April 05, 2003

Situated about 20 miles from

Situated about 20 miles from Hereford is the market town of Monmouth. Itís greatest claim to fame is not that my mother-in-law lives there, though this is why we visit there from time to time. It was in Monmouth Castle in 1387 that the daughter of the Earl of Hereford gave birth to her second child. He was christened Henry.

Henry of Monmouthís father was also named Henry. He was called Henry of Bolingbroke, after the castle where he was born. Henry of Bolingbroke was the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The younger Henry probably would have lived the life of a 15th century magnate, had Bolingbroke not seized the throne of England as Henry IV.

Though a usurper, Henry IV was able to consolidate his power and pass the throne to Henry V. As a result several streets in Monmouth have been named Agincourt. In todayís political climate, Henry V should be a hero of those who support the current war effort in Iraq. This is because Henry V made a habit of kicking the collective French posterior. He didnít go around saving the French from this invasion and that.

So today I made pilgrimage to Monmouth Castle, the birthplace of Henry V, scourge of the French.

The latest London protest against the present hostilities drew a crowd of about 1000. This is quite a drop from 750,000 the first time and 200,000 the second. Instead of filling the streets of the capital from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, they marched on the US Embassy. Something tells me the Ambassador didnít even look out the window.

Now I could be mistaken, but I donít think the protesters were there because of the hundreds of human remains found by British soldiers in southern Iraq. They all appeared to have been shot in the back of the head, most of them with signs of torture left on their teeth and bones. No, I donít they were protesting against Saddamís killing fields.

And on a completely unrelated noteÖ

Local council workers in Edinburgh boarded up a flat after they failed to spot the body of the tenant they were sent to evict, it emerged. The tenant laid dead in his bed for nearly a fortnight after council staff sealed up his home in Scotlandís capital.

I will have a lot more to say about local councils in the near future.

Posted by david at April 5, 2003 09:01 PM