Saturday, 30 October 2010

British or what?

And is there reason to care either way?

Today is Samhain, the end of the Pagan year. You cannot get more British than that! Or should I write Celtic? But I'm English, though... It is confusing, but only if you think about such stuff as a matter of importance. Despite the recent commercial revival of Halloween (American? Scottish?) the ancient festival or Samhain and, more importantly, what it represents, hold no discernible meaning for me.

But, to exercise a familiar argument, it happened in these islands so, in a way, it is British. It also happened elsewhere in places of Cetic settlement, that is in many in places across Europe (including in what is now Hungary), but that is a analogy for rather wider discussion that I doubt this context to be ready for.

I am about to go on a train, off for an adventure. Apart from my computer (which is in danger of growing into me) I am carrying two smallish boxes, One is a little plastic tool box, containing small hand tools. The other is a smallish cardboard box, empty apart from some fresh sheets of tissue paper and a roll of sticky tape to seal it shut when I need it. I am headed for that mythic, mysterious destination of my childhood: 'an airfield somewhere in England'.

I am off to celebrate the life and work of a Hungarian Jew, who certainly has had a discernible and pleasurable effect on my own life and my own society, and millions of other lives too over nearly sixty years, in many countries around the world.

Or were he and what he created in this country, British? Or specifically, English? What daft, unEnglish (and very unBritish) questions! I am sure that not a soul at the event that I am going to will give such a line of enquiry a moment's thought, or even be aware that there is a 'history' here at all, a fascinating one notwithstanding.

And there will indeed be quite a few people there, for I am off to take part in a bid for a new world record.


  1. Andrew, your posting sounds a bit like you are joining the Famous Five on a trip with lashings of fun! I look forward to hearing if the world record was broken! And if my guess at your whereabouts is correct.

    I believe I have just been reading about the "event" you are off to in my Best of British magazine, hidden amongst the details of up and coming Bramley Apple Festivals and World Conker Championships! (how very British!).

    Perhaps my Mum will be looking down and wishing she was there too.

    Have fun! I hope you remembered your tweezers and a camera.


    I think you are right in saying that you will be one of very few people there thinking about the fascinating history. A history that I seem to remember you have told us about in very early posting on this blog.

  2. This magazine is getting more and more exciting!Tweezers, tissue paper and a train journey - I can hardly wait for the next instalment!

  3. Did the world record get broken?

    You have us on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment!