Friday 12 May 2023

Arma Virumque

Wot, Latin? Pretentious gittery alert! Last November, much delayed by Coronarama, we rocked up to þe olde family pile in the Midlands to hang out with the descendants of my GtGrandfather. It was not unpleasant to meet the second cousins, all the first cousins - my father's generation - being dead. There were, of course, children of my generation and a few of them had children at foot. Gdau.I and Gdau.II's 4th cousins. Unless folks live in the same village forever, it is quite rare to have anything to do with 4th cousins. The genetic dilution is such that they have as much likelihood of sharing a Mendelian genetic trait as any rando on the dance-floor . . . unless you've emigrated to Nepal - for the mountain air, like.

Regrettably, one or more of this cousinage had spent too much time on the dance-floor with randos because The Beloved and I both copped a 'rona, felt crap for a week, and took about 4 months recovering from the assault. In one part of the stately 1710 family pile, þe olde family crest was carved into weathered sandstone: paly of eight,  gules  and  arg ; a lion, rampant, or, holding a snake in its paw. I've known this forever because the downstairs jacks in my parent's home had a framed copy of the said arms. Owning such a picture in that location was a nice balance of pretentiousness and ironic comment on the whole ancestry nonsense.

It set me to tumbling back 60 40 [corrected after comment] years to when The Boy was in primary school in suburban Boston. His class was requested and required, as part of a history and heraldry project, to draw a picture of a coat of arms. Perhaps because his bestie at the time was 'hispanic', The Boy elected to draw the Escudo Nacional de México which depicts "a golden eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus devouring a rattlesnake" . . . something something Aztec legend about the foundation of their core city. I have a vague memory of discussing the home-work project and quite possibly mentioned our own contribution to heraldic nonsense - perhaps México was easier to talk about in class?

Whatevs, the picture generated [see L] became part of [nuclear] family lore and has survived multiple rounds of house-moving triage through the next 6 decades. Its survival is partly attributed to artistic merit but partly to the ironic title added by The Boy's father "Penguin being tickled by french loaf". AITA? Yes!



  1. Where are you going with your sixty years? 39 years. Are you turning into a chip off the auld salt block? :D

  2. Ahem! quite so. corrected the text.