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Sunday, 03 January 2010
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Esme’s excellent post here is very relevant indeed and it contains some fascinating photographs of Inn signs. I hadn’t really noticed Inn signs until Esme started her series of posts about them, but now I’m hooked. They are yet another of our traditions that embody so much of our history. I know that Esme knows the origin of the Morris dancing traditions of our country, but for our readers who might not know, here goes a very brief explanation.

In late 1492 King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castille succeeded in driving the Muslims from Spain and unifying the old Roman province of Iberia into a single country. In celebration of this a pageant known as a 'Moresca' was invented and staged throughout the newly re-formed Spain which those monarchs forged.
 
That pageant can still be seen in many places in Spain to this very day. A native Spanish dance - the 'Paloteao' - was taken into the pageant. That dance can still be seen in many of the rural the villages of Aragon, and sometimes elsewhere in Spain.
 
The original dance in the ´Moresca´ was a sword dance and the sticks used in Morris dancing in England are echoes of the swords in the 'Moresca'. Some authorities venture the idea that the Scottish Highland Sword Dance comes from the same source - the 'Moresca'.
 
I think that this whole idea might be the wrong way round and that sword dancing predated the 'Moresca' all over Europe but became linked to the European victory over the forces of Islamic darkness in Ferdinand's and Isabella’s time simply because it was an astoundingly important event for Europe. Sword dances are mentioned by Abbot Walter Bowyer of the Augustinian Abbey on Inchcolm(1) in his Scotichronicon of 1440 (there's an original copy in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh) and they are mentioned, also, in his predecessor's (Father John of Fordoun) work, the Chronica Gentis Scotorum, which Bowyer was commissioned(2) to finish and which became his (Bowyer’s) Scotichronicon, which the aforementioned National Library of Scotland has described as "probably the most important mediaeval account of early Scottish history" and as providing both a strong expression of [Scottish] national identity, and a window into the world view of mediaeval commentators. It’s certainly a very important medieval document and provides many insights into the attitudes of those times.
 
Whatever the case might be, Morris dancing in its present form most certainly commemorates the Spanish victory over the reactionary and dead hand of Islam in 1492. We should all support our local Morris men and their sides (teams) for they embody in their traditions and their dancing the very victory that we all devoutly hope for today. They symbolise the very freedoms which we at this site seek to defend.
 
Dance on brave Morris men, dance on!
 
            Notes:
 (1) The same Abbey which lends its name to the 14th. Century manuscript referred to as the ‘Inchcolm Antiphoner’ that has in its pages one of the few remaining examples of Celtic Plainchant. The Antiphoner can be accessed online here at Edinburgh University's site.
(2) Abbot Bowyer was commissioned by Sir David Stewart (third) of Rosyth who died in 1483. Both he and the Abbot were political players in the Scotland of those years and the Scotichronicron reflects their political prejudices.
 
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Posted on 01/03/2010 6:54 AM by John M. Joyce
Sunday, 03 January 2010
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British-based Islamist radicals are targeting Army soldiers - especially snipers - returning from fighting in southern Afghanistan,The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
In one case, a police armed response unit was called to the home of a sniper last September amid fears he was about to be murdered or abducted by al-Qaeda terrorists.
The Corporal, serving with a Scottish Regiment, was one of a two-man sniping team which shot dead 32 Taliban fighters during a six-month tour of Afghanistan.
The soldier – whom this newspaper has agreed not to name – was temporarily forced to leave home his wife and family after details of his service in Afghanistan were made public.
It can also be disclosed that a second sniper who recently returned home to the Glasgow area received death threats from suspected British-based al-Qaeda sympathisers after his personal details became known.
The threats were deemed so serious that an armed response unit was sent to his home in case terrorists tried to kidnap or kill him or members of his family.
Defence chiefs now see the situation as so serious that they have asked newspapers and broadcasters not to publicise the names or personal details of snipers serving in Helmand or of those who have recently returned.
It is understood that senior commanders believe Army snipers are being specifically targeted because they are often used to seek out and kill Taliban commanders.
A senior defence source said snipers were being targeted because theirs sole role in Afghanistan was to kill.
He added: "Sniping is a cold and calculating art. You have to be prepared to kill someone at a long range who may not be posing any direct threat to you. Every sniper who deploys to Helmand will return with several kills, many will be into double figures and this is something which is not lost on al-Qaeda or their sympathisers. Islamists would see targeting snipers as something is "acceptable" because they are killing a soldier who has killed one of their brothers."

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Posted on 01/03/2010 3:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
A tip of the chapeau to colleague Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch blog for this Los Angeles Times article, “Desperate Somalis pursue
nine ladies dancing. Two ladies and two Morris dancers, spreading themselves very thin. The Princess of Wales in Villiers Street by Charing Cross. Not

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A reader's comment on another forum lead me to search for this Youtube clip. It was placed there by either the Welsh Branch (Chapter?  whatever

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From the Wall Street Journal (Europe) Iranians Want Regime Change Khamenei is losing the support of the clergy and military. By AFSHIN ELLIAN Six
by Jerry Gordon (January 2010) Introduction As 2009 was morphing into the New Year of 2010, America found itself once again in a finger pointing exercise

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From Iranian Press TV: A top clerical body in the holy city of Qom declares that Grand Ayatollah Yousuf Sanei no longer qualifies to be a marja al-taqlid,
"Unfriend" was the word of 2009, as Hugh noted in his post "Unsex(t) me here, unfriend me now". It turns out that Shakespeare did

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Yet again the Germans have one word for something unpleasant, while the English need two and an explanation. "Henkersmahlzeit" is the last meal

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From The Telegraph People in Wootton Bassett, the town famous for honouring dead British soldiers returning from Afghanistan, reacted defiantly on Saturday
From Compass Direct ISTANBUL, December 31 (CDN) — Nearly 50 Muslim members of a community in northern Algeria blocked Christians from holding a

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Attempt to Kill Danish Cartoonist Fails By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COPENHAGEN (AP) — The police foiled an attempt to kill an artist who drew
Jerry Gordon interviewed Westergaard while he was in America last October.  At age 74, he and his wife have been forced

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by Theodore Dalrymple  (January 2010) I was in New York when Lehmann Brothers collapsed and I was in Dubai when property prices fell there by
A preacher in Doha, Qatar, in his Khutba  does not disappoint.

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