Friday, 15 April 2016

What employment have we here?

At the top of the Keep, Conisbrough Castle

Fit for great employment

In Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona a group of banished (outlaw) citizens (living in the forest – where else?) redeem themselves by helping shelter the protagonists. The “hero” in the final scene asks the Duke to pardon them:
These banish'd men that I have kept withal
Are men endued with worthy qualities:
Forgive them what they have committed here
And let them be recall'd from their exile:
They are reformed, civil, full of good
And fit for great employment, worthy lord.

Royal Shakespeare Company Two Gentlemen of Verona outlaws

Adaptation and Change

The outlaws in Two Gentlemen of Verona get a second chance. They start again. They’ve suffered. They’ve adapted. They’ve changed. They are now “full of good/And fit for great employment.”
Flowers from Angela Tuffnell to celebrate changing times....

Conisbrough Castle

Conisbrough Castle in South Yorkshire is a great example of a building that adapts to changing fortunes:
  • built in the 11th Century by William de Warenne, the Earl of Surrey
  • remodelled by the wonderfully-named Hamelin Plantagenet, bastard son of Henry II
  • left to ruin in the Civil War
  • scene for three powerful women to exert their influence over their lives and times: Isabel de Warenne, Isabella of Castile and Countess Maud Clifford
  • setting for the inspiration of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe 
  • modern tourist attraction.

European Union money and UK renovations

The castle was in terrible disrepair until a series of careful renovations, funded and managed by a partnership between English Heritage, the local (Doncaster) council, the charitable Ivanhoe Trust and the European Union. Yes, the European Union. I wonder how many roads, renovations and infrastructure projects have been funded in the UK by EU money? (Vote Remain, I say.)

Confederation of British Industry graphic - who's got the biggest market?

The Downton Abbey syndrome

Conisbrough Castle's extraordinary Keep and Chapel
Great houses and castles in the UK are fantastic places to visit (in my opinion) because they tell us much about where we’ve been and why we’ve been what we’ve been. And how, as a country, we can adapt and employ our resources for the maximum enjoyment of the maximum number of citizens. It’s all about Adaptation and Changing with the times. Market forces will take care of the rest, as long as the Market is honest….