February 19th, 2019

Admiral Of The Western Fleet

The town of Winchelsea was a favourite project of Edward I's- and he wanted any bloody French invader who managed to drag his sorry arse this far to take one look at it, gulp and slink away. It had strong defences- and the hill on which it stands was to be crowned with a quite magnificent church. Sadly the sea retreated- as the sea does on this marshy stretch of the south coast- and the town is now really no more than a village. As for the church, what's still standing is no more than a fragment of the huge building that Longshanks imagined. Some say the French got through and smashed it, others that the money ran out. There are some half built walls of what would have been a crossing- and the only part that's complete is the chancel- together with its flanking chantry chapels.

The chapels contain five magnificent medieval tombs. They date from the early 14th century- and are as fine as anything anywhere. There are no names (I guess at the time you didn't need to ask) but the grandest of them almost certainly belongs to Gervase Alard- Admiral of the Western Fleet- who died in 1310.

Alard holds his heart between praying hands. I have no idea what that is about. The canopy is supported by the heads of a king and queen- allegedly Edward I and his second wife Margaret.

Now We Are Seven...

The last time the Labour party split there was a gang of five. This time it's a gang of seven.

Last time the members of the gang were a distinguished bunch. This time not so much. But then that could be said of our politicians in general.

The seven are claiming the centre ground- which means things as they were in the days of Tony Blair- though they fight shy of using that name because they know it's poison. It's clearer what they're against- Corbyn and his grungey brand of socialism- than what they're for.

They are hoping for more defections. They would rather like some Conservatives to join them- and perhaps they will. Both of the big political parties are in a frightful mess.

Last time nothing very much changed though it seemed that it might. This time....