Wednesday, 29 April 2009
A book about Britain, a bath and a birthday
I woke up very, very early this morning on the rare convergence of my day off (now moved to Wednesday because of my responsibilities on Sunday Evening and Saturday Church) and my birthday (yes - the older I get the more I like to talk about it).
For the last hour I have been reading from a great book: Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World (apologies to my American readers ;) ). This morning I actually have been reading it in the bath. How very English!!!!!
So far I have been taken back and shown how Britain established its empire by stealing from the Spanish, copying the financial strength of the Dutch, winning against the French and exploiting the Indians. Their domestic economy was in part driven by a sugar rush - a huge consumer interest in sugar, tea, coffee, tobacco, silk and callico. On the way through this journey, I have picked up little gems like these:
1. The word "company" was actually a shortening for "company of adventurers". Like "The Honourable Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson's Bay" aka "The Hudson Bay Trading Company". Perhaps in this sense our churches are "companies". ;) "The Daring Company of Adventurers in Jannali Caring for the Soules of the Saints and Reaching the Lost in the Westerly Partes of the Southerland Shire of Sydney". However I should say that these companies were not so honourable nor egalitarian. Spin doctors were alive back then.
2. Ye olde advertising was so quaint. Can you guess what very English product Thomas Garraway claimed in the 1650s could cure:
"Headache, Stone, Gravel, Dropsy, Liptitude, Distillations, Scurvy, Sleepiness, Loss of Memory, Looseness or Griping of the Guts, Heavy Dreams and Collick proceeding from wind" ? (It sounds like he's making up a few of these!)
I'm really enjoying my day so far (it is only 5am). Thank you Lord for days for refreshing and encouragement. I can't wait until the family wakes up.