Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An "utterly memorable" Day

In trying to keep my thoughts away from that coming pesky election I noted that today is St Crispin's Day.
St Crispin is known as patron saint of shoemakers, leather-workers and suchlike.

Crispin and his (twin?) brother Crispinian were shoemakers as well as Christian martyrs, beheaded during the reign of Diocletian; the date of their execution is given as 25 October 285 or 286.

St Crispin's Day has become embedded in most minds, in Englnd at least, mainly through William Shakespeare's play, Henry V, in which the (as "1066 & All That" puts it) "utterly memorable Battle of Agincourt" took place, and Henry (via Will Shakespeare) made his oft remembered speech.

In unvarnished, unpoetic real life it's highly unlikely Ol'Henry Five ever said anything of the sort!

Information following was gleaned from shmoop.com (I wish we'd had access to this kind of help when presented with Henry V to study, as we were back in High School in England in the 1950s!)

The play was written around 1599, but it portrays events that occurred immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt (October 25, 1415), which just so happened to occur on St. Crispin's Day, the feast day of the martyred twins, Saints Crispin and Crispinian. Like we've said elsewhere, the events in the play speak to some contemporary (Elizabethan) issues. As Shakespeare's original audiences watched Henry wage a war with France, they would have been reminded of their own long-standing problems with Spain and a recent uprising in Ireland, the Earl of Tyrone's Rebellion (1594-1603).

Henry V is a war play..... What's the play's attitude toward war? Specifically, what's the play's attitude toward Henry's decision to invade France? The answers aren't cut and dried because the tone shifts between patriotic fervor for Henry's campaign against the French and it's recognition of the horrors of warfare. On the one hand, the play celebrates Henry's triumph over the France, which seems miraculous given that the English troops were exhausted, sick, and seriously outnumbered at Agincourt. The play is also chock-full of patriotic speeches that suggest warfare is patriotic and ennobling. (The clearest example of this is Henry's famous St. Crispin's Day speech, where he insists that the men who fight alongside him will become his "band of brothers.") On the other hand, Shakespeare goes out of his way to show us the horrors of warfare, which involve brutal hand to hand combat, raping, pillaging, and endless suffering. As Exeter points out, neither side can escape "the widows' tears, the orphans' cries, / The dead men's blood, the pining maidens' groans, / For husbands, fathers, and betrothèd lovers."

Returning to St Crispin's Day, 2016: as shoemakers, in the traditional sense, are now few and very far between, their patron saints' workload in that department will have been considerably reduced, though not entirely eliminated. Western "cowboy" boots, belts, saddles especially come to mind in the USA; Spain, and maybe Mexico, still retain their leather-working traditions. St Crispin and St Crispinian have not been made totally redundant yet.


mike said...

The Catholics have enough saints to celebrate about 30 saints per day!
"These 802 men and women will join the more than 10,000 saints the Catholic Church already venerates."
The total number of saints is questionable, depending on the source. The more recent inductees to sainthood in the past couple of decades leads me to believe the requirements are minimal. The more the merrier.

Seems that Crispin and Crispinian should be celebrated in the season of Gemini (possible twins, two brothers) and the makers of shoes (travel)...kinda like the statues of Mercury with wings on the heel and ankle. Astrology doesn't go-over well with the religious.

I'm not leather-opposed, though I understand those individuals that prefer pleather or fabric. Even if leather were banned, there would be a ginormous amount of animal skins sent to the waste heaps once the meat was extracted. I'm sure McDonalds and steak houses will continue their carnivorous menus, with skin as a waste by-product.

I encountered a neighbor yesterday while walking GiGi. She was carrying an incredibly beautiful, hand-tooled, leather bag she purchased for cheap at a garage sale. It was the size of a standard, reusable, grocery bag...not small. I viewed a program about a year ago, probably on PBS, with a behind-the-scene look at the Gucci production of leather goods. I was amazed at the amount of man-hours involved and the incredible attention to detail, hence the astronomical prices placed on the final products. Growing-up, it seemed that every kid eventually went through the "Tandy Leathercraft" stage, making wallets, bags, belts, etc from kits sold by Tandy, with everything from simple assembly to complex, raw materials.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, caliber of recent saints hardly matches those of yore - likewise caliber of our political creatures. ;-)

It appears "25 October" was the date of their execution, so chosen to honour 'em - though not sure whether that date is Old Style or New Style or some style between! Romans had peculiar dating systems... ides, nones etc.

Leather - I'm not averse to the use of it, I'm more averse to plastic/nylon/polyester. Animals aren't usually killed just for their skins these days (for fur, yes, not for skins) so as long as man remains a meat-eater, using all parts of the beasts is good management.

I've loved the smell of good leather since my schooldays. I clearly remember being taken to the "leather shop" in our town when I passed scholarship exams to attend Bridlington High School for Girls. I was to be bought a new leather "satchel" or "school-bag". The leather store smelled glorious! I got my solid leather satchel, treasured it all through my High School days. Nowadays it seems pupils have back-pack type bags for their books and homework, and leather satchels are no more, or at least no longer a common sight.

mike (again) said...

I love the scent of leather, too. There have been several men's colognes replicating that scent.

The curing process of leather utilizes various essential oils to seal the hide and provide protection from deterioration (mold & insects). Birch oil is used for the distinctive Russian leather smell and quality:
"Saturating the tanned hide with birch oil. This is the most distinctive part of the process, giving Russia leather its water resistance and distinctive smell."

Cedar, Cade, and-or Labdanum are several of the many alternative oils.


Did you ever purchase some galbanum essential oil for your Vent Vert?

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks - that's an especially nice piece from the fragrantica.com site.

The backside of leather's wonderful fragrance is what has to go before. My maternal grandparents lived in a tiny East Yorkshire village with a village pond, a beautiful little Norman church, a farm, and... a tannery. I lived with the grandparents during some of the worst of the war years, when Hull was being bombed. I remember well the unpleasant stink which would occasionally come from "the tanyard" to spoil that rural idyll! ;-o

I didn't buy the galbanum oil - I decided that, on its own it would likely not be quite "it". I've continued trying to find a fragrance I'd like as much as the original Vent Vert by buying a few tiny vials, online, of this and that to sample. Nothing wonderful so far. There's a company called "Creed" which produces some very expensive fragrances - I tried one sample of theirs - very nice, but a proper sized bottle is out of my league (unless that ship of mine ship ever comes in!)

It seems to me that perfumes are getting weaker and weaker - unless it's my sense of smell! Maybe the atmosphere in Oklahoma is not good for manufactured "scents". Nothing seems to smell the same, or as strong, here.

PS - Are you still feeling ok, healthwise - or at least no more than 10% under?

mike (again) said...

I saw your question on the previous post's comments. I've pondered how to respond without it turning into "tl;dr"...LOL.

I received a letter from the gastroenterologist's office last Friday informing me that I was being charged an office visit for my missed appointment last Wednesday. I didn't have an appointment, so I went in person to their office yesterday. Managed to get that settled...the receptionist entered the Wednesday, September 21st appointment on the October page. The Sept. 21st appointment is the one I cancelled the Monday prior and I talked to their answering service, and they sent the office an email, so there was a record and it all made sense to the office manager...their error, not mine. Geez.

I requested three weeks ago that my laboratory results be sent to me via mail, but didn't receive. While I was there yesterday, I asked for and received a copy. My last visit with the gastroenterologist was Friday, Sept. 16th, and was a presentation of the results of all the tests that were performed. The doctor told me that my ALT liver enzyme was high. I inquired about the other blood work, to which he responded that all was fine. I asked about my urinalysis (my urine sample was obviously dark and weird), to which he said it was fine. He then informed me that he suspected ulcers and wanted me to have an upper GI series done. My next appointment was to get the results of the upper GI series, but I didn't have the radiology performed, so I cancelled the next appointment and haven't been back since, other than yesterday's visit to correct their error.

Well, my blood results are astounding! Eight blood assay parameters are "high", two are "low", including white blood cells, neutrophils, and monocytes 30% higher than the upper limit. Urinalysis is "abnormal: red blood cells present, turbid, hyaline and mucus casts present" (negative for bacteria).

I can't get an appointment with my regular GP doctor until November 17th. I can go to my clinic as a walk-in with no appointment, but there's no guarantee that I'll be seen and it depends on other walk-ins that get there before me. Can't say that I feel like waiting for hours, unless I take a sleeping bag, earplugs, and an eye mask.

It's been seven weeks now since my attack. I'm much better than I was back then, that's for sure, but I haven't been able to return to normal. Lost 15 pounds over the first month and the weight loss has stopped, but I haven't been able to gain any weight the last three weeks. Have a new, dull ache with the occasional sharp pain to the right of my belly button. Appendix? Gall bladder? Very tired.

mike (again) said...

BTW - My original suggestion was to add a very small amount (a drop or two?) of galbanum essential oil to a bottle of Vent Vert. I think you suspected the manufacturer had reduced or omitted the galbanum in the newer version.

"It appears the main difference in the original Vent Vert and the reformulations is less of, or complete lack of Galbanum, which is said to have made the original so outstandingly striking."

Galbanum essential oil:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Oh! Thank you for the details on your health problem. I don't understand the blood diagnosis, but obviously it's not normal. It was all done when you were "at your worst" though. November 17 is way too long to wait for an appointment, but it's better than not having one at all. Maybe an alternative would be getting to the clinic very very early - that might ensure you a wait that's not too hard to endure?

Re the galbanum oil - hmmm - but would oil mix with perfume - just like that? Maybe on the skin it might, by spraying a little on top of a drop of the essential oil. Don't know - it sounds a bit iffy, but worth a try if I can't find a good replacement that I really like. :-) I've bookmarked the link again. Thank you!