Have you heard of the 'Stiff Upper Lip'?
Well I'm not sure I totally understand the concept. It was supposedly a foundation stone of British Imperialism. Something about self control, endurance and not displaying one's emotions, I think. The fact that when things are not going my way I like to let people know right away how bad I'm feeling, by body language or barking, apparently means that I don't have one. (A Stiff Upper Lip that is.)
Anyway, I was snuggled up on Gail's lap while she was watching a TV programme all about this famous British character trait, dozing fitfully, when a Newfoundland dog appeared on the screen and captured my attention.
Who knew that one of my species played a role, albeit a minor one, in the development of the Stiff Upper Lip when Queen Victoria was on the throne?
So there was this Captain Webb character, who in 1875 swam the English channel, appeared on match boxes and was generally considered a big hero. But before all this he accepted and won the challenge of staying immersed in the sea longer than a Newfoundland dog, thus demonstrating the nineteenth century Englishman's capacity to endure pointless discomfort without complaint. Or at least that's what Ian Hislop* claimed, more or less.
It's no wonder we lost the Empire is it...?
*Presenter of the TV programme 'Stiff Upper Lip: an Emotional History of Britain'
PS from Gail: thank you for all your kind thoughts and prayers for HGD. When the body is over ninety years old, it is a challenge to recover from any sort of trauma. We are doing all we can for him and the latest report is that he has 'perked up a bit' and may even be home by the end of the week.
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