Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A round of golf with HM the King

Charles the First, King of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland was held prisoner in Newcastle following his defeat in the 17th century English Civil War. News of his remaining supporters' catastrophic loss at the Battle of Naseby at the hands of Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentary forces reached Charles whilst he was playing a round of golf, a sport to which he was dedicated. If my history serves me correctly, he carried on playing.

He fled to Scotland, his Stuart homeland, but the Scots were even less impressed by him than the English and, so, investing Newcastle, occupied the city and made themselves unpopular amongst Geordies. Having run up quite a few bills supporting the English Parliamentary cause his Scottish 'countrymen' wanted to swap His Majesty for coin, which duly, grudgingly, took place.

Charles however, was not done and played a very silly game with his captors and finally, all patience with this wilful man exhausted, the zealots among the Parliamentary faction, notably in the army, had him tried, condemned and executed in London on the 30th January 1649. He died, so it was said by onlookers, in a style conspicuously lacking in his reign, resolute and calm. However, the struggle of who ruled and how played out among the 'Anglosphere' peoples down the next century afterwards, most notably in America.

The execution of King Charles the First, 30th January 1649.

I have followed his (putative) footsteps from the site of his captivity (now occupied by a bank …) towards the place where, in olden days open fields gave Charles a chance to practice his game.

The route sets off from the heart of Tyneside 19th century 'Classical' city scape at the top of Grey Street, down Market Street to Shieldfield, now semi-isolated behind a wall of crap architecture and duelled urban motorway. On the walk I snapped some of the few delights and much of what went wrong in the shaping of the Tyneside of the 21st century.

A link to an off site slideshow. Any questions do ask.

A round of golf

Monday, April 7, 2014

Last of Winter

The ritual passage of the Sun southwards brings in 'shorter days' and Winter. To keep the northlands happy, time was altered. An hour's difference between Summer and Winter meant people would not be groping their way to work in supreme darkness during the short winter days of December and January. Greenwich Mean Time gives way to British Summer time in late March. The clocks 'go forwards' on a Saturday so we have a chance to 'get used to it' on a Sunday 'day of rest' (for some).

One year, last century, the clocks were left in place, just to see what happened. In the far north, the sun didn't rise until near mid-morning and there was a fear for road safety. The arguments for and against changing the clocks are still carried on.

Hey, ho… I went to the local supermarket I favour and carried my camera. The afterglow as the Sun set was very fine; students hurried home over 'Battlefield', most walking, some on bicycles. Traffic was heavy with home going workers. Next week the sun would be higher, the evenings longer, suddenly opening up life and entertainment prospects. On Battlefield the trees were still waiting to come into leaf; waiting for the returning migratory birds to join the natives singing as the sun set over the city. Here is a slideshow:

I no longer have time to detail these images one by one with comments. If you wish to know something please e-mail me and I shall do my best to answer your request.