Tag Archives: Sealed Knot

Randomness & Remembering

We had seventeen packages to send before lunch yesterday. One consisted of 200 coins, which needed sorting before packing. It was hard work, particularly when besieged by phonecalls from people with “rare” and “valuable” coins, and a couple of people with “urgent” telephone orders.

It was very tempting, but I behaved in a a cheery and professional manner and nobody was advised to go away and stop bothering me.

Then we went to Sheffield to clear Number Two son’s room. It was hot and traffic on the M1 was slow.

On the way back we stopped at a service station to empty my aging bladder. I treated Julia to a drink and a pastry while we were there, and handed over the equivalent of an hour and a half’s work for two coffees and two lemon tarts. Food for thought…

In the evening I pottered about on the internet. I was doing some research on medals when I found a picture of an avuncular old cove who, with the addition of a beard would very much resemble a whisky-drinking Santa Claus.

Brigadier Peter Young DSO MC

War hero, raconteur, historian, author and founder of the Sealed Knot, it’s Brigadier Peter Young DSO, MC & 2 bars.

The photograph appears several times on the internet so I’m hoping nobody is going to mind me using it.

They don’t make them like him any more.

That led on to the Sealed Knot Book of Remembrance, which, in turn, led to a maudlin half hour of reading and remembering.

I didn’t feel like writing much after that so I turned to writing doggerel for the daily post. I’m trying to become more regular in my habits.

Six Thousand Shillings Sitting on a Shelf

We started sorting shillings at 10.00 and finished at 14.30. If we’d started four hours earlier, or spent another hour and a half sorting, it would take the tongue-twisting title to a whole new level.

A sixish start spending six hours sorting six thousand shillings sitting on a sagging shelf is not a sentence to be attempted lightly, or in polite company. Even for an alliteration addict like me, it’s a bit much.


Silvery sorted shillings sitting in a sorting tray

The sets of  shillings are slowly taking shape. Coincidentally my back is also taking on a new shape, which is much more hunched than it was a couple of days ago. Shilling Sorters Spine is shortly going to be written up in The Lancet.  Or possibly the BMJ. One of my friends was once written up in one of them after the premature detonation of a cannon.

We were re-enacting the English Civil War in the Sealed Knot somewhere in Somerset (that’s not a security measure – I just can’t remember exactly where). The mop for swabbing out the barrel was a bit worn and it allowed a glowing ember to survive the operation. When the powder was rammed home the ember ignited the charge while he was still ramming.

This is clearly a bad thing.

Fortunately, because he was using good technique, the ramrod merely took the skin off his palms as it whistled across the “battlefield”. The blast also blew off his shirt sleeves and peppered his arms with fragments of black powder.

And that, when one of the doctors realised this was a rare chance to write up the hazards of muzzle-loading cannon, was how he appeared in the medical press.

We never did find his shirt sleeves…

Just to give you some idea of what the blast looks like I’ve purloined a photo from the web.

Image result for sealed knot cannon


Another of my mates was shot in the small of the back (mere inches above anywhere that would have provided a highly amusing and ribald anecdote) by a cannon at Naseby. But that is another story.

The great idea

Well , it seemed great. If I do away with oil or sprinkled flour on the baking trays whilst cooking pizza, I reasoned, I could do away with washing the trays, cycle the equipment faster between groups and, by writing initials on the paper, could identify the pizzas more easily.

Great in theory.

In practice I did avoid any washing up, so that was a plus.

But the green marker pen I originally used (because you never really use the green one do you?) proved unequal to the job. I’m tempted to say it faded badly, but that would be unfair because it actually faded really well. In most cases it disappeared or left a faint green shimmer.*

The black was far better. Not sure whether to try the blue or the red next time, or stick to black.

Not that it really mattered because we had a 100% identification rate for the pizzas anyway. No arguing, no tears and no tantrums (from me or the kids). It’s all going too well.

Meanwhile, back at the photos, I can’t get titles on them. It shows pizzas, black writing, green writing and a pizza in the shape of Italy. That would have been really imaginative wouldn’t it. Then he spoilt it all by telling me it was a football sock.

Ah well!


*This is similar to the rhetorical question I often heard asked on campsites in the days I fought with the Sealed Knot. Some broken wreck, usually male, would shamble past groaning “Do you know what’s good for a hangover?” to which I would perkily reply, “Fifteen pints of bitter and a kebab usually does the job for me.”

It didn’t go down well.

What the poor addlepated coxcomb meant, of course, was “Do you know what’s good for getting rid of a hangover?”

Sometimes we can be very unclear in our meanings.