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Barwickian

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Barwickian last won the day on June 15 2013

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About Barwickian

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    Gruntfuttock
  • Birthday 11/09/1968

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    http://www.penultimateharn.com

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  1. The fact that they break procedure. They're cops who don't play by the rules...
  2. I've been there. Learnt to sail around Mull.
  3. I don't post very often, but when I do people may have noticed over the years that I favour low fantasy and historical fantasy over the grandeur of high fantasy. So let me tell you about Barwick-in-Elmet, the Yorkshire village where I grew up. This will explain my username, and probably my low-fantasy preferences. Before I plough into it, I'll just note that this kind of history isn't unusual to most of us Europeans. Most of our villages date back about thousand years. Fantasy villages written by American designers seem more inspired by the Old West frontier settlements - Hommlet is a classic example. It doesn't look right, it doesn't feel right. It has no history in its design or landscape. So here's some archaeology, a little history, and an unusual folk custom. I realise this thread is mostly inspirational pictures, but sometimes pictures want context. The oldest obvious human 'building' in Barwick is a single-vallum, figure-8 shaped Iron Age hillfort known as Wendel Hill. It's never been dated, but the nearby Becca Banks earthworks have been dated to the 1st century AD, probably thrown up to stop the Roman general Agricola and his legion as they marched north (if so, it failed). I suspect the hillfort is up to a century older. Within the hillfort lies the motte of a late-Norman motte and bailey castle, which we call Hall Tower Hill. The castle - its licence was granted by King Stephen, c. 1150AD, has long since vanished. The castle's bailey was the smaller part of the figure-8 of the hillfort; the larger part became part of peasant tofts (gardens). Hillfort plan Aerial view - the line of hedges marks the hillfort vallum (bank and ditch). After the Romans left and the Saxons invaded, Barwick was part of the Cambric kingdom of Elmet, part of Hen Ogledd, the Old North (Hen Ogledd's most prominent king was Hen Cwl - Old King Cole of the English nursery rhyme). Along with Rheged, Elmet was one of the last surviving ancient British kingdoms. It finally fell to the Saxon Northumbrian king Edwin in 616. Barwick is sometimes erroneously considered the capital of Elmet, but in truth, no one knows where Elmet's capital was. After the Saxons, the Vikings came. Barwick lies about 15 miles west of York, a prominent Viking trade town in the 9th and 10th centuries, and the centre of Erik Bloodaxe's 10th-century Kingdom of York. A pair of Viking carvings were incorporated into the 12th century foundations of the village church, All Saints' Church, probably dating from the 10th century. This is one of them. Barwick is listed in Domesday Book as an outlying settlement of nearby Kippax. Its name, originally bere-wick, means 'beer village', and it's thought it was an outlying hamlet where barley was grown. By the mid-12th century its importance increased, and the de Lacy family of Pontefract moved the northern caput (head-place) of their barony there, and built the motte and bailey castle c. 1150. All Saints has an unusual bell tower, constructed in two phases in the 15th century. The lower part is constructed of local magnesian limestone, a sought-after building material. The upper is finished in cheaper stone.The clock face is red because Barwick belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster (the current Duke is Queen Elizabeth II). While Yorkshire folk who still keep the rivalry with Lancashire like to commemorate the 1462 Yorkist victory at the Battle of Towton - about 6 miles from Barwick, the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil - it's likely that any Barwick folk there fought on the losing side. The Houseof Lancaster's lands were mostly in the North. The Yorkist lands were predominantly in the south. The local lords in the later middle ages were the Gascoigne family. Sir William Gascoigne (1350-1405) was Chief Justice of England under King Henry IV. A probably apocryphal story has it that he is the judge who had Prince Hal (the future Henry V) imprisoned - read your Shakespeare and note young Hal's crimes with Falstaff. A later Gascoigne, Sir Thomas Gascoigne, had a triumphal arch celebrating the American victory in the War of Independence built at his estate in Parlington, two miles south of Barwick. It's the only such monument in Britain celebrating the American victory. The inscription reads "Liberty in N. America MDCLXXXIII". The Gascoignes have long since died out, but one of Barwick's four pubs is The Gascoigne Arms. The Maypole Barwick's prominence dwindled over the centuries. Its inhabitants farmed, and made caustic lime in limekilns around the village. Its claim to fame these days is the maypole in the middle of the village. Its uncertain when Barwick first erected its maypole. Some say it's an ancient tradition going back to pagan times, but it's far more likely its more recent - perhaps the 17th or 18th century. At 90 feet (26 metres), it's the tallest village maypole in England. The maypole is made of two lengths of Norwegian pine, spliced together and mound with iron. It needs upkeep. Every three years, on Easter Monday, the maypole is taken down for repainting. When I was a kid, we took it down the old-fashioned way - a village man, the Maypole Climber, shinned up to the iron bands above the garlands and lowered a guy rope, which which he pulled up four heavier roles and attached them to the pole. One rope came towards Hall Tower Hill (towards the viewpoint in the image above), another down Main Street (to the right of the image), a third down towards the church, and the last one over the rooftops to the left to the courtyard behind the Black Swan pub. As the whole village turned out to hold the ropes under the guidance of the village Pole Master, the ground at the base of the maypole was loosened and dug out with pickaxes and shovels, then, slowly, at the Pole Master's instructions, lowered onto waiting ladders, then onto the shoulders of scores of man,, then carried to Hall Tower Field for repainting. These days, since The Day The Maypole Fell, it's done with a crane. As well as repainting, the garlands were replaced. The garlands are made little ribbons with bells on - an old garland bell is a good luck charm, and I carried one as a key fob for many years. During the three weeks between Easter Monday and Whitsun, the new garlands are carried to every house in the village and touched for luck. Several times, while it was down for repainting, lads from the neighbouring village of Aberford or the town of Garforth, stole the maypole in the middle of the night. Must have been a few of them - it takes a few score of people to carry the maypole. The most recent attempt was in 1966, when Aberford lads successfuly stole the top half 3 days before the maypole raising ceremony. Barwick had to quickly get a new top half and repaint it. The orginal was found the day before the ceremony - so for a few years, the village had a spare. Maypole raising is done on Whitsunday, amid great celebrations at Hall Tower Hill, where crowds sit and watch the events. It's become something of a tourist attraction. Children from the village infant school dance around a smaller maypole (we practised for weeks when I did it). Older children from the junior school perform country dances (we practised for weeks when I did it). A village girl is chosen as May Queen and other children chosen as attendants (I was crown-bearer once). There's a fair. There is a lot of beer drunk. A lot of beer. There are marching bands, brass bands. The maypole is raised in pretty much the reverse of how it's taken down. There's is one important difference - once the maypole is set in place, and the Maypole Climber ascends to remove the ropes, he must continue climbing to the very top of the maypole to spin the fox weathervane and bring luck to the village... For many years, the maypole climber was my neighbour, Arthur Nicholls, who built a smaller maypole by his farmhouse to practice. I think that's him in the picture above. The Day the Maypole Fell Easter Monday, 1981, the maypole fell down Main Street while it was being lowered. I, aged 12, was on the Main Street rope with my sisters. I didn't quite realise what was happening at first - the rope went slack, the maypole seemed to be getting shorter, and then people started running. Fortunately, it landed in the street and everyone got clear. The tip hit the curb, and the top two feet broke off. A lad grabbed it (and the bent weathervane) and tried to make off with it, but one of my neighbours saw and brought him down in a rugby tackle a couple of hundred yards away. These days, with much regret, the village uses a crane to raise and lower the maypole. The next maypole raising will be at Whitsuntide, 2020, if you'd like to visit.
  4. Looking over the thread, images I posted years ago of Gordale Scar and Malham Cove in Yorkshire never showed up. Gordale Scar is reputedly Tolkien's inspiration for Rivendell. The two locations are within walking distance of each other. Gordale Scar Malham Cove To these I might add Troller's Gill, near Appletreewick in Yorkshire, home on local folklore to a Black Dog known as the Barghest (yes, that's the one that gives the name to the fantasy monster). Also near Appletreewick, The Strid is a narrow, low gorge where the River Wharfe narrows to a point where it's possible to jump across - but people have died trying. The river here is some 30 feet deep, undercuts the rocks, moves with the speed of an express train, and the rocks around are slippy. Fall and you die. Strid Woods are a site of special scientific interest - an untouched upland oak forest. Half an hour's walk downstream of The Strid are the ruins of Bolton Abbey. From the far side of the Wharfe to the abbey, a path leads up to the Valley of Desolation, which is actually quite lovely - it's retained the name since a sotrm a couple of hundred years ago blew the trees down. They grew back. The Strid Strid Woods - looking downstream from The Strid. Bolton Abbey. I've ancestors buried in that graveyard. Posforth Gill, Valley of Desolation Keep heading up the Valley of Desolation, and you'll climb Barden Fell to the natural viewpoint of Simon's Seat, with views over Upper Wharfedale.
  5. Oh, man, that puts pespective on my torn muscle/crutches matter. May your issues be resolved soon, Collie.
  6. Winter Soldier is a must-see. I am amazed they squeezed that much plot and arc-building into one movie. Chris Evans is, as ever, superb in the role. The Falcon is awesome, Redford is, well, he's Redford. And Jenny Agutter kicks ass. Literally. There are two teasers at the end. Wait until the very last credits roll. There are a couple of bits where you can see the CGI, but in the overall context of a great action flick, that's trivial.
  7. First Hero forum post in months, and it's on the grumpy thread. Today is the start of the third MIddle East Film and Comic Con. All my mates in the Gulf Roleplaying Community are down there. I'm not. I'd planned to run some Monster HUnter International and Pathfinder Society. But this is my fifth week on crutches. I tore a muscle in my backside, and it's only just starting to get better. I can't imperil recovery. Fed up about the crutches. Limited mobility sucks. Fed up about missng the con. On the bright side, WInter Soldier opened in the UAE last night. The cinema at out nearest mall is about 50 yards' hobble from the mall entrance. I'll be taking my superhero-obsessed youngest son to see it at noon. Also on the bright side, five weeks of crutches is improving my upper body strength. My moobs have shrunk significantly.
  8. Thread, arise! The Atlas of True Names gives some idea of what Mark, myself and others were talking about in this thread. Note that for York, they've used the yew tree origin I mentioned above, but translated it Yew Tree Village - hence New Yew Tree Village...
  9. Goredale Scar is a real location that is (perhaps) fantasy. Some say it's Tolkien's inspiration for Rivendell - to get this, you have to think of the description of the dwarves' route in The Hobbit. [ATTACH=CONFIG]n44545[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]n44546[/ATTACH] Gordale Scar is just a few kilometres from Malham Cove, a natural limestone ampitheatre with a limestone pavement above it. Imagine it stretched out over hundreds of miles, and I think you have Kal Turak's Wall from The Turakian Age. [ATTACH=CONFIG]n44547[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]n44548[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]n44549[/ATTACH] (Edit: There is some oddness in the way this post appears to me, which I attribute to the ongoing forum issues. If the photos don;t appear, click the links and they'll appear. Simon is doing an awesome job, but no one can work miracles, however close he comes to it.)
  10. There's another nice issue as well. In 9 months, Sarkeesian's YouTube video promoting her Kickstarter had 315,000 views. In 5 days, the first of her Tropes vs Women in Video Gaming has had 880,000 views. Yes, I'm aware not everyone who supported her Kickstarter, blogged about it or hated on her (particularly the latter), will have gone to her YouTube channel. But I think the figures show she's making an impact. I sincerely hope video game designers sit up and take notice. The rest of us should as well. Damsel in distress? Let me hark back to a cheesy 80s flick: "She rescues him right back." I think I have to do a series of images undermining this whole theme, when I get the chance to get back to some digital art. I did a she resuces her some time ago, but it does need reworking, I think a she rescues him and a he rescues him are necessary - ff anyone has to rescue anyone of course. (My all-time favourite rescue: The 'Almeida moment' from 24. Jack Bauer's in crud up to his eyeballs, surrounded and pinned down, when Tony Almeida, the shell of his former self, just walks in and blows the bad guys away. Casually. That, my friends, is how the rescue scenario is done: Jack is awesome; Tony is awesomer.)
  11. Re: Genre-crossover nightmares Not nearly as offensive as the fat white guy on the Fox News diatribe that follows it on YouTube. Some people really don't have a clue how much privilege they have.
  12. Re: Interesting article about Sexism in Geek Communities From memory, they'd made some kind of a rape gag. Somone called them out on it in the comments. Their response was dismissive at best, if not downright rude (the kind of thing you see on almost every geek site where someone calls someone else out on an -ism) - and the ragestorm broke. They made the dickwolves strip at the height of the ragestorm. All of this was before the question of women and minority representation in geek culture became a major issue last year. There were some people standing up and making points, but you'd pretty much to go looking for the issue (Bankuei's Deeper into the Game blog was my starter; he had many links to follow and read, and I did - I found it quite an eyeopener). The main issue for me was their response to the criticism - they became more entrenched and belligerent, and used their hefty voice and army of fans to mock their critics. I just didn't like the vibe there any more. I didn't like that they were encouraging people to shout down those who wanted to try and be more inclusive. Not a matter of forgiving or protesting or anything; I simply stopped enjoying my visits to their site. That it coincided with a particularly busy period in my life didn't help either. If the atmosphere has changed since then, I'll take another dip into the PA waters - though I scarcely have time to follow daily webcomics these days (I'm way behind on PvP and Evil Inc, which would be my first ports of call when time permits).
  13. Re: The cranky thread Good luck, tdkguy.
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