Tuesday 31 May 2022

Peace will Conquer War …

 

Decency to consider others' lives … as here – the Kviv Symphony Orchestra was allowed, by the Ministry of Culture, also the Ministry of Defence, to leave Ukraine in early 2022 …


Kviv Orchestra

but most importantly with their families and children … this leadership from the Ukrainian government is extraordinary and so commendable - how that country is setting examples for the rest of the world.



The Queen in platinum colours -
looking happy

The Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend will be celebrated by many … those who've been through WW2 and other wars, and others like me who've known the Queen as our head of state for almost all my life …



She has been another exemplar of living life to the full, fairly, squarely and with honesty setting personal examples as well as maintaining moral standards …

Leek Town Council's -
very pretty, I thought, marketing ad



Peace is the bold, courageous and ultimate response to the notion that violence provides any viable solution for the conflicts of our world.





Where war destroys and tears apart ...


Peace builds, strengthens and restores.



As the 21st century continues – let us all do our best to bring humanity and compassion into our communities – and to ensure our progeny are here to guard this world for everyone's and everything of value's future.




We will be celebrating our Queen's life … while remembering all who have served us in many wars, as well as today remembering Ukraine …



To conclude I would like to copy a piece from Wikipedia on the Orchestra's chief conductor … Luke Gaggero:


He came to Ukraine as a performing percussionist around 2012, and was impressed by the quiet attention of the audience, listening like to a spiritual message ("geistige Botschaft").


Gaggero was born in Italy, studied in Germany, has taught in France, and has a vision of building Europe.


The orchestra has toured in Spain and the Netherlands. They have played at national occasions such as the 30th anniversary of independence in 2021. The orchestra has run an orchestra academy.



Here is a true European embracing all cultures and learning from them … then we have our Queen who has overseen the growth of diversity amongst her peoples … many countries which have requested to join the organisation: The Commonwealth of Nations ...



I wish everyone the best for the years ahead, particularly for us here in Europe who are not believing what we see happening in Ukraine, yet how their heads are held high and absolutely deserve the return of their country.




With thoughts to all around the world …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday 27 May 2022

We are the World Blogfest - #WATWB Hmb#2 - Singapore – a green oasis of calm …

 

This appealed as Singapore is Singapore (believe it or not!) … I've never been – but would love to visit sometime …


Outline of Singapore with its surrounding
islands and waterways



They only became independent in 1965 … and as they were in the 20th century realised protecting their resources were essential.





The article compares Hong Kong with Singapore … interesting variances as both countries developed … Hong Kong under British colonisation from 1840s …



while Singapore in the same era as a British Crown Colony, believed after WW2, in the 1960s, that its future lay with Malaysia; ...


1825 Survey Map - showing the free-trade
port on the Singapore River

but talks broke down, then Malaysia expelled Singapore, when it had no choice but to reluctantly become a newly independent country.



The charismatic prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, is known as the founding father of the nation. He was described as the philosopher king … he also had a nickname “ Chief Gardener” …


Lee Kuan Yew (1923 - 2015)


so the new government set out to transform the city into a tropical garden city … giving the citizens pride in their new freedom and ...




it was realised that tiny Singapore needed to be self-sufficient within its own compact footprint … Malaysia was known to consider threatening to turn off the water …




Lee, chose the month of November, as it is when saplings need the least amount of water, to hold the first annual Tree Planting Day to beautify Singapore … in 1974 they had over 150,000 trees, by now they've planted over 1.5 million.



With this in mind as development continued … water cleansing and capturing were essential elements to be integrated into the cityscape …


Lee's first choice of tree
'Cratoxylum Formosum'



water is captured in mini reservoirs, rooftops, parks, roadways and sidewalks … an elaborate system of channels, tunnels and pumps then moves the water to treatment plants …




Lee also realised that if citizens owned their own homes – they'd be more responsible with their properties. The Housing and Development Board built low-cost housing, which tenants could rent … ultimately purchasing with their pension funds. (Interesting idea, I thought).



The development continues … parks, rivers, ponds co-exist in the urban centres and high-rises … while authorities encourage developers to include plants with a higher leaf-area index.


Vernonia Elliptica - one of many
creepers promoted within the city
(curtain creeper)


There's more … I leave you to read … I found it fascinating … the city's newly planted trees and green walls will help cool buildings, provide shade, and reduce outdoor temperatures … encouraging more exercise – walk to work etc …



I loved the idea that floors and walkways were built with deep planting beds for drainage, absorbing water during times of tropical downpours. Encouraging growth of tropical plants to drape and over time cascade around the building/s …



The book, accompanying the article, 'Supertall: How the World's Tallest Buildings are Reshaping Our Cities and Our Lives' … sounds really interesting …



Stefan Al, one of the authors, is a TED Resident – this is an incubator group for breakthrough ideas … each resident has a talk … see more here … again I found this interesting, as I hadn't heard about this concept.



The article opened my mind to many aspects – about how architects, engineers, hydrologists, planners, designers, and data scientists are all influencing and working together to build more sustainable, resilient and equitable environments within our city scapes.


Panoramic view of the central business district -
the 'funny' skyscrapers - are linked 500 feet in
the air - available for joggers and walkers in a
green oases of calm


It's the sign of our times … as we need to remember planet earth … yes please to green oases within our urban landscapes …


Big Think - the present: SuperTall Singapore ... 




We are the World Blogfest
In Darkness, Be Light

Let's all encourage peace amongst

our human race ...



Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday 22 May 2022

Bran Tub # 22 … Slosh, Bubble up, Toad in the Hole …

 

Slosh - Sloshing around … but I never thought I'd find these connections …


He amused me as a 'slosher' ... 

I usually scan the main page of Wiki - people, subjects, art or things of interest that might superficially educate me, connect to something I'd been thinking about or interested me knowledge-wise …



my life is like that the bubbling spring of eclecticism, I never quite know where I'm leading myself …




The first bullet point under Care of
Tables - Equipment: where it states
only Snooker, Billiards and Slosh
are allowed!



So yes – here's some more randomness … as I get on with other things here – before reverting to something approaching intelligent posting …





Slosh … popped up – oddly as a game (a cue sport) – but also known as Russian billiards, Indian pool and it beggars belief 'toad-in-the-hole' - a game lasting 30 minutes, or to a score of 100 points.



Russian definition 'slosh about' ...

Anything Russian I check in on – we're studying the Revolution from 100 years ago … I'm giving some talks on Russian Revolutionary Art from that period … so now into that mode too …




Not much, if anything is known about the origins of the game … except its obviously been adapted over the years … it seems to have been around since the early 1900s …




Tibetans playing carrom in Delhi

Carrom, a table top game - very popular in the Indian sub-continent, appears to be favourite link … I know nothing about these sorts of games – except know that I've seen them being played in market squares, or local cafĂ©s ...



There are other names too … but I'll leave you to look at those … with modified rules for each country or game …



But as I look I spot a link across to an English-Russian Dictionary … to find out what 'slosh' means when translated … as shown above ...



Toad in the hole ... 

Now Toad-in-the-Hole takes me back to childhood days … an easy, cheap and satisfying supper that we had at home … always good and tasty – sausages in a batter mix … what's not to like?!



Taking me back to the previous post of 'my' little Desert Rain Frog … here's the differences between a frog and a toad …



Interesting to note the differences

So forgive these wanderings – I'm never sure what's going to happen … but I'll be back to a degree of normality in the coming days …




Russian mustard and 
horseradish sauce

How you get a game played with a cue be called 'slosh' I'll never know … let alone a sausage supper dish named from an amphibian, with a dash of Russian ( In Russian, mustard is called “gorchitsafrom the verb “gorit'” meaning to burn) or in Indian ( The mustard plant is called rai or raya in India) added here for 'good measure' …



Frog hopping happily

We continue to learn … enjoy the week ahead …



Toad in defensive stance

 
and thanks for tolerating these snippets …



Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Bran Tub # 21: Jiminy Cricket, another oddball post …


As I do, wherever I am, I seem to muse about blog posts … yesterday I was happily sitting outside having lunch up at a local hotel – with a croquet lawn to admire, the English Channel waves undulating a few hundred feet away …

Outlook from hotel

...an idyllic sunny day to spend a bit of time with a friend … soon after we first met we were having lunch … as we were enjoying ourselves … a mighty seagull powered its way from the roof and whipped my friend's piece of salmon off her plate! Yikes and yugh!


Seagulls scavenging ... I must say that looks
quite a good tasty pasty - better than some

We haven't been eating outside since … but the manager informed us - they had seagull scarers now – so we risked it …



oh yes – we were safe! But no … a very pretty emerald golden spider was flitting around me … matching the thistles on my skirt … I managed to release him to the care of the earth …


He's quite pretty isn't he?
looks like he might have been a Cucumber Spider – they seem quite common, but I've never noticed one before, though they appear at this time of year …




but as I go to various group classes – history, memoir, life-science and music appreciation (today's class) and others … I ended up pondering humans … and how odd we all are … how our behaviours are all so varied … all good fillers for a blog post!


But I digress – I think! - and then remembered the Desert Rain Frog and my time in Namibia … that I'd intended to write about …


Desert Rain Frog


he's a plump species with bulging eyes, short snout, short limbs, spade-like feet, and webbed toes … charming little fella, n'est pas?



Added to which he has an unusually high-pitched cry similar to that of a squeaky toy.


Another view of a Desert Rain Frog

Also he's unique as he develops directly from the egg into an adult – so no tadpole stage. He pads happily about on the sand, not requiring water in his habitat for survival.



Their habitat is a very small strip of land in the Cape Province of South Africa, and the coastal strand in southern Namibia … where the Skeleton Coast Desert can be found – an area stretching from Angola in the north, into the Cape Province further south …


The marked edge of southern Africa -
where this little frog si found

The Desert is magical … fog provides most moisture in an otherwise arid and dry region and it's amazing how much can survive in the coastal dunes – about 24 miles wide, and 310 miles in length …



our little Desert Rain Frog is one of those incredible species … sadly its habitat is being lost to human 'needs' (mining and tourism) …


Namibian homelands 1978 - 
the Skeleton Coast is marked, as 
too the Desert


I'd like to think that we will realise what we have on this earth … and which we should be looking after for future generations …


My mother and I went there about 35 years ago … strange but true!


Thanks for visiting – another Bran Tub post … so many other subjects to get to: I'll get there …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Bran Tub # 20: Wry Amusement … Act for Ukraine – renaming street addresses …


Street names – to be amused by, at least in my book – yes … this gently tickled me … soft ironic diplomacy …


Ironic diplomacy can be found ... 

I came across this online campaign … to amend addresses wherever there is a Russian embassy, consulate, or similar … trade mission …




I found the article here … and I'm afraid, in the appalling times of war the Ukrainians are going through, I found it lightly uplifting …



Surprisingly the first country to give the Russian embassy a new address was Albania … the Ukraine Embassy, that of Serbia, also of Kosovo, and so the Russian Embassy all now reside on 'Free Ukraine Street' … in its capital Tirana.


Free Ukraine Street in Tirana, Albania



Next came Norway … it changed an intersection address to Ukraine Square … and other countries/cities have followed …



It seems the NYT gave rise to an article on Danish MP, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen's drive for these name changes … and who was quoted as saying 'No Action is too Small' …



a simple but significant act of symbolic support for the courageous Ukrainian people who defend the values of freedom and democracy from one of the strongest military powers in the world.


c/o Strange Maps


The campaign continues on … please see the link


A rabbit hole I (logically! tba) went down – Mayakovsky Street has been renamed Boris Johnson Street (suits me ... if he's tucked away!) … renamed by the small town, population was about 6,000, to the east along the coast from Odessa ...


Mayakovsky Street

I will explain Vladimir Mayakovsky's connection … but this poster he created about 100 years ago … Agitprop – Communist propaganda – occurring in their Revolution 1917 – 1932.



Soviet Propaganda poster from
the Russian Revolution era
1917 - 1932


He was a Soviet poet, playwright, artist and actor … born in the Caucasus in Georgia, but after his father died they moved to Moscow.






Changing street names has occurred over the years … as you'll see in the article … but in today's age – these things can happen very quickly …



How frustrating to work for a Russian organisation and find you have to walk down, or across a Ukrainian street to get to work …



I'm around, but have been involved doing rather a lot … I'll be back soon – so enjoy this bran tub alternative post with its links ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories