Monday, April 22, 2013

The Order of the Garter

Tomorrow is St Georges Day in England however it is a date I have come to associate more with the Knights of The Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry, founded in 1348 by one of my historical heroes King Edward III.

 The Sovereign and twenty-five knights make up The Order. It is an honour bestowed upon those who have: held public office, contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally.

In centuries gone by the day was marked by a jousting tournament and great celebration. The patron saint of the Order is St George, and the spiritual home of the Order is St George's Chapel, Windsor. 

Every knight of The Order displays a banner of his arms at St Georges Chapel, along with a helmet, crest, sword and stallplate. These items are taken down on the knights death. The insignia are returned to the Sovereign and the stallplates remain as a memorial. (The insignia have developed over the years and now consist of a garter and badge, a collar and a star riband.)

Several knights have been stripped of their ‘Garter’ status over the years for the alleged crimes of heresy, treason or cowardice, or even executed such as Lord Scrope of Masham. Lord Scrope was a childhood friend and later an advisor of Henry V wrongly accused and disposed of in my opinion. Lord’s Scrope’s loyalty came into question at a time when Henry was planning his invasion of France and was desperate to avoid further delays, as such a speedy outcome to the trials of Lord Scrope and his ‘associates’ was needed and I believe it was easier for Henry to assume Lord Scrope's guilt in order to achieve this. (Sorry Henry!)

Where vacancies in the Order arise, through death or dicreditation, new appointments are made and announced on St George's Day.

In the Middle Ages women were associated with the Order, although unlike today they did not enjoy full membership. One of the last medieval ladies to be honoured was Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII and grandmother of Henry VIII. 

After her death in 1509 the Order remained exclusively male, except for reigning queens as Sovereign of the Order, until 1901 when Edward VII made Queen Alexandra a lady of the Order. 

In 1987, The Queen decided that women should be eligible for the Garter in the same way as men. 

The Motto of The Order is: Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame on him who thinks this evil)
(Sources: The British Monarchy

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Where've You Been!

Its been another slow blogging year for me so far but all for good reasons! The latest of which being we have a new toy!

We have hired canoe's out on several holidays and have wanted one of our own for ages so we are really pleased to finally have a boat to play in. We live on the canal and near a great canoeing river so it makes sense really!

We have had the boat for 3 weeks and have been out every weekend for between 3-5 hours each trip.

 Thanks to my parents we have a great air tight ruck sack for our picnic and supplies so we just pack a lunch, carry the canoe across the road to the canal and set off. Yesterday we went the furthest yet and even found a canal-side pub for a quick pint before the return journey.

We are obviously keen to take the boat further afield but that will have to wait until we get the roof rack sorted on the truck. We are already planning our next holiday in Scotland around good canoeing!

These pictures are all from our first trip out but we got some great shots and short vidoes yesterday too. Some parts of the canal are beautiful where the canal-side vegetation has become established creating the feeling of a natural water course.

There are some lovely remote areas and some pretty areas passed houses and former warf buildings. The image here shows some topiary we pass which appears to be two hares. The one to the rear that looks like a deer drinking is the back leg of the second hare as it climbs out of the water but hey it could be a deer too! (Very Don Juan)

Today was supposed to be the worst day of the weekend for weather but it has dawned bright and sunny and all we really want to do is go out on the canoe again! But I am afraid there are some chores to do and its also a bit of a dog day as I am afraid canoeing is not a venture they can share with us given their size. There is only one end to a canoeing trip with two German Shepherds and its a wet end!


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