Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Alice Tait...Illustrates!

Don't you just love an unexpected surprise? From Amazon, the UK website,  I ordered a book and some ginger biscuits for my father-in-law in England. Since this was really the same thing I got for him last year...wouldn't it be nice to send him something else, something unexpected?  I sent a message on my Instagram account to the British illustrator Alice Tait and told her that I was pleased to see that she had a website where I could order some of her pieces.  She sent me a message BACK.  A real artist!  Yes, my friends, it made my day...I am telling you!    (You see, I had explained that although I am American and live in the States, I would want the gift to be mailed to England.)

My father-in-law received his package from Amazon and while he was pleased with the book and ginger biscuits,  I think it was the package from Alice Tait that really made him happy!  I truly love her drawings!  I found a short video for you. 

Her website is just here.   

If you are able to look at her site, I ordered the set of coasters for Peter, one says "Shall we soldier on" and "Is That The Time" and "Royal Treatment Please". (And I am so bad, I ordered the canvas London tote bag for myself! I already have one, I bought it in London the last time we were there but I am wanting a new one!) 

                      Front of London Bag (See the badges on upper right?
                 They came free with the bag!)

                                   (Back of the bag). 
                           I cut my head off for you.  You're welcome.

Don't you just love her prints?  If you notice, it says that she will sign the print, and not only that but will personalize them with a unique message of your choice. Isn't that just the nicest thing?  (It says that the world map is very popular for birthdays and christenings.)

I just had to tell y'all about this!  What will be the next thing that I will order? She has written a children's book, "No, Nancy, No". I simply must have it!  (Nan, in Maine...I hope you are reading this!)
The hydrangeas are blooming now...I wonder if I could draw them? Alice Tait might just make me pick up a pencil and have a go! 

For anyone on Instagram...her account is alice_tait_illustrates

Alice Tait, if you ever see this post, thank you!  I really love that you included a personal note in with the package, an unexpected surprise for my dear father-in-law, Peter. Very much appreciated.


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Rainy Night In Georgia (It's A Great Song Too!)

Let's talk about the weather. How is it where you are? We have had very hot, dry weather.  Some days lately I would get in my car and it would say 100 degrees! And it was so dry, our grass was getting brown and crunchy.  Today, it rained.  And rained.  And rained!
It has rained so much, my phone keeps going off with alarms that tell me that there is a flash flood warning until 3:00 PM. NO...make that 5:30 PM.  Now, it is 9:30 PM!  When it rains, it pours!

So, what is it like for you?  And do you have any SONGS that you would pertain to your part of the world?  You know I do!

"Lord, I feel like it's raining all over the world."

It won't be too long until we see blue sky again!  Hopefully.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Normandy Invasion

The BBC has a piece on their website, "10 Things You Might Not Know About the Normandy Invasion".  You gotta love the Brits.  In America, this would say "10 Things You Don't Know About The Normandy Invasion" but the Brits say "You Might Not Know".  So like the British, don't you think?
Forgive my amusement over that wording, now let's be serious.

  Have any of you seen the film "Band of Brothers"? (The book is by Stephen Ambrose and is one that I recommend.)  Those men were trained in Toccoa, Georgia and I grew up hearing about them and knowing that anyone in that small town had great respect for those young men who trained to be paratroopers. They took their motto from the one tall mountain in Toccoa,  "Currahee", which means "we stand alone".  They used that motto, because they were truly alone, parachuting into Europe before the landings on Normandy. 

The 10 things that you might not know of the Normandy Invasion? You may read it just

I knew most of the facts that they gave you but I did not know these...
1)  As early as 1942, the BBC asked for photos and post cards from the coast of Europe.  Millions of photos were sent in!  It was a way of gathering intelligence to ascertain the most suitable spots for landing beaches.

2) Rommel's shoes... The German commander did not believe that there would be an invasion.  He went home to give his wife a pair of shoes for her birthday.

3) Smashed toilets...The vibration of HMS Belfast's guns firing was so powerful, it cracked the toilets in the crew's cabins.

4)Pub Test....Terence Otway was given the top secret mission to attack the Merville Battery.  He had to be sure his men would not tell a soul.  He sent 30 women from the Women's Auxillary Air Force dressed in civilian clothes into village pubs in the area where the men were in training. The women were asked to do all they they could do to get the men to talk.  None of the men gave the secret away.

I had the honor of speaking with many veterans of World War II when I worked as a travel agent in the 1980's and 1990's. Many of them have passed away now.  75 years now since 1944.  We should never forget them.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Long Lost Lewis Chessman FOUND!

One of my favorite places in London is the British Museum. Besides being able to view the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles, you can also see the Lewis Chessmen (along with about 8 million other objects!).  I have told you about the Lewis Chessman before on a previous post! The Lewis Chessmen or Uig Chessmen (named after the bay where they were found) are 12th century chess pieces found in 1831 on the shores of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. (I will wait while you look that up on a map...here, don't bother, I will tell you...think of Scotland, go all the way to the top...and just to the west, that would be the Outer Hebrides, and the Isle of Lewis is the largest. There, how did I do, my readers from the Isle of Lewis?)
Okay, before I got bogged down in giving my little geography lesson, I was telling you about the Lewis Chessmen!
There were five missing pieces of the set but it has just been confirmed to us that they now have one of the missing pieces!
It was owned by a family in Edinburgh. The family's grandfather had been an antiques dealer and had no idea of value of the piece and passed it down to the family. The owner paid 5 pounds for it in 1964.  The family had always felt it to "magical".  Sotheby's (the famous auction house)  kept the discovery secret until it was absolutely confirmed to be genuine and in what I think of as a typical understated British manner had this to say about it: "We can safely say that a million pounds will transform the sellers life".

Magical indeed!

We have an advertisement here that uses the phrase, "What's in your wallet?".  Borrowing from that, I say to you (those in the British Isles especially), "what's in your wardrobe or drawers?" 
There are still four pieces that are missing!

Search until you find them, I say!

By the way I am sorry to tell you that the show that I was so very excited to tell you about...the Song Stories? I was quite disappointed in the sound quality! Honestly, the video that I gave you of Bobbie Gentry singing her hit song was 100 times better than the one that they showed us on the show. I am not kidding!
Of course, it was the BBC. Just saying!  (Sorry, I love PBS and please don't get mad with me but I am very particular about music and how it is presented.)

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Story Songs- (On PBS in America-Don't Miss it!)

My friends, if you don't know one thing about me, know this: I love music! That is why I am so excited to tell you about a show on TV tonight in Atlanta on PBS. Channel 8 at 9:30PM.  (Check your local listings in the rest of the country and see when it will be shown where you live. And if you miss it tonight, I am sure they will repeat it).  "Story Songs" will be hosted by...wait for it...B. J. Thomas!  Remember when I told you that I was working on a post about him? What a voice!  The post about him will still be written but I just have to make sure you know about this TV show! If you go to the PBS site, you will see that this episode will have songs by Kenny Rogers, Jim Croce, Bobbie Gentry, Don McLean, Glen Campbell, and Gordon Lightfoot and they are just the ones that I saw in the 30 second trailer! Of course, I hope that B.J. Thomas will also have some of his songs on there too!

Did y'all know that I also have an Instagram account?  Uh...I am not that good on it yet, but I do have some followers and guess what...oh, I know you won't believe it...but B. J. Thomas is one of my followers! Yes, I know, and not only that but he LIKED some of my photos! When I asked my son if it truly was possible that B. J. himself followed me and liked my photos...he said that yes, of course, it was possible or it could be that someone in his entourage really handled his account and maybe that individual might show him photos and say, "Hey, B.J. what about this, do you like this?" And maybe, indirectly he follows me.  You know what? I'll take it! Insert huge smiley face here! 

"There's one thing I know...the blues they send to meet me, Won't defeat me. It won't be long til happiness steps up to greet me."

If you don't know any other B.J. Thomas hit song, I hope you know "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and you really should know all the words!  Look them up!  I gave you some of them above!

All of those singers that will be highlighted on this show are the kind of singers that I really admire and it is my kind of TV show.
I wonder if they might this make this into a regular series about music? I hope so!

By the way, I wish raindrops would fall on my head...we are needing rain badly in the Atlanta area! Take care everyone and let me know if you were able to see this TV show!

For my followers in other countries, look up those artists I gave you and check out their music.  You will thank me,

(Y'all know I can sing JUST like Bobbie Gentry!)

 I am NOT about to jump off Tallahatchie bridge in this photo. I am thrilled to see a sunset from Waterloo bridge in London! Love that view. So many expensive things to do in London, this was free.

And so funny to think of this...if you read this tomorrow, it will be the 3rd of June...which is the opening line of the song "Ode To Billie Jo" by Bobbie Gentry. (She not only sang that song but she also WROTE it.!)  What a voice! I hope you will listen to the video that I found for you...I really enjoyed it, looks like it is from the BBC!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

National Biscuit Day In the UK!

Before this day is over, I must tell you that it is National Biscuit Day in the UK!   (Wait, it is now the next day over there...oh well!)
Of course, I have told you before that a biscuit in America is a soft breakfast bread but in England, it is a cookie!

(My Dad made the BEST and softest biscuits that you can imagine. Everyone said so, they were the best.)

One of my good friends went to England a few months ago and brought me back some...oh, they make me happy just to think of them...she brought me some HOBNOBS!  They are so good!
I still have two left...can you tell that I have tried to keep them as long as I can? I just looked it up and Hobnobs are the third most popular biscuit over there! Let's see, I think I read that Jammie Dodgers and Custard Creams are the top two but some say that the Rich Tea and the Ginger Nut are tops. Me? I love them ALL! I don't have favorites when it comes to English biscuits.  (Jaffa cakes, Kay? Yes, please!)

When we come back from England, we are loaded down with teabags, chocolate and biscuits!

We would not have been able to bring these back in the heat we are having these days...we have had many days with our temps over 90 degrees! 

What is your favorite cookie/biscuit? Do tell me, you know I want to know!  

P.S.  No cookie/biscuit companies are sending me anything for this post.  HOWEVER, if a company happens to read this and they WISH to send me boxes and boxes, I will happily accept them, even if they are half melted when they get here!
It was cooler this time last year when the magnolias were blooming...

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "You Are Wonderful"

Will try my best to write this post tonight...now I am on some medication that says it can cause drowsiness, so for me, it might as well as say...this drug will knock you out! 

Do I have a lot of things to write about? You bet! My purse is stuffed with all the notes that I have jotted down about people, places and things that I want to tell you about.  For today, I will tell you that it is the anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who gave us the character, Sherlock Holmes!  (Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 22, 1859.)  There is the most wonderful site devoted to him, you may find it just   here!   Be sure to read his biography while you are there.  What a fascinating man!

One thing that I learned, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he was only 25 years old, wrote a short story, a fictionalized account about the ship, the Mary Celeste, called "Habakuk Jephson's Statement", but it was written in the form of a first person testimony by a survivor.  He called the ship, the MARIE Celeste in his story.  Perhaps because of his influence, you can often hear people discuss this ship using his name for it.

(I do hope you know the true story...the Mary Celeste is famous for the mysterious disappearance of all those who were aboard.  On Dec. 5, 1872, the ship was found deserted in the Atlantic ocean, off the Azores islands, completely abandoned.  Once again, I have a link for you here.  And of course, there is a non fiction book that I can tell you about...
"Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew" by Brian Hicks.)

Okay, now back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle... 

Did you know that he never once said, "Elementary, my dear Watson" in any of his stories?  He might have come close to those words but he never actually said them.  One thing that he DID say, and I only found this out today, but his last words were directed to his wife and he said to her..."You are wonderful."

I also read that every spring he gave to his wife Jean, the very first snowdrop flower that bloomed in their garden. And she kept every one of them! There, isn't that just the sweetest thing to know?  ( A few years back, I think that one of those snowdrops were auctioned off...)  

Also, I read that there will be a new 50 pence coin that will come out this year in Britain. You may see it just here.  The coin will have a likeness of Sherlock Holmes in his famous deerstalker cap, along with titles of some of his most famous stories.  The words are so tiny, you will need a ...wait for it...a magnifying glass! Isn't that just the perfect touch? 

Sidney Paget is the man who illustrated the Sherlock Holmes stories that were published in the Strand Magazine.  He did 356 published drawings!

Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated

There, my friends, I think I did very well writing this considering I am just about to nod off... I hope you find Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as fascinating as I do!