Monday, 30 November 2015

30th November 2015 - In Black Company

Thought for the day:"How many apples grow on a tree?? All of them!"

Had a great time in a Castle in Gloucester. Good Friends. A little banter and battle. And managed to play the guitar for a gig - maybe a turning point ..

The Black Company in Barracks...
A Castle Cake

Resident Photographer

Company Fool - Devilstick Peat

And a lovely couple who got engaged
Congrats to Dan and Xiana
So not much time for anything else today ...
I lift a glass ..
"My Sword is sharp it's here with me
 I'm fighting for the BLACK COMPANY!
  I'm fighting for the BLACK COMPANY!"


Sunday, 29 November 2015

29th November 2015 - Just a thought

Thought for the day:"Look .. Just stop researching whether bacon gives you cancer and work on finding a cure for it"

Being a viking and Red Cross of Constantine Appendant Orders - that is an interesting switch - may talk about this in the future

But today - too busy - may see if I can play the guitar this evening

and so to the castle..
Best use for the kindle - bookmark :)

Saturday, 28 November 2015

28th November 2015 - Just a thought

Thought for the day:"I don't like to call it revenge - returning the favour sounds nicer"

Off to a Castle for the weekend
Alcohol may be involved


Friday, 27 November 2015

27th November 2015 - Say no to Black Friday

Thought for the day :"Age and glasses of wine should never be counted" (Italian Proverb)

Today I thought that I would make my objections to the hype by putting a thought for the day that is quite sensible and close to my heart.  Probably just as well as there are 11 birthdays today.
So, St Teilo Initiation last night went well and a cheque for £500 was raised for Prostate Cancer local support groups..

Our charity Steward handing the cheque to Dirk Den Hartog, the Provincial Junior Grand warden who has driven Movember for the last two years and raised large amounts for both the National Charity and this year the local support group.

And so Vollsanger is getting ready to make a trip out to the Black Company, where he may or may not be able to sing ...  but never mind ...
Off to St Briavel's Castle ..

You bring the mead ...

Thursday, 26 November 2015

26th November 2015 - Thanksgiving? - You can get Stuffed!

Thought for the day:"If you cross a turkey with an evil spirit do you get a poultrygeist?"

We do not do Thanksgiving in the UK. I am pleased with that - we do not have that part of history to celebrate and we have already imported too many commercial festivals. Indeed the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally Black Friday in the US - and therefore I can see no reason whatsoever for it to be transported across to the UK either.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy to change a few pictures and put a turkey onto Facebook to support our colonial fellows, but I am aggravated by the media being filled with "Black Friday" advertising..

I shall not be out shopping. I feel that it is only another excuse to advertise and therefore will carry on as usual.. But I do get the impression that some businesses are taking the mickey. Are people that gullible??  But then I look around and think - maybe they are... 

Which brings me to a short tale ..

A young man named Kelvin received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the birds mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. Kelvin tried and tried to change the birds attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the birds vocabulary.

Finally, Kelvin, was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. Kelvin shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. Kelvin in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. 

 For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, Kelvin quickly opened the door to the freezer. 

The parrot calmly stepped out onto Kelvin's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour." Kelvin was stunned at the change in the birds attitude. 

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird spoke-up, very softly, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

St Teilo Lodge tonight - a first degree ceremony. 
I shall lift a glass in Thanksgiving when I get through the ceremony tonight.



Wednesday, 25 November 2015

25th November 2015 - A short Language Lesson

Thought for the day:"They say Laughter is the best Medicine - Nope - It is MEAD!"

The Old Norse noun víking meant an overseas expedition, and a vikingr was someone who went on one of these expeditions. In the popular imagination, the Vikings were essentially pirates from the fjords of Denmark and Norway who descended on medieval England like a bloodthirsty frat party; they raped, pillaged, murdered, razed villages and then sailed back across the North Sea with the loot.
But the truth is far more nuanced. The earliest Viking activity in England did consist of coastal raids in the early ninth century, but by the 870s the Danes had traded sword for plow and were settled across most of Northern England in an area governed by treaties known as the Danelaw. England even had Danish kings from 1018 to 1042. However, the more successful and longer-lasting Norman conquest in 1066 marked the end of the Viking era and virtually erased Danish influence in almost all aspects of English culture but one: its effect on the development of the English language.
Traust me, þó (though) it may seem oddi at first, we er still very líkligr to use the same words as the Vikings did in our everyday speech. Þeirra (their) language evolved into the modern-day Scandinavian languages, but þeir (they) also gave English the gift of hundreds of words.
[A note on the letter þ: the Old Norse letter, called thorn, makes the same sound as the “th” in "thin".]

Names of Days

The most obvious Viking influence on modern English is the word Thursday (Þorsdagr), which you can probably guess means "Thor’s day".
“Tuesday”, “Wednesday” and “Friday” are sometimes also attributed to the Norse gods Tyr, Odin and Freya, respectively; but the days are actually named for the Anglo-Saxon equivalents of these gods, Tiw, Wodan and Friga. The similarity of these names points to the common ancestry of the various Germanic tribes in prehistoric northern Europe – centuries before their descendants clashed on England’s shores.

War & Violence

If the Vikings are famous for one thing, it’s their obsession with war. They didn’t just bring death and destruction to England in the Middle Ages, they brought really cool words for death and destruction. They were certainly a rough bunch. Just look at a Viking the rangr way, and he might þrysta (thrust) a knifr into your skulle.
  • berserk/berserkerberserkr, lit. ‘bear-shirt’. A berserkr was a Viking warrior who would enter battle in a crazed frenzy, wearing nothing for armor but an animal skin.
  • clubklubba. People have been bashing each other with heavy things since time immemorial, but not until the Danes started bringing this weapon down on English heads did this blunt weapon receive its fittingly blunt name.
  • ransackrannsaka (to search a house)
  • These days, the adjective scathing is reserved for sharp criticism, but in the context of the original meaning of scathe (to injure), skaða takes on a much more visceral quality.
  • slaughterslatra (to butcher)
  • Even though the gun wasn’t invented until centuries after the Viking era, the word comes from Old Norse. The most common usage was in the female name Gunnhildr: gunn and hildr both can translate as “war” or “battle”. Only truly badass Vikings named their infant daughters “Warbattle”.

Society & Culture

But life in the Danelaw wasn’t all murder and mayhem. Ironically, these savage berserkers also gave us words that are central to our "civilized" culture:

bylawbylög (village-law)
heathenheiðinn (one who inhabits the heath or open country)
skillskil (distinction)
Hell – In Norse mythology, Loki’s daughter Hel ruled the underworld.
steaksteik (to fry)
husbandhús (house) + bóndi (occupier and tiller of soil) = húsbóndi
thrallþræll (slave)
thriftþrift (prosperity)
litmuslitr (dye) + mosi (lichen; moss)
tidingstíðindi (news of events)
loanlán (to lend)
yulejol (a pagan winter solstice feast)


Although most English animal names retain their Anglo-Saxon roots (cow, bear, hound, swine, chicken, etc) the Vikings did bring certain animals names into the vernacular:
  • bugbúkr (an insect within tree trunks)
  • bullboli
  • reindeerhreindyri
  • skateskata (fish)
  • wingvængr
Some words associated with hunting and trapping also come from Old Norse. Sleuth now means “detective”, but the original slóth meant “trail” or “track”. Snare, on the other hand, retains the original meaning of O.N. snara.

The Landscape

Old Norse is good at describing bleikr landscapes and weather. This was especially useful in the Vikings’ adopted northern England, where flatr or rogg (rugged) terrain can be shrouded in fok, and oppressed by gustr of wind and lagr (low) ský (clouds).
Much of the Danelaw bordered swamps and alluvial plains, so it’s no surprise that many Norse words for dirty, mucky things survive in English:
  • dirtdrit (excrement)
  • dregsdregg (sediment)
  • miremyrr (bog)
  • muckmyki (cow dung)
  • rottenrotinn

The Norse Legacy in English

Thanks to the cross-cultural fermentation that occured in the Danelaw – and later when England was temporarily absorbed into Canute the Great’s North Sea Kingdom – the English language is much closer to that of its Scandinavian neighbors than many acknowledge. By the time that the Norman conquest brought the irreversible influence of French, Old English had already been transformed beyond its Anglo-Saxon roots.
This is still in evidence today; modern English grammar and syntax are more similar to modern Scandinavian languages than to Old English. This suggests that Old Norse didn’t just introduce new words, but influenced how the Anglo-Saxons constructed their sentences. Some linguists even claim that English should be reclassified as a North Germanic language (along with Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Swedish), rather than a West Germanic language (with Dutch and German). The Viking influence may be most apparent in the Yorkshire dialect, which uses even more Norse words in daily speech than standard English does.
English is probably too much of a hybrid to ever neatly classify, but its Old Norse rót is clearly there among the tangle of Anglo-Saxon, French and Latin roots. The language of the Vikings may have become subdued over the centuries, but make no mistaka about it – from byrðr (birth) undtil we deyja (die) – Norse’s raw energy simmers under the surface of everything we say.

More Norse Words

ridrythja (to clear land)
baskbaðask (reflexive of baða, “to bathe”)
blunderblundra (to shut one’s eyes; to stumble about blindly)
callkalla (to cry loudly)
snubsnubba (to curse)
castkasta (to throw)
sprintspretta (to jump up)
staggerstakra (to push)
clipklippa (to cut)
stainsteina (to paint)
crawlkrafla (to claw)
stammerstemma (to hinder or dam up)
gawkga (to heed)
swaysveigja (to bend; to give way)
seemsœma (to conform)
hagglehaggen (to chop)
hithitta (to find)
thwartþvert (across)
wantvanta (to lack)
racerás (to race, to move swiftly)
whirlhvirfla (to go around)
whiskviska (to plait or braid)

axleöxull (axis)
loftlopt (air, sky; upper room)
ballbǫllr (round object)
plow, ploughplogr
band (rope)
raftraptr (log)
bulkbulki (cargo)
scale (for weighing) – skal (bowl, drinking cup)
glovelofi (middle of the hand)
skirtskyrta (shirt)
wandvondr (rod)
windowvindauga (lit. “wind-eye”)

aloftá (on) + lopt (loft; sky; heaven)
illillr (bad)
girthgjörð (circumference)
scantskamt (short, lacking)
skinskinn (animal hide)
uglyuggligr (dreadful)

angerangr (trouble, affliction)
aweagi (terror)
kidkið (young goat)
happyhapp (good luck; fate)
ladladd (young man)
irkyrkja (to work)
oafalfr (elf)


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

24th November 2015 - Of Grand Expectations and Ancestry

Thought for the day: "Your secret is safe with me because I wasn't listening"

It seems that has benefitted today form the release of 190 years of Freemasonry records spanning up to 1921. I presume later ones will be released later, but like other records there are restrictions on people who are currently alive so that sees like a reasonable cut off point.

Tony Robinson (a non-mason) was tasked by Ancestry to do a short film to cover the story..

The building itself is well used by the Film Industry now, being a wonderful specimen of Art Deco. And free tours if travelling in the London area. So much for secrecy..

Enjoy some pictures of the great building...

So, off to Unity Lodge Installation today - ho hum ..


Monday, 23 November 2015

23rd November 2015 - Almost a Film Star - Break a Leg

Thought for the day: "I didn't mean to press all your buttons - I was looking for the mute"

Found something new today - I have been walking the boards for many years and doing much in the way of Am - Dram ( Amateur Dramatics ).. Always said before going on stage "Break a Leg" - and never really thought much about its meaning.. Wiki tells me there are many possible reasons but I rather liked this one...

In the days of Vaudeville, companies would book more performers than could possibly make it onstage, but would only pay those who performed. Since the Renaissance, stage curtain legs have been used as part of the masking in proscenium theatres, which remain the most popular style of theatre to this day. Thus, to make it on stage, one had to enter the line of sight of the audience or "break a leg", to be paid

Seems like many actors end up "resting" - waiting in the corners in case you get the job and appear on stage and get paid...

My own current TV / Film work is going for strength to strength. A full day's filming of Da Vinci Demons - and there is half a second of my left shoulder on screen. £95 (less tax and £20 commission). I suppose I "broke a leg" .. I did get paid...  Means my Filmography - is 6 seconds in the Henry Vth - as "The Barrowman" and this...

Never mind... St Elliw Chapter this evening - start of a busy week - middle of a busy fortnight...
Glass of Chateau 41 (Red) this evening - have to be up early in the morning - a filling in my front tooth has fallen out - need to get to emergency dentist tomorrow ..

A Toothy Grin and "Cheers" to you all..

Sunday, 22 November 2015

22nd November 2015 - the Big Chill

Thought for the day:  "Every family has a weird relative - if you don't know who it is - it is probably you"

Went to Llanelly House today - for a Sunday Luncheon. It was for the Lodge members and to host our widows of former members, and a very nice meal it was in a lovely venue. Ate a little too much, but that is about par for the course at the moment as I seem to be out most days. A nice bottle of wine and a stroll home afterwards.

Llanelly House
So not a lot happening - but whenever things get quiet I can depend upon an old friend to muse a little about something ... so I give you Roger...

Morgan - the Barber Surgeon...

This time last week I was re-learning a valuable lesson that I thought I'd never forgotten. It's a simple thing that we all should know that can have a tremendous impact on our lives and our well being. In short, never 'knock back' a slush puppy. 

What happened was this. Last Sunday I was at Techniquest in Cardiff doing Victorian surgery for the kids. Techniquest, for those who are not so enlightened, is a mighty building of experiments bringing science alive for nippers and more importantly their parents. It's completely brilliant and the staff are exceptionally enthusiastic and switched on. 

Anyway, it can get a bit dry in there and with all the talking etc my tongue was well and truly cloven to the top of my gob so, thought I, what I need is something cold. In the café there it was, a beacon of relief, a Slush Puppy machine. 100% frozen chemicals, spot on. Now, after a brief chat about brain freeze with Carolyn, who was busy inflating a balloon with a push bike, I wombled back to my stand and woosh, knocked back the best part of the Slush Puppy. 

To be honest it started with a very concentrated spot of pain just behind the right eye, then slowly it spread across the forehead whilst at the same time a second front of agony erupted at the rear of my skull. Down below, in my stomach, the infernal denizons from hell began freezing all the working parts in my manly torso and my spine became a lift shaft of torment as the torture began climbing up above to greet it's brothers in my head. 

Through a buzz of pain I could hear a little voice cry "Mummy why is that man playing statues and why has he gone that funny colour?" I gripped my forehead tightly so that it didn't fall off and replied " Ggrr umph, nahh nahh, eeeuurkk " 

At which point the mother said "He's probably foreign, let's go and shoot tennis balls out of the air cannon." Can anybody express the horror of combined rampant brain, stomach and spine freeze? 

And the moral of the story is, gentle readers, never forget past lessons learned and never, ever, knock back a Slush Puppy. Finis.

Should have gone for Chateau 41 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

21st November 2015 - Red Letter Day

Thought for the day: "Practice safe text: use commas. (And never miss a period)"

Red Letter day !!!

Chateau 41 RED is ready to drink - and is very nice thank you 
That is Red and White in the store 

'Nuff said 


Friday, 20 November 2015

20th November 2015 - Light a Candle ...

Thought for the day: "Let the chickens out and watched as they followed my trail of corn up the path.. it was Poultry in Motion !!!"

Part of a busy week, four installations and a committee meeting. My waistline is beginning to suffer!
But today was a trip to Fishguard, and luckily, though it was my turn to drive, a colleague decided to make me an offer I could not refuse. Which was just as well as there was quite a lot of wine on the table, and we had bought  a bottle before we realised that some would be coming around.

But once again, the Ruling Masters from West Wales Province came out in force. Eleven of us travelled from all over the Province to help celebrate the installation of an old friend TBD "Dai" Rees into the Chair of his mother Lodge. Just 48 years after his initiation in that Lodge.

To be fair, as a serving Police Officer he moved around a lot, as did I, so he is a Past Master, of other lodges but in the end he became a rejoining member of his Mother Lodge and finally managed to take the step into the Chair, in a fine ceremony which was filled with emotion.

11 Rulers in the Craft - West Wales Province

Kemes Lodge No 3152
And at the Festive Board, at about the time when we would normally be thinking of Absent Brethren, a unique little ceremony was re-enacted using a fine piece of Silver Hardware - the Kemes Candlestick..   It is pure Silver, weighs a ton, and is a fine piece of table-ware.

The Candles are lit in Order - by the senior Past Master to represent the Past - the Immediate Past Master to represent the Immediate Past..   The Master to represent the present.. and the most junior officer to represent the future... It is named after one of the first secretary's of the Lodge. It seems that in the early days of the lodge, longevity was the name of the game for the secretaries.  There were only 4 secretaries in the first 100 years. The one that the candlestick was named after apparently served for over forty years ..As with many secretary's he ruled the lodge and in his case it became an appropriate acronym - for he was known as GOD - W Bro G O Davies. And the candlestick was presented by him as I understand as a Gift from G.O.D.

All in all - a good night for all ...