Being an occasional series in which Our Historical Diary Correspondent Cal Endor explores an event of huge historical significance.
Episode # 25: 17th June
It was on this day in 1631, that mother of three "Mum" Taz Mahal-McKnightly gave birth to her 33rd child at the Dower House, Tarrant Keyneston. She was surrounded on this auspicious occasion by only three servants, two midwives, 144 dignitaries, 188 courtiers, twelve court reporters, a "lucky" elephant and an undisclosed number of high quality terry-towels. Her husband, Dorset Chargé d'Affairs at the Melbury Osmond Consulate, Podraig Poitín-McKnightly [later anglicised to Connor Potcheen-McKnightly and even later Percival Whisky-McKnightly] went on to spend more than 20 years building an elaborate temple of thanksgiving to commemorate the happy event - the evergreen tourist attraction now known to millions at the Taj Mahal-McKnightly Curry House Restaurant and Indian Take-Away, Tarrant Gunville [just off the the A354; open Mon-Sat 12-3pm and 6-10.30pm; last orders 10pm].
Few visitors to the popular eatery in search of a Hamprestoni chicken biryani or a Pamphilli papdi chaat will be aware of its important place in our county's proud history, fondly imagining, one presumes, that its large size and over-elaborate façade are merely the result of widespread commercial success. Even fewer, one suggests peradventure, will know that it was in this very restaurant in 1961 that a young Professor Thrupiece first tasted phall [the hottest known curry and ironically not one of authentic Dorset origin, having been invented by accident in the Birmingham Small Arms Manufactory] before going on to propose a "hot 'n spicy ethnic food" line for the fledgling thrupiecediet range. Easier said that done, it took more than three years of experimentation and 7,500 miles of toilet tissue to find a way of combining non-corrosively the molecules of the phall with the hairy membranes of the proto-fluff which, back in the day, still made up the "bulk" of the award-winning staple. It is said that the Professor often put his own health at risk in his quest for a digestible solution to this problem and that he was plagued for many years thereafter with "Tarrant Tummy": a quaint, if messy reminder of analogue days in this ultra-cautious digital era.
Also on this day:
1579 English navigator Captain Francis Drake-Oats lands on the coast of California at Oats Bay, names it "New Abbotsbury"
1837 Charles Goodyear-Binstock obtains his 1st rubber patent and forever transforms contraception.