700

An odd title? Perhaps. So let me explain. This is the 700th post I have made on my blog, since I started back in October 2012, with this humble little beginning: Hello At Last. This milestone seems as good a reason as any to say something to mark the occasion, but what? I have ‘celebrated’ some of the previous milestones with some historical facts, using the number of the post as a proxy for a date. I did this for the 150th back in 2015, where by a convoluted link I subtracted 150 from the date to get to 150=1865. That doesn’t work all that well when the numbers are bigger, though.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wikipedia is a little thin on detail about the year 700. What I did find was that it wasn’t a good year for King Cunipert of the Lombards – he died. King Geraint of Dumnonia probably didn’t have happy memories of the year, either, as he was the recipient of a letter from the Bishop of Sherborne insisting that the Celtic Church abide by the doctrines of Rome – it seems that religious intolerance is nothing new! In better news, the port of Hamwic became a major trading town for the kingdom of Wessex – you might know it better today as Southampton, where the locals are probably still trying to recover from the thrashing my lot gave their football team last weekend.

I thought I’d also take a look at what I might find if I repeated the trick of knocking the number off the current date. After much clanking of beads on my abacus I reached the conclusion that 700 years ago would have seen us in 1322, which as I’m sure you all know was just before Keith Richards was born (he’s old, isn’t he). Again, this wasn’t very fruitful, as details are scant. It seems to have been a warlike year, though. King Edward II of England was engaged in a number of battles against rebel barons disputing his right to rule. And there was I thinking that the royals supposedly had a divine right to sit on their thrones. There were also several battles in The First War of Scottish Independence, the first in a series which continues to this day. The first one lasted from the English invasion of Scotland in 1296 until the restoration of Scottish independence in 1328, though in practice independence had been re-established in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn. The wars were caused by English kings attempting to establish their authority over Scotland while Scots fought to keep English rule and authority out of Scotland – today we have Nicola Sturgeon taking on a UK government which vacillates between shoving its head in the sand or up its arse. Another nod towards more recent history was the expulsion of Jews from France, apparently the third time this had happened. Hitler wasn’t the first to try it. It wasn’t a good year for Ely cathedral, either: in February the central tower collapsed, probably due to excavation work being undertaken to expand the building. Cowboy builders, eh?

So, with this lack of success, I consulted the oracle Google. What significance was there in the number 700? Well, it is the serial number for ranges of cars by both BMW and Volvo, displaying a total lack of imagination in choosing new names for their cars. But I have no interest in cars, so I ignored that. How about music? Apparently Bose, who make upmarket (i.e. expensive) hi fi equipment, have a set of headphones which they call the Bose 700. A snip at around £300, if you have more money than sense. And I found this map of Europe in 700, which I thought was interesting:

You might need to click on that to enlarge it, but what struck me was how little our forebears knew about large swathes of the continent. I guess they didn’t have tv to help broaden (or warp) their minds.

I was also struck by the range of products which manufacturers had given the number to: sleeping bags, bicycles, motorhomes, stain removers, GPS trackers, printers, thermostats – there are loads of them! A special mention. though, for the company Boston Scientific, which makes something called the AMS 700™ LGX Penile Prosthesis. In the interests of keeping my readers informed I felt it incumbent on me to look at their website, and am happy to report that they make this claim for it: “Our most popular inflatable prosthesis line offers a combination of features focused on both surgeon and patient satisfaction.” I couldn’t find out how this was achieved, though, or whether it was solo or mutual satisfaction. You’ll need to do your own research!

Before this descends into the depths I think it is probably about time I got to the point. My reason for writing this was to say that I am grateful for each and every one of you who reads this drivel, particularly those of you who are sufficiently loyal (or deluded, or lost for something to do) who like and comment on every post and those of you who have been with me for some time. 700 posts in nearly ten years is an average of almost 70 posts a year, but this hasn’t been anything like a regular pattern: in 2014 I went for seven months without a single post, but it seemed to have little effect as my readership in those days was pretty small anyway! What you now get from me is the regular Tuesday Tunes post, to which I have in the past couple of months added the now regular Song Lyric Sunday. In between, there are often other posts, some of which – like this one – aren’t actually about music. Such heresy! I also have a string of other ‘series’ that I have started and need to get back to: remember Listen To The Band, Saturday Smiles, Under The Covers and its variants? And there are also occasional posts with a mental health theme, as I don’t like to lose sight of why I began this blog in the first place. I do this as a hobby – no one in their right mind would pay me – and you keep me going with your support. It is much better doing this in the knowledge that someone is out there reading it, which wasn’t always the case in the early days, when I was often lucky to get post likes in double figures, if at all, and very few comments. Blogging is a social medium, and offers a much more sociable experience than those which people probably first think of when they hear that phrase. I’m happy to be a part of that and you – the community – make it worthwhile.

In closing, you didn’t really expect me not to include a tune in this, did you? I played this one for you just four months ago in Tuesday Tunes 100: Century but as i) I really like the band, ii) I really like this song, and iii) I don’t know any other songs with 700 in their title, you’re getting it again:

Thank you for reading this, for any likes you may bestow upon it, and for any comment you might feel inclined to leave. As always, I’m happy to know you’re there, as I try to be for your blog if we are mutual followers. Have a great day, and on to the next 700 😊