Tag Archives: Edward VIII

Ten Things I Learnt This Week

One, ten point lists are handy things to prompt a blog post. Last week I wrote about ten point lists, but they were already in my mind when I sat down at the keyboard. This week I sat down with a completely empty head and thought ‘What shall I write?’ I then thought ‘What did I learn this week?’ and then ‘Did I learn ten things?’ I’m hoping I did, or I’ll have to change the title.

Two, five hundred words are easy if you start with enough in your head. If you don’t have much to say, they can be a real struggle. I knocked out five 500 word posts on my Wednesday marathon and actually had to cut some to keep it to an average of 500 per post.

Three,sometimes less is better. I couldn’t get a good run at the blog last night and petered out after 250 words. I came close to 500 words twice, but the post was better when it was shortened, so I cut the extras out.

Four, freedom is not always good. The USA, with a tradition of freedom, individualism and pioneering spirit is not finding the Covid situation easy. The Germans and Swiss, who are more regimented and organised, seem to have come through the virus in much better shape. The Brits, as usual, fall between the two extremes and are totally disorganised.

Five, the Americans prefer ‘learned’ to ‘learnt’ and, according to the internet article I read, are irritated by what they see as the mis-spelling ‘learnt’. Users of British English, on the other hand, favour ‘learnt’ and see learned as an acceptable alternative. This is probably not accurate as (a) it’s on the internet and (b) I’m sure there are relaxed Americans an picky Brits about.

Six, it’s fun just relaxing and reading WordPress. There is so much to learn.

Seven, the average person eats 20-30 plant foods in a year. I got that from Helen at Growing out of Chaos. For years now I’ve been trying to keep our diet varied, and if that is the benchmark I seem to be succeeding. Like Helen, we are hovering around 60. That’s without foraging, as I’ve let that slip badly.

Eight, I now know a lot more about Edward VIII, anti-semitism, fascism and royalty medallions of the 1930s than I did at the beginning of the week. You might have guessed this from the photographs. Now isn’t the time to go into all that, as I haven’t yet written it all.

 

Nine, on-line grocery shopping is more difficult than you think. I thought I’d got it all organised but this week I still managed to order frozen spinach instead of fresh and the packs of six cobs instead of four. The big ones that come in the packs of four are good for lunch, but the small one, which come in the packs of six) are only a few bites before they are all gone. That means you have to take four for lunch, and that looks like  you are being greedy.

Ten, saag is not, as I had thought, an Indian word for spinach, but for greens of many sorts. The word for spinach is palak. I got this from Helen too. At this point, I would like to apologise to readers from the Indian sub-continent. I know there is no such language as ‘Indian’ but I am not well up on the differences and nuances of the various languages and decided to keep things simple.

So, that’s it, ten things I learnt this week. I have an uneasy feeling that I learnt more than that but haven’t retained it. That, I’m afraid, is what happens as you get older.

 

Men of few words are the best men

I do like Saturdays. They are generally interesting days, being a bit busier than weekdays, and with a slightly more social element about them. For the last few weeks they have been also been the start of my weekend, as I currently have Sundays and Mondays off.

Today we had several people selling things and a couple coming to buy, with someone in nearly all the time. I’m just getting into the swing of things with the Edward VIII medallions, and am remembering how to set up an eBay listing with a drop-down menu. It isn’t difficult but you need to concentrate and my first few attempts last week all ended with me wiping things off by accident.

We currently have one listing up and running. There are two more ready to go and a fourth is in preparation. They are getting steadily more interesting as time goes by. I started with Coronation medallions (two lots), moved on to the Empire Day medallions and am now on Royal Visits. I still have the better quality Coronation Medallions and the Investiture Medallions to do.

He’s an interesting man, and had some admirable qualities, but he is not a man I personally admire. I think that things worked out for the best as George VI made a great wartime King, whereas Edward VIII, with his admiration of Hitler and his defeatist talk, would not have been an asset.

However, like so many things from history, we will never know.

I am trying to extend my posts to 500 words in order to increase my writing stamina, having made do with 250 words for many of my posts. However, there are just some days when 250 seems the right number. I did try a few hundred on fascism (following on from Edwards VIII) and I also became enmeshed in some discussion of anti-semitism (ditto) but my heart wasn’t in either of them and they are not really subjects lending themselves to short discussions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rather than burble on for the sake of reaching a word count I racked my brains for a quote, then, as my brains were not up to the job, looked on the internet. My brains don’t hold enough Shakespeare. but fortunately the internet does. A line from Henry V on the subject of Corporal Nym supplies the title of the post, and the closing thought.

(I have re-used two photographs from recent posts – sorry to be so lazy.)

 

 

 

Man in a Mask

I was down at the hospital just after eight and left twenty five minutes later, having seen four people breach what I consider acceptable mask etiquette.

One was a staff member chatting to the woman on hygiene duty at the entrance. No mask, despite the signs. Two was a patient, with his mask pulled down to leave his nose uncovered. The benefits of masks are still debatable, but the benefits of wearing one badly are even less obvious. Third was a receptionist who emerged from the office maskless, but laden with a coffee jar and several mugs. She disappeared into a cleaning cupboard to (I assume) make coffee. They spend all that money building the place and the staff have to make coffee in the broom cupboard. Who designs these things? Finally, as I left a doctor arrived. He took a mask from the table at the entrance and just held it to his face as he walked through the building. Is that the sort of grudging use of a mask you expect from a senior member of staff? Are his ears too grand for elastic? What will he do if he needs to use that hand (the other was grasping an attache case)?

All in all, not a great endorsement for the use of masks or the common sense of the staff.

Meanwhile, back at the blood test, I was stabbed in the arm by a woman who had clearly been taught to use a bayonet rather than a needle. As pain radiated through my body I was glad to note that my arm went dead. Whether that was because she hit a nerve or because the band was tight around my arm, I don’t know. I was just glad to lose the feeling. I have had better testing sessions.

I arrived at work an hour and a half early and started packing parcels. We only had three to do and I then took the selfies I am using with this post and started cataloguing medallions of Edward VIII. Many of them are bland. Some are dull, others anodyne.  And still more of them are boring, uninspired or unremarkable.

Empire Day Medal - Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII

Empire Day Medal – Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII

Some are very interesting but unfortunately many are not. You will learn more, whether you want to or not, as I write my posts on collectables.

At lunchtime we had a customer call, without appointment. She was a nice lady who wore a mask. and sold us some coins her father had put to one side. Some were silver, so she walked away with nearly £50.

Then we had thin man, also with no appointment, who had a copy ancient Greek coin as sold to tourists in happier days. It was worthless and he ejected little blobs of spittle as he spoke. Several fell on my hands. I held my breath and regretted not wearing a mask.

Finally we had a collector who looked at our Saxon coins and bought one before deciding to buy himself a second-hand coin cabinet as a belated birthday treat.

It was a very mixed day.

My sister made my mask. It has a nose clip and is generally an excellent mask, fitting well and being quite comfortable in wear. It is, if I could find any fault, perhaps a mask with a pattern more suited to an aunt, or a coin dealer wanting to get in touch with his feminine side, but it is a minor point.

Julia has just made sausage and mash with carrot and parsnip mash, sprouts and onion sauce – a nice plate of comfort food for the end of a wintry day. I will load the photos and go to eat.

All in all, apart from the stabbed arm and the spittle shower, it has been an excellent day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A man in a chintz mask

A Day for Clerihews

The Clerihew, according to Wikipedia, is a four line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley, with a rhyme scheme of aabb. The lines are irregular, though the first line should feature the name of the person who is the subject of the poem.  Bentley believed that the name should be at the end of the line as part of the challenge lay in finding a rhyme for awkward names. It can be whimsical, absurd and inaccurate.

In other words, they aren’t very demanding in terms of technique and historical research.

Here are three that I’ve written as part of a series about British Prime Ministers. Don’t rely on them if you are revising for an exam on the subject. I’ve covered PMs in other posts, but as there have been around 57 of them I still have a way to go.

I will try a few more over Christmas as I will have (a) time and (b) an unpleasantly crotchety attitude, which are both useful for political subjects.

 

 

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford,

was known to be fond of his orchard.

He was in power for 20 years.

And he raised gin tax, causing many tears.

 

Augustus Henry FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton

never wore a kaftan.

As a Chathamite Whig

he was a bit of a prig.

 

 

PM Stanley Baldwin

had a disagreement with the King.

A man of stately carriage,

he opposed King Edward’s marriage.

 

 

 

 

More From the Junk Box

The top picture is a lapel badge issued on Nottingham Warriors Day in 1921. It took place in March 1921 and was to raise funds for the Earl Haig Fund. There were a number of events, including a matinee performance that raised £400 for the fund and it was supported by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII. He was popular in those days.

This would later be eclipsed with the launch of poppy sales on Armistice Day 1921 – £106,000 raised in just one day.

Poppy seeds can lie dormant for many years. People used to say 90 years but now we are in the centenary years of the Great War they tend to say one hundred. It’s possible that poppies blooming today were seeds in 1914-18.

Try this for a less sentimental view of poppies.

After many references to sports teams, martial arts and eco-warriors I finally found references in a newspaper archive. I knew most of it, but when you are about to tell people from all over the world you really need to check your facts.

Most of the links just proved that like “hero”, the word “warrior” has been devalued over the years. Playing rugby for Worcester or recycling your newspapers should not qualify you for the title Warrior. On the other hand, the ironic use of keyboard warrior does meet with my approval, and yes, I admit I can be one myself.

Moving on to 1928, we have a medal for the opening of the new University buildings by George V and Queen Mary on 10th July 1928.

 

We then move on to 1935, the Silver Jubilee of George V and Queen Mary. This medal, as you can see, was given out by the Nottinghamshire County Council Education Committee. I presume it was given to school children. In a Lancashire my parents were given mugs, which they used to display in a cabinet when I was a kid. They are wrapped up in a box now, When I die I expect my kids will sell them. I don’t blame them. A fascination with the detritus of past times is not for everyone.

You may notice that the coat of arms looks a bit like it’s been designed by a child with a handful of crayons. It was replaced in 1937 by a proper one. I quite like the old one but as coats of arms go I have to admit the new one looks more traditional. I can’t find more details at the moment.

One thing that could have done with a medal is the opening of Gunthorpe Bridge on 17th November 1927 by the Prince of Wales. Yes, him again. Nobody seems to have bothered, so we just have to make do with a plaque on the bridge. One day I might stop and take a picture. One day when I am past caring about being squashed by a lorry.

Once you cross the Trent at Gunthorpe, the next crossing is Newark. I’ll leave that for the next post.

The Kings We Never Had (Part 4)

James II had 27 children by two wives and two mistresses. The only one we need to mention is James Francis Edward Stuart, also known as the “Old Pretender”. He was born in 1688, shortly before his father was deposed in the Glorious Revolution, lived in France and assumed the title  James III (or VIII of Scotland) on the death of his father in 1701.

In 1714, with Queen Anne nearing the end of her life, he was offered the throne if he would convert to the Protestant religion. He refused, and landed in Scotland in 1715 in an attempt to depose George I. Unable to secure military success he left for the continent a lived in Rome for the rest of his life. When he died in 1766 his “reign” had lasted 64 years, 3 months and 16 days, compared to  63 years, seven months and two days for Queen Victoria. Only the current Queen has reigned longer.

Next in this line is Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender. He tried to take the throne in 1745, coming as far south as Derby, before retreating to Scotland, where the Battle of Culloden became the last battle fought on British soil.

His brother Henry, a cardinal, became Henry IX of England and I of Scotland and was, in his later days, supported financially (to the tune of £4,000 a year) by George III. He died in 1807 and was the last Jacobite to claim the throne.

Frederick, Prince of Wales, was the son of George II; when the family left for England, he was left in Hanover and did not see his parents for 14 years. This may be why he was a difficult child and opposed his father in most things, even going so far as to secure the release of Flora MacDonald from the Tower after she was imprisoned for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape after the 1745 Rebellion.

He was a great cricket fan and supported the game financially as well as playing for the county of Surrey. In the 1733 season he presented a silver cup to the Surrey and Middlesex team that beat Kent – the first recorded cricket trophy. He died in 1751, probably from a pulmonary embolism, though some sources say it was a lung abcess caused by a blow from a cricket ball.

Fredericksburg, Virginia, Prince Frederick, Maryland , Fort Frederick, Maine, Fort Frederick, South Carolina, Fort Frederick, New York, Fort Frederica, Georgia, Fort Frederick, Maryland, Point Frederick, Ontario, Fort Frederick, Ontario and Fort Frederick, New Brunswick are all named after him.

We can only speculate what would have happened if he had lived to succeed his father, some historians suggest that the future of America might have been very different. Well, the place names certainly would be. However, he didn’t, and his son eventually became George III. George III was suceeded by two of his sons – George IV and William IV. William had no legitimate children but ex-Prime Minister David Cameron is descended from one of the illegitimate ones.

That brings us in orderly fashion to Queen Victoria and then Edward VII. Edward nearly became a King we didn’t have, suffering from typhoid (the disease that killed his father) whilst staying near Scarborough in 1871, being shot at by a Belgian student in 1900 and finally going down with appendicitis in 1902 just two days before the Coronation. He survived (and made surgery for appendicitis more popular – until that point they just tried to nurse people through it).

The oldest son of Edward, Prince Albert Victor was at the centre of many stories concerning him contracting embarrassing diseases, fathering illegitimate children and even being Jack the Ripper. He was also rumoured to be a visitor to a homosexual brothel. Despite all the accusations nothing was ever proved. In fact the Ripper allegations can be absolutely disproved by a record of his movements and engagements. He could even count the German Royal Family amongst people able to provide an alibi.

He died from influenza in 1892, though there were even rumours about this. His bride to be, Princess Mary of Teck, was recycled by his family and married his brother, the future George V. (Not the first time we’ve heard this during this series of posts).

Really that’s the end of the story. It’s tempting to add Edward VIII to the list but as he became King, even if it was just for a short while, he doesn’t really count. The Abdication, to be honest, was a good thing, as a King who supported the Nazis would not have been an asset in wartime.