Monday, 4 July 2011

The Promenade

I failed to mention the promenade on top of the Hoe, instead describing it as a large area of bitumen.

And here is a better photo of the impressive buildings on the northwest side of the Hoe.

The monument erected to Drake on the 300th Anniversary of that day when his game was interrupted.

Notice the small pyramid of iron cannonballs either side at the base of the monument.

The tray with the lip they sat on would originally have been made of brass.  Obviously you couldn’t use an iron tray on a ship (or fortress) as iron to iron contact might have caused a spark and with all that gunpowder lying around the consequences might have been catastrophic. 

The tray was known as a “brass monkey”.  The only major problem was the difference rates of temperature expansion and contraction between brass and iron.  Very cold weather could cause the brass tray to contract so much that the pyramid of cannonballs would roll off the tray.  Hence the expression “Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!”

Well if you believe that you were never a soldier or sailor.  If you had been, you’d know that the last thing you would do is leave something as valuable as brass lying around to be pinched and sold for grog by 90% of soldiers or sailors.  A monkey made of timber was a much more cost effective solution.Smile

On the foreshore below the Hoe is the Lido pool.

Now it was a moderately warm day but there is no way I would have willingly entered the water.  My guess is it was damned cold!

Oh; and here is a better view of the Plymouth Harbour breakwater.  You can see there is a RN Fleet Auxiliary anchored at the left end.

1 comment :

Bruce in Sanity said...

There's an excellent demolition of the brass monkey theory on the World Wide Words website. It's a site to be recommended to all us sad sods who like to get our English usage right!