Welsh people are called Taffs. There is an Italian criminal underworld known as the Mafia. Add a sprinkling of, erm, nothing and you get the Taffia. Alastair Cook, from Essex – although you couldn’t tell by his accent – is half Welsh. This surely is as dull as it gets, but you can read more here if you wish.
It’s absolutely pelting down here in Devon and I’ve been evacuated from the beach to the house. Evacuation is probably the wrong word to use for the local beach, as Slapton Sands is where hundreds (if not thousands) of Americans died during an exercise (Exercise Tiger) prior to the Normandy landings. The beach’s makeup – slate and mainly pebbles – was considered similar to Omaha, on the French coast and therefore ideal preparation for the landings. It was the biggest exercise on allied soil of its kind and, such was the importance placed on it that live ammunition was used.
It all went disasterously wrong. Initially it was said German U-Boats appeared from nowhere and gunned them all down but the US failed to reveal the casualty list for a number of years, increasing fears of a coverup. These days, it is widely considered the event was a momumental American cock-up – a “blue on blue”).
Might aswell tell you about the tank too. In the 1970s a bloke called Ken (can’t remember his surname) had a breakdown and resorted to beachcombing the Sands. He was told by friends there was an object a mile out to sea and it turned out to be an American Sherman tank. There was still a coverup by the Americans about Exercise Tiger but he was eventually allowed to purchase it – for $50! The British Navy and Americans refused to help, so this bloke Ken hired divers and equipment and effectively pulled it out himself. Pretty cool story I reckon. There’s a rumour the tank tracks worked perfectly when they dragged it onto the sands…but I doubt it, what with the rust etc.
Here endeth the lesson.