Thursday, 16 May 2019

What’s in a Name …




anything but Sue – is what sprang to mind immediately before the new Royal was named - I was then hooked into the Johnny Cash renditions of the famous song …


Johnny Cash with June Carter
… while researching the last two posts … ‘Socrates’ popped off the page at me … Socrates Mbamulu is the journalist, who wrote the trending article on ‘Kugali: Africa’s largest networking comics platform’ …



Which led me to think of names – and how the colonising powers made sure people had names they could pronounce … many recorded on the spur of the moment at the registration offices. 


I'm just glad that these sorts of letters
weren't mixed up into his name
Hence the preponderance of biblical, saints, classical, historical or place names that people might have been lumbered with … mind you some will stand out – eg Socrates, Nelson …

Prince Harry was the founder of the Invictus Games
for wounded and injured Service personnel; two days
after Archie was born, the Prince popped over to
the Netherlands - to promote the 2020 venue ...
where he was given this baby gro




So young Archie … all of 10 days old … bemused the nation as many of us were caught totally off guard … seems an appropriate name for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new born … Archie apparently being of German origin meaning ‘genuine’, ‘bold’ and ‘brave’ …







Harrison - Harry’s son - first recorded back in the 1300s … now denotes a first name of fairly recent origin – both names, I’m certain, will become more popular in the years ahead …





Language is wonderful … as are names – and I encourage us all to learn their sources … we can deduce a fair amount from each name’s history … be it a person, a place or its origin …


Well the young Master Sussex … Harry’s son with an Anglo-Saxon heritage from the Germanic tribes who had migrated from continental Europe to our southern (Sussex) shores …



Saxons and Sussex both in yellow-green.
Continental invaders 400 - 500AD
… mixing with the indigenous British groups … laying the cultural foundations (from about 450 AD to 1066 AD), which are still in use today … our modern English legal and administrative systems, and many aspects of English Society …


… now adding in an American heritage to his roots – while being a citizen of both the UK and the US.


Black-Eyed Susan

May we all live in tolerant communities, understanding and embracing each other’s roots … as the Sussex’s add to the concoction of the peoples in this wonderful world of ours …





I’m just glad he wasn’t called Sue … !!


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Kugali Comic Club, and ComicsVerse ...




My previous post on Afrofuturism introduced via Kugali, the African Comic Book, made me want to bring you a little more of this new African culture and how Kugali, which has only been going 3 years, came about …



Stretch yourself the Kugali way
The name Kugali is an alteration of the Kiswahili (Swahili) word ‘kujali’ … meaning to notice.   There’s more about their project at ‘This is Africa.Me’ site … and very interestingly about two new countries due to blunders from a well-known British airline, and the President of the free world … see featured article on the site.




Some of the main African languages

This link reminds you that Africa is not a country … and some other interesting facts … do you speak African? – well, neither do the over 1 billion people on the continent; 



... also reminding us Africa is home to 54 different nations (excluding the two mentioned on the ThisisAfrica.me site!), with more than 2,000 languages between them … and which have four of the world’s fastest growing economies …


Augmented Reality You Tube
the magic the kids can see
through story telling
Here in the UK it is also introducing kids (using Augmented Reality(AR)) to the magic that is Africa … through their outreach programmes, and elsewhere via the internet …



These YouTube videos open the doors to their world of AR - a real-world environment, which is enhanced by computer generated perceptual information …



… then there’s the Kugali Comic Club – to which you can
subscribe … there’s an offer valid until 23rd June 2019 …


Justin Alba, CEO of ComicsVerse


I seem to remember the founders of Kugali being influenced by Justin Alba of ComicsVerse fame … he interested me as someone who had overcome adversity as a child … being bullied, not fitting in, etc … but who realised his strengths …


… so ComicsVerse uses comics to address social issues including minority representation in popular culture and politics.  Alba notes ‘that comics helped save his life, by teaching him how to cope with severe bullying and develop self-confidence’.



Alba’s bio is worthwhile noting to refer to as a self-help pep talk … we’re all in relatively privileged positions and I’m sure can pass on our positive thoughts to others struggling today …




African colours - a bright nation
of wonderful entrepreneurs

To me this is a worthwhile selection of content to look at, read, inwardly digest, watch and then think about … while remembering Kugali’s name as a front-runner in allowing the creativity in Africa to shine.





They seem to be opening their doors in Britain … perhaps because we are a very diverse and mixed country … with most of our schools catering to many peoples – and kids love to learn.


Kugali showcasing African stories
I’m not sure I’ve tied together all the elements in the post … but hope you get the gist … of introducing Kugali, Justin Alba of ComicsVerse with his skills of leadership, how new content is being created in Africa … and how we will all be the richer for our learning.  Enjoy!


ThisisAfrica.Me - Kugali: Africa's largest comics networking site ... 

Get Ready for the Kugali Comic Club ...


ComicsVerse CEO - Justin Alba Interview ... well worth reading ... 

and an extra ... as Sue Bursztynski mentioned about a Sudanese aide, who was able to help a 'Dinka' speaking child from the Arabian influence occurring in the Sudan ... 
BBC 'The art fuelling Sudan's revolution' ... wonderful story telling by the civilians on the walls around Khartoum ... waiting for democratic rule.   

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 26 April 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 24: Kugali – the African Comic Book …




Afrofuturism – ever heard of it?  The new Science Fiction Comic Book genre … opening doors to, and introducing, African culture to the world …

Three African friends realised in Science Fiction there are few black people so they decided they would craft their own genre – Afrofuturism – where black people could create and publish their own innovative ideas …



The Kugali Anthology

… for example a Senegalese creates a space opera … but he uses fishing boats as his space ships, rather than the ubiquitous jet fighters …




… while their colours – just enhance the whole … reminding us Africa is many countries with lots of different cultures and voices …


Many Nations, a Multitude of different
cultures, oral traditions, waiting to
be told, stretching back millennia
It is essential that Africans tell their own stories … and that the world has an opportunity to learn the oral histories of the different peoples in Africa …


These three got together and reached out across the African Nation to musicians, writers and artists to develop a work … then crowd-funded to bring together Kugali the Anthology



They would like to kick Disney’s arse in Africa … and by the look of their unconventional approach they are already reaching far and wide …


BBC video - 4 minutes showcase the Kugali project


Kugali showcases the best African stories by Africans using comics, art and animation. 




These are stories that respect the history of Africa, embrace the present and imagine the future.


An African Comics Anthology … 200 full colour pages; 15 incredibly talented creators; six amazing stories; and two wonderfully designed covers.  But above all: a comic book experience you won’t find anywhere else.


We are the World … In Darkness, Be Light


I’ll do another post highlighting other aspects I found while researching this #WAWTB post …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop: Jewel Box …




The sun was up … the little one ‘fell out’ of bed in eager excitement …  her young unco-ordinated body rootling around for top and trousers … knickers – what were those …



 … she just wanted to get dressed and out into her jewel garden … first was to get down those large steps with her chubby legs … but she could use her bottom and plump arms to steady herself … plomp, plop, plomp …



Godrevy Lighthouse



… down the first half and onto the landing – here she knelt to look out of the window at the sea … that lighthouse, where the family went to gather seaweed for the garden and have pasty picnics …







a n other (not me!)
… her three-year old self vaguely remembered that lure of the back garden, with the plots of flowers, the box hedging surrounding the jewels …



Anemones - bright and glorious:
jewel flowers



… she loved the beautiful colours of the flowers … similar to those in the stained glass 1920s window – through which the sunlight blazed its colours …






Little Miss Dumpy – the delightful golden curled lass  - her parent’s firstborn … always loved being out with Muddy Label in their garden when they were in Cornwall.


Muddy Label – one of those nicknames that sticks and is remembered … for Mary and Mabel … the twisty tongue of Miss Twinkletoes could not say Mary and Mabel – they were Muddy and Label …



Her jewel box


Her memory was fading … but the familiar names rang a bell … those delightful heart-warming moments of yester year …





… then when she was twenty-one … her parents gave their golden girl the little jewel box … remembrances now of the many decades of her life … the rainbow jewels are here in her room … she can drift off with happy memories …


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 31 March 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 23: Mothering Sunday and BookAid International …




#WAWTB falls today on Mothering Sunday in the UK … the fourth Sunday in Lent, then in three weeks it will be Easter Sunday …

 … originally people would visit their “mother church” and anyone who did this commonly was said to have gone “a-mothering” … in time Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off … the children would pick wildflowers to place in the church, and/or give to their mothers …


I’ve been without my mother since 2012 … but I have wonderful memories of Mothering Sundays with the bunches of cheerful early blooms … and how love prevailed around the family …



Ben Okri in Tallinn, Estonia

Ben Okri gave today’s BBC’s Radio 4 Appeal … on behalf of Book Aid International – which seemed an appropriate adjunct in remembering our mothers and all those who love and guide us through life … I know my parents would have supported Book Aid – we always had books around.





c/o Book Aid International blog


Ben Okri – the Nigerian poet and novelist (often compared to Salmon Rushdie and Gabriel Garcia Marquez) – was promoting the charity Book Aid International … as he, like us, considers books his salvation … as he mentions:



Books give you hope for a brighter future …


Book Aid International sends over one million carefully selected brand new books to refugee camps, schools … these books are a lifeline to many …


Revision guides to help with exams … as their March book featured on their blog and here …
Novels for pleasure and greater human understanding …
Biographies for inspiration …

… so students, who wish, can read every day – giving them the opportunity to learn and study further …

An example of one of Book Aid's
guides sent out for Disaster Nursing -
which seems to be in dire need so often
- at least there's access to information
Books offer a life-line …


Mothers, Fathers and leaders are those who can guide us carefully through life …


Let’s donate a book a week, or a month via Book Aid International, to give those in dire need and peril some hope that their imaginative minds can latch onto – which as likely as not will give them a brighter future, and one which we too will benefit from.




SUPPORT  and  DONATE
via   BOOK AID INTERNATIONAL


We are the World … In Darkness, Be Light



I know we will give when and where we can … thank you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Caryatids at Pitzhanger Manor; but not at King’s Observatory …




Well I’d no idea what a ‘caryatid’ was … but picked up the name as I went on a tour of one of our local Eastbourne theatres – then the Saturday Times had an article on Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing, London … where caryatids were mentioned.



Caryatid displayed in
the British Museum


The way things seem to happen in this learning world of ours – well it does to me … once one hears about something, then it keeps popping its head above the parapet.






Sir John Soane c 1800
portrait by Thomas Lawrence



Sir John Soane (1753 – 1837) used the Manor as a sort of laboratory to develop his architectural ideas.  Sir John was a son of a bricklayer, who rose to the top-most heights of his profession …






… as professor of architecture at the Royal Academy, and an official architect to the Office of Works – the English Royal Households castles and residences overseer.

Bank of England facade 1818-1827
with a facade of caryatid columns

His design of the Bank of England, soon after destroyed by fire, set the tone for commercial architecture;  


Dulwich Picture Gallery
Interior


Dulwich Picture Gallery was a major influence in the planning of subsequent art galleries and museums.  





Soane Museum

The main legacy – his home in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, was designed to display the art works and architectural artefacts that he collected during his lifetime – is described in the Oxford Dictionary of Architecture as “one of the most complex, intricate, and ingenious series of interiors ever conceived”.





I feel like I probably should be a caryatid at the moment – I’m like a static person holding up numerous tendrils of learning – attending lots of classes, giving some talks, going to films by the dozen, being round and about with the encumbent mashed brain trying to remember where and when I’m doing what …on the other hand I've no wish to be turned to stone!




Caryatid Building, Madrid
… to add to myself insulting me … ‘my bus’ decided to do a funny on me:  I don’t usually take the bus, as I can walk from town quite happily … but felt like a ride back on Saturday …


… there are two of ‘my buses’ one goes round via the theatres and thence to my stop, the other goes up the hill to the Eastbourne village of Meads, round the top and back down to my stop – I got this one …




Pitzhanger Manor - front entrance
(with caryatid pillars)

… I was minding my own business – enjoying the view as I took the long route home – but hey ho, fiddle dee dee  … the bus went straight back to town to ‘dump me’ where I’d got on --- I then walked home, which obviously I should have done forty minutes earlier!!  Ridiculous life?!





Pitzhanger Manor library c1802

Enough of the wobbling chit-chat … Pitzhanger Manor has just reopened, having been refurbished – and looks a great place to visit …




Circle and Upper Circle, Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne
… as is another restored rather magnificent building: King’s Observatory, Richmond … which has a telescope observatory on the roof.  Both of which are now on my list of ‘to see’ places … I guess I need a TBS list: to be seen!






Looking out from the Theatre bar towards the
refurbishing of the Devonshire Park Tennis Centre
(the area is almost ready for the 2019 season - after much
redevelopment of the area, including the Congress Theatre -
a 1963 (I'd say) brutalist building! which has been restored)

Ah well … I’m failing … but I’ll write about the Theatre another day … my head needs to get into gear … so for April I’ll be gathering those tendrils of brain (if possible) – but will continue with the #WATWB (We are the World Blogfest) posts at the end of the month and will do WEP – see my side bar … but not the A-Z Challenge …




Ionic Entablature
engraving c/o Wiki
So this static caryatid person with an entablature on her head full of who knows what … is signing off …

 If any of you can make head or tail of this post = well done is all I can say … but something got written!  Caryatid is the key … 

I’ll be around … vaguely probably – thank goodness it’s getting lighter and I’ve six months to get myself into gear while the longer days are around.


The restored King’s Observatory post

Pitzhanger Manor – via Wiki

My post mentioning Eleanor Coade 

An immediate addendum to this post about the King's Observatory ... a simultaneous posting by the Royal Society refers to the Observatory ... gives more details, shows more, mentions the Transit of Venus, and talks clocks - the subject of the post ... no caryatids though!


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 18 March 2019

Jacqui Murray’s new pre-history fiction release: Survival of the Fittest …




Here’s an author who is prepared to research and explore life as it is … as well as what life could well have been nearly a million years ago – as ‘we’ were starting our journey towards the 21st century …




Jacqui has written lots of other books on technical education, thrillers, her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy  (Building a Midshipman)… and now we have the first of her Crossroads trilogy: Survival of the Fittest.


What I like about this … is that Jacqui has let her imagination wander into the prehistory possibilities of life on earth and how we are now where we are … this path has obviously opened her eyes to so much … communication, spiritual aspects, male and female accomplishments, art, music, the land with its seasons – what a wealth of information to draw on.



Did Xhosa have any type of culture – art, music, that sort?  Is the question I asked Jacqui.

Her answer:  This time in man’s prehistory predated art, music, and most culture. There is very little if anything known about earliest man’s (850,000 years ago) interest in art and music.

In Xhosa’s case, I extrapolated from what we do know about these early iterations of man. They appreciated colors but didn’t think of applying it to themselves. Their brains could imagine things unseen but that didn’t extend to painting themselves, wearing jewelry, or tattoos.

Since clothing was only for warmth (or in Seeker’s case, to protect his sensitive parts), no thought was given to designing or decorating these.

Music—They did appreciate bird songs but considered it an animal voice, not something that they could replicate for their own pleasure. They could replicate it but it was to imitate the bird, not express creativity. They also appreciated rhythm but that was to set a running pace or sooth people.



Further details about Jacqui Murray's book launch:

Short Blurb:

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home.
Short Summary:
Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands but an escape path laid out years before by her father as a final desperate means to survival. She is joined by other homeless tribes--from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant—all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that this enemy doesn't want her People's land. He wants to destroy her.
Book information:

Title and author: Survival of the Fittest
Series: Book 1 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Cover by: Damonza 

Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Summer 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

Social Media contacts:




I congratulate Jacqui on her obvious desire to broaden the scope of her writing … this first book in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs Nature saga – sounds intriguing and should set our senses searching for new prompts for our own writings – enjoy …

Please check her out and keep an eye open for further publications by this stimulating author … who is Jacqui Murray.

If you would like to read the first chapter ... it can be found at Balroop Singh's post on her 'Emotional Shadows' blog ... where she has also been promoting Jacqui's book.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories