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Monday, March 25, 2013

A great Palm Sunday post...


Today's Palm Sunday, which for us started in the teeth of a bitter icy gale on the beach, and a procession with branches through the town, to end up with the congregation sitting sensibly in the warm church waiting for us to arrive and start the worship.
I'm not sure how much of the story of Palm Sunday still exists in folk memory, but we recall how Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem.  Everyone got very excited, because they realised it was the fulfilment of a prophecy - that their king would come to them, humble, and riding on a donkey.  So they pulled down branches from the trees and took off their outer garments and threw them on the road for Jesus to ride on.
We're nearly always reminded that it could well have been the same crowd, who 5 days later would be yelling for Jesus' death. The challenge to us is, how consistent are we in our following of Jesus?  Do we give him bits of our lives, but hang on to other bits, trying to shut out his spirit?
I've posted a few of Malcolm Guite's poems now (he's a priest-poet and songwriter who lives in Cambridge).  He's written a series of sonnets to mark the special occasions of the church's history.  They are unusual in that they are meant to be 'public' poems, not just personal reflections.  I love his sonnet for today:
Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they'll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus come
Break my resistance and make me your home.
Modern Palm Sunday procession from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem (from http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2005/mar/21/56131/ )

Friday, March 22, 2013



Some Interesting Facts
Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled.
The unreleased energy contained in the average dustbin each year could power a television for 5,000 hours.
The largest lake in the Britain could be filled with rubbish from the UK in 8 months.
On average, 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as rubbish.
As much as 50% of waste in the average dustbin could be composted.
Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
9 out of 10 people would recycle more if it were made easier.

corfu 036
Click to enlarge.
Yes, broken crocks, rubbish? Well yes, it is now, but the Greek Night in Corfu was real fun.
It’s a funny old thing is my rubbish
It breeds and breeds on its own
I chuck it all in
a huge wheelie bin
Then into a lorry it’s thrown!
It’s a funny old thing is my rubbish
It springs up from a place called thin air
It gradually appears
and then DISappears
As if it had never been there.
See the whole poem at, http://therubbishdiet.blogspot.co.uk/

Walking with grandma...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Our history is not what you think......

A look at earth's history: I wonder what we will find?  Have a look at the 40min video.


My local Chinese takeaway - murphymole...

My local Chinese Takeaway
The first wave of Chinese immigrants who arrived in the second half of the 19th Century, came after China’s defeat in the Opium Wars and, as with the lascars, were mainly seamen. They jumped ship in Britain and settled in the port cities of Liverpool, Cardiff and London and as the new century dawned, the movement away from the docks to the cities into first laundries then catering began. The earliest arrivals were often associated with the East India Company and settled in the East End in general and Limehouse in particular by 1880’s.
By 1913 there were thirty shops and cafes for Chinese people in Pennyfield and Limehouse Causeway although this ‘mini boom’ was to decline rapidly by the 1930’s as shipping slumped.
By the 1950’s the Chinese community began to focus on Soho in London for the theatre trade and when diplomatic relations standardised in 1950, several Mandarin speaking former diplomats opened Peking-style restaurants.This movement continued and by the 1960’s Soho had become London’s Chinatown and the flow outward to the suburbs and elsewhere started where costs were much cheaper. The first Chinese restaurants in London were opened by Charlie Cheung in the East End but, more importantly, by Chung Koon, a former ship’s chef on the Red Funnel Line who had settled in London and married an English girl. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why the fork they ask?

fork food 005
"There's one more thing," she said excitedly.
"What's that?" came the Priest's reply.
"This is very important," the young woman continued.
"I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."
"In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always
remember that when the dishes of the main course were
being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say,
"Keep your fork". It was my favorite part because I knew
that something better was coming ... like velvety chocolate
cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and
with substance!
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with
a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with
the fork?" Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork.
The best is yet to come."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nancy Wake's ashes scattered - one of the Gestapo's most wanted honoured in death...

:yes:The ashes of Australia's most decorated World War II servicewoman, New Zealand born former saboteur and spy Nancy Wake, have been scattered at a ceremony in France.
The service took place in a forest near the village of Verneix, whose mayor attended the ceremony, as did an Australian military representative.
Mrs Wake died in 2011 at the age of 98.
It had been her wish that her ashes be scattered in the area, where she played a key role in the resistance movement against German occupation.
Australia was represented at the ceremony by military attache Brig Bill Sowry.
"We are here today to pass on our respects, to give her the respect she deserves," Brig Sowry said.
"It's great the people of Verneix have done so much to recognise her and make this little part of France part of Australia as well."
The service was far from sombre, the BBC's Chris Bockman reports.
Mrs Wake was partial to an early morning gin-and-tonic and after her ashes were scattered, there was - as she had apparently asked for - a drinks reception at the local mayor's office, he says.
'White Mouse'
Mrs Wake was one of the most highly decorated Allied secret agents of World War II.
Born in New Zealand but raised in Australia, she is credited with helping hundreds of Allied personnel escape from occupied France.
The German Gestapo named her the "White Mouse" because she was so elusive.
The ceremony took place in the grounds of a chateau in central France
After studying journalism in London, Mrs Wake became a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Paris and reported on the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany.
After visiting Vienna in 1933, she vowed to fight against the persecution of Jews.
After the fall of France in 1940, Mrs Wake became a French Resistance courier and later a saboteur and spy - setting up escape routes and sabotaging German installations, saving hundreds of Allied lives.
She worked for British Special Operations and was parachuted into France in April 1944 before D-Day to deliver weapons to French Resistance fighters.
At one point, she was top of the Gestapo's most wanted list.
"Freedom is the only thing worth living for. While I was doing that work, I used to think it didn't matter if I died, because without freedom there was no point in living," she once said of her wartime exploits.
It was only after the liberation of France that she learned her husband, French businessman Henri Fiocca, had been tortured and killed by the Gestapo for refusing to give her up.
She returned to Australia in 1949, where she failed several times to win a seat in parliament.
In 1957 she went back to England, where she married RAF fighter pilot John Forward.
Her story inspired Sebastian Faulks' 1999 novel Charlotte Gray. A film based on the book, with the lead role played by Australian actress Cate Blanchett, was released in 2001

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Fairy...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The mummified heart of King Richard the Lionheart has been analysed...

Remains of King Richard I's heartThe team used forensic techniques to examine the King's heart, which is now a brown powder

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The mummified heart of King Richard I has been analysed by forensic experts.
When the English monarch, nicknamed Richard the Lionheart, died in 1199 his heart was embalmed and buried separately from the rest of his body.
Its condition was too poor to reveal the cause of death, but the team was able to rule out a theory that he had been killed by a poisoned arrow.
The researchers were also able to find out more about the methods used to preserve his organ.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The medieval king became known as Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a courageous military leader.
He was central to the Third Crusade, fighting against the Muslim leader Saladin.
Although he ruled England, he spent much of his time in France, and was killed there after being hit by a crossbow bolt during a siege on a castle.
Tomb of Richard IRichard I's remains were divided after he died - his heart was buried in a tomb in Rouen
After his death, his body was divided up - a common practice for aristocracy during the Middle Ages.
His entrails were buried in Chalus, which is close to Limoges in central France. The rest of his body was entombed further north, in Fontevraud Abbey, but his heart was embalmed and buried in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Rouen.
The remains of his heart - now a grey-brown powder - were locked away in a small lead box, and discovered in the 19th Century during an excavation.
But until now, they had not been studied in detail.
To find out more, a team of forensic specialists and historians performed a biological analysis.
Dr Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist from Raymond Poincare University Hospital, in France, said: "We carried out exactly the same kind of analysis that we would perform on an exhumed body for forensic purposes.
"We did a microscopic examination, toxicological analysis and also a pollen analysis."
Time of death
The heart was too badly decomposed to confirm exactly how the king died - most historians believe gangrene or septicaemia from his wound would have been the cause.

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Our toxicological analysis showed no presence of any arsenic ”
Dr Phillipe CharlierRaymond Poincare University Hospital
However, another, less widespread theory put forward in a medieval chronicle is that Richard I may have been killed by an arrow coated in poison.
But Dr Charlier said his tests revealed that this probably was not the case.
"Our toxicological analysis showed no presence of any arsenic or any other metals, so we haven't found any proof of any contamination during the end of Richard the Lionheart's life," he explained.
"We have no confirmation that he would have been poisoned: there is no argument for this."
The team found pollen in the sample, including grains from poplar and bellflower. This suggests that Richard I died at the end of April, May or the beginning of June, as these plants are in flower then. In the history books, his date of death is given as 6 April 1199.
Lead boxThe heart was buried in a small lead box, which was discovered in 1838 during an excavation
The analysis also revealed much more about the techniques that were used to preserve his heart - providing an insight into medieval religious rituals.
Dr Charlier said: "The spices and vegetables used for the embalming process were directly inspired by the ones used for the embalming of Christ.
"For example, we found frankincense. This is the only case known of using frankincense - we have never found any use of this before. This product is really devoted to very, very important persons in history."
The heart, which was wrapped in linen, also had traces of myrtle, daisy, mint and possibly lime.
The scientists think these would have been used for their smell, to give the King an "odour of sanctity", which would be "similar to Christ".
They also found mercury, which would have been used stop the heart from decomposing.
Dr Charlier said that during the post-mortem, they used up as little material as possible.
He explained: "We wanted to conserve it for the future generations.
"These are not only samples, they are also human remains and we have to respect them."
Mark Ormrod, professor in history from the University of York, said the research was extremely interesting.
"That consciousness of using very high-quality herbs and spices and other materials that are much sought after and rare does add to that sense of it being Christ-like in its quality," he said.
"Medieval kings were thought to represent the divine on Earth - they were set apart form other lay people and regarded as special and different. So that treatment of the heart strikes me as being absolutely credible."
He added that it was rare to get a forensic insight into the remains of medieval kings - and that this study and the work done on the remains of Richard III, who was recently found buried under a car park in Leicester, were unusual.
He said: "Generally speaking, when human remains are found on consecrated ground, the church, the state and the law all prevent one from undertaking any scientific analysis of them, so the opportunities to do these kinds of things are very rare."

Henry Ford’s Hemp Plastic Car is 10X Stronger...

url-2When we think of cars we think of gasoline, steel, pollution, etc. Well, maybe you don’t, but that’s what comes to mind for me. Even though we have some innovative and visually pleasing cars on the road today, it is difficult to ignore the sheer environmental impact that modern cars create. What if cars didn’t have to be the way they are today? If you are a researcher of any kind of alternative information, you already know this to be true -especially given that the technology already exists today to make cars smarter, safer and more eco-friendly (no fossil fuels necessary.) But did you know that Henry Ford spent more than a decade researching and building his Model-T car which was not only constructed from hemp but was also designed to run off hemp bio-fuel? Whatever happened to this idea?
According to Popular Mechanics, Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM HEMP! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Divine Image - William Blake...

Search the Poetry Chaikhana site:
The Divine Image
William Blake, William Blake poetry, Secular or Eclectic, Secular or Eclectic poetry,  poetry, [TRADITION SUB2] poetry, Christian poetryby William Blake
(1757 - 1827) Timeline
Original LanguageEnglish
Secular or Eclectic
18th Century

To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
Is God, our Father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity and Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.