Thursday, 21 July 2016

Talc ...

Talcum powder … mostly known as ‘talc’ or baby powder … but this is a clay mineral of the softest kind, listed as such on the Mohs hardness scale.

Block of talc - greeny, grey, cream colouration

'Monti' Montague Sykes, artist, sculptor, writer and blogger, wrote a piece on her Montana talc sculpture … I was fascinated – she’s a great blogger/writer-artist combining the creative art forms … but I’d never thought of the possibility of sculpting from baby-soft talc …

Bozeman - capital of Gallatin County,
Montana - on the eastern side of the
Rockies, USA

I then went searching just to gain a little more understanding … first things – Montana Talc … now that mine is owned by Imerys … a global organisation.

Where had I come across Imerys before – well: at the approaches to The Eden Project in Cornwall – a favourite of my mother’s, which therefore holds many memories. 

Eden Project with meadow plantings ...
c/o Visit Cornwall

The dramatic global garden housed in tropical biomes that nestle in a china-clay pit crater the size of 30 football pitches … is a gateway to a better understanding of relationships between plants and people … a unique resource for many …

Imerys own the China Clay lands of south-mid Cornwall … and announce the fact as one drives through their landscapes … I’d been used to English China Clay … now Imerys.

Waddesdon Manor - bequeathed by the
Rothschild family to the National Trust 

Imetal founded in 1880 by the Rothschild family had combined a few of their many subsidiaries in metals and mining industries, which then became known as Imerys.

I have to say I’d never really associated the Rothschilds with mining – but of course having amassed the world’s largest private fortune in the 19th C – it’s not surprising to find that their business enterprises cover many areas, over and above banking.

This wonderful coloured depiction - shows the
structure of  talc (see Wiki for detail)
So back to Montana and baby bottom talc … Monti’s piece is titled “Emerging” sculpted from talc … the form is definitely transpiring and becomes revealed … the mineral looks so soft …

You may have experienced soapstone – which is a metamorphic rock composed predominantly of talc … it can feel ‘greasy’ to the touch.

The word talc derives from Medieval Latin talcus, which came from Arabic, derived from the Persian … and covers various related minerals, including talc, mica and Selenite.

Monti's sculpture: EMERGING ... you can definitely
see the form ... 

Who would have thought talcum powder would take us on a world tour – China Clay … started in China – that’s another story … but knowing how soft and easily damaged soapstone can be …

… talc’s story unfolds so appropriately using Monti’s wonderful sculpture “EMERGING” … a human form sculpted from this softest – as a baby’s bottom – stone …

National League of American Pen Women ... art and poetry on view

Mary Montague Sikes blog and her post:
     Seed Work for Authors and Artists - Visiting the Trees

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Blog Sandwich Update 10 … ebb and flow noises, tide time and sea views …

Moved … and got greeted with both these – the view is magnificent - and I now live as described above …

Chalky cliffs at edge of Downs - Beachy Head is just
around that bluff

The move was fine (movers excellent) – it’s the rest that had stressed me out, and is keeping me stressed out … but I, thankfully, mentally turn the tables and say all will be sorted out and life will improve.

It was delicious ...

We’ve had an interesting three weeks … the Queen has just returned to Buckingham Palace to welcome the new Prime Minister … Her Majesty has now seen off twelve other Prime Ministers – some achievement.

I voted “IN” … can’t say I was surprised at the result of ‘LEAVE’ – it was an horrendous campaign … I do hate all the back-stabbing, the uninformed comments, the lies spread about and the bullies that seem to think they can rule the roost – when they can’t discuss their point of view … or won’t understand how the rules of governance work …

One of the interesting by-the-byes ... is that people were happy to say which way they would vote or voted ... 

Regardless of what we do - we will still need to comply;

Mind you this could have been my packing ... croissantly
straight to fill the boxes!
I did campaign – much to my surprise … not really in my nature – but I belong to the European Movement – which is an informative body about the EU and how it works … it’s been in existence for 69 years … (our branch in Eastbourne has been around for over 40 years and is the strongest branch outside of London).

Still we’re out now (or will be) – and after all the fall outs, the Parliamentary parties’ voting positions … still ongoing with Labour … I hope people can be civilised letting the country go forward to settle things as quickly as is reasonably possible … it won’t be soon – that I think is the main thing … care and consideration with ideas (and strategy) are the essentials now.

View from flat - sailing towards Beachy Head ...
tanker glinting in the deep water of the
English Channel heading who knows where ...
We need to all set higher standards for ourselves and promote a civilised society – be it at a family, local, town, city, state/county and country level … at whatever role in society we hold … set our sights above normal and encourage others to do the same …

So many unnecessary deaths – why, oh why … how can we get to this in today’s world … we now need our leaders to lead – my thoughts to all who grieve … let us bring peace for each other …

The company I used were professional
and very helpful ... 

I welcome the new Prime Minister – she seems to have lots of strengths … many that we can all learn from … here’s to our second female Prime Minister.

Lots of moving vans this week around 10 Downing Street ... 

Life seems to have rattled by – taking my mind off other things … but all grist to the mill, and to the character building aspects that I didn’t expect to come across!

The reef ... as the tide ebbs
I’m around – recovering still and dealing with a lot of challenges – but at least BT did their stuff efficiently … a youngster of 19 (by a few days) … turned up – he was clean, well turned out in a boy-scout kind of way … shorts and heavy boots … but he solved the problems and broadband was up and shining blue … good job done.

Ever changing seascape ...

I’ll be over to your blogs … as and when … enjoy your summers – I hope ours will come … still my views keep me happy … and tide time is quite cathartic, while the wave noise keeps other noises at bay!

Oh yes … our new Prime Minister was born in this town … more claim to fame for Eastbourne …

I started this yesterday when rain was on hand ... now it's a glorious day ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Blog Sandwich Update 9 (Unexpected one!) ...

The move … is not all smooth – but what’s to be expected?!  Looks like I need a whole load of extras I hadn’t catered for … British Telecom phone line – obviously the old one got cancelled and withdrawn … there’s no tv aerial … so I need a satellite box …

My view isn't quite like this ... but
I am able to see the chalk cliffs, with
the ebb and flow of the English Channel
 … mole-brown pile carpet in a south-west facing flat – not the best colour choice – still it’s new … and this of course brings load of excess pile and fluff out?!   Also not easy to move ‘things’ around on piled carpet, and darkens the rooms … the joys of not being in control of one’s own destiny …

Oh and it bucketed yesterday … which then brought a leak to light on the balcony above … straight into the sitting room over the window etc – still that’s not my worry … but just adds to the interesting journey I’m on.

Draco Constellation
see Wiki for more info

So with BT (phone) delays – I won’t have connectivity for the computer until the middle of July … about time I learnt to use the iPad properly – I guess?!  

Now to more pleasant things … Draco: the constellation that never sets … love this image …

Strawberry Moon over Stonehenge

Strawberries – the season has started … Asparagus is almost over now … and summer is upon us – we were meant to have the most glorious of strawberry moons – but down here yesterday … we could hardly see in front of our noses … thick rain or thrashing sea mist …

Strawberry Mousse cheese cake

I used to make a raspberry cheesecake - similar to this ... and oh it was always so delicious!  Strawberries for now - fresh English ones ... 

European Referendum – happens on Thursday 23rd this is a very serious decision for the British public (and those eligible to vote) …

I N    o r     O U T

By the time I move on Friday – life could be very different … we await our vote … and then by the time I’m back blogging in the middle of July, we shall have seen the fall-out … fall-out there will be … which way I’ve no idea.

Jo Cox - RIP
You will have, I hope [terribly sadly], heard about the murder of one of our Members of Parliament – Jo Cox – she was an exceptional person … Parliament was recalled to pay tribute to her … unusual to say the least, and has never been done before for a 'normal person' ...

I've put a link in – it makes interesting reading re our Parliament, and especially about Jo herself – she would have been 42 tomorrow …

The Daily Telegraph article on the amazing tributes that have been, and will be continued to be paid to this extraordinary soul - who crossed boundaries and supported so many.  I will write about it later in the year ... 

Let us have peace during this
changing life in Europe and the UK

On that sombre note – please note I will not be around very much … as I settle in and get sorted out …

Again there is no need to comment … especially as I may not be able to easily reply to you all ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters inspirational Stories

Sunday, 12 June 2016

ABCs of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as he turned 95 this week …

Drama Persona in this post which might help a little:
His Royal Highness,
The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh and his wife, The Queen – need no introduction: I hope!

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (1882 – 1944), was the Duke’s father and brother to the King of Greece, King Constantine – he married:

Princess Alice of Battenberg (1885 – 1969), later Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark.  She was a great granddaughter of Queen Victoria and had been born at Windsor Castle. 

Admiral of the Fleet Louis Mountbatten (1900 – 1979), known as Lord Mountbatten, was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria and had strong influence among the royals.

++ -- ++

Background to Prince Philip’s life …

Panoramic view of Old Town Corfu: it is on the
north western edge of Greece; the island is in the Ionian Sea
The Duke was born 10th June 1921 in Corfu (Greece) he became Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich and father of the heir to the British throne …

Mon Repos, where the Prince was born
Life didn’t start too badly in a lovely house in Corfu; his father, Prince Andrew, was in Athens to command an army division embroiled in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-22) … things went badly for Greece, and King Constantine was forced to abdicate.

A revolutionary court banished Prince Andrew from Greece for life … the family was evacuated, with Prince Philip being carried in a cot made from a fruit box – they went to France.

Prince Andrew in 1913
portrait by Philip Laszlo
(the Duke's father)
His parents’ marriage was disintegrating, and in 1933 aged 12 he was sent to Germany to the Schule Schloss Salem in Southern Germany …

He had watched while his parents’ lives unravelled … his mother turned to God, being incarcerated for some years with schizophrenia, while his father sank to the earthly solace of the gambling tables: the Duke did not have an easy childhood … his emotional abilities being severely curtailed.

Princess Alice in 1903
(the Duke's mother)

A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families: now please study European history! – also don’t rely on me as being definitively correct!

Salem Abbey c 1765
Baden Wurttemberg
The educator Kurt Hahn, who started the Schule Schloss with support from Prince Maximilian of Baden in 1920 … was Jewish but under the Nazi regime was forced to emigrate to Scotland … founding the British Salem School of Gordonstoun – hence Prince Philip’s educative years were spent there … and then other members of the Royal family attended … some thrived in the Outward Bound type of school … others not so well.

Prince Maximilian’s son, Berthold, married Princess Theodora, daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.  Prince Berthold thus became the brother-in-law of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Windsor Castle and part of the Great Park

The Duke’s family, including his mother, Princess Alice, were now based in Britain on the Windsor estate … while other family members still lived in Denmark, Germany and Greece …  

His four elder sisters had married German noblemen, moved to Germany … complicating matters further …

Gordonstoun School logo
After leaving Gordonstoun in 1939, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy, graduating the following year from the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, as the best cadet in his course.

During the 2nd World War he continued to serve in the British forces, while two of his brothers-in-law fought on the opposing German side.

Australians stoking boilers

He served valiantly and was acknowledged, yet duties of lesser glory also beckoned … including stoking the boilers of a troop ship. 

Prince Philip in naval uniform - when he was
resident in Malta 1949

He was an exceptional student … being promoted to Commander in 1952; he had completed his naval career in July 1951 – after King George VI, his father-in-law’s, death in February that year.

King Christian IX -
by Henrik Olrik

Prince Philip and the Queen are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria; while they had met in 1934 and 1937 at family ‘dooos’!

Naval College at Dartmouth

They met again at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939 – the Queen was 13, the Prince was 18 ... and they began to exchange letters.  The romance flourished – no doubt encouraged by Lord Mountbatten, who was very ambitious for himself, but also for his charge, his nephew – Philip.

Lord Mountbatten was known as His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg … his sister, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, who was the unfortunate lady banished from Greece with her husband (Prince Philip's parents).

Frogmore House

Lord Mountbatten was born at Frogmore House on the Windsor estate … where the family dropped their German styles and titles.   He was an uncle to Prince Philip, while also a second cousin once removed to Elizabeth II.

Lord Mountbatten’s role in the affairs of the Royals was quite extensive, especially as he was related and had a distinguished service career in the Navy and Governmental administration – being admired by some, not so keenly by others.

Lord Mountbatten

Mountbatten as Commander of the destroyer HMS Kelly in 1939 was at Dartmouth Navy College for the visit of King George VI and his family … asked the Duke of Edinburgh to escort and entertain the two princesses, while their parents were taken round the ship: the trap was set …

Elizabeth was hooked … and when she was 21 after the end of World War II, their engagement was announced.

It was a wee problem … Philip had no financial standing, he had been stateless after being exiled in his cot from Greece, was foreign-born (though a British subject, who had served in the Royal Navy), but had sisters married to German noblemen with Nazi links.

Newlyweds in 1947

He apparently was impeccably polite and the Queen Mother said that he was ‘an English gentleman’ … before the marriage he renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten … taking the surname of his mother’s British family.

Just before the wedding in 1947 he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style His Royal Highness. 

++ -- ++

Coronation 1952

A is for the Accession, on 6 February 1952, of his wife, then Her Royal Highness, The Princess Elizabeth, when she became Her Majesty The Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms.

In their film they had a good choice
of foods ... but cooked simply and
with salads etc ... 

B is for BBQ … the Duke loves to barbecue … stoking the coals readying for the actual cooking of whatever is on offer.  He loves his food and will eat anything … except oysters while on public duty.

C is for Childhood and Corfu … he finds it difficult to show loving emotion – something that goes back to that difficult childhood … for someone of Prince Philip’s background difficult to change and adjust to …

D is for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme … which was based on one of the schemes started by Kurt Hahn at Gordonstoun … to help youngsters from all walks of life achieve in all forms of activities – physical, life skills to expeditions - and to offer them hope for their future.

Taken for the Queen's 90th birthday
this year - at Windsor

D is for Dogs – or not … as the Duke really does not like the Queen’s Welsh corgis!

Loves his Event Riding

E is for the Equestrian Event of Carriage Driving … a sport the Duke took up after he gave up polo.  He began driving ponies, before progressing to Cleveland Bay horses.  He has been competing since 1973.

Old Elizabethan Recipes - whether he
would have this in his cookery library I'm
unsure - but definitely a Mrs Beeton, and a
Larousse - and probably BBQ books

F is for Food … he is fond of good food and has a large selection of cookery books in his library.  He enjoys a half of lager rather than wine.

G is for Greece and Gordonstoun … and the apes of Gibraltar – the terminology that he used to described the media!

H is for the Queen’s handbag, which contains only her specs and a lipstick, while the Duke carries a driving licence, credit cards and a passport.

and for Helicopters … he’s given up flying those, but will still take the fixed-wing aircraft up and bring it down when it’s time to land …

Rocks are building blocks

I is for Indefatigable, Intelligent, a man of Integrity, Industrious, Irascible, sometimes Intolerant … a mix of all things good for her Majesty – he is her rock.

J is for Joy … their marriage has been extremely successful – he’s had to adapt … and despite walking two steps behind his wife, as protocol requires … 

The Queen and her heirs - Prince Philip being the father,
grandfather and great-grandfather (and Prince Consort)
... has created many necessary projects for himself … overseeing the royal properties; setting up charities; touring and encouraging others.  

One man was ecstatic – Lord Mountbatten … the schemer, who was creating a dynasty through the marriage.

K is for not the King – the husband of a queen is known as a Prince consort …

L is for Laptop … during the journey in the aircraft under “H” above … he will retire to the back of the plane where he can work at his desk on his laptop.

... L is for Languages … the Duke speaks English and French, has a spattering of German, but very little Greek …

Battenberg Castle

M is for Mountbatten – which is the surname Prince Philip took from his mother’s family … in preparation for his marriage to the Queen.

N is for Name … with the Queen’s accession, it seemed probable that the royal house would bear her husband’s name, becoming the House of Mountbatten, in line with the custom of a wife taking her husband’s surname on marriage.

Punch Cartoon 1917
"A Good Riddance" - sweeping away
the German titles held by the members
of his family

Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister, and the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary, favoured the retention of the House of Windsor – this was confirmed.  The House of Windsor had been founded by Queen Mary’s husband, King George V, in 1917 … when the King changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor.

The Duke, perhaps understandably – as he hadn’t, at that stage, adjusted to all the protocols of royal life – complained, “I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.”  Queen Mary died in 1953, and Churchill resigned in 1955 … the way was open for a change – in 1960 the surname Mountbatten-Windsor could be and has been used by some of the Queen’s children and grandchildren.

Prince Philip in one of
his studies

O is for Occupied … always occupied, always busy, always interested and always involved … he has a positive mental attitude, stays cognitively and physically active, which seems to have maintained him for his 95 years.

... O is for Outspoken and Opinionated … he may casually be outspoken and make controversial remarks … but they are usually made with a twinkle in his eye … with laughter following on …

P is for Patron … of over 800 organisations and serves as Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme for young people.

The Queen at breakfast
... P is for Professional … everything he does he approaches from a knowledge base, having briefed himself extremely well.

... P is for Painting Landscapes in oils … as he withdraws from ‘executive responsibilities’ he is finding more time for this hobby.

Having a good laugh

Q is for Her Majesty, ‘the Queen’ – his wife … ‘Lilibet’ as he calls her …

R is for Radio – their marriage ceremony was broadcast throughout the world by radio.  It was the Duke who insisted that the Coronation of the Queen should be broadcast over the new medium, that is television – and which in the 21st century has been digitally enhanced, so we can see it in colour: a forward thinking Duke.

Princess Anne with her father - she is a
chip off the old block (and the equestrian in the
family - while her daughter Zara is also an
accomplished horse-woman)

S is for Sports … the Duke loves his sports … he gave up polo in 1971, taking up carriage riding, which he continues to this day.  He also shoots grouse, preferring that to stalking, or fishing on the River Dee while in Balmoral.

S is for Science and Technology ... for Consorts of Queens apparently: Prince Albert also thought forward ... the same impulse for the future that 70 years later, the next Prince Consort embraced.

Prince Philip has been tireless in his promotion of British industry, British engineering and British Science.   He has always kept himself up to date with scientific progress ...

T is for Time Wasters – he cannot tolerate those … Princess Anne has the same tendencies …

U is for Upheaval of his early life, but U is for Union of the Queen and the Prince –that mutually comfortable couple.

This green van is in Copenhagen ... used for
sweeping up after the horses used in Parades

V is for Van – a little green electric one made for the Duke so he can be driven to his London engagements.  I think the Duke would be amazed at this particular van ... for sweeping up the horse droppings for the Danish Royal family and court.

W is for Windsor and the other estates: Sandringham and Balmoral … which Prince Philip runs. 

The edge of Balmoral Castle
Balmoral has recently been re-wired and re-plumbed; there are 7,500 acres of forestry that need constant management and a fold of 30 Highland cattle.  

The extensive kitchen garden grows flowers, fruit and vegetables for the house: whatever’s not used is frozen or made into jam at the end of the season.

… and W for Work – he never stops working … he is president or an honorary member of 850 organisations and attends more than 500 public functions every year.

Gordonstoun School's Yacht

X is for the unknown forward years … which have turned out well …

Y is for Yachts … Seamanship has been a main part of the curriculum since the school began – the Duke’s early sea days … leading to his ultimate title of Commodore ...

Zara Phillips - the Duke's granddaughter

Z is for Zara Phillips – the Duke’s daughter’s (Princess Anne's) child … Zara attended Gordonstoun School; when she married Mike Tindall … she wore the Meander tiara – the tiara belonged to her great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.  

The happy couple

That is an ABC on His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh as we usually know him ... 

Her Majesty's Rock ... and I'm sure he is ... on hand at all times to help her, be with her, and share the things that make up life.

A very happy birthday to the Prince on his 95th birthday on Friday 10 June ... and to many continued years together ... 

NB no post (phew you all say!) til the 26th ... when I might have connectivity or not - as the case may be after the move ... 
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories