Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I talked about stories (in a variety of media) set in Cambridge. Sim reviewed the film Victoria & Abdul. Tina reviewed a chilling British mystery, The Facts of Life and Death. Jean reviewed three books for us: the classic Gothic The Castle of Wolfenbach, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, and the intriguing My Real Children.
I have a bit of a fascination with Guy Fawkes Night, although I have no idea why. It seems like I’ve always known about the bonfires in England and this poem:
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
As I’m typing this, I think maybe my father quoted that poem now and then — presumably on the fifth of November. I’ll have to ask my brother if he has any memory of that.
Of course, that just brings up another question — why would a farm boy from Indiana have that bit of verse in his repertoire? Is it one that used to appear in English literature text books, a poem that would hold some appeal for boys to memorize, back in the days when students were expected to memorize a few things during their school career?
My familiarity with the history of the attempt to blow up Parliament and King James (VI of Scotland, I of England) was pretty fuzzy until I read Faith and Treason by Antonia Fraser a few years ago. I got a refresher, recently, by watching the mini-series Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot on Netflix, originally shown on BBC Two in 2004.
The mini-series has two episodes, the first focused on Mary, Queen of Scots, and the second on her son King James (VI, I). Mary was played by Clémence Poésy who I loved in The Tunnel. James was played by Robert Carlyle who I loved to hate in Once Upon a Time.
Do you remember the Gunpowder Plot on the fifth of November?