Sunday, 25 February 2018

Bell-Ashton Foundation

The name "Bell-Ashton" came out of my dream, and does not, to the best of my knowledge, have any relevance to any real world entity.

This dream springs from my recent activities:

  • preparation for my "Land of Ireland" lecture to the Leixlip History Society, which half-opened many inviting doors to avenues not yet explored; 
  • last Thursday's music session by my little band of Imposters at Clareville Day Centre, where we found two wedding anniversaries to be celebrated, one a sixtieth and the other a fifty-eighth, and the sixty-celebrating groom sang two songs from an old tradition of comic songs, the first, called  "the Two-hundred Year Old Alcoholic" describing a man, who, at eightyyears decided to start living and took up smoking, drinking, gambling and womanising, to find himself becoming an alcoholic as he approaches two hundred, and the second an American song to fit in with our America theme for that day (next Thursday has a Scottish theme).
  • The other recent activity is my editing of Clareville Centre's "Dublin Memory Book," a book of contributions by clients of the Centre, (including one from the sixty-year groom), which I expect to be published soon,  to which I contribute a story called "Big Boys' School," describing how different schooling was in my time, in the era of large classes and corporal punishment.

In the dream I set out with an Active Retirement group on a bus tour. The Active Retirement element is mixed up with echoes of school and church-choir outings of old. We are heading for the sea-side, and, as in the school trips, I am eager to get there and a bit irritated by the cultural and historic stops we make on the way.

We stop at a site reminiscent of a university campus, the Bell-Ashton foundation, imbued with layers of history like Lismore Castle in my Land of Ireland lecture, This campus is apparently in County Meath, the county that hosts the famous Megalithic sites of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, and historic Tara, seat of the High Kings. Soon head on towards the coast.

We spend a long sunny day (and extensive dream-time) engaging in the pleasures of the sea-side, and then board the bus for the return journey.

This time, when we stop at the same campus we visited briefly on the way out, we follow a flow of people towards the door of what? The door of a large church or cathedral. The people have lighted candles and are parading in for Mass. Since we are there for the tour and not the ceremony, we deflect out a side-door and into another edifice of the campus.

Here a man is giving an informative talk. He takes a saxophone and  plays a couple of scales. Then he explains: "Bell developed the basic structure, but Ashton developed the many variations." He played the saxophone again, this time not a scale, but multiple variations between various sequences of two adjacent notes. "While the Bell patent gave the original funding, the multiple Ashton patents provide the vast bulk of the funding."