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Sue's weekly highlights

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. 

http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/disaster/

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 together.wedding 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.