The Dregs of British History
This is a blog about ordinary people. History remembers the famous, but what about the rest. There have been billions of people on the planet. There is a good chance that those that I write about may even have existed, and if they had, they would certainly have deserved their place floating face-down in the dregs of history. The Dregs of History book is available at http://www.amazon.com/Dregs-History-George-Fripley/dp/1463605072/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308535084&sr=1-2.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
From an early age, Gunna was convinced that he was going to make his fortune through re-opening the mines and once more putting Gwynedd back on the map. He was definitely, he told everybody, gunna get out of Piggshite and into a better area. However, to do this he needed to get some money together. He became a bit on an entrepreneur. He was gunna start a business trading in used vegetables.
The used vegetable business failed take off, so he tried another idea – he decided that he would become a professional boat cleaner, scraping the barnacles off the bottom of the various vessels along the coast. His lack of swimming ability eventually led to him giving this up, particularly after a couple of near-drowning experiences. He bit the bullet and decided that he was gunna buy the copper mines and re-open them.
He needed more money, so he approached Hywel the Hangman, who gave him a loan on vary reasonable terms. Gareth assured him that he was gunna pay him back. But then again, he was also gunna pay Crusher Mason back for the boat cleaning loan, and he was gunna pay Vicious Victor back for the used vegetable business loan.
Gunna Gareth actually managed to extract some copper from the Great Orme mines and was seriously thinking about export opprtunities to europe through the contacts he'd made in his boat-cleaning venture. And he was actually committed to paying back his loans. He might even have kept up with the punitive interest rates. His real problem was that he kept promising himself that he was gunna stop shagging other people’s wives, most notably those of Vicious Victor, Crusher Mason, and Hywel the Hangman. Gunna Gareth was found out by all three.
He was gunna run away, but they found him and he was last seen being dragged into the tunnels of his copper mine. Nobody wanted to go down to see what had happened to him and mine once again fell into decay.
The Great Orme copper mines eventually came back into production in 1692 for the next 200 years, but nobody found any evidence of what happened to Gunna Gareth. Both the hamlet of Piggshite and his family have vanished from recorded history.
Monday, October 8, 2012
While Jethro Tull spent his time working improving the efficiency of agriculture and came up with the Seed Drill which was first used in 1701, Phillip spent his time how to make money out of the humble potato. In between failed innovations, such as potato football, potato paperweights, and potato as projectiles for battle, he subsisted with his family on a barley and beer, more often the latter.
Then, in 1702, he came up with the invention that release him from poverty and send him up onto easy street. He combined his crop of potatoes with printing and came up with the first large scale potato printing press. He was convinced that the easy manipulation of the potato and its capacity to work with most inks would see him and his family right for the rest of their lives. His work quickly became popular as he produced the first church sermon produced by potato. Then he began to promote the seed drill, using potato-printed paper posters. Then he realised the potential for expansion and wrote to the King, William III, who agreed to give him the contract for royal printing (his advisors were on holiday at the time).
Phillip then gave over all of his fields to the production of the potato to make sure he could keep up with the demand. What Phillip failed to realise was that his potatoes would quickly rot and became useless. Despite his large potato crop his potato presses began to fall apart and lose its shape. Added to that, his livestock had a nasty habit of breaking in and eating his printing supplies. In 1702 King William died and the new monarch, Anne, was having nothing of the potato revolution and cancelled the contract.
Phillip was left with a useless mountain of potatoes. Jethro Tull suggested he sell them for food, but Phillip was unconvinced. Who would want to eat potatoes? Phillip Pherklewit eventually recovered and through the charity of his fellow townsfolk managed to re-sow his fields and get back on his feet. He gave up inventing and settled to mediocrity. Phillip of Bradfield died on the same day as Jethro Tull in 1741. The potato printing press died with him, although after looking at the print quality of many books recently, I have my doubts that it has totally disappeared.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The Stature of Merton allowed the Lord of the Manor to enclose common land and it also set out how manorial lords could assert rights over waste land. This was all about rights and ownership. Geoffrey never really appreciated that it allowed his mother to bequeath her land to him when she died, even thought his father was long since dead. He was only 16 at the time and had bigger things on his mind.
Geoffrey soon got bored with farming and took to spending long periods of time leaning on his equipment and thinking. He thought about many things, but what he eventually realised was that the English language was very limiting. While he admitted that it stole many words from other languages, and was a bit a cobbled together form of communication, he noticed that it very rarely included new words – totally new words. Geoffrey took upon himself to invent words.
The local people of his village Titley-on-the-Wrash tolerated the young man’s eccentricities. Many of them wished that he would find a good woman and settle his mind to the job of farming (or sodslopping as Geoffrey insisted on calling it.). He didn’t. Some of the words he came up with are listed below. He was unaware that Chuntage was an actual village in Lincolnshire, whose residents, on hearing his definition, reluctantly agreed it was probably not too far from the truth. It later became a slang word for a large chin area and the original meaning was lost in the mists of history, however it is my pleasure to reacquaint you with its true meaning.
Geoffrey’s first five words were:
Chuntage – a period of time so boring that it is physically painful.
Muttocks! – an all-purpose, all-encompassing swearword.
Twattled – to be ignored by your friends and acquaintances after doing something very silly.
Foddybucked – a feeling of general unwellness and lethargy.
Crummergunt – a person or object that is a complete waste of space with no redeeming features.
Eventually the village head, Stephen the Long-Suffering, took Geoffrey to one side and had a quiet word with him. Geoffrey always insisted his words were used when speaking to him and it is alleged that Stephen said:
‘Muttocks! Geoffrey. Talking to you is complete Chuntage. It makes one feel quite foddybucked. You’re becoming a real crummergunt and in danger of being twattled by the whole village.’
Geoffrey took this to heart and retreated to his farm where it is alleged he invented a whole new language before his untimely death at the hands of King Henry III soldiers. They passed through in their way to Wales to subdue the locals there. When they accosted him in his fields, they asked who he was and what he was doing. He wasn’t used top company and told them, in his own language, that he was, in fact English. They couldn’t understand him and he refused to speak English, so they decided he must be a Welsh spy and promptly executed him on the spot. His language died with him – and that was probably a good thing according to the inhabitants of Titley-on-the-Wrash.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Being a philosopher and poet, Thorsten felt that verse was the best way to record his thoughts on what he found. He spent a year with permission to wander freely through the corridors of power. He diligently noted exactly what went on. Being a monk he was very discrete, and it was not unknown for him to remain unnoticed for some hours after he had entered either of the chambers. Consequently he heard the real conversations, not the ones that occurred when people realised he was present.
As well as the work of the chambers of parliament, Abbot Quietly also took some time to investigate the way that the support staff worked. He was often seen wandering around offices and writing in his notepad. This in itself did not cause any significant unease among the workforce, but the same could not be said for the knowing smile that was permanently fixed upon his face.
When the Abbot presented his report, which he called Parliament Verses, to King Henry, the monarch promptly fell about laughing. Afterwards, the King was often heard to mention that parliament was not worth worrying about and that they could not find their arses with both hands. He published the report for the amusement of the general public.
Needless to say, the members of parliament were not happy about this. However, the only person they could vent their anger at was the Abbot. Having a thick skin and placid nature, Thorsten Quietly simply suggested that they could not deny that which was plainly obvious.
As his poems were in Latin, they have been translated to English for this publication. His most famous works were the simple but elegant Filing Systems, the short and to the point When the Shit Hits the Fan, and the character study The Administrator. He produced a much broader body of work much of which has allegedly been secreted around the offices of the current Houses of Parliament.
A good filing system is designed to lose a file methodically,
Ensuring that in six month’s time, it is irretrievably lost!
Enabling all subsequent, difficult enquiries
To be dealt with at length, and bloody great cost!
When The Shit Hits The Fan!
When the shit hits the fan there'll be trouble
And there's only one thing left to do,
We'll all get our stories sounding consistent
And the blame will be squarely on you.
It’s not that we actually dislike you
And you've not caused us any real trouble,
But someone must take all the blame for this cock-up
And they'll find your name lying in the rubble.
You're in the unfortunate position
Where it's conceivable it might be your fault,
And you're senior enough in a management role
That you could have called it all to a halt.
But the proper trend in these situations
Is to frantically manoeuvre away
And distance yourself from disasters you caused
And let some other unfortunate pay.
In an office bigger than the rest
Is a man who puts us to the test.
This man, he gets most of his jollies
Designing bureaucratic follies
That never stand the test of time,
The fact he’s paid is quite a crime.
When the Administrator sits at lunch
Around him is a hardy bunch
Of people that can stand the strain
And not be driven quite insane,
By incessant drivel from this bore
Who just talks admin more and more.
So if you’re at a party, lost,
Avoid this man at any cost
Unless you want your brains dissolved
As admin problems get resolved
And he thinks that he’s quite a hit,
But you know that he’s full of shit.
Monday, September 3, 2012
It turned out that Doris was no ordinary accountant; she was very good, in fact unbelievably good, at cooking the books in less than legal ways. She could make two and two equal four, five, or six…or even three. It was when she realised she could make two and two equal one hundred that her life really changed.
When this became apparent to her, she decided that her future lay in America where the mafia would be able to use her considerable talents. She soon built a solid reputation as the accountant of choice for the mob. There was considerable competition for her services. She was once heard to say, ‘A successful double-entry is better than an orgasm!’ Doris Downsborough was one of the forerunners of the modern creative accountant, and introduced the ‘sub-prime’ concept. Her investors did not realise exactly how ‘sub-prime’ their investments were.
Her main area of expertise was being able to use convincing, but completely unsubstantiated, projected future earnings to justify large loans from gullible, and not so gullible, investors. These people did not realise that their money was not coming back to them, at least not until it was too late. Some large men called Luigi and Mario usually accompanied this revelation, calling around late at night to advise them not to pursue the matter in court and expressing concern that such action may cause a sudden deterioration in their health.
Her attention to detail and ability to make the accounts impenetrable to the authorities increased her income exponentially. However, there came a time when she had become bored with New York and longed to return home, which she did in 1961. There was some suggestion that she returned home quietly and quickly due to some irregularities with her own personal accounts with the mob. They said she had been skimming the accounts, but rather than kill her (they took some pity on her because of her success for them) they told her to leave and never return on pain of death.
Once back in England she found work with Comfortable Harry Taylor in London. He was a minor gangster and stand-over man. He saw the opportunity for her skills to quickly grow his business in South London. He added corporate fraud and construction to his extortion activities. Everything was going well, but Doris could not help herself and she again got up to her old tricks.
Harry called her in to his office on the south bank of the Thames to discuss matters. After she came up for air the third time, she confessed that she had been stealing money off him. Because Harry recognised and appreciated that Doris had provided the foundations for his business empire, he decided that she should also become part of the foundations for his new office block. There ended the life of Doris.