Monday 30 July 2018

A LITERARY PUZZLE (just for fun!!!)

This particular person is one of the most famous writers the world has known.

OK I am not the famous writer but I am standing in a tunnel this writer had dug.It passes under the road situated at the front of the last house this writer lived in, to a small plot of land on the opposite side. There a Swiss Cottage was constructed. The top room of the Swiss Cottage was used for writing in. There were views out towards the sea and an estuary nearby. I think the act of entering the tunnel and emerging the other side was an emotional and psychological act, passing from their domestic home life and coming out into the world in which they wrote.They had a telescope set up on the top floor to view the shipping and life on the estuary.

The Swiss Cottage, not in its original location but now in the garden of a museum in a nearby town.

A cathedral features in this writer's last novel . A dark, sinister, mysterious tale as far as it goes. The writer was writing it on the morning of their death and so the novel remains unfinished. 

This house , which features in one of the writers most famous novels , was the home to an unfortunate female character. When you read the novel, in many ways you want to sympathise and empathise with her but she is somewhat repellent and has become the stuff of nightmares!!!

The letter box has been refurbished but it is the original. It is located in a wall on the left of the entrance to this writers house. It was one of the first of its kind and the writer in question asked for it to be installed. This famous writer and their family all used this letter box to post  letters.

In at least three of this writers novels, characters walk along this high street.

The last house this writer lived in. They died here. The location has Shakespearean connections.

WHO DO YOU THINK THE WRITER WAS? If you can get the names of the novels alluded to and the locations portrayed in the photographs , you are amazing!!!!

Friday 6 July 2018

Jane Austen Today: JANE AUSTEN'S WORLD CUP TEAM!!!!!!!!!

Mr Darcy (Fitzwilliam). 
Centre forward. 
Star striker, goalscorer supreme and team super star. 
Just imagine the crowd chanting. "Darcy ! Darcy ! Darcy!

Jane Austen Today: JANE AUSTEN'S WORLD CUP TEAM!!!!!!!!!: I wrote this eight years ago when England were playing in the The World Cup in South Africa. I put together a Jane Austen Team to beat the USA. I would choose the same team today. It was a bit of fun!!


You might have noticed that there is a small football competition happening in South Africa, starting this Friday. England are playing the USA on Saturday.

I was wondering who Jane might put into her football team. She has got some very likely characters to choose from.

Football was played in the 18th century. In fact it goes back long, long before then.

William Fitzstephen writing in 1170 noted that every trade had it’s own football team and often played after dinner in the local fields.These trades were found in the towns and cities. The trades were gathered together under guilds. The guilds trained apprentices, provided tests for people to become craftsmen and finally master craftsmen. and provided quality control. The Guilds covered many skills, stonemasons, armourers, cutlers, dyers, goldsmiths , needlemakers and the list was endless.It was the apprentices that would have played football. According to William Fitzstephen, the elders sat on their horses to the side of the game getting all hot and bothered cheering on their teams. Sounds familiar.

In 1280 in one manor’s record it states that Henry, son of William de Ellington at Ulkham on Trinity Sunday was accidentally stabbed by David le Ken and died during a game

In Edward II time, about 1314, people complained about the tumult and the evils that arose from the game of football.

Edward IV in 1477 was an opponent of football. It was a violent dangerous sport in those days apparently.

By 1581 Richard Mulcaster, the headmaster of The Merchant Tailors School thought it was a healthy and strength providing activity for his pupils.

However by the end of the Civil war in 1649, Oliver Cromwell was opposed to it and even enforced laws against the playing of football along side most other things that were fun, it must be said.

The sort of football that was played in Jane’s time was usually played between the inhabitants of country villages on Shrove Tuesday each year, or on other religious holidays. It often numbered hundreds of people on each side. All the occupants of a village would be invited to take part. The ball used would be a pigs bladder pumped up. The game would cover the countryside between the two villages. It might be arranged that the church door of each village would be the goal.

In 1772 in the village of Hitchin, they had a problem. The ball was lost in the priory pond. They must have got it out though because eventually a goal was scored in the porch of St Mary’s Church.

By the 18th century most of Britain’s public school played football. Winchester College, where Jane’s two nephews, by her brother Edward, Edward junior and George, attended, had taken up football by 1750. Jane must have heard stories from the two boys about playing, “the beautiful game.”

We can imagine a game of football being played between Chawton and Farringdon each Shrove Tuesday across Edward’s fields. That’s about two miles. They might have used the church porches in Chawton and Farringdon for goals.

So, who could Jane have in her World Cup football team?

I think Edmund Bertram would have to be the goalkeeper. Steady, honest, idealistic. A safe pair of hands.

Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park

In defence I think she would have had Captain Harville at right back,

Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth, Persuasion

Captain Wentworth at centre back, no good in goal , tends to drop people, but a reliable defender of Britains shores. Mr Martin would be alongside him, strong, honest, trustworthy. A man to have with you in a tight spot.

Jefferson Hall as Robert Martin, Emma

Then at left back position Captain Benwick another player experienced in defending Britain’s shores.

Captain Harville (l) and Captain Benwick (r), Persuasion

Now for the midfield, the engine room of the team. Jane would need some creative players there. I think two players are needed here. Mr Knightley on the right of the midfield, wise, intelligent, great vision.
Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley, Emma

And, a real creative superstar on his left in midfield, the one and only Henry Tilney. He would tease the opposition, but with a sharp intelligence. He would make a great creative midfielder pumping visionary balls forward to the attacking players.

J.J. Feild as Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

Finally the forward line. The attackers, the prima uomos of the team, those Jane can rely on to score. On the right wing she could have John Willoughby, unreliable at times but with undoubted flashes of smartness, brilliance and he’s guaranteed to score. from any position. A real wow with the female fans.
Dominic Cooper as Mr. Willoughby, Sense and Sensibility

On the left wing Jane could have Frank Churchill. An attractive prospect and a smooth player. An experienced scorer.

Raymond Coulthard as Frank Churchill, Emma

So who is going to be the star of Jane’s team? The centre forward, the superstar. Yes you’ve guessed right it’s Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy himself, goalscorer supreme. He never puts a foot wrong. The crowd will roar his name, “ DARCY! DARCY! DARCY!”

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

And so we have it. Jane’s team, strong, talented, unbeatable? OH YES!!!!

By my next blog England will have beaten the USA by the way.

Posted by Tony Grant, London Calling


Gina said...

I love it!! Great choices. But Jane might have to break up a few fights between the players (Knightley and Churchill, for example). :-)

By the way, just wanted to mention it's "prima donna."

Jenny said...

Wrong Knightley, wrong Darcy ;) (I'd have gone with JLM and MM!)

Vic said...

That was my bad, Gina. I was supposed to proof Tony's wonderful post and fell short.

Jenny, I think Tony meant me to place JLM's image in Knightley's place, but this was my opportunity to use JLM AND Jeremy Northam.

Raquel said...

Tony, dear

Tony, darling

I must disagree with some positions.

Edmund Bertram is too indecisive to be a keeper! I prefer Mr. Knightley in that position - calm and firm in his decisions

I'd put Captain Wentworth and Mr. Crawford as attackers.

Here, in Brazil everybody is a team coach... even who, like me, does not like football!

TONY said...

Thanks Jenny. Nobody ever agrees exactly on team selections. But the centre forward needs to be swaggering and arrogant. His personality as well as his skill has to dominate the opposing defenders.

Gina, thanks for your kind comment and correction.

Perhaps prima uomo would be even more appropriate.

Knightley and Churchill. In a game as important as football, all animosities are put to one side. The game is everything.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

Excellent Tony! love the selection [but indeed, where IS Henry Crawford?] - love the Tilney choice - and FINALLY a post that I can actually share with my husband where he might be willing to read the whole thing!
Thank you!

Eliza Martin said...

What a hilarious post. I could totally see Elizabeth Bennett liking football. I see her as a decent goalie.

Gina said...

I'm glad you went with Northam. He's the cutest Knightley, IMO. :-) And besides, as you said, you'd already had a chance to use JLM.

CLM said...

Brilliant! I might root for England over the US if these men were playing...

Enid Wilson said...

Excellent team! I'm thinking they would be playing against Bronte's Rochester... hehe.

Can I repost part of your dream team at my blog?

TONY said...

Well this seems to have raised a few passions. That's what football is all about.

I hope everybody enjoys the next MONTH!!!!

Thanks for all your great comments.

I'm sure many of you could pick a team of very different characters.

Enid, of course you can use some of the blog.

All the best,

TONY said...

Gina, I have just looked at your Dickens blog.

I have got a couple of Dickens item on my blog, London Calling. And by the way, I've been to Gads Hill and searched all over Rochester for the Dickens places of interest.

Julie said...

Cool blog you have here!!!


Enid Wilson said...

Thanks Tony!

ChaChaneen said...

Brilliant! Lurve Mr. Tilney's position! ha ha What a hoot!

Gina said...

Very cool, Southerner! Your blog looks nice.

By the way, for those who love Dickensian couples, I've got a new poll up on on my blog. :-)

Deb said...

Tony! - a DRAW! thank goodness!

Communication Works said...

Great lineup!!

I think, though, that after ending in a draw, England is saying to its goalkeeper "Badly done, Greene, badly done!"

Yes, Saturday was a difficult day to be a patriotic American and an enthusiastic Anglophile, too.

Karen Reyburn said...

Very good choices!! Willoughby and Churchill might let them down, but they're used to pleasing crowds, if not individual people :)

Nonna said...

Clever post ! Go U.S.A. in spite of bad calls by refs !!!

Adam Spunberg said...

This is an amazing, EPIC post. I absolutely love it! And your reasoning is pretty sound, too. Maybe William Price could have gotten in there too somewhere. He defends Britain's shores -- and he's reliable.

You wonder if Willoughby and John Terry would have a lot in common:P

But of big mistake. England will not beat the USA. Your goalie lets shots from midfield roll by him. Sorry! USA 1, England 0

Wednesday 4 July 2018


Image result for school teachers teaching

 A teacher getting the children to self assess their work against the lesson aims and objectives.

“Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets. The rich and the poor.” Benjamin Disraeli(1804- 1881)

On the 14th June 2017 a fire broke out at The Grenfell Tower in North Kensington. It killed 72 people.

Benjamin Disraeli was acutely aware of the divides in society in the 19th century. He mentions lack of intercourse, lack of sympathy and what is more, ignorance of each other. The response of the Tory Council of Kensington and Chelsea to the fire at Grenfell was appalling. The councilors did not know their own constituents. The leaders of the wealthiest London Borough had no relationship with the poor people of their borough. The head of housing at Westminster and Chelsea had never set foot in Grenfell Tower.

 The local community around Grenfell responded to the disaster immediately. The borough councilors, on the other hand, had no concept of the disaster. Their response was woefully inadequate. They didn’t know the people they were dealing with. This was a culture they didn’t and couldn’t connect with.We have a divided Britain, rich and poor, the socially advantaged and the socially deprived and as Disraeli was aware of in his day, in the present day case of Grenfell, one group did not understand the other. 

We have people who feel entitled to get top jobs. We have people who are perceived to benefit from an elite educational experience, because of their background. We have people who are destined for the low wage gig economy and who are perceived to have had a poor education all because of their perceived, underprivileged, upbringing. It is even more subtle than that. The great majority who get good educations through the comprehensive system and go to one of the many universities, not under the ,"Oxbridge," remit,  who are able and talented, still do not get the opportunity to rise past a,” glass ceiling.” because of their starting point in life. There is  very little social movement in this country.

A revolution in education is needed. The way education is fractured and divided in this country is the root cause of our societies divisions, our lack of “intercourse and no sympathy,” our feelings of entitlement or lack of entitlement. In this country we have the public schools, Eton, Harrow, Westminster, Winchester, private prep schools, Grammar Schools, Comprehensives run by local councils and  state junior and infant schools. 

The public schools dominate entrance into Oxford and Cambridge universities. If you go to one of those two universities, you are guaranteed life at the top of society. You become leaders of industry, government ministers and the decision makers. The lesser public schools provide entrance into the rest of the top universities in Britain and these people become lawyers, managing directors, accountants, surgeons. Grammar schools  compete on somewhat equal terms with these lesser public schools.Comprehensives provide pupils with entrance into the rest of the  universities, colleges, apprenticeship schemes and vocational courses. The poorest achievers at this level are  lost to society and the low wage economy if they actually get a job. None of these outcomes relate directly to ability and achievement. They relate to being rich and poor and the environment a person lives in. The school system we have just entrenches this.

 Grammar schools are the most damaging. They are a conscious act of dividing society and deciding who gets what in life. With the public schools it is down to birth and the wealth of your family. With Grammar Schools the government purposely, through the blunt instrument of an 11+ style exam, splits one group of children from the rest. 

Theresa May, in 2016, announced her radical ideas for education. She wanted Grammar Schools to expand.  She wanted more working class children to go to them. She also thought public schools should sponsor and develop new comprehensive secondary schools in their area. Universities should also provide support by  annexing or creating new schools local to them . This was her (Conservative) approach to expanding opportunites and creating a meritocartic society. If you look at what she proposes it is more of the same, in larger doses, creating more divisions rather than bridging and removing the divides in our society.  

An example of why her proposals cannot work is an experiment carried out In 1965, The Marlborough experiment. The Witlshire Local Education authority along with Marlborough School set up the experiment. Twenty one boys from Swindon schools were chosen, after they had completed their o'levels, to go to Marlborough to do their A levels. By the end of their time at Marlborough, eight boys had succeeded but the rest had  not achieved well. The eight boys who did well appeared to have rejected their background and adapted to the new culture of Marlborough. The rest had been unable to adapt to what they saw as an alien world with traditions, rules and attitudes they did not understand.

We need a truly comprehensive system in this country. This patchwork of systems, public, private, grammar, academy chains and a dwindling number of education authority schools needs to be got rid of and we need a comprehensive system for everybody. A comprehensive school should be part of the local community. It can be a place where everybody from whatever background and ability should be educated together. We would see ourselves then as one people. The lack of social cohesion and the gulf in our society would be given a chance to fade and heal.Schools should be grouped under a similar system to the dieing system of education authorites because that worked. The old style Education Authorities  provided in-service training for the individual needs of teachers and the particular needs of schools.Schools were allowed a certain autonomy which made each school unique. Education authorities had an amazing team of subject inspectors who got to know teachers and schools personally.

 After the Plowden report in 1964, education began to focus on the individual child building creativity and problem solving skills and teachers were generally allowed to develop as skilled practitioners and learned to really teach children. We have got away from that concept and governments nowadays use the  OFSTED system of inspection that promotes the ideals of the government. Teacher assessment based on government guidelines , pay linked to those assessments and a national curriculum that is imposed and requires given methods of teaching  supported by continuous  child testing and the application of levels at all ages is draconian and destructive. The idea of learning based on the needs and interests of the child has gone.

A meaningful educational environment for all.

Child centered education is achievable.A system that was wrongly derided for letting children just get on with their learning without support was not the child centerd approach I recognised. Child centerd education is about discovering the needs of children and  providing them with rich learning experiences.

If every child in the country went to a comprehensive the whole education system could focus on all our children together as equals and value their individuality and personal needs and provide a high standard of education for the whole population and not be distracted and demeaned and damaged by other systems competing. Schools should be grounded in their community and create their own ethos and traditions. Being community based, members of the community should have a say in a schools education policies.  A school should provide a broad education for everybody and what is more, provide lifelong learning.That would take a giant leap in imagination and require an understanding of education for everybody.

Confidence and a sense of self are so important to our development as human beings. If that sense is destroyed  the moment we are born the consequences are dire. Thinking that others are better or less than us destroys us as an individual and destroys society as a whole. I was on a bus recently travelling from Wimbledon to Raynes Park. Some boys from Kings College Wimbledon, an expensive private day school, got on and sat near me. One of them looked out of the window and saw some Raynes Park High School boys. I heard him say. “I am so glad I never had to go to Raynes Park.” The others agreed with him. How destructive is that?

 Image result for classroom displays
 A classroom display with children's work, information and some open and closed questions displayed.