Tag Archives: England

Too many knuckleheads!


Why are so many of those in positions of authority such gullible fools? The murders committed by this terrorist is why people should be able to sue government bureaucrats. People must be held personally and criminally responsible for such negligence.


“Give us a date.”


That is what composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is asking politicians in Britain during testimony before Parliament.

“We simply have to get our arts sector back open and running.”

I wholeheartedly agree and hope that people are listening. The lockdowns cannot go on indefinitely. It is time to reopen.

“We are at the point of no return, really. There comes a point when we really can’t go on anymore.”

Please heed his warnings.

“Theatre is an incredibly labour-intensive business.”




One of the more surreal experiences of getting older has been watching Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer rise to the top in the country I left many years ago.”

Of course, Sullivan is talking about Britain, specifically one of its four component parts, England. Boris has risen through the political world to become prime minister. Keir Starmer is unknown to me, though his name sounds very German.

“It’s surreal because at school in the 1970s I spent a small part of almost every day debating Keir; and at Oxford in the early 1980s I watched Boris rise in the Union. Boris was then who he is now: a charming bullshitter.”

There is nothing quite like getting to the point.

“I liked him because he made me laugh, didn’t take himself too seriously, and wouldn’t compensate or apologize for his ridiculous toffishness, which was a nice change from all the other Etonians. But I was closer to Keir. Every morning, we both took the 428 and 410 buses, if I recall, from our respective homes, East Grinstead and Oxted, to Reigate Grammar.”

I don’t know anything about bus lines in England. But I am hoping to learn. I have never been to Europe. I have been dreaming about it for years.

“I was a diminutive, bespectacled, very uptight young Thatcherite, and Keir was a near-Bolshevik bruiser, with a Bay City Rollers haircut, a fat tie, an unbuttoned collar and an air of real roughness. The arguments began on the bus, and got more intense in 1975, when Thatcher became Tory leader, escalating through to 1979, when Keir and I were all but screaming at each other on a daily basis.”

I, too, enjoyed having debates with classmates and friends. Mostly, however, I am not in touch with many from my school days.

“It wasn’t all politics, of course. The morning after the previous night’s Monty Python, we’d be trying to remember the best lines, shouting over each other, to the general consternation of the good local folk of Godstone and Redhill.”

I never did any yelling on a bus. I like quiet on transit. I like being quiet and having quiet.

“I guess we both mellowed. But Keir also transformed himself into someone far more polished and professional than I remember. The difference between him and Boris is that Keir has obviously matured, and Boris seems incapable of that.”

I have certainly mellowed and moderated somewhat, though I am sure a few would dispute that.


I appear to have more Viking blood than I ever imagined.


My Y chromosome is Viking, with origins in Scandinavia. It is known as I1 (eye-one). My maternal grandfather’s group is R1a, also Viking. And now I have learned via 23 and Me that my mother’s mitochondrial DNA, part of group T1, may have come to England with the Vikings.

Although T1 is relatively rare in Europe today, it appears to have been much more common at some times in the past. Though it is present in only 2% of the modern English population, T1 was found at levels of 23% in DNA extracted from skeletons buried in Norwich, England during the 10th century AD.

But the complete absence of T1 even earlier, in DNA extracted from the skeletal remains of Anglo-Saxon Britons dating to the 5th and 6th centuries, suggests that the haplogroup did not arrive in England with the original agricultural expansion. It may have come with the Viking invaders who began menacing the coastal settlements of Britain and Ireland in AD 793.


Man, the English Civil War(s) was nasty

On January 10th in 1645, with the republicans in ascendancy in England, the controversial archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church of England, William Laud, is beheaded.

He was an enemy and persecutor of the Puritans and a staunch defender of the divine right of kings, a key concept consistently propagated by Charles the First, often putting both men at odds with Parliament.

Laud found himself on the wrong side of history when the Puritan revolution began in the 1640s, shortly followed by his king.


London Bridge back in the day must have been something


I’ve been browsing through a book on London. In it, there is a horizon-level, river view of the bridge showing a series of buildings rising from it. It is basically it’s own town.

I’d love to see such a sight in the modern era. Someone should recreate it, or something similar. Portland, Oregon or my hometown to the south, Salem, would be perfect, spanning the Willamette.


Three hundred and ninety-two years ago — March 2̶5̶ 27?, 1625 — King James dies.



I signed up to get a daily history email from the folks at the magazine Christianity Today.

March 25 is an important date for me. (It’s my birthday.) So, I like to read about it, that particular day, such as who share a birthday with me.

Well, then I learned that King James died on that day in 1625, only to realize that it is probably a mistake. Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica put his death date as March 27.

I was typing away, nearly ready to publish when I discovered this discrepancy.

Three hundred and ninety-two years ago, King James I of England died — on March 25, 1625. Twenty-one years previously, in 1604 at the Hampton Court Conference, he had authorized the translation project that produced the King James translation (KJV) of the Bible.