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  • Writer's pictureCarl Plummer

Pelham on Parole. Chapter 10. Pelham’s world: Morning Glory, Limeys, and Carpetbaggers...

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Morning Glory

A quick shout out... (I've been learning about how to post YouTube videos; it seems 'shout out' is the popular employed phrase, albeit a little unseemly. Why a gentle 'hail fellow, well met' and a polite wave is insufficient these days, who knows? And as for smashing the 'like' button...) Oh, yes, a quick call from earth to satellite and back down to earth - to Joey Stark, editor at Happy DIY Home for calling my attention to a wonderful site - and a sight to behold should you be keen on all things floral. You'll learn a great deal. I do.

Well, as for Morning Glory - Ipomoea

Let us tread carefully here. A brief moment with the flower, although Pelham is hardly being horticultural when he descends – after waiting a moment for things to subside – from Larrison’s milk cart, having dozed off for a while and awaking with something we chaps may well be proud of in our later years.

Morning glory flower, Ipomoea nil

Most morning glory flowers unravel into full bloom in the early morning. The flowers usually start to fade a few hours before the petals start showing visible curling. In cultivation, most are treated as perennial plants in frost-free areas and as annual plants in colder climates, but some species tolerate winter cold. Some moonflowers, which flower at night, are also in the morning glory family.

As for Pelham’s Morning Glory. I shall put myself in the safe hands of No, we're not talking flowers here: The slang morning glory is much less innocent: it's the experience of waking up with an erection. Slang, though, saw it fit to repurpose morning glory. In the late 1800s, a morning glory was a horse that performed well in morning practice but performed poorly at the race. This lent itself to other athletes or people who didn’t live up to their potential. In the 1950s, morning glory was a habitual user of drug’s first use in the morning, while in the 1970s, Aussies described “sex upon waking” as morning glory.

Morning glory, as slang for the sort of erection that a man gets while still hitting the snooze button, is recorded in the 1980s. It also goes by morning wood and the alliterative breakfast boner. And for the record, it’s sometimes technically called nocturnal penile tumescence, or NPT, as the full phrase is rather stiff, shall we say. Some sources note morning glory is British slang, adding that the erection is caused by a full bladder—which, yes, is a thing.

The erectile morning glory gains traction in the 1990s in part due to the hit 1995 album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis. The album features the track “Morning Glory,” whose lyrics suggest drug use. Not that that stopped many from making the penis connection …

Okay, now? Just enjoy the flowers, eh? The rest is your business.


Suffolk Horses Ploughing by Steven Binks 1807

For those of you into the sport of kings, the furlong is no stranger. But are you aware of the origins of the measurement? Put simply, a furlong is a mean furrow length, the distance a team of oxen could plough without needing a rest – a breather. Furlong dates back to old English, with furh meaning furrow and lang meaning long. This measurement was standardized to 40 rods or 10 chains. More confusing? Ok: A furlong is one eighth of a mile – 220 yards – 660 feet.

1. The rod is a historical unit of length equal to ​5 1⁄2 yards. It may have originated from the typical length of a mediaeval ox-goad. There are 4 rods in one chain.

2. The furlong (meaning furrow length) was the distance a team of oxen could plough without resting. This was standardized to be exactly 40 rods or 10 chains.

3. An acre was the amount of land tillable by one man behind one ox in one day. Traditional acres were long and narrow due to the difficulty in turning the plough and the value of river front access.

4. An oxgang was the amount of land tillable by one ox in a ploughing season. This could vary from village to village but was typically around 15 acres.

5. A virgate was the amount of land tillable by two oxen in a ploughing season.

6. A carucate was the amount of land tillable by a team of eight oxen in a ploughing season. This was equal to 8 oxgangs or 4 virgates.

This system was a way of defining property boundaries, and the furlong was equivalent to the Roman stade (from where we get stadium) – itself coming from the Greek. The King James Bible replaced the Greek stadion with furlong.

Eight stadia to the mile, and three miles to the league. A league was the distance an adult can walk in an hour – mile coming from mille (one thousand) – one thousand passus (paces).

Something worth mentioning here. Horses can run at a gallop for about two miles before being shagged out. (Apologies to fans of Westerns where we see horses galloping for hours). A horse can canter for about five miles before needing a rest – and water, I would imagine. Canter – Canterbury – Canterbury Tales – get it?

A trot, you are fine for eight or ten miles. With a mix of canter, trotting, and walking, a horse can comfortably cover about twenty miles in a day before needing rest.

In the famous Tevis Cup (USA) horses cover 100 miles within 24 hours – perhaps travelling only for 15 hours of the 24 hours and covering about six miles per hour.

Yes. Your average marathon runner is better, faster, stronger, and more resilient – but can’t carry much.

At top speed, spending five minutes at 30 miles per hour, a strong horse can run for 2.5 miles in eight minutes – before becoming dehydrated – and exhausted.


No, not The Blues. We are back with sport. Pelham, in Pelham on Parole, espies a rag-tag threesome of boats making their way down the River Mead toward Nevercombe Lowdly. His comment about one pair of scullers being ‘in no way blues’ refers to their lack of skill. A BLUE is an award of sporting colours given to athletes competing for the university – beginning with Oxford and Cambridge.

Boat race crews 2019.

The first Oxford/Cambridge boat race took place in 1829, with the majority of the Oxford crew from Christ Church college whose colours were dark blue – white shirts with dark blue stripes. The Cambridge crew wore white shirts with a scarlet sash. In 1936, the second boat race, a ribbon – the colours of Gonville and Caius College – was attached to the front of the Cambridge boat: light blue. These colours – dark blue and light blue – were to become the official colours of the two boat clubs.

Suffolk Punches

Back with the horses. The Suffolk Horse is also known as the Suffolk Punch or Suffolk Sorrel. It is a breed of draught horse, taking the first part of its name from the county of Suffolk in East Anglia, with Punch referring to its sturdy stature and solid, strong appearance. The term draught (US: draft) or dray comes from the old English dragan – meaning to pull, similar to Dutch dragen and German tragen – to carry.

The Suffolk Punch is always Chestnut in colour by breed registries – those in the know. Suffolk Punches generally stand 16.1 to 17.2 hands (65 to 70 inches, 165 to 178 cm),[3] weigh 1,980 to 2,200 pounds (900 to 1,000 kg), shorter but more massively built than other British heavy draught breeds, such as the Clydesdale or the Shire, as a result of having been developed for agricultural work rather than road haulage. The breed has a powerful, arching neck; well-muscled, sloping shoulders; a short, wide back; and a muscular, broad croup. Legs are short and strong, with broad joints; sound, well-formed hooves; and little or no feathering on the fetlocks. The movement of the Suffolk Punch is said to be energetic, especially at the trot. The breed tends to mature early and be long-lived, and is economical to keep, needing less feed than other horses of similar type and size.

The Suffolk Punch was used mainly for draught work on farms but was also often used to pull heavy artillery in wartime. Like other heavy horses, they were also used to pull non-motorised vans and other commercial vehicles. Today, they are used for commercial forestry operations, for other draught work, and in advertising: who can refuse a pint from a barrel pulled by a pair of Suffolk Punches?

I must be candid here; I have never been a fan of horses, but there is something appealing about these great working horses – they are gentle giants.

Milk Churns

We are still with horses, in a way. You author – being an old git – still remembers milk churns standing outside small farm gateways, ready to be hoisted onto the back of carts of onto flatbed lorries: they were often standing on raised brickwork at the roadside to make loading easier. These days, you are more likely to see milk churns dotted about country gardens – stuffed with flowers.

Why churn? Once the railways started carrying milk, the pail (buckets, invariably in pairs and carried one a yoke) proved to be top-heavy, tending to spill. Dairy farmers used a tall conical wooden container - a butter churn - to 'churn' the milk into butter, and this was suitable for the railways to transport. It held a lot more milk (about seventeen gallons) and its conical shape made it less likely to spill or topple. These wooden churns were intrinsically heavy and starting in the 1850s a steel version was introduced and became standard. The usage of the word 'churn' was retained for describing these containers, although they were not themselves used for 'churning' butter.

Victorian steel railway churn.

Each churn carried a brass plate near the top to identify the owning company and when full it would have a white paper label (tied to the handle on the lid of the conical type and to the side handle of the cylindrical type), which was used for accounting purposes by the creamery or dairy. The use of churns ended in Britain in 1979.


Windsor 1844 Louis-Philippe Marie-Amélie Royal Party Charabanc by

Joseph Nash

A charabanc or char-à-banc (often pronounced sharra-bang in colloquial British English) is a type of horse-drawn vehicle or early motor coach, usually open-topped, common in Britain during the early part of the 20th century. It has benched seats arranged in rows, looking forward, commonly used for large parties, whether as public transport or for excursions. It was popular for sight-seeing or works outings to the country or the seaside, organized by businesses once a year. The name derives from the French char à bancs ("carriage with wooden benches"), the vehicle having originated in France in the early 19th century.

Although the vehicle has not been common on the roads since the 1920s, a few signs survive from the era; a notable example at Wookey Hole in Somerset warns that the road to the neighbouring village of Easton is unsuitable for charabancs. The word is in common usage especially in Northern England in a jocular way referring to works outings by coach.

Factory day outings (annual works trips) in the 19th and early 20th century were quite common for workers, especially for those from the northern mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire during the wakes weeks. (Remember my mention of these in the article on Blackpool Rock).

The 1940s and 1950s were relatively hard times due to national recovery being slow after the Second World War; rationing was still evident and annual holidays had not really become established for poorer workers such as weavers and spinners, so a day's outing to the seaside was a rare treat and all that some workers with large families could afford.

The charabancs, or coaches, were basic vehicles; noisy, uncomfortable and poorly upholstered with low-backed seats and used mainly for short journeys to the nearest resort town or the races. Some working men's clubs also organized days out and these trips were often subsidized by the clubs themselves from membership subscriptions that had been paid throughout the year. A few pence a week would be paid to a club or mill trip organizer and marked down in a notebook. This would be paid out to the saver on the day of the trip as spending money on the day. This day out would often be the highlight of the year for some workers and the only chance to get away from the smog and grime of the busy mill towns.

Later, in the late 1960s and 1970s, as the mills prospered and things improved financially, the annual wakes week took over and a one-week mass exodus from northern mill towns during the summer months took precedence over the charabanc trips, and a full week's holiday at a holiday camp or in a seaside boarding house for the full family became the norm, instead of a single day out.

So, you get the drift: Pelham’s Morning Glory reminding him of a youthful trip aboard a charabanc.


Aussies call us Britishers Poms and Shermans call us Limeys. All a bit fruity, you might say. No worries there; the slang names are born of science and life-saving science at that.

The term is thought to have originated in the 1850s as lime-juicer, later shortened to limey, and used as a derogatory word for sailors in the British Royal Navy. Since the beginning of the 19th century, it had been the practice of the Royal Navy to add lemon juice to the sailors' daily ration of grog (watered-down rum).

Vitamin C (specifically L-ascorbic acid) prevented scurvy, making British sailors some of the healthiest of the time. At that time, lemon and lime were used interchangeably to refer to citrus fruits. Initially, lemon juice (from lemons imported from Europe) was used as the additive to grog on the Royal Navy ships but was later switched to limes (grown in British colonies), not realizing that limes contained only a quarter of the vitamin C the lemons had, and that the way the juice was stored and processed destroyed much of that, leaving the lime juice unable to prevent scurvy.

In time, the term lost its naval connotation and was used to refer to British people in general, and in the 1880s, British immigrants in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Although the term may have been used earlier in the U.S. Navy as slang for a British sailor or a British warship, such usage was not documented until 1918. By 1925, the usage of limey in American English had been extended to mean any British person, and the term was so commonly known that it was featured in American newspaper headlines.

Lind was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1716 into a family of merchants, then headed by his father, James Lind. He had an elder sister. He was educated at the High School in Edinburgh.

In 1731 he began his medical studies as an apprentice of George Langlands, a fellow of the Incorporation of Surgeons which preceded the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In 1739, he entered the Navy as a surgeon's mate, serving in the Mediterranean, off the coast of West Africa and in the West Indies. By 1747 he had become surgeon of HMS Salisbury in the Channel Fleet, and conducted his experiment on scurvy while that ship was patrolling the Bay of Biscay. Just after that patrol he left the Navy, wrote his MD thesis on venereal diseases and earned his degree from the University of Edinburgh Medical School, and was granted a licence to practice in Edinburgh.

Scurvy is a disease now known to be caused by a vitamin C deficiency, but in Lind's day, the concept of vitamins was unknown. Lind thought that scurvy was due to putrefaction of the body which could be helped by acids, and thus included a dietary supplement of an acidic quality in the experiment. This began after two months at sea when the ship was afflicted with scurvy.

Lind published A treatise of the scurvy, which was virtually ignored. In 1758 he was appointed chief physician of the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar at Gosport. When James Cook went on his first voyage he carried wort (0.1 mg vitamin C per 100 g), sauerkraut (10–15 mg per 100 g) and a syrup, or "rob", of oranges and lemons (the juice contains 40–60 mg of vitamin C per 100 g) as antiscorbutics, but only the results of the trials on wort were published. In 1762 Lind's Essay on the most effectual means of preserving the health of seamen appeared.[ In it he recommended growing salad—i.e. watercress (662 mg vitamin C per 100 g)—on wet blankets. This was put into practice, and in the winter of 1775 the British Army in North America was supplied with mustard and cress seeds. While Lind recognized the benefits of citrus fruit, he never advocated citrus juice as a single solution. He believed that scurvy had multiple causes which therefore required multiple remedies.

In the Navy, experience convinced many officers and surgeons that citrus juices provided the answer to scurvy even if the reason was unknown. On the insistence of senior officers, led by Rear Admiral Alan Gardner, in 1794 lemon juice was issued on board the Suffolk on a twenty-three-week, non-stop voyage to India. The daily ration of two-thirds of an ounce mixed in grog contained just about the minimum daily intake of 10 mg vitamin C. There was no serious outbreak of scurvy. This astonishing event resulted in a widespread demand within the Navy for lemon juice, backed by the Sick and Hurt Board whose numbers had recently been augmented by two practical naval surgeons who were well aware of Lind's experiment with citrus.

One thing worth saying here. You must hand it to the Scottish people. It looks to me as though they invented and discovered nearly everything. Clever buggers, eh? Although, of course, and it goes without saying, we cannot lightly dismiss all that the great men and women of Yorkshire have given to the world.

Carpet bag.

The carpet bag was invented as personal baggage light enough for a passenger to carry, like a duffel bag, as opposed to a large rigid wooden or metal trunk, which required the assistance of porters. In 1886, the Scientific American described it as old-fashioned and reliable, "still unsurpassed by any, where rough wear is the principal thing to be studied. Such a bag, if constructed of good Brussels carpeting and unquestionable workmanship, will last a lifetime, provided always that a substantial frame is used." In Jules Verne's 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout bring only a carpet bag as luggage, which holds a few items of clothing and a great deal of cash.

Carpet bags used to be made of Oriental rugs or the Brussels carpet referred to above, with a heavy pile formed by uncut loops of wool on a linen warp. Carpet was the chosen material because remainder pieces were easily bought for its manufacture. Carpetbags made something of a brief resurgence in the 1960s with the Hippie generation, salvaged from old family attics and second-hand stores. This gave rise to limited new manufacture as a trendy fashion accessory.

In Pelham on Parole, Mrs. Glendower is no carpetbagger, but it is worth taking note of the term.

In the history of the United States, carpetbagger was a derogatory term applied by former Confederates to any person from the Northern United States who came to the Southern states after the American Civil War; they were perceived as exploiting the local populace. The term broadly included both individuals who sought to promote Republican politics (including the right of African Americans to vote and hold office), and individuals who saw business and political opportunities because of the chaotic state of the local economies following the war. In practice, the term carpetbagger was often applied to any Northerner who was present in the South during the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877). The term is closely associated with scalawag, a similarly pejorative word used to describe native White Southerners who supported the Republican Party-led Reconstruction.

White Southerners commonly denounced carpetbaggers collectively during the post-war years, fearing they would loot and plunder the defeated South and be politically allied with the Radical Republicans. Sixty men from the North, including educated free blacks and slaves who had escaped to the North and returned South after the war, were elected from the South as Republicans to Congress. The majority of Republican governors in the South during Reconstruction were from the North.

Historian Eric Foner argues:

... most carpetbaggers probably combine the desire for personal gain with a commitment to taking part in an effort "to substitute the civilization of freedom for that of slavery". ... Carpetbaggers generally supported measures aimed at democratizing and modernizing the South – civil rights legislation, aid to economic development, the establishment of public school systems.

1872 cartoon depiction of Carl Schurz as a carpetbagger

Since the end of the Reconstruction era, the term has been used to denote people in analogous historical situations, often to describe people who move into a new area for purely economic or political reasons, despite not having ties to that place.

Worth noting here: the term carpetbagger is now in common use in the political sphere as the Democrats plan (purportedly) to move into Georgia to swing the coming Senate Election their way. I can’t see this happening on a grand scale because those who do migrate there will have to remain in situ for many months before leaving and returning to their original states. Moving to a state purely to swing an election is illegal.

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