Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Last time England was invaded. The Battle of Fishguard

The Battle of Fishguard was a military invasion of Great Britain by Revolutionary France during the War of the First Coalition. 
The brief campaign, which took place between 22 February and 24 February 1797, was the most recent effort by a foreign force that was able to land on Britain, and thus is often referred to as the "last invasion of Britain".

The invasion was the plan of General Lazare Hoche, who had devised a three-pronged attack on Britain in support of Irish Republicans under Wolfe Tone. Two forces would land in Britain as a diversionary effort, while the main body would land in Ireland. However, poor weather and indiscipline halted two of the forces, although the third, aimed at landing in Wales and marching on Bristol, went ahead.
The invasion force consisted of 1,400 troops from the La Legion Noire (The Black Legion) under the command of Irish American Colonel William Tate, 800 of whom were irregulars. Transported on four French warships under the command of Commodore Jean-Joseph Castagnier, Tate's forces landed at Carregwastad Head near Fishguard on 22 February, after a failed attempt to enter Fishguard harbour itself; however, upon landing, discipline broke down amongst the irregulars, many of whom deserted to loot nearby settlements. 

The remaining troops were met by a quickly assembled group of around 500 British reservists, militia and sailors under the command of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor. After brief clashes with the local civilian population and Lord Cawdor's forces on 23 February, Tate was forced into an unconditional surrender by 24 February. Later, the British captured two of the expedition's vessels, a frigate and a corvette. 

I met a real Theologian tonight.

Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialised training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary. Back in the days when the Church was running things there were of course far more Theologians. 

But, nowadays you don't meet a real one from a University and a Masters in Theology and which took about nine years. He really impressed as I he kept on quoting verses form the Bible. Luke, John, Ezekiel and numerous others with verse numbers and when I checked his quotes were correct......I was impressed;-)

To be continued.

Mother Earth and Sister Moon

Apogee and Perigee of the Moon

Apogee and perigee refer to the distance from the Earth to the moon. Apogee is the furthest point from the earth. Perigee is the closest point to the earth and it is in this stage that the moon appears larger. Looking at the moon in the sky without anything to compare it to, you wouldn't notice any size difference. But the difference in size can in fact be quite significant.

If you were to photograph a full moon at apogee and perigee (using the same lens), here's how the two sizes would compare:
full moon at apogee and perigee
Astronomers have some serious Formulas that are dread to rarse!. For computing the exact distance at any point in time, but the average distance from Earth is 237,700 miles (382,500 km).

Effects of Apogee and Perigee
The apogee and perigee of the moon have an effect on the tides here on Earth. When the moon is at apogee, the furthest distance from the Earth, it has less gravitational pull which, along with other factors that influence the tides, can contribute to lower tides or lower variation in the high/low tide level. When the moon is at perigee, closer to the Earth, there is much more gravitational pull which contributes to the opposite effect: higher tides or greater variation in the high and low tide.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Big Daddy's Chill zone : The Altar and an Owl.

Why an owl? well, there's a few reasons as it's of the night there's an association with the ancient powers of Sister Moon and both are Feminine and I wanted a soft, warm, nurturing and sensitive feel to my pad.

An owl spreads it's wings and flies into the mystic.

Owls' perception pierces the veil of darkness. On a symbolic level, this means that they can see what is hidden to others with only ordinary sight.
According to legends, "It is credited with profound wisdom, oracular powers, and the ability to avert evil."

Owls share the gift of vision with Witches who honour them. Allowing them to see what is imperceptible to others.
Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, had a companion Owl on her shoulder which revealed unseen truths to her. Owl had the ability to light up Athena's blind side, enabling her to speak the whole truth, as opposed to only a half truth".

As in life, Truth is vital . . . both knowing it and speaking it.

So where do Owls get this wisdom? What makes Owl so wise is that she's not distracted by questions of What, Where, When, Why, or How. She knows the only real question is ever and always, "WHO??"

The Owl has a dual symbolism of wisdom and darkness. They are symbolically associated with clairvoyance, astral projection and magic, and is oftentimes the medicine of sorcerers and witches, you are drawn to magical practices.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas consider the Owl to be the Night Eagle because it is silent and deadly in flight, and is a solitary bird with all-seeing eyes. The Owl is generally regarded as a bird of sorcerers because of its association with--and abilities in--the dark.

It symbolizes deception and silent observation because it flies noiselessly. The Owl is feared by peoples who believe that the death warning is in its hoot. In the Navajo belief system, the Owl is the envoy of the supernatural world and earth-bound spirits.
The Pawnee understand the Owl as the Chief of the Night and believe that it affords protection. The Cherokee honor the bird as sacred because of its night-time vision, and wish to draw that power to themselves to see in the dark.

The two main symbolic characteristics of the Owl, its wisdom and its nocturnal activity, have made it represent perception. Considering perception in a spiritual context, Owl medicine is related to psychism, occult matters, instincts, and clairvoyance-- the true ability to see what is happening around you.

The owl can see that which others cannot, which is the essence of true wisdom. Where others are deceived, Owl sees and knows what is there. It is believed it can help your power of keen, silent observation to intuit some life situation and aids in seeing the whole truth. The Owl also brings its messages in the night through dreams or meditation. Pay attention to the signals and omens. The truth always brings further enlightenment.

The Owl, symbol of the Goddess, represents perfect wisdom. Owls have the ability to see in the dark and fly noiselessly through the skies. They bring messages through dreams.
The Owl is the bird of mystical wisdom and ancient knowledge of the powers of the moon. With wide-open, all-seeing eyes, Owl looks upon reality without distortion and acknowledges it, yet is aware that with ancient magical and spiritual knowledge, he or she can make changes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hmmmmm cuisine from prehistorical times

Life SLATE Explainer

The Real Caveman Diet

Did people eat fruits and vegetables in prehistoric times?


Updated Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at 6:12 PM ET
Volunteers dressed as cavemen at the Warsaw zoo.
Russian scientists claim to have grown a plant from the fruit of an arctic flower that froze 32,000 years ago in the Arctic. That’s about the same time the last Neanderthalsroamed the Earth. This particular plant doesn't produce an edible fruit analogous to an apple or nectarine, but rather a dry capsule that holds its seeds. Did hominids eat fruits and veggies during the Neanderthal era?
They definitely ate fruit. Last year, paleoanthropologists found bits of date stuck in the teeth of a 40,000-year-old Neanderthal. There's evidence that several of the fruits we enjoy eating today have been around for millennia in much the same form. For example, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of 780,000-year-old figs at a site in Northern Israel, as well as olives, plums, and pears from the paleolithic era. Researchers have also dug up grapes that appear to be 7 million years old in northeastern Tennessee (although, oddly, the grapes are morphologically more similar to today’s Asian varieties than the modern grapes considered native to North America). Apple trees blanketed Kazakhstan 30,000 years ago, oranges were common in China, and wild berries grew in Europe. None of these fruits were identical to the modern varieties, but they would have been perfectly edible.
Vegetables are a different story. Many of the ones we eat today have undergone profound changes at the hands of human farmers. Consider the brassicas: Between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago, humans took a leafy green plant and, by selecting for different characteristics, began to transform it into several different products. Modern kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi are all members of the same species, derived from a single prehistoric plant variety. Wild carrots may predate human agriculture, but they’re unpalatable and look nothing like the cultivated variety. The earliest domesticated carrots were probably purple, and the orange carrot emerged in the 17th century. While legumes predate the dawn of man, modern green beans are a human invention.
It’s not altogether clear why fruits have changed less than vegetables, but it might have something to do with their evolutionary purpose. Plants developed sugary fruits millions of years ago so that sweet-toothed mammals would gobble them up and disseminate the seeds. By the time hominids descended from the African tree canopy, delicious fruits were widely available with no need for artificial selection. Since vegetables gain nothing from being eaten, they didn't experience the same pressure to evolve delectable roots, stems, and leaves.
Just because there are some paleolithic fruits in production today doesn’t mean you can easily mimic the paleolithic diet. Modern apples, dates, figs, and pears aren’t necessarily nutritionally equivalent to their late Stone Age ancestors. Selection by humans has made them larger and sweeter, and may have caused other chemical changes. Ancient man also ate plants that you can’t find at a grocery store, like ferns and cattails. His relative dietary proportions of meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables are in dispute, and probably varied significantly with location. Some paleoanthropologists also believe hunter-gatherers ate a far wider variety of foods than modern man, each in a smaller quantity, to minimize the risk of poisoning.
Got a question about today’s news? Ask the Explainer.
Explainer thanks George Armelagos and Craig Hadley of Emory University, Bryce Carlson and Jules Janick of Purdue University, Naama Goren of Hebrew University, Susanna Hoffman of Hoffman Consulting, Mordechai Kislev of Bar-Ilan University, Yusheng (Christopher) Liu of East Tennessee State University, Katherine M. Moore of the University of Pennsylvania, Daniel Potter of UC Davis, and C. Margaret Scarry of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Perspectives on age from me and mine

So, now I'm 45. Forty Fiiiiive.

A moment ago I was playing a track and thinking "Yeah man, that's Old School!". Then I thought,
"No! you mean That's Reeeally f*&^%ng old school"........Wot, you mean antique!!;-)

Yep - getting older but, Sometimes a child's perspective on things is just wonderful and simple.

I said to my daughter Monica "Ah well, Daddy's getting old now"
and without a pause she turned and looked into my face with her deep brown eyes, that beaming smile of white pearly teeth and soft cheeks and said
"No Problem Daddy. Today your young and Tomorrow your old'.

Simple really, Innit;-)

Big Daddy's Chill zone

I'm enjoying my new space, it's got a really chilled vibe, with a touch of ethnic;-)
The floors re covered with terracota tiles and white walls with a great use of light through skylights. And, yes it is very secure - you even have to walk across a small bridge to reach it which has sensor lights.

Looking out towards the garden

What a lovely space

                          A little enclosed garden from the kitchen

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thoughts of Palermo

I was born on a day of Love

May Love and Light reign in all our lives.

And may Cupid, Venus and The Universe shower you with Love and Light.

El Showk.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another year and......................

The Dark Origins Of Valentine's Day

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February 13, 2011
Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.
A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.
EnlargeHulton Archive/Getty Images
A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D.
Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.
Those Wild and Crazy Romans
From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.
The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.
The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival – or longer, if the match was right.
The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.
Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, "It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love."
Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women." That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.
William Shakespeare helped romanticize Valentine's Day in his work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe.
Perry-CastaƱeda Library, University of Texas
William Shakespeare helped romanticize Valentine's Day in his work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe.
Shakespeare In Love
As the years went on, the holiday grew sweeter. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Handmade paper cards became the tokens-du-jour in the Middle Ages.
Eventually, the tradition made its way to the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since.
Today, the holiday is big business: According to market research firm IBIS World, Valentine's Day sales reached $17.6 billion last year; this year's sales are expected to total $18.6 billion.
But that commercialization has spoiled the day for many. Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, says we have only ourselves to blame.
"This isn't a command performance," she says. "If people didn't want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business."
And so the celebration of Valentine's Day goes on, in varied ways. Many will break the bank buying jewelry and flowers for their beloveds. Others will celebrate in a SAD (that's Single Awareness Day) way, dining alone and binging on self-gifted chocolates. A few may even be spending this day the same way the early Romans did. But let's not go there.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Jus passing through - Innit;-)

So, It's nearly that time again - Yep, my Birthday and normally as President of the lonely hearts club (well, normally the people that used to turn up to my birthday alway's had one thing in common, they were single;-).

And, I do my normal birthday run with my little princess in one of the Grand Hoteld of Roma, where she insists on calling Room service repeatedly as she's just amazed that you can make a phone call and twenty minutes later there's a waiter with a bottle of "ACE" juice and Chips with the obligatory ketchup of course.

And I'm just passing through London quickly on my way to see Moni flying from Jo'burg and out to Palermo and to hang with my crew for a few hours;-).

I'm a little worried actually, as i've just got aclimatised to SA with it's lovely weather and then into Northern europe under a cold snap and hoping that Palermo sicily being off the north coast of Africa will be kind of mild. Hmmmm I'll have to wait and see but, Moni! (Always worth it for my little Princess).

President Obama Roots and Irie......Yes I;-)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Whilst uptown in Amsterdam......

As I look at these photos seeing people wearing ice skates whilst skating on the Prinsengracht, people gliding across the ice, leaning into the bone-chilling wind and effortlessly propelling themselves across the frozen surface. I'm sitting in Jo'burg South Africa enjoying temperatures of 23/26C. So, it just seems crazy as today I was wearing a short sleeved shirt.

I'm a Londoner and I don't have skating or bikes hardwired into my DNA like most Dutch people (I didn't push a chair around a frozen lake as a child the way Dutch kids do to learn how to skate).

But despite all that, I like skating and the fact that I'm terrible at it doesn't matter.
I remember skating with my arms waving out to to get's been years since I've done a serious skating run and I'm dreaming of what it's like taking part in a real Elfstedentocht.

I'm not sure but I think the tour is 200 kilometers (125 miles long). It would take at least 12 hours if you were to survive. In fact the ice has been meticulously scraped clean by a small army of volunteers in an effort to make it strong enough to stage a race with 16,000 competitors (Ta Rarse!!). Imagine all on that Ice - It's got to be crazy.

Skaters ride an 11 Cities Tour itinerary as they pass through the villages in the northern Netherlands, across frozen waterways for the first time in 15 years.
And as usual, the Dutch have a mini-vocabulary dedicated to iceskating. A hole in the ice is called a "wak", there is a verb — "klunen" — for clambering along the river bank in your skates.

But the Dutch are not going to let a small detail like the Elfstedentocht not being staged spoil their fun. All of the photos below have a certain kind of picture-postcard prettiness.

Copyright Victor Lacken

                             Copyright Victor Lacken

                             The Winter Berry's

                             Copyright Victor Lacken

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Settling in.......

Moved into my house the other day and this was here waiting for me.

It's a Agriculture ceremonial dance mask from Mali.

This headdress has become a famous icon of African art and is a Bambara mask. They were used in ceremonies related to agriculture.
The most noble and sacred activities and tasks for the Bamana/Bambara are those related to agriculture. At the occasion of such a task, a pair/couple of men of the tyi wara association of farmers performed dances with a pair of one male and one female tyi wara headdress in the fields. 

They danced early in the morning in the field, on the rhythm of the drums, chants and hand clapping of young girls. In this way they honored the mythical farming animal tyi wara, that taught agriculture to the ancestors of the Bambara/Bamana. 

Competitions were organised for young men and only the winners were allowed to wear the tyi wara headdress for one year, during private or public performances. 

A long mythical story is associated with the tyi wara. The tyi wara wooden headdresses are always carved in a plane. Many variations exist. Most pieces rest on a quadrangular base. 

This is fixed to a small basket that is adjusted on the head of the dancer. 
Long black fibers hang from the headdress and cover the basket and the face of the dancer; these symbolize falling water as an essential ingredient for farming.

The male type shows a male, mythical, beautiful and powerful antelope with two long, curved horns that stand for the tall growth of millet, with a clearly visible tail,with a penis that symbolizes the rooting of the grain, with long ears that refer to the cultivators' listening to the songs sung by women who encourage the men while they work in the fields, with an open, zigzag pattern in the neck that symbolizes the sun's path along the horizon between the two solstices.

BDW Love and Light

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Just passing through and enjoying life. I use this blog to keep hold of my thoughts & opinions. In general anything that interest me.