Friday, October 21, 2016

A Scottish Sanctuary

From Victoria:
Mere minutes from central Edinburgh, secreted away from the bustle and tourist traffic of the Royal Mile and nearby high streets, Prestonfield stands at the end of a quiet, tree-lined lane. The centuries-old Scottish estate was reborn in 2003 as an exclusive hotel decorated with sumptuous fabrics, fine art, and heirloom antiques.

Edinburgh, Scotland, is often counted among Europe’s most breathtaking destinations. Its grand stone castle is perched high upon a central promontory—a regal presence presiding over the city. Centuries of history unfold on streets that radiate from the majestic structure. Nearby, within secluded gardens on the fringe of the urban district, imposing gates frame a grand hotel. Built in 1687 as the manse of the Lord Provost, the baroque-style house was restored in 2003 under the vision and artistic eye of owner James Thomson as the exclusive Prestonfield. The renovation focused on reviving the character of the ancient property and reestablishing its distinctive appeal. (Read more.)


The Clinton Russia Fiction

What's really going on. From Forbes:
The Clinton Campaign and the Obama Administration are presenting the American people a cynical political charade regarding Russia and Vladimir Putin, with most of the media playing the Greek Chorus. What is so remarkable is that in order to accept what Clinton is now saying about Putin and Russia means having to ignore the previous seven years of Clinton’s and Obama’s accommodation of the man and country they now insist is a national security threat.

This list of national security compromising appeasements that Obama and Clinton handed Putin is very long, but here are some highlights:

In 2009, Obama and Clinton abandoned strategic U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic by withdrawing newly placed missile defense systems from their respective nations. The ostensible reason for the defenses was to protect our allies from Iranian missiles, but the Czechs and the Poles saw it as a relationship with the U.S. that would provide them with added security against a Russian invasion similar to what had just happened in the nation of Georgia, and what subsequently happened in Ukraine. (Read more.)

Austen's Pride

From author Isabel Azar:
This summer, I had the delightful privilege of attending a performance of the lovely new musical, Austen’s Pride, at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York (the production was part of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival's summer season, and my mother and I made the journey from our home down South). It was well worth it; the duo behind the show, Lindsay Warren Baker and Amanda Jacobs, have skillfully woven together two riveting narratives, that of the novel itself, and the story of Jane Austen’s creation of it. They’ve been working on their masterpiece for roughly sixteen years now; stimulated by the profusion of Austen adaptations that came out in the late 1990’s, the ladies set about creating something of their own. As part of their research, they went to England and visited Chawton Cottage, Austen’s home, and were inspired to include the author in their show. Since its first performance in 2006, the musical has gone through many changes, and now, Austen has become more than a plot device; she’s a prominent character herself. She propels the play forward, both in her close bond with her sister Cassandra and in her associations with her characters. In the first scene, Jane rushes onstage to tell her beloved sibling that the publishers for Sense and Sensibility want to see more of her work, and together, the pair ponders the prospect of sending the manuscript for a certain First Impressions. Jane is uncertain at first, but with a little nudging from Cassandra, she decides to “give the story a second chance,” and is soon busy with editing her early draft. (Read more.)

How to Keep the Homeschool Going

From Seton Magazine:
The variety of available sports, lessons and clubs are so tempting that many families, like mine, must work hard to choose them with great discrimination in order to keep schoolwork as the top priority. Even when limiting the number of activities, it can sometimes seem overwhelming to try to fit it all in. Usually, that’s a red flag to start pulling back on the activities and just focus on academics. There are times when the disruption will be only temporary, such as when students are doing extra rehearsals for a play, or practicing more for a tournament. In such times, it can make sense to momentarily change the school routine and fit in the learning when and where you can. For several years, my older two children were involved in a wonderful homeschool acting troupe. With careful planning, we were able to fit in the regular weekly rehearsals. Twice a year would be the performances. (Read more.)


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Jeanne II, Tainted Queen

Jeanne de France was to be the only surviving child of her parents, Louis of France and Margaret of Burgundy. Louis had become King of Navarre on the death of his mother in 1305 and was married to Margaret later in the same year, when Louis was 16 years old and Margaret was about 15.

Louis was Dauphin of France, the eldest of 3 surviving sons of Philip IV le Bel, king of France and Navarre, and of Jeanne I, queen of France and de jure queen of Navarre. Louis’ sister, Isabella, married Edward II of England. His brothers, Philip and Charles, were married to 2 sisters, Blanche and Joan of Burgundy, who were also cousins to Margaret, being the daughters of her uncle Otto IV, Count of Burgundy.

In 1314 a scandal rocked the French monarchy to its very core, leaving a question mark over Jeanne’s legitimacy that is still there today. The Tour de Neslé Affair saw 2-year-old Jeanne’s mother, Margaret, convicted of adultery, and imprisoned in the Chateau-Gaillard for the rest of her life. Margaret’s cousin and sister-in-law, Blanche, was convicted alongside her. Although Blanche’s sister, Joan, with the support of her husband Philip,  was cleared of the charges, she was held under house arrest for a short time as it was believed she knew of the adulterous liaisons of her sisters-in-law.

The 2 knights in question, the D’Aunay brothers, were tortured and castrated before being brutally executed by being ‘broken on the wheel’ and decapitated. How much Jeanne would have known of these events is uncertain. Hopefully she was shielded from events in the royal nursery, but it  is not inconceivable that she was treated differently after the discovery of her mother’s adultery. Margaret’s betrayal meant Jeanne’s legitimacy was now in question.

However, events were to change again within in months. In November, 1314, Jeanne’s grandfather Philip IV died and her father succeeded to the French throne as King Louis X. Louis was now desperate to produce a male heir and with the papacy dragging its heels on his divorce from Jeanne’s mother, it’s possible he took matters into his own hands. Whether it was from natural causes after her rough treatment – or, more likely, strangulation on Louis’ orders – Margaret died shortly after Louis’ accession.

Louis then married Clementia of Hungary and the couple were crowned jointly at Reims in August 1315. Nothing is recorded of  the relationship between Jeanne and her stepmother, or of how Jeanne’s status changed as the daughter of the King. However, doubts over Jeanne’s legitimacy must still have been at the forefront of people’s minds as Louis X, on his deathbed in June 1316, made a point of  stating that Jeanne was his legitimate daughter. Clementia was pregnant at the time of Louis’ death, after a particularly strenuous game of tennis; their son John the Posthumous was born 5 months later and died just 5 days after that, causing a succession crisis.

"Compliant Citizenry"

From The Conservative Tribune:
This email, as well as many others, demonstrate what Clinton actually thinks of American citizens, and it isn’t good. In fact, it strongly supports her “deplorable” remark a few weeks ago. Clinton’s plan isn’t to create a stronger America — it is to create a public that doesn’t understand what the government is doing to it, and, as a result, is largely oblivious to how the government is taking control of their lives. When the public becomes content with keeping up with the Kardashians, it fails to grasp how the government is ruining the country. (Read more.)

Irish Proverbs

From Irish Central:
10. You'll arrive back with one arm as long as the other

Meaning: You heading out on a thankless quest. You'll arrive back with nothing to show for it.

11. You'll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind

Meaning: Merely thinking about something won't get it done.

12. He didn't lick it off a stone

Meaning: People’s actions are influenced by those around them.

13. I wouldn't call the Queen my aunt

Meaning: Being in such a contented mood that even becoming royalty couldn't improve upon it. (Read more.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Return of Corsets

From Style.Mic:
"In the Victorian era, many men in positions of power opposed the wearing of corsets, which is why there are plenty of newspaper reports and books referencing doctors saying they're bad for women's health," Lori Smith, a fashion researcher who also works at the London College of Fashion, said in an interview. "Tight-lacing was not as common at this time as many would have you believe, plus our ribs are flexible and internal organs are designed to move around." 

So, what changed? What made women start to become less enthusiastic about corsets? The answer: Fashion. By the turn of the 20th century, designers were pushing for women to ditch the corset for a more natural look. Chanel, for instance, pushed for no corsets at all, and so the well-to-do women who had until then embraced corsetry suddenly had second thoughts. (Read more.)