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 House, room and date ...

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nordmann
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PostSubject: House, room and date ...   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 14:13

An easy game - simply nominate a house, a room in that house, and a particular date on which you would like to have been present in a fly-on-the-wall capacity so as to solve a particular historical mystery, or maybe just to have been present at some wondrous historical development at its inception. Others can guess at the importance of the nomination.

I'll kick off with ;

Woolsthorpe Manor, any room overlooking the garden, late summer 1665

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 20:16

An important apple fell off a tree here - hit Isaac Newton on the head. (?)


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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 09:53

This should get you thinking ....

The downstairs room with the chimney, in the house with "the picture of a strange fowle hung out upon a clothe", in a street near Lincoln Fields, London, during the spring or summer of 1638.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 10:31

The strange fowle in the picture was a dodo - was it the last picture made of a living dodo? All pictures after this were copies?

PS Do quiz rules apply here - no looking up and, if answer is correct, another question must be set?  If so, I've cheated.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 10:51

Yup, in this house Sir Hamon L'Estrange recorded in his diary that he saw a dodo being exhibited for a small charge. It's the only real report of a live dodo in England. The poor bird died shortly after, and of course all dodos were extinct by about 1670, if not before. I think this is the same bird that ended up rather badly stuffed in the Ashmolean museum.

Not sure what the rules if any are .... I just would really have liked to have seen a live dodo.

I think it is a quiz, in which case I jumped in ahead of you Temp, sorry.


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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 10:53

Building near Westminster Abbey. Pretty noisy room (I should think). New business venture getting going - would it succeed or not? And here's the very first item up for sale...

1476.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 11:15

MM wrote:

I think it is a quiz, in which case I jumped in ahead of you Temp, sorry.


Oh, I wasn't having a miffy moan, MM, not at all - just wasn't sure of how we are meant to proceed. I live in mortal dread of having my knuckles (w)rapped for Doing The Wrong Thing. Embarassed Disapproving silence from on high is the worst... Smile

I think my offering is too easy, but I'll leave it.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 11:24



Caxton's first "best seller" - an indulgence printed in the same year he opened his new press. A book wouldn't be produced for another year, "Dictes, or Sayings of the Philosophers".

"Disapproving silence from on high" could just mean that "on high" is down the pub, you know
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 11:52

Correct! Your turn, nordmann.

PS Nearly put a room in a building in Bruges where the first ever book in English was printed by Caxton. But differing sources gave differing dates (1473 or 1474 or "around 1475"). A bit confusing, so plumped for his first venture in England instead.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 11:53

The kitchen in a gardener's cottage in the grounds of Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, on a Saturday in mid-May 1796.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 11:59

Was this a dodgy Tudor marriage? Have you got your dates right? Smile Wasn't it 30th March 1785? Your later date applies to Lambeth??
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 12:03

The date is correct. Present in the room were two anxious women, a brave but possibly terrified child, and a rather intelligent - if somewhat presumptuous - neighbour, the gardener's employer.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 12:16

Ah, should have known better than to dispute the date. An excellent red herring for cheats like me. Smile

Was the terrified little boy Edward Jenner?
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 12:25

Edward Jenner wasn't the little boy but was the employer himself surely?
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 12:32

Oops. James Phipps was the boy. And Blossom deserves a mention too!



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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 12:34

There was no need for Blossom to personally attend. She was represented by Sally Nelmes.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 12:40



Well here she is anyway.

Your go, Vizzer.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 13:22



And Blossom as she is now - hanging on the wall of St George's Medical School in Tooting.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sat 22 Jun 2013, 14:03

Torre Gattoni, on the walls of Como in the Cisalpine Republic, winter 1799-1800



Clue 1: The event was electrifying!

Clue 2: The person in question had been galvanised into his current work after a lively debate.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 10:40

From the clues I think that would be Como resident Alessandro Volta who presumably developed the electric battery (or voltaic pile) in the tower. Napoleon I was in the town at much the same time so probably got a demonstation while he was passing through .... wasn't it Napoleon who made Volta a count?


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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 10:42

Hands up if that answer didn't emanate completely from the grey cells, MM - and kudos if it did!

I assume he faced a battery of questions upon announcing his discovery too. After he died his widow married his brother - she was just "revolting" apparently. (ok - I made that bit up)

Had to Google that one - not an easy one at all unless, I imagine, one had actually visited the tower.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 10:57

Actually the only thing I know about Como IS that Volta lived there ... I read it somewhere recently, I think in James Burke's "Connections", the 1978 book to accompany the BBC series of the same name. I didn't know his laboratory was in the old tower, but that's not so surprising. And I think he did do a demonstration for Napoleon (who was always quite enthusiastic about 'modern' scientific discoveries and technological advances) and that must have been about 1800 because that was when Nap's army invaded Northern Italy.

I'll admit though that I didn't understand the "lively debate" clue until I googled.


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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 11:06

OK.

The small cottage in the grounds of Kinneil House near Bo'ness in Scotland, late in 1765.

The cottage is still there but is now roofless:

 
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 11:28

@nordmann wrote:
I assume he faced a battery of questions upon announcing his discovery too.
Yes - Alessandro Volta won immediate international acclaim after producing the first modern battery, in a laboratory located (appropriately enough) within the fortifications of the town walls of Como. Lombardy was then part of the Cisalpine Republic, a client state of France and he was invited to Paris to meet Napoleon who promptly ennobled him. He was later also feted by the Royal Society in London where he was able to construct a larger version of his voltaic pile. The 'lively debate' is reference to his disagreement with fellow Italian physicist Luigi Galvani regarding the nature of electricity.

Well done Meles!
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 11:53

All this electricity stuff - I don't know (unless I google it). It'll be Andre-Marie Ampere's outside loo next, circa 1827.

Whatever next? This is not an answer, MM, as I've cheated as usual. I'm off out now anyway, but will be back for Episode Two of the BBC production of the year at 9pm. (BBC1)
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 12:16

Not electricity this time, but steam. The claim that Watt invented his patented steam engine in this cottage is highly dubious however - his Scottish partners went bust and there followed some rather nasty litigation concerning who owned the designs Watt produced while present in Kinneil. Watt managed to transfer the pending patent to a more secure arrangement in Birmingham in a company which he jointly owned and where, a few years later, he managed to eventually produce a prototype of the improved Newcomen engine (the patent of which he "borrowed", leading to even more litigation). If you read Robert Stuart's books about the history of steam you quickly form the impression that the whole thing was born in its British context in a quagmire of patent-theft, industrial espionage, dodgy financing and skulduggery - a bit like what later happened in the USA with electricity, when the realisation of the enormous profits to be made far preceded the ability to generate them, leaving a decade or more of shenanigans to be negotiated first.

Kinneil and Roebuck represent one such episode. Watt very nearly lost control of his design. Roebuck lost his entire fortune, and Scotland (despite the tourist board's current gumph) wrote itself out of the equation for some decades while the fortunes were made elsewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 12:25

Indeed ... maybe that's why James Watt, even after his successful partnership with Boulton which made him a rich man, remained until his death a worrier, who hated having to negociate or clinch deals, whether with customers or investors ... he was always afraid he was going to be cheated, fail to see the loop holes, give more away than he intended, or generally get conned.

Over to you, Sir.


PS : I never claimed he invented his patented steam engine in the cottage ... indeed his eureka moment seems to have been in May 1765 before Roebuck approched him with the offer of finacial backing and facilities (the cottage). Hence my rather vague "late 1765" when it is known that Watt was working there on developing his ideas.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 12:37

A change of tack from power of that sort to power of quite another sort completely.

The house is the convent of Santa Maria, a Dominican building placed (ironically in this case) on the site of the old Roman Temple of Minerva. The room is the nun's old refectory in which twelve men sit on a sultry midsummer's evening in 1633.

As a fly on the wall I dearly want to know if one of these men muttered under his breath at the end of proceedings a famous defiance of institutionalised stupidity later attributed to him. Probably not, but then (as a speaking fly of course) I would be tempted to shout it out on his behalf.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 12:40

Easy! .... Gallileo facing the inquisition about whether the earth is the centre of the universe or if it moves around the sun...

and, having had to capitulate and accept the wise arguments of Mother Church that the Earth is truely stationary, muttering sotto vocce: "But yet it does move!"
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 12:51

A defining moment in the history of intelligence. They destroyed the man but in doing so simply challenged every thinking person to defy them. From that moment on the church's self-appointed role as owners of every individual's own thoughts was irrevocably damaged. They could consign the man to live out his days under arrest, but in doing so brought about a global reaction in which they were at first confronted, then marginalised, and eventually ignored in matters of science - a position from which they have attempted to extricate themselves over the three hundred intervening years using a variety of approaches but which have all, thankfully for the human species' hopes of betterment, failed.

So - where does the fly land next?
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 13:15

Early May 1814, in the library of a modest English country house (Hartwell in Buckinghamshire - but no cheating, Temp!).



And what does this fly on the wall see?

….. An elegant though now somewhat shabby and impoverished group gathering to watch as their leader signs a critical letter. Now perhaps they can put behind them their days of poverty, of having to accept charity, of planting potatoes and raising poultry just to eat, of overcrowded accommodation and a general lack of privacy. Now, they hope, they can start to live again. 

But while the anticipated change in fortune will certainly mean a welcome improvement in their situation, nevertheless I am sure some present in that room must have reflected that things would never again be as once they were.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 14:18

Are these French aristocrats petitioning to be allowed to return to France following Napoleon's defeat at Leipzig and his exile to Elba?
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 14:23

Almost but not quite.... I'm gonna be a bit nit-picky here.

Who exactly do you think is signing the letter?  ... And note it's certainly not a petition but rather a letter of agreement, accepting an offer.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 14:51

I'll guess it's the then leader of the House of Bourbon, Louis XVIII?
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 15:20

That's the man ... Louis XVIII, (brother of the executed Louis XVI) who had had escaped revolutionary France and the guillotine, and was (after the death in prison of the recently orphaned Louis XVII) the heir apparent. Having moved around Europe for some years in search of supporters and benefactors, Louis and his court of hangers-on were in 1809 offered Hartwell House for the seat of the Royal French Court in Exile. Although Prince George (as regent) gave Louis some financial assistance from time to time, the once splendid French court was now, after more than 20 years in exile, much impoverished, (that is to say impoverished for nobles) .... but yes these exiled French aristo's did have to share rooms, plant potatoes and raise chickens ... and Mon Dieu how they complained!

But on 8 May 1814, following Napoleon’s defeat, the French (Republican!) Senate wrote to Louis offering a restoration of the French Crown ... BUT on the Senate's terms. It was to be a constitutional monarchy with the Crown subservient to the, now well-established, French Senate. Louis accepted the terms in this letter, and he was subsequently restored as King ... but indeed, things would never be again as once they were.


.... And so whereto buzzeth the fly now?


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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 15:31

And rather like the British Prince Regent, Louis Stanislas was also widely perceived to be a rotund glutton and a bit of a buffoon to boot. Orson Welles portrayed him in Sergei Bondarchuk's 1970 epic film Waterloo.

The fly buzzeth to Japan and to Tokyo and to Edo castle, the Nishinomaru palace dining room, 24 January 1872.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 15:44

Georgey Porgey has indeed always been caricatured as a fat, slob and buffoon  ... and indeed in all honesty he was truely immense later in life. But at the same time, despite all this gluttony and debauchery, he did live to be 67 years old. Maybe he has just suffered from a bad press, which persists now as then. But he did have a thoroughly miserable childhood and adolescence, he lost his mother when he was young and his father was mentally ill. He seems to have spent his adult life searching for comfort: he ate comfort food to excess, and he preferred the simple pleasures of larger older prostitutes. It sounds to me like poor Georgey, as an adult was just always looking for some simple undemanding motherlove! But he was by no means a fool - in his reported comments he seems quite sharp-witted and even at the time he was acknowledged as a well-informed patron of the arts.

But I digress. Back to you Vizzer.


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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 16:13

Comfort eating is certainly the least serious 'vice' to be laid at someone's door. There are far wore characteristics for us to be concerned about. It's amazing, however, how (in England at least) obesity has nearly always been a cause for mirth or ridicule down the ages - from Chaucer to Bluff King Hall to Shakespeare to Hogarth to Cruickshank to the Prince Regent to Dickens to Billy Bunter to Winston Churchill and to Jimmy Five Bellies etc. Not so in some other cultures such as in India, the South Pacific and even among African Americans where fatness can be seen as being a positive status symbol.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 16:50

@Vizzer wrote:
The fly buzzeth to Japan and to Tokyo and to Edo castle, the Nishinomaru palace dining room, 24 January 1872.

This is a culinary one. The new emperor Meiji famously ate some beef in front of invited press and dignitaries - as shocking to traditionalist and strict Shinto-Buddhist principles as the modern day queen of GB'n'NI tucking into some roast corgi would be to the English today - in order to demonstrate the new post-shogunate regime's commitment to the westernisation and modernisation of Japan.

Having lived there I found Kobe beef a life-saver. It's tasty, great quality and cheap.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 17:09

That's it nordmann. It's the story of the Beefeater Mikado (sounds like a contemporary Gilbert & Sullivan operetta). 

The fact that Edo castle then burned to the ground the following year may have confirmed the sensibilities of the conservative element. The emperor had only moved his capital to there from Kyoto four years earlier and they were still probably reeling from that blow.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 17:23

In which case the fly buzzes back to London and a house on St Martin's Le Grand, near Newgate, in 1499. Two friends have met in the rather simple "sty" (or living room) in gleeful anticipation of a third who has recently arrived from overseas and will join them that evening for a meal. The ramifications of what was to be discussed that evening would determine the destiny of each friend present (not a happy one for one of them), and in many ways would shape the destiny of the world thereafter.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 17:34

Is this something to do with John Cabot? Isn't it now thought that he did not die at sea at all sometime in 1498/99, but that he returned safely to England? His pension was certainly still being paid by Henry VII in 1499...

Were the two other men Italian?

But haven't a clue really - just wild guessing with help from Thomas Penn...
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 18:32

A John was present, but a home grown one. Not Cabot.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 19:06

Can't be to do with the Warbeck/Warwick 1499 escape plan, surely, although several Johns were involved in that. Can't see how their plottings would "shape the destiny of the world thereafter". Must be something to do with America...?

Oh, I don't know. I give up.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 20:14

If it's not Cabot then I don't think that it can be to do with America. Could it be a religious/educational 'destiny'? I'm not sure how old Thomas Cromwell was in 1499 but he certainly travelled and studied overseas. Is the John, perhaps John Fisher?
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 20:36

Mmm. This is driving me mad. Cromwell was only about 14 in 1499, Vizzer. There's John Colet too, of course.

Erasmus was in England in 1499 - he went that year with a young Thomas More to visit little Prince Henry and siblings at Eltham Palace.

Tyndale was still very young, so he can't be involved.

Thomas More's father was called John.

Erasmus and More - I wonder... But who was the John? Were they discussing New Testament translations?
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 20:58

Isn't it awful when he leaves us all to stew like this? This is just like one of his impossible questions on the old BBC Friday Quiz.

Anyway it's time for "The White Queen" now - or "Fifty Shades of History" as the Independent calls it.
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Sun 23 Jun 2013, 23:27

You've already worked it out Temp (see Erasmus's letters)

(So over to you with the fly ...)
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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Mon 24 Jun 2013, 09:03

Ah - the first meeting of young More and Erasmus? Was John Colet the John you mention? Colet encouraged Erasmus to learn Greek...

EDIT: Since 1494, Colet had been prebendary of York, and canon of St Martin le Grand, London...

Just found that, but I can't find the relevant letter.

But to return to our fly; he is buzzing his way towards Richmond Palace.

A small, very private room at Richmond Palace. 1596. The Queen's Majesty doesn't like all the noise. The fly could well now be a bit distressed at what he can see; he, after all, being a fly, likes things to be noisome (ie smelly) rather than wholesome. Me - I'd have loved what I saw - the noise wouldn't have bothered me at all.


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PostSubject: Re: House, room and date ...   Mon 24 Jun 2013, 11:47

Clue 1: Deuteronomy 23: 12-14  (a rather nice translation this one, but not from King James' Bible):

12 Thou shalt have a place without thy tents, to which thou shalt go to do the necessities of nature.
13 Carying a spade staffe in thy hand, and when thou wilt ease thee, thou shalt cut a round turfe, and thou shalt cover thy excrements therewith, in the place where thou didst ease thy selfe.
14 For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy tents to deliver thee, and to give thy enemies into thy hands, that thy tents may be holy, and that there appeare no filthinesse in them, lest he forsake thee.


I must admit that I have never envisioned the Almighty as a particulary strict Environmental Health Officer before, but Deuteronomy does suggests that that is one of His functions. I shall go and clean the loo at once, making sure I squirt lots of Domestos Grotbuster everywhere. 
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