True or False 1. The death of Napoleon
I seem to remember that, in my youth, there was a television programme (yes, such things did exist in my youth – although on a black and white screen that would sporadically disappear upwards on a never ending cycle) that had as its tag line the following ‘the following story is true, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent’.
Well, the tag line of this blog entry might have been ‘the following is true, only the facts have been changed ….’
So, some strange and unusual things about St Helena – you will have to decide which are true.
Some have claimed that the term ‘bogeyman’ derives from the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. Although this charming
little ditty seems to suggest that parents weren’t unhappy to use the threat of Napoleon’s invasion to frighten their offspring into going to sleep at night:
Baby, baby, naught baby,
Hush! you squalling thing, I say;
Peace this instant! Peace! or maybe
Bonaparte will pass this way.
Baby, baby, he's a giant,
Black and tall as Rouen's steeple,
Sups and dines and lives reliant
Every day on naughty people.
Baby, baby, if he hears you
As he gallops past the house,
Limb from limb at once he'll tear you
Just as puss y tears a mouse.
And he'll beat you, beat you, beat you,
And he'll beat you all to pap:
And he'll eat you, eat you, eat you,
Gobble you, gobble you, snap! snap! snap!'
there is plenty of evidence that the bogey man existed long before our enemy of across the water – perhaps ‘Boney Man’ is more likely.
Now despite the impressive destruction and death dealt by Napoleon and his army, the island community of St Helena commemorates the life and death of Napoleon in a short but moving ceremony at the site of his tomb. Against the constant and delightful backdrop of the percussive sound of frogs, the Chief Secretary, the Honorary French Consul and a representative of ‘le Fondation Napoleon’ each lay a wreath at the tomb following a prayer of reconciliation and the sounding of the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’. A short, moving and delightful ceremony that reflects the civilised and British approach to remembering history. Not a universal approach as I think immediately of the Lewes Bonfire Night when it is not Guy Fawkes but the current and existing Pope that is throne onto the fire! 2. The body of Napoleon
Is no longer at rest under the tomb in St Helena. 3. Skittles
Your correspondent has been recalled to the ranks of the ‘Alcometers’ (not ‘Alcoholics as previously (and clearly libellously) described) skittles team. Nothing extraordinary to report, just a good all-round performance good enough for him to be named in the forthcoming 9 a-side competition where we will undoubtedly be striving to do better than the last place achieved in the 6 a-side tournament. Clearly we will do better in what is clearly the more senior championship. 4. Yacht Club
Your correspondent will, this week, be seeking membership and basic sailing training at the St Helena Sailing Club that has, reputedly, no boats. 5. Dog
My friend Peter sends from South Africa the suggestion that there is a sniffer dog employed by the St Helena Customs Service that has lost his sense of smell!
Now which of these tales is true I will leave you to decide. However, from my perspective out here in the South Atlantic all
of them ought
Best wishes from the balmy and barmy island of St Helena!
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