Welcome to our newsletter for April.
The first thing to mention is that we’re very excited to announce our sponsorship of up-and-coming Hull boxer Lewis Sylvester. We’re delighted to be supporting a local athlete and are trying our very best not come up with too many rubbish boxing puns.
We’ll all be following his career with great interest, especially after victory in his first two professional fights.
Below you can see Lewis Sylvester standing outside our offices after agreeing the sponsorship deal with our Operations Manager Lloyd.
Also this month, and with Easter in mind you can read about the world’s most expensive (but almost certainly least delicious) Easter Eggs.
Our languages of the month for April are a group of over 800 languages which are all spoken in one country, scroll down to read out more.
Easter and the Fabergé Eggs
As I’m sure you know, Easter is coming up and with it the first religious justification of the year for eating our body-weight in chocolate. With this in mind, this month we are looking at the most expensive Easter Eggs ever made and a bit of the story behind them.
In Russia in 1885, Tsar Alexander III commissioned jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé to make an extravagant egg for his wife Maria. The finished product was made of gold, covered with white enamel and opened to reveal a golden yolk which in turn contained a small hen, also made of gold.
The Tsarina liked it so much that Alexander asked Fabergé to construct an egg for every Easter thereafter. In total 50 eggs were made for Maria until 1917, commissioned by both Alexander and his son, Nicholas II.
The earlier eggs are the definition of decadence, gilded with more gold and diamonds than Kanye West’s watch collection and filled with a ‘surprise’, usually even more elaborate than the exterior egg.
The eggs constructed from 1914 however, take on a much more simplistic, military theme (whilst still being stuffed with jewels) to reflect the austerity of WWI. Of the original eggs, 43 survive, although some are missing the ‘surprises’. They are mostly split between the Kremlin, the Fabergé museum in St. Petersburg and private collections (including the British Royal Collection).
The eggs have been known to go for several million pounds at auction, and their mystique and exclusivity have meant they have been included as targets in many crime films and TV shows, including Octopussy and Peaky Blinders.
Below is the Gatchina Palace egg, given to Maria by Nicholas II in 1901.
Language(s) of the Month: Papua New Guinea
April’s language of the Month isn’t actually one language, but rather a group of over 800. These languages are all spoken in Papua New Guinea, and make up just over 10% of the total recorded languages in the world.
Most of these languages though, have fewer than 1000 native speakers, and the country’s four official languages are English (spoken by only 1-2% of the population), Tok Pisin (an English creole which is the closest Papua New Guinea has to a lingua franca), Papua New Guinean Sign Language and Hiri Motu (the language of the native Motu people).
Papua New Guinea is unique in its language density because whilst there are other countries with several different languages, for example China and India, Papua New Guinea’s total population is only around 8,000,000 (slightly less than that of London and only 5% the size of China).
A lot of this may be down to the relative lack of European exploration during the Age of Discovery and since. The country is one of the world’s least explored so a lack of external influence compared to, for example Australia, has meant that native cultures have been undisturbed and left to flourish separately.
Did you know?
Rugby League is by far the most popular sport amongst Papua New Guineans, and it has been suggested that it has become a much safer replacement for tribal warfare (based on some of the debates in the office I think a similar thing may have happened up in Hull)
Papua New Guinea has some of the world’s most interesting and diverse wildlife, below is a picture of the Tree Kangaroo, native to Papua New Guinea and some parts of Australia. While it can’t hop as high from the ground as a regular kangaroo, they can leap up to 60ft between tree branches.