On this Day – 31st January 1606

Guy Fawkes Signature on His Confession

On the 31st of January 1606, Guy Fawkes was taken from the Tower of London to the Garden of St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, where he was hung, drawn and quartered.

Guy Fawxe was born on the 13th of April 1570 and baptised on the 16th of April that years at Saint Michael-le-Belfrey, York. He was the only son of Edward Fawkes and Edith Blake. Edward was proctor of the ecclesiastical courts and advocate of the consistory court of the Archbishop of York.  Guy’s paternal grandmother was the daughter of a merchant, one time mayor of York. When she died in 1575 she left Guy her ‘best whistle and an angel of Gold’.

Guy went to St  Peter’s School in York, where possibly  John and Christopher Wright, both conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot, were also educated.  At St Peter’s, Guy was taught by John Pulleyn, who was a suspected Catholic. How much influence he may have had on Guy cannot be determined at this stage, but it is clear that Guy’s parents were staunch Protestants and brought their son up in that faith.

Edward Fawkes died intestate in 1579 and his property went to Guy.  Continue reading “On this Day – 31st January 1606”

The rain in Spain

The weather has been awful in Gibraltar for most of this past week with a very rough sea  which forced those ships anchored off-shore to move farther out. The odd thing is that there was almost no wind here, so obviously somewhere else in the Med was getting a good blow. There was also some torrential rain, which the ladies at the bus stop assured me “non es normalo”. When the sunshine returned a couple of days ago we could see that there was snow on some of the Spanish hills much closer than the Sierra Nevada.

Yesterday’s visit to Europa Point was disappointing, apart from the bus ride which gave us a look over the western edge and the harbour to Algeciras, and the view over to North Africa.

Too many tatty breezeblock buildings labelled MOD property.  No attempt to make the area attractive for tourists of whom there was a steady stream in sight-seeing minibuses.

Slavoj Zizek – A Philosopher of Our Time

Slavoj Zizek

Until recently I haven’t found many that impress me among contemporary political and social theorists, but Slavjo Zizek is cut from an entirely different cloth.

At first glance the man is hard to listen to, he has a slight lisp, an East European accent and an over active mind that his ability to relate can’t keep up with. Physically he is a bear of a man, looks like an unkempt slob and could easily be dismissed as a total crank.

Here is a man who believes in the purity of film as a medium for social aspiration. An uncluttered dreamsacape in which anything is possible, given the right articulation. He believes it is the purest form of aspiration.

Zizek is also a man who against the flow predicted the economic crash based upon the greed of capitalism and the intensive farming of shareholders. He is a man with many confounding and conflicting ideals but he is right.

Continue reading “Slavoj Zizek – A Philosopher of Our Time”

On This Day 29th January 1820

George III at the End of his Life

On the 29th of January 1820 George III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, died at Windsor.  He was born in  1738 and was the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.  He became heir to the throne when his father died in 1751, and succeeded  his grandfather, George II, in 1760. He married Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1761, by whom he had 15  (troublesome!) children.

George was the first Hanoverian monarch to use English as his first language. He was also the first British monarch to study science systematically: chemistry, physics, astronomy, and mathematics.

George was determined to recover the prerogative lost to the ministerial council by the first two Georges, but bouts of madness and the way he handled the American Revolution eroded his support and the power of the Crown was granted again to the Prime Minister. Continue reading “On This Day 29th January 1820”

On This Day – 28th January 1547

Henry VIII (Cornelis Metsys)

On the 28th of January 1547 Henry VIII of England died at Whitehall.

Henry had ruled England since 1509, and was only 55 when he died. He was certainly a prime candidate for NewLab’s  drive against obesity, however, one can just  imagine what he would have told them, had they dared to  mention his outrageous size!  It has long been known that Henry did not suffer from syphilis, but I was interested to read that it that he may well have suffered from Type 2 diabetes.

Much has been said about Henry’s marital adventures, but it should, perhaps, be remembered  that the succession wars, poetically named “The Wars of the Roses” , were  neither poetic nor brief. The first major battle was in 1455 and the final episode was the executions of Perkin Warbeck and Edward, Earl of Warwick, in 1499.   Continue reading “On This Day – 28th January 1547”

Strays

Here he is in the back of my car.

On my way home this evening, there were three locals chasing this dog through the bush. Fortunately I drive a 4×4.

Off I went, after them, they scattered.

One of the layabouts had the cheek to walk up (after the dog was safely in my car) and ask me if it was my dog, I told him in no uncertain terms to piss off.

The dog fortunately had a collar and ID, he was reunited with his owner (who walked up to my house) an hour ago.

I don’t believe it!

Why on earth does Australia interrupt a major international sporting event, leaving two of the world’s top tennis players sitting on the sidelines for 10 minutes, getting cold and stiffening up, for a firework display? I’m referring to the match between Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open tennis tournament.  A little reorganisation next time perhaps?

I’m now wondering what is in store for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Now there is to be no refueling of cars  during the race, perhaps a coffee break to refuel the drivers?