11th Century Fandango

We’ve learnt a lot this year. This is online school. This is the pandemic. For us, the online school came first. Love it that the rest of the world joined in to online school when we were already enrolled.

The stand-out thing is the 11th century. Most things Delph has learned this year is from these times. I mean in history class. And a lot of English has been the old stuff. She is just moving onto Shakespeare and that seems crazy modern. But the 11th century Britain? I had no idea.

So that’s where the Game of Thrones writers got their material from. It was a little embarrassing when Delph wrote this very thing in the class chat box. Her teacher wrote back that she probably was too young to be watching GOT. Uhh, yeah. Totally did not watch the whole thing during our two-week quarantine in Bonaire. Plus side; it made history most interesting. Especially the bit about Harold Godwinson.

We discovered he was chosen by that group of Anglo-Saxon king choosers – the Witan – after Edward the Confessor died. A lot happened in 1066. Harold had to go up north to fight the Vikings. The north winds had just blown them to the U.K. He beat Harald Hardrada; big, awesome battle at rural Stamford Bridge – inspiration for Chelsea Football Club’s stadium. Afterwards, Harold Godwinson was in the clear. He really was.

Except for one small thing. The wind. It seems the wind called it for Britain’s whole future. It shifted into an easterly.

This meant that while Harold was still up north, William the Conqueror could sneak in from France. The whole story raised our sailing hackles. And of course, William could set up his battle ground in Hastings while Harold and his tired Anglo-Saxon men rushed down south. Historians say if Harold had only stopped in London to rest. You know when one bad decision changes the course of history? Oh, and the wind.

Then today, I was helping Lu with her upcoming English assessment. We were reading an analysis by a teacher called Mr. Bruff. He, like Free Science Lessons guy, Dr Shaun Donnelly, has been recommended by the school. He is similarly wonderful; such a clear and articulate communicator. We read his analysis of Macbeth’s stagecraft – and how Shakespeare’s plays were so convincing because they often started in the middle of the action.

This meant the audience was transported straight into Shakespeare’s world. No messing about. This technique kept the audiences flocking back to the Globe – and made Shakespeare outlast his theatrical rivals over the course of time. ‘When will we three meet again?’ ask the three witches in Macbeth. The end of their meeting begins the whole play.

It is straight then into the 11th century – when the play is set. More 11th century? Could someone please shout, ‘Winter is coming!’ It’s been a right pleasure. The tea towel on Questie has been with us too.

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