Our road was swarming with white vans yesterday morning. Only one of them, concerning refitting the blinds in Jamie’s bedroom, was to do with our house. Other houses were getting their roofs fixed or plumbing sorted. There seemed to be a great deal of activity going on.
The other day I went to see Jenny Uglow at the book festival. Scottish Life during Napoleon’s Wars was the title of her talk. During the wars in question, there was both enthusiasm in Scotland for the fight, shown by the fact that many Scottish soldiers faught in the Peninsular War, and protest against later continuations and the press gangs. A number of Scots were sent to Botany Bay for coming out in support for the French revolutionaries. Many Scots were in demand abroad, especially in Eastern Europe, shortly after the wars, for their expertise in farming and other matters.
I also went to see Prof Philip T. Hoffman talk about Why Some Nations Need Power. He looked at the expansion of control by European powers to most parts of the world in the last thousand years, and asked why the same thing had not happened with places, such as China, that were actually more advanced than Europe a thousand years ago. Several factors were important – read his book to find out which ones.