Wednesday, 30 January 2008
The story goes that England's Edward III, after a victory in the Battle of Crécy, laid siege to Calais and Philip VI of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs. Philip failed to lift the siege and starvation eventually forced the city to parlay for surrender. Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed. Edward demanded that they walk out almost naked and wearing nooses around their necks and be carrying the keys to the city and castle. One of the wealthiest of the town leaders, Eustache de Saint Pierre, volunteered first and five other burghers soon followed suit and they stripped down to their breeches. Saint Pierre led this envoy of emaciated volunteers to the city gates and it is this moment and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice and the facing of imminent mortality that Rodin captures in these figures, which are scaled somewhat larger than life.
In history, though the burghers expected to be executed, their lives were spared by the intervention of England's Queen, Philippa of Hainault, who persuaded her husband by saying it would be a bad omen for her unborn child. Wikipedia
Monday, 28 January 2008
The reason for being in London was Dr. Em's **th birthday - and to celebrate we took in a 'show'.
The show we (when I say we I mean of course I... ) selected was 'Wicked' (the untold story of the witches of Oz) and it is absolutely fantastic. Great music, great acting and a lot of humour. Two of the actors some of you may remember are Susie Blake and Nigel Planer (man, has he aged! - but then haven't we all?).
Friday, 18 January 2008
THURSDAY 17/01/2008 14:05:30
The baby snake which vanished from one of Belfast's most famous streets has been found dead. The baby python was reported missing from Hyndford Street in east Belfast, where the legendary musician Van Morrison was born, yesterday morning.
The police say the snake was found dead in an alleyway in the Heatherbell Street area this afternoon.
It is not the content of the story that amused us but the fact that the journalist thought that adding a couple of commas would improve the sense of the story.
Monday, 14 January 2008
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Today is a very special day - it is the birthday of my grandson and also the daughter of my friend, MLL.
Aujourd'hui, c'est un jour très spécial - c'est les anniversaires de mon petit-fils et de la fille de mon amie, MLL.
I would like to send my very best wishes to both of these very special people.
Je voudrais présenter mes meilleurs voeux les deux enfants spécials.
Monday, 7 January 2008
The finale of the 1993 french film 'Bleu' directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski.
The music is the 'Song for the Unification of Europe' from the film's soundtrack, composed by Zbigniew Preisner and sung in Greek. It's an abridged version of 1 Corinthians:13 ("Hymn to Love").
Sinfonia Varsovia, conducted by Wojciech Michniewski
Elzbieta Towarnicka, soprano
The Silesia Philharmonic Choir.
Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares - Polegnala e Todora
Sam was a well known character around Belfast and, like fellow musician Rory Gallagher, he always had time to stop and talk to fans. In his orange cordauroy jacket, blue cordauroy trousers, knee high boots and with his long curly hair people would joke that he looked like King Billy. Sam gave the impression of being a quiet and gentle man but when he started singing he could belt it out with great energy. He disappeared off the scene for a few years and a number of rumours flew about as to where he had gone to but he eventually made a come-back and the power of his singing had in no way diminished. He will be sadly missed on the local music scene.
Back in the day of the Belfast Beat (Maritime Blues) scene, Sam Mahood played with Just Five and later toured with the Big Soul Band [who made the Commitments look like Val Doonican - ed].
Just Five were a powerhouse R & B act and one of Belfast's hottest acts. The band was founded by pork butcher Sam Mahood (born in 1946, in Banbridge on the River Bann, Co Down, Northern Ireland), who had long wild red hair, staring eyes, and a voice steeped in gospel, who lived in University Street with John Cox, brother of Mick Cox later of Eire Apparent. Promising guitar player John Cox nearly joined The Just Five. The band included Frank Connolly vocals; Billy McCoy guitar and Mervyn Crawford guitar. Just Five played the Maritime Hotel and also played a Friday night dance at the Annadale Boat Club. Their repertoire featured blues classics and the latest Rolling Stones songs like 'Paint It, Black' and as a tribute to Them they regularly included a version of 'Baby Please Don't Go'. Among their rivals were up-and-coming group the Few, a quintet of hip schoolboys. Just Five appeared on a package recording released as 'Ireland's Greatest Sounds - Five Top Groups From Belfast's Maritime Club' on Emerald Records established by Mervyn Soloman.
As a mark of respect, respected Ulster blues band The Lee Hedley Band is organising a farewell concert to Mahood on Sunday, January 27 in the Kings Head, Belfast, with the help of a few key people in the showbiz scene. The show will run from lunchtime on Sunday, January 27 until 8-9pm. More Lee Hedley Band
Sunday, 6 January 2008
This one, as you can see, was parked by a blonde -
so there may be an excuse for her: she probably cannot park in a space smaller than a football pitch or "I deserve two spaces because I just got a manicure" .
But you know why they keep doing this - because they constantly get away with it, because the supermarket management won't take action against them. They should be clamped and have to pay a large fine to have their car released and perhaps they would think twice before doing this again. The same applies to those able bodied idiots who park in the bays for drivers with disabilities. (Classic example here:)
There is a saying (I believe) about the size of the brain being in inverse proportion to the size of the car.
I have been thinking of getting some sticky labels printed with a sarcastic (or otherwise) suggestion for drivers like this that I could then stick on their windscreen but here is a suggestion I found on another blog :
One way to issue a corrective to asshats like this, short of keying: keep a tube of lipstick in your glove compartment for pithy messages on the jerk's winshield. It takes about 10 minutes to wipe ASSHOLE off in rouge red, and they'll get the message. And no permanent damage to fck up your karma.
So, as you can see, this would appear to be a world-wide phenomenon. At least the Scottish Government seems to be taking some notice of the disabled parking problem and to quote from their article
Past behaviour is often a good indicator of future behaviour. It follows that if a car park provider operates a clear, reliable and consistent approach to the enforcement of reserved bays for people with disabilities then, over time, people will become aware of the consequences should they continue to misuse them.
Any suggestions about what to print on a sticky label will be gratefully received.
Saturday, 5 January 2008
Tuesday, 1 January 2008
A guid new year to ane an' a'
An' mony may ye see,
An' during a' the years to come,
O happy may ye be.
An' may ye ne'er hae cause to mourn,
To sigh or shed a tear;
To ane an' a' baith great an' sma'
A hearty guid New year.
Today we decided to go for a bit of a stroll to work off some of the culinary excesses and took ourselves over to the other side of the Lough into County Down and down to Bangor, where it was surprisingly mild. As we walked along the coastal path (just past Pickie) we spotted what, at first glance, appeared to be a commemorative plaque set into the rocks but on further investigation turned out to be a piece of prose by some elegiac angler. Some of you may consider taking his advice.