Scotland the Brave

What do you think of when you hear someone say, ‘Scotland’ ?  It makes me think of the Winnie the Pooh poem, about snow and cold toes, tiddly pom!   Mrs BBS says, “long service leave destination!” 😀  (but I’ll come too if I can manage it!!)

Legends? Here’s one I filched out of the cupboard;   🙂

The Scots King Alexander III routed the army of the Viking King Haakon IV at the Battle of Largs in 1263 A. D. Legend has it that the Vikings were intent on surprising the Scottish army under cover of darkness. Advancing barefoot, one of them trod on a Thistle. His cry of pain alerted the Scots, who fell upon the invaders, driving them back into their  longships.

From that day the Thistle was adopted as the Emblem of Scotland.

That’s what our new potholder says, anyway. 😀  And it came from Scotland!

This is currently one of our favourite songs… Scotland the Brave. We hear it once a year on bagpipes, too, on Anzac Day, which is a treat. 🙂

Here are the lyrics:

Let Italy boast of her gay, gilded waters,

Her vines and her bowers and her soft sunny skies,

Her sons drinking love from the eyes of her daughters,

Where freedom expires amid softness and sighs.

Scotland’s blue mountains wild, where hoary cliffs are piled,

Towering in grandeur are dearer tae me,

Land of the misty cloud, land of the tempest loud,

Land of the brave and proud, land of the free.

Enthroned on the peak of her own highland mountains,

The spirit of Scotia reigns fearless and free,

Her green tartan waving o’er blue rock and fountain,

And proudly she sings, looking over the sea.

Here among my mountains wild, I have serenely smiled,

When armies and empires against me were hurled,

Firm as my native rock, I have withstood the shock,

Of England, of Denmark, of Rome and the world.

But see how proudly her war steeds are prancing,

Deep groves of steel trodden down in their path,

The eyes of my sons like their bright swords are glancing,

Triumphantly riding through ruin and death.

Bold hearts and nodding plumes wave o’er their bloody tombs,

Deep-eyed in gore is the green tartan’s wave,

Shivering are the ranks of steel, dire is the horseman’s wheel,

Victorious in battlefield, Scotland the brave.

Some books I’ve read about Scotland;

For Bonnie Prince Charlie, by Escott Lynne, which has some very entertaining Highland (and English!) characters, and Bonnie Prince Charlie by G. A. Henty.  Bonnie Prince Charlie is a popular subject, it seems. 🙂

Also a good book, and one I just finished re-reading, is Two Penniless Princesses by Charlotte Yonge, which is supposed to come after The Caged Lion, also partly set in Scotland, but, ah, not as good…

See you later, and don’t step on any of THESE….


The Great Gale

Hester Burton the great gale


I really enjoyed reading The Great Gale. Hester Burton did a fine job of writing this. When I read it, I felt very cold, and very wet, and very tired. I could even feel the rain!

Set in Norfolk, the village and people are fictional, but the great gale of 1953 really happened, causing much damage, from Scotland all the way to Holland.  It was a result of an unusually high tide, coinciding with very strong winds.

The author has used primary sources to write this book, such as texts from the BBC broadcasting and the Eastern Daily Press newspapers. One moving incident was based on the true story of the rescue of 28 people from their rooftops, by Airman Reis Leming of the United States Air Force.  Even though he couldn’t swim, he waded back and forth through icy neck-deep floodwaters towing people to safety in an inflatable rubber dinghy. 

The fictional aspects of the story cover the worry of Mary about her friend Myrtle, when Myrtle’s mother’s Post-Office-house is swept away by the flood and no one knows where they are… and when her brother Mark is lost, and the boat he went out in is seen drifting alone on the tide… and an amusing description of Myrtle’s interesting method of saving her ‘Catty’!

I would recommend this book for children aged 7+, but the grown up who read it at my house really liked it too.



Holland during the 1953 flood


The Dragon and the Raven

I really liked this book because I learned a lot of interesting things, such as the fact that the Danes had shields so large that if they were fighting on a ship and had to jump overboard, they could use their shields as rafts! They were also carried from the battlefield on them if they were wounded or slain.

In this book you will… watch, with bated breath, as the Saxons and Vikings fight at the Battle of Kesteven… sail with the hero as he pursues the Danes in his ship, the Dragon… and BURST with anticipation during the Siege of Paris!

G. A. Henty set this book in France, Italy, England and Normandy during the eventful times of 870 – 901 A. D., and the reign of Saxon kings Ethelred and Alfred.

Henty used primary sources such as the Saxon Chronicles and the writings of the Abbe D’Abbon to describe the battles in England and France, as well as the memories of King Alfred’s friend and counsellor, Asser.

If you like war stories, history, historical fiction, and adventure you will probably enjoy this book.     


Beric the Briton

I really enjoyed G.A. Henty’s, “Beric the Briton”, because it is a treasure trove of adventure, and many parts of it actually happened.

Beric the Briton is set in Rome and Britain during the time of the Roman invasion.

If you choose to read this book, you will meet historical figures such as; the most un-Holy Roman Emperor Nero; the brave Iceni Queen, Boadicea; and a few Christians from the Catacombs. 

In this story you will also; witness the war between Boadicea and Rome, get a glimpse of life in a gladiator school, meet a lion in the arena, and hold your breath as the hero rescues a damsel in distress.

People who like war stories, history, historical fiction, and adventure would probably enjoy this book, especially if they like the main character to meet real people. 

If you would like to read this exciting story yourself, you may download it free from Project Gutenberg.