Remembrance Day 2018; remembering my grandfathers and remembering who profits from war

My grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield
My grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield.

Last weekend, Remembrance Sunday, 11th November 2018, was the 100th anniversary of the armistice and the end of fighting in the First World War, and I spent time thinking about my lovely grandfathers, Ernest Swinard and Harold Manterfield. Both of them, thankfully, and unlike many, returned home after military service in that appalling conflagration.

During the Remembrance ceremonies on the TV and radio, I heard ‘Rule Britannia’ being played, and some of the words stuck in my mind;

“Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves. And Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

But we are slaves. We are all slaves, like most of the world, to the vast corporations and the obscenely wealthy and powerful who set the agenda, who promote wars and profit from them, who set us against each other to distract us from their activities, who own and direct the majority of our media to spread lies and misinformation in furtherance of their own greedy, self-serving schemes, schemes that are to the detriment of the majority and that add to the destruction of our environment.

Those of us who are fortunate, through accident of birth, to live in relatively wealthy countries and to have a certain amount of personal freedom, must take more care in choosing who to vote for. We must look carefully at our choices and try to select candidates who are independent of the rich and the corporations, or of those who are stoking the flames of nationalism, xenophobia and false patriotism for their own personal gain.

Remember who profits from war, and remember who suffers from it, because they are not the same people.


The Old Soldier by Harry Fellows 1987


‘The Old Soldier’, shown above, is a moving poem by Harry Fellows that I posted on social media for Remembrance Day. The poem was written in 1987 by Harry Fellows about his friend Walter Smith; they were both living at the Willows Elderly Persons Home where my wife Sue worked at the time.


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There are quite a few Twitter links for Nottingham people, places and organisations at the bottom of the page.

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Humour – Well, they amuse me anyway


National and international news

National and international news
National and international news

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Twitter stuff

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IT stuff
IT stuff

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Fiction, short stories and poetry


News and media tweets about Nottingham

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Nottingham news

Arts, culture and entertainment in Nottingham

Nottingham arts and culture
Nottingham arts and culture

Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Nottingham

Nottingham food and drink
Nottingham food and drink

Musicians, groups and music venues in Nottingham

Nottingham music and venues
Nottingham music and venues

Companies, business and commerce in Nottingham

Nottingham Commerce
Nottingham Commerce

Tweets from and about Nottingham City Council and partners

Nottingham City Council
Nottingham City Council

Organisations, groups and societies in Nottingham

Organisations in Nottingham
Organisations in Nottingham

Bay, bay, balsa spruce, holly yew ebony willow?

Bay, bay, balsa spruce,
Holly yew ebony willow?
Yew fir, yew fir,
Cherry birch hazel.

Gum fir date maple,
Gum fir date elm,
Ash gum fir date laurel bay
Oak olive dogwood plane.

Poplar cedar maple,
Poplar cedar elm,
Ash poplar cedar laurel bay
Oak olive dogwood plane.

I’m afraid it has no deep or hidden meaning and, apart from a passing resemblance to ‘Baa, baa, black sheep’, makes no more sense than most of my asinine and pointless comments.

But trees are admirable, significant, blameless and trustworthy; I’m partial to trees.


Nottingham’s stone lions

Left Hand Lion
Nottingham’s Left Hand Lion

In the heart of Nottingham there are two large art-deco stone lions, resting either side of the Council House steps, guarding the entrance and surveying the historic Old Market Square.

Council House dome
Council House dome

Nottingham’s superlative Council House, with its 200 foot high dome and ten and a half ton bell called Little John, was designed by the architect T Cecil Howitt, but the lions, and much of the sculpture, were by Nottingham sculptor Joseph Else (1874-1955). Joseph Else was the principle of the Nottingham School of Art on Waverley Street between 1923 and 1939.

The lions have been a popular symbol in Nottingham for many years and since 2006 Nottingham City Council has used the lion on some of its promotional

The proud lion
© Nottingham City Council

material, in campaigns and on stationery.

To local people meeting at the ‘Left Lion’ has been an indispensable part of life in Nottingham since the Council House opened in 1929. The ‘Left Lion’ is the one on your left as you face the steps and entrance at the front of the building. A Nottingham arts and listings paper is called the Left Lion.

The two lions are known locally to a few people as Leo and Oscar, although some would say Menelaus and Agamemnon, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone from Nottingham who doesn’t recognize them.

Local legend has it that the lions roar when a virgin walks by.

A poem from the BBC’s ‘A Sense Of Place

Clifton poet Lynn Adgar has written a special poem to allow the lions of Nottingham’s Old Market Square to tell us their story.

Nottingham’s Pride – Lion Watching by Lynn Adgar


I’m tired, tired of sitting here all day, Staring at my brother who has no thoughts of his own

He’s just like stone!

He sits contentedly with his lot – gives not a jot for pigeon poo, graffiti too

Daubed across our stately hue.

I grace the hub of city power, to welcome and guard a host of fame

Dignitaries and royalty, pause before me, caress my mane……

A tour of the city is not complete, unless you meet

The Left Hand Lion looking a little melancholy; winter and stone probably isn’t a good combination
The Left Hand Lion looking a little melancholy; winter and stone probably isn’t a good combination

The Council Lions………….

A pigeon told me

Before we arrived a market thrived,

coster banter filled the air, trading wares.

Mad Harry selling stale cakes cheap

Soap box religion vied with buskers strange.

A man displaying muscle brace would fall on his face

Marking the spot with black chalk on his nose.

I think this shows

Just how needed we were to raise the tone.

1929 So, this was now home, a bland slab square

But something had to be done with this drab looking blur

I craved flowers and music to enhance the grandeur.

Yes, I’ve seen some improvements over the years

Witnessed laughter and tears from my solitary post

Never quite being involved, not that I’m cold

You see,

Nottingham’s Left Hand Lion
Nottingham’s Left Hand Lion

it’s quite simply beneath my station to display elation

be it victory time

or when Little Johns chimes

to herald a new years birth.

Expression mute as I execute my guardian role

But joy touches my soul

And this great heart of mine fills with pride

when the city gathers before me to share the moment.


Nottingham Council House’s guardians have a late night chat…

via Nottingham arts and listings paper the Left Lion.

A passing final thought; Nottingham’s lions were designed and sculpted in the ‘Roaring Twenties’.

As you paws by the statues fur a moment, consider their felines; they’ve been lion in the roar cold air in front of the Council House as the mane attraction for many years.

For other information about Nottingham click here


MumblingNerd’s Nottingham destination print

If you want to know more about Nottingham’s past there is further information in ‘Events and dates in Nottingham’s history’ and through these websites:


The Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway

The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire

Nottingham Local Studies Library