Tuesday, October 28, 2014

London, The South Bank 2014

You are in for a treat...this is a guest post from my husband.  Take it away, Richard!   
 ( Well, I don't know if "treat" is the right word. But I hope you might enjoy our walk beside the river and that you might even learn something new! If I have any of the facts wrong please feel free to correct me. Cheers! Richard )
As you gentle readers of this blog already know, while in London Kay and I visited and like everyone else who has seen it were deeply affected by the "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red " installation at the Tower.      
After that, our plan was to  walk across Tower Bridge - crossing the Thames for the third time that  morning - and explore the South Bank.   
When I worked in London in the 80's, my commute  from Croydon ended at London Bridge railway station and then I would either cross London Bridge itself and walk through the City or walk along the South Bank which back then was mostly just disused  warehouses and wharves plus the odd pub here and here and a beautiful,  almost forgotten  cathedral. But now, thirty years later....

A couple of photos of Tower Bridge from the South Bank. Sorry we don't know the story behind the giant "Alien" egg but it makes for a good shot!   And fortunately nothing hatched from it while we were there!

Hay's Galleria. In its heyday as an actual wharf, tea clippers and other merchant sailing ships used to unload here where the people are walking and sitting or drinking and eating. I have read that this was the first building to be
 restored as part of the "Regeneration" of the South Bank. It is beautiful Victorian structure. I think the roof was added as part of the restoration but that also is beautiful.


 London's "other" cathedral, Southwark Cathedral. ( pronounced sutherk. ) Back in the 80's, this was a rather grimy treasure that hardly anyone knew about as it was stuck between a train station and a load of near derelict warehouses. (When I worked in London, I sometimes spent my lunch break here...it was a haven of tranquility.)  Like nearly everything else here - it has been beautifully and lovingly restored and the new riverside walk has put it firmly back on the map both as a spiritual and social destination.
Here is one photo of the interior of this wonderful church. I think there may well be more at a future date!
The Cathedral with the Shard in the background.

By the time we arrived at the Cathedral we had been walking for about four hours. Fortunately, the Refectory ( Restaurant / Café ) at Southwark Cathedral is a most interesting and welcoming location to eat. They serve a variety of meals but we chose the wonderful jacket potatoes. As you can see they are drenched in butter and smothered in Cheddar cheese - a most delicious meal in itself!
The Refectory is part of a recent addition to the Cathedral  but the architectural style blends very well with the ancient Cathedral itself.

                                                    I liked the idea of this little character just taking it all in. You see that the tide is high on the river!

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

The Anchor
Just a few hundred yards from the Cathedral and you come upon "The Anchor" - a pub I have a lot of affection for - and the rebuilt Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. 
Then to end our time on the South Bank, here is something else that wasn't there all those years ago - the Millenium Bridge  (and our fourth bridge over the Thames! ) 
I hope you enjoyed walking with us in London on the South Bank. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shirley Temple Black

There is a video on YouTube that I have tried to get on this post but I have been unable to do so... it is "Larry King Live with Shirley Temple Black" and it is from 1988 and is about 30 minutes long.  I know...I just did a post about Shirley Temple, and I did one back in February when she passed away... but I am telling you that it is 30 minutes of your time that you will not regret!  What a TREASURE we had in Shirley Temple Black and we didn't even know it!  When you listen to her in the video, her great intelligence and common sense just shines through and she is so KIND.   It occurred to me that when I told you that I had been unwell and not just sitting around watching Shirley Temple movies, perhaps you might think that I was insincere in my admiration for Shirley Temple...and we can't have that, can we?  So....I searched and searched until I found the most PERFECT video of Shirley Temple Black for you, and yet...I am unable to get it to link here.

There!  Click on that above and see if you can't see it! 

Just in case you are unable to see the video, I will just tell you a bit about it....

Shirley Temple Black talks openly and honestly about her famous childhood. She tells us of her great love for her mother (she is promoting her autobiography, "Child Star" here in 1988 and it is dedicated to her mother.)  We find out that her father and his business partner mismanaged her money and she was left with very little compared to the millions that she had made for 20th Century Fox, the studio that she and she alone, brought out of bankruptcy.  (Any bitterness?  NO! This is Shirley Temple Black!)  We learn of her great love for her family....she married at 17 and that marriage did not last, but it was her second marriage to Charles Black that brought her much happiness.  She tells us the story of how a studio executive from MGM came on to her when she was only 12 years old! (You might think that could have really messed with her mind, but her mother handled it in such a way, that Shirley and her mother just laughed it off, making it the MAN's warped problem and they simply never went back to that studio!)

Now, here's the thing...when she speaks of her great love for ALL people, and this is just what she said...."I love ALL people...I might not like them all, but I love all people".   She speaks of the work that she did as an ambassador and diplomat and it makes me long for more like her.  We are very much in need of love like that...respect and love for ALL in the world.  (And Larry King let her state this with hardly a mention...I wish I could have interviewed her!)

I did see the TV special that was shown on PBS.  It was called "Shirley Temple: America's Little Darling".  There was nothing at all wrong with it, but it made me sad to hear people talk about how Shirley had "changed".  You see, it seems to me that when we have an extraordinary talent, we simply don't know how to handle it...we tend to put people into boxes and leave them there, not allowing them to grow or to change, and I think that applies to people in general but it certainly does to child stars like Shirley Temple.  We will always have the movies that Shirley Temple made as a child but we should also realize that her childhood was just a brief time in her life, and her life was a long and fulfilling one,  I just wish we could have better appreciated the sincere and earnest heart of Shirley Temple Black, a gift to the world.

Shirley Temple was born just one year after my Dad and they are of the generation that some have called "The Greatest".  Many of that generation find that labeling a bit unsettling, but it is only because we don't have the words or expressions to convey to those who lived through the Great Depression the great respect that we have for them.  We just try our best.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Don't Give Up, Don't Give In" by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin

A new book will be released on November 18th, "Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from An Extraordinary Life"  by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin. 
  The book was completed just two days before Mr. Zamperini's death in July of this year.  I have written several posts about Mr. Zamperini before.  I read "Devil At My Heels" by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin in 2004.  It is  where I first learned of his story and wrote a letter to the publisher and received a handwritten reply from Mr. Zamperini himself.
Louis Zamperini is a hero to me and now, after the hugely popular book by Laura Hillenbrand, "Unbroken" he should be a hero to many others.  The movie, "Unbroken" will come out at the end of this year, the release date is Christmas.  I hope that the movie will do well and will bring Mr. Zamperini's extraordinary life to millions!
I very much look forward to this new book.  I will most certainly tell you all about it when I read it!
You can see where this book will go on my bookshelf, it will be beside my copy of "Devil At My Heels".   (And that is "Love and Duty" by Ben & Anne Purcell, in case you can't read that title....Col. Purcell was a POW in Vietnam for 5 1/2 years and he also went back and forgave his captors, just as Mr. Zamperini did in Japan.)  Read all these books!  They are truly inspiring.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Peace Prayer of St. Francis/Belle prière à faire pendant la Messe

What?  You all miss think I have lost my mind! Am I sitting around watching Shirley Temple movies and think that is the cure for our nation's ills? No, although I think our whole world could use more goodness like hers. No, the main thing about me is this:  I have had an illness for over three weeks that has been very difficult for me to get over.    Have I left you strange and rambling comments?  Yes, I know, but maybe even MORE so than usual?  Let's blame it on the strong combination of drugs that the doctor prescribed for me...doctors really don't know that my small brain should only use a small amount of medicine!

When I am well, I can just about handle this cruel world.  When I am ill, it is a another matter...it seems that everyone is so mean and hateful, and I only notice the violence on TV shows and the horrible things on the news.  I noticed that one of my posts that I did about the monastery was written when I was ill....and  it is now my second rated post of all that I have written. Our Lady of Holy Spirit Monastery- Conyers, Georgia, USA  On that post, I have the St. Francis Assisi Prayer,  you do know that one, don't you?  The prayer has always been called that, but it is not believed St. Francis actually wrote it...it was first published in a Catholic magazine called "The Little Bell" in 1912.  It is possible that it was written by a French priest by the name of Father Bouquerel during the first World War but no one knows for sure.  The prayer was published with a photo of St. Francis of Assisi on the back, and perhaps that is how the saint became connected to it.

 I know just enough French that when I see it in this language, I can recognize the prayer...

Belle prière à faire pendant la Messe
Seigneur, faites de moi un instrument de votre paix.
Là où il y a de la haine, que je mette l'amour.
Là où il y a l'offense, que je mette le pardon.
Là où il y a la discorde, que je mette l'union.
Là où il y a l'erreur, que je mette la vérité.
Là où il y a le doute, que je mette la foi.
Là où il y a le désespoir, que je mette l'espérance.
Là où il y a les ténèbres, que je mette votre lumière.
Là où il y a la tristesse, que je mette la joie.
Ô Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu'à consoler, à être compris qu'à comprendre, à être aimé qu'à aimer, car c'est en donnant qu'on reçoit, c'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve, c'est en pardonnant qu'on est pardonné, c'est en mourant qu'on ressuscite à l'éternelle vie.

Here it is in English:

A Beautiful Prayer To Say During The Mass...

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

When we were in London at our hotel, I pulled out the Gideon Bible from my bedside table.  Someone had written almost a full page on the first page of the Bible.  It was in French and was a statement of unbelief.  I read it, or as much as I could and then, asked my husband to translate it for me.   It most certainly was exactly what I said, a statement against everything in the Bible and Jesus.  I didn't do anything about it, I just thought I would have a little talk with God about it.  Now, the thing that came to me...it was written in PENCIL, so maybe whoever wrote it, thought maybe someone might come along to care enough to erase it. 

That would be me!

So, in case this ever happens to you...it is useless to buy souvenir pencils (the erasers do not work) and also, erasers in the shapes of London taxis and buses do NOT work either...one of the shopkeepers told me that he didn't carry pencils...but I kept looking and I found some anyway! He seemed very surprised...they were just loose, in a cup at the far back corner of the shop... (God, was that YOU?!)
Hey, the shopkeeper charged me anyway! 

Now, after I erased that entire page in pencil, I took my hand and brushed away the erasings to make sure that I had gotten it all... I had missed erasing just one word and it made me smile to see it there, just that one word on the page and I decided to leave it...


Needlework on kneeler at All Souls Church in Eastbourne, East Sussex, England.

Stained Glass Window-All Souls Church, Eastbourne.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Shirley Temple

"Where have you gone, Shirley Temple, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you"....

This is a paraphrase of a Paul Simon lyric, but I think it fits....

Shirley Temple...as a child, I really enjoyed watching her in her movies.  I think that I know them all by heart.  There will be a show on PBS about her this week and I wanted to tell everyone in the USA to look at their local listings, and try to watch it.  (This might have been on earlier this year, she died in February, so I might have missed it then.) You might think of her as just a pretty child star but there is a real sense of intelligence behind that goodness that I think that everyone should admire, not just kids...

If you are from another country, then you can most likely see her movies or else clips of them on YouTube.  She reminds me of many of the women that I have known in my life...just because they have great beauty and talent, their high intelligence is very often overlooked.

It is Shirley Temple's sweet nature that comes through for me.  To be honest with you, that is really all I care about anyway...you can have the highest IQ of anyone and be a super model, maybe you are both, that's okay but I really only care about how nice you are.  That's it.

Let me know if you see this TV show on PBS about Shirley Temple.  I will let you know if they did a good job on it.  Gee Whiz, you think they would call me up and consult with me the best way to present this, wouldn't you?

Leaving you with the video of Shirley Temple singing, "Oh My Goodness" and it is the one where her dolls come to life and she sings to them in all the accents of their countries.  It might not be politically correct but I think you can sense the sincere respect that comes from this extraordinary young actress/singer/dancer.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Arabia Mountain- I Cannot Hold Thee Close Enough!

At Arabia Mountain - the color of the rock in the sun, the clear water in the pools, the bright and beautiful sky above, the beginning of the Autumn foliage and the last of the wildflowers, all combine to create such incredible beauty...all in one place and close to me.   I am grateful.


I am also most grateful for all who left such sweet comments on my last post wishing my dear father-in-law a happy birthday.   The quote from my post title is from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Milay, and it is really "World, I cannot hold thee close enough".  And so I say, that is true too, I am saying this to all of you from all parts of this world.   I am thankful.
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
   Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
   Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag
To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Birthday To The REAL Lord of the Manor!

Another Birthday?

It's evil, malicious...
it's heartless and vicious...
a birthday's a dastardly foe...
your age keeps increasing!

And someday it might even show! 

(I totally stole this from a birthday card that was from the collection of cards from my mother-in-law's 80TH birthday.  Yes, I do copy out good rhymes from cards, doesn't everyone?  HA!)

Happy Birthday to Peter, my dear father-in-law in England!  So wonderful to see you last month, I hope you have recovered from some of my cooking!  Loved making those fruit salads for you, those grapes from Spain and the apples from Italy were wonderful, but there is just nothing like those English strawberries!   Of course, I wrote about being grateful for gluten free restaurants but the very BEST cooking was at your home.  My very favorite meal is a Chicken Roast Dinner with your roast potatoes, they are my favorite.  And your selection of wine to accompany the meal is excellent!   :-)

Forget Downton Abbey, a Englishman's home is his castle and this is what a REAL Lord of the Manor looks like, along with his Lady and the REAL boss of the house, the DOG!  (My in-inlaws are so nice, they won't mind me showing you in their gorgeous dressing gowns, will they?...Uh, okay, there Joan, Peter?....Here's hoping they won't mind!)  Love you both!  You HAVE to be the best sports in the world to have ME as a daughter in law!!

Please, my friends, leave best wishes for a happy birthday for Peter, or as I and all my American friends would say, "Pee-DER"!  Sorry, that is just the way we say it!  Anybody else having a birthday in October, you must all be the best, if you are born in the same month as this guy! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Civil War Graves-A Childhood Memory

A question for you:  Do you have a memory from your childhood, something that you saw or experienced and wondered about at the time but didn't really understand?  Just recently, a childhood memory came to me and I typed these words into a search engine: "Civil War Graves in Forsyth, GA"...

When I was ten years old, I lived in the small town of Forsyth, Georgia, just outside of Macon.   There was a graveyard right next to the school playground.  The first time that I played there, I remember looking up and the sight of the graves just stopped me in my tracks. I had seen unmarked Civil War graves before but never this many, there were rows upon rows of them.  The words on each one were the same: "Unknown Confederate Soldier".  I didn't know the exact number of graves as a child but I now know that there are 300 buried there.  Someone else from Forsyth wondered about this too...Linda Hallman was a student at Mary Persons High School (the high school was just next to the elementary school) and as a member of the High School band, they would often practice next to the graveyard as the football players would be using the football field for practice.  She did a lot of research and over the years, she has been able to identify two hundred of those buried. There are now new gravestones for them.  You may read more about Linda Hallman and her work just here.
During the Civil War, the wounded were brought to a special hospital camp in Forsyth and 300 soldiers are buried in a Confederate cemetery in the town.   The number of injured soldiers brought to Forsyth is said to have been 20,000. Every available shelter in Forsyth was used: the courthouse, the College, the Hilliard Institute, the Lumpkin Hotel, stores, and even private homes. Eventually, tent hospitals were used to handle all of the injured soldiers: there was simply nowhere else to put them.

Do you have a similar memory from your childhood?  Something that you remember and wondered about at the time but were unable to find out about it because you were just a kid?  Well , guess what...look it up now and let me know what you find.  Do a post about it if you can.
Yellow Daisies, they were also called Confederate Daisies.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Birthday Wishes for Sigourney Weaver

Happy Birthday to Sigourney Weaver!

Signourney Weaver is one of my favorite actresses.  Did you know that her mother was English and her father was American?  I love her in the Alien movies..."Aliens" is one of my favorites.  If you like it too, you might know these quotes: "Did IQ's just drop sharply while I was away?" and "Get away from her, you BITCH!".  If you have never seen "Aliens", please make sure to watch it, it is just a dang good film!
 Today is her birthday...so, Happy Birthday, Sigourney!  She was given the name Susan Alexandra, but decided as a young teenager to change it to Sigourney.  (Sigourney Howard being a character from the "The Great Gatsby".) 
Hey, I just want to say, if anyone is still with me these days, I think I might have left my brain at the London Gatwick airport....if anyone sees it, please return it to me.  It is most likely Medium Brown (from the years of hair coloring) and probably only about the size of a small orange.  Thank you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Books About Town...London Town, That Is!

Please look at Paddington Bear's face...he is saying, "GET THIS WOMAN AWAY FROM ME!"
While we were in England, we were able to spend a few days in London.  As we were walking on the South Bank, we just happened upon these benches.  I wish I had known that they were there!  I can see on their website, "Books About Town" that we were very close to other ones, but just didn't know it! They were all in honor of books, designed to look like an open book and they were on display only for a short time.  As of today's date, Oct. 7th, they will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to the National Literacy Trust. 
(We saw Paddington Bear, Great Expectations and Shakespeare's London.)
By the way, when you walk a good distance, benches are very welcome to see!  I felt a bit guilty sitting on these, but I got over it!
"All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts" -  As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII).

Friday, October 3, 2014

Yellow Daisies At Arabia Mountain! I Didn't Miss Them!

The Yellow Daisies are still blooming at Arabia Mountain.  Don't miss them!
These flowers are so incredibly beautiful and they are covering the mountain with gorgeous bright yellow, and when you have the backdrop of the rock against a bright blue sky....well, it is a sight for my sore eyes!  I was so happy that I didn't miss it because I was two weeks out of the country!
Thank you, Yellow Daisies, for still being in bloom for me.  I am grateful.

Hey! I don't know about anyone else, but I am in the mood for the smooth and calming voices of Bill Kenny and Ella Fitzgerald...I have had this video on here before, but it's good, so enjoy it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tower of London- "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red"

One of the things that I truly wanted to see while we were in England was at the Tower of London..."Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red".  We did get to view it and I have some photos to show you.

   Volunteers have been placing bright red ceramic poppies in the moat around the Tower of London since Aug. 5th and will continue to do so until Nov. 11th.  These dates are significant:  World War I began on Aug. 5, 1914 and ended Nov. 11, 1918.  By the time of the final installation, the total number of poppies will be 888,246...each one representing a fallen British soldier or soldier of the Commonwealth.

The poppies will encircle the iconic landmark, creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower but also a location for personal reflection. The scale of the installation intends to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary creating a powerful visual commemoration.

The quote above is from the website of the Tower of London and you can find more information about it just here.  If you get the chance, take the time to read it.  You may purchase a poppy from that site and proceeds will be donated to various military charities, which I think is such a wonderful idea.

I was overcome by the sight of all that red and what it represented.  I had seen photos of it and I thought I would find it moving.  I didn't expect for it to hit me with such emotion that I immediately had to wipe tears from my face...

It just so happened that we were there on a Thursday and I have read that the volunteers only place the poppies in the moat on Thursdays and Sundays.  We thought it was interesting to see them do this.  I only found out from Ron who left me a comment on my last post about this, that ANYONE could have volunteered ...he was there on that same day and they even let AMERICANS help to place them.  Gee, I wish I had known, I would most certainly would have liked to have walked into that moat and help to plant a poppy amongst that green, green grass.

You see, for me, I have such strong feelings for veterans, for all who have served in the military.  "A location for personal reflection"...yes, that was just what it was for me.  I thought of all those that had died in World War I and I thought of those who might have died later from the war but might not even be counted here in poppies.  One of the most moving posts that you might read this year is from Rachel, whose great uncle committed suicide after World War I.  You may read her incredible story of her relative, Cyril Arthur Took, just here.

I have written posts about World War II veterans...Louis Zamperini, W.S. Connor, and Col. Benjamin Purcell...all of them passed away now, but it brings a lump to my throat to remember them...I met two of them and although I didn't meet Mr. Zamperini, I was honored to receive a few notes and cards from him and I felt as if I had lost a friend when he died this past July.  Of course, you might guess that I spoke about Mr. Zamperini and about the movie "Unbroken" that will be coming out at the end of this year to almost everyone that I met while I was in England.  I only wish that someone would make a movie about "Love and Duty" (Col. Purcell and his wife), and also about W. S. Connor ( a survivor of the Leopoldville, a ship sunk in the English channel during World War II.)
So much to tell and to say, so many people to honor...not just during one war, but so many...too many.