November 2014


Show of Hands

Show of Hands

Where did my thesis come from?  It was born of the twin passions for history and music that go back to childhood, although I’d be the first to agree that it neither had a trouble-free gestation (it’s something of a mutation), nor was it entirely my idea.   They are bound up together in my love of folk music.  It’s rather nicely summed up in a song called ‘Roots’ by the rather brilliant Steve Knightley of Show of Hands.  When my thesis is published (how’s that for optimism?!), the epigraph should be this:

Without our stories or our songs
How will we know where we come from?
 

History is, after all, stories; ballads and folk songs are stories set to music.

“Seed, bark, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
We need roots

Haul away boys, let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We’ve lost more than we’ll ever know
‘Round the rocky shores of England”

Some months ago, I filmed a short interview about my research for the history department at Manchester.  I haven’t watched it yet, but apparently the film is now on YouTube.

Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle

As we didn’t get much of a summer holiday, what with the small matter of a thesis to finish, we’ve just enjoyed a few wet and windy days in Dumfries.  We got completely soaked through at Caerlaverock Castle, the only triangular castle in Britain, went on a boat trip to Threave Castle and saw red squirrels in Dalbeattie Forest.

Dalbeattie Forest

Dalbeattie Forest

Now that we’re home, I have to make a real effort to find a job of some sort.  So priorities for this week include trying to get some school experience so that I can go back into teaching and reacquainting myself with my articles on John Roberts and the Lady Marques  ballad.

On the Galloway Kite Trail

On the Galloway Kite Trail