Sunday, December 1, 2019

Four Things I've Learned


Hello, my friends! You know those bloggers who say they have very little to say? Not me, my purse is stuffed with slips of paper of things I want to share with you.  I will tell you seven  four things in this post...

1.   Col. Sanders-  Kentucky Fried Chicken 

Turns out, that being a colonel in Kentucky is a real thing, I had no idea!  "Kentucky Colonel is the highest honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to those in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation."
Col. Harland Sanders (1890-1980) was a fascinating man. You may read more about him just here.  I wish someone would make a movie about him.  The British director, Michael Apted could do it, he made a great film about someone else from Kentucky.  "Coal Miner's Daughter" about Loretta Lynn was really, really good. 

2.  Andrew Carnegie.

      Everyone should know the name of the great philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.  There is a famous music hall in New York City which bears his name because he funded the building. (It was first simply called Music Hall, Andrew Carnegie was later persuaded to allow the use of his name.) is what I have learned - his name is pronounced "Car- NAY-gee" not "Car-nuh-gee"!  I knew that he had been born in Scotland and that his family had moved to the USA when he was a child but it never occurred to me how to say his name! I actually heard this pronunciation of the name on an old British film and so I then looked it up and had a nice time also reading more about this fascinating gentleman, not just how to say his name.  One of my blogging friends in Scotland has written of him before. Thank you Alex  Bob! at   blue sky scotland.  If you want to see some great photos of Scotland, check out their blog. BOB does the writing and I do enjoy the posts very much. ) I urge you also to find out more about Andrew Carnegie. No matter how you say his name, we need more like him today. 

 (Famous joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice!) Sorry, had to have it here just in case no one has heard it!) 

3.Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Rolls are part of my childhood. (Been around since 1907! Not me but the candy!) They are not chocolate but a very chewy sweet that somehow reminds you of chocolate. I read a fascinating book about the Korean war, "On Desperate Ground" by Hampton Sides. (I will try to do a proper book report on the book for you in the future, someone might need to remind me!)
One thing that I learned from this book..."tootsie rolls" was used as a code name for a type of bullet in the Korean War. When this was ordered, instead of getting bullets, the USA sent the candy instead!
Now, what do you think? I think it is an amazing story, The soldiers loved the Tootsie Rolls, not just to eat them, which they did, of course, but they used them to block up bullet holes in their planes and equipment. Turns out, they were the perfect size to do so. Don't know about you but I love it when a mistake is made, it can turn out to be a good thing.  When the Korean war veterans have their reunions now, they always have Tootsie Rolls on hand.

4.  Lindisfarne Gospels

     When Richard and I were in London in October, we were able to visit the British Library and to actually see the illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels.  Made by monks around 715 on the island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland.  Viking raids drove the monks from this island in 875, they took it to Durham for safekeeping. The manuscript was removed from Durham before the cathedral was built. Now it is safely stored at the British Library in London.  
I was thrilled to recognize something was a Sound and Light Festival at Durham Cathedral, and it showed the words of the Lindisfarne Gospels displayed in light upon the Cathedral! This was from several years ago, I think, but it was shown on the internet, and that was what I was thrilled to recognize. 

I had to go back and change that seven things to four things, because after all, it seemed wrong to have another item after the Lindesfarne Gospels. It was such a thing to actually  see them and then, to recognize them from the Light Festival photos and videos, well, that just meant a lot to me.

Pansies, colorful Post Oak leaves and Hermit thrush...hope those last two are correct. (All 3 photos were taken on Nov. 29th from my own backyard.) Oaks can be hard to identify, almost as hard as birds. No matter what the trees or birds are named, I love them all!
And those pansies? The deer like them too...

They leave the foliage on the pansies, they just eat the flowers! Oh, deer!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Eastbourne Hotel Fire

Recently, I wrote a post about the Langham Hotel in Eastbourne, England.  I told you that all of the hotels in Eastbourne were built across the street from the beach so that they all have lovely sea views. What I didn't tell you is that they were built in the Victorian era and are absolutely stunning.  Grand Parade it is called and grand it certainly is!  One of them caught fire yesterday and I am so terribly sad about the loss of it. Built between 1851 and 1855,  it is the Claremont Hotel but it was originally the Burlington Hotel, and that is the name that I remember it by.  How lovely it was! That gleaming white building with the sun shining upon it and the lovely Carpet Gardens in front and the pier just steps away! (The Carpet Gardens are what they call the flower beds pictured above, the flowers are changed out for the season and they also are stunning in their beauty.)  I have a photo of the hotel above, it is the big white one at the right with the black wrought iron balconies. (I assume they are wrought iron, I can only go by my American eyes.)

From what I have read about it, no one died in the fire but I think there might be some injuries.  It is truly a miracle that no one was killed. Let's all take a moment to remember the brave firefighters!
I saw a photo of them on the BBC and they were shown on the beach getting sea water to quench the flames!
Back in 2014, the magnificent pier in Eastbourne caught fire.  One of the steel structures on the pier was lost but the wooden pier was saved.  Thank God for firefighters!

Above is a photo of the steel building on the pier that was burned. Can you believe that they were able to save a wooden pier with such a fire that completely melted that steel?
You can see the size of the steel structure that I am speaking of in the above photo, it is to the far left of the picture.
(By the way, Richard took this photo and I think it is lovely. Even on a grey day, Richard can capture beauty.)

I have spoken of my love for natural beauty but I have also expressed my love for beautiful architecture. I mourn the loss of this building.

You may read about the fire just here.

My friends, I have been visiting Eastbourne since the 80's. So, here is a huge hit song from 1985.
After all, everyone wants to rule the world, right?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Leaves of November

If I can't get to see gorgeous leaves on the local trails...

I can always enjoy them in the local parking lots! The reds seems to be the most spectacular.

 Don't these trails look inviting?  The one above is at the Monastery and the one below is at Panola Mountain State Park.
       Does this post give you a warm, fuzzy feeling? Hope so!
 (Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?  Sorry...even as a kid, I loved wordplay!)   Hope you all are doing well these days! 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell was falsely accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.  Do any of you remember the post that I wrote about him?  If not, you may read it just here.

(I also wrote a post earlier about him. If I am able to link to that one, I will come back and add it later.)

Clint Eastwood has directed a film about him and it will be released on Dec. 13, 2019.  Just looking at the trailer, it looks as if it might be a good film, a respectful film.  I hope so.  I should say more about him here but I just hope you will read the post that I wrote in 2016 that I directed you to above. I titled that post "Unsung HERO at the 1996 Summer Olympics".   One thing that I have not mentioned in my writings about Richard Jewell is that I am a native Georgian and ...this is hard for me to express...but he could be a cousin of mine, or some relative, he sounds just like my male relatives.  And listening to the actor doing the Southern accent, I just want to say that it sounds as if he has nailed it. (I must admit that very often actors will WAY overdo a Southern accent and get it so horribly wrong that it will illicit a laugh here at a theatre.)

Now, I am very critical of films which you know if you read my blog but before I start speaking of a film which I really haven't even SEEN yet, I want to say that we must not forget that this movie is about a real person who suffered greatly. There might be Oscar buzz about this and great tributes paid to the actors and director but we must not forget the real people behind the story. (His poor mother, how much she must have suffered!)   Diabetes is listed as the cause of death for Richard Jewell but I cannot help but think that all the trauma that he went through with the feeling that the whole world was against him must have contributed to his early death at the age of 44.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Nonfiction November

November is moving along just as quickly as October did! Besides having a few health problems, now our computer looks as if it might "pack it in".  That is what the Brits say! (Or my Brit does anyway.)  

Do any of you have an Instagram account? I have one but I don't do very much on it.  (I am lucky to be able to get to my blog these days.)  One thing that I wish that I could do on there is something called "Nonfiction November".  For one day of this month, you were asked to have a "shelfie", showing your shelf full of nonfiction books. Another day, you were asked to show your "must-read". Wish I had time to do this!  I think I might have mentioned to you that I don't like to read fiction very often. I am the QUEEN of nonfiction! And please, don't tell me that about a nonfiction book that reads like fiction! No, no, no! A well written book reads like a well written book, thank you very much!  I love books written by journalists...they have a very straightforward style of writing that I find very appealing.  Remember when I told you about re-reading "The Nearest Faraway Place", about the Beach Boys? The author was Timothy White, a rock music journalist.  I also read the book "Murder In Coweta County" by Margaret Anne Barnes. (Another journalist!) This book is based on a true story set in the late 1940's in rural Georgia.  It was made into a TV movie in the 1970's with Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith.  June Carter Cash (Johnny's wife) was also in the film and her performance was truly astounding to me!  I will really have to do a post just on that book alone when I have more time and energy to write about it properly.

So many books on nonfiction that I can tell you about! And besides my nonfiction books, I also prefer films that are based on true stories.  It's all nonfiction for me!  Do YOU have a favorite book that is non fiction? Do tell me!

Remember when I told you about the lakes being drained at Panola Mountain State Park? It has now been re opened. The lakes are not as they were and the dam is ...well, it is functional but not very beautiful.  Those small trees that I have in the photo above? They are gone now and lots more were cut down also. Can't really see why it was necessary for so many to be removed. I do mourn the loss of trees.   I miss the lakes...I suppose now, it is considered a wetland area rather than a lake.  At least, we did see the great egret again when we were there...

Wish I could show y'all our photos when we walked this past weekend at the trail at Panola Mountain State Park The hickory trees were golden in the sunshine! Why can't I show you the photos? This dang computer won't let me! What time is it?
Time to get a new computer!

Recently, I listened to a CD with all kinds of songs that my son had made for me years ago. He titled it "Crooners".  One of the songs is "Duke of Earl".    Enjoy.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

I Can Hear Music

November! We have our autumn now in Georgia and the leaves are showing their true colors.  During some of my sleepless nights lately, I have been re-reading a book, "The Nearest Faraway Place" by Timothy White.  I have told you about this book before in a post several years ago.  Hey! I just looked and I mentioned the book back in 2013. You may read it  here.  (I didn't own this book but I spoke of it with such longing that my dear son searched for it and gave to me as a gift!)

The title of the book is from a song written by Carl Wilson. And HE got the title from a magazine article written by Shana Alexander, from Time Magazine.  Anybody remember Shana Alexander? She used to be in 60 Minutes in the 1970's with the Point/Counterpoint segment and it was made even more famous with Chevy Chase parodying the male viewpoint on Saturday Night Live.  (And yes, I am so old, I still call it that...nowadays it is just SNL.)  Anyway, Shana Alexander was a really interesting person.  She was a great journalist and a very good writer. (I read her book that she wrote about Jean Harris, the woman who murdered the Scarsdale diet doctor, "Very Much A Lady".  I thought it was very well written.) Shana Alexander's father was Milton Ager, a well known songwriter...he wrote the music for "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "Ain't She Sweet".  (He also wrote "Everything Is Peaches Down In Georgia". You know I love the sound of that one!)

Now, back to the Beach Boys and Carl Wilson.  The Beach Boys originally consisted of the brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson along with their cousin, Mike Love and a friend, Al Jardine.  Sadly, Dennis died in 1983 and Carl passed away in 1998.  When Brian Wilson withdrew from the group in the 1960's, Carl took on the role of band leader and musical director for the group, both in their live performances and also in the studio.  Some of their biggest hits were with Carl singing the lead..."Good Vibrations" and "God Only Knows".   One of my favorites with Carl as the lead vocal is the song,  "I Can Hear Music".  (And Richard just told me that it is one of his favorites too!)  

Listen to it and let me know if you like it as much as we do!

                                  Okay, now it is time for bed!

(Clock at the Langham Hotel in Eastbourne, England)

Saturday, October 26, 2019

"Celebrity Hotel" by Neil Kirby/ Langham Hotel, Eastbourne

Imagine having a sugar cookie (biscuit in England) served to you on a lovely black napkin and then...

along with your cup of tea, the waitress brings you a crumpet with the largest container of butter in the world! Bliss!
(What is a crumpet? For me, it is what an English muffin dreams to be!)

This was graciously served to us at The Langham Hotel in Eastbourne!

(If you click on that link above, it should take you to the hotel's website and you will see nice views of the rooms.)

 Upon arrival in England, my father-in-law had a book waiting for me. (Normally, I might not have time to read very much but because I was under the weather while there, I read the book from cover to cover!)  The book was "Celebrity Hotel" by Neil Kirby.
I loved this book!  Neil Kirby started out washing the pots and pans as a 15 year old at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.  His charm and very hard work meant that he worked his way up and became the general manager of this famous hotel in London!  Since 2005, he is a hotel owner and it is the Langham Hotel! 

 "Celebrity Hotel" mentions a great many of the celebrities that stayed at the Grosvenor House Hotel while he worked there but for me, it was the life story of Neil Kirby that I found fascinating. For one thing, he is a runner, he has participated in several marathons and a great many of them for charities. (Not sure why runners are so interesting to me...but remember my admiration for Louis Zamperini?  And Eric Liddell from "Chariots of Fire"?) Of course, there is also a great deal that Mr. Kirby has shared with us about the running of a hotel and also the design of the hotels.  And by design, I mean right down to the furnishings.  Look at the color of the cushion above!  And then...I also had to take a photo of the wood and the red fabric in the bar. (Read the book and you will know who gave him this advice, the color red with the polished wood!)

(If you have never seen "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid" it!)

Lovely framed photos of celebrities were on the walls of the bar and there were stained glass windows in the restaurants and even in the restrooms (toilets in England!) The framed artwork on the walls made it more like an art gallery than a hotel lobby, truly lovely pieces.

 Can you see that this is a stained glass window of a lifeboat?  And just beneath that window, a box where you can put money to donate to the RNLI. (Royal National Lifeboat Institution, you may read more about it here.)
This would be typical of Neil Kirby and a very nice touch, I think.

Now, if you happen to be in Eastbourne and want to find the Langham Hotel, it is the one with the Victorian bathing house right in front.  When Neil Kirby bought this hotel, he told me that he bought the bathing house with the hotel! Yes, my friends, I actually met Neil Kirby and spoke with him, yes indeed! In fact, I got one of his books myself and he autographed it with the sweet inscription,  "To Richard & Kay"! (I have a great fondness for autographed books, did you know?) Did I get a photo? You know I did!

There! It is my dear husband and father-in-law beside Neil Kirby on a very sunny day in the lobby of the Langham Hotel.  I snapped this photo myself and just before I took it, I said," here are the three lads from Croydon!"  (Neil Kirby is from Sanderstead, which is very close by, I think.  Hey, I am a Yank, what do I know?!) 

(Eastbourne is amazing...all the hotels are across the street from the beach. ALL of them!  Therefore, there is nothing to spoil your view of the sea.)
Can't you just picture Hercule Poirot having a drink here? Mais, oui!   
You know I did! Make mine a Pimm's with full fruit!

Thank you, Neil Kirby for your lovely book and taking the time to speak with us. My father-in-law was most impressed that I had the nerve to go up and talk with you but after all, I am an American and we can get away with things like that!

Look! I was pleased to see that this bowling club is sponsored by the Langham Hotel. In fact, I have read that Neil Kirby has donated a great amount to charities!  For me, he may have met a great many stars and millionaires but what impresses me is how much he has given back!  Hey! I found something in a magazine about is called "Pearls of Wisdom" and you may read it just here.

Friends, once again I am sorry that I have haven't been able to blog very much lately! I hope I am getting better now. Finally!