To the long list of stiff upper lip-wielding Brits, including the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, Sir Francis Drake who defeated the Spanish Armada and Henry V, the king who defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt, we may add King George VI, father of the current Queen Elisabeth.
King George woke one desperate May morning in 1940 to a call from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who was just then desperately holed up in an air raid shelter in a palace garden against an ongoing assault from the Germans.
“She begged me to send aircraft for the defense of Holland. I passed this message on to everyone concerned & went back to bed.”
Quoted in Last Hope Island by Lynne Olsen.
Now that the St. Helena airport is up and running the RMS St. Helena, the last ship in the world to actually carry the British mail, is taking down her flags. It’s on its last visit to the island this week.
Here are a few photos from St. Helena, a tiny speck of land 1200 miles west of Africa in the south Atlantic Ocean, formerly only accessible via the RMS St. Helena.
St. Helena is a product of the same British colonialism that brought us the map in the previous post. It’s a place out of time.
It’s lovely, too.
The only population center, Jamestown.
There are more photos in the St. Helena Gallery at EarthPhotos.com, and here is a link to posts I wrote at the time of our visit.
A plucky little charter company called Atlantic Star Airlines is arranging a charter flight now for Christmas 2018 from the U.K:
Here’s their web site. And here is the local paper, the St. Helena Sentinel.
From an intriguing website, new to me, called Tubemapcentral.com.This map comes from a pdf newsletter available on the site. Best way to properly view it might be to download the pdf and then enlarge the map. Brings back a disappeared world. Not entirely forgotten, especially probably if you were a non-British resident somewhere far out in the empire.
The keeper of the newsletter writes:
“Many of you will be familiar with a particularly splendid poster from 1937 advertising air services by Imperial Airways. This included a schematic map in an inset, detailing mileages and frequencies of flights to all sorts of exotic destinations.”
This guy lives in the Munich zoo. He’s from my other web site, EarthPhotos.com, where there are some 20,000 photos from over 100 countries. Check it out.
Here are the four most viewed photos there, as of today:
Tree climbing lion, Ishasha, Uganda
Vegetable market alongside the huge fish market in Hoi An, Vietnam
Balloon ride over Cappadocia, Turkey
And here, masters of the(ir) universe, in an office block along Oxford Street, London at quitting time
Explore all 20,000 photos.
If anything marks out the British linguistically, it’s their baroque way of using adverbs, especially as a form of polite sangfroid or poise – so “the worst day ever” is “things perhaps aren’t quite as wonderful as they could be”. As the American critic Alexander Woollcott once said: “The English have an extraordinary ability for flying into a great calm.”
In light of German politicians’ inability to form a government, the German Question has been turned on its head. Post-Cold War, the German Question asked how the unification of East and West Germany might be achieved without creating an economic and political juggernaut, with all the baggage that prospect carried.
Suddenly now, wonders Handelsblatt Global, is Germany “becoming incapable of assuming enough leadership to guide and champion Europe in a globalized world?” In the same week, Matthew Engel’s Travels in Belgium, the dysfunctional, fractured state at the heart of the EU reminds us that that country “went 589 days in 2010-11 without a fully-formed government.”
Meanwhile, Brexit still means Brexit and we can all see how that’s working out. Just ask, (among just about anybody else) anyone living along the once and future Republican/Northern Irish border.
Can European governments govern? That is the new European Question.