Sunday, 29 May 2016

Memorial Day with thoughts by Emily Hobhouse from 1923 ...



Perhaps the time has come for Emily Hobhouse's words to be considered and acted upon ... 

I have found these books on Emily Hobhouse to be particularly insightful into life from 1860 to 1926 … as we travel with Emily through that period from:

Soldiers going to serve in World War I
from Pensilva village, next village to
St Ive, near Liskeard, north Cornwall

  • North Cornwall and England,


  • briefly into America,


The early years of
Emily's life and
the Boer War:
"To Love One's Enemies"




  • long periods in South Africa at and after the Boer Wars, with breaks in England and Europe,



Emily's years in
the first World War -
mostly spent in Europe
"Agent of Peace"
  • in Europe during the 1910 – 1920 years (World War I, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and more),


  •  then her letters and journaled thoughts as she compiled, composed and readied her papers for her nephew, Oliver, for the future after her death.

"Living The Love"-
the last years of
Emily's life

These are the papers inherited by Jennifer’s father, Oliver Hobhouse, but which passed to Jennifer.  She has devoted her recent years to researching, refining and ensuring that Emily Hobhouse’s work will not be forgotten … where the truth can be told utilising original documents, backed up by informed reference.  These papers are now stored in the Bodleian Library, Oxford




St Ive, Liskeard, Churchyard - the village where Emily
lived for the first half of year relatively short life

The following paragraphs form the frontispiece of Jennifer’s last book on Emily’s life, after World War I (1918 – 1926) : “Living the Love” … seem appropriate for a Memorial weekend post …





‘It is astonishing that though so long a list of the world’s greatest thinkers in all periods have pronounced against war, yet (to this time) no statesmen has appeared capable of abolishing it as a means of settling disputes …


Great therefore will be the statesman who takes his stand on Permanent Peace … He will teach the world that Peace is not a mere absence of war; that it is not a passive ‘do nothing’ existence … but rather an agreement to join together in work of mutual interests …


In a word he will substitute Co-operation in place of Competition …’



‘Histories should be re-written showing how mistaken statesmen have invariable been in leading their countrymen into war, and how little is gained and at what enormous cost. 


The attention of youth should be fixed on the really great men of history – thinkers, poets, discoverers, scientists etc, who have laboured to advance civilization, not destroy …’


National Women's Monument
in Bloemfontein

‘Only in South Africa is there a monument to the civilian dead, often the main sufferers in war.’


Emily Hobhouse 1923



(Permission granted to reproduce these words by Jennifer Hobhouse Balme – May 2016)


In our difficult present times … we need to remember others … to encourage our leaders to co-operate, to bring peace, to let us all live together in an harmonious world – global, region, country, area, town and parish – everyone supporting and encouraging each other … sharing and giving joy to the world.


May we be and remain at peace this Memorial Day weekend … with all our fellow humans …



The titles chosen by Jennifer for her books on Emily Hobhouse today seem so appropriate - titles available on Amazon ... links below:

To Love One's Enemies

Agent of Peace

Living the Love


My post on Emily Hobhouse and her life includes a note by David Nash, Professor of History, who argued in 1999, that (Emily’s) opposition to the Second Boer War began the tradition of peace politics that has flourished through the twentieth century …
The Boer War and its Humanitarian Critics  
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 22 May 2016

ABCs of Her Majesty the Queen at the time of her 90th Birthday (21 April 2016) …



A quick run-through noting some snippets that perhaps had escaped you regarding this genuine realist and pragmatist … who accepts the role as Her Majesty, the Queen, and gets on with the Challenges … even after 90 years of living, and over 64 years of reigning … a stupendous achievement.


Her Majesty, The Queen (pre 2016) ... is that
her handsome Greek God husband - could be?
The post is inevitably not short ... enjoy ...


1926 club – twenty fellow members joined by their date of birth … were introduced to the Queen … 



The Queen greeting other
90 year olds marking their
birthday

... one of their group mentioned ‘we were all born in a lovely vintage year’ … all still going strong …



Sir David Attenborough -
Broadcaster and Naturalist


Part of that club is Sir David Frederick Attenborough, the naturalist, who is counted as a national treasure … he turned 90 on 8 May 2016.





  • Born in the silent movie era … and the Charleston dance era …
  • Became Queen when butter was still rationed – 1951
  • Now there are three Kings in waiting …

Hard Rock Cafe, London

Born at the Hard Rock CafĂ©!! – when it was still 147 Piccadilly … where her parents lived, before her father became King …




As Prince Charming with Princess
Margaret as Cinderella
Acting … the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, were always putting on plays, and soirees for the Royal family … they were active children …

The Queen is a good mimic, has a good voice … but does not see herself as a performer – she is herself …


Prince Charles with appropriate number plate,
being 'admired' by his very blonde sister: Princess Anne


Princess Anne with her mother … she’s taken a pivotal role within the Royal Family;  she was so blonde as a child … platinum blonde …



Ballet lessons – she had these as a child – which has helped hugely with her posture, and health during her reign with all its demands …


Baby Pink Chyrsanthemum

Baby-pink flower– The Princess Charlotte chrysanthemum, which is a delicate shade of pink with green tips … all sales by Waitrose will be donated to the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices …



Bonfires … as beacons lit around the country for her birthday … bunting abounded … landmarks, towns, seaside haunts - all celebrated …


Nadiya Hussain with her cake for the Queen

Cake – Orange Madeira drizzle cake – ten years ago the ‘easy to cut’ Women’s Institute Fruit Cake didn’t cut - the same mistake was not made this time – but I’d rather have a slice of fruit cake! 



Nadiya Hussain had won the BBC British Bake Off … and so was asked to make a cake to celebrate … the blade sank comfortably and enticingly into the orange-packed lower tier … with a marmalade and butter cream filling …


Church bells rang out all around the shires of Great Britain …


The bond between mother and daughter
During the Diana crisis … the Queen would escape to Princess Anne’s flat – where Anne would cook her mother’s favourite supper … Cheese SoufflĂ©.  Anne has a unique closeness with her mother … forged during those difficult years.



E for Ebullient … the Queen Mother was full of fun … inherited from her large Bowes-Lyon family – and from which George VI learnt to relax and appreciate being part of a large family, not the stuffy Royalty of George V …

… thus became a family man … passing on that trait to their eldest child, Elizabeth … destined to become Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II … an exuberant, ebullient happy upbringing for the future Queen …


Camera in hand ... 
Family Film (A Family Tribute) … ever since her father, George VI, gave her a Box Brownie before WW2, a camera has been as indispensable a part of the Queen’s life as her famous handbag …

… then she moved on to a cine camera, and became a proficient user … as we can see from the relaxed film made available to those interested to see (The Queen at 90) … the home movies she has shot span the generations of her family …



Sorry - not a very good photo I took from a paper:
James, Viscount Severn, Lady Louise, Mia Tindall,
Her Majesty holding Princess Charlotte, Savannah Phillips
Prince George and Isla Phillips

G for Great Granny – seven of the youngest in the Queen’s family were in one of the three official photos, by Annie Leibovitz, for her 90th





advert for the Royal Windsor Horse Show that the
Queen attends ... and loves.
I wrote about the counter balance her horses bring
to her life as The Queen
H is for Horses - experts in the field … acknowledge the Queen could easily have earnt her living from equine pursuits … and she still rides regularly, while Prince Philip rides his carriages ... so they are very active … which is good for their health.  They have a love of dogs – well certainly the Queen does …

King George inherited the Royal Stables … he wasn’t interested, but kept them for the employment they gave and obviously the Queen has, I’m sure, enhanced their reputation, while creating a thriving horse business … she knows everything about her animals … absolutely everything, and corrects people if they get something wrong!



H is for History … she is living our history for us …. our heritage and then the fairy tale that has followed her journey … from the Depression, to the War, her wedding and then the Coronation, been through the Beatles era, Football World Cup, fall of the Berlin Wall, Mandela being released, London Olympics, and so it goes on …


I for Icon … an overused word perhaps – but one so appropriate here for her Majesty … in this age of modernity … it is her old-fashioned values and steadfastness that have made her someone to be admired …



Joey - when he appeared at the Jubilee
Joey the War Horse … paid his respects to the Queen during her birthday celebrations outside the Castle on her walkabout … the puppet has always entranced the Queen and Prince Philip …





King Edward VII statue in
Kings Lynn

King’s Lynn – King Edward VII Academy in Kings Lynn, near Sandringham, the Queen’s home in Norfolk … the top student each year has an audience with the Queen


… in 2015 it was Hannah Hodges, who was presented with the Queen’s Gold Medal … after a gap year in France, putting her language skills into practice … she will go to Oxford later this year.


Longest reigning monarch at over 64 years – she would rather not have this accolade … so sad because her father, aged 56, died so early and unexpectedly …


A fun take on the Seal of
Approval for Marmite -
the Corgi's quarding
Marmite – finally gets the Royal Seal of Approval … interestingly it was issued to British soldiers in WW1 to stave off the illness beriberi.  It is rich in B vitamins … and was a by-product of the beer brewing process.

Personally - I love it!


Number of Engagements: 350 a year … but now delegating some … Investitures and Overseas Visits …

… she’s seen off 11 Prime Ministers … with David Cameron as her present Prime Minister …


Obamas … who was more surprised Michelle or Barack as they were driven away by the Duke of Edinburgh to lunch with the Queen the chauffeur was ‘normal’: elderly chap, raincoat, looking vaguely familiar … driving his wife, Her Majesty, with their guests to lunch!



Remember that jump? - Olympic Games Opening
Ceremony 2012: Daniel Craig, James Bond,
escorting Her Majesty to her jump

Olympic parachute jump … to open the 2012 London Olympic Games … we will all remember that historic moment …






Yes - even a gas meter ... draw a Poet Laureate
in to write an ode ... 

Poet Laureate – to the Tower of London … Carol Ann Duffy refused to write a birthday verse for Her Majesty … instead she wrote an ode to gas meters … for her labours she gets £5,750 per annum, plus a ‘butt of sherry’ in a tradition going back to the 17th century – that’s 720 bottles …



Queenmobile – a new Range Rover … with more standing room and an electric motor to allow it to cruise silently and slowly without exhaust fumes ….



Rabbit Fur … the Duke felt the fur on a Councillor’s robe and said “I can smell the mothballs!” … he’s got such a wonderful sense of humour …





Spring-Grass Green outfit
Spring-Grass Green coat and hat - was the colour of her outfit … sparkling in the sun …


Side of road - the Queen walks one side, while the Duke of Edinburgh does the other side of the road – ensuring the crowds don’t feel left out …


T for Thrifty – still using the same tea-cups as her father used before the War.   Tea on Windsor Castle Terrace … her father, the Queen Mother, the two Princesses … all hid under the tea table … until President Eisenhower with his visitors … had disappeared on their guided presidential tour!!

Tribute – the Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, who fought back tears as she says of the Queen’s much adored father, George VI: I hope you know how proud the King would be of you if he was able to tell you.  Because I think you have carried out your duties as Queen, as to be beyond belief.


United Kingdom general strike of 1926 … this lasted 9 days, starting 2 weeks after the Queen was born …  


St Crispin pub - the patron saint of Cobblers ....
appropriate as Waymarker 22 on the Windsor Walkway

Visitors visited … they came from around the world to stand and stare ... but also importantly to be there … some had met and become friends, re-met up at this their next royal gathering …





Walkabout in Windsor … it was the Queen and Prince Philip in New Zealand in 1970, who initiated the royal walkabouts … they continued thereafter … relaxing ... leaving the Palace old guard aghast at the idea of the Queen talking to people …


House of Windsor – 2016 marks 100 years of its creation …


One of the new Waymarkers
Windsor Walkway … similar to the Jubilee Walkway ... historical panels in 63 places around Windsor – one for each year of her reign  …  (see link below)





Prince Charles and
Princess Anne at the beach
in Norfolk (photo by me!)
X is for lots of love is shown by the royals to each other … they respect each other’s needs – the Queen realises Prince William and Catherine need their space and time – as it was something that she did not have with her young children once her father died and she acceded to the throne in early 1952.


Your Majesty … the Queen wears the Crown, the Duke of Edinburgh wears the trousers … but as his birthday comes around (95 in June) … his wife has to rummage in her drawer for another ‘honour’!  They have what looks like a good marriage … I’m sure Your Majesty is used in jest … I gather there’s lots of laughter and giggles …


As Queen of the
Commonwealth

Zambia – a member of the Commonwealth of Nations – as the old Commonwealth is now called … which her Majesty heads up the 53 countries in the Commonwealth … and which means much to the Queen …



Z for the Zee End nearly … the Commonwealth has kept her alive and given them status in the world …





Her greatest attribute is however to be curious … forever interested in others … her pattern of life may not change, but the family changes, the country changes, the world changes … her life is rich in knowledge …


This booklet is a tribute for Her Majesty's birthday
that I spotted ... they are not for re-sale, but come
in packs of 10 ... so can be given out: which I've done.
It has been issued by the Bible Society.

But most importantly – she is The Servant Queen and the King she serves … she knows just how much she relies on her faith to guide her through the good times and the bad.  Each day is a new beginning.



… Zoots - Shakespeare shall have the last word:  from Antony and Cleopatra, 1606:



Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale …

... adding to that - having just listened to some of  The Queen's Speech (18 May 2016) at The Opening of Parliament ... she read it clearly, no lurching through, no problems with her eyesight ... also to do that with the Crown on her head - that's one heavy headgear!  She appears in rude health.


Windsor Express - discovering the highlights of the Queen's Walkways ... all 63 places with their plaques ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Tulip time …



Some friends went over to Holland recently and said I could use a few of their photos … and show you round … and as it’s tulip time – why not ….

Keukenhof Castle



Tulips have embraced our writers, artists and even cocktails … entrepreneurs created huge wealth then perhaps lost fortunes … but the bulbs were adored and prized by the Turks long before Europeans caught the bug.



The world famous Keukenhof Gardens


The great poet Omar Khayyam waxed lyrical about them in the 12th century … it was only in the 1600s that tulips first appeared in our part of the world …




Charles de l'Ecluse


… the French botanist, Charles de l’Ecluse (1526 – 1609) began hybridizing a variety of bulbs, including the tulip – that led to these objects of desire reaching their zenith … 


Delftware Tulip vase


... including special tulip vases with which to show off each delightful bloom …




Judith Leyster - self-portrait (1633)



The Rembrandt tulips ring out to us … yet it appears that Rembrandt never painted tulips – the name we should acknowledge is Judith Leyster (1609 – 1660) … who is known for her gorgeous artworks.




Tulip Zomerschoon by
Judith Leyster




The Rembrandt Tulip: Tulipa ‘Zomerschoon’ is a name … but what a tulip … the only one surviving today – yet the title ‘Rembrandt tulip’ refers to the range of blooms with a bizarre play of colours in the petals … these were the most desired in the 1600s …





… those streaky tulips were caused by a virus, whose bulbs were exploited to produce the range of colours and shapes that we see today … it can take 15 – 20 years to ‘set’ a new bulb …






Black Parrot Tulip

The goal of re-creating the legendary Black Tulip is getting closer through the 'Queen of the Night', 'Black Parrot' and 'Black Hero' ... 





Resting lad from the Silversmith's workshop



... but we await the vagaries of a diseased bulb giving us a true ‘La Tulipe Noire’ …






Working Silversmith


The parrot tulips with their ruffled feather-like petals date back to the 1620s … which give us our huge range of choice today … over 3,000 different tulips.



Schoonhoven, through which the canal travelled, is the area where the Silversmiths are found, together with the Silver Museum.





Typical Dutch moorings at Doordrecht

While we travel the canals, note interesting areas and visit Keukenhof – where over 7 million bulbs are annually planted out – no wonder the “Garden of Europe” is so popular with everyone.





Ice-cream anyone? 



Let’s enjoy a Tulip cocktail as we wend our way along the canals meandering through the loops and twists of a waterway … or perhaps even - one of these?



Interesting window - with real basking creatures, some decorative ones and of course
the very reason for the window!

... stopping occasionally to eye-spy interesting, thought provoking imagery as we go …


Tulip Cocktail


Here’s to your Tulip Cocktail: made with Lemon Juice, Apricot Brandy, Sweet Vermouth and Calvados … shake with ice, strain and serve …


Tulips from Amsterdam by Max Bygraves …
When it’s Spring again I’ll bring again
Tulips from Amsterdam …




Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories