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The Ancient Stinkpots of Greece
Posted On 03/25/2020 20:19:00 by kiwibarb

My English father had a wide range of proverbs and sayings with which he sprinkled his conversations and instructions to us. Many of them were widely known, everyday ones like “make hay while the sun shines”, and his more frequent “expect not, and thou shalt not be disappointed”. Some were less known, and some were entirely his own invention.

But the saying that sticks in my memory is “The Ancient Stinkpots of Greece”.

My sister Hazel and I puzzled over this time and time again. When we were enumerating the Seven Wonders of the World, Dad helped us out with The Ancient Stinkpots of Greece. We didn’t think that was one of them, but we were young enough not to be sure.

At the time, during the 1940s, we didn’t have access to an encyclopaedia, much less Google. If we wanted to know about such things as The Ancient Stinkpots of Greece, our source of knowledge was limited to school teachers and older people such as our aunt, who sometimes came for extended holidays.

We had ascertained that, although they sounded somewhat Biblical, The Ancient Stinkpots of Greece were not mentioned in the Bible. We thought it might be fun to ask Auntie during one of her visits, as she was a very religious lady and read her Bible every day, and knew everything that was in it. It gave us no end of wicked glee to have her thumbing through the Concordance, which we had already done several times, knowing perfectly well that, wherever The Ancient Stinkpots of Greece were, it wasn’t the Bible. Auntie eventually conceded with reluctance that she couldn’t locate them, and didn’t know where else to look.

We thought of getting the information from our Uncle Chris, the only one of Dad’s family that we knew, since all the others lived in England. But Uncle Chris proved to be as elusive as our father. They had both fed us stories about being brought up in England in a moated grange, and having an ancestor who was burned as a witch, and being descended from the de Nunns of Paris. Our English relatives subsequently denied all of that. In 1969 Dad took his secret to the grave, and it took me until 2008 to find out what the Ancient Stinkpote of Greece were. A Google searcg revealed that Stinkpots were a variety of turtle, but I don't know if Greece came into it. We were frequently misled, but we loved our father and after 50 years he's still a favourite in our conversations.




Tags: Before Google Existed


Viewing 1 - 2 out of 2 Comments

03/26/2020 05:07:46

Interesting. Back in those days just encyclopedias and the library were our sources. I've never heard of the stink pots lol.

03/25/2020 21:19:05

What an interesting blog... I'll have to get my husband to read it. His father was born and raised in England, and had a habit of telling realistic-sounding stories that could not be authenticated. I also noticed a similar trend in other family member that we met when visiting in England. I'm want to find out if my hubby has ever heard of the 'Ancient Stinkpots of Greece'!

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