Tuesday, August 22, 2017

USS Indianapolis

Did you see on the news this week that the USS Indianapolis was recovered? Led by the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen and his company found the ship by using information that was given to them by a Navy historian who discovered records of the last recorded sighting of the Indianapolis.

  I have written about this ship before...here,   here, and also here!  It is an amazing story.

Like many others, I first heard of it when watching the movie "Jaws".  You know when Shaw is relating the story of the sharks attacking the men who are in the water after their ship has been torpedoed? One young boy watching the movie in 1997 asked his father if that story was true.  His Dad told him that it was. Even though he was only 12 years old, he wrote to the surviving members of the Indianapolis and received startling letters from them with gruesome details of what they had witnessed.  Hunter Scott was the lad's name and he interviewed nearly 150 survivors.  The survivors were most insistent that their Captain had been unfairly treated and blamed for the ship's sinking. (Yes, the ship was sunk by a Japanese torpedo but you will just have to read more details about it...it will astound you. Captain Charles B. McVay III was court martialed.) 
The survivors of the Indianapolis never forgot their Captain, and when Hunter Scott contacted them in 1997, they eagerly shared their memories and opinions with him.  All of this resulted in Captain McVay being exonerated by Congressional Resolution in 2000.   Captain McVay had committed suicide in 1968 but his men never forgot him or gave up fighting for his honor.
In 2001, the Secretary of the Navy ordered that Captain McVay's record be purged of any wrongdoing.

I can't stop thinking of the men from the Indianapolis and what the survivors had to endure.  I urge you to read more about them.  The fact that the Indianapolis has now been found should bring more attention to this true story from World War II.

For anyone who might happen upon this post who could be related to one of the survivors, please pass along my most sincere best wishes.  You are all heroes and have my utmost respect.

   Photo of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse near Eastbourne, England.  Nothing to do with the USS Indianapolis, just the best photo I have of open water. The Royal Sovereign is 7 miles out to sea, in the English Channel.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21...My Blog Anniversary - "A World Of Peace"- All Souls

"May the shadow of the moon fall upon a world of peace".

Besides being the day of the eclipse today, it is also the anniversary of my blog!  Six years ago today, I began my blog.  Have I ever told any of you that I am working on a post and then, you have never seen the post that I have told you about? Looking at my stats, I have published 940 posts but I have 67 drafts.  So, I have written 1007 posts...that somehow seems like a lucky number to me.  I will have to work on those 67 and get them finished...

I have told you before that my most visited post is about the Monastery which is only a few miles from my home.  It now has almost 75,000 views.  It is a place of great peacefulness and serenity and that will be the place that my husband and I have chosen to visit today and view the eclipse. You may see the post that I wrote years ago just here.  There is much hoopla about the eclipse on television.  In 1979, the last time that there was a total eclipse in the USA, the TV announcer told the country that the next one would be in 38 years and he ended the broadcast with those words that I gave you at the beginning of this post... "May the shadow of the moon fall upon a world of peace".   If only it could be so.

I would like to thank all of you who read and comment on this blog. I appreciate you all more than you could ever know.  A special thanks goes out to Meike in Germany, who will always have a special place in my heart for convincing me to start my blog! Here are a few of my followers: The Liverpool lads and their special friend on the Isle of Lewis, Nan from Maine, Mimi-my cat-loving friend in Louisiana, Sue-Mrs. M.-Crochets AND bikes, not at the same time!, Debra and Martha from Canada, Lee and Red Cardinal from Australia, Louise from Colorado, Diana from Green Bay, Emma, MA-always looking on the Bright Side!, Susie, YaYa, and Kristi from Ohio, Mike (A Bit About Britain) and Mark from England, Jenny Woolf and Blue Sky Scotland and now, I have a new follower from...wait for it...Eastbourne! Thanks, Hilary! How nice it is to see photos of such a beloved spot! Not forgetting Mac & Janet, Lynn and also Silke, who are right here in Georgia! Dennis Evans...a preacher who publishes his sermons is also a follower of mine.  Hard to believe that these gifted people take the time to read my words.  How wonderful it is to come to know these friends from my blog.  Wish I could meet every one of you!  (I only jotted down a few of my friends here...but I honestly appreciate every single person who has ever read my blog and took the time to comment. THANK YOU.)  I am also thinking of those who no longer blog...I miss them.

Now, a thank you to my blog:  If not for you, I would never have known what a wonderful photographer I have in my husband.  There are some photos that I have taken for my blog...but for the most part, they are Richard's, so it has been a source of pleasure for him (and for me!) to share his talent with the camera here with you.
Someone contacted us from England when they saw the photos that he had taken of their church and they asked if they could use them on their website! You know he said yes! It is a wonderful church and one that we like to visit when we are in Eastbourne....it is All Souls Church and you may find their website just here. "Loving the Lord Jesus and Making Him Known."  (Click on "Our Building" to see the photos.)

Hoping that the clouds will stay away for all those who wish to view the eclipse!

                   "Light and life and peace."

Friday, August 18, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse (or ALMOST Total) and Little Shop of Horrors

Total Solar Eclipse

USA map with eclipse path

On Monday, we will have a total eclipse of the sun in the very far northeast corner of Georgia.  It will be at about 97% here in the metro Atlanta area.  This is being called the Great American Eclipse since the eclipse cuts right across the country like a banner across Miss America!  Everyone must have the special glasses to look at the eclipse and they MUST have this code on them: ISO 12312-2.

You may read a lot online about the eclipse...and I have a link at the beginning of this post for you, but I since I am always about the music, I am thinking of "Little Shop of Horrors" and Seymour buying the strange little plant that appeared after "the total eclipse of the sun".  If you have never seen this film, you should search it out.  If you are lucky, you might find a high school that will have this as one of their musicals.  It is always a hit!  The songs are by Howard Ashman (lyrics) and Alan Menken (music).  They also wrote the songs for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast.  Songwriters ECLIPSE all others for me! (Yes, I said that.)  Sadly, Howard Ashman died just after Beauty and The Beast was completed. When you watch the film, you will see that there is a dedication to him at the beginning..."To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman 1950–1991".

Little Shop of Horrors is described as a "horror comedy rock musical".  It is a bit hard to put something like this into a box, isn't it?   I very much appreciate something that is well written, don't you?
Also, in the film the voice of the plant "Audrey" is none other than Levi Stubbs.  What? You don't know Levi Stubbs? Well, you should! He was the lead singer for the Four Tops. What a voice!

Here is photo of the rising sun through a heavy cloud cover. (Richard took this one morning recently.) We are hoping for clear skies so that we will see the eclipse. The weather forecasters seem to think that it won't rain.  We will see!

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article164563302.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, August 14, 2017

See Rock City

"See Rock City"

 Does that phrase above look familiar to you? It would if you grew up in the South as I did!  Rock City is in Georgia and has been a tourist destination since 1932 and was developed by Garnet Carter and his wife, Frieda.  Giant rock formations are on the very top of Lookout Mountain and the park was built to showcase the natural beauty. (It is only 6 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee and as the park is on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain, I can claim it for Georgia!)   Since advertising was a bit difficult in those days, Mr. Carter asked a young sign painter by the name of Clark Byers to travel the highways and offer to paint a farmer's barn and in exchange the farmer would agree to having the barn's roof painted with these three words: SEE ROCK CITY.  
Now, I only knew that I had seen them growing up in Georgia but reading about it, I have learned that they were painted as far north as Michigan and as far west as Texas! He painted over 900 roofs in 19 states from 1935 to 1969.
The signs were a great success and people flocked to Rock City!

Where did Mr. Carter get the money to develop this park? You would never guess! In 1927, he was the first to patent a game that he called "Tom Thumb Golf", he is considered to be one of the fathers of miniature golf! He sold the rights to the patent and used this to fund the Rock City Gardens.

Originally, there was to be a residential neighborhood on the top of Lookout Mountain and because his wife Frieda was from Germany, she wished for it to be called "Fairyland".  Luckily, the development for houses fell through but the idea of Fairyland was not! Frieda decided to develop it into a rock garden.  She took a string and carefully laid out a trail around the giant rock formations, ending at the giant outcropping known as Lover's Leap.
She planted wildflowers and other plants along the trail. Frieda imported statues of gnomes and fairytale characters from Germany and positioned them inside a tunnel in one of the giant rocks. How much I loved this! Fairyland Caverns, I think it was called and along with Mother Goose Village,  it is one of my favorite memories of my childhood, seeing these fairy tale figures! It seems that I remember Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs and that the dwarfs were on a little bridge. (Just looked it up, and I remember it correctly!)  "Rainbow Hall" was another area I liked, looking through colored gels apparently, I didn't know what it was as a kid, for me it was magic!

Now, the trail itself...my love of walking among rock and flowers must have started at a very young age at Rock City. (There are 400 native plant species on the trail...thank you Frieda Carter!) I well remember the Fat Man's Squeeze (like the name implies, a stretch where the rocky mountain sides are close together and you have to squeeze through!)  Also, that there were two bridges across a very deep gorge...one was a beautiful sturdy stone bridge and the other one was a ...wait for it, a swinging bridge, that was very scary to me! The views from the top were amazing...and you could see why it was called Lookout Mountain!

I wish I could proclaim from the rooftops...see nature and enjoy it wherever you are!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

An Algorithm For Natural Beauty?

For anyone who reads my blog, you should know that I like to read the BBC online. Recently, I was surprised to read a story about beauty... you may read it yourself just here.  Now, for those of you who can't be bothered to click on that link, I will tell you anyway! (Also, I have a thing to say about the electronic music used on it...it is dreadful!) Researchers at the University of Warwick have developed an algorithm to rate images from one to 10 for natural beauty. This will supposedly be helpful in the preservation of places of beauty.   Okay, that is fair enough...but all of that work and bother when honestly, there is a much SIMPLER way to know...they should have called me!  You know I would tell them, right?

Years ago, I read that the most successful blogs have a "theme" and for those that are lacking a central focus, they are doomed to failure.   Oh dear, I thought, my little blog will be a dud.   I asked my son what would he say my blog was all about.  His reply was prompt: "That's easy, Mom.  You search for beauty."  

Who needs an algorithm for determining scenic beauty?
Not me!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Glen Campbell "Skippin Over The Ocean Like A Stone"

So sad to hear that Glen Campbell died today. I have written some posts about him before.  Even though he is no longer with us, we still have his music and that is forever!  His last album was released earlier this year, "Adios".  I am glad that he liked the Harry Nilsson song "Everybody's Talkin' At Me" too.

Everybody's talkin' at me
I don't hear a word their sayin'
Only the echos of my mind
People stop and stare
I can't see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes
I'm goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
Through the pourin' rain
Goin' where the weather suits my clothes
Bankin' off of the northeast winds
Sailin' on summer breeze
And skippin' over the ocean like a stone
I'm goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
Through the pourin' rain
Goin' where the weather suits my clothes
Bankin' off of the northeast winds
Sailin' on summer breeze
And skippin' over the ocean like a stone
Everybody's talkin' at me
Can't hear a word their sayin'
Only the echos of my mind
I won't let you leave my love behind
No I won't let you leave
I won't let you leave my love behind

 "Everybody's Talkin" by Harry Nilsson was a big hit in 1969.  It was in the Dustin Hoffman/Jon Voight movie, "Midnight Cowboy".  I always loved the song even though I was too young to see the film. 

"Skipping over the ocean like a stone"... I couldn't understand  that last word but came to know that must be the lyric when I was in England and was taught how to throw stones across the water.
The photos above are from the beach in England in 1985. Can you recognize us?  That would be Richard and myself with his parents, who have always looked like models! 

Let me know if you remember the posts that I did about Glen Campbell.  Take the time to find the videos of him playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. What an incredibly gifted man. There is an obituary from a newspaper from England, "The Guardian" that is well worth reading.  You may find it just here.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Fractured Fairy Tales/Talky Tina/ Cindy Lou Who-June Foray

Last week, June Foray died at the age of 99.  She was known as the "Cartoon Queen" as she voiced so many characters over several decades.  I knew that she had been the voice of "Rocky" from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" and also the voice of "Granny" from Sylvester and Tweety.  I now know that she was also the voice behind the wonderful Cindy Lou Who on "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"!  Not only did June Foray use her voice on cartoons but she was ...wait for it...the voice of the doll "Chatty Cathy"!  (This was hugely popular when I was a young girl. I didn't have one and I can't remember wanting one...but you can guess that I was glad my name wasn't Cathy growing up, I was CALLED Chatty Cathy sometimes. Hmm...I wonder why?  HA!)
Anyway, when Rod Serling wanted to write a story on his "Twilight Zone" show with a talking doll ...who do you think he called? Why, that would be June Foray, of course! (Remember the episode of the scary doll with Telly Savalas?  I sure do, it scared me so!)

June Foray was the voice of "Rocky", as I told you above. It made me think...one of my very favorite things on that show was "Fractured Fairy Tales" and I wondered if she might have done some of the voices on those marvelous clever stories, where they took a well known fairy tale but put a twist upon them. Sure enough, she was!  They were wonderful and very funny.  You are able to watch them on YouTube, that is fantastic! Look some up and see what I mean!
Hey! I found the episode of "The Twilight Zone" with "Talky Tina" (I didn't remember the doll's name.)  Watch it if you dare!
June Foray was a very talented woman.    What a lot of work she did in her long life.  You may read her wonderful obituary just here.
                          This photo looks like something from a fairy tale, but not a fractured one!  Richard can get some of the best shots on our walks! I love the light just around the corner...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Spicebush Swallowtail On A Button Bush (And On Our Impatiens)- My Butterfly

Let's look at butterflies, shall we?  Take some time and take a good look.   The pattern is just stunning and so detailed that it is a marvel to behold.  On the Spicebush Swallowtail above, notice the white dots on the wings and then, the pattern changes into light blue half moon kind of shapes.  The blue on this butterfly? That should mean that it is female whereas the male has a more greenish blue color there.  Notice that the head and rest of the body is black and completely covered in those white dots.   You can see that in the first photo that I have shown you here.  THIS description is just on the top side of this butterfly...

On the underside of this butterfly on the hindwing you can see the most beautiful orange pattern!   This photo was taken through our glass window but the others were taken beside a lake on the wonderful native bush, the  buttonbush!

Did you know in the USA many of the states have an official butterfly?  In Georgia, it is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. ( I took the photo of the one above when I was at home during my lunchtime.  It is a female also...once again because of the blue. )  Want to see the list of all the state butterflies? Sure you do!  You may see the list AND their photos right here!)

Have you ever noticed what people type into a search engine to get to your blog?  Once someone typed this for mine:  "Does it get hot in Georgia?"  The answer to that is: YES, it gets very hot, especially chasing after butterflies!
I have more butterflies to show you but that will have to wait until next time!  Let's have a bit of music now, what do you say? 

These are two videos of the same song but the first one has better photos of butterflies but the second one has the lyrics listed in French and in English, so you know me...I gave you both of them!
Look at the butterflies and enjoy their beauty!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Miranda Hart- Such Fun!

Let's be honest, you like to laugh, don't you? You like the people who make you laugh, right?  Then, you should like Miranda!
"Miranda" is a fantastic comedy from England starring Miranda Hart. She is not only the star but also the creator and writer!
(You might remember Miranda Hart from some episodes of "Call The Midwife". The very tall one, I think her character's name was "Chummy".) 

 This show is so funny!  Very often, I will chuckle over it and giggle,  but sometimes it makes me howl with laughter! The writing is very clever and Miranda with the other actors make up such a great ensemble. It is a pleasure to watch and listen to witty dialogue.  And Miranda...well, what can I say...for someone to go on a job interview and then to begin SINGING...why no, I have never done that myself, but if you know me, you know I have wanted to!

Another thing about the music...sometimes at the end of the show, they will have a song that all the actors will somehow join in...either singing or dancing, and it just makes the perfect ending.

"Miranda" ran from 2009 until 2015..so we haven't seen all the episodes here in the USA!  Why, I just read that Miranda MARRIED her gorgeous Gary (played by Tom Ellis) at the end of the last season! What! We missed that one!
Also, I have been reading that maybe, just maybe, the series will be renewed and new episodes will be made.    Such fun!

Wait...here is a word that I must say..."plinth".  It just sounds good doesn't it?   (This is the sort of thing that Miranda will say, and it might not seem that funny but it is the WAY that she says it, it makes it very giggle worthy.)

I don't wish to put anyone on a pedestal or plinth. (Yes, I had to say it.) I just wanted to let you know that this is one British comedy that is most certainly my cup of tea.  

Let me know if you like Miranda Hart as much as I do! Not only witty and intelligent, she is also very involved with charities and that is the kind of person that I most admire- a nice one. You may read more about her just here.  It sounds as if she comes from a wealthy background but hey, I won't hold that against her! Laughing out loud! (When is the last time anyone typed that out, I wonder?)

"Thank you and kind regards".

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Great British Baking Show/Goldfinch

Looks like I am not the only one who finds comfort from my British shows, I have a link to a writer urging Americans to watch "The Great British Baking Show"...you may read it just here.

"The Great British Baking Show" is being shown on our public television stations just now in the USA, so check your local listings!  It is AMAZING! If you miss it, you will be sorry even if you don't normally watch cooking or baking shows, you should like this one.  (Soggy bottoms, makes me giggle every time.)
Oh, and by the way...it is called "The Great British Bake Off in the UK...I guess the networks just had to change the name for us just to be different!

Keep in mind, the show that we are watching just now in America will be completely changed next year...the witty hosts and the marvelous judge, Mary Berry will no longer be with the show.  It won't be on the BBC but instead on their rival network, ITV.   I mourn this fact!  I very much have enjoyed watching "The Great British Baking Show".  Not only are the bakers very good but they are just so doggone nice to each other, it is a pleasure to watch.  So much better than watching...well, just about anything else on American TV right now! Hey, don't fuss at me, I am not the only one to say this...read that link that I gave you above and you will see!

                                      American goldfinch on sunflower seedhead ( This photo is from last year!)
During the filming of this show from England, right after the break and before they get back to the bakers, they will often show what is outside the baking tent: cheerful yellow buttercups, green grass and if you are lucky, you might see a bird that lands close by on a tree. Today, we saw an American gold finch on my Dad's sunflowers.  When we got home and watched "The Great British Baking Show" that we had recorded, we saw a bird on there that Richard THOUGHT was the European goldfinch and looking it up, he was right!  It somehow looked familiar to me, and I couldn't think why that was...it seemed I had seen it in a painting somewhere.  I realize now that I know it was because it featured on the book by Donna Tart, "The Goldfinch".  (Has to do with a painting at the Met in NYC, apparently.)    

You all know that I hardly read any fiction, so it is surprising to me that I recognized the bird from the book cover!

The fact that I have mentioned the name "Donna TARTT" just goes right along with this post about a baking show, don't you think? And if you know how "punny" the hosts of the show can be, you will see what I mean!

  "The Goldfinch" by Carel Fabritius , 1654 (The painting at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.)       From Wikipedia.

Remember, try and see this season of "The Great British Baking Show" if you can.
It must have already been shown in England, so you all might know who won...but don't tell me! (I have seen some of the shows while I was in England, visiting there...and you must know that is one of the most popular shows on the TELLY! My relatives in England say "telly"!)

Right now, it is has gotten down to the last four bakers!
Also, if you watch the show, look at everything that they show you, even the nature bits in between!  We love our gold finches, in America and in England!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Psalm 23 with "Crimond" Tune Written By Jessie Seymour Irvine

Recently, I saw a film on TV and there was a scene where a couple was on a park bench in London listening to a brass band playing a song.  It was lovely, so pleasant to the ear.  The song sounded familiar and I realized that I knew the tune but not the song so I looked it up.
It was Psalm 23 set to music.   I have heard this done before, most memorably to me was from the TV show, "Vicar of Dibley" but this was not the same tune. (Many tunes have been written for this Psalm... you may see the full list just here.)  With just a bit of research, I can tell you that what I heard from the brass band was written by Jessie Seymour Irvine around 1870, and the tune is called "Crimond" for the Scottish village where she lived! In my research, I think I remember that this is one of the few hymns where the music is written by a woman.  The words are paraphrased from the 23rd Psalm from the Bible, written by David, of course!
(Of course, you also know I had to look up more about that village in Scotland...if you look at the same thing I did, you will rewarded by seeing an amazing clock!  Here, look at this...Crimond.
The hour is coming.)

The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E'en for his own name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For thou art with me; and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnish├Ęd
In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God's house forever more
My dwelling place shall be.

My friends, I have noticed that several of my blogging friends are thinking of giving up writing on their blogs.  I feel a sorrow over this that I find hard to express.  If you are reading this and think you have decided to stop, then...think again! Even if you don't post very often, please...keep it up if you can!  Okay?  I am thanking you in advance of your decision! 

Now, these dog days of summer are getting me a bit down, so hearing the song that I gave you above is very comforting to me.
And by the way, I really prefer it from a brass band but that is my "English heart" coming through, I guess. The Brits really do like a brass band!

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Very often, I don't like films that the critics rave about but this time I am in agreement: the newly released movie "Dunkirk" is excellent!  The film is based on an original screenplay by the man who also directed it- Christopher Nolan.  In 1998, during the filming of his first movie "Following", he and his then girlfriend (now his wife, Emma Thomas) went across the English channel by boat to retrace the journey of the "little ships" of Dunkirk.  This is the first movie that Christopher Nolan has done based on a true historical account, the characters are fiction but the story is very real...

I should hope that everyone knows about the miracle of Dunkirk!
If not, I will direct you to read about it just here. 

Two things I want to tell you that won't "spoil" it for you but should actually help you to understand it a bit better...
  First,  You should know about a "mole".  A mole is built out onto the harbor for protection. It is large, usually built of stone,  similar to a pier but water cannot flow freely beneath it.  It was from the moles that many of the men were taken off. (The docks could not be used, they had been too badly damaged.)

Secondly, after the British had been evacuated, Churchill insisted on going back for the French troops.  Over 26,000 French soldiers were rescued on June 4, 1940.  (Sadly, between 30,000 to 40,000 were left behind and taken prisoner by the Germans.)

From May 27-June 4, 1940, the total men that were evacuated were 338,226. 

I know I haven't said too much about the movie, but that is because I want you to see it for yourself.  Remember that we know what came afterward now, but at the time, it must have been seemed very dark for the British Isles.  This film makes you feel as if you are living in that time and can experience the despair but then, the hope as the miracle of Dunkirk is revealed.  The boost of morale that this generated cannot be underestimated.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Great White Egret/Great Blue Heron

The Great Egret is a large heron that is white with black legs.  That is a fact for you but it does not describe the beauty of this elegant creature! Richard and I saw this at Alexander Lake at Panola Mountain State Park, at the lower lake, which after being drained is more of a wetlands area.  "A tall, stately white wader of quiet waters" is how the Audubon Society describes this bird.
The Great Egret was nearly wiped out at the end of the 19th century in North America and you would never believe the reason...it was for their plumes to decorate women's hats. 

Have you ever noticed the symbol for the National Audubon Society? It was chosen in 1953 and it is the Great Egret in flight.
Look!  Here I am wearing a National Audubon Society cap! The Great Egret is just behind me here but just to the right, not in the photo.  If your eyes are very good, you might spy another bird that we also admired. Can you see it? It is just above my capped head, just a bit to the left. (There are no natural lakes in Georgia, you can see all the tree stumps that were at the bottom of the lake!)

There, now you can see it!  It is the Great Blue Heron. We have often seen this bird at Alexander Lake but this was the first time we had seen the Great White Egret. (I do wonder if they are common in the Atlanta area!) 
Of course, I asked Richard to try and get both birds into the same shot.  You know he did!

I found a video from the Audubon Society for you!
We love our birds.  You really don't have to have any special equipment to enjoy them...just look out for them!

Our weather has been difficult for our nature walks lately...it is either boiling hot or threatening with thunderstorms.  I am ready for the autumn myself!  Hope you are all doing well.  Let me know if you like to observe birds as much as we do!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dr. Who/ Some CHICK!

It was just announced today that the 13th Dr. Who will be...a woman!  WHAT was that?  Yes, the new regeneration this time will be Jodie Whittaker, you might know her from the TV show, Broadchurch, which by the way also stars David Tennant, a former Dr. Who!  (Um, I think the correct term is "regeneration", you have to forgive me, I honestly can't remember these kind of things.)
Here is my question for you, are you a Dr. Who fan?  I must admit my favorite was Christopher Eccleston but I also quite enjoyed David Tennant.  Here is a bit of trivia for you: David Tennant is married to Georgia Moffett and she is the daughter of the fifth Dr. Who, Peter Davison!  Now, I know this is not the news of the week but it is one of those little facts that will forever and always lodge in my brain not doing me any good so of course I feel obligated to share it!

So...what do I think of  woman as Dr. Who?  Keep an open mind, I say.  I might not like her just as I didn't like the last Dr. Who.  Couldn't quite my finger on why I didn't like him in that role, I just didn't. Here's the thing though, if you say you don't care for her in this role, you will be accused of sexism!

The Dr. Who news was released today just after the Men's Single Final at Wimbledon where Roger Federer won his historic 8th win! First man ever to do so! Did you see him after the match? So gracious, he spent the first few minutes praising his opponent.  They told us during the match that during this past week that Roger Federer had prepared a meal for 40 people, did all the shopping and cooking himself!  What a great guy! (Think that they said it was this past Friday...could be wrong about that, I don't get hung up on details too much, I look at the big picture, but when you write a blog, you have to pay attention, folks will call you out on it!)

Let's see...tennis and sexism.  There must be something on YouTube that would somehow apply...you know I found it for you!

                                    Some chick!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Orpington Chicken

Do you know why Mozart didn't keep any chickens?
 (Answer at the end of this post.)

Hello, my friends! Nobody here but us chickens!  When you know someone who has chickens you feel obligated to take photos of them. I do anyway! See the pretty yellowish one above?  I asked if they knew what kind of chicken it was.  They didn't, so I looked it up!  From what I have read, I believe this to be an Orpington Buff (buff for the yellowish color) and would you believe it, the breed is from Orpington, Kent which is in south-east England!  What is more, that area is not very far from where Richard was born and raised!   There, you see...even a dang chicken can make me have a link to England!  Honestly, I don't look for these kind of connections, they just happen naturally.

It is entirely possible that the chicken might be another breed.  If I type this in a smaller font, perhaps no one will notice and believe me to be an expert on poultry.

Now...in answer to my question at the beginning of this post.
Why didn't Mozart have chickens?
Because they kept saying, "Bach, Bach, Bach"! 

Foghorn Leghorn...I always thought he was funny! Voiced by the marvelous Mel Blanc, he was also the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam...the list goes on and on!  Hope you enjoy the little cartoon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Make A Chain, Guys"- Amazing Rescue

Amazing Rescue

"Make a chain, guys!"  

Does anyone remember this line from the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life"?  George Bailey, as a child, saved his brother Harry when Harry had fallen into an icy pond.  He and his friends formed a chain by holding hands together they could reach Harry.  They saved him!
On the news today, I thought of this when we were shown an amazing sight from this weekend in Panama City, Florida.  EIGHTY people formed a chain to rescue a family who were caught in a dangerous riptide. (Two boys,  aged 8 and 11 were first caught in the riptide and the rest of the family tried to rescue them but became trapped themselves.)  The authorities wanted to wait for a boat but one woman saw the danger of this and shouted for a human chain.  And some of those who came forward to be a part of the chain could not even swim!
All were saved!  Let me repeat this...all were saved!

  Best Story of the day.
There, if you click on that link that I gave you, you can read more about it.
"Make a chain, guys!"   We all need to help each other.
                               Beach at Eastbourne, England. (If I had a photo of a beach from Florida, I would show that to you!)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Peace and Love!

             Peace and love. Peace and love. Peace and love.   All around the entire world!

           (Supposed to post this at noon at my local time. Let's pretend I am further west and on a different time zone!)

Ringo Starr (real name, Richard Starkey) is 77 today!  Happy Birthday to him! (You know I love him, right?)   Ah, those Liverpool lads will always be in my heart!

Our son loves the Beatles too!  Look at this photo of him from a few years ago...is it just me or does his beard remind you of Ringo?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Brownies are All American!

Let's talk about ... brownies!

When I worked yesterday, we decided the week before that we would all bring food for the 4th of July.  I was asked to bring some baked beans.  Now, knowing that sometimes others don't come through on bringing dishes, I also took along a tray of brownies.
They were...drum roll, please... a big hit! YAY!
The men that I work with are not the kind that are given to superlatives.  You know the kind?  So, when one of them came to me and said, "Your brownies are AWESOME", I was thrilled to  bits!  (Oh sorry that is something that my English mother-in-law says, you get the idea.)  Another one of my co-workers told me that when somebody else ate one, his eyes rolled heavenwards (but in a good way) and exclaimed, "Oh, that is SO good". 

Okay, what is my secret for making good brownies?  Now, pay attention, and I will tell you.  Cook brownies slightly less than the time called for in the recipe. (Mine were just two minutes less than the specified time.)  Do NOT overbake them. Once baked, cut them into pieces that will fit into cupcake papers.  (In England, they say "fairy cakes"!) Place the brownies onto the prettiest tray that you have. 
That's it!   

Oh, and did I use some fancy recipe? Not on your life, I just bought a brownie mix and followed the directions. (Just baked them slightly less, that is all!)
Brownies were first developed in the USA at the last half of the 19th century.  All American, baby but hey, we don't mind sharing!
You may read all about them here.  Go on, you know you want to!

Wait...what is this?  I don't have a photo of my brownies but I made Richard a teacake recently...I will have to tell you all about that in another post!  Hmm...just noticing, that cake is on an English plate, and that is an English teapot and English tea in the background!  And this post was supposed to be all about my American brownies! Never mind, I like them both...brownies and teacakes!

I always think of Jimmy Cagney from "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on the 4th of July...doesn't everyone?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

"Liberty Enlightening The World"/ The Statue of Liberty

Happy 4th of July!  Happy Independence Day to America!
On PBS this week, they repeated a documentary about the Statue of Liberty.  When I say "repeated", I really mean it, it is from 1985! It is a good one though, it is by Ric Burns (not Ken Burns that you might be more familiar with but his older brother Eric who has always been called "Ric".)  It is a fascinating story.  

We all know that the statue is a gift from France but where to put this gift?  It's hard to believe that this great statue was made before it was certain that there was a place where it could be erected! (Bartholdi knew exactly where he wanted it placed, in New York Harbor, looking out to sea!)  Joseph Pulitzer is a  name that should be associated with the statue as much as the French designer himself, Auguste Bartholdi. (Not forgetting Gustave Eiffel who designed the internal frame of the statue...yes, the same one behind the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris!)  Mr. Pulitzer was the main force behind the drive to raise money for the pedestal for the statue, asking Americans to donate money...not money from millionaires but from the working class Americans. He asked, "Give something, no matter how little".  The money was donated, much of it in increments of $1.00 or less.
Click on those links that I gave you...such extraordinary lives!

For me, one of the best things about it...the show began and ended with the song "American Tune".
The music itself is based on the melody of a hymn by Bach, "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded".
The words are by Paul Simon.

Most Americans will have this day off  but I am one of those who will be working.  Hope everyone who has the day off will have fun for me!  ("I've just got to get some rest"...that last line of the song is something I will be singing today!)

American Tune

Many is the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Many is the time I’ve been forsaken
And certainly abused
But it’s all right it’s all right
You can't be for ever blessed
And when I think of another working day
I’ve just got to get some rest
I’ve got to get some rest
I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
Don’t have a friend who feels at ease
Don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
Oh but it’s all right it’s all right
We’ve lived so well so long
And when I think of the road
We’ve travelled on
So far away from home
So far away from home
And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down on me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high above all my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying
We come on the ship they called the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the ages’ most uncertain hour
And we sing an American tune
Oh but it’s all right it’s all right
You can't be for ever blessed
And when I think of another working day
I’ve just got to get some rest
I’ve got to get some rest

Sunday, July 2, 2017

It May Be Raining But There's A Rainbow Above You

"Desperado" is a song from the early 1970's by the Eagles.  The songwriters are Glenn Frey and Don Henley. It was recorded in London with the London  Philharmonic Orchestra with Don Henley singing lead vocals.  Never released as a single, it is nevertheless one of their most well known songs.

Recently, it was reported that Vince Gill will perform with The Eagles on tour along with Deacon Frey, Glenn's son.  The two will share lead vocals on the songs that Glenn Frey sang with the Eagles.  Sadly, Glenn Frey died in January of 2016.

The video that I have for is from the 02 Arena in London from 2014.   I saw the Eagles when they came to Atlanta during the 1970's and they were wonderful...a very nice memory to think of those gorgeous voices!

You better let somebody love you...

I love how the crowd sang along at the end!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Flowers- Male and Female

 Cucumber flower, is it a male or a female?   This one was a male, it did not become a cucumber!

Steve Bender aka the Grumpy Gardener from Southern Living Magazine has a very informative (and funny!) article about growing zucchini.  You may read it here. 

Did you know that the plants of cucumbers and zucchini have male and female flowers?  It is the female flower (of course) that bears the fruit.  On a zucchini plant, the large showy yellow flowers toward the end of the stalk are the male flowers, the female flowers are towards the base of the stalk and are smaller...that is where the zucchini squash will be!  There are always more male flowers on the plant than are needed. Have you ever heard of people eating fried squash blossoms? That would be the male ones! Hey, better to eat them than to just let them wither on the vine, right?  (Sorry, but I usually do not like the idea of eating flowers, I just don't but in this case, it makes sense to me.)

I found another thing for you...Hand pollinating.  There, that link will explain how to help things along, it involves a small artist's paint brush!  We have not had the problems that we have read about here, maybe we have so many plants and flowers that the bees in this area just can't wait to see what we have for them.  Come on, bees, you are always welcome here!

(Of course, it might also have to do with the amount of rain in your area...we have had more rain than normal, so it took a while for the bees to even find our garden!)

     Are you growing any fruit and vegetables this year?  Aren't they the best when they are fresh from the garden? 
 Our flowers are pretty in the bright sunshine of June...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Aled Jones Sings With His Younger Self- One Voice (With Help From An Airing Cupboard!)

The things I learn from writing my blog! After my last post, I thought I hadn't looked up any info on Aled Jones lately and you will never guess what I discovered!

First of all, I hope you know Aled Jones! No? Well, do you remember the picture book "The Snowman" by Raymond Briggs?
It was made into a short film during Christmas of 1982, and it had a beautiful song, "Walking In The Air".  It was sung by a choir boy from St. Paul's Cathedral, Peter Auty.  A few years later, a young Welsh boy had a huge hit doing a cover version of the song and that was Aled Jones!  As an adult, Aled Jones became a host on one of my very favorite British TV shows, "Songs of Praise". (A BBC show where a church is visited each week and the church choir and congregation sings hymns...why can't we in America copy this show? I love it!  You can look up some of the episodes on YouTube if you don't know what it is like.) 

Since last year, his latest show is "Going Back, Giving Back" and it looks like my kind of show...

Now...I will tell you the story behind the title of my post! Better yet, listen to the story behind it by the man himself!

“We were sitting around the kitchen table one day, when my mum suddenly announced that there was an album of folk songs of mine that had never been released,”
“I didn't even remember recording the album, but when I listened to it at my parents’ house, I felt like a proud uncle or father. From that came the idea to release the album of duets, featuring my voice as a boy and now as an adult.”

I love that!  What is even better is that I read that his Mum had kept the album in her "airing cupboard", which tickled me no end because I know what an airing cupboard is! It is...well, here is a definition I found for you:

a heated cupboard where clothes, sheets, etc, that have been washed and are almost dry are put so that they can become completely dry.

That is certainly what my mother-in-law uses it for! Now, it seems to me that the hot water heater is in this small cupboard, and the Brits, being the practical lot that they are, used this cupboard to help finish drying their clothes.  From the explanation above, you might think they have the cupboards specially built just to dry clothes! HA!
(Can't help but notice too that some wealthy folks have HEATED towel racks but the Brits have them too, that would  be the hot water pipes which is part of their hot water central heating in their bathrooms! Practically perfect, like Mary Poppins!)

Goodness me, here I am telling you all about heated cupboards and pipes and Aled Jones is patiently waiting to sing for you!                  

Just one more thought about airing cupboards...we visited the Anne of Cleves house in Lewes, England. (Anne of Cleves got this as part of the divorce settlement from Henry VIII, she never lived there but it is called her house nonetheless!) Since it is from the 15th century, I was surprised to see that even this house had an airing cupboard!  (It was just behind the fireplace, I have a photo below of it for you.)

Let me know what you think of Aled Jones singing as an adult, combined with his younger self! I think it is great!