Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 20 June 2015
I'll get it right in a minute
I need some thin, ceramic tube or rod - I won't bore you with why. I have actually ordered the materials needed to make my own, but I thought that there just HAS to be someone out there making it. There is, of course, and - also of course - they are in China.
Every day I am, in one way or another, in contact with China. Today's task is to program my iPod. Out with Eminem, in with Nick Warburton.
Yesterday's air-time was spent in admitting my prejudices concerning red-heads. The only really unprovable prejudice I host concerning gingers is an historical snippet of history which I have never bothered to check up on (or even find out if it is possible to check up on) but that's the thing about prejudices - if we like the sound of them and they fit the sort of bigoted mental framework we have adopted in later age, we don't bother to check up.
It is that all red-heads emanate from the ancient kingdom of Thrace - a remote part of the greater area making up Ancient Greece. Every Thracian was a natural ginger, and black-haired nationals were as uncommon as red-heads are today. Every red-head alive today can trace their ancestry back to Thrace - or so I was once told.
For the whole of its existence, Thrace was permanently at war with at least one of its neighbours. Thrace's elite, front-line fighting force (the equivalent of the SAS or US Navy Seals) went into battle completely naked and - get this - with permanent erections. Make of that what you will, but I know that you have a certain image in your heads now which will probably take most of the day to dispel. Don't blame me.
These were - of course - the days before Viagra, so I have no idea what the military training in their equivalent of Hereford was, which enabled whole battalions of men to maintain their pride in the face of death, when most ordinary humans would shrivel away to nothing for the sheer fear and panic of it.
If you think that was impressive, just listen to this.
There was another ancient fighting force - I forget which country or which tribe, but I have a feeling that they were based somewhere near modern Turkey - and they had a technique to scare the living daylights out of the opposing army's front line, just before the battle proper.
A group of about 10 or 15 trained (but I don't know how) men would advance ahead of the army lines and stand just out of bowshot, facing the enemy. They would then draw their swords and simultaneously behead themselves with one swipe. I suppose I didn't need to say 'one swipe'.
Their front-line comrades would then charge at the gob-smacked enemy, taking advantage of what has to be the most surprising opportunity for a surprise-attack ever invented.
You only have one chance at a little trick like this, so how on earth did they they practice?
There's another little image to ponder, but it may have got rid of the fighting Thracian one.