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Sue's weekly highlights


True story behind Moby-Whale?

This week I started watching a film called Heart of the Sea. I remember having to read extracts of this book when I was at junior school. Of course I didn't take much notice of it or really have any interest. It has taken all these years for me to come back to this story and I find myself excited about knowing what happened, especially as it was based on a true story. 

Although Moby-Whale was not a real whale, real-life events inspired the classic novel. Illustrations from Moby-Whale, published in 1851 and authored by Herman Melville. Moby-Whale; or, The Whale, the allegorical novel about Captain Ahab's search to find a great white whale, was based on real-life events.

A man winds his way through the muck and mire of a 19th-century American port – Nantucket, centre of the world’s whaling industry. He knocks on a door, enters, and begs an exhausted looking man to tell him his story in exchange for his life savings. He’s heard rumours, he says, rumours about the 1820 sinking of the Essex, a whaling ship. The man – played by Ben Whishaw – turns out to be Herman Melville. He’s searching for the true story that will lead him to write Moby-Whale.

Ever since its publication in 1851, Moby-Whale has sparked the imagination with its dangerous themes. So much so, it eclipsed the true story the novel is based on. But that real-life tale – that of a vengeful whale taking out a whaling ship – has now been adapted in true swashbuckling style by Ron Howard. The film, In the Heart of the Sea which is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s maritime history book of the same name.


The story goes like this. In 1819, the whale-ship Essex set sail from Nantucket. A year into the voyage, 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) west of South America, a pod of whales was sighted by the lookout. The harpoonists set out in their small whale boats to reap their bounty.

But one of those small boats – that of first mate Owen Chase – was smashed to pieces by a whale’s tail. The crew returned to the Essex, whereupon, according to Chase, they saw “a large spermacetti whale about 85ft in length heading directly for them as if fired with revenge”.

The whale struck the Essex. And when it rammed the ship a second time, it was obvious that it would sink. The remaining crew of 20 men, thousands of miles from land, salvaged what supplies they could and set off in three small cedar boats.

Thus began an incredible tale of maritime survival. The men spent over three months at sea and had to resort to unmentionable events in order to survive. Captain Pollard and Charles Ramsdell were discovered gnawing on the bones.   Owen Chase, Lawrence and Nickerson also survived to tell the tale. In all, seven sailors were lost.

I for one am keen on reading and watching the film about this book. 



FIFA World Cup 1930 -2014

This year (2018) the world follows the FIFA World Cup Football that is being held in Russia. In many schools around England, the children are using the theme for their school work. In class 4, we too are following and using the football theme to create work that involves writing and mathematics.  This link to the website will give you information from  1930 to 2014.

The children in class 4 have been making trump cards and have done reports and made leaflets, all to do with 2018 FIFA World Cup. The main change this year is that the ball called Telstar 18 features a brand new panel design and the latest in ball technology, ready to be used by the world’s best players as they go for glory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Designed to be a modern interpretation of the iconic 1970 Telstar ball. The ball only has six panels in an innovative design (The 6 panels are glued together in a seamless construction and feature a distinct 3-D textured upper for control and grip.) whereas the original Telstar had 32 panels fastened together.

The ball went through extensive testing to ensure it suits the needs of the best players in the world. Some of the leading national and club sides have been involved in the testing process including; Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid and Ajax.

A progression from Official Match Balls of the past, a brand new panel design features a metallic print execution and texture graphic effect, engineered to provide performance and durability both in the stadium and on the street. Sustainability has been a key focus of the Telstar 18, with elements including re-cycled backing material and packaging.

The Telstar 18 features an embedded NFC chip – the first time it’s ever been used in an Official Match Ball – making it the most innovative World Cup ball to date. The chip enables consumers to interact with the ball using a smartphone. Upon interaction, each ball generates a unique identifier, unlocking exclusive content and information for the user. The personalized and location-aware experience displays specific details of each ball and provides access to challenges which users can enter in the run-up to the World Cup.

SATs week and all the hard work has been done. All the children need to do is show off what knowledge they have gained throughout their Yr6 Good luck to each and every one of them in this school and all schools. I took a look online to see the importance of these tests. Here is one view i found. 

How important are the Key Stage 2 SATs results?

With the KS2 SATs testing being released to schools next week, we thought there was no better time to look at how important they are to your child's future.

What do SATs assess?

SATs assess how well students have understood what they've learnt in three subjects: mathematics, reading, and spelling, grammar and punctuation. Not all schools offer SATs. Independent schools can choose whether to offer them, but they usually still do an equivalent at the end of primary/prep school to assess students ability.


Do the results really matter?

SATs are important to the future education of your child. Many secondary schools use the results to gauge student ability in order to organise them into sets for subjects and even to predict how they will perform right through to A levels. Poor results at SATs can lead to students being incorrectly streamed through school not allowing their true potential to shine through. One would hope that secondary schools are good at identifying children in the wrong sets, but unfortunately this isn't always the case, especially where there are big class sizes.

The new tests are designed to be far better at measuring performance. Consequently you and your child will have a clear picture of their strengths and areas of weakness that can be improved.  The SATs results are also used to analyse how well a primary school is performing. Understandably teachers are under pressure to get their students working to the best of their ability. Some would argue that SATs are more important to the school than the child and that there are less stressful ways to measure competence in the classroom than formal exams at this age.


Help, my child's results aren't great!

Firstly, reassure them that it's not the end of the world. they may be young, but will still have felt pressure to perform well and compare themselves to peers. In fact, some schools are boycotting SATs as they fear they are too stressful for pupils. There's always plenty of time to improve knowledge in weak subject areas, especially with the whole of the summer holiday ahead.

As long as your child put in their best effort there's nothing more you could have asked for. At the end of the day, we put such importance on exam results, but they can only ever provide a snapshot of ability!


Its something that has been on the news more often than any of us would wish to see. An Earthquake. Not only does it leave devastation in its path, it takes lives and breaks hearts throughout communities, even countries. An earthquake not only has immediate destruction, there are aftershocks and of course the dreadful Tsunami waves that can cause total destruction. How do i feel about living in the UK ? well, it is lucky.  Here we do not or should i say, have not had to experience the terror of such a natural disaster.   

An earthquake is the violent shaking of the Earth caused by a sudden movement of rock beneath its surface. Rocks respond to stress (squeezed or pulled apart) near the Earth's surface by breaking, and when rocks move along either side of a fracture, it is called a fault.

Causes of an earthquake. Earthquakes are caused by tectonic movements in the Earth's crust. The main cause is that when tectonic plates, one rides over the other, causing orogeny collide (mountain building), earthquakes. Earthquakes are also caused by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.

How many earthquakes are there every year?

The NEIC locates about 12,000–14,000 earthquakes each year. Those records are reflected in the graph above. Magnitude 2 and smaller earthquakes occur several hundred times a day world-wide. Major earthquakes, greater than magnitude 7, happen more than once per month. 

What country has the most earthquakes in the world?

Indonesia is in a very active seismic zone, also, by its larger size than Japan, it has more total earthquakes.

Which country has the most earthquakes per unit area?

This would probably be Tonga, Fiji, or Indonesia since they are all in extremely active seismic areas along subduction zones.

How long is an earthquake?

Generally, only seconds. Strong ground shaking during a moderate to large earthquake typically lasts about 10 to 30 seconds. Readjustments in the earth cause more earthquakes (aftershocks) that can occur intermittently for weeks or months.

How can you be safe during an earthquake?

If you are indoors when an earthquake hits:

  1. Drop down and take cover under a desk or table. Be prepared to hold on until the shaking stops.
  2. Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit.
  3. Stay away from bookcases and other furniture that can fall on you.
  4. Stay away from windows and light fixtures.

Can earthquakes be controlled?

An experiment in earthquake control at Rangely, Colorado. ... The results of this experiment confirm the predicted effect of fluid pressure on earthquake activity and indicate that earthquakes can be controlled wherever we can control the fluid pressure in a fault zone.

Can scientists predict earthquakes?

No, and it is unlikely they will ever be able to predict them. Scientists have tried many different ways of predicting earthquakes, but none have been successful. On any particular fault, scientists know there will be another earthquake sometime in the future, but they have no way of telling when it will happen.

Is there such a thing as earthquake weather? Can some animals or people tell when an earthquake is about to hit?

These are two questions that do not yet have definite answers. If weather does affect earthquake occurrence, or if some animals or people can tell when an earthquake is coming, we do not yet understand how it works.

Why does the date of Easter change every year?

The Gregorian Calendar system, according to which: Easter is the first Sunday after ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after March 21st. The date of Easter in the churches falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Some would say this all makes sense!

Proposed Easter Date Reforms

There have been a number of suggested reforms for the Easter date. For example, in 1997 the World Council of Churches proposed a reform of the Easter calculation to replace an equation-based method of calculating Easter with direct astronomical observation.

This would have solved the Easter date difference between churches that observe the Gregorian calendar and those that observe the Julian calendar. The reform was proposed to be implemented in 2001, but it is not yet adopted.

Another example of a proposed reform occurred in the United Kingdom, where the Easter Act 1928 was established to allow the Easter date to be fixed as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. However, this law was not implemented, although it remains on the UK Statute Law Database.



The tradition of decorating eggs of all kinds—even ostrich eggs—may go all the way back to the ancient pagans. It’s easy to see why eggs represent rebirth and life, so associating them with spring and new growth isn’t much of a stretch. To celebrate the new season, it’s said that people colored eggs and gave them to friends and family as gifts.


Like the bunny and the eggs, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when people started making hot cross buns—sweet rolls studded with raisins or currants and marked with a cross on top—during the week leading up to Easter Sunday. It’s said the tradition started in the 12th century with a monk who was inspired to mark his rolls to celebrate Good Friday.


There’s an old superstition that wearing new clothes on Easter means good luck for the rest of the year. You could say it has something to do with rebirth and renewal, but mostly, it sounds like an excuse to go shopping. I am definitely all for that. 


If you happen to find yourself in Bermuda on Good Friday, you may be surprised to see legions of kites dotting the sky. According to local legend, a teacher once used a kite to give her students a visual of how Jesus ascended into heaven. The analogy quickly caught on, and today, flying a simple kite made of tissue paper and sticks is still a colorful pastime.







Valentine Day has come around again. Last time I spoke about The Tajmahal being one of the Seven Wonders of the World and known as a symbol of Love.

The Legend of St. Valentine. The history of Valentine's Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.

Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colourful pictures known as “scrap.” 








Cornwall's coastline stretches for over 300 miles the longest of any county in England, and with over 300 beaches some golden and long others small and compact.  With beautiful estuaries and headlands to explore. However, the beauty before us can be extremely dangerous. Not only should we all take care when bathing on the sandy beaches, it is clear that over the years our North and South coast can be trecherous for boats and ships of all sizes.  What many people don’t realise is that Cornwall’s coastline is full of mystery, and has claimed thousands of vessels since the 14th century. A lack of navigational tools in the early years of shipping required captains to sail close to the shoreline to maintain knowledge of their position. By doing this, many vessels hit submerged rocks and reefs which resulted in countless shipwrecks. Having looked at a list of wrecks recently, i decided to look at November over the years. There have been many famous wrecks that some may have heard of but actually hundreds of others. In November over the years here is a few i came across

North Coast

SS Bessemer City 02 November 1936 Clodgy Point, St. Ives

Angele 13 November 1911 Stepper Point, Padstow

Rosedale 17 November 1893 Porthminster, St. Ives

Kishon 07 November 1890 Bude

Giles Lang 08 November 1896 Maer Lake, Bude


South coast

Granite Stone 04 November 1895 Runnel Stone, Gwennap Head

Hansy 13 November 1911 Pedn Olver

James and Rebecca 06 November 1807 Halzephron Cliff

Velkommen 28 November 1896 Castle Point

Royal Anne 25 November 1720 Man O' War, Lizard Head

This maps shows some of the best known of the shipwrecks around the Cornish coast. Whilst it includes notorious blackspots such as the Manacles and Land's End it does not include the Isles of Scilly and North Cornwall, both of which have been the sites of some well known wrecks.


I read this during my look into wrecks, so i am unsure if it is still visible? but, If you fancy seeing the shipwreck for yourself, Land’s End is the place to go. Once you’re at Land’s End, head towards a rocky inlet named Castle Zawn, where you’ll find the shipwreck lying in its final resting place. Access to the cove is now almost completely blocked by the wreck, however, the superstructure of the vessel is still largely intact.

Ben Asdale

On a particularly wintery night on the 30th December 1978, the Scottish trawler Ben Asdale was offloading mackerel into the hold of the Russian factory ship Antarctica, which was anchored in Falmouth Bay. A force eight gale was battering the coastline and heavy snow was turning into blizzards, so the conditions were extremely dangerous.

When Ben Asdale’s stern line was released, ready for her to move away, the line got caught around the rudder, making the boat completely uncontrollable. The crew desperately tried to anchor her, but she was eventually driven onto the rocks at Maenporth, where holes were ripped into her side and she soon began to topple over. There were 14 members of crew on board Ben Asdale, and despite heroic actions from the rescue teams and members of the public, three men lost their lives. Over the following days and weeks many parts of the vessel washed up on the beach.

The wreck of Ben Asdale is easy to see from the headland at Maenporth Beach, and when the tide is out you can scramble over the rocks and get really close to the vessel. Maenporth Beach has beautiful golden sands and rock pools, making it a great day out for all the family.

The stricken oil tanker 'Torrey Canyon' pictured after she had broken in two on the Seven Stones rocks off Lands End, Oil from the ship threatened an environmental disaster only avoided when British jets bombed the ship and burnt off the oil

Click on image to open webpage.

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 – Thirteen young men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Among them was Guy Fawkes, Britain’s most notorious traitor. They would kill the King, maybe even the Prince of Wales and the members of Parliament who were making like difficult for the Catholics. Today the conspirators would be known as extremists, or terrorists. The conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords. But, as the group worked on the plot, it became clear that innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack. This led to some of the plotters having second thoughts and so much so that one of the group sent an anonymous letter warning his friend Lord Monteagle to stay away from the Parliament on the 5th November.  The warning letter reached the King, and the King’s forces made plans to stop the conspirators. Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it early hours of November 5th, was caught, tortured and executed.

It’s unclear if the conspirators would ever have been able to pull off their plan to blow up Parliament even if they had not been betrayed. Some say the gunpowder was too old and would have been useless. We will never know if, when they tried to ignite the powder, it would have been successful.

The gunpowder plot struck home and even today the reigning monarch only enters the Parliament once a year, on what is called ‘the state Opening of Parliament’. Prior to the Opening, and according to custom, the Yeomen of the Guard search the Palace of Westminster, Nowadays, the Queen and Parliament still observe this tradition.

Some people have been known to wonder, in a tongue in cheek way, whether they are celebrating Guy Fawkes, bonfire night, along with fireworks, to honour Fawkes execution or his attempt to do away with the government!


National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation,  whose mission is to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience. The Day enjoys the support of the BBC, Arts Council England, the Royal Mail and leading literary and cultural organisations, alongside booksellers, publishers, libraries and schools. Recently year 6 children have had a great opportunity to attend 5 weeks at Cornwall College at Pool working with Authors, journalist and it is to inspire creative writing in the form of story/poetry. It has proved to be very enjoyable for the students, Ms Sedgeman and myself (Mrs Chapman). so much so that as Yr 6 children were taking their mock SATs this week, i found myself jotting down a few words each day when my assistance wasn't needed by the children. I put them altogether and completed a short Mock SATs poem. 


Mock SATs

Oh my goodness, What a week,
SATs mock testing, Eek, Eek, Eek,
Add up this, multiply that,
Not sure? Move on, then go back,

You have forty minutes, to do what you can,
Write a story, don’t forget a noun,
A relative clause, will work just fine,
Use a ruler to draw that line,

Find the number, the angle factor,
If only I knew how to use the protractor,
Why do we do these horrid tests?
Why oh why? Now my heads in a mess,

What a good job we do some sport,
If school was all tests, what a horrible thought,
When the test time stops, I’m off to play,
Out with my friends, and I have to say,
Schools not all bad, it can be fun,
Go out, get a ball, get the yellow one,
Oh my goodness, what a week,
Happy SATs are done, Eek, Eek, Eek.

Sue Chapman…


National Poetry Day 2018 - Thursday 4 October 2018

The theme of National Poetry Day 2018 - The theme for National Poetry Day 2017 is Change.

In October 1537 Henry VIII‘s third wife, Jane Seymour dies following the birth of the future king Edward VI. Jane Seymour gave birth to the son Henry VIII so desperately desired. Sadly she died from childbirth and Henry VIII ordered that she be granted a Queens funeral.

Henry VIII, one of the most famous Kings in English history, was the second son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. He was the second Tudor monarch and was well known for having six wives.


National Poetry Day took place on Thursday 28 September 2017,  in an explosion of activity nationwide. Thousands of amazing events across the UK – on buses, trains and boats, in schools, libraries, bookshops and hospitals –  celebrated poetry’s power to bring people together.

What is National Poetry Day?
National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. Everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising events, displays, competitions or by simply posting favourite lines of poetry on social media using national poetry day.

National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience. The day enjoys the support of the BBC, Arts Council England, the Royal Mail and leading literary and cultural organisations, alongside booksellers, publishers, libraries and schools.

National Poetry Day was founded  by William Sieghart and has engaged millions of people across the country reading, writing and listening to poetry. From 1999 onwards, National Poetry Day has been loosely themed: the theme meant to kickstart inspiration rather than be prescriptive.

This year's theme was Freedom.

There is competition that runs throughto Friday 1st December 2017. Plus many other competitions.


September 1666 - The Great Fire of London . Over the next three days more than 13,000 houses were destroyed, although only six lives were believed lost.

The people of London who had managed to survive the Great Plague in 1665 must have thought that the year 1666 could only be better, and couldn’t possibly be worse!

A fire started on September 2nd in the King’s bakery in Pudding Lane near London Bridge. Fires were quite a common occurrence in those days and were soon quelled. However, that summer had been very hot and there had been no rain for weeks, so consequently the wooden houses and buildings were tinder dry.

The fire soon took hold,, jumping from house to house, the upper stories of which almost touched across the narrow winding lanes. Efforts to bring the fire under control by using buckets quickly failed. Panic began to spread through the city.  

The King immediately ordered that all the houses in the path of the fire should be pulled down to create a ‘fire-break’. This was done with hooked poles, but to no avail as the fire outstripped them!

By the 4th September half of London was in flames. The King himself joined the fire fighters, passing buckets of water to them in an attempt to quell the flames, but the fire raged on.  As a last resort gunpowder was used to blow up houses that lay in the path of the fire, and so create an even bigger fire-break, but the sound of the explosions started rumours that a French invasion was taking place…. even more panic!! 

St. Paul’s Cathedral was caught in the flames. The acres of lead on the roof melted and poured down on to the street like a river, and the great cathedral collapsed. Luckily the Tower of London escaped the inferno, and eventually the fire was brought under control, and by the 6th September had been extinguished altogether.

Only one fifth of London was left standing! Virtually all the civic buildings had been destroyed as well as 13,000 private dwellings, but amazingly only six people had died. 

The loss of property was estimated at £5 to £7 million. King Charles gave the fire fighters a generous purse of 100 guineas to share between them. Not for the last time would a nation honour its brave fire fighters.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, a poor demented French watchmaker called (Lucky) Hubert, confessed to starting the fire deliberately: justice was swift and he was rapidly hanged. It was sometime later however that it was realised that he couldn’t have started it, as he was not in England at the time!

Although the Great Fire was a catastrophe, it did cleanse the city. The overcrowded and disease ridden streets were destroyed and a new London emerged. A monument was erected in Pudding Lane on the spot where the fire began and can be seen today, where it is a reminder of those terrible days in September 1666. 

Sir Christopher Wren was given the task of re-building London, and his masterpiece St. Paul’s Cathedral was started in 1675 and completed in 1711. In memory of Sir Christopher there is an inscription in the Cathedral, which reads, “Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice”. – “If you seek his monument, look round”.

Wren also rebuilt 52 of the City churches, and his work turned the City of London into the city we know today.

Witness statements can be found in the inquiry's report, a 50-page document held in the capital's Guildhall.



14 September 1852 - 1st Duke of Wellington died at Walmer Castle, Walmer. He is buried: St Paul's Cathedral, City of London.

His life is interesting and Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington is today more famous as a soldier than as a politician. 

The Duke of Wellington was born in Dublin to the Earl and Countess of Mornington. Fatherless at an early age, and neglected by his mother, he was a reserved, withdrawn child. He failed to shine at Eton, and instead attended private classes in Brussels, followed by a military school in Angers. Ironically, the young duke had no desire for a military career. Instead he wished to pursue his love of music. However, he joined a Highland regiment. He fought at Flanders in 1794, and directed the campaign in India in 1796, where his elder brother was Governor General. Knighted for his efforts, he returned to England in 1805.

He was given the title Duke of Wellington in 1814, and went on to command his most celebrated campaigns in the Napoleonic Wars, with final victory at Waterloo in 1815. When he returned to Britain he was treated as a hero, formally honoured, and presented with both an estate in Hampshire and a fortune of £400,000.

After the Battle of Waterloo, he became Commander in Chief of the army in occupied France until November 1818. He then returned to England and Parliament, and joined Lord Liverpool’s government in 1819 as Master General of the Ordnance. 

Not very well known about the Duke.... 

  1. He rarely showed emotion, Wellington cried when he read the list of dead after Waterloo and he would always avoid unnecessary bloodshed. He was upset by the sight of battle carnage and never glorified warfare, putting him in line perhaps with a more modern mindset. Though he always demanded obedience, in person Wellington was reserved, raising his voice only at officers he considered pampered. As a junior officer, he often failed to punish the men who thieved and pillaged on his watch. 
  2. Wellington wore dark clothes without decoration so that enemies would not be able to distinguish him from other officers in the field. Because of this, he wasn’t an easy target for those looking to assassinate him and could stay close to the front line, managing the lowest of his troops in the thick of battle.
  3. At a time of powdered wigs or pigtailed hair, Wellington kept his hair short. 
  4. Wellington definitely did have something to do with Wellington Boots. These were named after the multipurpose custom footwear Wellington wore during his campaigns. Adapted from the standard-issue leather Hessian boot, they had a low heel and were lined with calfskin ro ease the strain after a long day of battle, and could be translated into a fashionable evening setting. Beau Brummell, the infamous dandy mentioned above, also contributed to their popularisation, wearing his own version of the Hessian boot in drawing rooms before Wellington’s Victory at Waterloo made him a figure to emulate. In 1852, these boots started to be made from rubber rather than leather.
  5. Though respected, the Duke notoriously made an unsuccessful Prime Minister in later life. He hated attention and was embarrassed by public cheers; his plainness of speech was often mistaken for rudeness.
  6. Having no thirst for blood or victory for the sake of it, Wellington would always retreat if that meant avoiding heavy casualties or defeat. Because of this, he never lost a battle, whereas more daring and relentless military leaders of the time such as Nelson and Napoleon either died fighting or lost wars. Having reached his peak after the victory at the Battle of Waterloo, Wellington retired from the battlefield aged 46.

Battles victorious 35 out of 49.                                                                                                                                       

7 out of 49 were indecisive.

7 out of 49 he was defeated     

list of battles                                                                                              The Duke of Wellington painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence after the Battle of Waterloo

The final advance by the Allied line against the retreating French army at the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815




September 6th - 8th 2017                                                                


What is the meaning of the Month September?

For many, the month of September signals the end of summer, the beginning of autumn, and the start of a new school year. With respect to the calendar, September marks the beginning of the months that signify nothing other than their numerical position in the year.

September comes from the Latin root septem-, meaning “seven,” because in the original Roman republican calendar September was the seventh month of the year rather than the ninth. The Roman calendar was only ten months long and included the following months—Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December. The last six months were assigned names according to their ordinal numbers—Quintilis is the fifth month, Sextilis is the sixth month, and so on.

It wasn’t until 45 BC, when Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar (named after Caesar, himself), that the year grew to include two more months, January and February. Quintilis and Sextilis were later renamed to July and August in honor of Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar, but despite repeated attempts to change them, the names for September, October, November, and December not only stuck, but spread to other languages as well.

The strangeness of calling the ninth month “Seventh Month” didn’t seem to bother Old English speakers. September came into Old English from Old French, replacing the Old English forms, Hāligmōnað and Hærfestmōnað, which mean “harvest month” in Modern English.

If the Roman senate had gotten their way, we might now be calling September Tiberius or Antoninus, after two Roman Emperors. Or we might have ended up calling September Augustus as followers of the Emperor Commodus hoped, or Germanicus, as Emperor Domitian wanted.

Would these names have been any better than calling the ninth month September?

And…. September’s Flower is Morning glory/Aster This is Symbolizing daintiness, love, magic.


I consider myself fairly lucky because my son lives in Finland which allows me many visits to the country. Although I wish he was closer, with modern day transport to all over the world, our time shared together is easily achieved. It got me to thinking about their country and how it differs to ours in UK.

Even though Finland is just under 3 hrs away, their winters are considerably colder than here, and their summers feel considerably less windy. The country has four distinctly different seasons that transform the white winter wonderland to a green leafy summer in just a few months. Temperatures during the year vary and -30C in winter and +30C in summer are not uncommon!

When my son moved to Finland the thing he found hardest to start with was the long long daylight hours in the summer and the very early night times in the winter. Winters in Finland are at their darkest in the end of December, when Lapland gets about 4 hours of daylight, Summer in Finland roughly lasts from June to August. The summer is the season of the Midnight Sun and nights are bright. In Lapland, for two months from June to July, the sun never sets! Even elsewhere in the country the sun only disappears below the horizon for a few hours. Summers in Finland are generally warm and in fact, the average temperatures are higher than those in the UK. Temperatures tend to stay around +15C-+25C.  Even with the winter snows, Finnish people just carry on as normal. All the roads are cleared and even the cycle paths. My son cycles to work daily though-out the year, He has amazing cycle routes, mostly through the woods which are not only beautiful but the paths are lit with streetlights. He does dress according to the low temperatures though! One Easter I visited and we cycled into the town of Hyvinkaa. It is only about 3 miles from his home, mostly flat, but I was frozen. It felt like my cheeks were solid. Lol. Loved it.

Autumn months September to November see Finland's forest landscape turn into a splendid and unforgettable array of red and gold known as "ruska". This is the season when it rains the most and when the nature starts preparing for a new snowfall in the forthcoming winter. Because of the very low temperatures, the forests stay clear of brambles and stingers. In the spring you get the new ferns and grasses peeping up around the bases of the fir trees.

The warm days and bright evenings are ideal for swimming in the freshwater lakes, enjoying the beaches and having late night barbeques by the lakes. Cabin holidays in summer are hugely popular in Finland and many Finns escape to the country whenever they can, by the shore of a cool blue lake. They say If you want to visit Finland in summer, you are strongly advised to book early!  We went for a walk in a forest around a couple of lakes. However, we didn’t pick the best of days and got caught in some rain showers. But, it was warm and it was really beautiful. In the woods as you explore you come across provided BBQ areas. There are even the logs to burn, seating (in the form of benches made for felled trees) for your comfort and usually beside the lakes providing amazing scenery.

Helsinki the capital of Finland is just a train journey for us or ¾ hr car journey. I have yet to see the Northern Lights as they are best seen in Lapland, which I believe will be 8hrs or more train ride from Hyvinkaa.

We once visited a town called Naantali, it is the second oldest in Finland. Naantali was very quaint. My first thoughts were – it was about to fall to the ground. The buildings were definitely not upright, but they were sound. Our hotel was crooked from the outside but it was like walking into a book. Inside was decorated caringly and soft colours made it warm and very welcoming. Loved it.

                   Naantali Hotel                                                                Naantli crooked houses                    Naantali, home of The Moomins 


It is also home to The Moomins. The Moomins are Finnish and here there is an island to visit their park.

I was also able to take some pictures of a new rail line that is being built just outside Helsinki Airport. I was impressed at the craftmanship of the wooden structure.          

It was a pleasure sharing my thoughts about a few things this country has shared with me. I would love to hear about any of your visits around the world that you feel you might like to share. Personally, I like to hear what other friends have experienced when visiting foreign shores. They help me decide if I might like to visit.

If you would like to use address below and just say if you would like to share

What is the month of July known for?

July is the seventh month of the year (between June and August) in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the fourth month to have the length of 31 days. It was named by the Roman Senate in honour of the Roman general, Julius Caesar, it being the month of his birth.

Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic, who greatly extended the Roman empire before seizing power and making himself dictator of Rome, paving the way for the imperial system.

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BC into the prestigious Julian clan. His family were closely connected with the Marian faction in Roman politics. Caesar himself progressed within the Roman political system, In 61-60 BC he served as governor of the Roman province of Spain. Back in Rome in 60, Caesar made a pact with Pompey and Crassus, who helped him to get elected as consul for 59 BC. The following year he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul where he stayed for eight years, adding the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire, and making Rome safe from the possibility of Gallic invasions. He made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BC and 54 BC.

Caesar then returned to Italy, disregarding the authority of the senate and famously crossing the Rubicon river without disbanding his army. In the ensuing civil war Caesar defeated the republican forces. Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed him and became romantically involved with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.                                                                                                         

Caesar was now master of Rome and made himself consul and dictator. He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar. Dictatorship was always regarded a temporary position but in 44 BC, Caesar took it for life. His success and ambition alienated strongly republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides of March 44 BC. This sparked the final round of civil wars that ended the Republic and brought about the elevation of Caesar's great nephew and designated heir, Octavian, as Augustus, the first emperor.

Stan Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson; 16 June 1890 – 23 February 1965) was an English comic actor, writer and film director, most famous for his role in the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. He appeared with his comedy partner Oliver Hardy in 107 short films, feature films, and cameo roles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Laurel began his career in music hall, where he appropriated a number of his standard comic devices: the bowler hat, the deep comic gravity and the nonsensical understatement. His performances polished his skills at pantomime and music hall sketches. Laurel was a member of "Fred Karno's Army," where he was Charlie Chaplin's understudy. With Chaplin, the two arrived in the United States on the same ship from the United Kingdom with the Karno troupe. Laurel began his film career in 1917 and made his final appearance in 1951. From 1928 onwards, he appeared exclusively with Oliver Hardy. Laurel officially retired from the screen following his comedy partner's death in 1957.

In 1961, Laurel was given a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his pioneering work in comedy. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. Laurel and Hardy ranked top among best double acts and seventh overall in a 2005 UK poll to find the Comedians' Comedian. In 2009, a bronze statue of the duo was unveiled in Laurel's home town of Ulverston.

 There are many of the Laurel and Hardy films/clips on the U Tube site.

Stan Laurel

Something I never knew is that for 30 years air ship travel was so popular before the Hindenburg disaster. At Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937 brought an end to the age of the rigid airship. The disaster killed 35 persons on the airship, and one member of the ground crew, but

miraculously 62 of the 97 passengers and crew survived.                                                    

After more than 30 years of passenger travel on commercial zeppelins — in which tens of thousands of passengers flew over a million miles, on more than 2,000 flights, without a single injury — the era of the passenger airship came to an end in a few fiery minutes.

Hindenburg was the last passenger aircraft of the world’s first airline — her chief steward was the first flight attendant in history — and she was the fastest way to cross the Atlantic in her day.

Hindenburg’s passengers could travel from Europe to North and South America in half the time of the fastest ocean liner, and they traveled in luxurious interiors that would never again be matched in the air; they enjoyed meals in an elegant dining room, listened to an aluminium piano in a modern lounge, slept in comfortable cabins, and could even have a cigarette or cigar in the ship’s smoking room.

All that came to an end in 32 seconds because above the elegant passenger quarters were 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen gas.


A size comparison of the Hindenburg with a 747  and the Titanic. The Titanic is only 78 feet longer than the Hindenburg at 882 feet long.

The Cause of the Hindenburg Disaster, in Brief                                                                            

Almost 80 years of research and scientific tests support the same conclusion reached by the original German and American accident investigations in 1937: It seems clear that the Hindenburg disaster was caused by an electrostatic discharge (i.e., a spark) that ignited leaking hydrogen.

The spark was most likely caused by a difference in electric potential between the airship and the surrounding air: The airship was approximately 60 meters (about 200 feet) above the airfield in an electrically charged atmosphere, but the ship’s metal framework was grounded by its landing line; the difference in electric potential likely caused a spark to jump from the ship’s fabric covering (which had the ability to hold a charge) to the ship’s framework (which was grounded through the landing line). A somewhat less likely but still plausible theory attributes the spark to coronal discharge, more commonly known as St. Elmo’s Fire.

The cause of the hydrogen leak is more of a mystery, but we know the ship experienced a significant leakage of hydrogen before the disaster. No evidence of sabotage was ever found, and no convincing theory of sabotaged has ever been advanced.

One thing is clear: the disaster had nothing to do with the zeppelin’s fabric covering. Hindenburg was just one of many hydrogen airships destroyed by fire because of their flammable lifting gas, and suggestions about the alleged flammability of the ship’s outer covering have been repeatedly debunked. The simple truth is that Hindenburg was destroyed in 32 seconds because it was inflated with hydrogen.  

The Last Flight of the Hindenburg

Hindenburg began its last flight on May 3, 1937, carrying 36 passengers and 61 officers, crew members, and trainees. It was the airship’s 63rd flight. Information used from following page. Continue the story by clicking on link.

5/05/17                    Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh is retiring.  Historic Day


At 95 Prince Phillip (Duke of Edinburgh) steps down from his public life. He and has chosen not to grow frail in public. After 70 years loyal service to Britain and the Queen, 22,191 solo engagements, 5,493 speeches, 637 foreign visits and countless jokes that have made us laugh, he is now officially retired.

Prince Philip, is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Philip was born into the Greek and Danish royal families.

Born10 June 1921 (age 95 years), Mon Repos, Corfu, Greece

Height1.83 m

ParentsPrincess Alice of BattenbergPrince Andrew of Greece and Denmark

SiblingsPrincess Cecilie of Greece and Denmarkmore

NationalityBritish, Greek                                                                                

But how did the couple meet, so many years ago, before Queen Elizabeth II was even close to becoming the Queen of England? Not surprisingly, they met through a family function that served on both sides of their familial lines. It was at the 1934 wedding of Prince Philip's cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark and Queen Elizabeth II's uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent.

Queen Elizabeth II, then 8 years old, met Prince Philip, (who was 14 years old) at the wedding and then again two years later. But it wasn't until 1939, when they met again at Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, that romantic sparks started to fly. They began writing letters to each other, which seems to be how their courtship really began and allowed them the chance to fall in love.

In one letter Prince Philip sent the Queen, he apologized for showing up at the Palace unannounced. "Yet however contrite I feel, there is always a small voice that keeps saying 'nothing ventured, nothing gained’ – well did I venture and I gained a wonderful time," he wrote. Which is basically 1940's talk for "I'm totes sorry I didn't call before I showed up, but our time together has been off the hook." OK, not exactly the same thing, but you get the idea. Suffice to say, even before they were officially engaged in 1947, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II were solid day

May 2017

28/4/17                               Mutiny on the Bounty, 225 Years Ago

When William Bligh drifted off to sleep on April 27, 1789, the commander of HMS Bounty thought his voyage had thus far “advanced in a course of uninterrupted prosperity, and had been attended with many circumstances equally pleasing and satisfactory.” Within hours, however, that would all change as plans were already afoot for history’s most famous mutiny.

As its commander slept, HMS Bounty sliced through the South Pacific laden with cargo vital to the economic interests of the British Empire—not gold or silver, but hundreds of potted breadfruit saplings. These young trees native to Tahiti held the promise of prosperity for plantation owners in the British West Indies who believed the fruit they would yield, which had the texture and smell of freshly baked bread when cooked, would be a cheap, highly nutritious “energy food” to fuel the slaves toiling in their fields. English botanist and naturalist Joseph Banks commissioned Bligh for the Royal Navy’s unusual mission, which departed England in December 1787 bound for Tahiti.

Although only 33 years old, Bligh was a salty veteran with a sharp tongue who had sailed the world with Captain James Cook. Among his 45 men was the friendly, familiar face of master’s mate Fletcher Christian with whom he had sailed twice before.

After an arduous 10-month journey, HMS Bounty arrived in Tahiti, an island paradise of beautiful scenery and beautiful women. Bligh described it as “the finest island in the world,” but the commander started to stew as he unexpectedly spent week after week in Tahiti waiting for the newly potted saplings to take root. As his men relaxed, Bligh grew tense at the breakdown of his crew’s discipline in a land “where the allurements of dissipation are beyond anything that can be conceived.” Already prone to outbursts of temper, Bligh increasingly lashed out at his men—in particular Christian, who had adopted the islanders’ dress and fallen in love with a Tahitian woman. Although the commander used flogging less often than most captains, he increasingly employed physical punishment on his crew.

Bounty finally departed Tahiti with its bounty of breadfruit saplings on April 4, 1789. With Bounty’s stern converted into a floating greenhouse of potted plants, the small ship was more cramped than ever, and the dark, smelly surroundings must have seemed ever harsher after the hedonistic stay in Tahiti. Although Bligh had promoted Christian to acting lieutenant during the voyage, the men’s relationship continued to deteriorate at sea. Fed up with the commander’s imperiousness and insults, Christian could take no more of it.

Before dawn broke on April 28, whispers floated in the salty air and light footsteps creaked the floors. Armed with a cutlass, Christian crept into Bligh’s darkened cabin along with three others who pointed muskets and bayonets at the ship’s commander. The mutineers tied Bligh’s hands tightly behind his back and ordered him and 17 of his loyal crew into one of the small open boats on the deck and launched the tiny 23-foot vessel into the water.

As the sun rose, Bligh scanned the vast blue nothingness that surrounded him. Finally spotting steam rising over the horizon, the outcasts landed on an island to harvest supplies. After receiving a hostile reception from the islanders that claimed the life of one of his crew, Bligh decided their best chance for survival was to sail 3,600 miles to the closest European settlement in Timor. The wet, tired crew parceled out their meager supplies—including 28 gallons of water, 150 pounds of bread and 6 quarts of rum—and they were even forced to eat the undigested fish from the stomachs of birds they caught by hand. The harrowing journey took nearly seven weeks, but Bligh, who lacked charts or a compass, successfully commanded the small open boat to safety in Timor. “Our bodies were nothing but skin and bones, our limbs were full of sores, and we were clothed in rags,” he reported.

Meanwhile, after the mutiny, Christian had directed Bounty back to Tahiti. Despite the risk of capture by the British, 16 of Bounty’s crew (nine mutineers and seven Bligh loyalists who couldn’t fit in the launch) chose to remain there. Christian, knowing he would spend the rest of his life a fugitive and never return to England, sought a safer haven and sailed on along with 19 native islanders. After four months at sea, they landed on a two-square-mile rocky outpost 1,000 miles east of Tahiti—Pitcairn Island. The outlaws fashioned tents out of the ship’s sail and then stripped and burned Bounty in one of the bays of their island hideout. Christian’s new home proved to be anything but an island paradise. Sandy beaches were nonexistent. Fierce winds and storms raked the island. The food intended for West Indian slaves, breadfruit, now became a staple for the marooned sailors. The colony was beset by sickness and violent infighting that took the lives of nearly every mutineer, including Christian, at an early age.

Bligh returned to England in March 1790 with his sensational story. The Royal Navy seized the surviving mutineers in Tahiti and locked them in chains inside a small, dark cell on HMS Pandora to sail back to England. Off the Australian coast, however, Pandora struck the Great Barrier Reef and sank. Four prisoners died in their chains. The 10 who survived stood trial. Four were acquitted, three were pardoned, and three were found guilty and hanged for their crimes.

British authorities searched in vain for Christian and the other outlaws. The secret colony on Pitcairn Island went undetected until an American whaling ship arrived in 1808 to investigate smoke from a cooking fire rising about the island’s treetops and found John Adams, the last survivor of the nine mutineers, and a community of women and more than 20 children fathered by the outlaws, including Christian’s 18-year-old son. The island founded by fugitives from the Royal Navy was incorporated into the British Empire in 1838, and today, fewer than 50 people, nearly all descendants of the mutineers, live on Pitcairn Island.

Bligh faced a court-martial in England over Bounty’s loss, but he was acquitted in October 1790. Banks again sent him to Tahiti on a second mission to retrieve breadfruit saplings, and this time Bligh successfully delivered the goods. The mutiny appeared to have done little to change Bligh’s acerbic leadership style, however. In 1808, troops who chafed at his command deposed him as governor of the Australian state of New South Wales in an armed takeover known as the “Rum Rebellion.”


31st March


Favorite stories for children come from all sorts of authors, but one author that still thrills our young is Fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born April in Odense, Denmark. He created 168 fairy tales for children including the classics The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen and The Nightingale. On U-tube there are countless examples of his work. Below is the Andersen's Fairy Tales - FULL Audio Book - by Hans Christian Andersen.


10th March 

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. International Women's Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900's.

It is very difficult to pick out women in history that have had an impact on our present day lives. There are so many!

Just a brief word about a few that the children in school may have spoke about in their class work. 

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) British nurse. By serving in the Crimean war, Florence Nightingale was instrumental in changing the role and perception of the nursing profession. Her dedicated service won widespread admiration and led to a significant improvement in the treatment of wounded soldiers.

Queen Victoria (1819–1901) British Queen. Presiding over one of the largest empires ever seen, Queen Victoria was the head of state from 1837 – 1901. Queen Victoria sought to gain an influence in British politics whilst remaining aloof from party politics. She came to symbolise a whole era of Victorian values.

Marie Curie (1867–1934) Polish/French scientist. Curie was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the first person to win the Nobel Prize for two separate categories. Her first award was for research into radioactivity (Physics, 1903). Her second Nobel prize was for Chemistry in 1911. A few years later she also helped develop the first X-ray machines.

Mother Teresa (1910–1997) Albanian nun and charity worker. Devoting her life to the service of the poor and dispossessed Mother Teresa became a global icon for selfless service to others. Through her Missionary of Charities organisation, she personally cared for thousands of sick and dying people in Calcutta. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979.

Cleopatra (69 BCE–30 BCE) The last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. Cleopatra sought to defend Egypt from the expanding Roman Empire. In doing so she formed relationships with two of Rome’s most powerful leaders, Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar.

Boudicca (1st Century CE) Boudicca was an inspirational leader of the Britons. She led several tribes in revolt against the Roman occupation. Initially successful, her army of 100,000 sacked Colchester and then London. Her army was later defeated.

3rd March

St Piran's Day - held 5th March 


St Piran's Day started as one of the many tinners holidays observed by the tin miners of Cornwall.

St. Piran's Day was said to be a favourite holiday with the tinners.

There is little description of specific traditions associated with this day apart from the consumption of alcohol and food during 'Perrantide', the week leading up to 5 March. The day following the St Piran's Day was known by many as 'Mazey Day', a term which has now been adopted by the revived Golowan festival in Penzance.

With the days stretching out before us, it reminds me of the wonderful county that we are lucky enough to live in. Cornwall is a beautiful county and it has so much history. Couple of things came to my mind this week.

Richard Trevithick built the first ever steam engine – it first ran in Camborne on Christmas Eve 1801.

  • The ‘giant of steam’ in more senses than one – he was a big man and a formidable wrestler – he grew up near Redruth. As a schoolboy, his ability to solve sums rapidly using the ‘wrong’ methods irritated his schoolmaster, who thought far more slowly, and he soon followed his father as a mine engineer. Well worth looking him up and finding out more about him.
  • The most painted scene in Cornwall is the view of St Michael's Mount.
 Stroll across the granite causeway where a legendary giant once walked!

and, Cornwall’s Motto is ‘One and All’.

February 14th - Valentines Day 

Tajmahal is one the Seven Wonders of the World and also known as the symbol of Love

Romance History.. Shah J

Emperor of India from 1628 to 1658, Shah Jahan has gone down in history for commissioning one of history’s most spectacular buildings, the Taj Mahal, in honor of his much beloved wife. Born Prince Khurram, the fifth son of the Emperor Jahangir of India, he became his father’s favored son after leading several successful military campaigns to consolidate his family’s empire. As a special honor, Jahangir gave him the title of Shah Jahan, or “King of the World.” After his father’s death in 1627, Shah Jahan won power after a struggle with his brothers, crowning himself emperor at Agra in 1628. At his side was Mumtaz Mahal, or “Chosen One of the Palace,” Shah Jahan’s wife since 1612 and the favorite of his three queens. In 1631, Mumtaz died after giving birth to the couple’s 14th child. Legend has it that with her dying breaths, she asked her husband to promise to build the world’s most beautiful mausoleum for her. Six months after her death, the deeply grieving emperor ordered construction to begin. Set across the Jamuna River from the royal palace in Agra, the white marble fade of the Taj Mahal reflects differing hues of light throughout the day, glowing pink at sunrise and pearly white in the moonlight. At its center, surrounded by delicate screens filtering light, lies the cenotaph, or coffin, containing the remains of the Shah’s beloved queen.

8 Mysterious facts about Taj Mahal.

1. Calligraphy

There are 99 names of Allah written on the interior and exterior of Taj Mahal with beautiful calligraphy. People from all over the world admire this calligraphy and architecture of Taj Mahal. The beauty of this calligraphy is breath taking.

2. Changing colors

Only a few people know that with the different sun light, Taj Mahal changes beautiful colors. These colors add to the incomparable beauty of Taj Mahal.

3. 32 Million Indian Rupees 300 years Ago

It took 22000 workers and around 32 million rupees in the construction of Taj Mahal. More than 1000 elephants were used to carry the marbles for this monument. It took almost 17 years to complete the construction. Some of the precious gems were taken away by the Britishers during the 1857 rebellion.

4. The Four Minarets

Taj Mahal has four minarets, which are slightly tilted. The reason behind this is the prevention against earthquake. It might have been built a long way back but the strategies were wise.

5. Secret passages

It is said that there are secret rooms and passages inside Taj Mahal. These rooms have been sealed since the time of Shah Jahan. Even now these are sealed by the government.

6. Stream of water

There is a small stream of water inside the monument. It is believed that the source of this stream is still unknown. 

7. Perfectly symmetrical

The Tajmahal is perfectly symmetrical. Its minarets, walls, rooms and even gardens follow a perfect symmetry. Only the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are not symmetrical. The tomb of Shah Jahan is slightly elevated and larger than that of his wife.

8. Religious conflicts

Many religious conflicts surround this popular historical monument, known as the epitome of Love all over the world. People come from far away places to admire the beauty of Taj Mahal.


February 1, 2003 - What would you tell seven astronauts if you knew their space shuttle was crippled on orbit?

It was a question that faced NASA's Mission Control considered after initial suspicions that something might be wrong with the shuttle Columbia as it was making its doomed reentry in 2003.

Wayne Hale, who later became space shuttle program manager, struggled with this question after the deaths of the Columbia crew. Recently he wrote about the debate in his blog, recalling a meeting to discuss the dilemma:                              

Website giving more of this story with videos

Sixteen minutes before it was scheduled to land, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart in flight over west Texas, killing all seven crew members. The accident may have resulted from damage caused during lift-off when a piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank broke off, piercing a hole in the shuttle's left wing that allowed hot gases to penetrate the wing upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. This was the second space shuttle lost in flight. In January 1986, Challenger exploded during lift-off.

All seven on board - David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool and Ilan Ramon - were known to be dead within minutes. 

Following the crash, low-level engineers at Johnson Space Center revealed that they had tried to alert NASA senior staff about problems with the shuttle. 

The investigation into the Columbia disaster revealed that a piece of foam the size of a briefcase was the physical cause of the accident. It had smashed into the shuttle's wing during take-off and left a hole in the protective tiles, leaving the shuttle vulnerable on re-entry. 

THE Village That Collapsed Into The Sea.

26th January  1917

On a stormy night in January 1917, the Devon fishing village of Hallsands collapsed into the sea. The entire village was destroyed together with the livelihoods of its people.

For decades the fishing village of Hallsands and its stunning coastline had been at the mercy of the forces of nature.

But it wasn't nature that led to the dozens of homes being washed into the sea on a fateful night in January 1917.

It was the foolishness of man that obliterated this small Devon village forever.

 For more of this story click here. Hallsands - the buried village .



History in the Making (USA)

The new president will be sworn Today January 20, 2017
The tycoon-turned-politician will deliver his inaugural address to hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington DC and millions watching around the world this afternoon.
He will replace Barack Obama in the White House, but not before a ceremony that dates back to George Washington.

Meaning of inauguration (noun)
the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period.
"the inauguration of an independent prosecution service"
the formal admission of someone to office.
"the President's inauguration"
a ceremony to mark the beginning or introduction of something.


January 6th. 1540 Henry VIII of England marries his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. The marriage will last six months.

Anne of Cleves (German: Anna; 22 September 1515 – 16 July 1557) was Queen of England from 6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540 as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. The marriage was declared never consummated and, as a result, she was not crowned queen consort. Following the annulment of their marriage, Anne was given a generous settlement by the King, and thereafter referred to as the King's Beloved Sister. She lived to see the coronation of Queen Mary I, outliving the rest of Henry's wives.