Archives for: May 2007


Permalink 03:00:36 pm, by Email , 132 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture, British History

I Shall Love Thee To Eternity

When he proposed marriage to poet Elizabeth Barrett, poet Robert Browning picked a book at random from the library, and asked the book to predict the future of their love.

The book turned out to be an Italian grammar text, and not particularly promising.

Browning opened the book without looking, and chanced upon a sentence used as a translation exercise: "If we love in the other world as we do in this," the sentence read, "I shall love thee to eternity."

Not only did his wife love him, she wrote her immortal poems, Sonnets from the Portugese for him.

Today is my beloved's 40th Birthday, and while not a great poet such as Elizabeth I do dedicate this entry to him.

Happy Birthday Matthew!

Source: They Did What? By Bob Fenster (c) 2002

Permalink 02:52:58 pm, by Email , 211 words   English (CA)
Categories: Period Clothing & Uniforms, Historical Re-enactment

Discount Designer Fabrics For The History Buffs

Many history buffs, and historical re-enactors like Matthew, and myself love to wear period clothing even when we are not re-enacting! It really is a lot of fun, and I personally believe in having fun with everything I wear. Since these types of clothing pieces are not readily available in stores, often many of us learn to purchase patterns, and sew our own. Would you believe me if I told you that Matthew is far better at sewing than I? It's true!

Now to take it even a step farther, many including ourselves love to continue this practice within our own homes, using fabric to recreate historical styles, and eras through drapery, bed coverings, and upholstery that will co-ordinate with our antique or reproduction pieces.

I would now like to take this opportunity to introduce to you gentle readers Design Diva Fabrics, which is an online shop where you can purchase a wide variety of gorgeous interior fabrics, including discount designer upholstery fabric at terrific discount prices.

These beautiful fabrics from brocades, to velvet, to silks, to faux fur, and much more are sold at less than what interior design companies normally pay from them, and I was truly impressed with the selection they are offering.

Our thanks to our sponsor!



Permalink 04:40:25 pm, by Email , 117 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - Spadina House

One of my favourite museums, and places to visit in Toronto!

Spadina House (built 1866) is a historic manor on Spadina Road in Toronto, Canada that is now a museum; signs directing traffic and pedestrians to the house now call it Spadina Museum.

It was built by James Austin, founder of The Dominion Bank and Consumers Gas, on land that had previously been owned by Toronto's noted Baldwin family. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the area was the wealthiest in Toronto, with a number of Toronto's leading families having large estates.

Spadina House Wiki Entry

Spadina Museum

Happy Wordless Wednesday! Thank you for stopping by!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Permalink 11:33:00 am, by Email , 149 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In Film & Television, Arts And Culture

Exploring Indian Culture Through Video

I recently discovered the Aapka Video website, which will be of particular interest to our readers that are India based or like us just love, and appreciate Indian culture, and history!

The site is very similar to YouTube, and contains the best in Bollywood, music, places of interest, user generated clips, and a lot more.

I am swiftly becoming hooked on this site, and I think you will definitely enjoy it yourself. All you have to do to join is fill in a short sign-up form.

Currently I have discovered some very interesting video clips on Ghandi who will be the focus of a future blog entry.

Before I sign-off I'd also be remiss if I did not mention that Aapka Video now runs a monthly contest where you can win a free iPod for most popular videos uploaded!

This is a sponsored post. Our thanks to our sponsors!



Permalink 06:08:08 am, by Email , 55 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In Film & Television

The Black Adder Pilot Episode

I came across this clip of Black Adder's pilot while surfing through YouTube. I had never seen it before, and thought that other fans of the show might enjoy this clip. Like I've said before this show made history fun, and even my kiddos enjoy them today on DVD.




Permalink 08:18:28 pm, by Email , 62 words   English (CA)
Categories: Who Am I, Religion and Spirituality

Who Am I

I denounced my fellow evangelist, Jim Bakker when a sex scandal rocked his ministry in 1987.

But things got pretty rough for me too. I was forced to humble myself in a tearful confession on television. Why you my ask? Because church officials had been shown a photo of myself visiting a prostitute.

Who Am I?

The answer is in the comments section.



Permalink 08:40:03 pm, by Email , 437 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, British History

York Dungeon Museum Treats People With Asbos To Some Old Fashioned Justice

Firstly what is an Asbos you may be wondering? I know I was.

"In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (acronym ASBO, pronounced az-bo) is a civil order made against a person who has been shown to have engaged in anti-social behaviour. In the United Kingdom, this is defined as "conduct which caused or was likely to cause alarm, harassment, or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as him or herself and where an ASBO is seen as necessary to protect relevant persons from further anti-social acts by the Defendant".

I'm thinking this means acts of vandalism, public drunkenness etc...

Anyway on with the news bit:

York Dungeon Museum is offering free admission to people with Asbos so they can see the grisly punishment they would have faced in the 18th Century. Read on:

Bank Holiday weekend visitors who prove they have a current Asbo will be put in the dock to face an old-fashioned "Judgement of Sinners".

People who committed crimes such as graffiti or damaging public buildings in the 1700s were often hanged.

Museum bosses said they hoped the event would shock 21st Century offenders.

Dungeon manager Helen Douglas said: "What we're handing out Asbos for today are exactly the same sort of crimes that people would have been transported or even hanged during the "bloody code" of the 18th Century.

"While I'm by no means advocating a return to the punishments of old, I thought it might shock the Asbo offenders a little to see what would have happened to them a couple of hundred years ago".

More than 200 crimes were punishable by death under the "Bloody Code", which was introduced in 1783.

These included shooting a rabbit, adopting a disguise and impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner.

Hanging was the main form of judicial execution in the UK until its abolition in 1969.

Asbos were introduced in 1999 as part of The Crime and Disorder Act 1998. They were first used in York in 2000.

The Safer York Partnership, which holds the information on the current state of Asbos issued in the city, revealed that almost 75% of the orders were being flouted.

There are currently 41 orders in force and 27 of these have been breached.

Full BBC Article Here

Back in the day people would be sentenced to death by hanging for offences such as:

Stealing a pocket handkerchief

Horse stealing

Damaging a public building

Threatening violence to those in duty of the king

Offences against civilian residents

I'm not certain that the museum's plans to shock offenders will work, but it is a most interesting idea to be sure!



Permalink 12:05:06 am, by Email , 231 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Arts And Culture

Ode on the Mammoth Cheese By James McIntyre

A classic in Canadian poetry. Ode on the Mammoth Cheese.

"We have seen the Queen of cheese,
Laying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze --
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial Show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees --
Or as the leaves upon the trees --
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled Queen of Cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great World's show at Paris.

Of the youth -- beware of these --
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek; then songs or glees
We could not sing o' Queen of Cheese.

We'rt thou suspended from baloon,
You'd cast a shade, even at noon;
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon."

At once perhaps the worst, yet most famed poem in Canadian history, Ode on the Mammoth Cheese was penned by James McIntyre aka The Cheese Poet as inspired by an actual gigantic slab of cheese.

He published two volumes of poetry:

Musings on the Canadian Thames (1884);
Poems of James McIntyre (1889).

Filled with I assure you equally "cheesy" if not VERY humorous poetry. Classics every one!



Permalink 03:43:14 pm, by Email , 129 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, Going From Here To There, Wordless Wednesday, British History

Wordless Wednesday - The Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark prior to the fire at Greenwich, London

"On the afternoon of Monday, 22nd November, 1869, a beautiful little clipper ship displacing 963 tons was launched from Scott and Linton's shipyard at Dumbarton, on the Clyde. She bcarried a name that was to become famous throughout the world and was destined to win a place in the hearts of British seamen second only to Nelson's immortal Victory. Her name was the Cutty Sark."

And it was with much sadness that we learned she may have been the victim of arsonists. Please see our entry below.

Why do people do such wretched things? It is beyond me!

We wish the trust much success in their attempt to restore her.

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Permalink 12:56:21 am, by Email , 143 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, British History, Museums And Historic Sites

Historic Cutty Sark Ravaged By Flames

A fire which swept through the famous 19th Century ship Cutty Sark may have been started deliberately, police say. Read on:

The ship, which was undergoing a £25m restoration, is kept in a dry dock at Greenwich in south-east London.

An area around the 138-year-old tea clipper had to be evacuated when the fire broke out in the early hours.

A Cutty Sark Trust spokesman said much of the ship had been removed for restoration and the damage could have been worse.

Full BBC Article Here

What a horrible tragedy to befall this historic sailing vessel. The Cutty Sark was famed world over, and in fact Matthew had a model of the ship at his boyhood cottage in northern Ontario. We wish the trust all the best in their restoration efforts.

Our thanks to Andy for bringing this sad news to our attention.



Permalink 12:01:02 am, by Email , 464 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Kings And Queens, Holidays And Traditions

The History & Purpose Of Victoria Day In Canada

The Sovereign's birthday has been celebrated in Canada since the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901).

May 24, Queen Victoria's birthday, was declared a holiday by the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1845.

After Confederation, the Queen's birthday was celebrated every year on May 24 unless that date was a Sunday, in which case a proclamation was issued providing for the celebration on May 25.

After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, an Act was passed by the Parliament of Canada establishing a legal holiday on May 24 in each year (or May 25 if May 24 fell on a Sunday) under the name Victoria Day.

The birthday of King Edward VII, who was born on November 9, was by yearly proclamation during his reign (1901-1910) celebrated on Victoria Day.

It was not an innovation to celebrate the birthday of the reigning sovereign on the anniversary of the birth of a predecessor. In Great Britain, the birthdays of George IV (1820-1830) and William IV (1830-1837) were celebrated on June 4, birthday of George III (1760-1820).

The birthday of King George V, who reigned from 1910 to 1935, was celebrated on the actual date, June 3 or, when that was a Sunday, by proclamation on June 4.

The one birthday of King Edward VIII, who reigned in 1936, was also celebrated on the actual date, June 23.

King George VI's birthday, which fell on December 14, was officially celebrated in the United Kingdom on a Thursday early in June. Up to 1947 Canada proclaimed the same day but in 1948 and further years settled on the Monday of the week in which the United Kingdom celebration took place. George VI reigned from 1936 to 1952.

The first birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, in 1952, was also celebrated in June.

Meanwhile, Canada continued to observe Victoria Day. An amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952 established the celebration of Victoria Day on the Monday preceding May 25.

From 1953 to 1956, the Queen's birthday was celebrated in Canada on Victoria Day, by proclamation of the Governor General, with Her Majesty's approval. In 1957, Victoria Day was permanently appointed as the Queen's birthday in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the Queen's birthday is celebrated in June.

The Royal Union Flag, commonly known as the "Union Jack" (though it should only be called a "jack" when at sea) where physical arrangements allow, is flown along with the National Flag at federal buildings, airports, military bases and other federal buildings and establishments within Canada, from sunrise to sunset, to mark this day.

Physical arrangements means the existence of at least two flag poles; the Canadian flag always takes precedence and is never replaced by the Union Jack. Where only one pole exists, no special steps should be taken to erect an additional pole to fly the Union Jack for this special day.

Wishing ALL of our Canadian readers a very happy & safe Victoria Day!

Sources: Canadian Heritage



Permalink 12:22:45 am, by Email , 183 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Arts And Culture

The Cat's In The Cradle - Harry Chapin

Harry Chapin was one of America's best loved folk singers. His songs told tales of the common man, life's cruel ironies, lost opportunities, and hypocrisies. He had only two mainstream hits, "Taxi" and "Cat's In The Cradle," which you can see him perform in the video clip below.

Although Harry did not see much commercial success he was never in it for the money anyway. When you see current music stars out raising money or speaking on behalf of was Harry Chapin who pioneered that.

Harry was a charitable performer, and more than half of his shows were benefit concerts. His main cause was to end world hunger.

Harry died on July 17th, 1981 as the result of a car accident at the very early age of 38. The open-air theatre in East Meadow, New York where he was to have performed on the day that he died has since been renamed the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre.

And his legacy lives on ... since his death the Harry Chapin Foundation has raised millions of dollars in support of anti-hunger groups.



Permalink 07:10:27 am, by Email , 243 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, Science And Technology

The Darwin Correspondence Project

Evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin thought the voyage of the Beagle was a "magnificent scheme" allowing him to spend time "larking round the world". Read on:

His delight at the five-year cruise is chronicled in a letter, available online for the first time.

The note is one of nearly 5,000 from and to the scientist held in a database at the University of Cambridge.

The Darwin Correspondence project includes summaries of a further 9,000 letters, written from the age of 12.

In some of his earliest letters, he recounts talking to his sister Caroline, who had asked him about his personal hygiene.

"I only wash my fe[e]t once a month at school, which I confess is nasty, but I cannot help it, for we have nothing to do it with," he wrote.

Dr Alison Pearn, co-director of the Darwin Correspondence project, says it is insight like this that makes the letters so special.

"I think the human side is what is arresting about the letters," she said. "There is such an interesting and exciting mixture of very cutting-edge science and very personal revelations about his life and family."

Full BBC Article Here

"Darwin was one of the most important figures in the history of science. He changed forever our understanding of life on Earth."

John van Wyhe - Darwin Online

We LOVE projects such as this one that will bring these letters giving greater insight into such an important historical figure like Darwin to the masses!



Permalink 09:47:59 am, by Email , 224 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Sports & Sports Entertainment

Arthur Ashe

Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. July 10, 1943 – February 6, 1993

As a child Arthur Ashe was not allowed to play tennis in the segregated courts of Richmond, Virginia, USA. Instead he learned how to play tennis on a segregated playground, and this is where he developed the skills that were parlayed into a fabulous 12 year career in tennis that included 33 singles, and 18 doubles titles. Arthur was the first African American to win tennis' most prestigious tournaments, the U.S. Open, and Wimbledon.

Arthur eventually became president of the Association of Tennis Proffesionals, and Captain of the Davis Cup team. Under his direction they won two championships.

Arthur Ashe was a millionaire, but one with a very deep social awareness. He became a civil rights activist, fighting for all minorities that were victims of exclusionary practices.

He was the chairman of the American Heart Association, edited many books, and gave generously of time, and money to several charities.

In 1992 he bravely came forward, and told the world that he had AIDS. He devoted the end of his too short life to becoming a role-model for others suffering with this disease, and helping to raise $5 million dollars on behalf of his foundation.

Arthur Ashe passed away at age 49 from complications of AIDS.

Further Reading:

Arthur Ashe Wiki entry

Where Are They Buried, How Did They Die By Tod Benoit (c) 2003

Permalink 09:21:39 am, by Email , 117 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, Museums And Historic Sites

China Celebrates International Museum Day

Today is International Museum Day in China. Children of migrant workers in the Chinese capital have been invited to visit the Forbidden City free of charge on May 18th.

The Palace Museum wants to give migrant workers' children a chance to visit the historic site as a way of thanking their parents for their contribution to Beijing's urban development, said an official from the museum's information and education department.

Five hundred students and teachers from Xingzhi Primary School in Haidian District will be among the first to be invited. But the museum didn't say how many children in total will be invited.

The Forbidden City has a strong cultural, and historical significance in China.

Image Credit: BBC



Permalink 12:31:38 pm, by Email , 132 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In Film & Television

Black Adder

I think you would be hard pressed to find any television program that made history more FUN than my all time favourite Black Adder!

Above is just one of my favourite clips involving Baldrick from Blackadder II.

I admit that my personal preference of all the series is the second, probably something to do with Miranda Richardson's brilliant performance of Elizabeth I. However, my absolute favourite episode is from series three: Sense and Senility

I'll see if I can find a clip from that one! And of course actor Hugh Laurie is brilliant as the Prince of Wales in that particular series as well.

If you are were a fan, please do leave a comment.

And remember"when the going gets tough, the tough hide under the table."



Permalink 12:50:45 am, by Email , 94 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, British History

Wordless Wednesday - Ragland Castle

The Keep of Ragland Castle, Monmouthshire. Drawn by H. Gastineau. Engraved by H. Aldard.

“The siege and capture of Ragland Castle, by Fairfax, in August, 1646, A. D., when the library, containing a great treasure of MSS., was destroyed, has been the subject of much lamentation; and the opprobrium of the deed has been laid (as is usual) upon Oliver Cromwell, who was not in the least concerned in it.”

Source: Woodward, B. B.: “History of Wales” (1853)

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

To view similar images please click here



Permalink 12:50:47 am, by Email , 202 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, British History

Church moves in mysterious ways

According to a recent BBC article a "portable" church in West Yorkshire is on the move - for the second time in its history.

St James's Church in Baildon is a wooden tongue-and-groove structure which was transported 200 miles from Essex on a traction engine in 1904.

Now the Grade II listed building is moving a mere 23 metres as part of a £750,000 refurbishment project.

The move will allow a new meeting room to be built and a biblical-themed garden created around it.

The garden will contain many plants and trees mentioned in the bible such as palm, fig, olive and a Cedar of Lebanon. There will be benches nearby and plaques depicting the relevant biblical verses.

There will also be a wildflower meadow and a water feature representing the Jordan Valley - with different pools symbolising the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.

Full BBC Article Here

The proposed plans sound lovely, and we wish them luck in their move. Some historians disapprove of this type of uprooting, but I believe it is far better to move a site, then to see it destroyed by a wrecking ball. The latter being an all too common, and sad fate of many unique buildings here in Canada.



Permalink 06:12:52 pm, by Email , 19 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Thank You Blog Mad Surfers!

Thank you Blog Mad surfers for voting this blog, Blog Mad's blog of the day yesterday! We appreciate it ... :)

Blog Mad Rank

Permalink 06:38:18 am, by Email , 84 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Sports & Sports Entertainment, Who Am I

Who Am I

In 1969 I was a star quarterback at the University of Alabama. And I became the highest paid rookie in professional football history at the time, signing a whopping $400,000 contract!

Yeah, I RAWKED!!!

I orchestrated a stunning victory for my team, The New York Jets, over The Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl!

Told ya I RAWKED!!!

I believe I am also the only quarterback in history to appear in a TV commercial wearing women's panty hose.

Look for the answer in the comment section.



Permalink 12:24:24 am, by Email , 484 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Holidays And Traditions

Happy Mother's Day - A History Of The Holiday

The first North American Mother’s Day was conceptualized with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. Despite having penned The Battle Hymn of the Republic 12 years earlier, Howe had become so distraught by the death and carnage of the Civil War that she called on Mother’s to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their Sons killing the Sons of other Mothers. With the following, she called for an international Mother's Day celebrating peace and motherhood:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:

"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.

"We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.

At one point Jarvis even proposed converting July 4th into Mother’s Day, in order to dedicate the nation’s anniversary to peace. Eventually, however, June 2nd was designated for the celebration. In 1873 women’s groups in 18 North American cities observed this new Mother’s holiday. Howe initially funded many of these celebrations, but most of them died out once she stopped footing the bill. The city of Boston, however, would continue celebrating Howe’s holiday for 10 more years.

Despite the decided failure of her holiday, Howe had nevertheless planted the seed that would blossom into what we know as Mother’s Day today.

Source: The Complete History Of Mother's Day

Wishing All Mom's A Wonderful, and Very Happy Mother's Day!



Permalink 07:20:34 pm, by Email , 206 words   English (CA)
Categories: Folklore And Superstitions, European History

The Story Of William Tell.....

Statue of William Tell, and his son, Switzerland

The story of William Tell is just that....a story. This hero of the late 13th century simply did not exist. He did not shoot an apple off of his son's head. He did not aid the Swiss in gaining their independence from Austria. Nor did he insult an Austrian official named Gessler. No Austrian official by that name existed either.

The story is simply made up. Probably by a Swiss patriot in the late 15th century.

So why then is the story of William Tell told as if it actually happened? Why did the Swiss build a chapel where this fictitious character supposedly once lived? And why for centuries did the Swiss citizenry making annual pilgrimages to the location where Tell it was told evaded his Austrian captors?

I'm guessing because they could?

Kind of like the United States with Plymouth Rock ...the pilgrims didn't land there, but it makes for a good story.

The Swiss do take the William Tell story very seriously. And believe it or not there have been folklorists threatened with death for questioning or doubting the historicity of it.

Source: Legends, Lies, & Cherished Myths of World History, by Richard Shenkman (c) 1993



Permalink 04:12:27 pm, by Email , 216 words   English (CA)
Categories: War And Conflict, History In The News, European History, Religion and Spirituality

Catholic Scholar Defends Pope Pius

From The BBC:

A senior Catholic scholar has defended the Vatican's decision to put Pope Pius XII, who led the Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958, on the road to sainthood. Pope Pius has long been accused by Jewish groups and scholars of turning a blind eye to the fate of the Jews.

A Vatican commission of cardinals and bishops unanimously voted this week for him to be considered for beatification. Professor Peter Gumpel said there was no truth in any of the allegations raised about the late Pope.

He said that, as far as he was concerned, the objections that had been raised over the years had now been researched and discounted.

"The case against Pius has been studied at length and in detail by many serious and independent scholars," said Professor Gumpel, a German Jesuit who contributed to the commission's work.

"I would not have signed the research papers that we put forward to the commission if I believed there was any truth behind the objections or allegations that were raised."

Full BBC Article Here

I am left to wonder why then did Pope Pius abstain from signing the Allied Declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews? Perhaps the Vatican's willingness to share information found in it's pre-war archives will explain this once, and for all.



Permalink 12:11:37 am, by Email , 262 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Historical Recipes

From The Cook Not Mad - Steamed Carrot Pudding

"The Cook Not Mad" is a recipe book first published in Canada in 1831. I believe it can claim to be Canada's first cookbook!

Here is a pudding recipe that the more adventurous of you may wish to try out. I admit I'm not that adventurous, rather I am, but I'm too lazy a cook as opposed to a mad one to try it out.

Steamed Carrot Pudding

1 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit
1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup finely grated carrot
1 cup finely grated raw potato

Combine the fruits and nuts, and sift over them the flour, salt, soda, and spices. Stir well, to coat the fruit, then add the grated carrot, and potato. Cream the shortening, brown sugar, and egg until light, and fluffy. Stir the flour, and fruit mixture into it, until just well blended. Butter a one, and a half quart mould, or coffee can, and spoon in the batter. Cover tightly with buttered aluminum foil, heavy duty, and steam on a rack in one inch of boiling water, covered, for three hours. Serve hot with Brandy Sauce

Brandy Sauce

1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp. brandy or to taste (could substitute with brandy extract, but I say go for the realism)

Combine cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. add coffee, cook, and stir until thick, and clear. Remove from heat, and add butter. Cool, and add brandy. Serve warm with pudding.



Permalink 12:00:54 am, by Email , 34 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, British History

Wordless Wednesday - Reading Abbey, Berkshire

Engraving of Reading Abbey, Berkshire, England dated 1773

Source: Grose, Francis: “The Antiquities of England and Wales” (1783)

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

To view similar images please click here



Permalink 06:03:37 pm, by Email , 451 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, Folklore And Superstitions, British History

Earthquakes As Omens Of Doom

People no longer regard natural phenomena as omens of doom but they may not be any more sensible, Lisa Jardine writes. Read on:

We are used to turning on the radio to a report that a natural disaster has struck in some far away part of the world - a major earthquake has occurred in San Francisco, Los Angeles or Mexico City, along the San Andreas fault; a Tsunami threatens Indonesia, where four tectonic plates jostle one other off the coast of Sumatra.

The recent report of a sizeable earthquake which had rocked parts of Kent, damaging buildings and disrupting electricity supplies, was alarmingly closer to home. It was not, however, an unheard of event for the south of England.

At six o'clock on the evening of 6 April 1580, Gabriel Harvey - the self-important Cambridge Professor of Rhetoric, and friend of poet Edmund Spenser - was at the home of a gentleman friend in Essex, playing cards.

Without warning, everything around them began to rattle and pulsate. "The earth under us quaked," he reported, "and the house shaked above; besides the moving and rattling of the table and forms [benches] where we sat."

Concentrating as he was on the rather good hand he had been dealt, Harvey claims at first to have thought the effect was caused by noisy footsteps in an upstairs room. His host, however, soon came "stumbling into the Parlour, somewhat strangely affrighted, and in a manner all aghast", to tell them that he and all his servants had experienced a violent motion of the entire building.

Sending out to the nearest town, he had been informed that an earthquake had indeed taken place, causing extensive damage on either side of the English Channel.

The ladies present professed themselves "never so scared in their life". "I beseech you heartily," said one of them, "let us leave off playing, and fall a praying".

Superstitious riff-raff

Gabriel Harvey would have none of it. In characteristically professorial fashion, he proceeded to sit the household down and give them a stern lecture on how there was always a rational explanation for alarming natural phenomena.

He denounced the superstitious riff-raff who saw in every violent storm, comet, eclipse or earthquake a divine portent of some punishment about to befall the human race. He argued - at some length - that although the earthquake was clearly an act of God, it could still be explained in purely natural terms.

Although his science was limited, he made a stab at explaining the 'exhalations of wind' from beneath the earth's surface, which had given rise to it.

Full BBC Article Here

An interesting read that demonstrates how far we have come in our thinking, and again how far we seemingly have not!



Permalink 09:21:38 am, by Email , 142 words   English (CA)
Categories: British History

The Magic Flute

John Bunyan in Bedford Gaol

Tradition holds that John Bunyan wrote the Pilgrim's Progress in Bedford Gaol, while imprisoned for the crime of holding a religious service not in conformity with the Church of England. Bunyan spent twelve years in Bedford Gaol for that offense, which helps to explain why nonconformists liked to emigrate to America when they could.

To pass away the gloomy hours of imprisonment John took a rail out of the stool that was put in his cell, and with his knife fashioned it into a flute.

The keeper heard the music, and followed it to it's source. Whilst the keeper unlocked the door John quickly put the newly made flute back into the stool.

Each time the jailers heard the music, John would quickly hide his flute, and they never did discover where the mysterious music came from.



Permalink 09:00:13 am, by Email , 68 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, Who Am I

Who Am I?

I was the great granddaughter of Henry VII, and was famous for my beauty, piety, and intelligence.

After Edward VI died on July 6th 1553, I very reluctantly accepted the crown, and was proclaimed Queen. Alas, my reign lasted only 9 days, after which the Lord Mayor of London replaced me, proclaiming Mary Tudor queen.

I was executed on Tower Green in 1554.

Look for the answer in the comment section.



Permalink 11:14:07 pm, by Email , 120 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Temporarily Cannot Leave Comments Here

Unfortunately dear readers someone has hacked and "defeated" our spam killer... sort of...

If you try to leave a comment, it will tell you that you messed up... even if you haven't!

So we decided to try removing the spam-bot killer and GUESS WHAT!?!

Within literally FIVE MINUTES, we had spam in the comments section!

Matthew is tracing IPs, trying to restore whatever the heck they messed up, and generally being VERY grumpy and reconsidering our stance on strict gun control when it comes to these creeps.

BEAR WITH US, we'll get the blogs back up and running PROPERLY as soon as possible...

ADDENDUM: Comments are now fixed! Please do leave us a comment or two ... we enjoy your feedback!

Permalink 12:33:43 am, by Email , 239 words   English (CA)
Categories: What If

What If The United States Had Never Been Founded?

Earlier today I was reading a rather interesting BBC article that was loosely based around this question: "Let's say you didn't need to regret the founding of America, because it had never been founded. How different might our lives look?"

The article led me to recall a bit of discussion that took place a couple of months ago over at the Spicy Cauldron in regards to historical event "what ifs." It was lively, and produced much food for thought.

There are the obvious biggies like what if, JFK had not been assassinated, Nazi Germany winning WWII, and the Roman Empire never having ended as all Empires tend to do. However, you could ponder the "what ifs" of any historical event no matter how seemingly insignificant with very interesting results.

Playing the "what if" game could produce some creative, and fun writing fodder, but I'm not certain if the scope of this blog is suited to that type of exercise just yet. We'll just have to see, we the writers, and you the readers if we decide to pursue it, and stretch our imaginations a bit.

At this time I will not speculate the "what if" the United States had never been founded, but I will say this as a Canadian, despite his faults I am very fond of my little rebellious brother to the south, and I am happy for his existence, warts, toads in the pocket, and all!



Permalink 12:22:38 am, by Email , 64 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, British History

Wordless Wednesday - Leycester Hospital

Artist Ernest Haslehust (1866 – 1949)

These buildings mostly date from the 1570s. The site previously belonged to the Guild of the Holy Trinity and St George, which was formed in 1383. This building has been used as a setting in a number of television films including Pride and Prejudice.

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

To view similar artwork please click here



Permalink 12:28:56 am, by Email , 162 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

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Pastime with Good Company

Pastyme With Good Companye

Welcome to the blog of amateur historians Matthew James Didier and Sue Darroch. Partners in life and in crime, we endeavor to entertain you with snippets from our combined historical research. Past time with good company indeed, as we shall introduce you to Kings and Knaves, Queens and Mistresses, Cons and Heroes, from our collective past......from events well known to those perhaps all but forgotten, we will do our best to bring you interesting historical factoids from around the globe. It is our belief that through understanding our past we will all gain a better perspective on our future.

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