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Inside this Book – SOME NATIONS RENAME their high streets and airports when their dead heroes are still warm. Others use the epithet ‘great’ to describe every statesman they produce who stays the right side of the law, and some who don’t. For the English, it is the other way around. Only one king of England was ever called ‘the Great’ and he was born and died so long ago that it is hard to verify whether he was great or not. We don’t even know where his bones lie, though they were scattered by Puritans during the Eighteenth Century, so perhaps that is forgivable. It is strange that we know so little about Alfred the Great. Perhaps the only inhabitants of England who are constantly reminded of him are those who live in his former capital city of Winchester, where a prominent statue of the man, wielding a sword, dominates the entrance to the city from the south. Traditionally, what everyone knew about Alfred was the story of the cakes. This was a tale told by an anonymous monk writing the life of Alfred’s advisor St Neot. It explained how the king, cornered by the Vikings at Athelney, goes wandering among his people deep in thought, knocks on a swineherd’s hut and agrees to mind the stove for the wife. He was so deep in thought that he let the cakes burn, and received a heavy tongue-lashing – even perhaps a beating – without revealing who he was. Now this story is pretty much forgotten, yet it has something in common with many English tales. It isn’t really about the humiliation of the king, or his dutiful acceptance of chastisement. It is about the ability of an ordinary housewife to upbraid the monarch. It is about the importance of practicality over intellect – a very English idea – and also about the importance of trying again. Alfred was soundly beaten by the Danes when he was hiding in Athelney, but he was thinking about how to have another bash at them. Alfred and the Cakes is the English equivalent of Robert the Bruce and the Spider: it is a story designed to encourage you never to give up.
Inside this book –How to Be English PDF Book by David Boyle – THE ALLOTMENT MOVEMENT has become an increasingly popular part of life in England, and a political ideal that began with the Agricultural Labourers’ Strike of 1878. The idea of a small patch of land for the landless stretches back directly to the medieval commons, where ordinary people could use land to graze a cow or provide themselves with basic necessities. It certainly didn’t begin that day of the great farmworkers’ rally in Leamington during the strike, but the demonstration launched the political career of one campaigner in particular who was to make the allotments ideal central to his political life. It is nearly a century and a half since Jesse Collings began his bid for ‘three acres and a cow’ for anyone who wanted them. Even at the time, when the campaign reached its height in the 1880s, it seemed politically impossible to provide that amount of land to everyone. His work culminated in the 1908 Allotments and Smallholdings Act, which – for peculiar reasons – Collings actually opposed, and which gave local councils a duty to provide allotments to anyone wanting one. There have been bursts of enthusiasm for similar ideas in the century that followed – perhaps not for acres and cows, but for a small strip of land to grow vegetables, to feed the family or to get closer to nature. But now the demand is suddenly unquenchable. There are thought to be about 6 million people interested in having an allotment, with waiting lists as long as forty years in one London borough. It isn’t quite clear why this change of heart occurred, but it may be that the real question is why their popularity ever went away, given the success of the Dig for Victory campaign in the Second World War.
How to Be English by David Boyle PDF : eBook Information
- Full Book Name – How to Be English
- Author of this Book – David Boyle
- Language – English
- Book Genre – Nonfiction, Sociology
- Download Format – PDF
- Size – 2.5 MB
- eBook Pages – 185
- Price – Free