Saturday, June 29, 2019

Sir Andy Murray

Tennis, anyone? Did y'all know that I love tennis? Love watching it that is! (Although I did once hit a tennis ball so hard that it made a hole in the net.  I am one strong woman!) It won't be long until I will get to see Wimbledon on TV.  (And it is Wimbledon...not WimbleTON, as I hear it pronounced sometimes on American television.) Anyway, I am trying to tell you about Andy Murray...he is now Sir Andy Murray, as of this year!  He has a matter of factness about him that I find very refreshing.  I have a video here for you...

There, isn't that wonderful? Does anyone else remember it? I saw that afterwards his mother sent him an email, "That's my boy!".  I love that!   (Maybe it was a text or tweet...I can't remember, I just look at the big picture, I try not to get bogged down in details, just like to get the gist of the idea.)

After his hip surgery recently, he came back and won the Queen's Cup in a  doubles match...and perhaps will play in singles matches again. (Although not at Wimbledon, that will be doubles.) 

In other sports news, the Atlanta Braves have been playing very well! They are first in their division. I sure do miss watching these games with my Dad. He knew every player by their name AND number and he would notice and comment on each player's "stance" at the plate. He even had nicknames for his favorites. (Remember me telling you that he noticed the player with the ax handled bat? I wonder how many people saw is not easy to see the end of a bat when the player is at the plate.) 

Gee, I hope Sir Andy Murray will not be too upset with me talking of baseball like this when this post was supposed to be about him. Something tells me that I don't have to worry...I doubt he will ever know of this post! Ha, ha. Sir Andy, you have a fan in me!

Okay then, WimbleDON should be on TV soon! Who will be in the finals? Who would you like to see win this year?  Do tell me! 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Thunderstorms? Make Sure You Have A Flashlight or Torch!

Last week, there was a terrific thunderstorm in Eastbourne in England. (That is where my father-in-law lives, if you remember.) If you want to see some photos of the lightning, you may see them just  here.  There were 1000 lightning strikes in one hour! Yes, I typed that correctly, that was one thousand! Even my oh-so-proper British father-in-law made sure to tell me about it. He said he had never seen the sky light up like that! (He even came close to speaking as if he could possibly use an exclamation point!) The electricity went out briefly. Of course, you know I told him to make sure that he kept a flashlight by his bed.  "A torch", he said, "yes, that would be a good idea". (I totally forgot that it is called a torch by the Brits!)

Me, being me, that got me wondering...

When was the flashlight invented?

Who invented it?

Why is it called a flashlight here, but a torch in England?

What song will I use to go with this post?

Ready for the answers? Okay, here we go...

The flashlight was invented in 1899 by Robert Mizzell, who was an Englishman living in New York City! I have not been able to find much information about Robert Mizzell except that he sold his patents to Conrad Hubert. Mr. Mizzell was working in Mr. Hubert's shop at the time. (Mr. Hubert had a novelty shop in New York City, with the best selling item being a battery powered light- up tie clasp!)  Conrad Hubert made improvements to the flashlight and became a millionaire.  He never married and when he died in 1928, he left the bulk of his fortune to thirty four different charities. (Leaving instructions that the money be dispensed jointly by a Protestant, a Catholic, and a Jew.  This was done by former President Calvin Coolidge (Protestant), former governor of New York, Alfred E. Smith (Catholic) and Julius Rosenwald, former Sears/Roebuck executive (Jew). I find it interesting that he did that and I want to know more about him.  Don't you?

Flashlight or torch?  Reading a bit more about this, it is called "flashlight" in America and Canada but in other English speaking countries it is a "torch".  Why? I don't know, it just is.

It was called flashlight at the beginning because the battery was not reliable and it would only work in "flashes".  Now, I have read quite a bit more about batteries than I want to tell you about here. If any of you are blinded by science, I am curiosity only goes so far. Ask any science teacher I ever had!

Stayed in a cabin in North Georgia recently. Had to have a step -stool to get into my bed! AND I had a flashlight on the bedside table!

A claw foot bath tub!  (Loved the towels too, the geometric pattern on them made them look like hearts, don't you think?

You thought I was going to forget to give you a song, didn't you?
HA! Never!

"Summer Lightning" by Ralph McTell!  I hope you all learn this on the guitar. You know my Richard can play it! 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

As I Stumble Through This Life...Let Me Make People Laugh

Stan Laurel (Arthur Stanley Jefferson) was born on June 16, 1890 in Ulverston, England. Coming from a theatrical family, he had his first professional performance at the age of 16 in Glasgow, Scotland.  I hope anyone reading this will know him from the amazing comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy!  

I have given you this video of them dancing to "At The Ball" in a previous post.  It is worth showing it to you again.

Stan Laurel died in 1965.  He had become good friends with Dick Van Dyke, who gave the eulogy at his funeral. Dick Van Dyke read "A Clown's Prayer" which must be read often at funerals for comedians. (The comedian, Chris Farley carried this in his wallet.)  I hope you will understand if I tell you that it also reminds me of my Dad, who died in February.  My father was not a clown or comedian but he truly enjoyed making other people laugh.  

No one knows who wrote this, so I think it is okay to share it with you...

As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more happiness than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
"When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile."

The words on his tombstone:  STAN LAUREL
                                                 (1890- 1965)
                                                A Master Of Comedy

                                              His Genius In The Art of 
                                            Humor Brought Gladness
                                             To The World He Loved

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, 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!