Saturday 27 November 2010

England’s Leonardo .. our hanging Hooke?

Skulduggery or Restoration – which one will out? This irascible, somewhat deformed man, whose incredible mind had led him as a child from the Isle of Wight to London, to the scientific community and through sheer hard work and brilliance had shone through and been accepted as assistant to a number of leading scientists, before becoming the Curator of Experiments to this coterie.

The age of global exploration had occurred, now – the 17th century - was the turn for learned minds to record new things and experiment with all things ... yet political and royal intrigue would influence the rise and fall of men.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519): self-portrait in red chalk c 1512 - 1515
Unrest was stirring, Royalty was loved or hated, the Parliamentarians were on the rise ... clans and families were divided in these uncertain times. Oliver Cromwell rose to the fore as Protector of England (1651 – 1658), Charles I was beheaded at the climax of the English Civil War 1649, before Charles II, after exile on the Continent, was restored to the throne in 1660.

These were the times into which Robert Hooke (1635 – 1703)was born. He was the weak youngest child, of the local Royalist curate and schoolteacher, who showed prodigious interest in observation, mechanical works, and drawing (making his own materials from coal, chalk and ruddle (iron ore)) ... writing journals, illustrating them and keeping records: showing an early scientific mind.

He was sent to London, aged 13, to take up an apprenticeship, purchased out of a legacy from his father on his death in 1648, with Peter Lely, a Dutch portrait painter to the English Crown, before being accorded recognition, as a child with an energetic mind, by the scholarly headmaster of Westminster School, Dr Busby, who accepted him into his group of students.

Young Hooke quickly mastered Latin and Greek, made some study of Hebrew, and mastered Euclid’s Elements, while continuing his study of mechanics. The Elements is a mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books written by Euclid, a Greek mathematician, in Alexandria circa 300 BC. It has proven instrumental in the development of logic and modern science.

Busby had other illustrious pupils, including Christopher Wren, Robert South and John Dryden. In 1653, Hooke obtained a chorister’s place Christ Church, Oxford after taking twenty lessons on the organ! He was employed as a ‘chemical assistant’ to the natural philosopher Robert Boyle, who was constructing, operating and demonstrating his ‘new fangled’ air pump.

The Invisible College was the precursor to The Royal Society, consisting of natural philosophers (scientists) including Boyle, Hooke and Wren. (1646/7)

Hooke’s time at Oxford cemented his life-long passion for science, while his tutors and the friends he made were of paramount importance to him throughout his career. This was a time, the 1650s, when the Royalists were acutely conscious of the turmoil and uncertainty of the times: there was a sense of urgency in preserving the scientific work they perceived as being threatened by the Protectorate. This scientific group went on to form the nucleus of ‘The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge’, or as we know it today The Royal Society.

When Charles II returned to the throne in 1660 – he became a patron of the arts and sciences, founded The Royal Observatory, and supported The Royal Society, whose early members included Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, and Sir Isaac Newton.

Charles II was the personal patron of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who is credited with the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666, and the Royal Hospital Chelsea (Chelsea Flower Show location), which Charles founded as a home for retired soldiers in 1682.

The silk on a spider's web forming multiple elastic catenaries: The application of the catenary to the construction of arches is due to Robert Hooke, who discovered it in the context of the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral.
Hooke, whose great friend Sir Christopher Wren always supported him, was appointed Curator of Experiments to the Royal Society in 1662 and his agile mind originated much, postulating scientific achievements, recording each and every experiment for the Royal Society.

He was a genius amongst men – he was an Architect, Surveyor, Engineer, Chemist, Horologist, Physicist, Astronomer, Painter ... if his darting mind had time to complete his thoughts, and if he was not recorder for the Royal Society, we would not be so enriched today – nor would we have his story to tell.

Remains of the Cathedral after the Great Fire of London (1666) drawn by Thomas Wyck, c. 1673
The play, the play ... I am reminded I need to tell you the story and reason for the script (see my previous post: Hanging Hooke) ... as extraordinary as the man himself. The play opens with the booming voice of the auctioneer – One Million Pounds ... going, going ..... "Ah! Ladies and Gentlemen, there has been a development, Lot 189 ...... "

Why? Lot 189 was Hooke’s long lost Folio, found in the back of an old cupboard that had been casually handed to the auctioneers’ appraiser as he was leaving a Hampshire country house! Three hundred years later the evidence as to Hooke’s potential as a scientific genius was to hand.

The excitement at the find of the dusty Folio has been palpable – the Royal Society keen to preserve the papers under their auspices and the thought of that knowledge being lost again to some private museum was too much to think about.

Godfrey Kneller’s 1689 portrait of Isaac Newton(age 46)("Newton the unscrupulous" - perhaps? - he loathed Hooke)

Going, going and not gone ... the auctioneer’s voice boomed out ... “Lot 189 has been withdrawn”. Expectant gasps within the hall heard that after negotiation Hooke’s folio was going to back to the Royal Society where it belonged and from where it could be studied - the three hundred year old puzzle would finally be pieced together.

His time had come – Robert Hooke could take his place in the annals of English history at The Royal Society as only we can do in 2010 making his papers available for us all to peruse – via the wonderful technical device of ‘turning pages’.

What exactly happened to Hooke’s papers, his drawings and any portraits that would have surely been painted at that time before his vilification we shall never know; however Sir Isaac Newton’s abhorrence of Hooke is well known and when The Royal Society looked for new premises in 1710 after Hooke’s death ... is it possible that all semblance of records were destroyed then ... ?

The Royal Society in the 20th and 21st centuries however had other ideas and in their reconstruction of the Minutes of the Experiments and Meetings of that time – left stubs ... so that if the papers should ever come to light, they could be restored to their rightful place: forward thinking!

Sir Christopher Wren (aged 68) in Godfrey Kneller's 1711 portrait; (Wren was always a good friend to Hooke)
So Hooke hung for a while ... now he is being rewound and reconstructed... his papers have been found, his first burial place is known – but his remains and others were removed and reburied; two sites have been identified and if his remains can be found then the forensic anthropologists may be able to conduct facial and skeletal reconstruction – as they did for the Sir John at Stirling Castle.

So Hooke will once again be hung in pride of place amongst The Royal Society’s eminent Fellows, his papers restored to their rightful place, appropriate commemorative plaques have been installed in Westminster Abbey, at St Paul’s Cathedral and at the Monument will all remind us of our ‘English Leonardo’ – the man who for twenty years was one of our fathers' of modern science.

Finally rest in peace Robert Hooke – your time has come ... your story is being told (even if we have to decipher your coded papers!), which will be held within the annals of history forever.
As no contemporary portrait of Robert Hooke seems to have survived from the seventeenth century, this one is a reconstruction from the descriptions by his colleagues Aubrey and Waller. It shows him with a spring, pocket watch, fossil and map of the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666.

He helped to survey and plan the rebuilding. The sky on the left indicates his interest in astronomy. The original is an oil painting on board by Rita Greer, history painter, 2004. This was digitized by Rita and sent via email to the Department of Engineering Science, Oxford University, where it was subsequently uploaded to Wikimedia.
Picture extracted via Wikipedia - Robert Hooke

Further References:
The Royal Society - Hooke Folio
Bonham's (Auctioneers) Press Release - with picture of folio & Hooke's writing
Oxford University - Department of Science ... List of Hooke's achievements
Hanging Hooke: the play - Take the Space - Theatre Group

Dear Mr Postman – it’s been a quiet time .. my mother does come too and has enjoyed Susie’s company and Reiki practise; Sussex is now getting the white stuff! flurries of gentle flakes are falling ... Britain doesn’t like snow much! Snow in November is rare .. my mother said she was warm and cozy – I just want to jump in too!!
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday 18 November 2010

Hanging Hooke ....

What are they hanging, who are they hanging, why .. and when? Good questions you might ask! This is a three hundred and fifty year old mystery, where tantalising pieces of information have been found within the annals of history, and where suddenly another surprise comes to light ... if you like dusty folios of the unexpected?

This is a post of two halves .. the first a play, also in two halves, then the background to the whys, whens and wherefores ... it is a murder .. but of a person’s reputation .. not of a man; it is a research of today for that man’s rightful place in society, correcting the historical records.

Hanging Hooke - A new play by Siobhán Nicholas: “Christopher Wren loved him; Isaac Newton loathed him”.
A reworked detail from a painting of Lucas Cranach [ Adam and Eve]; Siobhan advises that she asked Ken, their graphics designer of Good Dog Design, to find them a tree from the Garden of Eden: the apple referring to knowledge, curiosity and the Newton story.

The play opens in 2006 with the countdown of the auctioneer’s gavel ... knock on wood ... on wood ... on wood ... the booming voice announcing “Sale of Lot 189 at the reserve price of £1,000,000”, an air of expectation, the auction room chatter ceasing, everyone looks around ... who are the likely bidders ... will this important Folio be lost to the nation?

We, the audience in 2010, also wait in eager anticipation to see a new play, written by Siobhan Nicholas, put on by an innovative theatre group “Take the Space”, inspired to find out more about Robert Hooke (1635 - 1703), this man they call “The English Leonardo”.

An auctioneer's gavel

The stage is set ... the central square displays Hooke’s writing – taken from his Folio – a few props .. easels with pictures, some stacked up, a microscope, a telescope, tables with ‘treasures’, a small travelling chest... depicting the sparse times of the 1600s.

A play of two halves – where the youthful Hooke’s guardian gives us the background on his childhood, his illness and the political upheaval of the times; young Hooke’s total engrossment in learning about all facets of life from an early age ... his schooling, while having the freedom to roam his island (the Isle of Wight)– the whole of nature .. the sky, the sea and shore, valleys, fields and meadows with all its flora and fauna.

We are introduced to his early ‘play’, experimentation and research – where he spent hours looking at rock pools .. both for their beauty, the invertebrates, crustaceans, pebbles and rock formations, the refraction of the water, the tidal movements ... and then he recorded and drew all he saw. He experimented with clock-making, woodwork, and all things mechanical too .. searching to find more about the heavens above and the earth below.

Tidal Pool

This young fertile mind was ready for more .. so on the death of his father, he used his inheritance, at age 13, to buy an apprenticeship in London – the centre of learning. Here the actor changes from the ‘guardian’ to the misshapen Hooke – reminding us of his ‘broken’ body ... reminding me of the hunch-back of Notre Dame ... not so hunchback, but hobbling and lopsided: disfigured.

Chris Barnes, as Hooke, puts on a convincing performance, as he goes about his days as curator of this eminent group of scientists. We now begin to see his irascibility appear – this genius, who could apply himself to so many disciplines and experiments, as well as record his research within the auspices of the fledgling Royal Society.

Chris Barnes: performer for Hanging Hooke

The brilliant scientists were often overwrought keeping up with Hooke, justifying their results against Hooke’s brilliant mind, which would come at the problem from a different perspective. These men included Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle .. to a man: polymaths, scientists various, philosophers diverse ... a challenging time for all.

Hooke wondered aloud who his friends were – were they true – in those times of switching allegiances, or the powerful and rich demanding sworn loyalty .. men having no choice but to conform.

We see Hooke’s friends waiver under these demands, but such were the signs of the times – disagree with the mighty and they would be thrown into society’s wilderness of sleaze and poverty, their access to funding, to equipment, to like minds would be removed at an instant.

The auctioneer’s gavel beating down at the start of the play ... the countdown to the auction of the Hooke Folio ... the announcement that Lot 189 was for sale for £1,000,000 ... reminds us that three hundred years after his death we know very little about Robert Hooke and his works, other than a few references and deductive thought that there must have been more to this man.

The Royal Society records show that Hooke played a full part as Curator of Experiments and early on as the Secretary, keeping the Minutes of all experiments held and recorded: not as we would do today in a separate Corporate Secretarial Meeting held round a Board table.

Hooke's Microscope

He was appointed ‘Curator by Office’ for life, where his role was to demonstrate experiments from his own methods or at the suggestion of members. Amongst his earliest demonstrations were discussions of the nature of air, the noting of the difference between venous and arterial blood; experiments on the subject of gravity, the measuring of barometric pressure and many more.

Instruments were devised to measure a second of arc in the movement of the sun or other stars, to measure the strength of gunpowder, and in particular an engine to cut teeth for watches, much finer than could be managed by hand, an invention which was, by Hooke’s death, in constant use.

In 1663 and 1664, Hooke produced his microscopical observations, subsequently collated in the published work Micrographia in 1665, which Samuel Pepys (yes, the Diarist), announced that Micrographia “is the most ingenious book that he had ever read in his life” – some endorsement.

Title page of Micrographia

We know of Hooke through Hooke’s Law - the law of elasticity; we know he worked at the Royal Society – but there was little else, some references, the beginnings of an autobiography – but who was this invisible man? What happened, why was he no longer represented historically, where are the portraits .... Going, going NOT GONE ... but where did the Folio come from and what happened to it? AND more importantly what will we find out about our Hanging Hooke? I leave you gently swaying for part two ......

Dear Mr Postman – do you think I’ve been too unkind to my readers? My mother will laugh when I explain what I’m doing .. she would appreciate the joke. She had a treat this week and she was awake fortunately .. her daughter (me!) dressed in Medieval costume, pretending to play the Mandolin?! – fortunately our replacement therapist, Susie, while Janice travels to Brazil, Australia and California .. lucky for some! – can play and gave Mum a short recital .. I hope we have more .. and I shall feature them on here.
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Take That Space - home
Take That Space - Theatre Group - people
Take That Space - Theatre Group - plays
Robert Hooke - Wikipedia - please contribute to Wikipedia .. small amounts much appreciated!
Wikipedia for many other links and useful information.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Tales, Sagas, Stories we can glean from our vegetables ...

It’s that time of year for a bowl of hearty, thick, golden soup .. full of the harvest– the beans, the maize, the squash and the tomato .. rich steaming delicious mouth watering aromas reaching us from the simmering pot on the stove.

The indelible “Three Sisters” - the vegetables so revered by the native American Indians, that make up their three main native crops - which we now recognise in our culture, as well as in our agriculture as companion plants.

The strong maize stems provide a structure for the beans to climb up, while the beans give up nitrogen to the soil, and the squash spreads along the ground – the leaves acting as a ‘living mulch’, creating a micro-climate to retain moisture, while the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. These three sisters’ gardens often include the ‘fourth sister’ – the Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome), which attracts bees to help in pollination.

Illustration depicting both male and female flowers of maize

There is a ‘Three Sister Tomato’ plant, so named because it grows fruits of three different shapes: a Roma, a pleated and flattened globe type. Heirloom tomatoes of all cultivars are making a return to the seed farms and have wonderful evocative descriptive names: Brandywine, Chocolate Stripes, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Yellow Pear, Summer Cider, Violet Jasper ... we can see them, we can smell them and we can dream of those dishes enhanced with the heady mixture of fresh or baked tomato.

A variety of specific cultivars, including Brandywine (biggest red), Black Krim (lower left) and Green Zebra (top right).

The stories that could be told through their names, while the sagas of how we came to use them today and how these heirlooms are being brought back to life through the legends of, and puzzles from the past.

We know about ‘Pozole’ a ritually significant, traditional pre-Columbian Mexican corn soup or stew from the writings of Bernardino de Sahagun’s “General History of the Things of New Spain”, (c 1500), the “Florentine Codex”.

A bowl of traditional Pozole in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Bernardino de Sahagun (1499 – 1590), a Spanish Franciscan missionary to the Aztec (Nahua) people of Mexico, is regarded by scholars as being one of the “fathers of ethnography” and creator of the first encyclopaedia of the new world. His ‘Historia General’ is an unparalleled work in the local Nahuatil language, completed in 1569.

The ‘Historia’ consisted of twelve books, a grammar and a dictionary of Nahuatl: the Florentine Codex as it is more commonly known ... as you would imagine it is one of the richest surviving sources of information on Aztec life before the Spanish Conquest. The Codex found its way to Italy by 1588 and there it remains in the ‘Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana’ in Florence.

Page 51 of Book IX from the Florentine Codex. The text is in Nahuatl.

Having deviated a little to tell you about the accomplishments of Bernadino de Sahagun in his recording of the Aztec’s history perhaps it’s time to get back to the bean, corn, squash and tomato heirlooms that we have today, or are being ‘re-established’.

Squash, in all its glory is a vegetable of middle America, Mesoamerica, first cultivated some 8,000 – 10,000 years ago – coming in all shapes and sizes, mature or immature fruits. Most parts of the plant can be used – the seeds as are, or being ground into a paste, ‘nut’ butter, oil or even a fine flour; the shoots, leaves and tendrils can be eaten as greens, while the blossoms, long used by the native Americans, are now to befound in the kitchens of today.

Gourds ... the name given to the hollow, dried shell of a type of pumpkin squash normally have a more utilitarian use than for food – following on the tradition of our ancestors. However gourds were one of the earliest plant species domesticated by humans and were originally used by people as containers or vessels, even before the advent of clay or stone pottery, sometimes being referred to as “nature’s pottery”.

Various squashes such as Turban, Sweet Dumpling, Carnival, Gold Acorn, Delicata, Buttercup and Golden Nugget.

A Turban Squash.

An interesting point re pollination – day-blooming gourds are pollinated in the same way as squash requiring bees, while night blooming gourds are pollinated by moths – which are normally present unless drawn off by night lights in the area.

Beans, beans and more beans – there are over 4,000 cultivars of beans grown in the States – with the common green (vine) bean being cultivated in the Americas for at least six thousand years. Most of the fresh beans that we eat today were brought across to Europe after Columbus sailed the Ocean waves.

Broad beans reached us via another ancient route – they were gathered from the wild in Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills, grown in Thailand since the early 7th millennium BC (predating ceramics); deposited with the dead in Ancient Egypt, but not until the 2nd millennium BC did cultivated, large seeded broad beans appear in the Aegean, Iberian and southern European regions. A passing mention of beans and chickpeas cast on the threshing floor appears in the Iliad (late 8th C).

The Tepary Bean

The cultivar ‘Tepary’ bean was known to the pre-Columbian native peoples, as it is especially valuable for its drought-resistant properties and can be grown in desert and semi-desert conditions. It has recently been introduced to African agriculture, in the countries with low annual rainfall.

And last but not least we return to that Mexican staple, the corn cob, lauded by the pre-Columbian peoples, reflected in their culture – as shown here in the Larco Museum, Lima, Peru: one of the world’s largest collections of pre-Columbian art.

Gold Maize: Moche Culture 300 AD,held in Larco Museum

The “Legend of the Bloody Butcher Corn” gives us the story of this blood red cob from its humble beginnings two hundred years ago, to the realisation of its value in today’s age. The full story can be read via the link ... but this seed tells a family story: a tale of a girl and her wolf dog.

Betsey, half white and half Pottawatomie Indian, was captured by the Native Indians around the 1800s, and while she waited to escape – she befriended her captors and learnt from them. On escaping she brought with her the bloody butcher seed and the beginnings of its recent history: the story is wonderful, featuring characters with the name of ‘Bandy Bill’, ‘Delilah Deal’ taking us to the roots of our earthy base as the Bloody Corn releases its family story.

Exotic varieties of maize are collected to add genetic diversity when selectively breeding new domestic strains.

These sisters of the vegetable world, these early domesticated plants, provide a wonderful creative field for us to draw on – characters, names, realisation of our roots – both from the earth and our ancestral travels – and perhaps as importantly today as yesterday ... sustain us at all times of the year .. with their beauty, their taste and tales from the past.

A weekend lunch or supper dish full of nourishing heirloom earthy vegetables, with a fresh loaf or two of crusty bread, some freshly churned butter, a selection of cheeses with a bowl of fruit to finish – a glass of wine, a golden cider or a tankard of beer ... it must be the time to make a pot- au-feu – a flavoursome satisfying broth to warm the soul and to share with family and friends.

Dear Mr Postman – we are in a quiet period .. and I just spend time quietly with my mother ... she knows I’m with her. It's a blustery wet old day!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday 5 November 2010

A letter character, to words, to language ... to fonts (ABCs again!) ... to Stephen Fry and Kinetic Typography

I cannot believe I am back on typography – but there it is .. but with two decidedly eminent experts this time ... one from The Saturday Times and the man himself Stephen Fry, Twitterer par excellence.

Words – they fascinate ‘us bloggers’ .. authors, bloggers, journalers, diarists, columnists, alike – we use them with impunity ... without thought .. the words appear, we type, note them down, record them ... then we edit. But where do they spring from ... how do they appear ...

U.S. Theatrical poster by Tom Chantrell – One Million Years B.C.

For my own part I wonder more and more – as I would say my education was good, but my concept of it and results therefrom were poor ... so where do words emanate from & how does our command of word language happen .. perhaps you wonder at your own language roots?

Words ‘hit me’ now-a-days ... I need to write them down and look them up, I clarify meanings and am surprised at how thick I am sometimes – when a word’s meaning is so obvious – but my mind is blank. Yet I can write these posts ... do you feel the same way?

My mind is open .. and it receives – that is for sure, and I am certain fellow readers your minds are too. So back to words, type, fonts, letters and their changing ways ..

The Saturday Times (unfortunately you have to subscribe) recently printed an Alphabet Wallchart (A celebration of type from American typewriter to Zapf Dingbats!) and I love it ... but also I had not realised that there are so many typefaces .. and I am sure there are many more than the 28 displayed.

I did intentionally type 28 ... for some reason The Saturday Times printed 28 , including ‘”T” as the Dingbats typeface’, while the extra two are ‘Ampersand using Farnham’ and ‘Manhatten which is used for The New Yorker masthead’.

Caslon typeface

The Ampersand is an interesting ‘word’ .. and is now rarely used when writing paragraphs, and its main surviving use is in the formal names of businesses or when the ampersand forms part of a registered name, it should not be replaced with the word ‘and’.

Interestingly though with the growth of mobile phone usage and text messaging, the ampersand is gaining new use in SMS language both as a representation for the word “and” and in ‘rebus’ form where the ampersand represents ‘anned’ .. as in the word “planned”.
Historical evolution of the Ampersand

The term 'rebus' also refers to the use of a pictogram to represent a syllabic sound. This adapts pictograms into phonograms. A precursor to the development of the alphabet, this process represents one of the most important developments of writing. Fully developed hieroglyphs read in rebus fashion were in use at Abydos in Egypt as early as 3400 BC.

Also, it was common practice to add at the end of the alphabet the "&" sign, pronounced "and". Thus, the recitation of the alphabet would end in: "X, Y, Z and per se and." This last phrase was routinely slurred to "ampersand" and the term crept into common English usage by around 1837.

I will not print out all the typefaces here .. but if you would like me to – I can do a supplementary post listing and displaying them – up to you!! However one or two:

On the wallposter “Yy” Caslon typeface – originated in the UK, being designed by William Caslon in 1720. This typeface was used for the US Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the “Les Miserables” poster.

Then there is Garamond designed in the 1540s by Claude Garamond of France which is used in the large picture books of Dr Seuss. The American versions of Harry Potter all use the Adobe Garamond typeface.
"Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat" in the Sculpture Memorial Garden, Springfield, Massachusetts

And so we go on .. from typeface stories .. more words, more interesting snippets of historical facts – again where did they come from .. Charles Darwin showed that traits must be inherited before evolution can occur ... our hereditary genius ... the Ancient Romans considered genius as the guiding or “tutelary” spirit of a person, or even an entire gens .. the plural of which is genii.

To etymology then – the study of word origins (it is not the study of insects; that is entomology.) I subscribe to the blog, which has some amazing posts .. and it is to this blog that we must go to find Stephen Fry’s kinetic typography .. I just loved this video – 6 minutes may seem a long time .. but it flew .. here is the master speaker at work, a video representation of the power of language and a media presentation that engages ...

I am sure, like me, you will find this entertaining and informative ... enjoy: www.Word and their Video Friday – highlighting Stephen Fry and Kinetic Typography.

This post was meant to be short and sweet ... well the problem is .. I go delving and find all sorts of interesting topics ... where to go, what to leave out and when to stop .. this time now! Well soon once I have rounded it up ..

.. but I won't .. just one more pretty ampersand ... denoting the word 'and'

Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC, I believe, grunted gutturally through the film .. did she need to do more? No!, skeletal changes occurred, language developed, the written word arrived.. first as rebuses in the form of hieroglyphics, and so through Greek and Roman times to date we search our origins .. we gather roots – we are still hunter gatherers - but now of words and their origins .. change occurs ... mobile technology and speech recognition tools will introduce more changes as the human being ever evolves onwards.

The link: Word Origins Blog and Stephen Fry and Kinetic Typography

Dear Mr Postman .. my mother was pleased to see my return .. saying she was feeling better as I had come back (3 days).. – but it’s comforting to know that she really appreciates my being there. She is sleeping much more or is not able to stay awake .. but she can still tell me why the cyclamen are dying .. they’re in a draaught! As I’ve killed those sweet scented plants off .. I now have jewel anemones, the first of the season Paper Whites – wonderfully scented narcissi - and some daffodils - all beautiful.. which she will enjoy seeing and smelling.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories