Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Change of Plan.



My day was well planned, I was involved from the off in my work and I exercised by playing Beatles songs and dancing (with the curtains closed) until I fell down (two minutes!).  Things were going well when the museum called. The afternoon talk required help, someone has to make the tea!  So changing my plans to suit I wandered down in the afternoon expecting a crowd for the tea and biscuits.  
There were three names on the list!
However with half term this was to be expected and Jenny did her bit by bringing her mum, dad and neighbour along!  With three members of staff it swelled the crowd!  The picture is taken in a manner to indicate a larger audience than actually arrived.  
It was good however.  The chap discussed the wool trade over almost a thousand years.  The wool made England rich, much off it exported to what is now Holland, Belgium and France, and if you wish to see what it does look at the Suffolk village of Lavenham!  Check for pictures of the place, a huge church paid for by wool exports.  The English parliament saw the speaker in the House of Lords sitting on a 'woolsack' to represent the wealth thereof.  
By the time of the Reformation things changed.  Protestant believers in what was then Spanish Netherlands were persecuted so moved to various parts of England.  Bringing their 'Bays & Says' they found welcome in East Anglia and the resultant operations lasted well into the nineteenth century.  This was the substance of the talk.  The separation of wool from the fleece, washing, weaving, turning into bays or says.  The bay was a standard length of 35 yards long and one and a quarter yard wide (You work it out).  This was hard labour work, it made much money, allowing for various wars, rebellion and the like that hit the trade, and made some people a great deal of money.  Those doing the dirty jobs got the least!  
This was an interesting story, especially as we have the remains of the old mills that took over once this trade lessened and many remain who worked at the weaving, in fact one visitor was a retired weaver, and he wished us to know this!
A good afternoon out, even if it ruined my day - again.

Good job I am not one to complain.....       

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11 comments:

Carol in Cairns said...

You must make superb tea to be called in on your day off. It is nice to be loved ~ or at least wanted. And always a privilege to listen to someone else speak.

Mike Smith said...

Which Beatles songs would that be? Help? When I'm 64? Hard Days Night? I suspect it wasn't I Feel Fine...

Lee said...

The first sheep arrived in Australia with the First fleet in 1788. Within a year only one survived.

Around 1796 a few Merino were introduced from Spain; and by a few...26...some of which didn't survive the trip to Oz.

Further down the track in 1804, Captain John Macarthur lashed out extravagantly and bought 7 more rams and 1 ewe (hmmmmmmmm!) from King George the Third who had previously traded a horse or four, par for the course, for said sheep.

Macarthur a British army officer, was the pioneer of settlement in Australia. Macarthur is also recognised as the father/pioneer of the Aussie wool industry.

The knowledgeable Macarthur succeeded in breeding the first Aussie-bred pure Merino sheep.

And on and on...within 4 decades Australia became the world's biggest wool producer.

For much of Australia's history the wool industry was massive and financially very successful.

The catch phrase was born: "Australia was riding on the sheep's back"

Sorry for taking up so much of your time Adullamite...with my not-so brief glimpse into the Aussie wool industry. I did get carried away, didn't I?

Kay G. said...

Um, I would have really found that talk interesting myself. And to have your tea afterwards too? Sounds good to me!

Adullamite said...

Carol, I make wonderful tea, as long as folks don't realise it is all used Tea Bags!

Mike, It was 'I should have known better.....'

Lee, That's fascinating! But you canny pull the wool over my eyes! Merino sheep are famous, we learnt about them at primary school! Good stuff that, especially one ewe and seven rams.

Kay, You would love it! Come to the next one.

Lee said...

Ewe would say that, Mr. Ada-Man!

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Did the museum play the chorus to Get Back to you over the phone?

Relax Max said...

What a fascinating post! And such interesting comments, too. I fear I'll not be able to add much to what has already been put forward on the subject of sheep and wool, but I will dredge my brainpan and share what I find there.

I do know there was also a bit of weaving done in Scotland, or used to be, at least in the 19th century, though I don't know if Scotland had their own sheep or imported the wool from Australia or East Anglia. Actually, raising local sheep is probably more logical, though far be it for me to put untrue words in the mouths of historians. I read in a book once where the American steel industrialist, wee Andra Carnegie, hailed from Dunfermline, I think, or something "Fife" but for sure Scotland, where his father was a weaver.

This, in turn segued into the memory of a song called Nancy Whiskey (performed by Prydein on their album "Loud Pipes" -- I feel confident you are also a fan, as I am, of bagpipe-based hard rock and roll.) This is pertinent, or "germane" if you will, because the song is an old Scots ballad which tells the story of an alcoholic Calton weaver who euphemistically refers to his addiction as being in love with a girl named Nancy Whiskey. Only, they probably spell it "whisky" -- you can't really tell by listening to the song. Anyway, in the song, he goes on down "Ta Glazga City" and goes on a 7-year binge, having fallen in love with Nancy Whiskey in a Glasgow tavern and can't seem to give her up and go back to his Calton loom, which, one assumes, would have been time more profitably spent. I can't remember all of the story, though I know that's probably disappointing to you. Some Scottish ballads go on forever, doncha know, and one's attention span tends to drift. So I don't remember if he dies or goes into rehab or what.

The man thing, as I say, that is pertinent to your post is that he was a weaver. Could be flax (and if so, I apologize) but I assumed wool.

I suppose it goes without saying that you already know one can Tango to "Long and Winding Road" though it gets a bit jerky in spots.

Relax Max said...

Like Lee, I'll have to apologize for the short length of my comment. It's because I don't really know very much about sheep or wool or weaving. Or whiskey either, for that matter.

Relax Max said...

Although, knowing you, you won't read past the first 4 words anyway.

Adullamite said...

Max, I never got past the first four words of that.

Max, Whisky!

Max, Right.