When I was at grammar school they tried to teach me Greek, Latin, Calculus, and how to shoot a bow. I suppose there was something in the charter that said all young men of quality should be able to draw a bow. Forget it. To draw an English longbow you start as a child and practice every day.
Ball games were illegal in England for hundreds of years, playing football took time away from archery practice, and an archer needed practice to hit a target 300 yards away and have five aimed arrows in the air at the same time.
A longbow is taller than a man. Is made from the sapwood and heartwood of a magical yew tree. The draw weight is in excess of 100 pounds, a strong man would draw a bow at 200 pounds.
The arrow is a half inch diameter and a cloth yard in length. The arrowhead was a vicious thing, deer killers, horse killers, man killers, armour piercing, each arrowhead was specific to it’s target. To kill a French Knight at 300 yards the archer used a long bodkin, which would pierce the armour like a hot knife though butter.
English Kings did not like archers. The bowman won wars and battles, but they were uncontrollable and independent. The advent of the gunpowder weapon killed archers. Not because they the cannon was a better weapon, but because you could train a gunner in weeks, and to be an archer was a lifetime of hard work.
I can draw a modern compound bow, and hit a target 100 yards away. I have made a longbow, (that takes 2 years), and I could string it. I could not draw it once, and the draw weight was only about 100 pounds. I could make a ‘ladies’ bow, deadly at about 200 yards, but owning a silent killer is slightly illegal in England these days. I could always say it was a walking stick.
England is a simple country. The sea, the longbow, roast beef. That about says it.
English Gentleman, moine guerrier
I am a man. I live alone. I cook all of my own food from fresh ingredients. All things considered I am a pretty fair hand in the kitchen.
But I’m not a professional, and neither am I a professional food-photographer.
Therefore I’ve decided to come up with a weekly list of food blog posts that have caught my eye and tempted my palate.
There are a couple of provisos;
- If it takes longer than 30 minutes you can forget it.
- I like one-pan dishes.
- I like cookery writers who look as good as their food.
- There may be some exercise / diet posts listed on here too.
So this week, and in no particular order;
English Gentleman, moine guerrier
There are some one million words in the English language, of which about 180,000 are in common usage. This compares with the total of 100,000 French words, about 250,000 Italian words and about 100,000 Spanish words, (that many?). The Spanish are lazy and will not bother to speak properly, (the Spanish Lisp goes as far back as king Ferdinand II), and the French think Napoleon won at Waterloo.
Many English words are not English at all, we beg, borrow and steal words from other languages whenever we feel like it. For example, there are a host of Indian words in today’s English; Bandanna, Bangle, Blighty, Bungalow, Chit, Dinghy, Juggernaut, Jungle, Khaki, Pyjama, Shawl, Shampoo, Typhoon, Verandah… and that’s just some words from Hindi and Urdu.
Many English words stem from the habit Englishmen have of travelling abroad and totally ignoring anything foreign. For example POSH, which is supposed to mean,; ‘Port Out, Starboard Home’ and was chalked on steamer trunks for the ladies’ fishing trip to India. Many Englishmen also learned Jaldi, meaning sooner rather than tomorrow, wallah, meaning a bloke who does stuff, and chota-peg meaning a small whisky and soda, or gin and it.
Some English words taken from abroad are very derogatory, for example; Bint, Cow, Whore, Putain, Wog…,
If one wants to learn English English, then one should perhaps begin with Kipling, who is unafraid to use words as they are supposed to be used.
The last Englishman to know and properly use English was Churchill, and oddly enough he liked America. To learn how English should be used, watch a Noel Coward film.
English Gentleman, moine guerrier
Any outward appearance of sadness in a man is merely a reflection of some minor practical problem. Or, it may just be that the weather is bad for the time of year. Any appearance of happiness in a real man is the booze talking.
Real Men do not fall deeply and hopelessly in love, and real men do not discuss their feelings, with anyone, ever. In fact a really Real Man does not have feelings to mention. Men cannot fall in love.
The stereotypical male never cries, never grieves, and walks away from sadness as though it never existed. A man does not apologise, it’s a sign of weakness. A real man never shows pain, fear, doubt, uncertainty, or hesitancy. Real men show courage, certainty, stoicism.
A Man puts 60 minutes into the hour and 24 hours into the day, plays the cards as they fall and the ball as it comes onto the bat. A blinding light and the line that broke are all part of the game for a real man. Failure, loss and disaster are met with the same calm face as are triumph and success.
A man puts women and children first, and will stand fast to the Brkenhead Drill.
A real man can design, build and repair anything, and will never complain about the almost impossible problems he has to overcome. Real men go out into the teeming rain in the middle of the night to look for her lost cat he doesn’t much like anyhow. Real men cook, clean, do the laundry, fix her car, decorate the home, and do the heavy work in the garden.
A real man gets drunk from time to time, but never ignores his date in favour of his male pals, and never criticises her in public, even when she’s being a slut. Real men think sports are to be played, not watched on TV.
A Renaissance Man is literate, numerate, artistic, knowlegeable, practical, sensual, sophisticated, caring and understanding. He comprehends humility, serenity and spirituality. He knows how to listen when a woman needs to talk. A Renaissance man is always clean and well-dressed, couteous and polite, and thinks first-date sex is for whores. A Renaissance man treats a whore like a lady.
Real men put the town first. Real men don’t gamble, but if he shakes on a bet, then he will always pay his debts. Real men do not borrow money, tools, books, women… A man does not cheat on his woman. If she cheats he will not get annoyed, he will only walk away forever, and not once look back.
Real men do not feel anger, dislike, contempt, or disdain for moronic idiots. Real Men just don’t give a fuck. An Alpha Male will say that he doesn’t give a fuck.
A man has a Goddess.
A man is a hopless ideal contradiction. Only a real woman can know that and understand.
I may know one real woman.
English Gentleman, moine guerrier
Men may say; ‘I love you…’ to a woman when what they mean is; ‘I want you…’
If you say that, and mean that, then you are as doomed to fail as was Canute.
Can there be unblemished love, noble-minded pursuit, artful courtship…, without the man concerned wanting and needing sex from his beloved? The torment of passionate, unfulfilled affection and devotion toward an unattainable woman may seem to be attractive for a Gentleman troubadour. This is a man who writes elegant and passionate love letters without hope of reply, who will undertake ennobling and heroic tasks at the whim of his Lady, who has no hope of consummating their one-sided relationship and yet loves her with all his heart and soul.
Can there be Courtly Love?
No. And, in the modern era the actions of courtly love could get a man arrested for stalking and harassment.
No healthy man can truly be in love a woman without wanting to have sex with her, and no healthy man will stay in love if there is no possibility of consummating the relationship. Frequent and good quality sex is a prerequisite for a healthy love between a man and a woman ~ at least as far as the man is concerned. Some women can live without having sex with their beloved, but a man will soon look for another woman if he is expected to behave like a monk toward his current paramour.
Courtly love is a myth. Unrequited love is real. One can love another who wishes you were permanently in another country, and dead. Just because you think you love someone doesn’t mean they want to be in love with you.
Neither is there any such thing as platonic love. Platonic love is chaste and non-sexual, yet presupposes an emotional and spiritual bond between a couple. That may work for some women, any man would have to have been neutered to be satisfied with platonic love.
I have tried courtly love, worked at platonic love, and suffered unrequited love. I have loved and been betrayed, and I have walked away from a woman and never once looked back. All of these are difficult, in none of these is the game worth the candle. Sometimes you hope you will forget her, sometimes you know you will die trying.
Friendship with a woman is different. A man can be friends with a woman he does not find sexually attractive. That works and he will treat her like a guy. Conversely, a man will have sex with a female friend he desires, but then she isn’t a friend anymore, she is a lover.
The shining example of courtly love is the love of Lancelot for Queen Guinevere ~ and that didn’t end so very well. If you are a man, and you really want to suffer, try real and true courtly love for a few years. Don’t blame me if it destroys you.
English Gentleman, moine guerrier
Am I the only bloke who thinks that the ‘improved’ WordPress experience is rubbish?
What is it with these Beep beep boop happy lights?
You would have to be an illiterate idiot to think they are a good idea.
What is it with this ‘Howdy. How may we help?’ that keeps popping up?
And, the new software is too slow and clunky. Far too many double clicks.
The newer, improved, software experience runs like a hairy dog.
The new screens are so blue they give me eye strain, and I like blue.
Quite frankly, I detest the new, improved, WordPress.
Luckily I can quickly get to the old dashboard by choosing the wp admin button on the stats screen.
This new WordPress should be chucked in a dumpster for the vultures to pick over.
By blood I am an engineer. I can design, make and fix just about anything that has recognisable components in it.
That also means I know a thing or two about materials, and as with all engineers I have my favourites. Like most men I like wood, and iron.
Iron is not an easy material to work with ~ to work iron one needs fire, and not just any old kitchen fire of the kind that’s good for roasting meat. To work iron one needs a temperature of around 1,800F, (about 1,000C). The hottest one can get a wood fire is about 1,500F.
To work iron you really need a forge and charcoal, (which makes a better fire than sulfurous coal).
Wood, iron, fire, forge ~ these are all manly words, and working iron is a manly task, because one also needs an anvil and a hammer.
Back in the day, the first thing a man made from iron was an engine of destruction: knife, hammer, axe, sword, armour ~ and the most difficult of these is a good sword. A bad sword will break, will not take an edge, will not keep its edge. A truly great sword sings and has myths woven around it; Excalibur, Caledfwich, Claiomh Solaris, Blodgang, Hrunting, Arondight, Durendel….
I am King. And this is Excalibur, sword of kings from the dawn of time.
Heating iron makes it change its colour, (wavelength of light theory), and heating iron in charcoal or coke makes carbon ‘stick’ to the hot iron when you strike it.
Do not wait to strike ’till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
Iron and carbon make steel, and swords are made of wrought iron / steel which is tough, malleable, corrosion resistant, and will easily ‘weld’ to itself. All good swords are made of layers of wrought iron / steel welded together like the pages of a book.
English long swords, like Excalibur, would be up to six feet in length, (a yard is a more manageable length for a sword), and forged from three pieces of iron. These are heated, and then twisted together ~ sort of like a hot iron rope. This is then heated, struck, reheated and struck again until the final shape is made. The sword, (part steel / part iron), is then ground, with progressively finer materials, until a mirror finish is achieved. The ‘grain’ of the three original pieces of iron can be seen in the metal in a really fine sword. A great sword is a beautiful thing.
Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.
The Japanese Katana is forged by folding, (shita-kitae), one piece of iron / steel called tamahagane up to 16 times.
There is more to it than all of that, there is also annealing, hardening and tempering ~ which may be done differentially across and down the blade. All of this is done by the colour of the hot iron.
In myth and folklore, iron is a very magical thing ~ cold iron will bind a witch, repel a ghost, ward off evil spirits, hold the souls of the dead, and bring good luck. Iron is used in chains, compass needles, nails, axes and crosses, all of which are elements of sorcery, magic, myth and religion..
Gold is for the mistress ~ silver for the maid ~ Copper for the craftsman… But Iron ~ Cold Iron ~ is master of them all.
Of these; I have made an axe, a short sword, and a knife, and a good knife is a very short sword. Working iron takes time, patience, strength, skill ~ and a willingness to believe in legend.