excited !

Today am in Yorkshire.

I am going to see a concert tonight, in Scarborough.  Some of my friends have called me brave for still going to the concert after the recent attack on a pop concert, but my answer is simple.  I am not going to let some idiot who wants to make a name for themselves, ruin my plans.  I was bought this ticket as a birthday present last year and I intend to use it and enjoy it.

I try to be philosophical about these things and if we allow these people to rule our lives and force us to make changes, then we are letting them win and have the power over us that they crave.

Let’s face it, we could die at any time, hit by a bus, heart attack, anaphylaxis (in my case), piano fall on your head from above (I do love those old comedy sketches), etc.  When our time is up, there is little we can do to change things, so we should just live for the day.  When you have come close to death, as I have with my anaphylaxis attacks, you realise how precious your time on this earth is.

Love your family, have fun, make the most of what you have, it is all over too soon.  Try not to die with any regrets, I don’t intend to !!!!

A rant

Today I read about the £1bn deal that Theresa May has struck with the DUP of Northern Ireland, in order to have their backing and votes in Parliament and effectively keep her in power.

Another article in the same newspaper talked of the £5m package that has been worked out to aid the poor victims of the Grenfall Tower tragedy.

£1bn to save her job as Prime Minister, £5m to help hundreds of people who have lost everything they own, including in many cases, members of their family and friends.

This says a lot about her morality and priorities, don’t you think??

To me, it is sickening that she thinks so much of her own ass on the throne of power and so little of the normal people who voted to put her there.

She does not deserve to be there and demeans the people of this country as long as she is there.

from Duke to King

The 26th of June 1483 is generally taken as the day that Richard, Duke of Gloucester, became King Richard III of England.

I see arguments about Richard on the history groups very often, he seems to be able to elicit strong feelings of both hate and love, even 500 years after his death.

I would probably call myself a Ricardian, though I don’t always understand his actions and I don’t raise him up as an angel either (ok, he is dead, so his spirit is in the ether, some would say that makes him an angel, but I mean in a perfect guy sense!!).

He was a man of his time, a noble of his time, and he had grown up in violent times.  We should not judge everything that was done in terms of modern day events.

His journey to the crown was a complicated one, and I don’t believe it was one that he sought, but one that fate forced upon him.

During the reign of his brother Edward, Richard was known to have idolised his brother, until Clarence’s death, which seemed to cause a rift between the two.  I will not go into Clarence’s death here, that is an entirely different story.  Richard spent the bulk of his time in the north of England, where he was very well respected, as a fair and even overlord.  He held the Scottish border in a relatively stable state, in his brother’s name.

Edward’s death appears to have come as a surprise to everyone in the royal family and the court in general.  There are rumours of poison, particularly from his wife Elizabeth, but I tend to think, if she were poisoning her husband, she would probably have had her elder son and heir to the throne, brought to London or closer to London rather than leaving him in Wales.  Plus, the marriage is always referred to as a love match, so I do not think Queen Elizabeth would have poisoned her husband.  I do not discount the fact that someone at court ‘could’ have poisoned him, but not his wife.

There was a delay in informing Richard of Edward’s death, and of the fact that Edward had nominated him as Protector to the heir.  Depending on who you are reading, there are a couple of reasons for this delay.

Of course, it would be a couple of days’ journey to the north for a messenger to reach Richard, so this could partly explain it, though a messenger was sent immediately to Wales, so the one going north should in theory have been sent immediately also!

The Queen was not a very popular person at court, particularly with her York family in laws, she knew her position would depend on her son, when he came to London.

Richard had never shown any antagonism towards her, though equally had not shown great support, she must have been worried about how he would treat her, as the Protector.  So she sent for her brother and son, both for support and protection.

The fact that she wanted an army to accompany her son, but the council did not allow this, does tell a little of her worry.

Richard was said to be extremely upset when he heard of his brother’s death and went straight to York Minster, ordering and saying prayers for Edward’s soul.  He gathered a small group to go to London with him, nowhere near an army sized party, but a decent gathering of northern nobles, travelling south to pay their respects to their King.

Somewhere on the way, he was joined by the Duke of Buckingham, his cousin.  The Duke had been forced to marry a 5 years old sister of the Queen, many years before and was not a supporter of the Woodvilles, by any stretch of the imagination.

At Stony Stratford, on the way to London, Richard was met by Anthony Woodville, brother of the Queen and tutor to the young Edward V.  They spent an evening, by all accounts, quite jovially, and planned to travel to London together the next day.

I am not exactly sure what happened the next morning, but it ended up with the Woodville party being arrested and imprisoned, and Richard and his party going to the young King and taking up his escort to the capital.

Perhaps something was said that alarmed Richard or Buckingham, maybe they planned to avoid having the northerners join the  King for the journey south, maybe an assassination of the northerners was planned, but something caused their arrest.

When arriving in London, Richard and Buckingham rode alongside the young King, a little behind him, showing his precedence.  He was taken to the royal apartments in the Tower of London (NOT a dungeon, please read the history books!) and installed there with servants, to rest from his long journey.  There is no evidence that he was put under any other guard than the royal one.

Elizabeth is known to have fled to the sanctuary at Westminster Abbey with her other children, and ordered one of her sons to take charge of the King’s Navy at sea.

The Navy was soon brought back under crown control, and the dislike of the Woodvilles became clearer.

Richard sent to her requests to return to court, which she refused.  She had obviously hoped to retain control of the throne in the shape of her son, and it had been taken from her when he had arrived as the Protector, as Edward had wanted.  Maybe he thought she was sulking and would come round in time!

He set plans in motion for an early crowning of his nephew, once he was given formal appointment as Protector by the Parliament.

Sometime within the next few weeks, a cleric came to Buckingham with some earth shattering news.  This cleric had previously been imprisoned by Edward at the same time as Clarence, though the Bishop had been released, and promoted.  It has been mooted that he took the same information to Clarence, who confronted his brother with it, and it led to George’s execution.  But that is another story.

Bishop Stillington informed Buckingham of the fact that he had married Edward to a lady named Eleanor Butler, two years before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.  Buckingham brought Stilliington to Richard, who then told them to take their evidence to Parliament, to let them decide whether the evidence was sufficient and what was to happen next.

The Bishop’s evidence and confession was presented to Parliament, who upheld that the evidence was strong enough to announce the King and Queen’s marriage as invalid and their children as bastards.  We will never know how strong this evidence was, because when Henry Tudor took the crown, he ordered that all copies of the Titulus Regis, the Parliamentary order that came from this evidence, to be destroyed.  Why he did that, is up for discussion, I tend to think it was to make it easier to legitimise his soon to be wife, Edward IV’s eldest daughter.

The acceptance of this evidence, gave the Parliament the right to decide on the next in line to the throne.  George of Clarence’s son and daughter were counted out because of his attainder, so the next in line was the Protector, Richard ( I have sometimes wondered if Edward half expected this to happen and placed Richard, his loyal brother as Protector, in case it did happen, maybe he thought Richard would stay loyal and bury the facts in support of his son….).

Richard and Anne, and in some accounts his mother Cecily Neville, were staying at Crosby Place in London, and members of the Parliament travelled there to see him.  He was officilly offered the crown, which he (reluctantly, some say) accepted.

This is the time that the two boys in the Tower would have been in danger from Richard, if they were seen as a problem.  But he had already been granted the crown, with Parliament’s support, they had been declared bastards, so what would he have gained from disposing of them?

They were seen playing in the grounds of the Tower after this date, in any case, and an attempt to abduct them from the Tower was raised by some Woodville family shortly after.

I wonder if Richard thought it politic to move the boys from London, to take the focus off the boys while he settled into his role.

IF they were killed, I cannot see that Richard would gain anything from their deaths.  IF they had died, say from natural causes or accidental means (a fall, a fight, etc), then it would have made far more sense for him to display their bodies and prove they were dead, as Edward had done with Henry VI.

Another point that makes me wonder if Richard simply moved to the boys to safety, was the actions of Elizabeth Woodville.

She was known as a good mother to her children, yet when she left sanctuary, she handed over her elder daughter to the care of Richard III.  If she had any inkling that he had killed her sons, why would she do that?  Also, after Bosworth, she had every option to declare that he had had them killed but neither her nor her daughter did so.  There was nothing stopping them at this point so why not?  They did not even order masses to be said for the boys’ souls (to explain this significance, to say a mass for a dead soul in mediaeval times, was essential for that soul to be admitted to heaven, to say a mass for a living soul, would bar that soul from admission to heaven), so they either thought the boys to be alive or did not know either way and did not want to risk their souls.

Maybe it is the mother in me just hoping that the boys’ escaped to live a happy life somewhere, or that Richard returned to be executed as Perkin Warbeck many years later.

Whatever happened to the boys, on this day, in 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester accepted the offered crown of England and became King Richard III of England.

Well, yesterday, this post took longer to write than I had expected………………………

Bannockburn

Today in 1314, the Battle of Bannockburn ended giving a decisive victory to Robert the Bruce over Edward II’s English forces.  The English held Stirling Castle and the Bruce wanted it back so set siege to it.

Initially an agreement was made between the English and the besiegers that the Castle would be handed back to the Scots in the summer, but as summer approached, the English showed no signs of leaving, so battle had to be prepared for.

Robert had less than half the army that the English had, but his men fought for their country, the English fought because they were told to.

The battle took much longer than usual battles of that time, beginning on the 23rd June and ending the next day.

The first day brought a semi victory for the Scots, which disheartened the English forces, who fled.

During the night, the English moved position, crossing the river to try and get into a better place to fight the next day.  Unknown to them, they had camped near some woods, where Robert and his men were encamped.

Early the next day, Robert advanced on the King’s forces, taking them by surprise.

The English fought back but were eventually pushed back.  Edward II was not the King his father, Longshanks, had been, and fled with his personal bodyguard, causing panic among the soldiers.

A full retreat began and the Scots won the battle.

It would be a full 14 more years before England would recognise the independance of Scotland with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328, which brought the first of the Scottish Wars of Independance to an end.

Peace did not last long, when the English crown sponsored an invasion in 1332 to try and displace the Scots King once more.

The Second War of Independance ended in 1357 with the Treaty of Berwick, and Scotland stayed independant until 1707 when the Stuart Kings were invited to take the throne of England and they decided to join the two countries together as the United Kingdom.

Let’s hope we don’t have to face a Third War of Independance in the near future, to regain our freedom……………………………

Scuttling

At the end of the first World War, German ships and U boats were ordered to report and surrender to the British forces.  The U boats went to the south of England, the ships were escorted to the northern bay of Scapa Flow, in the Firth of Forth, while peace agreements were worked out.

The initial surrender happened in November 1918, and the movement of the ships had been completed by the end of January 1919.

The peace talks however, dragged on for months.

An agreement was eventually agreed to be signed in mid June, which would hand over the ships to the British finally, to be re-distributed among the Allied forces.

The German commander in Scapa Flow, Von Reuter, had different ideas.

Around the beginning of June, he had started to talk of possibly scuttluing the fleet and avoiding their surrender to the Allies.

The British fleet who were stationed in Scapa to watch over the Germans, got wind of the suggestions, but with 72 German ships, it was impossible to check every single one for signs of sabotage.

These were not small ships, some were battle destroyers.

Around 11 on the morning of the 21st June 1919, a signal was sent from ship to ship, on the order of Von Reuter, to begin the scuttling.  It was done subtly, leaving portholes and watertight doors open, cracking open the internal water pipes, opening the flood valves.  Outside the ships, there was no sign of the scuttling for around an hour, by which time it was too late to save them.

Three British destroyers were stationed in Scapa Flow and they began towing some of the smaller ships to sand banks to beach them as soon as the scuttling was reported, managing to beach 21 of them before the rest of the fleet had sunk.

The last ship went underwater around 5pm, the Hindenburg.

The crews had abandoned their ships once the sinking had started and over 1700 men were picked up by the Navy and sent to prisoner of war camps on the mainland.  A few were killed or died in Scapa Flow, but their bodies were collected and returned to Germany.

The actions of Von Reuter and his men were classed as a breach of an armistice and were villified in Britain, though Germany called him a hero!

Some of the ships were salvaged years later, the beached ships being divided between the Allied countries.

Scapa Flow still holds half a dozen wrecks, which are able to be dived on (with a licence).  If you are visiting Orkney, I would also recommend a walk alongside the Churchill Barriers ( a causeway built between mainland Orkney and some of the southern isles, giving access via a road instead of boat), particularly the ones onto and off Burray, as you can see parts of the ships in the bay and in the sand, if the wind is in the right direction.  It gives hours of fun, letting the children run among the dunes and see if they can guess what parts of the ship they have found (mine found part of a cannon beneath the sand once, the boys loved that!).

Bye Willie, Hi Vicky

On this day in 1837, Britain said goodbye to an old man and hello to an 18 year old girl.

William IV died during the early hours of the day, after a long, drawn out illness.  He had expressed a desire to last until his niece was 18 and able to take the throne by herself, without the need of a regent in the form of her mother, whom he hated.

The young girl was informed of her accession at the earliest opportunity, it is said that her first order as Queen, was that her mother’s bed should be removed from Victoria’s bedroom as soon as possible.

Victoria would go on to have a successfull and exciting reign lasting over 63 and a half years.  Her reign would set a record which would only be beaten by our current Queen, Elizabeth II over a century later.  Strange how the women monarchs, Elizabeth I, Anne, Victoria, Elizabeth II, have the longest reigns.

My thoughts

I was watching the news, and questioning why the reporters were being a little more reticent about talking about the driver from last night’s attack.  Then it was pointed out to me that they will have to be a little more careful about what they say about him, as this attacker is alive.

He will have to go to trial at some point, and if the media slag him off or say anything that can influence a future jury, he could get off with his crimes.  They have to talk differently than the London Bridge attack or the Manchester one, because those idiots were dead themselves, there was never going to be a solicitor appointed to defend them.  Any solicitor worth his salt these days (and even if the law society get together and refuse to represent him, the law says that everyone is entitled to legal defence, so someone would have to do it, otherwise he couldn’t be taken to trial), would use the bias of the jury to argue against him getting a fair trial.

So however much we want to call him an idiot and hang him out to dry, as it were, we must hold back so that the law can give him the benefit of the doubt.

Though he is sure to be called mentally ill at some point, maybe to avoid the trial, and locked up in a psych ward somewhere.  In my mind anyone that goes out with an intention to kill someone else has a mental illness but it does not absolve them of any crimes that they commit.

Still I try to see the other side of an argument, maybe he was a drunk, or high, driver, maybe he turned into a corner in a place he didn’t know and accidently hit a group of people who were in the middle of the road, seeing to an old man who had taken ill, not what you would expect to see when you turn a corner.  The only people who have given any views so far are the people who restrained him afterwards, maybe it was a tragic accident?

This country has suffered so much tragedy lately that I think, collectively, we jump to the ‘terrorism’ side too quickly.  Think back to the night of the London Bridge attack and there was a stabbing outside a pub in Vauxhall the same night, by pure coincidence.  It was reported as another terror attack in Vauxhall by the BBC for a couple hours afterwards, even after the police had said it was unrelated, it showed on their rolling news across the bottom of the screen.

I am not trying to downplay the attack last night, just saying that people need to take a step back and a deep breath and find their calm place.

There is no need for any kind of terror attacks, it didn’t work for the IRA in the 70’s and 80’s and in this day, it still won’t bring anyone round to your point of view.  I believe strongly in Scottish independance, but I am never gonna go hurt someone else who thinks we are better in the UK (I may bore them silly telling them why independance is better, but that’s me, lol).

We are all human beings, we all have different points of view, different feelings about things, different outlooks on life.  But we are all only here for a short time, we should make the most of that time.

I was always brought up with the saying, if you can’t say or do something good to someone, then do nothing at all to them.

If you can’t be nice, don’t be nasty.

Life is way too short for hate.

Rant over.