British History, Culture & Sports, History of Freedom, Heroes, Inventors, Brits at their, English country scene

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Last week we wrote about a British scientific expedition that set out to explore a mid-Atlantic abyss; a voyage made by Captain James Cook, who masterfully mapped the NW coast, often in very foul weather; the lonely foray of Jason Lewis, currently circumnavigating the globe; and the ventures of Walter Raleigh and John White, whose watercolours and tragic story are featured in the lost American colony. Shiver. I would not be in Oregon if British explorers had decided to stay home, but in their shoes would I have set out into the unknown?

It wasn’t only British explorers who liked the wind in their hair. People as different as the painter Turner and abolitionist Thomas Clarkson found physical and spiritual strength outdoors. Turner's latest appearance in the news stemmed from the record-breaking sale of one of his very beautiful, but quite small watercolours for £5.8 million.

The news also reminded us that Americans are making $ billions from Dr. John Charnley’s development of hip and knee implants. Charnley never made much, but he didn’t care. His focus was ending his patients’ pain and sharing his invention with other surgeons.

We promised to write more about the Fellowship to abolish slavery, and that is coming. Many people have been impressed that the abolitionists managed to change the hearts and minds of millions of people. We also posted on Churchill, who named the Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain for the evil it was. It seems harder to warn people about the EU, which we write about too little or too much, depending on your point of view. One reason is that the EU's real awfulness lies just at the end of the road in the near future.

Last week saw obituaries of a sportswriter who opposed apartheid and a man who found beautiful, historic houses facing ruin, and preserved them for all of us. Spending the weekend in an 18th century house with good books and children (or is that good children and books?) sounds like a lovely dream.

Less happy was our post about the problems Brits now face with welfare, the NHS and education. However, the good news is that they faced and solved these problems more than a century ago. We'll be writing about those solutions in more detail.

We wrote about the House of Commons’ poll which suggested a majority intends to make the House of Lords an elected body. Much has been made about “the elephant in the room” – the dismaying sale of peerages by Labour. As we observed, nothing was said in the House about the herd of elephants thundering down on MPs. SOS has the details.

We believe there is an intriguing connection between contemplative prayer and social action. Read the 'Golden Sequence', a prayer by the Archbishop of Canterbury who championed Magna Carta, and see what you think.

You can find these and other posts by scrolling down this page or by checking in Archives. See you on Monday.