    I will say this for that list.  At least the names are generally pronounceable–assuming that one would actually want to.  Having spent a life hearing Worcester and Gloucester mangled every which way, that’s something.

    • #14
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Percival (View Comment):

    Gagara Yasin!

    That is not just my favorite story of yours, She, it is in the running to be my favorite story ever. If it had happened to a relative of mine, I would have worn out my grandmother retelling it. (It beats the Army pilot landing his Piper Cub in the back field in 1943 looking for gasoline and directions all hollow.)

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    I have the same reaction whenever I was British television programs. 

    There’s no doubt that the early colonists were really interested in creating a new and improved England here. 

    Either that or they had no imagination. 

    • #16
  17. Misthiocracy secretly Member
    Misthiocracy secretly
    @Misthiocracy

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    You think that’s bad?  The English also have a habit of stealing place-names from Québec, of all places!

    • #17
  18. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    You think that’s bad? The English also have a habit of stealing place-names from Québec, of all places!

    Luckily, the Ontarians renamed all their cities after the Germans stole those names.

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy secretly Member
    Misthiocracy secretly
    @Misthiocracy

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    I have the same reaction whenever I was British television programs.

    There’s no doubt that the early colonists were really interested in creating a new and improved England here.

    Either that or they had no imagination.

    I can’t remember who it was, but I remember once reading an article by a Brit who was travelling in the USA who was at first very disappointed by how unlike England was New England (e.g. big mountains, boreal forest, agriculture dominated by dairy, very much like Switzerland), but then was later overjoyed at how much the southern states like Alabama and Georgia reminded him of home (e.g. rolling hills, family farms, accents that for a trained ear conjure vague memories of primordial rural England, etc.).

     

    • #19
  20. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    I have the same reaction whenever I was British television programs.

    There’s no doubt that the early colonists were really interested in creating a new and improved England here.

    Either that or they had no imagination.

    I can’t remember who it was, but I remember once reading an article by a Brit who was travelling in the USA who was at first very disappointed by how unlike England was New England (e.g. big mountains, boreal forest, agriculture dominated by dairy, very much like Switzerland), but then was later overjoyed at how much the southern states like Alabama and Georgia reminded him of home (e.g. rolling hills, family farms, accents that for a trained ear conjure vague memories of primordial rural England, etc.).

    My daughter spent a month in England, and she said that the thirteen colonies appeared to have arranged themselves north to south the way England is set up. :-) She was talking about culture and dialect. :-)

    • #20
  21. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Outstanding, She.  Thank you for sharing your dad with us.

    • #21
  22. She Member
    She
    @She

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What’s with all of these English locations stealing the names of Massachusetts cities?

    I have the same reaction whenever I was British television programs.

    There’s no doubt that the early colonists were really interested in creating a new and improved England here.

    Either that or they had no imagination.

    I can’t remember who it was, but I remember once reading an article by a Brit who was travelling in the USA who was at first very disappointed by how unlike England was New England (e.g. big mountains, boreal forest, agriculture dominated by dairy, very much like Switzerland), but then was later overjoyed at how much the southern states like Alabama and Georgia reminded him of home (e.g. rolling hills, family farms, accents that for a trained ear conjure vague memories of primordial rural England, etc.).

    It’s funny.  Most of the little “frissons” I get that remind me of home (sorry, ExPat Brits cannot think any other way) are quick little blips.  There’s a road in East Pittsburgh that I drive down occasionally on the way to somewhere else, and without ever thinking of it beforehand I think, wow, this reminds me of the neighborhood where my dad grew up.  It’s the stone walls on either side of the street, perhaps the trees, just something. It’s fleeting, but it always has an impact.  Some of the shops in the Pittsburgh Strip District (not that kind of strip, it’s the area where fresh meats, fish and produce are delivered, and many local food processing and manufacturing enterprises and shops are located) remind me of some of the greengrocers and butchers of my childhood.

    The English countryside is manicured.  It’s been planted, and sown, and reaped, and hewn, and dug, and fenced over and over again for over hundreds of years.  So there’s a lot of it that actually does look rather like the Shire in the LOTR movies.  You don’t see much of that here. (Some of the farms in the wealthier parts of VA reminds me of parts of England a bit.)  Tidy.  Organized.  New England, and West Virginia actually remind me more of Wales, which has a wilder aspect (there are still one or two parts of England, on the borders, where it’s still legal to kill a Welshman, as long as you do it with a bow and arrow.  At least, there were until a few years ago. Because they’re all thieves, you know.  Welshmen, I mean).  Prince Edward Island, in Maritime Canada has that peaceful, manicured, “England” look about it.  Probably one of the reasons Dad was drawn to it and we spent so much time there. Wiscasset, in Maine has a slight “Cornwall” aura in a couple of places, but not overall, I think.

    • #22
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: My father was born 100 years ago, on March 6, 1919.

    March 6th is a good day to be born. Plenty of great company. John of Gaunt, Jakob Fugger, Michelangelo, etc. A surfeit of generals and admirals, poets, conductors, scoundrels, and rogues, none of them living their lives small. Cyrano de Bergerac? Elizabeth Barrett Browning? Phil Sheridan? Bob Wills? Lou Costello? So many more.

    Isn’t it someone else’s birthday today?  @arahant?

    • #23
  24. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    She (View Comment):
    There are still one or two parts of England, on the borders, where it’s still legal to kill a Welshman, as long as you do it with a bow and arrow. At least, there were until a few years ago. Because they’re all thieves, you know. Welshmen, I mean.


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    • #24
  25. She Member
    She
    @She

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    There are still one or two parts of England, on the borders, where it’s still legal to kill a Welshman, as long as you do it with a bow and arrow. At least, there were until a few years ago. Because they’re all thieves, you know. Welshmen, I mean.

    [snip Men of Harlech video]

    One of my favorites, thanks.  I like the sheepy part, too, which I always miss in the Welsh.

    I love this performance of Calon Lan by Only Boys Aloud.  (The song starts at about 2:10 but I think the story that precedes it is just great):

    For those of you who enjoy your Welsh with a bit of cheesecake, there is always the lovely Miss Jenkins:

    And for the old grannies among us, what, as it turned out was pretty much the highlight of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Concert (after sentimental favorite, Rolf Harris, hit the skids).  I give you 71-year old Thomas John Woodward, about the only geezer performing who could still remotely carry a tune in a bucket, singing that late 60s anthem of toxic masculinity:

    No panties being thrown (as far as I could see), though.  A lot of Union Jacks being waved, which was nice.

    The Welsh.  Is there one of them alive, of any age, who cannot sing?

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She (View Comment):
    Isn’t it someone else’s birthday today?

    Oh, I’m sure lots of other people have birthdays today. In fact, I need to go send a note to my cousin Edward. It’s his birthday.

    • #26
  27. She Member
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Isn’t it someone else’s birthday today?

    Oh, I’m sure lots of other people have birthdays today. In fact, I need to go send a note to my cousin Edward. It’s his birthday.

    Happy Birthday.

    • #27
  28. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    She:  I know this has nothing to with your dad (or maybe it does), but do you recall the English musician Frank Chacksfield?  Very popular but forgotten figure virtually unknown in the U.S., but the subject of a discussion at our house the other night.  Just curious.  Yes, that’s my life.

    • #28
  29. She Member
    She
    @She

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    She: I know this has nothing to with your dad (or maybe it does), but do you recall the English musician Frank Chacksfield? Very popular but forgotten figure virtually unknown in the U.S., but the subject of a discussion at our house the other night. Just curious. Yes, that’s my life.

    His name rang a vague bell, but I couldn’t really place him.  Then I looked at his Wikipedia entry, and saw that his orchestra was called the “Singing Strings.”  I do remember them.  And Ebb Tide.

     

    • #29
  30. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    She (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    She: I know this has nothing to with your dad (or maybe it does), but do you recall the English musician Frank Chacksfield? Very popular but forgotten figure virtually unknown in the U.S., but the subject of a discussion at our house the other night. Just curious. Yes, that’s my life.

    His name rang a vague bell, but I couldn’t really place him. Then I looked at his Wikipedia entry, and saw that his orchestra was called the “Singing Strings.” I do remember them. And Ebb Tide.

    Thanks for indulging me.  20 million records sold not that long ago and one has to really reach for anyone who remembers.  Whenever I read a skilled obit such as the one above, it reminds that many people who could be forgotten should not be.  BTW, my family roots are in Manchester/Salton.

    • #30
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