Monday, February 27, 2006

Who'd be a snail?

Further to my owl related posts, I decided to look at the symbolism of the owl, and I found a site on heraldry. The owl represents "one who is vigilant and of acute wit". Some of the other creatures available for inclusion for a coat of arms were a little more surprising...

The pelican, for example, represents devoted and self-sacrificing charity.

The gannet, which modern day simile represents as greedy, is a creature which subsists by the wings of his virtue and merit, having little land to rest upon. I'll never steroetype gannets again.

The raven is one who,having derived little from his ancestors, has through providence become the architect of his own fortunes or one of an enduring constancy of nature.

The Dolphin represents charity and a kind affection towards children, and is still seen as a benign force today, I think.

Mermaids represent eloquence. Though, personally, I've never heard a memorable quote attributed to a mermaid. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The scallop shell represents one who has made long journeys or voyages to far countries, who had borne considerable naval command, or who had gained great victories.

Finally, we have the snail, which stands for deliberation and perseverance. Now, I have no doubt that these are admirable qualities, but it's not going to make for a very impressive coat of arms, is it? I mean, we have Richard The Lionheart, with his impressive symbolism, but I doubt he'd have a lot of people rallying to join The Crusades if he was Dickie The Snail. Actually, that may not have been a bad thing...

With many thanks to this site which references W. Cecil Wade's "The Symbolisms of Heraldry or A Treatise on the Meanings and Derivations of Armorial Bearings". Published in London in 1898.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A famous owl

Yes, it's useless blogger at your disposal here, because I've started a new job, and I'm taking so much information in that I can't be arsed to blog regularly. But I did want to recommend this lovely owl site just so that any Harry Potter fans could learn a bit about Hedwig.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Karma blogging

Something really good happened to me today in the form of a new work opportunity, so in a sort of Karma Wiccan Leprechaun be nice to people thingy, I thought I would respond with a post advertising a charity in aid of one of my favourite creatures.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Waiting for the bus.

A couple of strange experiences I've had this week, both of them about waiting for a bus. You go weeks without any, and then two come at once, I know, I know, but this is true!

On Wednesday night, I was waiting for a bus not far from my home, when I was joined by a burly man, shaven-headed, skinhead gear, several teeth missing. I was a bit nervous. He struck up a conversation. Apparently, he had just been discharged from a clinic where he had weaned himself off heroin. He was staying with his father for a couple of days. He was very honest in admitting that he had cost his father enormous amounts of money, and that he had been in prison, used to have a £200 a day habit, but was on his way to a resort on the South coast where he could stop drinking. He was going down into town on his last ever drinking binge. I wished him well; he was a nice guy, and I warmed to him.

Tonight, I was at a bus stop in Richmond (outside the station at 6.30) when somebody poked me in the back. I turned round to see a man with long black hair and wild eyes.

He asked whether he could ask me a question. I said yes, a bit worried by his aggressive stance; I hadn't meant to push in, or offend anybody, but he looked a bit emotional. He was also missing a front tooth.

"If you had worked for MI5 for 6 years, and you'd saved this country from the IRA seven times, would you be angry if they refused to pay you your wages?!" he was visibly trembling, staring at me, and raising his fist, pressing his face closer and closer. I gabbled that I, too, would be distressed by this. He burst into tears, apologised for being emotional and was still trembling with anger. He actually apologised if he was scaring me, but I instinctively said goodbye and scarpered to the next bus stop.

Like I said, you go months without a nutter coming along, and then two come along at once. I wish them both well, though.

Monday, February 13, 2006

How romantic...

As it's nearly Valentine's day I thought I would flag up this lovely story about a special meal on a golden weding anniversary. By the way, if The Scotsman is reading this, you are NOT getting away with offering this as an anniversary present ever, OK?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Another pub record breaker

And this time it's the highest pub in Britain. Looks pretty good, I must say.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Britain's smallest pub.

So what is Britain's smallest pub? Well, the prime suspect seems to be The Nutshell Inn in Bury St Edmunds.

Or some people suggest The Smith's Arms in Godmanston, which looks extremely lovely, I must say. And it's near the mysterious Cerne Abbas Giant which is a very striking site, I can tell you!

Or you might go for The Lakeside Inn.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Wayland's Smithy

Tonight, folks, I'm blogging about a place to which I've always wanted to go, but to which I've never been. It's a burial chamber called Wayland's Smithy, and it's also at here. It's in Oxfordshire

Now, the area has lots of burial chambers and ancient chalk carvings, but this seems to be an exceptionally beautiful site, and it's also interesting because it's the one English place dedicated to the ancient god called Wayland The Smith. This is the ancient Norse god of blacksmithing, which seems a rather strange idea. I mean, it's not very spiritual, is it? It's like having Wayne, the Essex god of plumbing, or Kevin, the god of sorting out your dodgy gearbox, and he'll knock a bit off for cash. But people used to leave their horses at Wayland's Smithy with a piece of silver, and find their horses shod when they returned. It's perfectly possible, of course, that a local blacksmith was making a tidy profit by nipping up to the burial chamber every so often. But who knows...

Anyway, I've found a comprehensive site which outlines the legends surrounding Wayland, and very fascinating they are too.

You might like to check out where it is.