Posts Tagged ‘The Great Fogginzo’


The latest from John Foggin

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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Contrary to the truth universally acknowledged that British children aren’t taught standard English and the conventions of writing it down, here’s the actual truth.. What they HAVE to be taught has been there in black and white in the Framework for the Literacy Hour for years. Politicians don’t trouble themselves with this kind of detail. Maybe they should. So spare a thought for the teachers of 4-7 year olds who have to make sure that young children know how to use a full stop correctly. And, as a corollary,that they have grasped the concept of a sentence sufficiently for them to recognise one when they’ve written it. Think for a moment about that. You know a sentence when you see one. You just read some. Now tell yourself what a sentence is, or what it has to do to be a sentence. Maybe you say it has to have a…

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Another thought provoking blog from John Foggin featuring poems from Wendy Pratt.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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One of my fictional heroes is Esther Summerson in ‘Bleak House’. Most of the students I’ve ‘taught’ on A level and on degree courses disliked her or dismissed her as wetly pious. I argued long and hard for her courage, her moral strength;  I always believed in her genuine humility rooted in a sense of her own worthlessness. It takes a lot for her to believe that she can truly be loved, as opposed to being relied on. I’m not sure if this is germane to this week’s cobweb strand. Who knows where we’ll end up. But, like Esther, ‘I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write my portion of these pages, for I am not very clever.’ She adds: ‘I always knew that’. I wish I could, hand on heart, say that. And let me clear up what I mean by clever here. I’m not…

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This weeks blog from John Foggin on the 300th anniversary of the Glencoe massacre.

The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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Everything I know, or think I know, about Glencoe (apart from driving through it) I know from John Prebble’s work. The same is true of The Clearances and of Culloden. Shortbread-tin-and-tartan history likes to paint the perfidious English as the villains of the piece. It chooses to ignore the major part played by the Lowland Scots. It chooses to ignore the fact that McIan, the clan chief of the Glencoe Macdonalds was essentially a bandit and cattle thief whose depredations had driven Campbell of Glen Lyon to such straits of penury that he had to enlist in the army in order to make a living. So it was maybe no surprise that Caampbell was quite happy to lead the raid on the MacDonalds of Glencoe.  ‘Massacre’ conjures up notions of annihilation. Thirty-seven** of the Clan MacDonald were killed. Decimation would be a more accurate word. But it was a cowardly…

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The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb

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In Gaelic, they call the Isle of Skye : Eilean a’Cheo – The Isle of the Mist. When you drive from the bridge to Broadford, sometimes it can be as bland as you like, and butter wouldn’t melt. Bheinn na Caillich on a sunny day looks like an invitingly pleasant walk. It doesn’t look like 3000 feet of granite scree and boulder that might break your heart. And on a clear day, you can see, on the summit, a low mound. It’s a cairn, 50 metres round the base, and reputed to be the burial mound of a Norwegian princess. A bookseller in Broadford said to me one day, quite casually, ‘ah, yes. Saucy Mary’s cairn’. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? He sold me a book: Skye: the island and its legends. [Otta Swire. pub. Birlinn Limited. Edinburgh 2006. First edition O.U.P. 1952] and that’s how I came to learn about…

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