Books Magazine

This is Narrow Land

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Help!  It's turtles all the way down this week!  Here's where I started...
'What's the derivation of the word 'list'?'
*looks up 'list' on Google*
'Oh, hang on, I remember writing a blog post about listing once before and I was a proper clever dick, referring to the list of a ship.'
*pauses to bask in the glow of her own glory*
'So, I could write some lines of poetry about being on a boat as it leans into the wind.'
*realises she knows sod all about sailing*
'But hang on, listing is about angles and what I'm doing now is trying to come up with an original angle on the subject of lists...'
*mind temporarily blown*
And that's as far as I got before I started to type this up, such was my amazement at the whole circular list/angle thing.  So I guess it's angles all the way down. 
*heads back to Google to look up the Angles*
'Wikipedia reckons that the derivation of Angles, as it pertains to the area in Germany (Angeln) where the Angle tribes originated, either means narrow or hook.  If I had to pick,'
*I don't have to pick*
'I'd go with narrow and make a joke about the EDL being the 'narrow land' defence league.  Narrow land for narrow minded folks who forget that we're all from somewhere else.'
*I have now typed narrow too many times and it looks wrong.*
This reminds me of an observation I made this morning while sitting on the porcelain throne and observing a shiny five pence piece.  The lions are fabulous.  Have you looked at them recently?  So cartoonish.  Anyway, it made me wonder why we still use the lion as an emblem of England (Narrow Land). 
*heads back to Google to look up lions and England and wonders about the word 'passant' before skimming through a lot of stuff about what it means if the lion's got a paw raised or an eye winking and more 'probably interesting to someone else' information*

'It's French innit?  All that heraldic stuff came in with the Normans.'
Conclusion: Initially I'd thought we should get shut of the lion and replace it with a badger.  It's fierce, it's native to England and it'd look cute on coinage.  But then I realised that the lion shows how we've been exchanging ideas and culture on a global scale for a bloody long time.  From Romans to Angles to Normans.  And us buggering off round the world looting and discovering and interfering.  I daresay we did some good stuff too (but the British Museum should probably give that stuff back even though it's lovely). 
So that's my list.  It's the order in which stuff fell out of my brain.  No poetry I'm afraid.  Just ideas. 
This is Narrow LandP.S. I have now also googled 'Narrow Land' by Jack Vance after looking for a suitable image.  Apparently it's a book of short stories with the eponymous tale being about 'alien life forms in a hostile environment - and evolution'.  Sounds like England to me.

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