Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Different Life ... moved "a little" ...

I woz 'ere ....

... living in Eastbourne .... now

I hopped the Atlantic and some continent ...

usually known as North America ...

landed on the far west Prairie lands in Calgary ...

stayed overnight ... and then hopped on again to:

Vancouver Island .... I am now living here (for a while) ...

I am in clarification mode re settling in ... and will be back blogging as and when I can ... lots to sort out - I'm staying with Emily Hobhouse's great niece ... so will learn lots from Jenny in more ways than one ... and will pick up things about my own mother and her family ...

Saw this: 
Greenland ... all in the pink ...

then this ....

Calgary Airport - chilly, but could have been worse

Happy Anniversary to our Queen and Prince Philip on 70 years ... just longer than I've been around!

Camera in hand in the early days
of their marriage

Right I'm off ... tea needed ... but I'll be back and around as and when ... life is interesting!!

Looks like I didn't make that clear ... I'm here for at least 6 months ... ?!?!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters ... Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Remembrance Day ...

It is now ninety-nine years since the end of World War One - but the echoes of lives lost, bodies injured, families torn apart still impact our lives today - as so they should ... 

I am going to quote from words written by Emily Hobhouse in 1923 pointing out the futility of war ... which I think are more pertinent today ... as we do not seem to have progressed very far ... 

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 invariably 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 …’

‘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

… encourage our leaders to co-operate

… bring peace

… 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 Remembrance Day weekend … with all our fellow humans …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Bran Tub # 16: A seaside scene: a lollygagged, vibrissae pinniped …

These three words inspired me to write a short story … as our Autumn grabs hold … I have to say I prefer Spring time – but enjoy each season for its variety … but my tale:

Pinnipeds - various

The Pinniped was chill-axed flapping the occasional fin as the waves rocked him gently …

… he was resting his brain – one half shuts down, the other ‘works his bobbing in the waters’ … 

Not his father! but good vibrissae

... and lets him think about his father’s vibrissae and how he needed to become more skilled interpreting the vibrations he’d been told were in the water …

A lollygagging pinniped

… but for now he was a typical youngster lollygagging around enjoying the midday sun in the lustrous sea …

That is my tale of the whacked, whiskered marine mammal ...

Godrevy Beach in St Ives Bay

This was the beach we came to when the wind direction necessitated us to find a more sheltered spot for the family day out ... we played amongst the waters and off the rocks - glorious fun times.

I meant to mention Karen and her blog - where I'd come across Lollygagging ...
Write Now: the Value of "Pockets" of Time ... so belatedly added in - sorry Karen!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 30 October 2017

We are the World Blogfest ... # 8 - Bolivia's Peoples with Disabilities Discriminated Against ...

Would you expect to be treated like these people, who are  human beings …

… be humbled by them, those who just wish to have a small monthly pension income paid to them …

be seriously put to tears … at humanity’s treatment …

Man's humanity?
The video is 30 minutes … but boy will you be horrified and realise that we are so so lucky … I am still totally shocked by this State’s treatment of its people …. please watch – they deserve to be known about and to be heard

Rory Peck

I was watching Channel 4 tv News when these particular finalists were given airtime with a shortened introductory video to their work as documentary film makers as the entry for the Impact Award for Current Affairs.

I needed to find out more … Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala are married film-makers, producing a number of investigative documentary films … highlighting a number of plights.

Dan Fallshaw
c/o RoryPeckTrust.org

The Rory Peck (charitable) Trust was set up in 1995 to administer an award named after Rory Peck (1956 – 1993), a Northern-Irish freelance war cameraman – who was killed by crossfire in Moscow, at the time of the Russian Constitutional Crisis of 1993.

Violete Ayala
c/o RoryPeckTrust.org

The Trust offers discretionary grants to the families of freelance news-gatherers killed whilst on assignment, and crisis support to freelancers who are unable to continue their work due to severe injury, disablement or imprisonment.

The 'activists' on their way to the capital
c/o ibtimes.co.uk

This short documentary had been produced by the film-makers, Fallshaw and Ayala, highlighting the plight of people with disabilities in Bolivia.

c/o BusinessInsider.com

They followed a group of activists across the Andes into the country’s capital, La Paz, to lobby for improved rights and benefits …

see the video for the full tale and impact of the story – it will appal you … c/o The Guardian ... it is 30 minutes - but very well worth watching ... 

Thank you for taking the time to view the video ... it is heart-warming as well as seeing the horrifying treatment ... 

Finalist entry Sony Impact Award - the documentary film makers ... the video clip is 7 minutes - the fuller version deserves your time:

We Are The World - In Darkness, Be Light 
all peoples need to be treated fairly

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Unfinished Pier … a romantic longing … at the De La Warr Pavilion ...

A design ready to be created … to be added to a futuristic new building in 1935 … yet …. the wait goes on – a dream that was never fulfilled … too expensive to be fulfilled, while Europe was in disarray … the draft remains to this day on paper …

Photocopy of the brochure advertising this exhibition

… but an artist, Roy Voss, has reinterpreted ‘the pier’ as a new exhibition … to look at it is perhaps not immediately very inspiring … but if one is an artist, or an architect, or a carpenter … I am certain it  resonates …

My iphone pic of the exhibition -
NB the white line: mentioned below

… when I went there was no information obviously available – a table with books … not much good to me … no articles that I could see – yes a wall board with some explanation … and a video situated outside the gallery was available to watch.  I was struggling …

… perseverance pays off … a two page article was found, a brochure of future and present events, which highlighted the pier, was available outside (near the video) … as I was leaving.

Front of this art deco building

This has been addressed – and I’m sure information will be available to all visitors.  The exhibit was fairly precarious … so a white line had been drawn round it to give a barrier over which one should not cross: again not very obvious … until each visitor is called back from stepping over the mark … then the reason is given –makes sense …

Columnar tulip trunks 
… yet another anomaly – the videos posted by the de la Warr Pavilion show people walking amongst the structure … ah! well – artistic licence I guess.

I hope it holds up … as it is being exhibited in Blackpool and then over on the east coast in Berwick-upon-Tweed … longish journeys: (325 miles and 185 miles respectively).

The sculpture is made from the North American tulip tree, also known as canary whitewood … it is:

-        38 metres (125 feet) long x 3 metres (10 feet) tall

-        There’s a roof type cover at the beginning of the pier – this measures 3m x 4m (10 feet x 13 feet). 

This part is push-jointed – which allows the piece to be constructed without screws or nails.

-        2,344 pieces of wood make up the structure

-        5 moulds were used to shape the curved pieces

-        The wood has been painted with casein paint … this is derived from milk casein (milk protein) – a fast-drying, water soluble medium used by artists.

Casein paint has been used since ancient Egyptian times as a form of distemper, and is still used today.  (Distemper is an early form of whitewash).

-        The sculpture took around 18 months to construct …

A close up of the sculpture structure

It’s a fascinating piece of art to see in situ – near where the pier was intended to be constructed in the 1930s …which can be clearly seen in the ‘About history’ of the De La Warr Pavilion … it’s fascinating to watch – not long … 6 minutes …

… the video describes the construction of the building … the steel frame was very innovative ‘hitting the headlines’ in the Welding Industry magazine …

The auditorium - with the 'cup' acoustic

… as too the suspended ceiling … made out of plaster impregnated gauze … giving an amazing acoustic system.  The suspended ceiling is a remarkable piece of engineering – an excellent example of a modernist public building in this country – as shown in the video.

A poster graphic of the
de la Warr Pavilion 1930s

The Duke and Duchess of York visited for the Grand Opening on 12 December 1935 … within a year they would be King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother to be) …

The flag 'Wave' on the front of the building

It is another fascinating exhibition … where one (meaning me!) had to uncover relevant pointers to bring the exhibit to light – not being an artist … this can be challenging … but worthwhile in order to construct a post.

I don’t know how many of you remember a previous article I wrote about the “A Secret Service … Art, Compulsion, Concealment” – an exhibition on Pietro Antonio Narducci held at this Art Deco style contemporary arts centre – where I’d remembered the exhibition for seven and a half years … and wanted to chase it down – I did … I found my answer.

View from the Pavilion looking to where
the pier would have been

It’s interesting what one learns via blogging – I delve into subjects far more deeply than I used to … just to finish this post off … Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr, a committed socialist, after whom the building is named …

Another poster for the
de la Warr Pavilion

… ensured that the site would have an entertainment hall to seat at least 1,500 people; a 200-seat restaurant; a reading room; and a lounge … it was to be a public building for this socially minded Earl – and would be built in the Modernist style.

Looking through the sculpture towards
the English Channel

Now it has been given a Grade 1 Listed Building status and restored appropriately … it is a magnificent space for a contemporary arts centre … with plenty of exhibitions, activities and events being staged. 

This where the romantic longing for a pier still exists … but now satisfied for a few months – before the exhibition goes north … the dream will live on …

de la Warr Pavilion - history ... see here: a building tour

Ray Voss' exhibition 'The Way Things Are' 

Pietro Antonio Narducci and his "Sacra Mantra" - my post ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bran Tub # 15: Why is there a ping pong ball in my Guinness?

When my South African friend was over I’d bought what I thought were some tins of Carling beer … as she occasionally enjoys beer – well probably used to enjoy a can … this time it was mostly glasses of rosé Pinot Grigio or some bubbly …

A glass of Pinot Grigio
 Now having cans of beer left in the fridge I thought I should drink them … and not wanting any wine, decided that I’d crack open a tinnie (Australian slang) … this was fine – the Guinness tasted as I thought it should and the evening wandered along …

… a while later as I was trying to empty the can into my glass … it frothily kept blocking up … eventually I thought I should investigate  – perhaps I’d been drinking something mighty odd – my mind had wandered off to poisoning etc …though common sense was in place – so that was a pure waffley thought … perhaps?!

Frothy protrusion
(with some licence!)

Well on tipping up the can there was a white protrusion, covered in froth … the froth was not unexpected in Guinness, the white protrusion was … after a brief thought my deductive powers said ‘a ping pong ball in my Guinness’??

Coloured ping pong balls
So now … the only thing to do – it was night time! … open another tinnie … don’t we rinse and repeat … same result … then my mind turned to toilets – not what you think … but ball cocks … not that either: not what you be thinking … I needed to check this ‘thing’ …

The can, the objet d'art ... and the
spilt Guinness!

Tin opener came next … and what came out - but near enough a ping-pong ball … I was very bemused … it doesn’t take much to amuse me myself!

But could this be some sort of plumbing device put into the Guinness cans … so when the morrow came round … the truth was out via a google or two …

The rocket style widget
They are floating widgets, purposefully added to a tin of beer … and come in two sizes … the 'round ball cock’ type one, and the ‘rocket widget’ found in taller containers …

The Tale of Nitro and the Widget
courtesy of Bespoken Public Relations organisation
 The Guinness drink, to be authentic, has to have a thick, creamy head on the beer, which is less fizzy than regular lager beers.  To ensure this they add a shot of liquid nitrogen to help pressurise the can.

An appropriately named widget!

 Nitrogen gas doesn’t easily dissolve in water, so when I cracked open the beer … I got that frothy head, as most of the gas is released into the air, while the foamy bubbles in the head of beer remain … or remain clothing the ping-pong ball widget in white froth.

A tub of bran
Well that’s it for the story of the widget, the strange froth and the ping-pong ball … all found in the can of Guinness – one is always learning!!

Perhaps this shouldn’t sit in a Bran Tub … but there’s where it has been filed!

A true tale of weirdness.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Write - Edit - Publish Bloghop: Dark Places ...

Walls of violence continue to assault me … the force of iron manacles holding me in place … the thick, murky, smothering smoke lingers …

 … am I alive, or now gone … I no longer can see … images of dark-sky gray emblazoned still in my mind … my mind – OR my soul …

Michaelangelo -
Damned Soul    c 1525

… that n-o-o-i-i-s- e … the howl, ... the scream of terror … is that me … that s-m-e-l-l … burnt skin or tallow candles – both now mixed … a-g-o-n-y … excruciating agony – when will it end …

Josefina de Vasconcellos'
sculpture: The Young Martyr
(in the Cartmel Priory - Lake District)

Is that the steaming hay from the braziers, OR is that the smoke from the pyre … my senses have gone … my soul – the darkness … but I am remembered centuries on – behind bars … forever entombed in sculpture … an early martyr to the barbaric cruelty of man.

Dark night take my soul 

toward the forever darkness

... for I will be at peace.

To participate or visit other entries please go here to the 
Write Edit Publish Monthly blog-hop 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories