6 July 2019

Airports

I think it was news to almost everyone that airports existed at the time of the American Revolution (1765-1783). But that fact came up on President Trump's autocue during the soggy and embarrassing July 4th rally in Washington and besides, the great man read it out so it must be right. There were airports at the end of the eighteenth century. Period.

Delving into this surprising nether world, I have uncovered some other historical surprises. For example, did you know that Joseph and Mary watched television on that famous night in Bethlehem 2019 years ago? The kindly innkeeper had set one up in the stable for them and they watched  live gladiator fighting from The Colosseum in Rome. Jesus was born during the second ad-break.

And here's another surprising fact about the Roman Empire. Led by Julius Caesar, the Romans invaded Britain on a P&O car ferry from France and their soldiers did not march north in sandals, they arrived on Volvo buses singing bawdy Roman songs while swigging cans of  Australian lager.

Moving forward in time, it is a little known fact that when voyagers aboard "The Mayflower" made landfall at Plymouth Rock in November 1620, those weary pilgrims checked in at a "Best Western" that overlooked the bay. Rooms were very cheap in those days but hotel fees still included basic breakfasts with coffee in styrofoam cups (British English: polystyrene).

Sometimes you think you have got a proper handle on world history and then all that you ever knew is thrown into disarray. Things are not always as they seem. There were airports on the east coast of America at the end of the eighteenth century along with aeroplanes and baggage handlers, check-in desks and airside stores where bottles of water were sold at exorbitant prices to travellers who had been obliged to discard identical bottles of water before passing through security. 

31 comments:

  1. Twitter is having a field day with this. Donald Trump would be hilarious if he didn't have so much power. There's nothing you can do but laugh.

    Loved the line about Mary and Joseph watching live gladiator matches broadcast from the Colosseum in Rome and Jesus being born during the commercial break! Haha.

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    Replies
    1. In that particular ad break there were commercials for Best Western, P&O, Foster's Lager and "Ivanka" bottled water.

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  2. I thought everyone knew about the flight to Egypt. However, I'm very disappointed that your post does not contain better photographs of aeroplanes.

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    Replies
    1. I never realised that the flight to Egypt was on a jumbo jet.

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  3. Wow. It must have been amazing back then. I would have loved to have been in the security queue having my jars of lemon posset and flummery x-rayed whilst having a pat-down by a member of the Continental Army.

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    Replies
    1. I know you are fond of a good security pat down JayCee.

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  4. I'm presently watching a fantastic documentary series which is streaming on Netflix - "Ken Burns Presents The West...a film by Stephen Ives. It was made in 1996...eight episodes, each 90 mins in length. The doco covers the opening up of The West...the many atrocities that happened...the arrogance of those who believed their way was the right way...it covers the period 1806 to

    A few weeks ago I watch similar documentary series that was made in 2016 - "Robert Redford's - The West". It, too, has eight episodes, and it is about the opening up of The West, covering the years from 1865 to 1890. This documentary series, too, is brilliant.

    Both documentaries are unmissable history lessons...well worth watching. They've held me in awe...and often, I'm left open-mouthed from many, many things.

    So many mistakes were made...too many in the opening up and settling of The West. And far too many in the name of Christianity...such arrogance of some is unbelievable.

    I'm off-topic, I know...and probably have babbled on too long....but, no apologies...if you're in search of some worth watching both of the above should fit the bill! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the heads up Mama Lee.

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    2. "covers period 1806 to 1914".....

      And "watched" instead of "watch"

      Blame my typos on Wimbledon...I was awake into the wee small hours watching play!!! :)

      Delete
  5. And there (reading the title) I thought you'd gone travelling again.

    As you know there's stranger things have happened- so how do we know none of those mentioned didn't happen?? :)

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    Replies
    1. Precisely Cathy. Truth is a slippery commodity.

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  6. Frankly, "ramming the ramparts" is my favorite part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought that "Ramming the Ramparts" was an album by Iron Maiden.

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  7. One thing for sure, he is always good for a laugh! It is just so frightening that this character is our president.

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    Replies
    1. It wasn't his fault. It was the heavy rain's fault. But he knew that speech word for word.

      Delete
  8. I was HOPING you'd post about this, YP :)

    If you haven't already found the following, I'd strongly advise you check it out; it is hilarious: https://twitter.com/hashtag/RevolutionaryWarAirportStories?src=hash

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    Replies
    1. HAW! HAW! HAW! Thanks for the link Jenny-O.

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  9. I guess his speech writer was appointed by some stroke of nepotism/ despotism. Karma bites

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean...leading politicians don't write their own speeches? Shock horror!

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  10. It should take a long time for Trump to get out of this one but He doesn't realize what a big boo-boo he made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump is like Houdini. He seems to be able to get out of anything.

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  11. Trump has been ridiculed by the power-brokers in New York for decades, and this is exactly why. He's a blooming idiot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His idiocy certainly does seem to be blooming...like amorphophallus titanum.

      Delete
  12. Well, now we know - if the pilgrims aboard "The Mayflower" hadn't been so impatient, and waited a while, they could have gone by air ! One hopes that when they finally made landfall, the rooms at "Best Western" were en-suite.

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    Replies
    1. According to the well-known historian, Professor D. Trump of The University of Trumpton the en-suite bathrooms even contained complimentary tubes of "Melania" shower gel.

      Delete
  13. As so often, YP, an inspired line of thought. You aren't John Crace's brother by any chance?

    Considering your gift of story telling and conjuring up ghosts and the faintly ridiculous, taking the piss and making me laugh and wistful at the same time, you must have been a wonderful father and teacher. What were your school room subjects (maybe I should have picked that info up on the way)? I can guess one; our Grammar School teachers (in the motherland) usually specialized in two, there being classic combinations. To put it another way: A maths teacher is highly unlikely to put their pupils/students through the intricacies of a Picasso. Instead they'd add to their charges' pain, next lesson, by popping up in either the chem/physics forum and laboratory.

    U

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I am not John Crace's brother. I taught English nearly all my "career" (ha!) but for ten years I also taught an odd subject called Community Studies. I also taught rugby from time to time.

      Delete
  14. Maybe President Tweet is dyslexic. Maybe be he is simply following on in the great Republican tradition of Presidents who are prone to teleprompter gaffes. George W Bush comes to mind, a past master at the teleprompter gaffe.
    And what was the word that airport replaced? Or hasn't anyone been smart enough to figure that out yet?
    All that aside, the speech blunders have provided fertile ground for news feeds and bloggers alike.
    Alphie




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    Replies
    1. It's nice to have a chuckle isn't it Alphie? And yeah, what the hell was Trump meant to be saying when he made the airports blunder? Lord knows.

      Delete
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