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St George and the Dragon - Sunday 23 April 2006
Yesterday was St George’s Day patron saint of England (and lots of other places). There are more and more celebrations of St George's Day in England these days, encouraged by our brothers and sisters in the rest of the UK who celebrate the days of St David, St Patrick, St Andrew, St Piran, etc with vigour. This despite the moaners who seem to think that St George and his flag are some sort of affront, and despite certain obnoxious far right groups who use the flag, which we are now reclaiming for its proper use. I couldn’t write and post anything on the day, because I was actually out celebrating it, as we try to do every year.
This year we visited my in-laws who live in retirement at the seaside. And after dinner (not roast beef unfortunately) we went to the sea front to watch the St George’s Day parade. The Scout Association and the Guide Association have always celebrated St George’s Day and yesterday Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Cubs, Beavers, Rainbows, Sea Scouts, Rangers, from miles around assembled by the pier and to the tune of the band playing While the Saints go Marching In, they marched down the prom to the theatre when the mayor was waiting for them, and an afternoon of celebration inside. The rain (we are suffering a drought in southern England, there is a hosepipe ban on, so why does what little rain we get always fall when I am out and about, at an event I want to report here? – note to self – get out more, the country needs the water) didn’t dampen their enthusiasm, and it was good to see young people showing that most of them don’t deserve the criticism they receive.
Elsewhere things were even livelier. Even Ken Livingstone arranged that events be organised in London around the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre on the South Bank, and the nearby London Bridge. This is the procession thorough Sandwell to West Bromwich, led by veterans from the British Legion, and you can hear some traditional music in the background. These photos also give an idea of the sort of thing that has been going on.
This is my favourite - “Things aren't looking good for the dragon as the celebrations turn violent in Coventry”
I didn’t catch any Morris Dancing this year, although I will next weekend at a different festival. The Story of St George and the Dragon is an ancient theme of Morris dances and Mummers plays, especially at Christmas and Easter.
So a good day, which could be better.
‘Cry God for Harry, England and St George!’
Henry V Act 3 Scene 1