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Vilhjalmr in Bastardr On:2001-10-20 12:08:47

Herebeorht, my twelve-year-old, keeps telling me I need to get a life, but I’m sure I have one---it’s just that most of the communicating I do in it involves my fingers rather than my tongue!

No, don’t worry, I’m not getting more (or perhaps---Good heavens!---less!!) weird and kinky on you, it’s just that I’m spending a bit more time online than Hereb thinks the living should. For example my one big excitement of the last week all started because someone sent a message to ANSAXNET, that, as I’m sure you know, is the Old English language and history discussion list. The message contained the cry “VIVAT WILLIAM” (it was in capital letters, that’s why I knew it was a cry)---Now while this probably isn’t as bad as, say going onto an Irish language list and writing “Long live King Billy” or “I love Olly”, it did tend to ruffle a few feathers; and, since it did go on to say nice things about the Normans and to claim that the battle of Hastings was a good thing, the ruffling was perfectly understandable!
I mean!! To celebrate the fact that roughly (more on that roughlyness in a bit) roughly 935 years ago a load of guys from northern France destroyed the most advanced civilisation of Europe surely deserves the response of “Huh typical bloody Frogs” rather than “Hooray!” Not, of course, that they were really French anyway They were really just Vikings who were remarkably culturally unstable---Imaging, a few generations in France and they were French and a few more generations in England and they were English and some of them went to Ireland and in a short time were more Irish than the Irish, and really didn’t like Olly or King Billy.

The, by now famous, message was sent on the fourteenth of October, which is the usually accepted date for the battle, and that started another, potentially more disturbing, discussion of when the event should be celebrated, lamented or if we must be namby-pambyish about it and not take sides merely commemorated. You see Julius bloody Cæsar (or whoever he had actually working for him) got the calendar slightly wrong, so that as the centuries rushed by the seasons were gradually getting out of sync with the dates. This wasn’t corrected in England till 1752 when they had to chop 12 days out of the calendar and there were riots, probably because people missed at least one payday. It also meant that, if you allow for the error in the calendar, and the fact that 1066 was roughly half way between Cæsar and now, then you should really be celebrating, lamenting or if we must be namby-pambyish about it and not take sides merely commemorating it today.

Things couldn’t get much more lifelike, could they…

Cheerio for now from
Richard Howland-Bolton

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