In A World Without Boudicca……
…..Britons Would Offer Less Resistance.
Boudicca’s impassioned resistance to Roman rule created a template for British leaders that followed. Her bravery and dogged determination to stand up for her rights and for the freedom of her people became embedded in the national psyche. Thus, had Boudicca not rebelled it’s fair to speculate that that the Britons that followed in the next two millennia, would have shown less resilience in the face of attack. As the following example illustrates:
Translated text of letter from the Chairwoman of the Bayeux Needle Operatives Guild to Harold II, King of England.
14 October, 1066.
Dear Mr Godwinson (aka Harold II),
My guild of needle operatives has implored me to write to YOU to express our outrage at your decision not to engage in battle with William The Bastard of Normandy at Hastings last month. As William has indicated to you, it will assist his objective to change his name to something more appealing such as William The Conqueror not one iota to be handed England on a plate as you suggest. William will simply be laughed at and far from being impressively renamed William The Conqueror he’s more likely to be called William The Lucky Bastard instead.
You even refuse stubbornly to engage in a mock battle for the sake of appearances, peevishly stating that the firing of a few arrows for effect could still result in someone losing an eye. You have pathetically lost more than an eye, you have lost all respect and credibility. Your offer to William and his Normans of a ticket to Stamford Bridge to fight the Norwegian forces is nothing short of a pitiful disgrace.
Now onto the crux of this letter. You might be aware that William The Bastard intended to chronicle his successful invasion of England through the creative medium of embroidery. He put the whole of our needle operatives in Bayeux, comprising 95 of us, on a retainer. A giant screen of cloth some seventy metres long, has been purchased to tell the dramatic story of our Duke’s conquest. It caused much excitement and pride amongst most of the townsfolk. It takes little imagination to conclude that some of the townsfolk are now falling about laughing at my members at the news that they will have nothing to embroider. These were not the sort of people being in stitches that we intended creating.
We now have a massive cloth with nothing on it except for a comet, for at least that wasn’t afraid to put in an appearance.
Although we have had to reproach you, Mr Godwinson, and have had recourse to employ words unbefitting of French maidenhood, to describe your shamefully cowardly attempts to avoid conflict with our master, we hope it doesn’t put you off sending away for our Bayeux Guild of Needle Operatives 1066 Christmas Catalogue. There are lots of fabulous items available all of which can be embroidered with any name of your choice to add that special personal touch.
Mme Marie ‘Leather Thimble’ Beauchamp
Chairwoman of the Bayeux Guild of Needle Operatives
In similar vein the following appeal would have been sent to pilots and owners of Spitfire airplanes at the commencement of WWII in 1939:
Due to these uncertain times, can you please donate all your fighting aircraft so that they can be melted down and made into kettles and saucepans to enable the gentle folk of Britain to brew more cups of tea.