Search
  • Carl Plummer

Pelham on Parole. Chapter 9. Pelham’s world: Emma Lazarus, Tunnock’s, Kedgeree, and Carlsberg.

Tunnock’s



Studely is never without a snack, although that snack may succumb to explosions, falls, near-drownings, and the voracious guard dog from time to time. As for Tunnock’s, I must confess that I am no fan of the marshmallow ones – cannot abide marshmallow at all. As for the caramel wafers: delicious.

Why live a miserable life when for 30 bob you can be buried comfortably,’ said John Tunnock, joiner and coffin maker, father of Thomas Tunnock, born 1865 in Uddingston. Well, good old Thomas worked hard and had enough money to buy his own bakery for £80 in 1890. He married Mary Mitchell in 1892. Son Archie arrived in 1895. Daughter, Alice, born in 1903, died as a teenager.


By 1906, the family business was growing, employing 6 boy workers and boys to deliver warm rolls to locals. Catering for weddings and other family occasions added to the business. A fire in 1910 destroyed the premises – a new bakery was built at Loanhead Mansions in the main street. Next came the tearooms in 1912, advertised as commercial dining for socials, smokers, and presentations.

Son, Archie, was posted to Iraq during the First World War, where he served for three years, returning to Britain a few weeks after the death of his father. During the hardships of the miners’ strike in 1921, Archie opened a new bakery and expanded business by supplying to local schools, along with a larger tearoom. Business grew, much assisted by Archie’s marriage to local farmer’s daughter Margaret Boyd. Their son, Tom was born in 1926. Another boy, Boyd, arrived in 1933.


The family business grew, with a fleet of three vans supplying catering for local functions – along with pies, cakes, teas, and all the accoutrements.


I must make another confession. Was Studely armed with a pocket full of Caramel Wafers? No, that would be anachronistic, but I am not going to let facts spoil a good idea: I call in the writers’ amendment – poetic license. 1947 is the year of the Caramel Wafer – owing its success to a longer shelf-life than normal cakes. In 1952, the Snowball – with a filling of Italian meringue and desiccated coconut. In 1954 we were introduced to the Caramel Log – caramel, wafer, chocolate, and roasted coconut. The now famous teacake came along in 1955 – more mallow.

By 1965, Tunnock’s could boast a fleet of 37 vans as they serviced shops, and cash ‘n’ carries across Scotland. By 1981 there was a fleet of Tunnock’s vans in Japan – lovers of the Tunnock’s Milk Chocolate Wafer cream.


During the Covid-19 pandemic, Sales Director Mr. Fergus delivered a gift of 2,500 teacakes and caramel wafers to frontline workers at the Louisa Jordan hospital, Glasgow. All I can say, on behalf of the caramel wafer: long live Tunnock’s.


Monocles


The Atlantic, in their Oct 2019 article claim that monocles have never been cool – they have been a joke since their invention. One eye is magnified and obscured, while the other looks naked. A monocle perches on the face, precariously unsupported, requiring effort and practice just to keep it in place.


That is all well and good, but there is something sinister about the monocle. Germans – those of a military disposition – loved them.


Some very pompous English gits also wore them. Ian Carmichael’s Bertie Wooster wore one – we can forgive him for that, although I must say I am not too happy about the stammer.


Glass for magnification has been around for centuries, as early as the 13th century, and by the 17th century Galileo was wielding a telescope. Common belief is that an 18th century German baron, Philipp von Stoch popularized the monocle – from where it spread to London to take on a career with the upper classes and more foppish members of high society. Yes, Dandyism.


Charles Dickens has a pop with one character having ‘flat orbits to his eyes and such limp little eyelids that it [his monocle] wouldn’t stick in when he put it up but kept tumbling out against his waistcoat buttons.’


As for the Germans? Well, military officers of the First World War took the monocle to great heights – unaware of its comic past. Now we have the archetypal baddie – the monocle wearer. Colonel Klink of Hogan’s Heroes wears one, as does Wolfgang von Strucker of the Marvel comics. And do I recall Auric Goldfinger wearing one?


Pinguim - Galeria de Personagens de Desenhos Animados - GPDesenhos.com.br


Teutonic


The Teutons lived in Jutland in the 4th century BCE and fought against the romans in France in the 2nd century BCE. Although Indo-European, through Greek to Latin the word means people or country, we now associate it with the Germanic tribe – while some historians suggest Celtic origins.


"The Women of the Teutones Defend the Wagon Fort" (1882) by Heinrich Leutemann


During the late 2nd century BCE, the Teutones moved from southern Scandinavia, south and west, through the Danube valley, and passed through Gaul before coming up against the Romans. After some early victories against the Romans, the Teutones and Cimbri divided their forces – to be defeated separately by Gaius Marius – the final battle of the defeat near what is now known as Aix-en-Province.


Now for the bloody part: under the conditions of the surrender, three hundred married women were to be handed over to the victorious Romans as concubines and slaves. When the matrons of the Teutones heard of this stipulation, they begged the consul that they might instead be allowed to minister in the temples of Ceres and Venus. When their request was denied, the Teutonic women slew their own children. The next morning, all the women were found dead in each other's arms, having strangled each other during the night. Their joint martyrdom passed into Roman legends of Teutonic fury.


Perhaps the most well known ‘Teutons’ are the Teutonic Order – The Order of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem. This order was formed to protect and assist Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land. A purely religious order (no military wing) after 1809, under the dissolution by Napoleon Bonaparte, it went underground as a charitable and ceremonial body. It was outlawed by Hitler between 1938 and 1945. The black crosses (on white surcoats) were used by the Prussians as military decoration and insignia – the Iron Cross. Symbols are so easily conflated: Emperor Wilhelm of Germany posed for a photograph – wearing the clothes of a monk from the Teutonic Order, and this image was picked up by the Weimar republic to promote Germany’s anti-Polish rhetoric.


The Poles used the symbol as well, as a symbol of German hostility. The Soviets had Teutonic Knights as villains – taken from Sergei Eisenstein’s Aleksandr Nevskii (1938) while Hitler saw the Knights as the military wing of the Catholic Church, and a threat to the regime.

The motto of the Teutonic Knights: Helfen, Wehren, Heilen (to help, to defend, to heal).


Carlsberg (Ice Cold in Alex)


Why Carlsberg (A Danish beer) in Ice Cold in Alex? Sylvia Syms (Sister Diana Murdoch) is purported to have said that a German beer would have been unacceptable. The beer was not featured in the book.

One of my favourite war films, Ice Cold in Alex is about a small group of people battling against nature, the scorching desert, and their own personal demons – with the backdrop of war butting in from time to time.


That final scene where Quayle’s character is permitted to enjoy his beer before being driven away – perhaps to be shot as a spy – is about individuals seeing the war in a different way, looking for and finding the humanity amidst the chaos. Do the allies win, do the Germans win? Humanity wins. The human spirit wins.

No desert struggle in Pelham on Parole, but we get a hefty and respectful nod to this film in Pelham and the Plan on the Clapham Omnibus.

Carlsberg was founded in 1847 by J. C. Jacobsen, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jacobsen set up the Carlsberg laboratories in 1875 with a department of chemistry and physiology, where the yeast to make pale lager Saccharomyces carlsbergensis was isolated.


The four elephants? In 1901, Architect Professor j. L. Dahlerup created a tower resting on four granite elephants – his inspiration coming from the obelisk in Piazza della Minerva in Rome. Pilsner was introduced in 1904, along with the new logo.


Special Brew is a strong lager brewed only in Denmark and the United Kingdom. It was initially brewed by Carlsberg to commemorate a visit to Denmark by Winston Churchill in 1950. The flavour incorporates tones of cognac among its tasting notes because Churchill was partial to brandy. In May 1951 two crates were delivered to Churchill's London home. In a thank-you letter Churchill called the drink Commemoration Lager.


Carlsberg's tagline Probably the best lager in the world was created in 1973 by Tony Bodinetz at KMP for the UK market. Voiceovers were later done by Orson Welles with the tagline being changed to Probably the best beer in the world.


Another admission here. I am no great fan of lagers – I am a bitter man (in more ways than one), preferably Shepherd Neame (can’t go wrong with a Spitfire or Bishop’s Finger) or Fuller’s London Pride while often turning to an IPA should the climate demand something cool. But should I be scorching under the fiery furnace of a desert sky with my chukka boots melting in shifting sands, a Carlsberg will not be pushed aside – accompanied by a sexy Sylvia Syms, if possible.


Parbuckle


Still on beers, to some extent. A parbuckle is a mechanical device consisting of looped ropes. The mechanical advantage of a parbuckle on an incline can reduce labour by a ratio of 2:1. This device was often used to bring (roll) casks and barrels up an incline for loading onto trucks or ships, and used to drag field guns across ditches.


The shipping aspect continues, and was used to upright Costa Concordia, at less than 2 degrees an hour, in September 2013. More famous is the righting (rotation of 180 degrees) of USS Oklahoma while under salvage in Pearl Harbour in March 1943.



19 March 1943, USS Oklahoma's parbuckle salvage. Ship rotated 90 degrees.


Gopak






The Gopak originates from the Ukrainian Hopak, a male dance among the Zaporozhian Cossacks. Hopak originates from the Ukrainian meaning ‘to jump’ and anyone who watches this live roustabout can see why – and it goes back to the 16th century. This acrobatic dance, often solo, showing off manliness, heroism, speed and strength, with a clapping crowd watching on was accompanied by lively music from violins, bagpipes, bandura, and cimbaloms.



Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once famously forced his eventual successor Nikita Khrushchev (who had been the Communist Party chief in Ukraine) to dance the Hopak. (There is always someone who has to spoil things, eh?)


Agincourt arrows


The 6ft English Longbow was used by the English and the Welsh, mainly for hunting, but it proved lethal during battle – most famously – Agincourt (1415). It had been tried and tested throughout the hundred years war, at Crecy (1346), and Poitiers (1356).


A record of how boys and men trained to use the bows with high draw weights survives from the reign of Henry VII.


[My yeoman father] taught me how to draw, how to lay my body in my bow ... not to draw with strength of arms as divers other nations do ... I had my bows bought me according to my age and strength, as I increased in them, so my bows were made bigger and bigger. For men shall never shoot well unless they be brought up to it.

— Hugh Latimer.

What Latimer meant when he describes laying his body into the bow was described thus:

the Englishman did not keep his left hand steady and draw his bow with his right; but keeping his right at rest upon the nerve, he pressed the whole weight of his body into the horns of his bow. Hence probably arose the phrase "bending the bow," and the French of "drawing" one.

— W. Gilpin.


Bowstave: Longbows were invariably made from yew, although ash, elm and other woods were also used. The bow stave is shaped into a D-section. The outer back of sapwood, approximately flat, follows the natural growth rings. The inner side belly of the bow stave consists of rounded heartwood. The heartwood resists compression and the outer sapwood performs better in tension. This combination in a single piece of wood (a self-bow) forms a natural laminate, similar to the construction of a composite bow. Longbows last a long time if protected with a water-resistant coating of wax, resin and fine tallow.

String: Bowstrings were made of hemp, flax or silk, and attached to the wood via horn "nocks" that fit onto the end of the bow.

Arrows: There were variations in length, fletchings, and heads with names such as broad-arrow, wolf-arrow, dog-arrow, Welsh arrow and Scottish arrow being recorded. War arrows were ordered in the thousands for medieval armies and navies, supplied in sheaves normally of 24 arrows. Between 1341 and 1359 the English crown obtained 51,350 sheaves (1,232,400 arrows). The most common arrowheads in military use were the short bodkin point and a small barbed arrow.

Training: The draw weight of a typical English longbow was at least 360 newtons (81 pounds-force) and possibly more than 600 N (130 lbf). Considerable practice was required to produce the swift and effective combat shooting required. Remains of skeletons of longbow archers show enlarged left arms and often osteophytes on left wrists, left shoulders and right fingers.

It was the difficulty in using the longbow that led various monarchs of England to issue instructions encouraging their ownership and practice, including the Assize of Arms of 1252 and Edward III of England's declaration of 1363:

Whereas the people of our realm, rich and poor alike, were accustomed formerly in their games to practice archery – whence by God's help, it is well known that high honour and profit came to our realm, and no small advantage to ourselves in our warlike enterprises... that every man in the same country, if he be able-bodied, shall, upon holidays, make use, in his games, of bows and arrows... and so learn and practice archery.


Range: A flight arrow of a professional archer of Edward III's time would (supposedly) reach 400 yards but the longest mark shot at on the London practice ground of Finsbury Fields in the 16th century was 345 yards.

Films to watch: Laurence Olivier’s Henry V (1944) and Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V (1989) – watch those arrows fly; they fill the sky.

Kedgeree


“To eat well in England, you should have breakfast three times a day.” W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)


Let us leave, for a while, the wonderful sausage, egg, bacon, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, and fried bread for the moment. (With a decent labourer’s mug of splosh!) Let us, for that while, venture into the world of kedgeree – the snobby end of the English breakfast table, owing much to a bit of cultural theft – what is now referred to as cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation – what a farce! Is not imitation the greatest form of flattery – and appreciation – a celebration of something?


How best to describe kedgeree: fish, rice, eggs, and curry. In India, kichari refers to many legume (often rice and lentils) and rice dishes, and can be traced back to the mid14th century.


This dish came to Britain via colonialism and a time when Anglo-Indian dishes became all the rage – the Victorian era, although there is mention of it in Stephana Malcom’s (of Burnfoot) recipe book in 1790.


Kedgeree can be made with any fish, such as tuna and salmon, but the best way is to make it with (undyed) smoked haddock. Plenty of butter, parsley, rice, and hard-boiled eggs.

Yes, there is a plethora of TV chefs, best-seller chefs to whom we can turn, but for me there is only one (once we have consulted Mrs. Beeton) worth reading, and that is Keith Floyd. Why Keith Floyd? A bit of a showman – yes, he was. Enjoyed a tipple – yes, he did. But for me, it was his enthusiasm and his love of cooking for other people – presenting people with great dishes and seeing them enjoy the food – too many chefs these days are full of the look how brilliant I am without considering the eater.


Another stalwart of the British repertoire that was brought from India where it was a favourite among the loyal servants of the Empire.

  • 2 lb (1 kg) smoked haddock

  • 1 sprig parsley

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 lemons

  • Peppercorns

  • 2 oz (50 g) butter

  • 4 oz (125 g) onions, chopped

  • 1 lb (500 g) long-grain rice

  • 2 pints (1 litres) fish stock

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs

  • Salt and pepper

  • Curry powder or grated nutmeg

  • Chopped parsley to garnish

Put the haddock with the parsley, bay leaf, 1 lemon cut into slices and a few peppercorns into a pan; cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until the fish is tender. Drain, remove the skin and bones from the fish and flake the flesh. Melt the butter in a deep pan and fry the onions gently for 5 minutes. Add the rice and fish stock; bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.


Slice 3 of the hard-boiled eggs and stir gently into the rice with the flaked fish. Add salt, pepper and curry powder or grated nutmeg to taste. Add the juice of the remaining lemon. Pile the kedgeree into a hot dish and garnish with parsley and the remaining hard-boiled egg, chopped.


Emma Lazarus


The New Colossus, a Petrarchan sonnet by Emma Lazarus, was a reference to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Greek Colossus of Rhodes – a giant statue astride the harbour entrance to Rhodes in the 3rd century BC. The huddled masses refers to the great number of immigrants entering New York via Ellis Island.

Immigration was important to Emma Lazarus, a descendant of Jewish immigrants (the original manuscript is held by the American Jewish Historical Society) very aware of the plight of Jews fleeing the pogroms of 19th century Czarist Russia.

Bartholdi’s massive effigy – the Statue of Liberty – was not originally as symbol of immigration. It was a symbol to commemorate international republicanism, but Lazarus’ poem gave weight to the idea of the welcome to immigrants – the first thing people saw of New York after crossing the Atlantic. And we must be careful with the urban myths here. The gift from France was expensive, because money was needed for the building of a plinth, and many Americans showed no interest at all in it – especially middle America who saw it as a trinket for New Yorkers.


Poets, authors, were asked to write something – including Mark Twain. Emma Lazarus’ poem went almost unnoticed during the dedication ceremony of the statue in 1886, and even on her death a year later, Emma Lazarus was not mentioned in the New York Times. It was not until 1903 that a friend of hers found the poem in a New York book shop. The poem, on a plaque, was fixed to the pedestal of the tower a few years later, and politicians have used the famous phrase from the poem ever since.


Something to remember here. History is not the past. History is how we view the past, and it is always affected by our present. Does that diminish the meaning of the words – no.



25 views0 comments