Thursday, 30 September 2010

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.

We have a standing tale in our family of a conversation when the eldest daughter Charlotte was at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. TBH and I were attending a parade that she was taking part in and were chatting to the Commanding Officer. He asked us how Charlotte was getting on and whether she was enjoying the experience.
Quick as a flash I came back with 'Well the rum and the lash are going okay but she's having a bit of a problem with the sodomy, can't get the cat to keep still!'

(The story goes that after being told by an indignant member of the Admiralty that the conversion of the fleet from coal to oil would scuttle its tradition, Churchill replied: 'Don't talk to me about naval tradition, it's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.')

Well he roared with laughter and she turned scarlet with embarrassment(a common condition for our kids). All ended well though as he certainly remembered her as he saw her around the college.

The reason for this story being Rum, sodomy and the lash... that was the least of it: 19th century Royal Navy medical journals reveal the perils of a life at sea , that I read this morning, have a look it's fascinating about the dangers of sailing in the Royal Navy in days of yore.

Seven-foot worms in the stomach, tarantula bites and lightning strikes made life at sea a dangerous activity in the 19th century, medical archives revealed today
Strikes me that not a lot has changed, we still have the big spiders aboard and the lightning strikes, the snakes and the malaria. Thank God no seven foot worms in the stomach yet though....


Lisa said...

Were you actually listening to Today this am on Radio 4??? You must have been. They were talking about Naval Medical Records from their Surgeons staring from the late 17th Century, i was slightly awake but I think they have been put online. The man talked avidly about intestinal worms.

Now I have pasted think I see you know all.
Love anyway
Lisa x

Gerry said...

Fascinating stuff isn't it? And we can even keep right up to date here in the jungle, now that's a little different from the 17th century!!!