steepholm (steepholm) wrote,
steepholm
steepholm

Ashes for Eggshells - plus, Broken News

I dreamt last night that I was watching an edition of QI, in which Stephen Fry was explaining the origin of the phrase "To change ashes for eggshells", meaning to make an exchange of equal value. Apparently it comes from the eighteenth century trade whereby Bristol merchants would take cargoes of ash across the Irish Sea to Cork, where it would be unloaded and replaced with an equal amount (by volume, not weight, mind) of egg shells - which happened to be worth just the same amount.

Who knew?

Meanwhile, Radio 4 just mentioned that The News of the World is being closed down, and replaced by an extra edition of The Sun. Rearranging deck chairs to the strains of "Abide with Me"?
Tags: current affairs, what does it all mean?
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