was on Coastwatch duty with Jeff yesterday and, as the causeway
was within an hour of flooding and the island populated by only
the 63 resident sheep, we were in for a quiet time. It was the
first time that we had been on watch together and we soon discovered
our mutual fascination of words, place names and history.
relatively recently that I have become interested in history,
it was always a dry subject for me in school and I don’t
ever remember being taught our own history which resulted in
my knowing the significance of 1066 but unaware of the importance
of 1282. Historical novels sparked my interest (beginning with
‘There be Dragons’ by Sharon Penman) and I have
found that the more I learn the more, it seems, there is yet
to learn. But having such knowledge in your head isn’t
really enough, the real thrill is in sharing it with a fellow
enthusiast. And so it was yesterday.
writing of history is always the privilege of the victor so
there is inevitably a bit of a bias. I remember reading about
the Roman writer Tacitus describing the early Celts as ‘an
aggressive people’. Well, excuse me, Tacky old fruit,
but don’t the words ‘pot’, ‘kettle’
and ‘black’ spring to mind?
about the various invasions that our islands have had to suffer
and in particular all that raping and pillaging from the Vikings.
Thank goodness we eventually saw those off! But I had recently
discovered that the Normans were only Vikings that had been
allowed to settle in Normandy in the hope that they would quietly
settle down. So there you are – these Norse people just
never give up!
as we had reached this point in our fascinating discussions
a gentleman strolled in and excused us but, he had a couple
of Norwegian friends outside and would we mind if he brought
them in so that we could tell them about NCI? We agreed of course
and glanced at each other with an exchange of invisible grins.
they come again!” we thought while he trotted outside
to fetch his group. It turned out to be five in all including
a young and genial Norwegian couple. As though he had anticipated
our silent fear the gentleman was wearing a Cymru hat. Well,
chwarae teg after all, isn’t it!
a very interesting conversation and before they left the lady
had her photograph taken with Jeff and myself on either side
– a rose between two thorns!
all smiles as they left, it had been an enjoyable interlude
and, lest you should be concerned –yes, Jeff and I still
retained our closely guarded virginity!