Merry King Charles II and his Ladies

Charles II - VERY popular with the ladies /

Charles II – VERY popular with the ladies /

At the same time as Felipe IV reigned in very grand Spain, and Louis XIV in very rich France, the ‘Sun King’s’ cousin Charles II was living a double life in England. He had regained the throne in The Restoration, had punished a few of those who had signed the death warrant for his father’s execution in 1649, and was now suffering a certain amount of stick from his wretched parliament. More intelligent, tactful and resourceful than Charles I had ever been, merry Charles II knew how to deal with irritating Members of Parliament. When they became irksome, he simply closed Parliament and ruled with a cabal of his chosen ministers instead. And the MPs let him. (more…)

By | 2012-02-10T11:11:34+00:00 February 10th, 2012|English History, French History, Humour|0 Comments

Separatism for all!

I am becoming all fired up with enthusiasm for the Pandora’s Box of separatism. In Cataluña, Catalunya and Catalonia, Mr Arthur More y More says Cataluña etc. is a Nation, speaking its own language, and must therefore be free of Spanish shackles. In the Basque Country terrorists have been murdering people for years because someone told them assassination was the best way to achieve secession. In Scotland, Mr Alexander Scottish-Salmon is all for independence because of the 1997 devolution referendum, and because the bloody Sassenachs have bullied the Scots since the Romans, though the latter were not actually Sassenachs. (more…)

By | 2012-02-07T18:30:56+00:00 February 7th, 2012|Humour, Philosophy, Today, World History|0 Comments

The Great Millennium Mistake

I owe this to Simon Raven. In one of his works he speaks of the legend of Cape Tainarus in Greece. There is a dreaded cave there, dreaded because the dead emerge from this cave on the last night of every thousand years. They fly off across the many-sounding sea to Cytherea (an island of Aphrodite the Goddess of Love, now called Kithira). Here they are given the singular gift of real bodies, with which they can make love to whomever they choose for the single hour between 11 pm and midnight.

After the witching hour strikes, they revert merely to being shadows and are bound to return to their accustomed abode (grave, tomb, mausoleum etc.) as the last stroke of twelve brings in The New Year, the New Century and the new Millennium.

Now it seems that the first time this rare anniversary happened in the Christian Era was the year 1000 A.D. There were Christians in Cytherea who knew of this legend from their pagan records. They were naturally worried lest they be seduced or raped by these ghosts with only too human bodies. Aphrodite forgotten and the Church authorities now dominant, they locked their doors and barred themselves into their house, blocking all cracks in the boards with quick-drying clay.

The new Bishop of Cytherea remained outside all night armed with Cross and crozier so as to exorcise any randy spirit that might appear before they changed from larval to carnal and thus be capable of lustful outrage. Came the morn, and the brave bishop reported that no naughty reventants had turned up! It was thankfully assumed that Goddess Aphrodite had lost her powers since Christianity had triumphed. There would not be any infernal, amorous invaders, and in any case none were due to come for another thousand years.

On the following New Year’s Eve, the people carried on with their usual binge excesses, dancing in the streets, stuffing themselves with rich foods, only to be caught unawares and seriously molested by swarms of over-sexed cadavers, who managed to ‘have relations’ as the better class of newspapers say, with almost every human being on the island between 11 p.m. and midnight! What had happened? Why was this terrific orgy a year late?

What had gone wrong was that the Cythereans had made the silly mistake of thinking that the new millennium started, and the old ended at the beginning of 1000. Now we know that they only start and end with the arrival of 1001, when the year 1000, last of the old millennium is waved goodbye. So the Cythereans had shut themselves up to no purpose a year early, and were wandering about unprepared when the crunch came.

Now what was to be done about the women and girls who had been impregnated by the visitors? Or about the babies they would bear nine months later? It seems the dead could not be bothered with condoms. The older people had behaved without decorum too. They had not had any sexual entertainment for years, and had been accosted equally by the over-sexed spirits, who in any case had not enough time to discriminate. The venerables greatly enjoyed the discovery that they were up to it after all. Worse, they wouldn’t leave their far more appetising juniors alone – the spirits were hard put to fend the ancients off!

One wonders if the inhabitants of Cytherea made the same mistake at the onset of the years 2000 and 2001? They may have got their dates right twelve years ago, though, or maybe their intelligent authorities preferred to get it wrong accidentally on purpose. After all, such a divertissement could become an every- thousand-year tourist attraction.

By | 2012-01-22T18:03:40+00:00 January 22nd, 2012|Greek History, Humour, World History|0 Comments

The Englishman abroad: aspects of the typical British tourist over two centuries

The Englishman abroad: aspects of the typical British tourist over two centuries

In the 18th and 19th centuries, two kinds of Englishman ‘went abroad’, or left Britain for a period. The first of these was the young man on the Grand Tour: He was between 19 and 25 years old, fresh from the University (which was invariably Oxford of Cambridge); rich because he had been born rich, travelling in his own coach with a driver, possibly two grooms and a valet. He may have been accompanied by friends, and a tutor who had befriended him at university. He carried at least two pistols in a case, for protection during long journeys in savage countries like France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Austro-Hungary or Spain. He aimed to stay in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Venice, Budapest, Madrid and Constantinople. His valet was usually of the same age, better looking, worse-dressed, more intelligent, cunning and always critical of ‘the young master’. He was trusted by the young man’s parents to bring the traveller back alive. (more…)

By | 2012-01-09T11:09:33+00:00 January 9th, 2012|English History, Humour, Today, World History|0 Comments

Disadvantages of being English and old

One of these (there are many others) is the question of communication if you are British and over fifty-five, with someone equally British but under thirty-five. Multitudes of Brits visit the Atlantic island where I live, tourists mostly. On my ultimate expedition to a favourite seafront restaurant, where the Atlantic actually rolls up and crashes against the seawall below the place, the tables to my right and left were crowded with large English families, an encouraging concept. (more…)

By | 2012-01-01T11:31:48+00:00 January 1st, 2012|Humour, Jewish History, Philosophy, Today|0 Comments

The myth of the rustic yokel

Smart city-dwellers fear their deluded vision of the countryside. Safe in the penthouse, their remembrance (if they have any) of staying in the country is of cold and discomfort in winter, sweating, mosquito-laden summers, fear of a dark, leafy lane walking back from the pub (if they can find a country pub that is still open). (more…)

By | 2011-10-09T15:47:15+00:00 October 9th, 2011|Humour|0 Comments

Skin Care Parody

What follows is a parody of the kind of health article published in a lesser quality English magazine or newspaper:

Skin care: Our medical correspondent corresponds

We must learn to look after our skin. Our skin should not be allowed in the sun or rain. No-one should scratch it, as it is sensitive to scratching. Generically speaking, our skin covers the whole body with a protective covering that covers our muscles and bones. In the spring, apply Tocopheryl Acetate, or Dimethiconol if you cannot find Tocopheryl Acetate. Start with your scalp, and slowly rub the Tocopheryl Acetate or Dimethiconol into the skin through the hair if you have any. (more…)

By | 2011-05-03T14:00:55+00:00 May 3rd, 2011|Humour|0 Comments
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