It is an ill wind that blows no good.
This expression was first seen in print in John Heywood’s book of proverbs in 1546, as “An yll wynde that blowth no man to good, men say”. It mostly has the same words, but I’m not quite sure it has the same meaning as the modern expression. The website I read considers that Shakespeare was the first to use it in the modern sense of a bad thing bringing unexpected benefits.
“Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.” Henry VI (1591)
It would be Shakespeare wouldn’t it? It always is. To be honest, I didn’t even know he wrote a play called Henry VI, so I’ve learnt more than just the origin of an expression. I really should know more about Shakespeare but apart from the plays we read at school I have only read two or three others, plus a few sonnets. I’ve also read Bryson’s biography, a book about his “lost years” and a detective novel that revolves round one of his lost plays.
Anyway, back to the ill wind. In the aftermath of the Queen’s death we have sold a number of things that we have had on eBay for years. This includes medallions and banknotes with her image on it and our entire stock of Prince of Wales investiture medallions. We had 35 parcels to send out today and had to make two trips to the post office.
It’s always a time of mixed emotions when someone famous dies and business increases, and I do feel a little guilty about it at times, but anything I do is nothing compared to what will soon become a flood of tacky commemorative items. Just look at what the Royal Mint has done. We will sell you these coins (1977 Silver Jubilee crowns) for a couple of pounds. You can buy them on eBay for as little as 99p. You can also buy them for up to £300. We will sell you these (the 1953 Coronation crown) for a little more. They are available on eBay for £4 or in auction starting at 99p. Or, if you look for the most expensive price – £4,999.99.
I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about my opinion of some of these prices.