Wednesday, 16 October 2013

1066 and All That

When we go over to our hideaway in France, we drive there by one route and back home by another.  There are two places I always look out for, one in each direction.  Coming home, via Rennes, Caen and Pont de Normandie (which is just outside le Havre) we pass by a village called Corps Nud - which does, quite literally, translate as "naked body".  I keep meaning to make a short detour just to see, but always spot the turn off a fraction too late.  In the other direction we go via Rouen, le Mans and Laval and although we don't see the village itself, I always smile when I spot the signpost to Sillé Guillaume.  "Guillaume" is the French way of spelling William, but what "Sillé" might mean, I have no idea.  But it always reads to me like "Silly William".  I do quite often wonder what it would be like to give my address as either Naked Body or Silly William!

Silly William brings me back, admittedly by a slightly roundabout route, to the title I have ascribed to this morning's meandering thought processes.  "1066 and All That" is the title of a book purporting to cover the entire history of England.  The blurb (which I have copied shamelessly) states: "A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember, including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates".  It is many years since I read the book but I seem to remember that the authors considered that the real history of England started in 1066, nothing that happened before that date being of any consequence.

1066 is possibly the only historical date remembered by many English people.  It was in that year that William, Duke of Normandy, crossed the Channel to claim the English throne.  To do so, he fought and beat Harold at the Battle of Hastings.  Harold was killed by an arrow which hit him in the eye.  That is possibly the entire history of England as known by many people.  Indeed, I knew little more than that until last week - despite having seen the Bayeux tapestry.  But while waiting for the Old Bat to emerge from the ladies', I was glancing at a tourist information leaflet written in both French and English and it gave the actual date of the battle - 14th October.  

(My old granny used to say that you learn something new every day, die and forget the lot.)

It made me realise just how little I do know about the history of my country.  I know nothing about the Crimean War, for example, other than the fact that it was fought in the Crimea, the Charge of the Light Brigade and Florence Nightingale.  I really must do some studying!


On our way, we pass quite close to this farm, which I always think looks an attractive group of buildings.  Pity it's so close to the motorway.

1 comment:

Suldog said...

The American children's show entertainer (and teacher) Fred Rogers (aka Mister Rogers) was fond of saying, "You learn something old every day!"