Rules: oldest restaurant in London, serving traditional British food

Rules was established by Thomas Rule in 1798 making it the oldest restaurant in London. It serves traditional British food, specialising in classic game.

Source: Oldest restaurant in London. It serves traditional British food.

Rules restaurant, at 35 Maiden Lane, Convent Garden, London, “serves the traditional food of this country at its best – and at affordable prices. It specialises in classic game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.” I must confess, their version of “affordable” is not exactly mine (a situation often the case here in the U.S., as well), but I would nonetheless love to go there!

The website notes,

“Rules is a heritage restaurant. There is a demand for the best in life as we are confronted with so much mediocrity. In an age when everyone is deluged with homogeneous brands, we like to create the special. There is a real unfulfilled need and desire to experience it.”

With that, I cannot disagree!

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Chesterton: Education, the soul of society

Chesterton – Education, the soul of society

One of the great failings – indeed, bitter tragedies – of our present age is that today’s education is not passing on the soul of society from one generation to another, but rather bludgeoning it to death, or at least, into unrecognizability.

“Tradition is the living river…”

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No, I am not of the Roman observance. But I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Benedict XVI, and I love this statement and agree with it 100%!

The KJV, modern translations, and “the flattening of language”

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From Power and Glory: Jacobean England and the making of the King James Bible (excerpt courtesy of Robert M Shivers):

Luke 1:57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. (King James Version)

Luke 1:57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. (New English Translation)

That is a descent to dreariness, to a level of banality… The modern world had lost the thing which informs every act and gesture… of the King James Bible, and of that incomparable age: a sense of encompassing richness which stretches unbroken from the divine to the sculptural, from theological to cushions, from the sense of beauty of the created world to the extraordinary capabilities of language to embody it.

This is about more than mere sonority or the bees-waxed heritage-appeal of antique vocabulary and grammar. The flattening of language is the flattening of meaning. Language which is not taut with a sense of it’s own significance, which is apologetic in its desire to be acceptable to a modern consciousness, language in other words which submits to its audience, rather than instructing, informing, moving, challenging and even entertaining them, is no longer a language which can carry the freight the Bible requires. It has, in short, lost all authority.

The language of the King James Bible is the language of Hatfield, of patriarchy, of an instructed order, of richness as a form of beauty, of authority as a form of good; the New English Bible is motivated by the opposite; an anxiety not to bore or intimidate. It is driven, in other words, by the desire to please and, in that way, is a form of language which has died.

Indeed! One of my favorite passages is the great Christmas story, from the 2nd Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke. See, for example, Luke 2:7 – in the Authorized (“King James”) Version, it reads,

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Revised Standard Version (RSV), which sought to retain many of the rhythms and much of the imagery of the KJV, isn’t bad:

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

But in the New Revised Standard Version, things start to fall apart:

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

“Bands of cloth”…??? Really? What are we talking about, here, Ace bandages?

The NIV (“New International Version”) is even worse:

and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

“No guest room”…? This isn’t the Best Western we’re talking about, here, folks.

“The flattening of language is the flattening of meaning” – and it doesn’t get a whole lot flatter than that. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Never say “it couldn’t get any worse,” someone is liable to prove you wrong. Shaking my head…….

Seven Generations

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Some of the indigenous peoples of what are now the United States (and more broadly, North America) – generally known as “Native Americans,” or, in Canada, by what I believe to be the more accurately descriptive term, “First Nations” – have a concept that what we do, should be done in light of the “Seven Generations.”

Exactly what this means is open to some interpretation (*), but the version I like is that we should consider our actions in light of our own generation, the three that preceded us, and the three that will follow us: that is to say, how would it reflect on our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents? What is its effect on us? And how will it affect our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?

This makes a huge amount of sense to me. We have a responsibility, and we ought to have a sense of loyalty, to both those who came before us, and those who will come after us. We inherit the world we inhabit as a gift from our forebears, our ancestors, and while we will ultimately hand it down to our descendants, in another sense, we borrow it from them for a while. We have a responsibility to pass on that legacy unimpaired; if anything, enhanced.

Our actions, the decisions we make, and the worldview we adopt to guide our actions and decision-making, demonstrate the degree to which we love, respect, and revere both those who came before us, and those who will follow us… or the degree to which we do not.


* This essay explains the view of contemporary Native elder Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933-2005), which is the one that makes the most sense to me:

“it is clear that much can be learned from nations that respect their ancestors, themselves, and those to come. Such nations exemplify the true meaning of the Seven Generations by maintaining their integrity as peoples.

“Vine Deloria, Jr. spoke of the Seven Generations in very practical terms. In his cantankerous way, he would express extreme annoyance at the romanticism of the concept as it was popularly used. Because, as explained to him, the generations we are sworn to protect and revere are the seven we are most immediately connected to.

“Think about it for a moment. It is possible that many of us have known or will know our great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Even if we aren’t fortunate enough to have been in the physical presence of those who came before us, we usually have stories, songs, and photos that have been shared so that we feel a connection. We also want to make sure our kids and grandkids are healthy, safe and aware of where they come from. So, counting our own generation—ourselves, siblings, and cousins—we are accountable to those seven generations, not some imagined futuristic peoples two hundred years down the road.

“Deloria’s articulation of the Seven Generations makes so much more sense on a human scale and does away with the destructive myth of mystical, all seeing Natives. In truth, our peoples were visionary but not in a passive, new-age way. We actively tended our families and our clan-ties by holding the lives, memories, and hopes of all Seven Generations close. Each generation was responsible to teach, learn, and protect the three generations that had come before it, its own, and the next three. In this way, we maintained our communities for millennia.

Consider what happens when we think of the Seven Generations as only flowing from each of us as individuals, as seems to be the dominant interpretation today. Then we live in a world where we owe nothing to our predecessors, where we have only a tangential connection to our present-day relations, and where we have but a vague notion of the ‘future generations.’”

That, unfortunately, is where most of us are, these days! The vision he articulates makes a great deal more sense to me, and I commend it to your attention.


Nota Bene:  This idea of the Seven Generations was originally articulated by the Iroquois Confederacy, but it has since been adopted more broadly.

And while it may not be expressed in just this way, it seems rather silly to pretend that other indigenous peoples throughout the world did not and do not have a very similar concept: concern for both one’s ancestors and one’s descendants is actually a core feature of every traditional culture, including European traditional cultures.

And of course, Europeans are the indigenous peoples of Europe, now existing also in a diaspora that extends from the Americas, to South Africa, to Australia and New Zealand. Our Celtic, Germanic, and other European ancestors may not have used the precise term “Seven Generations,” but they certainly would have recognized and respected the concept!

 

Jethro Tull: Fires at Midnight (Songs From The Wood, 1977)

“I believe in fires at midnight,

When the dogs have all been fed:

A golden toddy on the mantle,

A broken gun beneath the bed…”

I have always thought of Songs from the Wood as in some ways the quintessential British countryside album, and this song as the quintessential British countryside song. As such, it fits perfectly into the “Blighty Boys” concept!

It appears that, in some ways at least, the band itself agrees:

“Jethro Tull’s tenth album was inspired by Ian Anderson’s departure to a more rural environment in a transition which bore clear influence on the writing and recording process, with the band notably doffing a cap to British folklore and countryside.”

Songwriter and Jethro Tull lead singer Ian Anderson has also noted that the album was “for all the band members… a reaffirmation of our Britishness.”

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Blighty Boys!

What is a “Blighty Boy”…?

Blighty Boy!

This is a Blighty Boy!

In notable contradistinction to his chief adversary, the distressingly numerous, if decidedly unimpressive, Nu-“Male” (note the quotes), the Blighty Boy is the John Bull of the 21st century. Rule Britannia!

I wish I could claim credit for creating this meme, and the concept it embodies! But alas, I did not. I found it on the internet, and adapted it slightly (the original was “Blighty Boi,” which is way too metrosexual for me) to suit the purposes of The Anglophilic Anglican.

With that change of spelling, The Anglophilic Anglican proudly declares himself a Blighty Boy – at least in principle and philosophy, despite not living in Blighty, and lacking (currently, but hopefully not permanently) “a wholesome, steady relationship.” And I further declare that “Blighty Boys” will be a new category and tag for this blog, referring to traditional English / British culture, viewed from a masculine perspective!

Some (potentially) helpful links and images:

Parliamentary sovereignty: actually, I believe in the sovereignty of the Sovereign: the Monarch, currently Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II – health and long life to her! But I can get onboard with the Sovereignty of Queen-in-Parliament… formally, in the UK, “Queen [or King] in Parliament under God.”

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Roast Dinner with seasonal, local produce – the latter recipes are a bit fancy, but hey! I’m a bit of a “foodie”…

Book of Common Prayer Service, plus an explanation of why “The Book of Common Prayer Is Still A Big Deal.”

The Book of Common Prayer Is Still a Big Deal

“Rugged, strong hands… Works on the land, in industry, or serving society in a useful way.”

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“Applauds Army parades and stands to attention for the National Anthem.”

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The “obligations [the class system] places on the privileged“:

“Paternalism is a much-discredited word these days, but it ought to be remembered that the old, aristocratic ideal of society, however much it involved one side knowing its place and another exercising an arbitrary authority, relied on re-distributing a small part of your largesse to those less fortunately situated… Noblesse continues to oblige, and in a world full of new, tax-avoiding, prole-hating, obligation-avoiding money, old, duty-conscious, stately-home money can sometimes seem a very desirable friend to cultivate.”

Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, was a scion of old-school aristocracy which is still bound by the concept of ‘noblesse oblige’Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, was a scion of old-school aristocracy which is still bound by the concept of ‘noblesse oblige’ (Christopher Thomond/The Guardian)

“Drinks loose-leaf tea with whole milk.”

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Impressive collection of Airfix models:

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“Loves a cheeky pint…”