Posted on November 30, 2019
Carlisle, in northeast UK, dates back some 2,000 years and is steeped in Roman/English/Scottish history. One can read some castle history, if one wishes, on the English Heritage website here.
Emperor Hadrian, a Trump-minded character of his day, ordered the construction of a large stone wall nearby, to keep out pesky Northerners who were wont to invade Roman England. Hadrian’s Wall was completed in 112AD and the largest fort along the length of the wall was built at Carlisle, housing a 500-strong Roman cavalry regiment. At the date of the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Carlisle was in Scottish hands. The son of William the Conquerer, another William, then retook the city for England. Construction of Carlisle Castle started in 1093AD and it was rebuilt in stone in 1112. In 1315, Robert The Bruce, King of Scotland, laid siege to the castle but failed to take it and retreated north again, having killed a miserly two English soldiers. In 1567, Mary Queen of Scots fled from the English to the castle.
The castle was also used as a prison to house the Border Reivers, a band of locals who were forced into cattle stealing and other general criminality due to the havoc caused by waring northern and southern armies over many years. The Curse of Carlisle is attributed to the Archbishop of Scotland who referred to the Reivers thus:
“I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain, their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their legs, their hands, their feet and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without.”
As curses go, MB must admit that the Bishop’s curse is quite all-encompassing, and the guy could easily have been a lawyer.
But it was to Carlisle Cathedral that MB laid siege in recent days. The Cathedral is approximately 900 years old and is built on the grounds of a former church dating back to the 7th century. It was commenced in 1122 and originally founded as an Augustinian priory, being designated a Cathedral in 1133.
MB and some other elites (haha MB, what a kidder you are) attended Carlisle Cathedral in recent days for a Law Masters graduation ceremony, the august Cathedral interior providing a most impressive venue for the ceremony. The ceremony itself involved a short walk down the main street of Carlisle town centre, from the dressing hall (hats & gowns) to the Cathedral, allowing townsfolk to bow reverentially as MB and friends passed by. MB could have sworn he heard one of his colleagues shout “let them eat cake” but he is not sure.
Big thanks to University of Cumbria for an excellent occasion, and to mom & sister of MB for their attendance. Was also a great pleasure for MB to meet up with some good friends who also attended.
Posted on September 28, 2018
MB has mentioned in recent posts that he would get ’round to the reason he found himself in Lancaster in the north east of England a few weeks back, mere spitting distance from the Scottish border. If one is blessed with a powerful spit.
Posted on August 13, 2017
Posted on August 11, 2017
Posted on August 10, 2017
The photo challenge this week is to explore the classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire.
Difficult to get all the elements in a single shot of course, so MB will give followers a few of the recent shots he took around the square in front of the chateaux in the town of Nyon, Switzerland. The shots contain elements of the elements!
The hostel in the square in front of the castle
Some weather thingy on a wall in the square. The inscription below the weather clock reads – He who looks at me loses time – or some such. French attempt at humour or wisdom, MB presumes.
Posted on July 27, 2017
HX followers were left agog following publication two days back of MB’s Photo Challenge post. What lay beyond that teasing and tantalising ‘château’ shot? – numerous followers were asking (too numerous to mention of course). Sleepless nights have been the order of the day, since Wednesday night last (some sentence MB!). At least MB assumes that was the case. Read More
Posted on July 26, 2017
MB has a Yankee friend called JL from Connecticut. MB remembers JL telling him a story many years back about a 6-month French language course that JL had attended. Now JL has many gifts, but the gift of languages is not one of them. And never will be. The end of the course arrived and JL could only mutter one single phrase en Francais; which was:
“Marie, où est la bibliothèque?”
After 6 months – that was the sum total of JL’s French!!!
Anyway, a few weeks back, MB found himself in Nyon, a small French-speaking town some 15 minutes train-journey from Geneva. MB had heard that there was a castle on the outskirts of the town, on the lake edge, that was worth a visit and a few camera shots.
“Parlez vous Anglais?” said MB to a couple of shop assistants, a few minutes after disembarking from le train.
“Mais oui Monsieur” replied les deux Francais.
And just at that precise moment, all of MB’s school French came flooding back to him. Like un tres grande linguistic sunami, en Francais.
“où est le chateaux?” said MB, casually, to les deux Francais, who looked quizzically at l’Irelandais, wondering if this guy before their eyes wasn’t some kind of major p**s taker. He had just asked them if they spoke English and had then addressed them in perfect Francais. ‘Quell assh**e’ they were thinking for sure, thought MB.
“à droite Monsieur” – instructed les deux Francois.
“Merci beaucoup, merci beaucoup, au revoir” replied MB in accent-perfect Francais.
“Un plaisir (assh**e)” replied les deux Francais.
MB turned right just down the street as instructed. What satisfaction did MB not feel on seeing le beau chateaux before his eyes, a mere 100m in the distance. All as a result of MB’s tres bon multilingual skill-set!
Posted on June 2, 2017
There is a castle and pub next to a river bridge on the road between Shannon Airport and Limerick City in the west of Ireland at a village called Bunratty. The castle takes it’s name from the village – Bunratty Castle, where you can book into one of the castle banquets that take place there most nights during the tourist season as far as MB is aware. The pub is one of Ireland’s oldest at almost 400 years old and has the great name of Durty Nelly’s. If you want to check out who Durty Nelly actually was, you can read it on the pub’s website She was certainly a character.
Even amongst natives, the pub is renowned for the quality of the Guinness beer served within. A number of years back, MB and English friend Pete, who liked his Guinness in the pubs of London, stopped off for a tipple having landed at Shannon Airport only a short while before. “Well Pete, how do you like our Irish Guinness served in Durty Nelly’s” enquired MB, Pete having taken a swallow that made almost half the contents of the pint glass disappear on the occasion of his first visit to Ireland. Pete closed his eyes, leaned back on his bar stool and uttered the immortal reply -“It’s like strawberries and cream on a summer’s day MB”. And so it was.
MB took the below shots on his trip home last week on a bright sunny day as he passed through the village:
Posted on October 10, 2014
This week’s photo challenge asks bloggers to post a photo to suit the theme – Dreamy. MB was recently in his Irish homeland. One of the dreamiest places on the planet.
Herewith – 10 of the best from MB’s Irish trip. From counties Limerick & Waterford. Double click for larger view: Read More
Posted on December 7, 2013
The walls of the 12th century Crusader castle at Byblos, Lebanon. Byblos is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city/town in the world (at approx 8,000 years) and was founded by the Phoenicians. The castle walls are decorated with the columns of a former Greek (or Roman?) Temple which was demolished to make way for the castle. The stone columns of the temple were cut using a rope, water and sand. As shown in the second pic.