Robin Harwood Free

Recent Comments

  1. about 14 hours ago on Breaking Cat News

    I have been presented with exhaustive and detailed catalogues of my various failings and shortcomings by non-Siamese felines, and that was demoralising enough. I do not want to undergo the same from a Siamese.

  2. about 16 hours ago on Breaking Cat News

    Elvis is … um … a cat of a slightly earlier generation. As with humans of similar vintage, he is less inclined to pander to the preferences of the mealy-mouthed.

  3. about 16 hours ago on Luann

    Nil! Stop that now! Think unsexy thoughts about cold showers and politicians.

  4. 1 day ago on Breaking Cat News

    Yes, it took a while, but I finally got it: deconed.

  5. 1 day ago on Breaking Cat News

    Deconed, but still doomed.

  6. 2 days ago on Breaking Cat News


  7. 3 days ago on Breaking Cat News


    The Royal Navy tried to give the sailors three square meals a day. (The plates were square, giving us the phrase.) In port, and when they could get it, the sailors were fed fresh food. After a little time at sea, however, they had to fall back on salted beef and pork, ships biscuits, and so forth. Protection against scurvy was provided by lime juice, lemon juice, or, sometimes, sauerkraut.

    Sauerkraut was not popular. It was foreign, and tasted it. There is a story (I make no claims for its accuracy) about how Captain Cook (yes, him) persuaded his crew to eat it. While not saying so himself, he let it be known that it was a specific against scurvy, but also that it was a luxury reserved for officers. This led to Disquiet and Murmurings amongst the foremast hands. Representations were made, and Cook reluctantly permitted sauerkraut to be served to Other Ranks as well. Having won this concession, the crew then forced themselves to eat the stuff through sheer bloody-mindedness.

  8. 3 days ago on Breaking Cat News

    Still on the RN prize system:

    If an able seaman had a captain as lucky and energetic as Aubrey, and if he saved his money, he would have been able to leave the navy with enough to purchase a shop far inland, and bore his customers with wistful tales of his seafaring days. (While being heartily glad to be out of the business.)

    Of course, most sailors did not save up. Having seen shipmates fall from the crosstrees, pulped by a French cannonball, swept overboard, crushed by a falling spar, or slowly wasting away from yellow fever, sailors were rather inclined to enjoy their money while they could. This usually involved supporting the livelihood of tavern keepers, and frequent contributions to those agreeable young ladies who take a professional interest in the comfort and well-being of sailors.

    Captains, however, spent a lot of their prize money on the wherewithal to train their crews so as to earn more prize money. And the result was the superior speed of British gun crews.

  9. 3 days ago on Breaking Cat News

    We’re just life-enriched.

  10. 4 days ago on Breaking Cat News

    Lupin now crinkle-crazed and enconed. Goldie has dropped him, and the vacuum is coming. How can I describe his fate?