Friday 30 June 2017

We are the World Blogfest ... in Darkness, Be Light ... #4 - Blood Runners

A group of bikers who have combined their passion for bikes with volunteering for an essential service in Sussex – the transporting of blood and associated products needed in an emergency. 

Come and join us in this
WAWTB fest - link below

This group is called:
SERV Sussex – Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers

'Racing' through the night to deliver blood
c/o Sussex SERV site

There are 60 volunteers who work at intervals overnight (7.00 pm to 6.00 am) to provide night time transportation of blood, blood products and other urgent medical items for the National Health Service (NHS) hospitals around Sussex.

Without this willing group of night time riders the NHS would have to use ambulances, or pay taxis to transport these urgently needed items.

This amazing service has just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award that can be made to a voluntary group.

In 2016 SERV Sussex responded to 1,147 individual requests for assistance from NHS Trusts or the UK Association for Milk Banks (premature and sick baby services).

Tube map of the London Underground - Tooting is ringed
Sussex lies approximately due south

Blood and blood products usually originate in Tooting, south London … but transfers are made to London and between Sussex Hospital Trusts.

A second service is provided as SERV has recently expanded to transporting human milk; now providing daily support to milk banks in London and Brighton. 

Sussex SERV's logo

They will collect milk from donors in Sussex, Surrey and London at pre-arranged times, then deliver to one of the milk banks.

They will also deliver treated milk to mothers in their homes if donor milk is required and they are unable to make it to the hospital to collect their supplies. 

Donated breast milk helps babies who are ill to get the best start in life… it contains all the nutrients (at least 400) that a baby needs and contains the hormones and disease-fighting compounds which are not found in formula milk.

Another photo of their vehicle c/o SERV site

These volunteers who cover the 365 nights in a year … leave the hospitals free to focus their resources on patient care and eliminate costly transport bills.

The volunteers give their time for free, together with use of their beloved bikes, they put the fuel in and maintain their vehicles from their own pockets.

A wonderful service recognised by The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service … so well deserved – many of us will be thankful, while the volunteers gain from giving back to society, to helping families at times of dire trouble … 

c/o Sussex SERV site

Today and all days we give thanks to those who will look after us in times of need … while I am sure the Service for Emergency Rider Volunteers in Sussex has been working overtime to help those with great need in London.

Let us not make life worse for others …

SERV Sussex - Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV)

The Blood Runners of Sussex

We Are The World ... In Darkness, Be Light ...  

Your lead co-hosts this month are:  
Belinda Witzenhausen,  Lynn Hallbrooks,  Michelle WallaceSylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday 26 June 2017

The “William Charter” – archive treasure …

The Guildhall put on what has to be the smallest exhibition ever … if the items were 950 years old, then really it is amazing they still exist … but they are: signed, sealed, delivered, still going strong, released from the archives and on show …

The Guildhall

The two items also set in motion the establishment of the City of London (the Square Mile, as it is sometimes known) – the trading, business and financial centre of the UK – 950 years ago.

City of London flag

William, the Conqueror, after his success at the Battle of Hastings (in 1066 AD) marched north to take London … William wanted to safeguard this prosperity, recognising its importance as a centre of trade and wealth.

City of London
Coat of Arms

The leaders of the Anglo-Saxon court (intelligently) surrendered peacefully, and were rewarded with the Charter, which over time proved beneficial to both parties.

This Charter declared that William would not reduce the citizens to a state of dependent vassalage, as usually happened in the larger towns … William was a ruthless, but wise conqueror.

The "William Charter" with his Seal dated 1067

The peoples of the City were able to continue their work and trade without general administrative interference …

It is written in Old English, and not in William’s native Norman French … the degree of autonomy which it guaranteed has been valued and defended by the City ever since.

This international character of London was noted by the Charter addressing both the French and English residents and treating them with equal status.

The explanatory board at the Exhibition -
the text is set out below

The document is very significant, apart from its 950 years’ survival, because it guaranteed the collective rights of Londoners. 

Nothing new was given … but it confirmed the citizen’s rights and privileges already in existence … confirming that the succession to property was not subject to arbitrary royal intervention.

“William, King, greets William the Bishop and Geoffrey the Portreeve, and all the citizens in London, French and English, in friendly fashion; and I inform you that it is my will that your laws and customs be preserved as they were in King Edward’s day, that every son shall be his father’s heir after his father’s death; and that I will not any man do wrong to you. God yield you”.

The Tower of London, built by William, resides outside of the City’s east wall.

The Charter and Seal as displayed

This precious tiny piece of vellum measures six inches by one and a half inches … the two slits were relevant and used … the larger one as a seal-tongue (holding the seal to the document) and the other as a tie (when the document was folded and transported).

The City from the south side of the Thames: the Tower
is in the right-hand corner (east side of this image)

The Seal is one of the earliest surviving examples from William’s reign.

This Charter is one of over 100 held in the archives, which different sovereigns have issued for the Citizens of London - enabling the City to keep its unique position.

The City of London Corporation is unlike any other administrative body in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, as well as having responsibilities and ownerships beyond its boundaries.

Common Council Journal for Burnham Beeches
(1880) - with cover displayed separately
Here I show the cover of the Common Council Journal and minute book as at 1880 … for Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire … which the Corporation still owns and has jurisdiction over … as per this Notice (re dog fouling!) to be effective 1 December 2017!  (It is a .pdf)

This incredible glimpse into history came from the London Metropolitan Archives whose holding of records, documents, films, photographs and maps take up the equivalent of 100 km (62 miles) of archives.

The pretty unprepossessing main entrance of the
London Metropolitan Archives (a free resource) -
with significant contents, which 30,000 people visit
every year and many more access digitally
This was an opportunity I could not afford to miss and be able to post up for you to read … a rare opportunity to view the treasures held in trust for the nation.

Through these two items – the Charter and the Seal – are the key to how William won the support of London and how the City itself began to gain its special autonomy.

Map of London about 1300 AD
see here

This tiny square mile, the City, in the metropolis of London still exists and maintains its unique status, with its ancient City traditions …

… going back to Roman, Anglo-Saxon times before being ‘chartered’ by William the Conqueror in 1067 – which the authorities of London have held, archived and maintained for the nation for over nine hundred and fifty years.

The London Metropolitan Archives website ... the About page - there is an interesting video ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Write ... Edit ... Publish ... Bloghop - Bridges ...

I could not think what to write … then came across this true story - the limerick is mine

There was an old woman of Wadebridge
Whose enjoyment was an afternoon playing bridge
Her hand played high …
She slapped her thigh …
… too much for the lady of Wadebridge …

A game of bridge - but NOT the winning hand

… based on Wendy Brown, who died immediately after being dealt a ‘once in a lifetime’ hand because she couldn’t take the excitement.

The old railway station at Wadebridge - now
The John Betjeman Centre

The grandmother of 12 died from a massive heart attack at the John Betjeman Centre in Wadebridge, Cornwall – during her regular Tuesday game.

John Betjeman statue in
St Pancras Station

John Betjeman (1906 – 1984), poet, writer and broadcaster, became Poet Laureate in 1972, passionate about Victorian Society and architecture, yet hankered after his beloved north Cornwall.

Trebetherick, north Cornwall  - looking
across to the Bristol Channel

He lived out his final days in Trebetherick, where his father had had some properties, and where many of his childhood holidays had been spent … getting there via the train terminus, opened 1834, at Wadebridge. 

St Enodoc Church

St Enodoc Church was commemorated by Betjeman in his poem Sunday Afternoon Service:

So grows the tinny tenor faint or loud
All all things draw toward St Enodoc

Cornwall Tour Site - re Wadebridge and Betjeman Centre

Wendy Brown's story in The Daily Mail

Write Edit Publish Bloghop details June 2017

The river used to need wading across, until a bridge was built in the 1460s, from then on the settlement was known as Wadebridge.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday 15 June 2017

Bran Tub # 12: Myotonic Goats ...

Fainting Goats to you and me … well Rhonda of Albom Adventures alerted me to them in her comment on my F for Feral Goat post I wrote as part of my series “Aspects of British County Rare Breeds”.  I couldn’t not find out more could I? … so you get a bran tub post!

Kid goat that has fainted

To me … it seems an extraordinary condition … the goat’s muscles freeze for roughly 3 seconds when the goat feels panic.

Young goats tend to ‘keel’ over, while older goats have learnt to spread their legs or lean against something when startled …

Poor goats ... stiff legged ... 

… this can leave them for a while with an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle - giving us humans another way of describing them … ‘wooden-legged goats’ … or no doubt many a description!

But symptoms can affect humans too – so often there’s that  interlink - but I’ll leave you to investigate ‘myotonia’ … it’s a symptom of a small handful of certain neuromuscular disorders characterised by delayed relaxation (prolonged contraction) of the skeletal muscles after voluntary contraction or electrical stimulation.

Tennessee - Lewisburg, home of the fainting goats is near the
Alabama border: about where the 'C' of Chattanooga is shown

Back to fainting goats (wooden-legged goats) … they are classified as a meat goat as opposed to a dairy goat, but can be raised for chevon (goat meat). 

Referencing the British Rare Breeds Survival Trust as my April posts highlighted – this rare breed falls under The Livestock Breed Conservancy of America (ALBC) – and thus is being protected.

Marshall County Courthouse
in Lewisburg

Tennessee seems to be the centre for these goats, where in October there is an annual “Goats, Music and More Festival” honouring the fainting goats …

Marshall County puts on this festival, centred on goats, but has activities including music, arts, festival games, crafts, food (of course!), and children’s activities … sounds like fun.

The logo c/o the Festival site
There’s a three legged goat triathlon apparently … and a goats gallop of 5 k … I presume both of these are human based!

How do I finish a post like this … ah! a link to South Africa … I see on the Goats Music and More site that the judges are described as Boer judges – after my time in SA … that is where ‘the boer’ is an Afrikaans farmer.

Matt Gillan - with his winning dish for Great British
Menu in 2015.  He told the important story of the goat
to the islanders of St Helena (see my post)

Yet the introduced Boer goat has been discovered as an excellent crossbreed stock for the fainting one, a meat goat which was imported from South Africa … the fainting gene is recessive, therefore it is usually not expressed in crossbred animals.

Jerk Goat Kebabs with dried mango
So the fainting goat can be conserved as a breed … yet the traits of the meat goat can be kept as a meat goat, when it has been crossed with the Boer goat … and can thus give us goat meat …

Albom Adventures – Rhonda’s blog highlighting ‘The Essence of Travel Through Photography’ …

Wikipedia’s – Fainting Goat …. and Myotonia sites …

Marshall County’s link to the Goats, Music and More Festival in Tennessee …

That's it for fainting goats - can't quite get over this Bran Tub find!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday 10 June 2017

Celebration of Diaries - an Exhibition ...

I went to the Dear Diary Exhibition at King’s College, London in the Inigo Rooms of Somerset House … these will be jottings on various snippets of information I noted …
The Courtyard, Somerset House

Some of the work was copyright - so no photos … but I did note that people’s handwriting is difficult to behold – let alone read … especially through glass: nothing changes as time goes on!  (thank goodness for the typed or spoken word … spoken: perhaps not so much – dialects etc).

Exhibition Guide

I whizzed through, glanced at … picked out some salient points …  so please excuse this disjointed post …

The first ‘diary’ was the Almanac (c 1400 BC) … almanac in Arabic apparently means making a camel kneel: ‘al-munak’ … that’s what was written up …. ?!

There was a long hanging banner with some
of the works on display down the staircase

Almanacs … we bloggers and authors know and quite often refer to them … they record the calendar, weather, poems, sayings, astronomical and astrological information, other relevant aspects to the writer …

The word 'diary' comes from the Latin "diarium" (daily allowance), as too 'journal' - it is from the same root "diurnus" (of the day).

The first use of the word ‘diary’ occurred in 1581 … while Ben Jonson in 1605 coined the word to mean a daily record in his comedy ‘Volpone’.

Gentleman and Tradesman, Daily Pocket Journal
for the year 1754

Some diarists used code in their writings … Pepys - naval administrator and diarist - (1633 – 1703), Anne Lister – diarist, mountaineer and traveller (1791 – 1840), Charles Wesley – a leader in the Methodist movement (1707 – 1788) and Beatrix Potter –author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist (1866 – 1943) …

Anne Lister (aka "Gentleman Jack")

Anne Lister inherited from her landowning uncle … she wrote in 1803 ‘my library is my greatest pleasure … the Grecian history had pleased me much’.  She was known as “Gentleman Jack” … it is worth reading up about her

Anne Frank School Photo
in 1940

Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) kept a diary … Beatrice Webb (1858 – 1943) co-founder of the London School of Economics wrote a diary … and I can’t forget Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) who kept a diary …

But a film had been made in Germany in 1929 ‘Diary of a Lost Girl’ … it is a silent film … considered a classic … based on a controversial book first published in Germany in 1905.  I would like to read the book and see the film …

Diary of a Lost Girl - silent film:
original German poster
There are many items on display … in manuscript form … until that internet thing came upon us … then one of the first to embrace the new medium recording her thoughts for all to see was Carolyn L Burke …

… in 1995 she seems to have embraced the new technology and started sharing …

… the use of  ‘blog’ and ‘blogosphere’ first appeared as words in 1999 …

Western Mail Diary - cost 3 shillings

Carolyn observed that she was able to share her interests, she had an audience – a range of characters, ‘they’ became her therapist, her confidante, her intimate friend ….

… the momentum gathered and after several months alone by herself on the net … they started visiting … at the peak she had 100,000 hits and numerous followers … and critics ... 

I am sure she is still around … but she encourages others inwhat is apparently her last entry in 2007.

… the exhibition asks us to participate – I used pen and post-it note to add my tuppence to the board of experiences – yellow for online, blue for handwritten … guess mine = yellow!

So many can let others know what is happening in their world … refugees, a child’s view on a riot in Paris in 1968, a day in the life of a UNICEF worker in Yemen … and bloggers around the world …

… if you wish to participate – this is the site … I hope someof you will …

The art work appearing with Einsam's link ... 

There is a song, which I rather like: “Ephemera – Dear Diary” by Einsam: to be found here … Einsam means lonely

Lots of alternatives for diary keeping today … video, taped, via an app, online blogging or vlogging … and of course pen and paper …

Facsimile page of Anne Frank's diary
on show in Berlin

However I’m happy with doing what I do – I’d hate for my life to be out there for everyone to read … so boring, so illegible!, these posts at least keep me amused and a few of you – for whom I am mighty grateful …

Other links:  The Diary of a Lost Girl - the book

The Exhibition: "Dear Diary - celebrates diaries and their digital descendants" ... 

Cover of the first edition: 1892

Over the centuries (millennia) diaries have offered unique accounts of given times, in a medium selected by the diarist … no other kind of document offers such a wealth of information about daily life, and the ups and downs of human existence.

Apart from exploring what motivates diarists, noting the ways in which paper diaries have been joined by phones and tablets as our means of keeping track of daily life … 

Stranger than fiction probably ... especially the historical details and facts that make up our understanding of earlier lives.

An Addendum - Mike from A Bit About Britain mentioned the Mass Observation Project conducted by Sussex University ... it looks fascinating: so here are two links ...

The Mass Observation Archive - gives an overview ... 80 years of social observation ...

The MOA is archived at the University's new facility in The Keep

I'm going out to the Keep sometime soon ... so now will ask about this collection ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories