Sunday November 5th 2017


The Fifth of November
Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!


No one was more delighted by the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot than James VI and I, who had narrowly avoided becoming the first king to sit on a rocket-propelled throne. So he allowed bonfires to be lit to celebrate, provided they were “without any danger or disorder”.
A few months later parliament passed the Observance of November 5th Act, effectively making the celebration compulsory. How you celebrated remained up to you (as long as you went to church). In Canterbury in 1607 they set off 106 pounds of gunpowder, giving a hint of things to come.
By the late 17th century festivities were getting a shade rowdy, as Londoners took to stopping coaches and demanding beer money, and throughout the 18th century its popularity grew mainly with the burgeoning urban poor. Their children discovered a new way of turning a profit on the night, getting a ‘penny for the Guy’ – an effigy-burning habit started in 1625 when Charles I married a Catholic, inspiring the immolation of papal images.
The rowdiness also continued. This ‘tradition’ dates from at least the 1790s when 4 November is recorded as ‘Mischief Night’ – a time for pranks such as putting treacle on door handles and swapping around garden gates. By the 19th century this was getting a bit boisterous. In Guildford they regularly attacked the magistrate’s house and, in 1864, a policeman was killed.
By March 1859 the government had repealed the 1606 Act. The Guildford mob was controlled, and the violence of the evening re-directed at the poor old Guy. Not that he was necessarily Guy Fawkes.
Ever since 1831, when an enthusiastic Exeter crowd burnt an effigy of their new bishop, new targets had been found for the bonfire. The kaiser and even a few suffragettes found themselves so treated, and the tradition continued with Adolf Hitler.
Today the guy is alive and well, although it is as likely to be an image of the prime minister as Guy Fawkes, getting the sort of grilling you don’t get in parliament, but which Guy himself wished they had all got.

Holbeche House
A mansion located approximately 1 mile north of Kingswinford.
It was after the failure of the plot that the fugitives took shelter in Holbeche House, owned by Stephen Lyttelton. They had taken supplies from Warwick Castle on 6 November and weapons and gunpowder from Hewell Grange on 7 November, but the powder became damp in the rain. After arriving at Holbeche House at about 10 pm.



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Several were maimed when gunpowder left to dry in front of the fire was ignited by a stray spark. At about noon the next day, 8 November 1605, the house was surrounded by a posse led by Richard Walsh (the Sheriff of Worcestershire), originally seeking those responsible for the raid at Warwick Castle. Most of the plotters were either killed or wounded in the ensuing fight. Some walls have holes from muskets used in the storming of the house in 1605. Those still alive were taken to London and later tried and executed.

Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire
Where priests were concealed
England’s Catholics were under a great deal of pressure towards the end of Elizabeth I’s reign. A raft of measures, including crippling fines for non-attendance at Protestant services, made life very difficult indeed. Some accepted defeat and joined the Anglican fold but others resolved to continue observing what they believed to be the true faith.
Catholic priests who had trained on the continent were smuggled into England where they could facilitate worship. They were sheltered in Catholic safehouses, which were often equipped with priest’s holes that could be used as hiding places when inspectors arrived. The punishment for the priests and those who harboured them could be death so it was vital that secrecy was maintained.
Built in the 15th century, Baddesley Clinton became an important place of refuge for Catholics. Though it belonged to the Ferrers family, it was rented by the Vaux sisters who were committed to shielding priests. Members of the Jesuit order (a controversial Catholic missionary group) are believed to have met at Baddesley Clinton in 1592 and escaped detection by hiding in a tunnel when government officers turned up. The English Jesuit leader Henry Garnett was among their number.
Baddesley Clinton remained with the Ferrers until the late 20th century when it was taken over by the National Trust. Three priest’s holes survive from its days as a Catholic refuge.

Warwick castle
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
Where Catesby gathered horses during his desperate flight
News of Fawkes’s arrest spread quickly, causing the flight of Catesby and the other plotters away from London. Had their scheme gone as planned, the conspirators hoped to ignite a Catholic uprising in the Midlands, with King James’s nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth as a potential new queen. Even though Fawkes was in custody, Catesby resolved to go ahead with his planned insurrection.
On the night of 5 November Catesby stopped off at Warwick Castle to steal horses and then spent the next couple of days with a dwindling group of followers, seeking support. Yet the Catholic hierarchy showed little interest in the revolt. With their dreams in tatters, Catesby’s men arrived at Holbeche House in Staffordshire on 7 November where they resolved to make their final stand.
This last hurrah began badly when some excess gunpowder exploded while it was being dried out near a fire, injuring several of the group. Then on the morning of 8 November, 200 men led by the Sheriff of Worcestershire arrived at Holbeche and surrounded the house. Catesby and a few others charged outside to meet them and were shot down. It is said that the same bullet that killed Thomas Percy also went through the body of Catesby. As the leader of the plot was dying he reportedly staggered to the house’s chapel and clutched an image of the Virgin Mary.
When Catesby visited Warwick Castle, the medieval fortress was in a state of some disrepair. Over the subsequent centuries it underwent several phases of restoration including much recent work. In the last few years the castle has repositioned itself as a major heritage attraction boasting a ghoulish dungeon and a princess tower.


Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Where Henry Garnett heard of the failure
Coughton Court is a stately Tudor house currently owned by the National Trust but still inhabited by the Throckmorton family who have resided here since 1409. The Throckmortons are said to be the oldest Catholic family in England and unusually they have managed to keep hold of many of their religious treasures, some of which are now on display.
In 1605 the court was being rented by Sir Everard Digby, one of the gunpowder plotters. On 6 November he was on the move with Catesby when word got to the house of Fawkes’s arrest. Among those assembled there were Digby’s wife and Henry Garnett, England’s leading Jesuit. Garnett had known of the plot and had advised against it but all the same he found himself implicated and a wanted man.
Garnett left Coughton in late November, ending up in Hindlip Hall near Worcester. There he was captured on 27 January 1606, as part of a round-up of Jesuits, and taken to the Tower of London.

Workshop Creating A Democracy


I took part in recreating a democracy at The Clearing today.

Are human rights an aberration? A historical blip? Does the end of fossil fuels mean the return of slavery? How can we maintain equality of women and minorities if society returns to something nastier, shorter and more brutish?

This workshop will explore how to set up small-scale democracies. We’ll talk about where they’ve existed (from Occupy to the Paris Commune), practical tips for defending them, how to set them up, and where they normally fall down. We’ll end with a bonfire, to celebrate the continued survival of British democracy, and burn some home-made guys.


Wow I really felt I was the sore thumb.
Legumes pulses rice wheat germ bread.
Share food and share ideas.
I did not fit in with these embrace the base folk.

The Clearing is a collaborative artwork by Alex Hartley and Tom James, A geodesic dome, built in the shadow of the ex-stately home, the project will bring people together to learn how to live in a future afflicted by climate change. From March to December 2017, The Clearing is part school, part refuge and part vision. The dome is be built out of reclaimed materials, except it is not. It is in direct contrast to manicured surroundings of Compton Verney. Inside, a series of workshops helped people learn the skills they’ll need in the future: from starting fires and digging toilets, to brewing mead and making wind turbines, and ending with building democracies. Outside of these workshops, a series of caretakers occupied the dome, chopping wood, feeding the chickens and keeping the vision alive.
We were post apocalypse in theory for our debate and there were about twenty four of us. Young and mostly white student types and two older people me included.
To me they were living in cloud cuckoo land. They were talking about infinite supplies of food. That is after the breakdown of society no electric etc.
One scenario was that other survivors were headed our way. How do we respond to the approaching group?
Open arms?


I made some errors first of all I should have kept my mouth shut.
I said the enemy! Yes wrong I know.
Bad looks from the group. Shaking heads from the group.
They said men wee approaching with guns. I said we need guns.
Bad looks from the group. Shaking heads from the group.
Now I have always considered me to be a hippy and peace and love but I guess not.
I made an error saying I knew something about the Paris Commune I do but maybe not enough to talk in a situation like this. I quoted a figure of the dead which was wrong and feel it was nerves and I feel a fool now.
The rest of the information was correct.

The deliverer for this part of the workshop had not turned up. 4 of them were getting £100 for the day. Well!
It was ok but easy money in my mind.
Barricade building did not happen and there ware discussions about why and what the barricades were for.
One lady talked about her involvement with Greenham Common and Occupy London. She had been an activist all her life I guess. But I feel none of them had lived in the real world. They all had great education university wise. All had money and had had money all their lives I feel.
The one girl talked about democracy and she put her fee on the floor £150 for the day as the one speaker had not turned up. What should we do with this money and we took votes and discussed this in length. We decided that she should have it.
She then gave everyone a pound and we could decide to do with that as we would.
I gave mine back to her.

She and three others decided as a statement to throw the £4 into the lake.
Ingrid one of the other volunteers was horrified at this as I was and I was asking them not to do it. It was morally wrong and environmentally wrong.
It was strange to me that people who were living life with no electricity and eating pulses and rice and trying to live green should do this?

They were talking about what will become of the dome after their period of occupation comes to an end. Burning it down was their plan. I think it is a sad bad plan. Just as throwing the pound coins into the lake it’s pointless.
I again was shocked at their attitude to this.

In Light II

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Spurs 1 Crystal Palace 0

Heung-Min Son scored an excellent goal which was very much out of keeping of an otherwise scrappy game as we edged past Crystal Palace at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
The forward struck in the 64th minute, his 20th Premier League goal and one which saw him become the all-time leading South Korean goalscorer in the competition, overtaking Ji-Sung Park.

But while he took the plaudits for the goal, it was a fine performance from goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga that ensured the points were won. Our summer signing from Southampton was drafted into the side following injuries to Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm and made a string of excellent saves on his debut to preserve our clean sheet.
A lacklustre first half saw opportunities at a premium, Palace’s centre-half pairing of Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann sweeping up our crosses into their box while the only real chance fell to the visitors, Gazzaniga producing a fine save from Dann’s header.

We were indebted to our goalkeeper on a number of occasions in the second half as he made top-class saves to deny former Spur Andros Townsend and Luka Milivojevic, although when Wilfried Zaha rounded him on the edge of the area when clean through, it looked for all the world as if he was going to give Palace the lead, only to slide his effort wide of the far post.
The winner arrived soon after, the ball pinging around the Eagles’ area before falling at the feet of Son, who curled a left-foot shot into the top corner past Julian Speroni.

Seahawks 14  Redskins 17

With the game on the line, Washington’s offense made the big plays necessary to escape Seattle with a victory, none bigger than a diving 38-yard catch by Josh Doctson on a beautifully thrown pass by Kirk Cousins that set up the game-winning touchdown.
But while Washington deserves all the credit for making that winning drive happen in a 17-14 victory over Seattle at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks spent much of the afternoon getting in their own way prior to that deciding possession. Whether it was the 16 penalties, the two turnovers by the offense, the turnovers that weren’t for the defense—two potential interceptions dropped in the first half—or the three missed field goals, the Seahawks found plenty of ways to hurt themselves, leaving the door open for Washington to escape with a victory.

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“This was a really difficult game for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We made this so hard on ourselves. All of the things that happened when you lost a game showed up—turnovers, penalties, getting beat deep, the easy scores for them, the difficult challenges just moving the ball down the field because we were in our own way. We really played against ourselves all day long.”
Carroll seemed particularly bothered by the number of penalties, particularly because that has been an area of emphasis for a team that came into Sunday averaging more than nine penalties per game. Not at all surprisingly, the offense struggled while committing 10 of those 16 penalties, and it’s hardly a coincidence that both Seahawks touchdowns came in a penalty-free fourth quarter for the offense. While the defense was cleaner in that area, that group had some costly penalties as well, including a pass interference call in the end zone that gave Washington first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, setting up its first touchdown.

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“We’ve had enough penalties already this season where you could say one of these games it’s going to jump up and bite you, and that’s exactly what it felt like today,” Carroll said. “It’s really important that we find our way and find our way back and play good football.”

Forever Yesterday


Talk about a loser, I was just about to go
When someone grabbed me by the arm, a man I did not know
He said he’d been a drover, a member of the clan
With runrig in his very soul and nowhere left to stand
Now me I’m just a highland boy and cottar was my trade
He’d seen me at Kildoanan when the black-face came to stay
He’d oatcakes and he’d whisky and one foot in the grave
For us it’s over
Bitter tears began to fall as whisky tore away the years
From the straths and the braes
Forever yesterday

The royal George it was that brought the Countess to our door
She wanted us to leave the hills for crofts upon the moor
She took our piece of paradise and left us on the shore
For us it’s over
Bitter tears began to fall as whisky tore away the years
From the straths and the braes
Forever yesterday


While We’re Young

Middle-aged couple Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia Schrebnick (Naomi Watts) have a shaky relationship while living in New York City. Josh is struggling on the post-production of his documentary film about leftist intellectual Ira Mandelstam (Peter Yarrow). His previous documentary about military-industrial complex titled The Power Elite was based on C. Wright Mills’s sociological theory. Both Josh and Cornelia are struggling to try to have children, although Cornelia is reluctant due to her miscarrying the past two pregnancies. After finishing a lecture at the college where he works, Josh is approached by Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby Massey (Amanda Seyfried), a young couple who invite him and Cornelia out to dinner, the former claiming to be a fan of both his works and the works of his accomplished documentary filmmaker father-in-law, Leslie Breitbart (Charles Grodin). Josh is immediately awestruck by Jamie and Darby’s non-conservative outlook on life, and he and Cornelia begin spending more time with them and indulging in their activities.


An aspiring filmmaker himself, Jamie talks with Josh about their projects, including Josh’s own documentary. This inspires Jamie to make a film about connecting with an old high school friend that he found on Facebook. Jamie and Darby decide to invite Josh and Cornelia to an ayahuasca ceremony, where a hallucinating Cornelia kisses Jamie, while Jamie receives Josh’s approval in helping with the production of his film. Later, Cornelia agrees to help produce. Jamie and Josh manage to find the former’s friend, Kent Arlington (Brady Corbet), who is in the hospital for an attempted suicide. Not long after, Josh and Jamie discover that Kent was involved with a massacre during an Army tour in Afghanistan, creating an even bigger story for the focus of Jamie’s film.


While pitching his own film, Josh is dismayed when he cannot intrigue a hedge fund investor (Ryan Serhant) with the concept of his vague and confusing feature. Josh goes to Leslie with his film for a second opinion. When Leslie’s criticisms and suggestions are brought down by Josh, the two get into an argument over Josh and Cornelia’s inability to have children, as well as Josh calling himself a disappointment in the eyes of his father-in-law. Josh then attends a party for a screening of Jamie’s own film, which is met far more positively by Leslie and even the hedge fund investor. A jealous Josh argues with Cornelia over Jamie’s success, and they separate. Josh meets up with Darby, who is growing sick of Jamie’s increasingly self-centered attitude, and tells him about Cornelia kissing Jamie. Josh angrily confronts Cornelia the next morning and angrily denounces Jamie.


While teaming up with his editor on cutting his film, Josh comes across footage for Jamie’s film, finding evidence in it that suggests his meeting with Kent was all staged. Finding him, Kent reveals that he was really friends with Darby, not Jamie, and that he was contacted by Jamie weeks before their shoot. Capturing his confession on camera, Josh goes to Jamie and Darby to confront him, only to discover that a fed-up Darby is moving out and that Jamie is at a tribute celebrating Leslie at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Josh confronts Jamie in private at the event, admonishing him for compromising the truth and genuineness of his story for dramatic purposes. When Josh forces Jamie to admit to it in front of Leslie, he excuses it, saying that it’s a good story regardless of the fabrication, which throws Josh into a rage, but not before admitting that Leslie was right about changing his film. Outside, Josh and Cornelia reconcile.


One year later, Josh and Cornelia are driving to the airport to adopt a baby from Haiti. Josh finds an article in a magazine lauding Jamie as a filmmaking genius, which Cornelia and Josh pass off by admitting, “He’s not evil, he’s just young.” They then watch a very young child at the gate playing with an iPhone, staring at him with uncertainty.



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