Saturday, April 2, 2011

Betty and the Real World

Nanny By Chance:
Marcus drives her through an area where the East Indies merchants built their houses:
In the 14th century, the Indonesian archipelago thrived with many kingdoms and a spice trade controlled by Arabs. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese in 1498. The Dutch war of independence against Spain, and the Spanish and Portuguese union disrupted Dutch access to spices brought to Europe by the Portuguese. Wishing, therefore, to ship spices from Asia themselves, the first Dutch expedition set sail for the East Indies in 1595. When it made a 400% profit on its return, other Dutch expeditions soon followed.
Somehow, Betty Keira's genius plan
to include a bare-chested picture of
James McAvoy doesn't pan out as hoped...
400 percent.  Gulp.  Not bad.  I wouldn't mind them managing my long as their quarterly newsletter didn't include unsavory details like exploitation of slave labor or suppressing local uprisings with violence.  Oh we can't have one without the other?...

When the boys are suffering from the mumps, Araminta reads them The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe.  C.S. Lewis writes:
"The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: 'Let's try to make a story about it...At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it. I think I had been having a good many dreams of lions about that time. Apart from that, I don't know where the Lion came from or why he came. But once he was there, he pulled the whole story together, and soon he pulled the six other Narnian stories in after him."

Araminta's Celt-obsessed mother suggests that she might like to spend her time in Holland examining terps:
An artificial dwelling hill (known as Terp, Wierde, Woerd, Warf, Warft, Werf, Wurt and Værft) is a mound, created to provide safe ground during high tide and river floods. These hills occur in the coastal parts of the Netherlands (in the provinces of Zeeland, Friesland and Groningen), in southern part of Denmark and in Germany where, before dikes were made, tides interfered with daily life. They also occur in the Rhine and Meuse river plains in the central part of the Netherlands...Place names in the Frisian coastal region ending in -werd, -ward, -uert etc. refer to the fact that the village was built on an artificial dwelling mound (wierde). The greater part of the terp-villages though have names ending in -um, from -heem or -hiem, meaning (farm)yard, grounds.
Don't say you never learned anything from Betty...

Once For All Time:
Katrina takes Clotilde on a tour of Leyden: the University, Lakenhal Museum, Pieterskerk, the Burcht, a mound of earth (a terp, perhaps?) with a mediaeval fortification on top:
Ada van Holland used the keep as a residence until her father died in 1203 and she was captured by her uncle. 
Nothing very interesting about this except that I am LOVING  the idea of someone being named Ada van Holland...

William the Silent talked softly
and carried a big stick...
While walking along the Rapenburg (in Leiden), James tells her about the seige in the sixteenth century and how ever since the lifting of that seige it had been marked by the eating of fish and loaves of white bread, and it was because of that siege that the city had been granted a university by William the Silent:
In 1574, William's armies won several minor battles, including several naval encounters. The Spanish, led by Don Luis de Zúñiga y Requesens since Philip replaced Alba in 1573, also had their successes. Their decisive victory in the Battle of Mookerheyde in the south east, on the Meuse embankment, on 14 April cost the lives of two of William's brothers, Louis and Henry. Requesens's armies also besieged the city of Leiden. They broke up their siege when nearby dykes were cut by the Dutch. William was very content with the victory, and established the University of Leiden, the first university in the Northern Provinces.

But all that is deadly dull as compared to the next lines in his wiki biography:

William had his previous marriage legally disbanded in 1571, on claims that his wife Anna was insane. He then married for the third time on 24 April 1575 to Charlotte de Bourbon-Monpensier, a former French nun, who was also popular with the public. Together, they had six daughters.

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