How was your St. Paddies Day?

Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf

Quote: Originally Posted by cortezQuote: Originally Posted by BlackleafQuote: Originally Posted by cortezQuote: Originally Posted by BlackleafAnother reason why St Patrick's Day annoys me is that not only do people with no connections with Ireland whatsoever celebrate it, but there's so much green around that it looks like a lot of people have sneezed everywhere.For shame Blackleaf, you yourself reminded us all that St. Paddie was an Englishman, and therefore all you English lot should be required to go and celebrate the accolades of your countryman..No. We just leave the rest of the world to do that on St Patrick's Day.Well, old chap, stiff upper lip, and all that....dont worry, well have a few extra brews for ya.... after all, we couldnt have the English running around ENJOYING life and creating obscene scenes of debauchery.....You can't enjoy life drinking Guinness.
It looks, and tastes, like water from the Thames.

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Well, have a pint of Bass then, and fart away......

I prefer drinking good old English cider, stronger than Guinness, and made in the West Country using apples grown in Hereford.

You can't beat it.
I had a great St Pat's day! Tis a great day when horny, crazy Irishmen get even hornier, crazier and Irisher!

I went to an Irish pub with some friends and hit it off with an Irish guy.....then an Aussie.....then an American Fun fun fun!!
Could you elaborate on "Hit it off"?

My buddy in sunny Surrey is kinda nosey!
Hahahaah, nope, no can do zoofer! A lady never kisses and tells :P
Quote: Originally Posted by glossprincess

I went to an Irish pub with some friends and hit it off with an Irish guy.....then an Aussie.....then an American Fun fun fun!!

Blimey. An Irishman, an Australian and an American? I reckon you must have had a very "intelligent" conversation.
Quote: Originally Posted by missile

That's an easy one They knew the RAF would do the trick. I used to love those stories of the Romans fighting the Picts, then came the realization that my ancestors were Picts I have a beautiful copy of Mallory's "Morte De Arthur" and grew up on such TV programs as Robin Hood,Lancelot. And,yes, I even believe that due to English theorists-we have computors,etc.

Well, I don't mean that they SHOULD have appeared in 1939. Just that they didn't, even though it goes against the legend.

Here's the legend of the Wizard of Alderley Edge, and there are similar places throughout Britain -

The Wizard of Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge may have been a sacred site for many thousands of years; the area is steeped in folklore and legend. King Arthur and his men are said to sleep somewhere beneath the sandstone cliffs, and the area is associated with the wizard Merlin. There is a carving of a bearded face above a well next to which the words "Drink of this and take thy fill, For the water falls by the wizard's will" are carved. The date of the carving is unknown.

The Legend
Once upon a time, a farmer from Mobberley was on his way to Macclesfield Market to sell a white mare. The horse was the finest of his stock, and he was sure that he could get a good price at the market.

As he passed by the steep sandstone cliffs that make up Alderley Edge, he was stopped by an old man of noble stature with a white beard, and clothes that seemed to belong to an earlier period of history. The old man asked if the farmer would sell his horse to him for a fair price. The farmer refused, hoping that he could get a better price for such a fine animal at the market.

Once at the bustling market it seemed as though he had been bewitched. Although his animal was admired and commented on, not a single offer was made, although lesser animals were sold quickly for good prices.

Dejected the farmer set off back to Mobberley, as he passed Alderly Edge the same old man appeared and asked if he could buy the horse. The farmer agreed and the wizard motioned him to follow, he led the farmer through trees to the foot of the sandstone cliffs that make up the edge. The wizard touched the rock with his staff, and the rock parted with a thunderous sound to reveal a huge cavern. The old man led the farmer inside the earth reassuring him not to be afraid.

The farmer could not believe his eyes, for inside the cavern hundreds of armour clad warriors lay in a deathly sleep. Every warrior bar one had a white horse standing next to him. The old man (who seemed now to be a wizard of great power) explained that the host was ready and waiting for the day when their countrymen would need them, then they would arise and fight to save the country. The wizard led on to a pile of gold and jewels, and told the farmer to take his fill as payment for his mare.

The farmer grabbed a handful of golden coins and jewels, stuffed them into his pockets and walked out through the opening into the bright sunlight. The farmer, overwhelmed by his strange experience, set off running as the rock closed with a dull thud behind him. Although he tried, neither he nor anyone else could ever find the door again.

The theme of sleeping warriors is repeated at a number of sites in Britain including the Eldon Hills, on the English/Scottish border.

This story relates to a legend common throughout Britain, namely that of a secret cavern containing sleeping warriors. Often a test is conferred to the person who is shown into the cavern. Usually the tests are failed.

Once upon a time in the Borders region there lived a horse cowper (trader) named Canobie Dick, he was widely admired and feared for his fierce courage.

One night, with the moon high in the sky, he was riding over Bowden Moor on the West side of the Eildon Hills, the scene of the prophesies of Thomas the Rhymer. He had with him a brace of horses, which he had not sold at the local market. On his way along the moonlit road he came across a stranger, who was dressed in a style that had not been worn for centuries. The stranger asked the price of the horses and the stranger promptly paid him in golden coinage from the same period as his dress. However gold was gold, and when the stranger asked if he could meet him at the same place at the same time, Canobie Dick agreed.

On their third meeting, Canobie Dick had become a little more than curious to learn more about his clandestine buyer, and he managed to get the stranger to agree to take him to his abode. The stranger suggested that he had no problem in him seeing his dwelling, but warned him that if he were to lose courage at what he was to see, then he would rue it all his life.

The stranger led the way along a narrow footpath, which led up the hills between the Southern and central peaks to a place called Lucken Hare, which is also famous for the meeting of witches. They entered into the hillside by an opening that Dick had never seen before, although he was familiar with the area, and found themselves in a cavern passage. The stranger turned to Dick and said that he may still return if he so wished, Dick just shrugged his shoulders and urged him to press on.

They walked onward and came to rows and rows of stables, in every stall there was a coal black horse, and by every horse lay a knight in jet black armour, with a drawn sword in each hand. The hall was filled with a soft light from evenly spaced burning torches set into the walls. Each knight was as silent as stone, and there was a strange stillness in the air.

At last they came to the back of the cavern hall, and to a large oak table, on which a sheathed sword and a horn lay.

At this the stranger, who now seemed to be Thomas of Ercildoun (True Thomas ) turned to Dick and said that "the man who shall sound the horn and draw the sword shall, if his heart does not fail him, be the king over all Britain. But all depends on courage and of taking the horn or the sword first."

At first Dick wanted to take the sword but he was seized with a supernatural terror, thinking that to draw the sword would offend the powers of the mountain. He took up the horn and put it to his lips, and quaking, he let out a feeble blast that seemed to echo like thunder around the hall. At once a tumult erupted in the hall, as with a cry and a clash of armour every one of the knights arose from their slumber. The fearsome army rose before him, and terribly frightened Dick tried to free the sword from its scabbard, whereupon a voice boomed.

"Woe to the Coward, that ever he was born,
Who did not draw the sword before he blew the horn"

At this he was blasted from the cavern, borne upon a supernatural wind, and deposited down the banking outside the entrance.

Canobie Dick was found the next morning by local shepherds, he had just breath left within him to blurt out his tale before he died.

(A similar tale is told of Alderly Edge (), where Merlin takes the place of Thomas of Ercildoun and the sleeping warriors are Arthur and his men).
My favourite British legend has to be Herne the Hunter, a man who hunted on horseback around Windsor. He was one of Richard II's many huntsmen, and many people have supposedly seen the ghost of Herne the Hunter around Windsor - including a group of Teddy Boys. You know when he's around, because you can hear phanton howls. I think Herne hanged himself from a tree and, eerily, whenever the Monarch is unjust or Britain is in danger, Herne supposedly appears standing underneath his gibbet -

the Ghostly Hunt
of Herne the Hunter

Phantom howls heard on the night air around Windsor signal that it’s time to draw your curtains and lock your doors: for Herne the Hunter and his spectral followers are galloping across the sky gathering lost souls.

Back in the fourteenth century, Herne was one of King Richard II’s many huntsmen employed on the Windsor Castle estate. Herne loved his job and considered himself a lucky man to be able to earn his living at what he liked doing best. There were few of the King’s men who knew as much about hunting and the crafts of the wood as Herne did. Windsor was his home, and he knew every path, ride and bridleway crossing the Forest there. When the King was in residence, Herne would spend almost every day out hunting with the monarch. Even such seemingly routine outings as these could, however, be fraught with danger.

Out early one crisp morning, the royal buckhounds picked up the scent of a noble white stag. They bayed and howled, and off they ran with the King and his men riding close behind. The horses’ hooves thundered through the Forest and the party quickly began to gain on the beast. Before long, his white flashing hindquarters could be seen darting in and out of the trees ahead. Herne was up at the head of the chase with King Richard by his side. Arrows were let fly. The stag was hit! Wounded, it bounded on through the thickening trees with the huntsmen close on its heals. Suddenly, the trees seemed to fall away as a clearing opened up before them. The surrounding forest was too dense for the deer to enter. It was cornered.

The stag turned to face its pursuers, pawing the ground and shaking its antlers. The Master of the Buckhounds quickly had his men hold back the dogs. Barking and snapping, they strained on their leashes in protest. Herne and the others moved back to clear a semi-circle around the prey. The King urged his horse forward and unsheathed his knife. He would have the honour of making the kill.

King Richard’s horse edged nervously towards the deer, but, before the monarch had time to dismount, the stag suddenly sprang forward. In a mad frenzy, the animal’s antlers ripped into the poor horse’s flesh, before turning on the King. In a sudden burst of bravery, Herne threw himself into the deer’s path, pushing King Richard clear. The Sovereign was saved, but poor Herne paid dearly for his heroism. He was badly mauled by the piercing antlers before he managed to slide his knife into the stag’s throat. It was all over in a matter of seconds. Both lay motionless on the ground. Blood poured from their wounds.

The King’s men rushed forward to help Herne, but there was little they could do. The stag’s wounds had proved fatal. Surely Herne’s would too? The King was most distraught to think that one of his men had laid down their life in order to save his own. He screamed at his men to, “Do something!” But the royal physician was back at the castle, and the burly hunters knew nothing of medical matters.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a stranger on a black horse appeared from behind a large beech tree. Introducing himself to the King as Philip Urwick, he asked if he might examine the wounded man. Some of the huntsmen, wandering where the man had sprung from, shouted that Urwick must be a poacher and should be arrested at once. However, others knew him to be a local wiseman from Bagshot Heath, and warily advised the King that, if he wanted Herne to live, Urwick, though not to be trusted, was probably the best man for the job. The King recognised the term “wiseman” as code for a powerful wizard and eagerly gave permission for him to tend to Herne’s needs.

The wizard knelt down beside Herne and inspected his injuries. Urwick appeared to be mumbling something, but no-one could quite make out the words. Then he stood and shouted the most extraordinary demand to two of the huntsmen: “Remove the antlers from this great stag. If this young man is to stand any chance of survival, we must fix them securely to his head.” The courtiers looked at the King with puzzled expressions. He shrugged his shoulders, but nodded to them to continue. When Herne’s new headgear was in place, he was lifted onto a make-shift litter and escorted through the Forest to Urwick’s hut on the Heath. He lay as a corpse the whole journey long.

Time passed, and Herne was tended back to health by Wizard Urwick. After a month of drinking phials of strange potions, he was eventually allowed to remove the deer’s antlers from his head, and so made his return to Court. Back at Windsor Castle, he made a great hit with the Sovereign who was delighted with his sturdy young hero. For his bravery, the King rewarded Herne with a bag of gold, a golden chain and a silver hunting horn. He was even moved into apartments within the Castle. He soon became the royal favourite, and King Richard insisted he stay by his side on all royal outings.

Now, as you can imagine, royal patronage such as this was the most sought after commodity at Court, and it seemed to many that Herne was receiving more than his fair share. Two of his fellow huntsmen, in particular, became exceptionally jealous of the attention that the King gave to Herne. In revenge, they started spreading rumours that Herne was a practitioner of black arts, learnt while in Urwick’s care. When the whispers reached the King’s ears however, he dismissed the idea as ridiculous and put a stop to any further gossip on the subject. He had already had Philip Urwick thoroughly investigated: a mysterious recluse, he appeared to be a wise man who, on the whole, used his powers for the good of others.

So the envious huntsmen had to resort to more substantial methods to discredit Herne. They hatched a plan to frame him for poaching, and planted three fresh deer skins in his quarters. As they retreated from their hateful task, the two bumped into Herne. They immediately feared their presence might arouse his suspicions; but, on the contrary, the oblivious Herne proceeded to ask his supposed friends to deliver a purse of moneys to Wizard Urwick as a small token of thanks for his expert doctoring. Seeing an even better chance to ruin the royal favourite, the huntsmen kept the money for themselves and set off for Bagshot Heath. Finding him alone in his hut, the two claimed they were there to see justice done: for the King and Herne had both forgotten Urwick. While Herne was showered with gifts for his impulsive act, all the wizard’s hard work had passed without so much as a thank you. They claimed that Herne poked fun at the wiseman and his “so called” skills. “He says anyone can tie a pair of antlers to the head of a man who has fainted and claim to have brought him back to life. He says you kept him prisoner here so that your story of healing his wounds would hold water.”

The two huntsmen were so convincing that Urwick quickly believed all of their lies. He became incensed, throwing his arms in the air and cursing the day he ever agreed to help the ungrateful monarch. Having sown the seeds of revenge in the wizard’s mind, Urwick’s two visitors suggested some appropriate action. Perhaps the wizard could use his magical powers to remove Herne’s skills in hunting. Urwick was delighted. “I like the way your minds work,” he said with a smile.

The following day, the King rode out with his hunting party as usual. However, though Herne was given the honour of finding a suitable quarry, he was unable to do so. This state of affairs continued for several days, and King Richard became quite puzzled. Then, the three deer hides were discovered, hidden in Herne’s quarters. It became clear to the King that his favourite huntsman had taken advantage of his honoured position. Herne had been too tired to exercise his skills by day because he had been so busy employing them by night. The evil huntsmen’s plan had worked. Grieved by the treachery of such a trusted servant, King Richard was forced to dismiss Herne.

Herne was devastated. He took his horse and galloped through the Forest in a crazed frenzy. He had not only lost the skills of his livelihood but he had been publicly disgraced into the bargain. He was found, next morning, by a poor pedlar, hanging from an oak tree . . . Dead!

The jealous foresters were delighted with the results of their deviousness. Now they would be able to rise in the King’s favour themselves: but this was not to be. Nothing connected with their service to the King went right for the two men. They too began to lose some of their own hunting skills. They were late for appointments, and they were left behind in the hunts. Finally things became so bad that the two of them were forced to seek the help of Wizard Urwick once more.

On hearing their story, the wizard revealed that if things were to return to normal the huntsmen must appeal to Herne’s ghost for mercy. So he took them to the oak on which Herne had hanged himself and, throwing his arms high in the air, he called for Herne’s spirit to appear. There was a sudden gust of wind and Herne slowly materialised before their eyes, complete with curative antlers. In a solemn voice he instructed them to assemble all the royal horses and hounds under the same oak tree at midnight the following night. The foresters agreed, though they knew it would be difficult.

The next evening though, the two men managed to persuade their superior to grant them the stable watch, and so were easily able to slip out with the animals and do exactly as they had been told. For nights afterwards Windsor Forest rang with the noisy sounds of the hunt, until soon, not a deer was to be had there. King Richard was furious. His endless chases produced no prey, and he rampaged through the castle demanding to know what curse this was that plagued him so. The two foresters’ hunting skills had improved, but now there were no deer to hunt! They finally saw no alternative but to disclose their evil story to the King, and place their fate in his hands. When King Richard at last knew the whole story, he was beside himself with frustration and remorse.

That night King Richard took a stroll in the Royal Park to clear his head. As he wandered aimlessly, it began to rain. The clouds rolled in and a great storm quickly blew up. Annoyed that his thoughts had been interrupted, the King ran for the Castle and shelter. Just then, the sky lit up and a great bolt of lightning struck the nearest great oak. King Richard stopped dead in his tracks. Through the clearing smoke, he could just make out a figure standing beneath the tree: a figure with, could it be, antlers on its head?! Richard realised at once that this was the spot where Herne had taken his own life, and cautiously he stepped forward. Herne’s ghost emerged from beneath the foliage to explain to the confused monarch what he must do to restock his hunting ground. “Both the foresters must be justly punished for their crimes.”

The two huntsmen were immediately put to death, hung upon Herne’s own oak. As if by magic, all the deer simultaneously returned to the Forest. Herne’s ghost was never seen again in the reign of King Richard until the day of his murder in Pontefract Castle on the orders of his successor, Henry IV. During every winter since, Herne has returned at midnight to ride the lanes of old Windsor Forest again on a fiery black steed. He wears his antlers always, and glows with a phosphoric blue light. On his shoulder sits a horned owl with piercing red eyes, and gripped in his hand is a sinister rattling chain - the present from his grateful master. With his hounds and the two resentful huntsmen, who are compelled to ride with him for eternity, Herne leads a wild hunt through the Forest and across the night’s sky, searching for damned souls lost in the wilderness. In the past, his followers would increase as he claimed the souls of poachers hung in the Curfew Tower of the Castle. It is said that they chase the white hart which ultimately led the way to Herne’s unhappy end. Sometimes the hart itself is seen beneath Herne’s Oak, breathing fire and tearing at the tree’s roots with its antlers. You should take special care, however, to watch for the man himself, standing alone beneath his natural gibbet. He materialises there when the sovereign is unjust or close to death, or when the nation is otherwise in danger. He reminds all of his own unjust treatment after saving the monarch from death’s eager grasp.

The Teddy Boy Incident

There are dozens of local stories, supposedly all true, of sightings of Herne around Windsor. This is just one of them.

One day two local Windsor youths and a Teddy boy were playing truant in Windsor Great Park. (Note: Teddy boys were a kind of delinquent British sub-culture in the fifties and sixties.) They were up to the usual no good, breaking trees and generally fooling around, the local youths being led on by the Ted.

The troublesome trio were in an area of forest when the Ted noticed a curious old hunting horn hanging from a tree, and immediately picked it up. The local youths, knowing something of the legend, told him to put it down and walk away, so as an act of bravado instead, he blew upon it. All three immediately heard the sound of baying hounds, and horses crashing through the trees, close by and getting closer.

The local boys threw themselves to the ground and covered their eyes, and told the Ted to do the same, as the sounds of the hunt drew ever nearer. In no time the deafening racket was all about them, and it was all they could do to stay still while the thud of horses hooves and snarls of great dogs were all about their heads. One of the youths sneaked a look at his companion, who's eyes were screwed tightly shut, then the Teddy boy, just in time to see him panic and turn to regard the source of the din all about them. The Ted's eyes widened in fear, and he began to scream, at which the other lad buried his face once again in the soil and prayed. He heard the sound of a single arrow being loosed and striking its target, and then the noise began to fade, until the forest was quiet once again.

When they finally got to their feet the forest was as quiet as before and the two lads were safe, but the Teddy boy had vanished, never to be seen again.


The Legend of the Wild Hunt
Britain abounds with stories of The Wild Hunt, and Herne is just one of the Wild Huntsmen. Others include Arawn the Welsh god of the dead, King Arthur, the saxon god Woden, the early British King Herla, The Devil, Sir Francis Drake, and Odin. The origins of the widespread legend of The Wild Hunt are so buried under centuries of mythic detritus that they will never be known.

What is known for certain is that a remarkably consistent image exists in the mythic subconscious of Europe: the image of the wild, nocturnal, horned huntsman, his coming announced by the baying of his hounds and the blast of his horn above the din of the storm, in search of souls to carry away.

Is this Herne ?


The Mask of Herne
Was Herne once a European hunting god who also carried souls to the underworld ? Or is he just a local ghost that haunts Windsor ? Here is another creepy story, but this time all the facts are a matter of public record.

In 1487 the last Keeper of Windsor Great Park (and therefore a successor of Herne himself), one William Evingdon donated a building to the parish of Windsor, "for the good of his soul". This property was opposite the parish church on Windsor High Street, and it became the vicarage. About 450 years later in the early 1930s the vicarage was moved to Park Street, and during the move workmen dug up a strange object.

It was a carved stone head of something not quite human. It had the face of a man, including a moustache, but the ears and antlers of a stag. The eyes were deepset and fierce.

There were many theories as to its origin. It may have been part of a gargoyle or some other grotesque church ornament, and indeed it has been described as looking something like the carved stone Green Man faces which decorate many churches. Some suggested that it had last belonged to William Evingdon, and that it was passed on from Keeper to Keeper as some kind of tradition, or symbol of office. It became known as The Mask of Herne.

It seems to have been left in the vicarage garden on Park Street until after the 2nd World War when the property was sold and the mask placed in the church museum, where it remained until 1963 when it was stolen.

So, come on, own up. If you are reading this page you are very likely the sort of person who would take an interest in an ancient horned god cult object, and it is just possible that you, yes YOU know where it is. If you do, you can tell me. I just want to see it, touch it and draw it. Pleeeeez ? I swear on God's Horns not to tell the Old Bill. The last place it belongs is in a Christian Church museum.

There is a creepy epilogue to this story.

One day in 1856 two young boys, William Fenwick and William Butterworth, were offered a lift by a stranger driving a horse and carriage. He took the two Williams to Albany Road, near Park Street, where they became drowsy and passed out for no apparent reason. They woke up several hours later in The Home Park itself by Victoria Bridge, and could not remember how they got there. The police became involved but nothing ever came of the investigation, and it was put down to an eccentric kidnapping or childish imagination. (Does this remind you at all of UFO abductions ?)

When the The Mask of Herne was dug up in the 1930s William Fenwick, now an old man, was shown a photograph of the stone head, and said that he was in no doubt that the face in the stone was the same face as the man who had kidnapped him and his friend nearly 80 years before. Presumably minus the horns.
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf

Quote: Originally Posted by glossprincess

I went to an Irish pub with some friends and hit it off with an Irish guy.....then an Aussie.....then an American Fun fun fun!!

Blimey. An Irishman, an Australian and an American? I reckon you must have had a very "intelligent" conversation.

Hahaha, actually, there wasnt a whole lot of talking involved
I think youll have to spell that out for Blackleaf, Glossey-- hes a cerebral Brit.
Hey!! You changed your avatar Cort!! I like the old one better!!
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