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need a whole load of extras I hadn’t catered for … British Telecom phone line – obviously the old one got cancelled and withdrawn … there’s no tv aerial … so I need a satellite box …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

Friday, 10 June 2016

Blog Sandwich Update 8 – quick catch up, notes on next blog post and plans for the 90th birthday celebratory picnic for The Queen … and rationing in the 1950s …

First … notes on the next blog post about the Duke of Edinburgh – many have said that you don’t hear much about him … I’ve done a sort of hilary-résumé … literally sort of!   It is also (very) long … so you can read or not read!

An idealised of idea of the picnic - I don't think
The Mall is that long - Buck House is 'miles away'?!

Secondly … I will write up a post on the Queen’s Picnic Celebrations 12th Juneso the Picnic post will appear anon …

We will have to believe in Britain after
the 23rd ... 

Thirdly … I’ve had to move which is what took me out of the A-Z and has caused a few mini hiatuses (or hiatii?!) … this will now happen the day after the Referendum: 23rd of June.  To an extent I'm involved with that ... another hiatus!

Last but not least … an article appeared recently on what foods were rationed during the 2nd World War … so I’ve noted a few items and more can be found on the Imperial War Museum site I’ve linked to … ElsieAmata was interested …

Note though – amounts varied on what was available …

Butter, bacon and sugar in January 1940
Some of the sizes to check out ...
a week's supply
Meat in March 1940
Tea in July 1940 and later that year:
Jam, marmalade, syrup and treacle – sales were restricted
Cheese and eggs in 1941 …
1942: rice, dried fruit, condensed milk, breakfast cereals, tinned tomatoes, tinned peas and soapand chocolates, biscuits and oats …
1943 – sausages were the final wartime addition – but there were other additions, and alterations …

4 July 1954 – rationing finally lifted ….

A child's ration book

Ration books with weekly coupons – green for children, buff for adults … which controlled the amounts that could be bought … the U-boats were doing damage to the supplies – cargo ships and fishing boats …

They were very plain
lollies to start with

Life was tough … I remember ice-lolly rations coming off … can’t say I remember much else.  But we grew our own vegetables, and fruit, and had chickens, pigs, ducks – til they were killed by Mr Fox!  So with a lot of hard work by my parents – as with other war-time parents … we, the three of us kids, were probably fairly well off food wise.

Strawberry Split - I think
we called them Mivvis

For more details please see the Imperial War Museum site, where you can find out about clothes rationing … and other interesting articles.

Her Majesty The Queen and the
Duke of Edinburgh on the balcony of
Buckingham Palace - looking down
The Mall
The Duke of Edinburgh post will go up on the Queen’s Picnic Birthday day (12th June) … the picnic post will follow ‘shortly’ …

Re War Rations ... I'll probably write another article later on ... as there's been an interesting development via the eating public ... well those interested in trying something different ... 

Happy 95th Birthday Prince Philip - there's a good weekend of Pageantry and Royal Events planned ... 

No need to comment … as there’s a lot going on …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories