Monday, 2 December 2013


Fantasy Bob notes with interest that shortly, at an auction in Edinburgh, a rare portrait of Flora MacDonald by Thomas Hudson will come under the hammer.  The auctioneers estimate it will go for £7,000-10,000 which, regrettably, takes it out of FB's price bracket.

Flora MacDonald was the Katherine Grainger of her day - rowing across the Minch to help Bonnie Prince Charlie escape the pursuing Government forces following the innings defeat at Culloden.

Flora MacDonald has always intrigued FB.  He has long wondered what with all that rowing and rescuing to be done how she found time to invent low cholesterol margarine.
Lego reconstruction of historic event

For margarine is a subject of interest to cricketers.  Cricketers may first have noticed margarine replacing butter in their sandwiches and cakes on their tea table in 1869, when it was first invented.  It is likely that they found it hard to take since at that time it was based on beef fat - not a great complement to strawberry jam.  It was not until the 1920s that vegetable oils began to be used and not until the 1950s that margarine became wholly vegetable based.  That led to a supreme advertising assault on the nation's cricketers who found their evening's enjoyment of the new fangled ITV dominated by branding wars between Stork and Blue Band.

Stork's most celebrated campaign invited cricketers to tell the difference between Stork and butter - a campaign made successful by their careful pre-selection of the audience on the basis that none of them had any sense of taste whatsoever.  For Stork tasted nothing like butter.

Cricketers became engaged in extended arguments as to whether margarine or butter was preferable when baking empire biscuits.  Many friendships were ruined over disagreement on this issue which still rages.

Life became even more complicated as in the late 1960s butter oil or cream was introduced into products such as Krona and Clover - and philosophers agonised whether they could properly be called margarine. Some clever clogs found the way out of this life threatening problem by inventing the term spread.   Then margarine became the healthy option as cricketers became concerned about cholesterol and animal fats and began to give butter the body swerve.  Trans fats, omega oils, hydrogenated oils - the cricket tea table increasingly became a chemistry lesson.

Little did Flora MacDonald realise as she bent her back over the oars what confusion she would spread in lending her name to a margarine.

The Jacobite cause was well and truly lost by the time Flora MacDonald's moment came.  But its legacy is considered by some historians to be the the introduction of cricket into Scotland by the occupying Government forces.

Speed bonny bat, like a bird on the wing..................................

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