Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Twitter Ye Not - Baden Powell

Twitter Ye Not - Baden Powell

A regular piece for the Daily Mail Weekend magazine about how figures in history might have twittered or tweeted or whatever, had they the chance, inclination and technology.

On the 1st of August 1907, Lieutenant General Robert Baden Powell arrived at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour for the first ever boy scouting camp (to test his ideas for the book 'Scouting for Boys') - now recognised as the origin of the wolrdwide Scout movement. We imagine the Twitter feed from that momentous week.

I have shown Baden Powell, a national hero of the Anglo-Boer war, sitting on a camp stool and toasting marshmallows with a Boy Scout over an open fire. BP has burnt his, hence the cross look upon his face. Ne'ertheless, the boy looks on with great admiration - this is after all a new century, and a bold new institution free from class distinctions (well, almost!).

The marshmallow probably first came into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts comes from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats.

The camp lasted a week and boys there engaged in activities around camping, observation, woodcraft, chivalry, lifesaving and patriotism. Regarding the latter, although I am a proud (mongrel) Englishman and love English history and folklore, I tend to agree with George Bernard Shaw on the subject - 'Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy' and 'Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it'. Genius!

The Scouts motto 'Be Prepared' was, of course, a play on Baden Powell's initials.

When I was a nipper, back in the '70s, I was in the Cub Scouts. My division was named 7th Wembley. I didn't much like it - too much saluting and woggle-wearing for my tastes, so never graduated to the Scouts proper. My Mum met Lady Baden Powell when she was a Brownie, back in the '30s!


jean-marc said...

Hello ! Great illustrations !
... La vie est breve, bonjour !

Paul Bommer said...

Merci beaucoup jean-marc!