Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I'm never quite sure what nationality means. From my voice, you would conclude I was as English as crumpets and Morris Dancing. By blood, I am English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, French, and, if the dottier of my two grandmothers is to be believed, American and Danish too. I grew up in the Lambourn valley, in a landscape of downland, chalk horses carved into the hills, and ancient barrows. I was briefly at school in France, and languished away long weeks of my twenties in Dublin and Connemara. Now I live high up in the north-east of Scotland.
But what's not to love about a gentleman riding about on a horse, slaying dragons? So let us tip our hats to St George.
Today also marks the birth of William Shakespeare. Here is a little burst of the St Crispian's Day speech, which never fails to bring a tear to my eye:
Oh, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
It is also my lovely sister's birthday. I gave her white roses and those crazy green chrysanthemums that look like they are made-up flowers, and some nice scented things for her bath. Tomorrow, we shall have a little celebratory dinner.
In the meantime, I leave you with some pretty pictures for your Friday evening pleasure:
(Lovely picture of flowers by ethanollie.)
(A road that looks almost like a metaphor; uncredited, from Pixdaus.)
(Could not resist another volcano picture; by the AP.)
(Two marvellous views of tulips in Holland Park from Little London Observationist.)
(I love this. It's a wall decal by Shanna Murray. Via A Cup of Jo.)
(If we did not live in murky Scotland, we would have a glorious outside dinner like this for my sister. From Basically Anything That Is Awesome.)
(Who knew that radishes came in so many colours? From Creature Comforts.)
And I can't let you go without a gratuitously delightful animal picture:
(Astonishing picture by the wildlife photographer, Hal Brindley.)
There we are, my darlings. Happy HAPPY birthday to my lovely sister, and a lovely happy weekend to all of you.