“The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”

December 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Said the Duke of Wellington (allegedly). But the game concerned was probably not cricket

In 1886, The Times printed a letter from a very old Etonian, after it used the phrase in a leading article in relation to “excellence in sport and manly atheletic games”:

The playing-fields, in the Duke’s time and long after, were the scene of other contests than those of cricket, and affairs of honour between the boys were settled in a well-known corner of that locality.

I take it, therefore, that the Duke’s saying about the Battle of Waterloo being won in the Eton playing-fields simply meant that in those fields young Arthur Wellesley displayed the same pluck and endurance in a fight with some bigger antagonists which, in later years, he exhibited with such effect on the plains of Waterloo.

Ten years later, another old boy made much the same point. In the Iron Duke’s day, Etonians didn’t play cricket – “or leapfrog”:

The Duke’s reference was solely to that portion or corner of the Playing Fields in which the school fights used to take place, and all the illustrious FM [Field Marshall] meant to say was that these fights had taught British officers how to win the battle of Waterloo.

Original story here


British food takes off in France!: “It is the latest Anglo-Saxon hit on the Parisian literary scene — a work so successful that the capital’s leading English-language bookshop has had to expand its shelf space for it. But l’oeuvre in question is not a book. It is a tin of baked beans — or rather thousands of tins, which have found their way into the W H Smith store in Paris as it seeks to capitalise on rising demand for British food in France. The bookshop set up a small section dedicated to traditional British foodstuffs amid its more conventional fare — novels by the likes of J. K. Rowling and Sebastian Faulks, or newspapers, including The Times — last year. The jelly babies, custard, Polo mints, Ribena, Walker’s crisps and other products proved so popular that W H Smith had to double the size of the department this summer. “We now have 610 references and we have tripled the number of mince pies we are ordering this year, compared to last year,” said a spokeswoman. “But it still looks like we might be sold out by Christmas.” She said that the shop had sold thousands of tins of baked beans to expatriates and French Anglophiles in the past 12 months. It is not alone. Exports of British foodstuffs to France are increasing at a rate not seen since the crisis over BSE in the 1990s. Sales reached £1.37 billion in the first nine months of this year — up by 11.5 per cent compared with the same period last year. Mr Brockman said that the success of British exports was due partly to the changing nature of French eating habits, with long sit-down lunches giving way to Anglo-Saxon style snacks, fast food and sandwiches. Le snacking, as it is known, rose by 11 per cent in value last year, giving British crisp, chocolate and biscuit manufacturers a new outlet.”

Britain’s new super-ship. One problem… the state-of-the-art missiles don’t work: “At last, the Royal Navy has something to cheer about. As of today, it has a new and suitably menacing £1 billion ship which should form a central plank of Britain’s defences for the next 30 years. Yesterday morning, with the top brass assembled on a Portsmouth quayside, a chap from British Aerospace handed over the keys to one of the most advanced ships in the world and a chap in a uniform raised the Royal Navy’s white ensign. HMS Dauntless is now part of the Fleet. Watch your step, Johnny Foreigner . . . Well, actually, don’t worry yourself too much just yet. Dauntless is the second of six Type 45 destroyers which have been commissioned to protect the Royal Navy from pretty much any airborne threat the world can throw at it in the near future. The only problem is that its main armament doesn’t work. The so-called Sea Viper missile system, which is being designed in partnership with the French and Italians, is proving to be more of a sea sloth. The Sea Viper system constitutes a whopping £400million of the £1 billion cost of each Type 45 destroyer. And it should have been up and running by now. But recent missile tests off the South of France (it’s not all topless beaches and oligarchs, you know) have been disappointing to say the least. ‘We understand that there have been a number of test failures which are putting Sea Viper back by months or even a year,’ says Jon Rosamond, editor of Jane’s Navy International magazine.” [Pix at link]

Just another promiscuous black: “Tiger Woods was accused last night of negotiating a million-dollar payoff to silence a women named as one of his three alleged mistresses. New York club promoter Rachel Uchitel dramatically cancelled a planned press conference in Los Angeles yesterday. The 34-year-old has adamantly denied an affair with Woods although reports suggested she was considering revealing details of her alleged month-long fling. Miss Uchitel was named as Woods’ mistress in U.S. tabloid the National Enquirer last week, days before the accident…. Revelations about Miss Uchitel’s alleged affair with the shamed golfer were followed by claims that Woods cheated on his wife with at least two other women, cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs, 24, and Las Vegas club executive Kalika Moquin, 27. The golfer, 33, apologised to his family and supporters in a statement on his website on Wednesday, admitting to ‘personal sins’ and letting down his wife, Elin, and their two children. He and Elin, 29, a former Swedish model, reportedly started ‘intensive marriage counselling’ after he admitted his ‘transgressions’ and issued the extraordinary public apology.” It was also disclosed that two women, a blonde and a brunette, who both work at a Las Vegas bar where Woods is a regular guest, have accused him of conducting on-off affairs.”

A tiger with skinny legs: “Jaimee Grubbs, who claims she had a 2 1/2-year relationship with the golfing great, told US Weekly that Woods became upset when she made a remark about his calves. In April 2007, Grubbs was waiting for Woods in the entertainment room of his MGM Grand mansion. “When he arrived, he told me he had done a workout and he was going to do another workout for legs,” she told the magazine. “I said, ‘For someone who works out a lot, you sure have small calves’!” But Woods did not like the comment. “I remember him giving me the biggest death look. He told me he was very insecure about the size of his calves. He said, ‘I can’t grow calves’. And I was like, ‘OK, sorry’.”

World’s most obese airline passenger: “This is the jumbo jet-setter, the airline passenger so obese, he’s a safety hazard. And a flight attendant took this picture to prove it. Economy class flights are cramped at the best of times, so imagine being stuck next to someone so large they take up half the aisle, too. This image was captured by an air stewardess who wanted to demonstrate to her boss exactly why obese passengers should be made to buy an extra seat. The photograph has since appeared on web forums used by flight attendants, where many appeared to agree with the crew member. One user posted the comment: ‘Sympathise with the guy or not, he’s a major safety hazard in an evacuation and a gross inconvenience for the cabin crew.’ The photograph is believed to have been taken during an American Airlines flight. It is not clear if the passenger was asked to move before the flight took off.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.


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