St. David’s Day (Dydd Gwyl Dewi) is the first of the four national days or patron saints’ days in the British calendar. Saint David (Dewi Sant in Welsh) is the only of them to actually hail from the country for which he was canonised. Yet we know very little of a factual nature about his life. Apparently,Continue reading “Where in the World is Wales? Celebrating St David’s Day, 1st March – a retrospective after forty years ‘in exile’.”
Category Archives: First World War
Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.
Above: British propaganda poster, ‘On to Japan!’, 1945 (The Bridgeman Art Library). Fighting Back in Malaya & Singapore: The State Opening of Parliament, which took place on 15th August 1945, saw a return to the pomp of pre-war years, with thousands of people lining the streets of London as the King and Queen travelled toContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.”
Majesty & Grace V: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – King, Country & People’s War, 1940-45:
‘Ribbentrop’s War’ – The Assault on the West: After the defeat of Poland, Hitler wanted to wage a winter campaign in the west, but bad weather prevented it, and both sides sat through a winter of ‘phoney war.’ For this reason and with some justice, the Second World War has been called ‘Ribbentrop’s war.’ AlthoughContinue reading “Majesty & Grace V: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – King, Country & People’s War, 1940-45:”
Majesty & Grace IV: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – The Reign of ‘Albert the Good’ – George VI, 1936-39.
The Deep Despair of the Duke & Duchess: The Duke of York, Albert, and his family had been in Scotland during the days preceding the Abdication Crisis. When the British press broke their self-imposed silence about King Edward’s affair with Mrs Simpson on 3rd December 1936, the Yorks were on their way back to LondonContinue reading “Majesty & Grace IV: The Lives & Times of the Windsors – The Reign of ‘Albert the Good’ – George VI, 1936-39.”
Majesty & Grace II – The Lives & Times of The Windsors; George V & Family, 1921-1936.
1922-23 – Four Royal Weddings: The betrothal of 24-year-old Princess Mary to Viscount Lascelles, 39-year-old millionaire son of the Earl of Harewood, was officially announced at Buckingham Palace on 22 November 1921: On the last day of February 1922, the marriage was held at Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was thrown open to the public afterContinue reading “Majesty & Grace II – The Lives & Times of The Windsors; George V & Family, 1921-1936.”
Majesty & Grace I – The Lives & Times of the Windsors, 1901-1921: The Reigns of Edward VII & George V.
Picture: The Battle of Jutland in the North Sea in 1916. Neither side won the battle, but the German fleet was forced to shelter in harbour until 1918. George V’s second son, Albert George (Bertie), Duke of York from 1920, future George VI and the father of the late Queen Elizabeth II, was an officer on board HMS Collingwood.
An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).
The Road Goes Ever on – Headington to Bournemouth: Although life retirement sometimes seemed ‘grey and grim’ to Tolkien, it also had many elements that suited him. For one thing, he and Edith, at last, had enough money. However, the tax authorities took a large proportion of his earnings, and on one occasion, Tolkien wroteContinue reading “An Epilogue for Beren & Lúthien: Tolkien’s Last Years, 1966-1973 & The Work of Christopher Tolkien (-2017).”
Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part Two – ‘Shadowy Abstractions’
There was a good stretch of time between Jack Lewis’s conversion on the way to Whipsnade and his writing of the Tales of Narnia. Throughout this time, while Tolkien was writing his Hobbit stories, Lewis was musing on the physical similarities that men and beasts have in common. This is why he felt that Kenneth Grahame, in The Wind in the Willows, made exactly the right choice in giving his principal character the form of a toad
The Making of an English Mythology; from Reality to Fantasy and back again, 1917-1954: Tolkien’s Creative Years.
Following his recovery from the Somme and ‘trench fever’ on his return from France in 1916, Tolkien was determined to create an entire mythology for England. He had hinted at this during his undergraduate days at Oxford when he studied and wrote of the Finnish ‘Kalevala’:
“I would that we had more of it left – something of the sort that belonged to the English.”
This idea now grew during his recuperation until it reached ‘epic’ proportions. This is how Tolkien expressed it when recollecting many years later:
“Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen), I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large to the cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply: to England, to my country. “
J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham; the Formative Years, 1896-1916: Part Two (1908-16) – ‘Lang.’, Lore & Love.
Inventing Language: As a result of his insatiable love of words, Ronald started to invent his own languages. Some children have rudimentary private languages that they like to share together. This was what Ronald’s cousins Mary and Marjorie Incledon had done. They now lived outside Birmingham at Barnt Green, the neighbouring village to Rednal, andContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham; the Formative Years, 1896-1916: Part Two (1908-16) – ‘Lang.’, Lore & Love.”