Saturday, July 28, 2012


Much has been written about King Arthur. Part legend, some truth, too, they say. Indeed that is the way of much of ancient history; if the chronicler [chronic Lur] didn't think the stand-alone history was interesting enough, he felt free to add his own stories to spice it up. Some might say history-writing is still that way today.

Anyway, there are tales of real history here and there, and tales of non-history mixed in. Is Arthur the part that was added in? Hard to say what is real and what is fantasy now, after so many years.

Most of the legends, the older writings, were pieced together to make one story, more or less, in Malory's  "Le Morte d'Arthur." This, too, contained much "original material" by the author. "Le Morte..." was first published in the late fifteenth century. Earlier bits and pieces were written by various authors, notably the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth in the twelfth century. Even he was not the first. Supposedly Arthur's name is mentioned in the ancient "Y Gododdin." Those of you who are fluent in ancient Welsh, please let me know what it says.

"Le Morte d'Arthur" is the more or less official version and was relied upon (stolen from) by more recent Arthur authors, such as T.H. White (The Once and Future King") and Tennyson's "The Idylls of the King." And myself, of course. Like you care.

Anyway, returning to the above map, Lothian is a real area along the Firth of Forth, including the areas of West- Mid- and East-Lothian, as well as Edinburgh city.

King Lot was its king. Some spell it King Loth (though I am loath to do so myself.) King lot was the father of Sir Gawain. Except that Sir Gawain was (sadly) the product of Malory's fertile imagination and was one of many things he added to the history. Or not. Who knows? I prefer to believe there WAS a Sir Gawain and a round table and a magical sword named Excalibre. I just don't believe in Scotland.

King Arthur was supposed to have lived in the late fifth and early sixth centuries, a great British leader who defeated the Saxons and established a vast empire over Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul. Dunno. The story is so complex, and the characters so numerous and interesting that it is hard not to get sucked into the story. Hard for me at any rate. After Arthur, Lothian became a part of the Kingdom of Northumbria for a time. Then it was Pict back again from the pesky Angles. You had to be there to appreciate it.

Here I must stop, though, lest I be accused of being long-winded yet again. Or pause, at least. I have discovered if I break up a long story into several posts, some of you will think it is not just one long story.

Before I go, I know most of you would be disappointed if I didn't work in the word "incubus" into this post somewhere. Let me think.

Merlin was a cambion. A cambion is a being born of a human mother and an incubus. Did you know that a cambion doesn't have a pulse or doesn't have breath, until he is seven years old? Of course you did.

A cambion is not simply a person from Cambia, then.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Very Cool Car

1929 Bentley. Around  a million bucks or so. Still...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Snot Cricket


cricket 1 |ˈkrikit|nounan insect related to the grasshoppers. The male produces a characteristic rhythmical chirping sound. • Family Gryllidae: many genera and species, including the field cricket and the house cricket.ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French criquet, from criquer ‘to crackle,’ of imitative 2nounan open-air game played on a large grass field with ball, bats, and two wickets, between teams of eleven players, the object of the game being to score more runs than the opposition.Cricket is played mainly in Britain and in territories formerly under British rule, including Australia, South Africa, the West Indies, New Zealand, and the Indian subcontinent. The full game with two innings per side can last several days; shorter matches are usual at the amateur level and have become popular at professional level since the 1960s.PHRASESnot cricket Brit., informal a thing contrary to traditional standards of fairness or rectitude.DERIVATIVEScricketer nouncricketing adjectiveORIGIN late 16th cent.: of unknown 3nouna low stool, typically with a rectangular or oval seat and four legs splayed out.

I'm guessing Snot Cricket is that kind of cricket played on a slippery field. Pitch. Bowl. Whatever.

I have learned cricket from elsewhere on this blog in posts written by experts, so I will regale a bit.

"The male produces a characteristic rhythmic chirping sound." (In Georgia: Chirpin' sound.)

I can't relate that to wickets in the least. You'll just have to hold that thought about the male cricket players rubbing their legs together. Actually I didn't know females didn't make that noise too. Chirpin' I mean.

From criquer: 'to crackle.' Lordy don't THAT lose something in the translation? Stick to chirpin' and forget the French. Please.

"An open-air game played on a large grass field with ball, bats, and two wickets, between teams of eleven players, the object of the game being to score more runs than the opposition." Man, if THAT doesn't clear up the rules, you are pretty hopeless. What more could you want in the way of an explanation of the game of cricket? Nada. Zilch. What the hell about innings? He asks.

"Cricket is played mainly in Britain and in territories formerly under British rule...." Fair enough, but then they start listing all the countries formerly under British rule. What is the point of that? Some dictionary. An American dictionary, of course. It's like when I get those checks from my credit card companies every Thursday "to use for anything I want to buy" and then they make a list of all the things they can think of that money is good for. You know? RBS is the worst.


"The full game can last several days..." Bet it seems like YEARS, eh? Not to the English. Sorry. Btw, if you DO go back searching this blog for the REAL cricket posts, be sure not to miss the photo of the elderly English gent with all the hair on his back. Now, I am not trying to denigrate elderly British cricket fans who take off their shirt when they are sitting right in front of you - plenty of American men have too much hair on their backs too - I only mention it in passing so you will know there is something to look at during the match, besides the game, as the weeks between innings drag by.

Now, then, "Phrase Snot cricket": a thing contrary to traditional standards of fairness or rectitude.

So, if someone tries to break the rules, or bend the rules, and you catch them, you just yell out "That Snot Cricket!!" Or, if Jewish, "That Snot Kosher!"

I really AM learning this BritishSpeak stuff, but, God, sometimes it is like pulling teeth, you know?

Feeling extra old today. "Memory almost full" it says. And it's not talking about my computer.

Holy mackerel.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Old Bailey

The Old Bailey is a court building - we would call it a courthouse - which is one of several buildings housing the Crown Court in central London. The Old Bailey deals with important criminal cases of the Greater London area (and sometimes exceptional cases from throughout England and Wales.)

A part of the present building stands on the site of the medieval Newgate Gaol, on Old Bailey Road. The road follows the line of London's fortified wall (bailey.)

My patio is walled. I wonder if just any wall can be called a bailey? But then I wonder about a lot of things that come to very little.

The court was rebuilt and reopened in 1674, following the Fire of London. Hangings in the street outside were a public spectacle until 1868. Typical of the genteel and reserved British, riotous crowds would gather to pelt the condemned with rotten fruit and vegetables and rocks as the unfortunate made his way to the gallows. In 1807, 28 people were crushed to death after a pie-sellers stall overturned. Gosh, those were the days, eh?

I wonder if it existed very long before the fire? If so, perhaps it was here where Guy Fawkes took his swan dive off the gallows, splattering his head like a ripe melon on the cobbles to rob the hangman. Boy, that sure showed him, wot? But no head left to pike. I don't remember if he was still quartered or if they all just went home after that. Ah, gentle Albion. (I recently learned of Albion from this rather unusual blog.)

Today, the Old Bailey has it's own website complete with searchable records of trial proceedings through the ages, currently available for your voyeuristic pleasure, 1674-1913, should you be one of the people who can read the English of that era which called walls baileys.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eugenics Lite


"I would have loved to have been in a band, but sadly I just wasn't good enough."
—Tony Blair, British Statesman


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