Those Green Mountain Boys

I have been thinking about Vermont all week wondering why no one who lives in the U.S.A.’s second smallest state ever looks at this website. Vermont is the only American state that has never looked at this daily blog and, frankly, I am hurt.

It seems such a beautiful place too and I like the look of it even though I have never been there. The Green Mountain State is certainly very green-looking even if we mostly think of it in its Autumn colours. The Green Mountains were named by those inventive French settlers who were the original European imperialists who laid claim to this magnificent, if quite small, stretch of North East America before surrendering it to Britain in the Eighteenth Century. The French saw the mountains, which are in fact a part of the great Appalachian range, and, in the spirit of their great poets Verlaine and Baudelaire, named them Les Monts Verts, and for once nothing has been lost in the translation from French into English: The Green Mountains.

Here is a more typtical image of Green Mountain territory with its majestic range of colours that were , for once, ignored by the creators of Impressionist Painting and very expensive designer ballgowns.

We must be grateful, possibly, that the French gave up this state to us, the British, even if we only held onto it for a few decades before the humiliation of the American Revolution.

I have never really felt very humiliated by the American Revolution as, on the whole, it seemed quite a sensible idea to declare independence from the country that most of your citizens had gone to quite a lot of trouble to get away from in the first place. I have always admired the independent spirit of those early pioneers who left our shores for the great unknown.

So maybe it is that independence of spirit that makes Vermont so reluctant to read anything from the hand, or paw, of a British wolf.

A clue to this Vermont reluctance: I have just found out that, every year on the 16th. August, the people of Vermont celebrate a famous British defeat at the Battle of Bennington where the “colonial” forces routed the British troops along with some allied German and Native American regiments. Some of the doughtiest fighters on the American side were the so-called Green Mountain Boys who were originally freedom-fighting militia men from Vermont. They certainly didn’t like the British.

They were formed when the citizens of the land that was to become Vermont was being portioned out, rather unfairly, to the people of New York by none other than good old King George III of Great Britain. They were led by the very brave, if rather unattractive-looking, Ethan Allen, who is now, and quite right too, a Vermont hero.

The British defeat was one of the final nails in the coffin of British power in North America so it is odd how we in Britain don’t ever learn much about it in school.

A trip to Vermont would soon change that as, every year, the Green Mountain Boys march again and, August after August, defeat the British all over again in special reenactment rituals.

As far as I know, they never let us win but then that’s revolutionary war for you.

They even march through the streets celebrating the Battle of Bennington, so if I ever find myself in Vermont in August, I think I shall hide up in them hills.

So that I could sleep at night I thought I would look for friendlier images of those Green Mountain Boys…and these little figures are much less frightening, I think than those marching citizens. They are available on eBay for about $95 if any of you Brits fancy a reminder of our loss of empire.

But if I ever find myself in Vermont and feel as if I am in enemy territory, I shall remember that all traces of Britain have not been wiped out. Nothing could be more English than the Green Mountain Morris Dancers.

It is good to know that not all traces of our rich English culture was chucked out in Vermont at the Battle of Bennington. One day the Green Mountain Boys may even dance with our very own Lewes Morris Men.

As I’ve been reporting, I’m getting into gear for the imminent publication (31st October 2013) of my novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
You can already pre-order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:
…or from Book Depository:
…or from Amazon:

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