I spent the last few days in Edinburgh. I had a wonderful time - and sunny weather! (Well, apart from the last day, which was very rainy, but I needed that to convince me that I was really in Scotland...). Of course Edinburgh is a little bit magical for me in any case because it is the site of the capital of the Gododdin, and the capital of Lothian - it's Lot Country and Gawain was born there! I rolled my eyes a bit at the shameless commercial exploitation of what is after all Highland dress in the capital of the Lowlands; I was bemused by the existence of vegetarian haggis and Scottish/Mexican fusion cooking yielding quesadillas with haggis; I wandered through the expanse of Holyrood Park pretending not to know that Arthur's Seat doesn't really have anything to do with Arthur; and of course I also drooled over the Celtic exhibits in the National Museum. I also learnt that quite a few members of the Scottish ruling class in the Middle Ages were of Flemish descent, which certainly explains some of the more absurd aspects of life in Scotland ;-).
Naturally I brought back a lot of books, one of which is a collection of Scottish folk tales. I also (finally) got a copy of the Mabinogion, a small booklet about Pictish fortresses, a history of the Pictish people and a copy of The Last of the Celts, Marcus Tanner's exploration of what is left of the Celtic-speaking world. It makes for gloomy reading. Tanner estimates that one generation from now, all Celtic languages will be extinct. Some of them have been killed off by aggressive government policies (Breton in France, Gaelic in the UK), others are just spoken by people who aren't proud of their language and its heritage (Gaelic in Ireland). All of them have been dealt with in a bad way - measures to preserve the languages have either come too late or have had adverse effects. These things make a Celtophile despair :(.
Well, I'm trying to keep Celtic culture alive in my own modest way (ahem). New pages are below; I hope you enjoy them. Concrit is welcome, as always!
What went before
Lot and Morgana have a problem. They each have their own high hopes for Gawain, but none of their plans are going to come to anything if the boy cannot hold his own in a fight. Gawain is small and not particularly strong. To overcome these weaknesses, he will need the help of an expert - preferably of the female variety. Fortunately, Morgana knows just such a person...
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Next week: Conchobarre gives her reasons. They reveal something about Lot...