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Oops! The Law Of Unintended Consequences

I was looking at the OS map for our area (OL5) and came across 'The Bungalow' in Martindale, near the southern end of Ullswater. You can stay there if you want, but it's not a modern dwelling, not by a long way.

Families, eh, what are they like?

You don't really get a choice, do you? At least you get to pick your friends, but not your kith and kin, your clan, your tribe.

Bear with me, this is going somewhere.

You can take one of the Ullswater "Steamers" to Howtown and take a very pleasant walk to see The Bungalow, it's over a century old and was built by the Earl of Lonsdale, the Yellow Earl : he wasn't a coward or anything, it's just that yellow was his favourite colour, and that's why the Automobile Association's livery is yellow, he was its first president, and that's why Penrith Tories wear yellow rosettes, not the usual Tory blue.

The Earl actually painted one of the early steamers yellow so that he could use it as a "Royal Yacht" for a very special guest who visited the area at the beginning of the 20th  century... before that family argument that started in 1914 and lasted till 1918.

In fact not only did he paint a boat he actually built a hunting lodge, the Bungalow, so that his honoured guest, one of Queen Victoria's many descendants and cousin of King George V, could enjoy a spot of hunting before it all kicked off a few years later.

Meanwhile, somewhere in eastern Europe (Sarajevo) some disgruntled individuals were planning a shooting outing themselves. They managed to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June 1914 and in so doing set off a chain of events which ended up, due to a whole mess of treaties, alliances, ill judged promises and massive egos, in what we now call  'The Great War', the first world war, with an estimated death toll of over five million.

By the way, the honoured guest was Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, 'Kaiser Bill' who was shortly to become the enemy, fighting his cousins King George V and Tsar Nicholas II... bet they didn't see that coming the Christmas before... hope they kept their receipts.

These days when I go for a walk in the hills, I tend to stick to old favourites so I don't need to keep digging the map out and try to find my specs. I remember from the old days when trying to find my way to a chosen destination how easy it can be to take one wrong turn, and end up in all sorts of trouble.

But that wasn't the end of the story for the 20th century, was it? The 'war to end all wars', wasn't.

That troubled patch of central Europe, Germany, had a few more trials and errors to work through.

The myth had spread in 1918 in Germany that the politicians had betrayed the Nation, and that Germany had not been defeated on the battlefield.

Communists, capitalists, anarchists, nationalists and all sorts of -ists were fighting in the streets, the economy was a dog's breakfast and something needed to be done.

Big business and the ruling classes genuinely feared a communist revolution, as had happened in Russia, something definitely needed to be done!

Enter the Charlie Chaplain lookalike Adolf Hitler. Big business saw how he appeared to have the common touch and was genuinely popular, they could slip him a bit of cash, give him their support, let him sort out those pesky commies, then drop him when he had done their dirty work and all would be well, order would be restored, and they could get back to some serious empire building.

Well, we all know how well that plan worked.

It has been estimated around 100 million people were killed in wars in the 20th century.

Thank goodness we've moved on since the 20th century.

Kaiser Wilhelm is long gone, a young man with something to prove, who was given a highly militarised, disciplined nation, ready to follow him without question. He had at his disposal the latest technology and was able to use this to wage what was at the time the first industrial war, mechanised weapons, chemicals, telecommunication, flying machines!

Sound vaguely familiar, somehow?

The "Dear Leader", Kim Jong-il, has passed on to his son, Kim Jong-un, a nation united in its hatred/fear of the outside world. A 'Million Man Army' and a worrying amount of nuclear technology has also been left for him in his toy-box to experiment with, to help him to make his mark in/on the world.

Oh well, at least the Americans are watching the situation closely, and what with their stealth bombers, warships, and Patriot missiles , coupled with their sensitive even-handed diplomatic skills, we can all sleep safely in our beds.

You looking at me?

What could possibly go wrong?

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