Just a dirty (colloquialism)-Or Not !

Published: August 29th 2015
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Morning All,

The last blog had a title called” Freezing the Balls off a Brass monkey”, which was rudely interrupted when we I had to go to bed as we were just so tired and the blog was sort of cut short because of this.

The Blog Title was not intended to be rude, but describe how cold it was in Tasmania, ah Beautiful Tasmania, I type this addition or completion to our blog original blog at 06.00 on Saturday 29th August, Caroline is sleeping in bed and I am just about to get ready for a 07.30 HF radio broadcast (Sked)

Back to why we are here, I said that I would explain where this Colloquialism of “Freezing the Balls off a Brass Monkey” came from, I had something in the back of my mind, though I am not a 100%!s(MISSING)ure this is true it sounds pretty reasonable to me, so we are going to run with it.

Back in the days of the early sailing ships, all war ships and freighters were armed with iron Cannons, in times of hostilities they would need to have the Iron Cannon Balls sited very close to the Cannon, which seems fair enough, now with all that salt water splashing around, the decks me-harties, how would you (A) Position/ stack all the Cannon balls by the cannon in a nice neat pile and (B) how then would you stop them from rolling around the deck- Good Question I hear you say!!

So by now you are understanding some simple housekeeping problems here !!

The best storage method devised was a square based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine which rested on sixteen, Thus, a supply of thirty cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.

There was only one problem, !! how are you going to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others.

They say that necessity is the mother of all invention and the simple solution was a metal plate called a “Monkey” with sixteen round indentations. But, if this platewas made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it, due to the salt water.

The solution to the rusting problem was to make “Brass Monkeys, Few people realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannon balls would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, “Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!”

And there you have it- simple really. (And all this time, you thought that was a dirty expression, didn’t you?)

Well that was a bit of fun, I am just completing the last blog for Tasmania which was Friday 21st August, it will be published wither today or tomorrow and Caroline has already typed Saturday 22nd August when we travel home.

Next week we fly over east back to the farm where were are going to another, yes another country wedding which we are excited about so we will of course blog that.

Until next time



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