Monthly Archives: January 2012
Those of you who know me well know my predilection for Sam Pepys. On this day (30th January) in 1661 Sam wrote
“Then to my Lady Batten’s; where my wife and she are lately come back again from being abroad, and seeing of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw hanged and buried at Tyburn. Then I home”.
Now since Oliver Cromwell had died three years earlier, and been given a lavish state funeral at Westminster in November 1658, why was Sam telling us that Bess, his wife, had just seen Cromwell hanged and buried three years after his death? It’s a bit of an odd, and gruesome story.
When the monarchy was restored in 1660 with King Charles II, the surviving men who had participated in the trial and execution of Charles I were hung, drawn and quartered. The recalled parliament also ordered the posthumous execution of the three ‘deceased regicides’ Oliver Cromwell, John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton.
On the morning of 30th January 1661 (the anniversary of Charles I’s execution), the three bodies were dragged on a sledge through the streets of London to Tyburn gallows, where they were hanged in full public view until around four o’clock in the afternoon. After being taken down, their heads were cut off, and stuck on 20 ft pikes raised above Westminster Hall.
“Jan. 30th was kept as a very solemn day of fasting and prayer. This morning the carcases of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw (which the day before had been brought from the Red Lion Inn, Holborn), were drawn upon a sledge to Tyburn, and then taken out of their coffins, and in their shrouds hanged by the neck, until the going down of the sun. They were then cut down, their heads taken off, and their bodies buried in a grave made under the gallows. The coffin in which was the body of Cromwell was a very rich thing, very full of gilded hinges and nails.”—Rugge’s Diurnal.
In 1685 a mighty storm broke the pole which carried Cromwell’s head, and it was retrieved by a sentry. He hid the embalmed head in his chimney for many years. On his deathbed, he left the relic to his daughter who, presumably, sold it.
In 1710 the head appeared in a Claudius Du Puy’s museum of curiosities, described as ‘The Monster’s Head’. Later it passed through various hands, being sold each time for sums which were equivalent to thousands of pounds today. It also appeared in a failed exhibition in 1799.
In 1815 a Dr. Wilkinson bought the head. It then remained in the Wilkinson family, who allowed several scientific studies to be undertaken as to its authenticity. The conclusion was that there was a “moral certainty” that it was indeed Oliver Cromwell’s head. In 1960 it was offered to Sydney Sussex College, where Oliver Cromwell had studied.
There it was buried on 25th March 1960, in a secret location near the antechapel, preserved in the oak box in which the Wilkinson family had kept the head since 1815. The box was placed into an airtight container and buried with only a few witnesses, including family and representatives of the college.
If you want to find out more, you can buy a book by Jonathon Fitzgibbons all about Cromwell’s Head. There was also a Radio 4 programme about it which I’d love to hear.
A group of us on Twitter are strongly considering hiring a cinema in Derby for a Tweetup. We would see the rather wonderful “Brief Encounter” (so I’ll need my hankies). The showing would be on a Sunday afternoon yet to be decided, and would presumably followed by some sort of pub visit afterwards, for me at least. Before we go ahead with booking, however, we need some sort of idea of how many would be interested in coming. If you are interested, then let @_Dunebug know, using the hashtag #tweetencounter.
Put simply, this rule states that in every charity shop in every town in Britain, there is a copy of Dan Brown’s execrable book “The Da Vinci Code”. Go, look, and you’ll discover the truth of this for yourself.
There is also a sub-clause, which states that if you DON’T find DVC in a particular charity shop, there will be two copies in the next one you visit. Or maybe one of his other equally naff tomes. try it out. It’s a fun game to play while Mrs. Wombat* is looking at endless jumpers and handbags.
* insert your OH’s name here.
An introductory whinge part 2 – Firstly, DO read this excellent blog by @davidtims (just click here) about last year’s Twanta. It sums up exactly what we lose when people don’t take this seriously – sparkly Christmasses and faith in humanity. I’ve decided NOT to name those who let us down, because that would achieve little other than anger. I WILL be limiting next year’s to those who have already taken part properly, or that I know ‘in my water’ that I can trust. There’ll also be another ranty post about this, since a few people didn’t seem to understand why most of us were so annoyed. Sparkly Christmasses and faith in humanity, folks. Let’s not lose those next year.
Right, enough of that, let’s have fun – here’s the second half of your #TWANTA2011 mega-blog. As with Part One hover over each picture to discover, through the magic of popup, the identity of the kind Twanta who sent that particular treasure (though sadly that doesn’t work on phones, since there’s no actual cursor to hover with). I’ll still be listening to my mp3 player, so if I go orange that’s cos I’m bursting into song as I type. A voucher for two free hours of Wombat Lurve to anyone who recognises all the songs.
“A big thank you to my twanta for my gift just opened in Snowdonia” shivers @MissMandyMoo78 – Snowdonia? Blimey, woman, you must be freezing. Come here, let me rub you warm. Sorry, I always get frisky after eating bacon.
Here’s a “Fab gift all the way from @hunyock in the states. Movie night is looking good” according to @och23. That’d make a great Christmas dinner, I reckon.
“Merry #twanta2011” chortles @_gail__ – it’d be groovy if you could actually play those, and out would come Jim Nabors singing “Oh Holy Night” or somesuch.
The lovely @starlitwolf tells us “My very cute #twanta2011 gifts, along with some cooling tarts!” I’m partial to a warm tart myself, you know.
Oooh, choccy! And recipes! I’m hungry now. @smiler1313 says “Thank you soooo much for my prezzie it’s awesome”. It certainly is.
@kaPOWed wishes us all “Merry Christmas tweeps! & thanks sooo much to @OnTheUpbeat for my lovely LOVELY #Twanta pressie!!” I do love a nice bun or two.
Here’s the delightful @greythorne, who received enlightenment and says “Thank you to my Twanta! Happy to get these cute Love Hearts tea lights”. We slip through the streets while everyone sleeps, getting bigger and sleeker and wider and brighter. We bite and scratch and scream all night. Let’s go and throw all the songs we know into the sea..
She’s like something out of “The Cat Returns” – it’s that @nyncompoop, chirrupping merrily “And thank you #twanta! For hat and choc”. That’s a joke, see, cos I don’t think I’ve ever heard her chirrup. Not that she couldn’t, I imagine, in the right circumstances. I’ll shut up now.
More chocolates here – lovely posh ones – for @sarahhanner. Speaking before having her mouthful (good girl), she says “Nomnom thank you secret #TWANTA2011 !! They look deeeeeeeeelicious”. Not sure what happened to her at the beginning of that last word there. Maybe she slipped on some ice.
Here’s someone who was not at all impressed to receive a pen shaped like a … well actually it looks more like a giant Twiglet than a turd. Maybe the designer of this delight is a bit ill, if her (or his) Richards look like that. No doubt @sjnewton will tell us if it has brown ink.
This reminds me – @37ellie has yet to bake us some muffins. Mind you, she is working hard at the moment, so maybe I’ll have a go. “My lovely #twanta prezzie!” she effuses, “Perfect as the only cooking I like is baking and good new scissors for sewing”. Just don’t run with them. #dadadvice
@ontheupbeat is “opening my #twanta2011 RIGHT NOW – what is it, I’m so EXCITED” followed by “The card says ‘From your Scottish twanta.’ This is a really really awesome gift!!! Thank you” Aw now – that’s what this should be all about.
More Caledonian cadeaux now, with that @_aaronkelly finally getting a date (sorry, couldn’t resist that one). “My #twanta gift” explains the son of fun himself, “Caledonian Calendar. Thank you to my mysterious #twanta”
More choc! And a… weird spring-loaded vibrator, by the looks of it. That’s got to hurt… oh wait! I see – it walks down walls! Phew. “Thank you whoever you are” says the stunningly gorgeous @englishkirsty “My gift, now discovered by the kids”
A music box! Sparklers! A shiny card that you can use to reflect disco lighting from your sparklers! Add gin and it’s the perfect night in. The recipient of the perfect night in was @louwiseman who can’t help chuckling “Look what I got!! Thank you Twanta, whoever you are, you’ve brought a smile to my face!” before doing the twist to “Here Comes The Sun”.
@macjude reports that “The Bengal loves her #sundaypics #twanta – thanks @bexagin – and I love mine”. What is that blue thingy? Candy floss for cats? But oh looky! Choclit! Yummo.
I imagine @alicestronaut jumping up and down like a giddy schoolgirl as she exclaims “My freaking awesome #twanta2011 present!” Maybe she’s even wearing a gymslip. I might just stand back a little bit… “Press the rubber on the end & a retractable pencil & pen! This person didn’t know me but perhaps my love for novelty pens & pencils has echoed around the WORLD!” I love it when a Twanta takes the time to stalk their Twantee a bit. Good work.
“Dear #Twanta,” begins @littlebit_bod, politely, “Wonky cat said I could open my present. Thank you very much! LB x” Oooh books, my favourite! Nahoo-a-ho, hoo-a-ho, mo nighean donn bhoidheach. Nahoo-a-ho, hoo-a-ho…
Look who was sent a mug with his own pic on it! Yes, that’s @xkylet before he became all world-weary. Brillaint Twanta detective work. “Thanks Twanta,” he grins, “Thwanta. Yes, was me at primary school. Now I just need to figure out how anyone found it! I must have posted it here”.
More pussycat interest – do none of you have lizards or ferrets? This lovely creature belongs to another lovely creature, @lottielee1960, who tells us “I love my #TWANTA2011 gift. The cats are excited & my 81yr old mom has claimed the candy. So much fun!” Bloody mothers, tsk!
@em_and_lola gratefully says “Thank you @EnglishKirsty – ‘something to bring out every year’”. There’s nothing better than a contented child, is there? Just look at that lovely physog.
@spiffykates, all spiffy, says “Here are my lovely #twanta2011 gifts! Thank you!!!” (what does ‘spiffy’ mean, actually?) I said God, it really doesn’t matter where you put your world someone will come along and move it and it’s always been the same. It’s just a complicated game.
Duck-fan @chickenprincess ejaculates* “Oh WOW! Heee! It’s PERFECT! but who is it from, Wombat37? Dying to know now” Well I could tell you, but that would remove the fun of hovering over the picture oh alright it was me.
*don’t even, dear reader, you’re above that.
Here’s @hugeshark, probably warbling in her attractive tones, “Look at my adorable #twanta2011 gift! Sorry about lousy iPad photo, but it is cute”. It is indeed – are those reindeer about to battle to the death?
“Fantastic down under #twanta present” sings @kezza575, probably with an Australian accent like I just did in my head, “Can’t wait to try a chocolate fish sandwich. Thank you very, very much!!” My Mum used to warn me about girls like you, with your chocolate fish sandwiches.
Do you know, I’ve got just the right photo for that frame. @tonihill79 says “Thanku very much!”
What the….? Wait, I think @lilianlouvaine has worked it out. “Thank you #twanta ! I got a lovely squishy cupcake that I think is a pincushion” Nice. I’ll bet our cats’d have fun with that.
“Somewhere in Peru there’s a poor, nekkid baby llama. Thank you” lilts our very own @rosamundi, warm as toast probably, although I often enjoy my toast cold. Especially with marmalade on. Lime. maybe, or on a special occasion grapefruit. Sorry, where were we….?
Here’s that epitome of all that’s good in the world, @friendlysolrflr, bubbling away that “I got a cool keyring compact brookite zipaway kite”. Hang onb, it’ll take me a while to string those words together into a meaningful phrase … hang on a tick .. OH NICE! Sorry, carry on: “Thank you very much, secret #TWANTA2011”.
@scullyscully, so good they named her twice, says “A fabulous homemade mouse for #twanta2011! His name is Bertie and he is loved. Thank you so much x” Bertie has character indeed. Just a roll, just a roll. Just a roll on your drum. Just a roll, just a roll and the war has begun
Here’s leading style-icon @pme200, rather pleased to have been sent some dog biscuits. Well played, Peter’s Twanta. “Here’s my #Twanta2011 pressie from someone who knows me well. Dog baking kit with recipes! Thank you”
Tis surprising how often, during the writing of this blog, that a person’s twantee is immediately followed by their own gift. So it is now, as here is @louisehector herself – “Thank you to my #twanta for my lovely pressie”. Your Twanta wishes to remain anonymous, Louise, so t’will perforce remain a delicious mystery.
Artistic interpretation as usual from @dbrereton, who intones (he strikes me as someone who would intone, given half the chance) “Excellent #TWANTA2011 gift. A classic, photographed in black&white. Hoping the Brussels provide enough wind”. Ah, our first sprout joke! You win the blog.
Senior jokes??? That should have been sent to me, rather than @womble61. Mind you, if you had, I’d have just filled this blog with them, repeated ad infinitum. Ad infinitum, I tell you. That’s how I roll, I said that’s how I roll.
WOW, that’s an immense gift! Oh wait … it’s a bit smaller than I first thought, isn’t it? Doesn’t matter actually, it’s rather fine. @mich_annie says “love my gift! thank you”. Our cats would SO knock that off if it was that near the top of our fridge.
Puddings! Cakes! Whatever that other book is! Tis a veritable cornucopia of recipe goodness! @hunyock, the recipient, overflows with appreciation “The perfect combo…art and cooking all in one! Thank u so very much twantee, I love it!!”
@leontia2001 applauds her gift – “Twanta2011 came to me. It seems she’s quite similar to I am!”. Or, she investigated, and chose something appropriate. Or, she IS similar to you. Probably. Stop wittering, Wombat.
I thought for a brief moment that was a glass of Guinness. Should have gone to Specsavers. Tis in fact a Christmassy mug with who-knows-what in it. @sarahpez says thank you for “My lovely #twanta2011 present”.
@secretstef “Had a lovely day. This was my very beautiful crafty Twanta2011 gift. Thank you”. I trust the sun shone and birds sang and wildlife helped you clean your house. That’s what I’d call a lovely day.
That kind @mannymunkeh and his new squeeze helped out their chum @gib46 with uploading a pic of his pressie, which appears to be a LOT OF LOLLIPOPS! Hope they were nana flavour. Why do birds sing so gay and lovers await the break of day?
We’re starting to reach the pics that were posted slightly after Christmas Day now, but I reckon they were all appreciate greatly nonetheless. Here’s @quantumtree, confirming that “Sorry, it’s late. Thanks to my Twanta!” What the actual twanta is that?
Here’s himself, @davidtims – “My #TWANTA2011 gift, the pre-assembly pic. Post-assembly pic to follow (when I find a ruler)” He must have found one, cos look – “Hopefully not too late. Another pic of my #twanta2011 gift and a Sabretooth plane”. I want one!
“Better late than never with my picture. Sweets and smellies from #twanta2011” says @fannyingabout. But you always smell delicious, darling. #smoothtalkingbastard
An eclectic collection of stuff for @LucieMR here. They look like the sort of things that might be used in a magic ritual to me. But given that the sender is SO lovely, I doubt that was the intention.
@avensarah trudges to our microphone through the Canadian snow, and shivers “My #twanta2011 has arrived! A beautiful scarf & card. Thank you so much, @ericafairs” for indeed her Twanta was the redoubtable Erica.
@andromedababe purrs in her sexy tones “The #twanta2011 bracelet I received goes beautifully with the pink dress I bought to match it. I’ll jangle all the way to Lon-See – matching dress and sparkle. I love @wombat37 for organising #twanta2011” Oh yeah, she loves me. *struts*
I’ve always fancied one of these, but at least @purple_nurples_ has one. “My brilliant twanta gift” is certainly what it is. Caught in a jet stream caught in a gorgeous howl all the world lost in noise
Fine upstanding gentleman @jamerz3294 says “Here’s the #Twanta2011 gift from @sarahtregear (oh, he knows), a pooping deer! Perfect for my neighborhood . The second pic shows PoopyDeer at home in the North Pole in our entry! Life in The Hundred Acre Woods By The Inland Sea is magic”. Ahem – “in our entry”? Ew.
Also finally arriving is @patobeirne’s awesome gifty – “finally arrived. Magazine all wet but readable”. Let’s hear it for Royal Mail, eh? In my day they carried the post in waterproof bags.
@keith_c_jarrett loves his Twanta pressie. Listen. “I love my #Twanta pressie!” See, told you. He continues. “Thanks to the sender, may flights of angels sing you to sleep x”. Flights of angels, not just one, but a whole choir invisible. How cool would that be? Unless they were singing “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, obv.
Young @annosportel got handwarmers, look! I could really do with some of those. My fingers are always cold, no matter where I stick them. “No more cold hands, thanks to my #twanta2011” is the verdict. No need to rub it in….
“Late entry to #twanta pics. Half of my #twanta gift! Other half left at work. Pic tomorrow” says that @tigerbaps, but oh no! She storyfibber! She not show other half. It was probably a bra and she was shy. Well, I dreamed I saw the silver space ships lying in the yellow haze of the sun. There were children crying and colours flying all around the chosen ones.
Lots of pink for @butmadnnw, including a weird tickly bird thingy that may be a tit of some kind. Or perhaps I have the scale all wrong and it’s a mighty condor. A blue condor, that’s it. I’m pretty certain.
Here’s a commentary from @hallmork “I just opened my gift and it made me proper homesick. Thank you so much. XXX I love tablet too!!! Mmmm” Tablet? What do you mean, “tablet”? You appear to have received some shortbread, and a packet of purest Brown. What’s that all about?
I love this on which arrived a little late, but then if you will spend winter in the Canadian wilderness, you have expect slight postal delays. “Came a little late, but got here in the end! Thank you” says @alliterative. Look, it’s … I don’t know what it is.
Wow, @cornettofairy has had a good haul, albeit a wee while after Christmas. “Yay! It’s still Christmas. Merry chrimbles and thank you to my Twanta” is what I believe she said, although I cut a bit of it off while cutting and pasting. What? I’m tired now, that’s why, but there’s only a few to go and I want to knock this on the head tonight so I can start on a really good ranty post tomorrow.
An here’s @IainLJ, with a hearty “Forgot to say – my replacement #twanta2011 gift arrived yest. Thank u twantafairy! It’s excellent”. I’ll tell you what – those Twanta Fairies have been bloody brilliant, and have gone some way to restoring my mood.
Oh my, you could almost fall into @Rachamuffin’s beguiling eyes, couldn’t you? Oh stop it, Wombat, you old greybearded perv, refresh your brain and sense of honour with a huge fuck-off coffee – just a few more pics to go now. “My replacement #twanta gift turned up today!” the woman behind the mug twinkles, “A new mug to drink my wine out of!” Ended your sentence on a preposition there, dear. Just saying. By the way, this was one of the gifts that Royal Mail ‘mislaid’, and was replaced by the original Twanta herself. Now that’s how you do it. *applause for @fannyingabout, dear readers*
Someone sent @anzigirl a kitten! Oh no, wait – “Cat too quick to take pic of her and brill #twanta pressie – so this is the best there is!” Cat toy, eh? Someone read up on you before sending that … also, that settee looks a bit tempting for cat claws, I have to say. Or is it a sofa?
And finally (except for me, cos I’m always last) @Notmetaltax finally gets a gift, a month after Christmas. “My #twanta pressie arrived! I WAS a good boy! I shall use it to remove boy scouts from horses’ hooves”. I thought the restraining order kept you away from scouts, Matt?
And here’s mine, look! LOADS of American goodies! There’s even an American newspaper! (It was boring, don’t tell, but the ads were fascinating). And those salty caramels were the best thing I’ve had on my tongue for decades. Yes, including this. And that other thing you’re thinking of. These things made me happy.
And that’s what #Twanta’s about – making other people happy. If I may put forward a slice of personal philosophy, I feel that man has ruled
this world as a stumbling demented child-king LONG ENOUGH! And as his empire crumbles, my precious Black Widow shall rise as his most fitting successor!
Sorry, that last bit should have been in orange italics. Night night, Earthlings.
You know I said I was taking a few weeks off, and wasn’t setting a theme for a while? That didn’t sit well with you lot, who decided you were going to do your own #Sundaypics anyway, and sod The Wombat. Possibly because a couple of the early pics were of that sort, an informal theme developed of “Animals Arses”, and most pics were of that. My OCD kicked in, and I collected the pics out of habit – I present them to you here to hover your mice over in order to read stuff. You lot are barmpots, and I love you dearly.
If you know me at all, you’ll know I enjoy barmy old songs, especially those with a touch of the surreal. Dear Reader, let me introduce you just three little gems.
It’s Party Time Again, by George van Dusen
You might actually know this one, since apparently it was played a lot by Terry Wogan in the 70s. George Van Dusen’s recordings were hugely popular in the 1930s. George was known as The Great Dutch Yodeller , throughout his long career, despite being born no nearer Holland than the East End. I love bonkers stuff like this, which have a joyous infectious effect on me.
Birdsong at Eventide, by Ronnie Ronalde
Ronnie Ronalde (born in 1923 in London) is (yes “is”, he’s still alive) a music hall singer and siffleur (click it if you don’t know the word). Ronalde is famous for his voice, whistling, yodelling, and imitations of bird song. “His crystal clear yodelling gained him acceptance with connoisseurs of Alpine and Western music around the world” it says here.
I Want to be Bad, by Helen Kane
If it’s wrong to let someone take
Just a little kiss by mistake,
Let a lady confess,
I want to be ba-da-da-da-da-da
Helen Kane was an American popular singer, whose theme song was “I Wanna Be Loved By You”. Her voice and appearance were a likely source for Betty Boop. Boop-oop-idoo.
Thank you profusely to all of you who responded so wittily and bravely to the late call for this theme. As you’ll see on the Next Theme page, #SUNDAYPICS is taking a few weeks off to recharge its batteries, and this was a fantastic one to end with. If you hover your cursor over each picture, you should see who tis from, and a few rough notes from pervy old me.