Old folk at lunch

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"And well we weren esed atte beste"



That's the English of 600 years ago.

Being old can be rather disturbing. It alerts you to what is possible. And one thing I know to be possible is that one can in country schools of no distinction gain an infinitely better education than one gets in just about ANY school today. I know that because I had such an education.

My education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns High School left me with an awareness of Homer, Chaucer, Robert Burns, Tennyson, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, G.M. Hopkins and many others. It even introduced me to Schubert Lieder, Dvorak, Bach and that marvellous prewar tenor Josef Schmidt. I doubt that even Eton does as much these days. Yet all those things remain with me and give me pleasure. Even the Latin I learnt then has often been helpful.

And note that some of the authors were distinctly "difficult". What is a "daimen icker in a thrave"? To understand one of the most famous Burns poems you need to know that it means "a single ear in a sheaf". And we learnt that. And to this day I celebrate the birthday of Robert Burns every year.

The Chaucer quote at the head of this post did pose some difficulty, however, The teacher didn't know what it meant and nor could I figure it out at that age. Some time in recent years it has become clear to me what it means, however, and it is of course very simple. It means "And well we were eased, at the best". The Tabard was obviously a very good inn on the way to Canterbury 600 years ago. It would be a rare schoolboy today who knows of that journey, however.

And if the greats of English literature and classical music seem irrelevant, let me also note that I learnt enough physics by age 16 to see immediately (many years later) what a hoax the global warming scare is. One only has to know the melting point of ice to see that.

Would you believe that when Warmists talk about recent temperature changes, they are talking about changes in terms of tenths and even hundredths of one degree? Just look at the calibrations on any of their graphs.

How such tiny changes are ever going to melt the VERY cold Antarctic boggles the imagination

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