Jan 6th

Epiphany 10 facts.

By LJ E

 

Ten facts about the Feast of the Epiphany

  1. 1.The three Kings (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) represented Europe, Arabia and Africa respectively.
  2. 2.Hundreds of years ago, roast lamb was traditionally served at Epiphany in honour of Christ and the three Kings' visit.
  3. 3.Whoever finds the small statue of a baby Jesus hidden inside their slice of the Rosca de reyes throws a party on Candlemas in February.
  4. 4.In some European countries, children leave their shoes out the night before to be filled with gifts, while others leave straw for the three Kings' horses.
  5. 5.According to Greek Orthodox Church's traditions, a priest will bless the waters by throwing a cross into it as worshippers try to retrieve it.
  6. 6.In Bulgaria too, Eastern Orthodox priests throw a cross in the sea and the men dive in - competing to get to it first.
  7. 7.In Venice a traditional regatta that started as a joke in the late 1970s has been incorporated in the celebrations of Epiphany Day.
  8. 8.In Prague, there is a traditional Three Kings swim to commemorate Epiphany Day at the Vltava River.
  9. 9.In New York, El Museo del Barrio has celebrated and promoted the Three Kings' Day tradition with an annual parade for more than three decades. Thousands take part in the procession featuring camels, colorful puppets and floats.
  10. 10.The day's activities involve singing holiday carols called aguinaldos.

 

Epiphany also means.....'A moment of sudden great revelation or realisation'.

Dec 26th

BC : AD by U.A. Fanthorpe

By Mary B

BC : AD by U.A. Fanthorpe

 

This was the moment when Before

Turned into After, and the future's

Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

 

This was the moment when nothing

Happened. Only dull peace

Sprawled boringly over the earth.

 

This was the moment when even energetic Romans

Could find nothing better to do

Than counting heads in remote provinces.

 

And this was the moment

When a few farm workers and three

Members of an obscure Persian sect.

Walked haphazard by starlight straight

Into the kingdom of heaven.

  

Dec 25th

LITTLE PICCOLA

By Mary B

LITTLE PICCOLA

 

Piccola lived in Italy, where the oranges grow, and where all the year the sun shines warm and bright. I suppose you think Piccola a very strange name for a little girl; but in her country it was not strange at all, and her mother thought it the sweetest name a little girl ever had.

Piccola had no kind father, no big brother or sister, and no sweet baby to play with and love. She and her mother lived all alone in an old stone house that looked on a dark, narrow street. They were very poor, and the mother was away from home almost every day, washing clothes and scrubbing floors, and working hard to earn money for her little girl and herself. So you see Piccola was alone a great deal of the time; and if she had not been a very happy, contented little child, I hardly know what she would have done. She had no playthings except a heap of stones in the back yard that she used for building houses and a very old, very ragged doll that her mother had found in the street one day.

But there was a small round hole in the stone wall at the back of her yard, and her greatest pleasure was to look through that into her neighbor's garden. When she stood on a stone, and put her eyes close to the hole, she could see the green grass in the garden, and smell the sweet flowers, and even hear the water splashing into the fountain. She had never seen anyone walking in the garden, for it belonged to an old gentleman who did not care about grass and flowers.

One day in the autumn her mother told her that the old gentleman had gone away, and had rented his house to a family of little American children, who had come with their sick mother to spend the winter in Italy. After this, Piccola was never lonely, for all day long the children ran and played and danced and sang in the garden. It was several weeks before they saw her at all, and I am not sure they ever would have done so but one day the kitten ran away, and in chasing her they came close to the wall and saw Piccola's black eyes looking through the hole in the stones.

They were a little frightened at first, and did not speak to her; but the next day she was there again, and Rose, the oldest girl, went up to the wall and talked to her a little while. When the children found that she had no one to play with and was very lonely, they talked to her every day, and often brought her fruits and candies, and passed them through the hole in the wall.

One day they even pushed the kitten through; but the hole was hardly large enough for her, and she mewed and scratched and was very much frightened. After that the little boy said he would ask his father if the hole might not be made larger, and then Piccola could come in and play with them. The father had found out that Piccola's mother was a good woman, and that the little girl herself was sweet and kind, so that he was very glad to have some of the stones broken away and an opening made for Piccola to come in.

How excited she was, and how glad the children were when she first stepped into the garden! She wore her best dress, a long, bright-colored woolen skirt and a white waist. Round her neck was a string of beads, and on her feet were little wooden shoes. It would seem very strange to us—would it not?—to wear wooden shoes; but Piccola and her mother had never worn anything else, and never had any money to buy stockings. Piccola almost always ran about barefooted, like the kittens and the chickens and the little ducks. What a good time they had that day, and how glad Piccola's mother was that her little girl could have such a pleasant, safe place to play in, while she was away at work!

By and by December came, and the little Americans began to talk about Christmas. One day, when Piccola's curly head and bright eyes came peeping through the hole in the wall, and they ran to her and helped her in; and as they did so, they all asked her at once what she thought she would have for a Christmas present. "A Christmas present!" said Piccola. "Why, what is that?"

All the children looked surprised at this, and Rose said, rather gravely, "Dear Piccola, don't you know what Christmas is?"

Oh, yes, Piccola knew it was the happy day when the baby Christ was born, and she had been to church on that day and heard the beautiful singing, and had seen the picture of the Babe lying in the manger, with cattle and sheep sleeping round about. Oh, yes, she knew all that very well, but what was a Christmas present?

Then the children began to laugh and to answer her all together. There was such a clatter of tongues that she could hear only a few of the words now and then, such as "chimney," "Santa Claus," "stockings," "reindeer," "Christmas Eve," "candies and toys." Piccola put her hands over her ears and said, "Oh, I can't understand one word. You tell me, Rose." Then Rose told her all about jolly Santa Claus, with his red cheeks and white beard and fur coat, and about his reindeer and sleigh full of toys. "Every Christmas Eve," said Rose, "he comes down the chimney, and fills the stockings of all the good children; so, Piccola, you hang up your stocking, and who knows what a beautiful Christmas present you will find when morning comes!" Of course Piccola thought this was a delightful plan, and was very pleased to hear about it. Then all the children told her of every Christmas Eve they could remember, and of the presents they had had; so that she went home thinking of nothing but dolls and hoops and balls and ribbons and marbles and wagons and kites.

She told her mother about Santa Claus, and her mother seemed to think that perhaps he did not know there was any little girl in that house, and very likely he would not come at all. But Piccola felt very sure Santa Claus would remember her, for her little friends had promised to send a letter up the chimney to remind him.

Christmas Eve came at last. Piccola's mother hurried home from her work; they had their little supper of soup and bread, and soon it was bedtime,—time to get ready for Santa Claus. But oh! Piccola remembered then for the first time that the children had told her she must hang up her stocking, and she hadn't any, and neither had her mother.

How sad, how sad it was! Now Santa Claus would come, and perhaps be angry because he couldn't find any place to put the present.

The poor little girl stood by the fireplace, and the big tears began to run down her cheeks. Just then her mother called to her, "Hurry, Piccola; come to bed." What should she do? But she stopped crying, and tried to think; and in a moment she remembered her wooden shoes, and ran off to get one of them. She put it close to the chimney, and said to herself, "Surely Santa Claus will know what it's there for. He will know I haven't any stockings, so I gave him the shoe instead."

Then she went off happily to her bed, and was asleep almost as soon as she had nestled close to her mother's side.

The sun had only just begun to shine, next morning, when Piccola awoke. With one jump she was out on the floor and running toward the chimney. The wooden shoe was lying where she had left it, but you could never, never guess what was in it.

Piccola had not meant to wake her mother, but this surprise was more than any little girl could bear and yet be quiet; so she danced to the bed with the shoe in her hand, calling, "Mother, mother! look, look! see the present Santa Claus brought me!"

Her mother raised her head and looked into the shoe. "Why, Piccola," she said, "a little chimney swallow nestling in your shoe? What a good Santa Claus to bring you a bird!"

"Good Santa Claus, dear Santa Claus!" cried Piccola; and she kissed her mother and kissed the bird and kissed the shoe, and even threw kisses up the chimney, she was so happy.

When the birdling was taken out of the shoe, they found that he did not try to fly, only to hop about the room; and as they looked closer, they could see that one of his wings was hurt a little.

But the mother bound it up carefully, so that it did not seem to pain him, and he was so gentle that he took a drink of water from a cup, and even ate crumbs and seeds out of Piccola's hands.

She was a proud little girl when she took her Christmas present to show the children in the garden. They had had a great many gifts,—dolls that could say "mamma," bright picture books, trains of cars, toy pianos; but not one of their playthings was alive, like Piccola's birdling. They were as pleased as she, and Rose hunted about the house until she found a large wicker cage that belonged to a blackbird she once had. She gave the cage to Piccola, and the swallow seemed to make himself quite at home in it at once, and sat on the perch winking his bright eyes at the children. Rose had saved a bag of candies for Piccola, and when she went home at last, with the cage and her dear swallow safely inside it, I am sure there was not a happier little girl in the whole country of Italy.

 

* From "The Story Hour," by Wiggins and Smith. Published by consent of the authors and also the publishers—Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

 

Dec 25th

A Visit from St. Nicholas

By Mary B

A Visit from St. Nicholas 

BY CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE

 

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds; 

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; 

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, 

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. 

Away to the window I flew like a flash, 

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, 

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below, 

When what to my wondering eyes did appear, 

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer, 

With a little old driver so lively and quick, 

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick. 

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, 

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: 

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! 

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen! 

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" 

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, 

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; 

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew 

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too— 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof 

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. 

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, 

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, 

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; 

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, 

And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. 

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! 

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! 

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, 

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; 

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, 

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath; 

He had a broad face and a little round belly 

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. 

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, 

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; 

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head 

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, 

And laying his finger aside of his nose, 

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. 

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight— 

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

May 30th

Common Sense.

By Bill W

I heard this poem many years ago on a radio station and I recorded it onto a cassette tape, I recently played the tape and heard the poem again, so I contacted the radio station asking if they had a copy in print, they duly obliged. Not only is it a very good poem, but the message conveyed is so very true as well. Perhaps our schools should add 'Common Sense' to the curriculum.

 

 

 

 

Common Sense

 

When trouble looms around you and danger lies ahead;

When your faith is almost shattered and your hopes are nearly dead,

There is always something left you - and it's not a mere pretence,

View your difficulties calmly - and use your common sense.

 

When there's talk of strife and danger and rumours fill the air,

When the facts are so distorted, that your views become unfair,

When mere trifles get so magnified until they seem immense,

Just forget your party politics - and use your common sense.

 

Other folks have got their troubles and they've got their point of view;

And it's not in human nature - all to think the same as you,

Try to see things from their angle - "Listen in" to their defence,

And you'll come to some agreement - if you use your common sense.

 

Though we're given brains and judgement - quite a few of us I guess;

Let others do our thinking - with borrowed views impress,

Many other thoughtless people - in this consequence,

Believe the things they wouldn't - if they'd use their common sense.

 

The world was in a turmoil, tempers frayed and feeling sore;

Because a difference of opinion had been pushed right to the fore,

And had grown with each repeating - till it seemed a great offence,

When it would hardly have been noticed - if we'd used our common sense.

 

Now the clouds have all departed - and there's brightness in the air,

And once again instead of strife - there's gladness everywhere,

Now the gloom of yesterday has gone - the feeling of suspense,

It's because when things looked hopeless - SOMEONE USED HIS COMMON SENSE

 

And if we don't see eye to eye, that's really no excuse;

To sacrifice our dignity and indulge in cheap abuse,

That's never very clever and is merely a pretence,

To camouflage our smallness and our lack of common sense.

 

 

Oh yes......I do like that.

  

 

 

 

 

 

May 13th

From: The Daily Mash

By Colin L

breakfast425

BREAKFAST is the least important meal of the day, it has been confirmed.

The morning meal has enjoyed artificially elevated status due to efficient PR spin, but can be easily skipped because it is largely pointless.

Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: “The most important meals of the day are, funnily enough, lunch and dinner. You know, actual meals

“Not a piece of hot bread or some bits of wheat with milk inexplicably poured onto them.”

Until the early 1990s, breakfast was widely accepted to be just something to do while reading the paper in the morning.

It was considered inferior to elevenses, a mid-afternoon snack and a midnight feast, which prompted a radical re-think of its marketing strategy.

PR executive Julian Cook said: “My company came up with the slogan: ‘the most important meal of the day’ but it was based on absolutely no solid facts, so we never thought anyone would buy it.

“We were staggered when people started parroting the phrase idiotically as if it were some kind of divine wisdom. It’s a piece of toast, for heaven’s sake.”

May 2nd

Bring back our Lav's and I'll vote for you.

By Bill W

I must have one of those faces that political canvassers and survey people hone-in on. I've just got back from the shops, where I was accosted by two groups of people with colourful rossettes, wanting to know which way I would vote in the local elections and the coming referendum. I asked them, "If I vote for you, will you promise to restore 'Public Toilets' to all towns and villages, as I've had some very traumatic times trying to find them on my travels?" Needless to say, I never got any such assurances. Us blokes (though it's wrong, but needs must) can nip into a shrubery for an urgent wee, but it must be more of a nightmare for the ladies. We get all the usual excuses that the toilets are too expensive to maintain, and vandalism is another problem, I don't accept these glib responses, after all, in the 1940s and 1950s when Britain was up to it's eyes in debt paying off War Loans to America, we had public toilets galore, and kept clean and tidy, so if we are to believe that Britain is the 6th richest nation in the world, why then can we not afford basic facilities for our people. Politicians should bow their heads in shame. Rant over....going for a pee. Ha ha.

Feb 22nd

Cheese triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs, say scientists

By Colin L

 

Cheese triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs, say scientists

 

Hooked on cheese? There’s science behind your addiction

 

 

Wedges of cheddar cheese Getty

 

If you regularly find yourself hovering around the cheese board at the Christmas dinner table, helping yourself to seconds or thirds, there may be a scientific explanation as to why you’re unable to tear yourself away. 

 

Researchers from the University of Michigan have revealed that cheese contains a chemical found in addictive drugs.

 

Using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, designed to measure a person’s cravings, the study found that cheese is particularly moreish because it contains casein. 

 

The chemical, which is found in all dairy products, can trigger the brain’s opioid receptors, producing a feeling of euphoria linked to those of hard drug addiction. 

 

500 students were asked to complete a questionnaire to identify food cravings, as part of the study, with pizza topping the list as the most addictive food of all.

 

In addition, they found that the top-ranking foods on the addiction scale were those containing cheese. 

 

Scientists studying dairy products found that in milk, casein has a minuscule dosage. But producing a pound of cheese requires about 10 pounds of milk — with addictive casein coagulating the solid milk fats and separating them from the liquids.

 

As a result the super-strength chemical becomes concentrated when in solid dairy form, so you’ll get a higher hit of addictive casein by tucking into a cheese sandwich than you will in your morning bowl of cereal.

Dec 29th

So Quiet.

By phillip J W

Incredibly quiet round here this week.  I just can't imagen where everyone is. Surely I'm not the only one bored with the Razamataz of modern Christmas, who is looking forward to plain ordinery every day Early Spring?

Once the carols have been sung, the gifts have been given & a celibratery meal has been shared, what more is there?

Surelly not "Winter Sales?"  

Anyway, what ever the reason for the desided hush, I thought I should pop-in to show the flag, stoke-up the fire a bit & fill the kettle, just incase people are around but not wanting to make a first move, like!

Dec 26th

2016

By phillip J W

May you all enjoy a safe, happy & healthy 2016.

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