What to do in Greece in 1886
On the Group Project we have rustled up some deputation reports that have been of great interest to our research department. It’s great that the collection is already getting used! However, it’s not just for work these items can be used. How about play?
The English and Scottish Joint CWS, made of the CWS and SCWS for mutual benefit goes back at least to the early 1880s. It mainly dealt with the import of tea and owned many plantations. It conducted deputations all over the world in search of new plantations and new deals, and checking up on projects they already have. In the project we have come across many of the Society’s deputation reports. Going back to 1886. They started off in Greece, and then went over to India and Ceylon, and Africa.
Early on they were interested in fruit, it seemed, and sent a Mr. Tweedale to Greece to rustle up some samples and information on raisins. Since this was an official trip, an official report was required to be delivered to the Board on his return.
- All very proper looking!
However, when reading it, it reads like a holiday journal! He goes into poetic detail about the landscape and rather telling opinions of the people and customs he meets along the way. There’s maybe one or two comments about some place’s raisins but mainly it’s a lovely trip around the world on trains and boats.
Mr Tweedale on having his luggage checked in Russia: “first experience of Russian arbitrariness and I am bound to confess that I fo not like the way the doctorial way in which hey treat passangers to Russia”. I wonder what he would think of airport security now? Also, I am the first to admit that my knowledge of geography is shockingly lacking, but I’m pretty sure the only way that Russia would be on the way to Greece would be if you were traveling from the North Pole. Hmmm.
He suffered from the common foreign holiday ailments on a steamer at Danube and describes them wonderfully: “When the shade of the evening came on thousands of mosquitos made their apprearance, and made such a fierce attack upon us that we had to cover our faces and hands in order to escape from thee insignificant tormentors.”
When he eventually got to Greece it seems he had a little pleasure before business and went for “a good ramble over the Acropolis… and the stadium where men and wild beasts used to fight”, then onto the Areopagus where Paul preached to the Athenians, and the prison of Socrates where he drank Hemlock. Seriously, Tweedale, get to work.
But then, my favourite part of possibly anything ever:
“The next thing I remember was my companion waking me up abd saying “Get up; we must fly for our lives into the open!” He looked as pale as a ghost, and had evidently been much frightened. I got up and followed him into his room, and out onto a balcony which opened out of the room, from whence we could look down into the valley.
He told me there has been an earthquake of a severe character, and he was of opinion that we had better go to some open place where we should be safer than near the buildings. I thought his fears had caused him to make more of this than necessary, and told him that I should go to bed again, which I did and slept ‘til morning without any further incident occurring.”
Because heaven forbid a building should fall upon an Englishman, and certainly not when he is trying to sleep. How rude, sir!
Did the Board really need to know that? Interestingly, Tweedale doesn’t appear on deputation reports for a while after that. Hmmm.
What is your favourite holiday story?
Published On: June 12, 2012
Written By: Heather
Filed Under: Blog Category