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British Expat Newsletter: July 2011

Hello, and welcome to those of you who have just signed up.

In this issue

This month

Ever found that the English spoken by the natives in your part of the world sometimes sounds a little odd? Gordon Reid in Malaysia wrote about it earlier this year for The Expat magazine, giving a clear and entertaining explanation of how the Malaysian version of the English language – “Manglish”! – arose. We’re now able to bring it to you on BE, courtesy of our good friends at The Expat Group.

Rail Europe have a great deal on rail travel in France until 25 August – up to 75% off First Class travel on SNCF’s fast, modern and comfortable network. But it’s first come, first served, so don’t hang about!

The Tall Ships Race has visited Lerwick this month, and Anne Macdonald seized the opportunity to take some great photographs. Her photo of the Sørlandet – the world’s oldest full-rigged ship, built in 1927 – in Lerwick harbour made it to our Pic of the Week slot.

And we’ve added another Quick Quiz – inspired by our busiest country forum, this time we’ve chosen to do it on Malta.

Editorial: If you want something done properly…

In these days of neatly trimmed chops and steaks in sanitised styrofoam and cling film packaging, it’s worth remembering that buying meat hasn’t always been as simple as popping the packets into your trolley and taking them to the checkout.

Of course, in many parts of the world it still isn’t. In many of the less developed countries you may not be able to find a supermarket at all, even in the capital city.

That was certainly the case for us in Delhi, less than a decade ago – much of our meat (and fish) shopping was done at South Delhi’s INA market – a very smelly business at the hotter times of the year! – or we’d order from Roger the French farmer, who used to deliver to the city’s diplomatic quarter from his farm about an hour’s drive outside the city.

And even in South East Asia there are still plenty of meat, poultry and fish markets existing – and thriving – alongside the modern supermarkets.

But the meat market is by no means dead in the UK either. The most famous, Smithfield Market in the City of London, is still trading after over 800 years – the last of the wholesale markets in Central London.

For much of its history it was a livestock market rather than a meat market. Even as late as 1850, over two hundred thousand head of cattle and a million-and-a-half sheep would be driven right into central London. Given that the city at that time was only just switching from cesspits to sewers – and even then, only to sewers that emptied into the Thames, leading later to the “Great Stink” of 1858 – the stench must have been horrific, and a far cry from the “smooth field” described by William Fitzstephen in 1174.

It wasn’t until 1855 that the Metropolitan Cattle Market (later the Caledonian Market) was built near King’s Cross Station, allowing Smithfield to be redeveloped as a meat and poultry market. Sir Horace Jones, the architect behind Billingsgate and Leadenhall markets, designed the new covered Central Market building. A whole series of extensions was built in the subsequent decades to the end of the century.

But Smithfield has a place in history that goes beyond meat. As well as being the site of several jousting tournaments in the Middle Ages, it was also one of the main public execution sites for religious and political dissidents – William Wallace was executed there in 1305, and about 50 Protestants were burnt at the stake under Mary I of England in the 1550s. (At much the same time, coin forgers and swindlers were customarily put to death there by boiling them in oil. Urrgh.)

And more recently, it was a research laboratory during the Second World War. There’s a whole warren of tunnels under the market, where meat would arrive by rail from all over the country – and during the war, experiments were carried out in an underground cold store on a material called pykrete, a mixture of ice and woodpulp which was claimed to be, weight for weight, as strong as concrete. The idea was to build floating airstrips in the Atlantic. However, lack of funds, the increasing prospects of an Allied victory and the coming of longer-range aircraft meant that the project was abandoned.

But Smithfield remains first and foremost a meat market – the most modern in Europe, and the guide market for meat and poultry prices throughout the UK.

Where do you get your meat from? Do you have a local market, or do you just pick it up from the supermarket? Or are you even lucky enough to have a butcher’s shop nearby? We’d love to hear from you, so please post on our forum discussion.

Are you moving house and trying to minimise the costs? If so, then The Packaging Store has plenty of products to help you do your own packing and keep the costs down.

The Packaging Store is one of the UK’s leading online packaging suppliers, with over 2,500 products available. They offer FREE standard UK mainland delivery on all orders. A next working day delivery service is also available for when you need the goods in a hurry.

Their product range spans from cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packaging tape, heat sealer machines, void fill, pallet wrap, postal boxes, wine bottle presentation packs, house moving kits and much more. They offer good quality products at competitive prices and with a high standard of service. They are constantly adding new special offers and discounts so make sure you look out for these.

All purchases are made via their online shop, which is specifically designed to be user friendly and 100% secure. With their established team they have a wealth of packaging knowledge and experience to offer products and service that is second to none.

So if you need to think inside the box, then head over to The Packaging Store!

Write for British Expat

Would you like to write for British Expat? Sorry, we don’t pay for articles but if you have a website we’ll link to it in the author’s blurb below any of your articles we publish. We use all sorts of content as long as it’s useful and/or interesting to our readership.

We’ve started doing some quick trivia quizzes – five questions about any subject. So, if you’d like to write for us but don’t feel like producing a literary masterpiece, then why not try writing a quickie quiz about your city, country, or even your hobby? Please use our contact form to get in touch.

British Expat Amazon Shopping

Amazon don’t just do books, you know. We’ve teamed up with them to bring you the ultimate in online shopping – from a micro SD card to a garden shed! A great way to do your shopping online, especially if the shops aren’t up to much in your part of the world.
BE Amazon Shop: UK & EU | BE Amazon Shop: non-EU

Cloud Factories

And now for something completely different.

I guess you all know how popular “cloud” computery stuff has become these days. A pal of mine has created a website to explain such things as clouds to the uninitiated and I wanted to share it with you. If you have a sense of humour, I guarantee you’ll laugh. Check it out!
Ecological Architects

So there’s a round-up of all that’s been going on. Come on over and see for yourself! Don’t forget…
Visit the BE website and join in with our lively community!

Till next time…

Happy surfing!

Kay & Dave
Editor & Deputy Editor
British Expat – the definitive home for British expats

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