The History of England (Part One)

In the beginning, people living in Britain were living mostly in caves, killing the odd mammoth but living largely on plants.  Some of these, such as certain varieties of mushrooms which grew plentifully, did wonderful things to their minds, and so they tended to gather as many as they could, and perhaps even cultivate them.  They couldn’t be bothered to do anything else for more than 2 million years, and the era is nowadays referred to as the Stoned Age.

Towards the end of the Stoned Age, immigration from Southern Europe began, and the early Britons were envious of their darker, healthy-looking skin.  A Mrs. Ugh had the bright idea of opening the first tanning salon.  The idea quickly spread, and thus started the Bronzed age.

 

Over the next 1,700 years, clothing progressed from rough animal hides to more sophisticated outfits made from wool and flax, but these were horribly creased until eventually somebody suggested that, if the garments were pressed between hot flat rocks, they looked a great deal better.  This, then, became what we now call the Ironed Age.

 

With the New Look, as the beautifully pressed clothes were called, England was becoming the fashion centre of Europe, and curious people came flocking in to the country.  Prominent among these folk were the Celts, who came from middle Europe, possibly via Spain.  They began to settle here, though some ventured farther North, where they founded a football club in Glasgow.

Roman mosaic (cracked)

Then came Julius Caesar.  His troops all wore Roman noses and gave us Roman roads and Roman blinds, but were not welcome as they made all the kids learn Latin at school.  They did give us design features such as mosaics, but all the mosaics ever discovered have been riddled with cracks.  Eventually they got fed up with the cold climate and warm beer and went home to invent spaghetti and opera.

Friesian

This led the way to the next invasion, from Angles, Friesians and Jutes.  The Friesians were mainly cows, and didn’t last long.  The Angles stayed long enough to name Angle-land and went off to try something else.  They were always trying new things and were often referred to as the Try-Angles.  The Jutes sat around making carpets and sacks, and gradually came to be known as Sacksens, but as spelling had yet to be invented this became Saxons.

 

The invaders all arrived on a Bank Holiday weekend, when most of the Celts were on holiday in Wales or Cornwall.  When they heard what was happening, they decided to stay where they were, which had a dramatic effect on local house prices.

Harald Bluetooth

The Saxons were happy enough for hundreds of years until the Vikings came along with their short ships.  These were quickly repelled, however, so they went back to build some long ships, which were much more successful.

 

The success of the Viking long ships was aided by the emergence of a new leader, Harald Bluetooth, who instigated a new way of communicating between ships as long as they stayed within range.

The Bayeux tapas tree

 

 

While all this looting and pillaging was going on, Alfred of Wessex was hiding in the fireplace the whole time, and he became known as Alfred the Grate. 

The Danes and the British squabbled for another century or so before the arrival of a new threat in the shape of William of Normandy, who earned his unusual nickname by introducing the game of conkers to the country.

 William’s victory was celebrated back home by the local villagers, who decorated a tree with ham, cheese and other delicacies.  This was known as the Bayeux Tapas Tree.

The Normans were followed by the Plantagenets, who set up rival rose growing centres in Lancaster and York, leading to all sorts of arguments.  The row only ended when Richard III lost his horse, followed quickly by his life, at Bosworth field, by a Welshman called Henry Tudor.  They buried his body under a multi-storey car park in Leicester, thinking it would never be found under all that concrete.

 The Tudors were in power now, so following Mittel-European Spaniards, North German Saxons, Scandewegians, Norman French and French French, the Taffs were now in charge.  Everyone was saying “Surely it can’t be long before the English are ruled by somebody who is actually English!”

We’re still waiting..