28 April 2021


 My youngest daughter sent me this birthday card a few years ago, can't think why!
I was surprised to see the author of the quote was Orson Welles,
at first glance I thought it was Oscar Wilde.

This little girl has got the look spot on!

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

23 April 2021

St George's Day

St George Patron Saint of England

Today we celebrate St George's Day, a heroic knight in shining armour slaying a ferocious, fire-breathing dragon. It's thought he was born in the 3rd century AD in Cappadocia (modern day Turkey), died in Lydda (modern day Israel) and his tomb was in Lod and was a centre of Christian pilgrimage.
So how did he become the Patron Saint of England? 
It's likely that he was an officer in the Roman army, joining the retinue of Emperor Diocletian. It is thought that during the persecutions of the Emperor George was executed for refusing to make a sacrifice in honour of the pagan gods, and like many saints he was depicted as a martyr after he died for his Christian faith. 
But still we ask how did he become the Patron Saint of England when he never actually came here?
Well although he never visited England, his reputation for virtue and holiness spread across Europe and his feast day – the 23rd April – was celebrated in England from the 9th century onwards. He became popular with English kings. Edward I had banners bearing the emblem of St George (a red cross on a white background) and Edward III had a strong interest in the saint and owned a relic of his blood. The St George cross was not used to represent England until the reign of Henry VIII.
The dragon was added later
The story goes that St George rode into Silene (modern day Libya) to free the city from a dragon who had a taste for humans, but it’s a story which post-dates the real George by several centuries! Images of George and the dragon survive from the 9th century – 500 years after his death. Originally these may simply have been representations of the battle between Good and Evil. But the story was developed and popularised in the Middle Ages in a compendium of stories about saints’ lives.
St George was canonised in AD 494 by Pope Gelasius, who claimed he was one of those 'whose names are justly revered among men but whose acts are known only to God'. A feast day of St George has been celebrated in England for hundreds of years on 23 April, which was possibly the date of his martyrdom. Following the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, St George's Day became one of the most important feast days in the English calendar.
During the Middle Ages, people believed that St George was one of the 'Fourteen Holy Helpers' – a group of saints who could help during epidemic diseases. St George's protection was invoked against several nasty diseases, many fatal, including the Plague and leprosy. From around 1100, his help was also sought to protect the English army. In William Shakespeare’s Henry V, the monarch calls on the saint during his battle cry at the Battle of Harfleur in the famous “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” speech, crying “God for Harry! England, and St. George!” Five hundred years later – during the First World War – a ghostly apparition of St George is said to have aided British troops during their retreat from Mons, and the naval commander of the Zeebrugge Raid cited the saint as inspiration.
England isn't the only country to celebrate St George, he is an international saint shared with Venice, Genoa, Portugal, Ethiopia and Catalonia among others, and many of these places have their own celebrations and ceremonies in his honour.
St George represents those we honour. The Order of the Garter (founded by Edward III in 1348) is the highest order of chivalry in the country and Queen Elizabeth II is at the helm as Sovereign of the Garter. To this day St George’s cross still appears on the Garter badge and his image is the pendant of the Garter chain. In 1940 King George VI created a new award for acts of the greatest heroism or courage in circumstance of extreme danger. The George Cross, named after the king, bears the image of St George vanquishing the dragon. The image of St George also adorns many of the memorials built to honour those killed during World War One.
So even though he wasn't born here or visited here, it's a good legacy to have adopted.

 ∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

17 April 2021

A Good Read

Things In Jars by Jess Kidd
Roll up, roll up, suspend belief, prepare to be entertained. Things In Jars reads like an old fashioned circus. Whilst it wouldn't make my 'All time favourite reads list' I liked it, but my book club girls didn’t. One comment was “too much unnecessary prose, and repetition” there probably was a bit but I didn't feel the need to skip any of it; and most of them didn’t like the content, yes some of it is grim. Victorian London was grim, awash with violence, crime, disease, stink, penury, and dead bodies. Bodies appeared almost hourly, in doorways with their throats cut or heads caved in. Half-burnt in hearths, garroted in garrets, folded into trunks or bobbing about in the Thames, great bloated shoals of them. And the installation of a world class sewer system only added to the mire as bodies were unearthed. Kidd describes Victorian London perfectly. I thought one aerial description as seen through the eyes of a raven was particularly potent:
Breathe in—but not too deeply. Follow the fulsome fumes from the tanners and the reek from
the brewery, butterscotch rotten, drifting across Seven Dials. Keep on past the mothballs and
the cheap tailor’s and turn left at the singed silk of the maddened hatter. Just beyond, you’ll
detect the unwashed crotch of the overworked prostitute and the Christian sweat of the
charwoman. On every inhale a shifting scale of onions and scalded milk, chrysanthemums
and spiced apple, broiled meat and wet straw, and the sudden stench of the Thames as the
wind changes direction and blows up the knotted backstreets. Above all, you may notice
the rich and sickening chorus of shit.

Medicine was making great headway into understanding anesthesia and medical and surgical procedures, and to advance their understanding doctors and surgeons studied dead bodies, some obtained legally, but many nefariously. And then there were the collectors, the arrogant, ruthless, amoral gentry collectors, hungry for the unusual, abnormal, remarkable - Things in Jars. And a little girl named Christobel.

The story starts in London in 1863, Bridie Devine is a private detective. She wears a dagger strapped to her thigh, smokes a pipe, often enlivened with substances other than pure tobacco, and she solves murders by reading corpses and talking to a ghost. She shares her home with her quirky assistant, the seven-foot-tall Cora, who asks more than once whether Bridie would like this or that person held upside down. The other frequent companion in her life and investigations is Ruby Doyle. Ruby, a renowned boxer in his day, is the ghost. He appears shirtless in shorts sporting a cocked top hat, muscles aplenty, and a considerable number of tattoos, with peculiarities all their own. Devilishly handsome - think Tom Hardy with a handlebar moustache! Ruby knows Bridie well, and she finds him very attractive. Their history is revealed later in the story.
Bridie’s last case was a disaster, she is haunted by her inability to prevent the death of a child. With her reputation in tatters, she is surprised when Sir Edmund Berwick hires her to find his kidnapped 6 year old daughter Christobel. Bridie is determined not to fail. But Christobel is no ordinary child, she has extraordinary abilities, and water behaves oddly whenever she is near. The Thames is resurgent, battered by never ending biblical rains as the city floods.
With gruesome murders, double dealing and avarice Bridie must keep her wits about her if she is to find the child.

This book won't suit everyone, I was the only one out of 12 of us in my book club who liked it. I thought it was a clever combination of humour, kitsch, folklore, imagination and colourful characters, and I liked the fantasy and gothic elements.

∼ Happy Reading ∼
Polly x

14 April 2021

L Plates

My 17 year old grandson had his first driving lesson today. Last year his parents took him for a few lessons on private land and he did quite well. I bought some lessons for his birthday last October but he wasn't able to use them until now. His driving instructor was very pleased with him.

I'm happy for him, and terrified!

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

13 April 2021

A Splendid Appendage

This lovely gentleman was happy to let me take a photo of him sporting this magnificent moustache.
He has maintained it for over 30 years! We met him and his wife in a café in Lyndhurst whilst on a day out in the New Forest area a couple of years ago. It was a coach trip through some lovely countryside and villages stopping only once for lunch so I didn't take any photos except this one below taken from the coach.

I don't know what it is, it's inland, some kind of lookout tower maybe, or a water tower. 
If you know please tell. I thought it was a nice structure.

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

9 April 2021

A Life Well Lived

The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving royal consort in British history, has been at the Queen's side for seven decades.

They met and married before I was born, and, along with the queen he has been part of my life, almost like family.  

He has been the subject of much criticism of his early history. But through no fault of his own two of his sisters were married to Germans and therefore could not deny the German connection. His childhood was almost nomadic, born in Greece, exiled from there and grew up in France, then with family tragedy and his mother's health problems he was moved around from Germany to England to live with his Mountbatten relatives. He attended Gordonstoun where he was a hard worker and excelled at sport. 

He served and loved the Royal Navy and planned to make it his career. The early death of King George VI changed all that. He suddenly found himself thrust into becoming The Queen's consort. He had to re-direct the focus of his life to the  devotion and responsibility to his wife and Queen.

When he joined the Royal firm the footmen were still wearing powdered wigs!! He was considered an outsider, but that helped him to see beyond the life of royals. He was very down to earth, comfortable with, and could communicate with people from all walks of life. He became a reformer, steering the royal family to move with the times. In 1961 he was the first member of the royal family to be interviewed on television. He was instrumental in the documentary about the royal family. He encouraged Her Majesty to write her own Christmas messages, and to use autocue. He encouraged palace garden parties to include and honour members of the public. He launched the royal family into the modern age, encouraging them to be more visible, more in touch.

He wasn't afraid to speak out on issues that are commonplace now, such as climate change and the environment, but were considered controversial 40 years ago.

He was controversial and sometimes rude, but he had strong beliefs and sometimes it's hard to remain silent in the face of stupidity.

He was by the Queen's side for 251 overseas tours and carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements and gave more than 5,400 speeches, as well as taking part in thousands of other engagements with the Queen. Always by her side, always supporting her.

But he found time to follow his favourite pursuits - polo for many years, cricket, and when he retired he took up horse drawn carriage driving, which involves racing carriages at breakneck speeds through courses and over obstacles. He was the main driving force in establishing the official rules for the sport and, after "smashing up" a carriage he was involved in creating an "indestructible" one made for him by the workshops at Sandringham.

He has a huge portfolio of charities. Worldwide more than 6 million people have taken part in the The Duke of Edinburgh's Awards scheme. He attended over 500 gold award ceremonies for the scheme, shaking thousands of hands, on his feet for hours. His work is an outstanding example of a life dedicated to public service. His legacy will live on.

He was loved, admired and respected. A very sad loss for the nation, but especially for Her Majesty.

At The Queen's coronation Prince Philip paid homage to his wife and promised to be her "liege man of life and limb". He fulfilled that promise to his sweetheart to the end, being by her side for 72 years. Her majesty has lost a beloved husband, friend and rock.

R.I.P. Your Royal Highness

6 April 2021

Beauty Amongst the Garbage

Beauty and grace, qualities attributed to swans

This beauty has made her nest amongst all this garbage.

What is wrong with people who just toss their rubbish away
without any thought or concern about where it ends up.

Thankfully she doesn't know how badly some people behave, her only concern is incubating her eggs. I think this is part of the river Cam that runs through the town. Swans breed here every year and previous babies have grown into healthy adults so the rubbish doesn't hinder them. I have a feeling that there might be a working party of volunteers who clear it up now and again.

Daddy swan was just a few feet away

keeping a very watchful eye on some ducks

There was also a family of moorhens

But daddy wasn't bothered about the moorhens

he didn't give up until the ducks flew away,maybe the ducks steal their eggs. 

How cute is this little family

following mum back to the nest. Cuteness overload

Her other babies were underneath her and I'm sure that lone one eventually joined them.

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

3 April 2021


 Happy Easter

Historically we don't get good weather at Easter, it's usually
chilly and overcast, and this year is shaping up to be no different.

 However you celebrate I hope Easter will be a happy/sunny/fun/peaceful time for you

Polly x

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