Category: LEADERS

Diana – Princess of Wales

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.
– Lamartine

Diana – Princess of Wales

Today is the 20th year anniversary of the death of the Princess.   She was only 37 years old when she died.

I still remember what I was doing when I found out that she had died.

It was the weekend and we got up rather late. It was almost midday.  I went to boil the kettle in preparation to make breakfast/brunch/lunch.  I turned on the radio and just caught the tail end of the news, where the newscaster was rather excited and almost shouting about the princess death.

I run immediately to the the living room (extension part of the house) where Peter and James were reading.

I told them starkly that Diana was dead.  For a moment we were all in shock.  Peter said I was joking.  She was in the paper just yesterday, swimming.

Peter turned on the tv and there Diana was being confirmed as dead from car crash together with her lover in Paris.

May she rest in peace.

Saint David’s Day

Saint David’s Day

 

March 1st  is Saint David’s Day.

Did you remember to celebrate it yesterday?

The first day of March was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David as traditionally it is believed that he might have died on that day in 569, 588 or even 589; the date is uncertain.

Stainglass picture of St David of Wales

Stainglass depicting St David of Wales

St David (Dewi Sant) was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century.  He spread the word of Christianity across Wales.

St David's own flag flown over Churches and some public buildings on St David's Day

St David’s own flag flown over Churches and some public buildings on St David’s Day

A  famous story about Saint David tells how he was preaching to a huge crowd and the ground is said to have risen up, so that he was standing on a hill and everyone had a better chance of hearing and seeing him.

 He was born towards the end of the 5th century. He was of the royal house of Ceredigion, and founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro) where St David’s Cathedral  stands today. David was famous for being a teacher.  His monastery at Glyn Rhosin became an important Christian shrine and important centre in Wales. Before  his death, Saint David is said to have uttered these words: “Brothers be ye constant. The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil.”

Welsh ex-pats around the  world celebrate St David’s Day. The  daffodil  & the leek are the national emblem of Wales and badges of which are worn with pride.

Daffodil flower and emblem of Wales

Daffodil flower and emblem of Wales

Why a leek as an emblem?  One theory is that St David advised the Welsh, on the eve of battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps to distinguish friend from the enemy. Shakespeare mentions in Henry V, that the Welsh archers (fearsome for the power and accuracy of their legendary long bows,)  wore leeks at the battle  with the French at Agincourt in 1415.

The Leek vegetbale an other emblem of Wales

The Leek vegetable an other emblem of Wales

The traditional meal on St David’s Day is cawl. This is a soup that is made of leek and other locally grown produce.

Another symbol of Wales is  the iconic Welsh Dragon  in Welsh- Y Ddraig Goch (“the red dragon”)

Welsh National-Flag

The Welsh National Flag

It  appears on the national flag of Wales. The flag is also called Y Ddraig Goch.

The Historia Brittonum(History of Britons written around 828)  records the first  use of the dragon to  symbolise Wales.

The Dragon was popularly supposed to have been the battle standard of the legendary King Arthur  other ancient Celtic leaders. archaeological  literature, and documentary history suggests that  it evolved from an earlier Romano-British national symbol.  During the reigns of the  Tudor Monarchs, the red dragon was used as a symbol of support  in the English Crown’s coat of arms (one of two supporters, along with the traditional English lion).  The red dragon is often seen as symbolising all things Welsh, and flags are flown  by many public and private institutions in Wales and some in London too.

………………..

1 March 2014

To celebrate St David’s Day Google has this special doodle to commemorate the occasion.

st-davids-day-2014-5651391519391744.2-hp

 

 

A New Era in American Politics

A New Era in American Politics

 

Here in London, we stayed up to 4am watching the excellent BBC US Presidential election results coverage. We saw  the incoming results from what has been such a diverse and as many found, a divisive U.S. campaign, which has now ushered in a new era for American politics and governance.

Normally those from other nations may not bother to stay up to the wee small hours  to watch such. However the the two candidates involved and the known baggage they brought with them to the campaign, did make this election race a fascinating spectacle for many around the globe.

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Hilary Clinton the favourite, an experienced  party apparatchik,  who seems to have been around since her husband Bill was President over 15 years ago was the Democrats candidate. Her role as the powerful Secretary of State under President Obama, was regarded by many as a stepping stone to the White House but in the end this counted as nought.

mr-trump-yellow-tie

 

Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman who had  never held any political office and had  failed   badly in a Presidential bid in 2004, was the rank outsider.

He imposed his formidable personality on the election race, sweeping aside fellow Republican candidates and in effect bulldozing his way to be the only rival to Mrs Clinton and the Democratic Party.

The televised debates between Clinton & Trump were at times acrimonious with enough mud slung to make a decent sized football field!

They made compulsive viewing, more so than any other previous presidential  debates.

History was being made.

Mrs Clinton had policies planned that  she put to the people.  Mr Trump was rather vague on the same. He however  made some big bold  promises to fix the big issues, not heard of before by the people.

Mr Trump’s antics and comments during the campaign will become the stuff of  legend.

Any other candidate who acted his way, would have been bundled away, never to be seen again!

It was understandable that Mrs Clinton and the Democrats, initially thought that with the at times bellicose Mr Trump as her rival, election to the Presidency would be straightforward.

It became clear that Mr Trump in his rousing election speeches and promises during the debates, tapped into the visceral anti establishment mood felt by the majority of  US citizens.

These disaffected citizens turned out en masse to vote for someone whom they see as a ‘new broom’ to sweep away over 15 years of  distrust in the political system, the  stagnation of the economy, jobs and the continued involvement in foreign conflicts.

Mr Trump had no political baggage and to use a cowboy analogy ‘shoots from the hip’.

In computer parlance ‘WYSIWYG’ (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get). This was so refreshing to many voters, fed up with dissembling anodyne politicians.

His various peccadilloes and outrageous statements did not matter to his voters.

As  with the quote attributed to  Oliver Cromwell nearly 400 years ago,  we get Trump ‘warts and all’, nothing is hidden.

Noting the similar feeling between many British and US people,  Mr Trump mentioned the momentous UK exit vote from the EU and said he would do a ‘Brexit’ 1000 times over if elected. He did!

Egyptians mock ‘ugly’ new Nefertiti Statue

Nefertiti and the unpopular modern creation

Nefertiti and the unpopular modern creation

Marilyn_Manson

Its me Mansfertiti

Egyptians Mock ‘ugly’ new Nefertiti Statue

With the showing of a new rendition of the classical  Egyptian beauty,  Queen Nefertiti, loosely or we should say very loosely based on the iconic bust,  has resulted in Egyptians mocking this latest recreation.

Queen Nefertiti ruled Egypt alongside her husband the heretical King Akhenaten  in the 14th century BC.  Her legendary beauty reflected in the bust – her name in fact translates as “a beautiful woman has arrived.”

When authorities had this version commissioned for the Egyptian people, their reaction was as abrasive as a desert sandstorm

Nefertiti remains a proud symbol of their country’s impressive history and beauty. So when the authorities wanted to commission a statue at the entrance of the city of Samalut, they thought of the ancient queen.

Unfortunately, the replica bears  little resemblance to the legendary beauty, many  despaired for the state of Egyptian art.

“This is an insult to Nefertiti and to every Egyptian,” tweeted one Egyptian woman. Another wrote: “It should be named ‘ugly tasteless artless statue’… not Nefertiti.”

Many Egyptians feeling offended by the failed attempt to replicate the iconic bust directed their anger at the sculptors: “If you don’t know how to make statues don’t go and do something so unfair to the beautiful Nefertiti,” tweeted one man.

Some even compared the  bust to the 1930s move classic  Frankenstein’s monster!

Thank goodness the power of the people prevailed as the statue was removed and probably will not see the light of day any time soon!

 

Pope Francis urges Philippine Government Leaders To End Corruption

All institutions are prone to corruption and to the vices of their members.
– Morris West (Australian Novelist 1916-1999)

Here is an interesting BBC news item, we hope the Philippine leadership take note and act upon speedily as would any upcoming Presidential hopeful in 2016!

Despite President Aquino making his own comments about the Catholic Church in the Philippines, more importantly, the  Pork Barrel PPAF, Napoles etc scandals still persist despite promises from Filipino leaders to deal with!

We hope His Holiness’s words will be heeded !

Pope Francis urges Philippine Government Leaders To End Corruption

 Pope Francis urges Philippine Government Leaders To End Corruption

Pope Francis waves to the faithful from his Popemobile as his motorcade leaves the Presidential Palace for the Manila Cathedral Friday, 16 January 2015 in Manila, Philippines.Pope Francis travelled to Manila’s Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in his ‘Popemobile’ on Friday

Pope Francis has urged Philippine leaders to end “scandalous social inequalities” and corruption during a welcome ceremony in Manila.

On the first full day of his five-day visit, he called for politicians to show commitment to the “common good”.

But President Benigno Aquino responded that many Catholic clergy had been silent about the abuses conducted under former President Gloria Arroyo.

And he said some clergymen were now too quick to criticise him.

“In contrast to their previous silence, some members of the clergy now seem to think that the way to be true to the faith means finding something to criticise,” he said.

“Even to the extent that one prelate admonished me to do something about my hair, as if it were a mortal sin.”

The pontiff arrived in the majority Catholic country on Thursday and is due to travel to the typhoon-hit city of Tacloban on Saturday.

The centre-piece of his visit is an open-air Mass in Manila on Sunday, which is expected to attract millions.

The Pope is on a six-day tour of Asia. Earlier in the week he visited Sri Lanka.

‘Voice of the poor’

Well-wishers line the streets to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis in Manila on 15 January 2015 The Pope received a rapturous reception as he arrived in Manila

Speaking at a welcome ceremony in the presidential palace, Pope Francis called for leaders “to reject every form of corruption, which diverts resources from the poor”.

He said it was a Christian duty to “break the bonds of injustice and oppression which give rise to glaring, and indeed scandalous, social inequalities”.

The Philippines, like many countries in Asia, has corruption issues.

Corruption activist group Transparency International put the Philippines at 85 in its latest Corruption Perceptions Index, level with India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Under Mr Aquino, the Philippines’ record has slowly improved.

Mr Aquino suggested the Church had not done enough to fight corruption under Mrs Arroyo, who is facing charges of plundering state funds and election fixing.

“There was a true test of faith when many members of the Church, once advocates for the poor, the marginalised, and the helpless, suddenly became silent in the face of the previous administration’s abuses, which we are still trying to rectify to this very day,” Mr Aquino said.

Filipino Catholic devotees gather outside the Manila Cathedral as they wait to celebrate a mass with Pope Francis in Manila, Philippines, 16 January 2015Many people began waiting outside the cathedral in Manila for the Mass in the early hours of Friday
Pope Francis, left, and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III stand together during the welcoming ceremony Friday, 16 January 2015 at the Presidential Palace grounds in Manila, PhilippinesPresident Benigno Aquino (R) hosted a welcome ceremony for the Pope at the presidential palace on Friday.

Poppy Field At The Tower of London

Poppy Field At The Tower of London

 

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red ‘ Photo by PH Morton

Poppy falls Photo by JMorton

Poppy falls
Photo by JMorton

Recently, Jean & I visited the Tower of London to see the amazing poppy field created in the dry verdant green grass covered moat surrounding the Tower.

Nearly 900,000 hand-made ceramic red poppies have been planted by volunteers in the moat to commemorate each of the British and Commonwealth soldier and serviceman who fell (died) fighting & defending freedom in World War One (WW1).

The poppy exhibition known as ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ will see 888,246 poppies planted.

The last poppy will be planted on Armistice Day on 11th November.

The poppies will remain in place for Armistice Day as 2014 is the centenary marking the start of WW1 also known as the Great War.

In mid-November, the poppies will be collected up by volunteers again.

Like many others, we are one of lucky ones to have bought one of the displayed ceramic poppies on-line at £25 per stem +PP . They are now sold out. We are assured that the majority of sales raised approximately £15+ million will be shared among six service charities, including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.

A quantity of the poppies will also go on an exhibition tour across the country.

We will keep the poppy as our own reminder to those fallen. We hope to hand it down to our son and grandson as a memorial too.

Each year around October /November we buy & wear charity poppy pin badges to remember WW1, WW2, and later wars & conflicts in which our troops and service personnel, (Army Navy, RAF & Merchant Seamen) fought were injured and perished.

My late Maternal Grandfather fought in World War One and was seriously injured.

My late Father fought as a soldier (Desert Rat) in World War Two (WW2). Luckily he survived uninjured. Up to his passing away in the 1980s, Dad would regularly attend and enjoy the yearly reunion in London (normally at the Union Jack Club), of his wartime comrades and friends.

The poppy symbolises the red poppy flowers that were growing in some of the WW1 battlefields in France, where many soldiers fell.
Sadly the red of the poppy matched the blood of those fallen on the battlefields.
A potent symbol…

The Queen @ 88 by David Bailey

“I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen, she has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint.”
– David Bailey
4-Elizabeth-II-AFP-Getty

This photo was taken by David Bailey, a renowned English/British photographer, at Buckingham Palace in March 2014 in honour of the Queen’s 88 birthday. This is also a part of the Government’s initiative to increase tourism.

I thought her hair was cropped too short in this photo or portrait but the more I look at it, the more I like it and quite admire it.

Well done David Bailey.

And wishing the Queen a Happy Birthday and long may she reigns!

Bringham Young

youngEveryone should learn to do one thing supremely well because he likes it, and one thing supremely well because he detests it.  ~Brigham Young

 

Bringham Young

…………………………

  • Founding Figure
  • Brigham Young was an American leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and a settler of the Western United States. He was the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his death in 1877. Wikipedia

Warts & All – Phrase Origin

Cromwell

Oliver did not believe in photoshop.

Warts & All – Phrase Origin

Apparently  the expression, warts and all originated from Oliver Cromwell when he commissioned Sir Peter Lely to paint his  portrait.  Cromwell apparently abhor personal vanity with a passion that he instructed that his portrait should be painted with warts and all

 

Warts & All

Common beliefs and superstitions about warts:

  • Do not touch a toad or else you’ll get warts.
  • Do not touch a wart or the blood from a wart.
  • This one is really strange:  rub a piece of bread on the wart and then bury the bread; once the bread has decomposed, the wart will fall off and disappear.
  • Find a witch to sell your wart to for a pin or a coin.

Boudicca – Warrior Queen

DSCN2131

Boudicca, Photo by PH Morton

DSCN2130

Jean paying homage to Boadicea, Photo by PH Morton

England and Great Britain have had some amazing historical famous female characters  being brave, indomitable and  true leaders in their own right.
Queen Elizabeth 1, Queen Victoria, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  One such powerful Queen, going back over 1400 years further in our history, is Boudicca of the Iceni people.

Boudica, Boudicca (also spelled Boudicea)e was a true warrior queen. In AD 60-61, she inspired and led the largest revolt against Roman rule in Britain

What we mainly know of her life derives from two Roman writers, Publius Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 56-117) and Cassius Dio (A.D. 150-235)
Boudicca is still celebrated as someone who stood up against foreign oppression, she took on the might of the Roman empire

From around 65 BC, the Iceni people of East Anglia had grown prosperous by trading with Romans on the Continent. When the forces of Emperor Claudius conquered Britain in AD 43, the Iceni were able to negotiate for themselves an arrangement that allowed them to exist as a client kingdom loyal to Rome. But trouble was on the way. When the Iceni King, Prasutagas, died, he bequeathed his kingdom jointly to his two teenage daughters and the Roman Emperor Nero. This was perceived as an insult by Rome, which believed it had a right to inherit and subjugate the entire Iceni kingdom. A brutal crackdown on the Iceni began.

Queen Boudicca was the widow of Prasutagus. In an attempt to quash the Iceni, Roman officials had her publicly flogged and allowed the empire’s soldiers to rape her daughters. But Rome had misjudged Boudicca and the Iceni. Instead of submitting humbly, Boudicca raised a huge army and led them against Rome’s forces in Britain. The Roman historian, Cassius Dio, writes that Boudicca was “most tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh.” She was an effective, brutal commander and her Celtic fighters soon overran the capital of Roman Britain, Camulodunum (modern-day Colchester).

THE SACKING OF LONDON
Boudicca’s timing was good. The majority of Rome’s legions were tied up in Wales, fighting the Druids. There was little effective opposition as Boudicca and her army swept into the commercial centre of Londinium (London) on the Thames. The Iceni were merciless as they tore through the town, razing most of it to the ground and butchering any civilians left behind by Rome’s retreating forces. Inspired by the crushing victory at Londinium, Boudicca turned north and headed for Verulamium, known today as St Albans. Another vicious sacking followed.

The Roman military governor, Suetonius Paulinus, had refused to commit his forces to the defence of Londiunium or Verulamium. Instead, he lured Boudicca and her warriors north of Verulanium to a site somewhere in the Midlands. Contemporary historians never identified where the crucial battle between Rome and the Iceni was fought but the outcome was decisive. Paulinus had just 10,000 men. Estimates of the Iceni strength vary between 100,000 and 250,000 but they were no match for the disciplined troops of Paulinus. Rome routed the Britons in one of the ancient world’s most bloody massacres.

The attacking hordes of spear-wielding Britons, many daubed with blue war paint derived from the woad plant, must have been a terrifying sight as they charged at the Roman lines but Paulinus had chosen his battleground carefully. The Roman historian, Tacitus, describes it as an area with a narrow approach, backed by woodland. This meant that the Britons could not use their superior numbers to outflank Paulinus and encircle him. Instead, they were forced to hurl themselves at the Roman front lines, in wave after desperate wave. The well-trained Roman soldiers advanced with their large shields, stabbing at the Britons with their easily manoeuvrable short swords. Boudicca’s best warriors had no room to swing their long swords and were trapped between the deadly Roman advance and their own advancing hordes. Around 80,000 Britons died as Paulinus took his revenge. Roman casualties were around 400 dead and a similar number of wounded. Boudicca and her daughters survived the battle but are believed to have taken poison to avoid capture and ritual humiliation at the hands of the Romans.

An interesting local London legend has it that Boudicca is buried beneath Track 10 at King’s Cross Station (Kings Cross is famous from the Harry Potter stories). Her final battle is believed to have taken place in the area.

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