Yeah, yeah, it’s been ages since I last posted anything. Sue me. Obviously, then, I’ve been busy. Got plenty of wedding-type stuff to organise (which I hate) and we’ve also had thanksgiving in the interim, so I shall talk about that for a bit.
We managed to convince Jess’ father, stepmother and sister to come up to us for Thanksgiving. We were actually quite surprised when they agreed to leave Florida and come up here so readily, and I’m glad they did. I’d not met them before (the distance presenting a slight problem in that area) and I think it went really well. Her father and me have a similar sense of humour (ie…crap!) so we were making silly little jokes that we enjoyed (but at which Jess and Millie groaned – result) On the thursday Jess cooked the traditional turkey and it was great, as all of her cooking in. The chief other activity was getting Millie and Alan into Eddie Izzard, something which was done with aplomb, given that we have 3 videos of his, and they’re all brilliant. Myself and Alan were planning to play golf on the thursday morning, but we decided that it would probably be too cold and/or rainy (floridians dont play in the rain – the english are used to it, though). Naturally it was 70 degrees and sunny, bloody typical. In the end we all wandered around New Haven looking at shops etc….which was really nice, we’d not done it before. Always meant to, but never seemed to get around to it.
So, I’ve been reading about some more American History. Like I’ve said before, I figure I should try to learn a bit about the place. There’s a lot to get through, though – about 500 years, admittedly much less than a *proper* country Therefore, I’m going to summarise.
1. Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ america in 1492, despite the fact that people had been living there for thousands of years already. It wasn’t as though he appeared over the horizon and suddenly, phoom (good noise) a big land mass materialised.In any case, history tends to be written by the blokes with the biggest swords, so well done Chris. A true American hero. Who was british and was sponsored by the spanish. Hmm.
2. After a while, people in England decided that they’d had enough of the letter ‘u’ and opted to bugger off to pastures new. So off they went, leaving behind all the remnants of old Blighty…and landed in a place they decided to call New England. With place names like New York, New London, New Britain, Manchester, Cheshire, Ludlow, Boston….
3. Around this time the American holiday of Thanksgiving started. The story is that in about 1691 the pilgrims in New England got a bit short of food (except for those horrible green peanut sweets that everyone leaves in the box of Quality Street) and that Native Americans donated a few things so that the settlers would get through the winter. The settlers were so grateful that they waited until spring and then spent the next 250 years trying to kill all the indians. Which was nice of them. It was Abraham Lincoln who instituted the holiday, much later on. More on that fella later
4. Eventually, the colonists got a bit pissed off with being told that all the stuff they farmed or made was property of the Crown. With the problems in England at the time (Cromwell was running around telling everyone that long hair was *so* last year, and pudding-basins are in) a lot of the particularly english laws were ignored, or adjusted by the locals to suit them. Of course, the attitude of the english changed, particularly when they realised that the French had their own colonies on the continent. There were various scuffles for years, but eventually the British were victorious and could get back to some serious tea-drinking and empire-building. The main point of this from the colonist’s perspective was that the British starting trying to get more cash, because everybody knows you need money to build an empire. (try playing Monopoly without the pink notes, its bloody hard.) The final straw was the ‘Stamp Act’ which dictated that pretty much every document have a revenue stamp attached…there was major hostility to this, which surprised the Brits. Anyway….this part is far too involved. The long and the short of it is that the tax-dodging, bad-spelling, indian-shooting, have-a-nice-day-y’all brigade fought for independence from Britain and got its wish.
5. That fella, Honest Abe (whose other nickname of ‘beardy-weirdy’ was very rarely used in public) was voted in as president, despite only getting 40% of the vote. (some things in politics never change) Lincoln was probably the richest man in the US at the time (see?) and, despite not campaigning as an anti-slavery candidate, declared that “government cannot endure permanently half-slave, half-free”. This annoyed the southern states, presumably because they quite liked not having to do stuff most of the time, and 7 states seceded from the Union and called themselves the Confederate States of America. 4 years later, after lots more fighting and a presidential assassination, the Confederacy surrender…on december 6th 1865, slavery is officially abolished in the US. Which is nice.
6. Nothing much else has happened. Sure, there was WW1, WWII, but everybody knows the British would’ve won those eventually anyway so they don’t count. Then there was Vietnam, a big cock up all round, and the Cold War (thats when the US and Russia didnt send each other christmas cards for 40 odd years…that’s cold.) Then in 2001 they elected an idiot as President.
Sorry, that went on a bit more than i anticipated.