Thursday, March 31, 2016

"The Railway Man" Extraordinary

The movie, "The Railway Man", starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman is an extraordinary film. (It was released in 2013.)  It is based on the true story of Eric Lomax, a man tortured for many years by his memories of imprisonment and torture by his Japanese captor in World War II. I have written of my admiration for Louis Zamperini in several posts before.  Like Mr. Zamperini, Eric Lomax has a powerful story of forgiveness that is is hard to find the words for it. It brought me to tears.  (I think I would like to read the book by Mr. Lomax after seeing the movie.  As good as the movie is, I would dearly love to read the words written by Mr. Lomax himself.)  Eric Lomax died in 2012 but he was able to meet with the actors as they were filming and I am grateful that he was able to do so.

Before this film was made there was a documentary called "Enemy, My Friend?" and I found a clip from it.  I hope you are able to see it, you may find it just  HERE.   The link that I have here calls this clip a "must watch".  So, please, do is very short but well worth your time, I promise.

Why is the film called "The Railway Man"?  All will be explained when you see the movie and you WILL see it, won't you? Please do!  It truly is extraordinary.  

The cherry trees have just finished blooming and the pink petals are blowing in the wind and when you walk past them, they brush against your cheeks and settle alongside the paths and roadway. 
These cherry trees were a gift from the president of the Japanese company, Maxell - a true gift of love and friendship.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Livery Collars For Mayors/ Empty Boots/Swan Upping

Wait, that could this post be all about?  Oh, but you MUST read it, wait until you see the EMPTY boots photo, it's a bit spooky!  It is all about  London's square mile and you may find it just here! 

Years ago, when I was first writing to Richard, he sent me a book, "Undiscovered London" and much of what is mentioned in the article was in that book. (Although looking at the book now, so many of the buildings are no longer there!)

Hans Holbein, the Younger - Sir Thomas More - Google Art Project.jpg
image of Sir Thomas More from wikipedia
You will notice from the film clip that the mayor is wearing a gold necklace. Now, here is the thing...all the mayors in England wear those. Yes, it's true!  Look at this photo of Sir Thomas More... do you see that is the same type necklace/medallion?  Okay, to my American eyes, this looks like a necklace but it is actually called a livery collar or chain of office. One of the oldest is Collar of Esses and has been in continuous use since the 14th century- that is the collar that you see on Sir Thomas More.

livery collar or chain of office is a collar or heavy chain, usually of gold, worn as insignia of office or a mark of fealty or other association in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards.

The livery collars are not only worn by British and Irish mayors but also, by the mayors in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, which you might expect, but also, in the Netherlands, Norway and Germany!

I saw on the BBC today that there were high winds in England and for those flying into the London airports, many flights were cancelled and some of the incoming flights were diverted to other airports.  When you have dear ones who fly to England, you have to pay attention to these kinds of things!  Hope all my English friends are okay! (I say English, because it looks as if Scotland missed this wind!)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

"Risen" Movie

Richard and I saw the movie "Risen".  We both thought it was worth seeing and found it very moving.   The actor who played Jesus is Cliff Curtis and he is a Maori from New Zealand.  Raised as a Catholic, his stock answer for which role he would most like to play was always the same : Jesus.  Since there is a certain "type" when casting this role, he never thought he would be considered and when he was offered the role, he thought it was a joke!  (He has played quite a few "bad guy" characters, so he was quite surprised to get this call and also since he is in his late 40's, he thought he might be considered too old for the role.)   As the filming began, Mr Curtis felt that he wanted to be on his own so that he could bring a certain truth to his portrayal, he spent a great deal of time in meditation on the set and didn't speak with his co-actors.  When the director suggested that he might want to interact with those who would play his disciples in the movie, he agreed to do so and he did this by an unusual act.  When the actors sat down for a lunch break, Mr. Curtis knelt down beside them, one by one, and began washing their feet.  When I read this, it made me want to see the movie even more!  And even though, the story itself  is from the viewpoint of a Roman soldier and not really a Biblical movie,, I still kept waiting and waiting to see Jesus.  ("We wish to see Jesus"...that is Biblical, you know!)  Okay, I hope to not spoil it for you, but the scene where the disciples are found in the upper room, that is worth the whole movie, in my opinion.  It's possible that I held my breath during that part, I thought it was amazing.

Remember when my Dad was in the hospital?  I rushed to get to his hospital after I got off work one day and when I walked into his room, and saw him sitting up on his bed, I looked down at his feet and they looked very dry to me.  What did I do? I immediately knelt down and took a lotion from my handbag and began rubbing it on his feet.  When I smelled the floral scent of the lotion, I was struck by the memory of Mary rubbing the nard, I think it was called on the feet of Jesus...  

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

"My Lord and my God"    Thomas
"I have seen the Lord!"   Mary Magdalene

Easter Blessings to you all.

Anybody remember my post about Wendy Bagwell and The Sunliters? My Aunt Jean, who was a gospel singer, sang backing vocals on the song "When The Wagon Was New".  I have this song on here as a tribute for her, she passed away yesterday.  May she rest in the Peace of the Lord.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stone Mountain- A Blooming Good Time!

Our son took our photo in front of these pink blossoms which were just at the base of the walk up trail at Stone Mountain.  Anybody know what they are?  They were breathtakingly beautiful, whatever they are called!   ( is a Chinese fringe flower   (Loropetalum).

Come on now, we have almost made it to the top...can't stop now!

The views from the top are amazing but sometimes the clouds deserve just as much attention.

Always time for a quick call to my Dad!  It was very windy on this day so it took a few minutes to get the call through to him.  When I phone him and ask him if he knows where I am, he always says the same thing..."On top of Old Smoky!" (Stone Mountain!)

We walked up but we took the cable car down this time.  (And not to worry, we walked some more on the Cherokee Trail after the cable car ride!)  

Look, we were just on the top of that big rock!  It is an amazing sight to see that gray stone against the sky!

The cherry trees were in full bloom and they were lovely.

Walking back along the Cherokee trail we saw the first greening of the trees (buckeyes). Such a welcome sight!  (See the outline of Stone Mountain on the horizon?)

 We have now come full circle, back to this beautiful bright pink flowering shrub.  I don't know what this is called but I love it! (You might think it is an azalea but it isn't...and Richard is very good with his flowering shrubs!)  UPDATE AS OF MARCH 27TH, 2016...Thanks to my blogging friend, Bob from Scotland for the flower ID!  This is a Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum). Well done, Bob! :-)  

Hope all of you are having a blooming good time wherever you are.
Happy Spring to you all!   

"Should I Pray"...Christopher played this for us in the car on the way to Stone Mountain.  It is by the Trash Can Sinatras and Carly Simon is singing with them.  
(Hope my friend on the Isle of Lewis will like this post... and the Trash Can Sinatras are a Scottish band!)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sugar Tax? NOT On Tango Orange!

Happy to know that my choice of beverage in England has a sugar content that is low enough so that it is not considered in the new sugar tax!  "The Office of Budgetary Responsibility" is behind this levy on sugary drinks (and Americans, don't you wish we had this department in our country?) The Chancellor, George Osbourne has introduced this Budget including this levy (or tax). If a drink has 5 grams or more per 100ml, it will be taxed.  A higher rate will be imposed if the drink is 8grams or more per 100ml.   What sugary drinks have less than 5 grams? I was pleased to note the following:

R.White's Lemonade 2.4
Tango Apple 2.1
Tangle Blood Orange 3.0

Whew, mine just made it! 

This tax is being imposed on an effort to stop obesity, especially in children.  It is thought that the amount raised from this tax could be as much as 520 million pounds a year and would go towards funding for sport in primary schools. (And funny, how Americans would say "sports" and they say "sport", isn't it?  

I wonder if this same sugar tax could be imposed in this country? It could go towards reducing the National Debt which is over 17 TRILLION dollars!

Please don't ask me any questions about the US government and taxation.  I should have paid more attention in my Civics classes in school instead of looking at all the good-looking guys! (I am so shallow, must be from all the fizzy drinks from my childhood.)

 And I meant to say, I can just picture a bag of sugar saying:


There, that is an American joke and proves I didn't spend all my time just looking at the handsome males in school!

AND by the way, TANGO has no idea I exist but if anyone from the company reads this post, I will be happy to supply the address of my in-laws in England.  Sweet!
How about a tax on Worcester Sauce Crisps?  HA!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Artful Stone Stacking At Arabia Mountain

Artful stone arranging is nice to find and to observe. I didn't do this! I just asked my husband to take the photo of it before someone destroyed it. You know someone always has to...shame, I would leave it like this myself.

Artful stone stacking...that is something that we often see on our walks over our local monadnocks (stone mountains in this area.)   This weekend, my husband and I were happy to run into Ranger Robby at Arabia Mountain and he told us that this coming Saturday will be a fun filled day at the mountain including something called Yoga Laughter (which I like the sound of) and also, Artful Stone Stacking.

Arabia Mountain Play Day

March 19 @ 9:00 am - 2:30 pm                   FREE!

   Anybody remember the last time we saw Ranger Robby?  It was last June and you can see him in the photo above cooling off in the waterfall!    Ranger Robby, you are a such a good sport to let us take your photo like this!  (Well, to let Richard take it, I should say, to be honest!)



I think I have mentioned the stone balancing done by a man named Adrian Gray in England.  I found a video for you.   He says that the placement of the stones are meant to invoke wonder...that reminds you of some other rocks in England, doesn't it?
Stonehenge, Condado de Wiltshire, Inglaterra, 2014-08-12, DD 09.JPG
image from Wikipedia.

Stonehenge in Wiltshire, know I had to mention it in this post!  There are many theories as to the meaning and purpose behind the placement of these ancient stones.   I don't know, I only know I like the look of them.  It is not my aim in life to explain the world, I just appreciate beauty wherever I see it, the marvelous wonder of it all!

Hope you are all finding beauty wherever you are and that you are all doing well.  We just had the most beautiful weekend with many of our trees coming into bloom.  It was a shame to lose even one hour of it! (Daylight savings time for us now.)



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sir George Martin and Brian Wilson


Sir George Martin...I have such admiration for this great gentleman! He just passed away this week, known most famously as the "5th Beatle" and behind other great British musical groups, he was also quite simply, a great admirer of wonderful songwriters.  If you don't believe me, look at the clip I have here for you of his meeting with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.  (And you MUST watch him driving in LA, driving the MOST coolest of cars and it looks as if this was just from 2013, so that means he is driving in the USA, which means on the other side of the road, and that he did this at the age of 87!) 

Hoping that all of you doing well these days, my friends.  I have once again managed to do some kind of damage to my hand, nothing serious, but I really must try not to beat myself up, so much, don't you think?   Take care!
Let's walk somewhere! Blue skies are very welcome!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Pat Conroy, Great Writer from the South

Pat Conroy is a writer from the South.  He has now passed away but that first sentence is correct, he is and always will be a Southern writer.  Most people will know his books of fiction but one of my favorite books by him is "Pat Conroy's Cookbook".  Yes, there are recipes of course but there are stories with them and that is what makes this book very special for me.  If you want to have a hint of his writing, you may look at his blog just here.  Pat Conroy dying just weeks after Harper Lee, makes me think that the Southern gentleman would find a bit of comfort in that.  God rest his soul, I very much admired his writing.

"There might be people who don't like my son but you wouldn't want to know them."  

That is a line of his that I remember writing down from one of his books, he wrote it about someone but I paraphased it about Christopher. (Hey, I might have changed it somehow, but you get the meaning, right?)

Down to earth, I like that expression, don't you?  I could have flowers on here in remembrance but I think a cabbage and a broccoli from my Dad's SOUTHERN garden would fit the bill just perfectly. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

MLB Spring Training! "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"

Wonderful to know that the Braves are in Spring Training in Florida!  It is called the Grapefruit League, when the baseball teams are playing there!  I like to watch the baseball games on TV with my Dad.   How do we do that? I speak with him on the phone and it's great fun, since his TV is a few seconds ahead of mine, so he will sometimes have a low whistle or a shout of joy and then... I will see what that means! (Sometimes, it is a strike-out, sometimes a home run!) 
Of course, it is also a treat to watch them live at the stadium.  A few years back, my son was at the game with a few friends and the camera lingered on them for a few minutes and that is the image you see above!  Okay Christopher, here you are with your friend, Jim, in all your grainy handsomeness!
I notice that they will often have the camera on very good looking people, those who are easy on the eyes.  Just saying, son!

One of the things that is keeping me busy...look at that pizza above, it has a gluten free crust and I have ahem...SLAVED okay, worked quite hard on getting that just right.  I have had some fun times lately, trying to make good food for Richard that is tasty but also healthy for him.  You should wish me luck, trying to put weight on my husband at the same time that I am trying to lose weight. Oh, the irony of life! (Did you know that in England, it is measured in "stones' rather than pounds? It's true! I would like to lose a stone, which is 14 pounds in the American language!)
Hey, I only have about two dozen things that I want to tell you all about!  Y'all are just sitting on the edge of your seat to know what all I have to tell you next, I am sure.  I hope one day to somehow get things sorted out so that I can blog properly again.
It's been a while since I had this great video of Harpo playing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"...and you might not remember it anyway, so here it is again....
TAKE CARE EVERYONE!  HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!  Going to hopefully take some long walks, gotta lose that STONE, don't you know!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Roosevelt Bible

In the February issue of the Smithsonian Magazine, there was a very good article about a veteran of World War II.   In this piece, the gentleman mentioned that he still had his Roosevelt Bible from his time in the Army.  I wonder how many reading that article knew what he meant by that? I wouldn't have known if not for my Dad!  This time last year when I was at my Dad's, I noticed a small Bible that was propped up on a shelf...taking it down, I realized that it was this same bible that had been issued to those in World War II.  (If my memory is correct, it consists of the New Testament and Psalms.)  His name was in the front of the Bible, but even though it said not to write the name down, he could do so since the war was over!  (My Dad was drafted just after the end of the war and sent to Berlin.  He was only 18 years old.)  And just like him, he mailed this small Bible to his little sister, Leona.  Sadly, Leona died in 1997 and her daughter and son, gave it back to my Dad.

The Harmony of the Four Gospels....I have heard many sermons that will mention that a certain story in the Bible will be mentioned in one gospel but not in any other one, or that a story is mentioned in all four gospels so I loved finding this chart called "The Harmony of the Four Gospels"!  This was in the Roosevelt Bible and I have never seen it before! Perhaps you will laugh at me and say that this is in a lot of Bibles, but I have never seen it before. 

Also, there are four verses of the "The Star Spangled Banner" in the Bible but you very rarely see the last one which was printed in this Bible...
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n-rescued land Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!” And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Below is a photo of my Dad in his Army uniform.  Aunt Leona had this photo and she made copies of it for all his kids and framed it for each one of us.  If you remember me mentioning our night blooming cereus cactus, that was also a gift from Leona, which we have had since 1994 and is now over 6 feet tall.