History Lesson

Not a bad little pocket history course on South Africa over at Ammo.com.

Telling the Afrikaners to “go home” is a nonsensical statement. They are not Dutch. They do not hold Dutch passports, nor would they at any point have been welcomed back by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In many regions of South Africa, the Afrikaners have been around longer than the Bantus and have a stronger claim on the land, having purchased it from Khoisans. On the other hand, traditionally Bantu land was conquered from other Bantu tribes or taken by the Bantus from the Khoisans.

Go ahead and read it all — it’s a short piece — and you’ll be well informed on the topic in future.

Quote Of The Day

From The Diplomad:

So to sum it up for the [R]esistance:  The anti-semite Trump is the best friend Israel has ever had.  The racist Trump has instituted policies that have produced the lowest unemployment figures in decades for black and hispanic Americans.  The woman-hating Trump had a woman running his campaign (no, not Mrs. Putin), has a woman as Ambassador at the UN, another as the head of DHS, another as head of Education, yet another as White House spokesman, and now has made a woman the head of the CIA.  The oligarch Trump has instituted tax and other policies that are putting more money into more ordinary people’s pockets than has happened in many years.

All just like Hitler did…

 

Happy 100th

Britain’s Royal Air Force celebrates its centenary today. Which is an excellent excuse for me to show pics of my all-time favorite Brit warplanes, in no specific order.

Bristol Beaufighter

SE.5a

Hawker Hurricane IIc

Avro Vulcan

De Havilland Mosquito

Supermarine Spitfire

Hawker Hunter

Sopwith Snipe (not the Camel)

Avro Lancaster

Hawker Hart

This last was, I think, the best-looking biplane ever made. There are still several models (not replicas) flying, even though production ceased in 1938.

A couple of gratuitous book references about the early days of the RFC/RAF respectively:  Goshawk Squadron and Piece of Cake, both by Derek Robinson. And for the story of possibly the toughest human being who ever lived:  Reach For The Sky, by Paul Brickhill.

 

Holes In The Ground

Last October, The Englishman and Mr. Free Market had planned a joint visit to the U.S., but only Mr. Free Market made it over The Pond. The Englishman’s excuse for not making it was that he was going to be looking in a hole in the ground. (Mr. FM’s acid comment: “Nothing wrong with looking at holes in the ground, as long as there are dead Socialists at the bottom.”)

Well, this is the hole that The Englishman was talking about:

…and he took me there earlier today, after a liquid lunch [he added unnecessarily]. Here are my pics, taken at ground level:

The trapezoidal outline is the “inner wall” that was probably the outer wall of the barrow — basically, a wooden structure covered with earth and turf, wherein, the newspaper article runs, the dead were buried.

Here are a couple pics of some of the people excavating the site:

Actually, as The Englishman pointed out to me, the “burial ground” thing could be a load of nonsense, for the simple reason that as of today, no human remains have yet been found. The structure could equally have been a communal living area or shelter — but as the digging progresses, there may well be prehistoric bodies discovered further down.

It makes sense that it’s a burial site, by the way; in Neolithic times, dwellings were generally placed closer to rivers or lakes, and this barrow is at least a quarter-mile up from the nearest stream. Also, the dirt mound which surrounded the barrow had the trench on the inside, and not the outside (which would have made it a defensive fortification around the barrow).

I have to say that generally speaking, this kind of stuff holds absolutely no interest for me whatsoever. I like history (i.e. written accounts of events and people) and not prehistory (which has no such accounts). The problem is that I love listening to experts talk about their area of expertise — it can be a glassblower, a gunmaker, a liquor distiller or someone who’s spent forty years studying Shakespeare’s sonnets — and along with The Englishman, who is very knowledgeable about all this prehistory stuff, I also met Jim Leary and Amanda Clarke (see the article) who are heading up both this dig and a nearby one (which we visited too). It’s impossible not to be excited when people like these talk about finds they’ve made which could completely change our understanding of this hitherto-unknown time.

Of course, all this was made still more enthralling for me when we passed this building on the way home — a Saxon church built around the time of Alfred The Great:

It’s long since been converted into a house, and I just hope that the owners appreciate its heritage.

And on the right is The Englishman’s Land Rover Defender (full pic below):

Of course, we’re not allowed to own such exquisite vehicles because of OSHA (no “side-protection”, or some such nanny-state bollocks), but don’t get me started on that tangent.

As with so many days I’ve spent here, it was perfect — and I’m going to do it again, somewhere else.

Oh, and of course, I’ve been remiss in not showing the place from which we started off the day’s activities, The King’s Arms in the village of All Cannings:

This is an historic site for me, because it’s where I was first introduced to Wadworth’s 6X Ale.

Let Africa Sink

As my Let Africa Sink essay from 2002(!) is going to feature in my Monday post, I thought I’d take the opportunity to re-publish it below, pretty much un-edited except for a few typos which somehow survived to the present day.  Read more