Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The tomb of Arnaud de Gabaston

Finding myself in Winchester last week, I headed to the Cathedral.   I knew that Piers' father, Arnaud de Gabaston, was buried there, and thanks to Brad Verity, I knew what it looked like.  Unfortunately, there is no plaque or information post next to the tomb - nothing to identify it as Arnaud.  I asked a guide there about the tomb, and he seemed very surprised that I knew about it, as he explained to me later that no-one 'ever asks about it'.  Amazingly, it was right behind me as I asked!  The guide told me it had been moved from it's original place but that it was 'intact'.  A lot of the tombs had been opened during the Reformation and by those pesky Victorians, who have an awful lot to answer for!  Nearly all the other tombs with effigies were of former bishops of Winchester and other clergy, so it was quite a surprise to see Arnaud's tomb.  It may be that other tombs of knights etc had been removed - I don't know enough about the history of the Cathedral.  Here are some of my photos.

The latter picture if a close-up of the shield Arnaud is holding.   For more on Arnaud de Gabaston and Piers' family, Kathryn has just posted her latest research on her blog.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Time to give Flo the big picture......

Hi there Flo, (I don't do 'auntie letters'),

OK, first up, I'm not writing to ask you for advice - I never ask anyone for advice, but willingly give my advice to others, which is why I'm writing to you.   I don't feel those who have written to you recently are telling you the whole truth, and while I appreciate your answers, I feel you need to be, well, more honest - blunt, as it were.  Just so you know, I am 'P', 'Perrot', 'Peter' - though I won't hide behind a false name - I'm Piers. 

OK, first of all, the 'child bride' is nothing more than a spoilt brat - totally indulged by her father.  She arrogantly expects every man to fall in love with her.  At the moment she is hanging around her 'arranged' husband like a puppy dog, which is so irritating.  Everyone knows it's an 'arranged' marriage - why pretend otherwise?  She constantly demands he tell her how beautiful she is - but let me tell you, it's hard for him when she has a serious break-out of teenage acne, and worse, squeezes her spots in front of him - bleuch!  As for considering wearing this bra garment - she has nothing to put in it!  She's only 12, which I think explains her naivety.  You are not naive, and you know perfectly well that 'E Rex' and I don't have 'sleepovers'.  We are in fact 'together' - not in 'brotherhood', as Ed likes to kid himself and others, but in the fullest sense - lovers - there, said it.  I've had to put up with all this marriage business, then the elevation of that little madam taking my place at Ed's side.  It hasn't been easy for me, you know.  But have I written a whinging letter asking for advice?  Of course not, I've just been helping Ed exactly as before - even minding the 'family silver', as it were and organising ceremonies and feasts for them. 

I'm afraid Ed lacks confidence, which I can give him by the bucketful!  Why be worried about digging ditches and getting drunk with sailors?  People do far worse things than that!  And digging ditches and rowing have given him a marvellous physique!  You should see him, stripped to the waist, glistening with perspiration in the midday sun!  A splendid sight!  And if he wants to offer me a few perks to make up for having to give him time with that spoilt brat, who am I to refuse?  It would be churlish of me to refuse. 

Now for that awful Tom!  You are so right about him being jealous - of Ed, me, and, erm, me!  I should point out that I am known for my grace and good-manners, whereas he is most ill-mannered - a complete churl, in fact.  No social graces, swaggers around and tries to boss poor Ed around.  It quite upsets Ed at times, and I do my best to defuse the situation and make light of Tom's arrogance - I do a very good impression of him, which makes Ed laugh so much!

So there you have the full story Flo - just tell Isa Ed is NEVER going to be in love with her but will give her a brilliant lifestyle, tell Ed to assert himself and be true to himself, and tell Tom to curb his jealousy - Ed's in charge no matter what he thinks.  And Flo, I've enclosed my portrait, so you can see that yes, I am extremely handsome - pin it above your bed and dream - that's all I can promise you as my heart belongs to Ed.  And I really do think you should get out and live life instead of listening to the likes of Isa and Tom droning on about their so-called problems.

  Blowing you a big kiss,  Piers

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Now who is writing to Auntie Flo?

Dear Auntie Flo,

Oh dear – where to start?  Well, I’ll call myself Tom, and I am part of a great, powerful, family, of which I’m immensely proud.  Unfortunately, I’m not the head of the family, although there are many who think I should be.  My cousin is the head – let’s call him ‘Ed’.  I admit he looks like the head of a great family – he’s very striking, muscular and has presence, but he doesn’t always act like the head.   He enjoys rather vulgar pursuits such as swimming and rowing – and much worse that I daren’t tell you.  Worst of all, he seems, erm, devoted to his ‘best friend’ who I’ll call ‘Peter’.  This friend is just so unsuitable – for a start, he’s not even English, he comes from Gascony, of all places!  And I’m sure you know what those Gascons are like!   He’s not even well-born!  I admit he was thought as a suitable companion for my cousin in his teens – I will say he is graceful and well-mannered.   The family were a little bit worried about how ‘friendly’ my cousin and this Gascon were, and we did our best to separate them for their own good.  But now my cousin is in charge, he and his friend are behaving outrageously!   This Peter has been promoted beyond his wildest dreams, given land and jewels.  Of course, it’s turned his head, and he now is just such a show-off, mocking me for my lack of manners amongst other things – and all the while my cousin just laughs.  He is so arrogant!  Whenever we discuss the family business, this Peter takes centre stage, and Ed listens to only him.  This is just so wrong!  I mean, I am a fine leader of men myself – many think me more suited to my cousin’s job, and I’m much more of a role model than this Gascon upstart.  My cousin has had to marry for the family’s sake – and his wife is a lovely, beautiful, powerful girl – I mean, she is only 12, but she’s so beautiful!  We hoped this would ‘cure’ Ed – but no, he’s more devoted to his friend than ever!  They even have sleepovers!  Please tell me how to rid my cousin of this awful man and realise how marvellous I am. 

Yours  majestically, Tom, Lancaster

Dear Tom,

What is going on here?  I don’t think your cousin’s friend is the problem – who, to be fair, sounds a lot of fun.  You don’t.  It seems to be you are a very jealous person – jealous of your cousin’s looks, hobbies, and his best friend.   You admit this friend has many good attributes.  You accuse him of being arrogant – and yet you talk about how suited you are for the top job and what a marvellous role model you are for your cousin.  At least this Peter has a sense of humour, which your cousin must find a pleasant change as you sound so pompous and snobbish.  I find it disturbing that you would rather your twenty something cousin should be spending all his time with a 12 year old girl than this fun, pleasure-seeking best friend.  You need to get over your jealousy, leave your cousin to run the business and enjoy his friendship with Peter.   Get your own life!
Sincerely, Auntie Flo (and can you send me a portrait of this Peter?  I want to see if he has the looks to match the personality!)