Monday, 2 March 2015

Hip update: like peeling onions … and some snippets: Limpets have teeth … Samuel Pepys’ buried parmesan … Horses in World War One …

Peeling onions is the best description to get to my hip, then one needs to reverse the process … well I do (you don’t have to worry!): exercise those muscles and repair that invasion.

The onion peeled

The hip looks smart … and that extra inch is well supported into the femur … but is causing me to slow down and concentrate on healing … I’m using one stick again at times … so I balance the pelvis properly (the sticks were adjusted) … if anyone wants to know I have: an “uncemented ceramic total hip ... with an extra inch added

… I can now drive and shower, both of which are bliss ... but I can’t get to my tootsies – that extra inch takes them out of stretching bounds … and I can’t thus, by myself, put socks on.

Looking from Beachy Head end towards the
pier at low tide

A friend came through and we went off to shop for some shoes that didn’t need socks – incredibly we found a pair … sort of furry lined (shoes and not boots) – which will do for now – til I can reach my toes.

Pevensey Bay - Eastbourne is bottom
left (unmarked) ... but you can see the
coastline today and how far inland the sea
reached in William the Conquerors day (1066)

We had walked into town and as it was such a lovely sunny day we carried on to the pier … sitting in the tea rooms, enjoying the views of Pevensey Bay … reminding me of last year’s A-Z Aspects of British Coasts.

Limpets on the groynes at Eastbourne

I posted about gripping limpets in my G for Grippers, I forInside a Rock Pool and finally in my Z for tidal zones … but little did we know that ten months’ later … the New Scientist would report that the molluscs’ tiny teeth are made from the strongest biological materials known to man … absolutely fascinating …??  Ask me more and I’ll add it in the comments …

The Great Fire by an anonymous
artist (c 1670): Ludgate in flames with
St Paul's in the distance

Going on to J for jewellery – the Cheapside Hoard: proper post coming up next – I came across Samuel Pepys’ buried parmesan … in my book on the jewellery … it says that Samuel Pepys stepped gingerly over the still smouldering ashes of Cheapside a few days after the Fire of London in 1666, Goldsmith’s Row had gone – leaving a treasure waiting to be rediscovered in 1912: the Cheapside Hoard.

Samuel Pepys said "it made
him weep to see it"

Pepys had evacuated his home as best he and his servants were able to … Pepys finally taking a barge out along the river … the fire took a couple of days to burn westwards – the house survived the fire … but his diary never recorded what happened to his beloved Parmesan.

Pasta in a cheese wheel -c/o  Love from Italy

For some reason he buried his wine and Parmesan cheese in a hole in the garden … why?    Well Parmesan was very valuable back then … and Pepys burying his round of cheese was the equivalent of burying a gold bar today … see more here: A Man and His Cheese …

Finally to The Horse Exhibition at Woking I had hoped to go and visit – I decided after my check-up that was a trip too far … so resisted … but here is what we missed:

c/o The Lightbox exhibition site

Eight million horses, mules and donkeys died in the First World War and this exhibition will honour these brave creatures who suffered the same appalling conditions as their soldier companions. 

The exhibition will explore how the horse was depicted in war, both heroically and as beast-of-burden, by some of the leading British artists of the day, including William Roberts, Sir Alfred Munnings and Lucy Kemp-Welch.

War Horse puppets c/o The Lightbox exhibition site
The horse will be portrayed through historical fine art and contemporary elements such as ‘Joey’, the life-size horse puppet from the National Theatre’s acclaimed stage production of War Horse, on temporary loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and drawings by Illustrator and Theatre Designer Rae Smith. 

A social history display will look at the care and training of the horse and local effects of the requisition of horses during the war. 

The film “Summer in February” (based on the novel by Jonathan Smith) – wasn’t the best – but it depicts the early Munnings, before he was President of the Royal Academy, as an uncouth bohemian, along with other aspiring artists from the Lamorna and Newlyn Schools of Art.  It was filmed in Cornwall in the winter of 2012.

What I hope my skin will look
- repaired and recovered in due
course .. if I take care!
So having had the hip-onion peeled which is now melding itself together, with my exercising encouragement, I can revert back to my norm … of giving you some ‘tantalising bits of information’ such as limpets having teeth, or perhaps an early clay oven with a parmesan and wine fondue courtesy of Samuel Pepys: the heat from the Great Fire of 1666 would have baked London’s clay solid …

Parmesans in store
… and on to Horses … I’d have loved to have visited the exhibition – but feel better for not having pushed the boat out – but am sure I saw another exhibition of Horses through the ages at the British Museum … so will need to find that information anon.

All’s well here – another sunny day has dawned … and I’m off to the Social History group … posts to follow before the A-Z: Cheapside Hoard, Eastbourne Ancestors, and more on the Art and Conflict artists …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Hip Entertainment …

What to do when you’re confined and are remembering your health comes first … I have been really frustrated: it’s now week 5 of the six – that has been the salient time for exercise, getting out and walking a little and of course healing up …

Columbian Emeralds and
Indian diamonds in the
Cheapside Hoard
Salamander jewel

Except I seem to have got to that point at about week 3 and a half … and sort of hit this ‘fog’ of what to do: sense and sensibility did kick in and I did try and consolidate … but I was bored.

Thankfully a talk on “Conflict and Creation – Art and World War One” came up at the beginning of week 4 – and so I took myself off. 

The next night I went to hear a talk on “The History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to the present day” at our large theatre.

A model of the Redoubt in Eastbourne

Yesterday I went down to the Redoubt – a Napoleonic coastal defence fort – to hear about archaeological digs around Eastbourne and the ancestors found in those sites.

I had lapses when I actually read … and probably didn’t quite exercise as much as I should have … but I’ve been doing most things around the flat and have been out walking – to town, to the supermarket – but I can’t carry much at the moment – walking round the Close without sticks etc …

Yesterday’s taxi driver said half of Eastbourne must have had hip operations – as there’s a constant call out for taxis with high seats and where the legs can stretch out!!  I know I’ve been one of those ‘cri de couers’ to the taxi call centre!

Joseph Harold Swanwick: Harrowing on the
South Downs at Wilmington, outside Eastbourne 

“Conflict and Creation – Art and World War One”:

Despite the horror of war … much creativity flows … literature, poetry and art – all used for a variety of reasons: recording the war, political aspects, countryside changes and jobs, spreading propaganda, and remembering the truth, etc etc …

A poster by Edith Kemp-Welch

Art encompassed as now … drawing, paintings, cartoons, sculpture, photography etc … covering the complete range of subjects – the conflict, the people, the land, the food, the sea and ships, the industrialisation of war, the fauna (from the pigeon to the elephant) …

Andrew Forrest, the artist, showed us many examples – and I will do a separate post on more of the artists and their works, which Andrew wove together for this narrative of the Great War and the historic art that flowed from it.

Showing some of the finds and jewellery from
the Cheapside Hoard

‘The History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to today’ … sadly the slide mechanism broke down about half way through … though we had plenty to see. 

The speaker began talking about the Cheapside Hoard – the only known examples of jewellery from the 1500s to 1640 … as after that during the English Civil War (1642 – 1651) … gold, silver, and jewels were melted or crushed down …

I twice went to see the Cheapside Hoard exhibition in 2013 – and have been meaning to write about it … the story is incredible – the Hoard was found in 1912 in a casket sunk over the centuries into London’s sticky clay, in a cellar that was being demolished.

The Museum of London preparing the Pendant ready for
the exhibition:  The sapphires are of exceptional quality

Cheapside in the city of London was the main trading centre – and today the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths still has its HQ nearby.

‘Eastbourne Ancestors’ – this was an update by the Heritage Service on the various burial sites around Eastbourne from which skeletal remains had been excavated … and what was going to happen to the human remains, the ethics concerning their storage, any research that might be conducted as to the Why, How and What …

Our Beachy Head lady -
came from Sub Saharan Africa

Again I’d been to an exhibition last year: “Eastbourne Ancestors: A story of life from the bones of the past” … where it was disclosed amongst other things the ‘Beachy Head Lady’, who happened to be the best preserved skeleton (being almost complete) … came originally from sub-Saharan Africa – beyond the southern fringes of the Roman Empire.  She dates back to 125 to 245 AD.

I’ve kept myself amused … I’ve started reading – with the intention of being able to ‘lose’ some the books – so I can clear some space … but, I hope, due the op and its after effects I fall asleep easily!  I haven’t felt inspired to clear stuff out – though will start doing that soon …

Animals in War Memorial at Hyde Park, London

Tomorrow – is D-day … ie visit to the hospital to get the first once over – we shall see …

I want to visit an exhibition on the horse in Woking, Surrey – as it happens near where we grew up – on Saturday … so I shall update you with the next post … I foresee no problems and don’t expect pride comes before a fall … I hope!

Eastbourne Grave Goods
So this is how the hip and I have entertained ourselves, while it comes to terms with its new situation … I walked to the supermarket without a stick today … which shows it’s not doing badly.

I might even update FB – that will shock all and sundry … another few weeks of settling down and getting over the op – then I can get stuck into the A-Z with a vengeance.  Better find my reference material to draft up my posts??!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

ABCs of Dictionaries …

Knowledge of words and their meaning is power … words describe the thing, the concept, the idea, the landscape, the sky etc – where would we be without them?


Nature and wildlife are essential to life (our life on earth) … so I was somewhat horrified to read about some of the words that had been removed from the Oxford University Press Junior Dictionary … wait for it … because lots of children have no experience of the countryside …….. doh?! 

Perhaps true, but surely this is a good reason to keep words in?

Dictionaries exist to extend our knowledge, as much (or more) as they do to confirm what we already know or half-know …

I think the thing that got my goat was the words being included for the age group 7 – 11 … were “celebrity”, “MP3 player” and “broadband” … taking out the beautiful descriptive words such as “conker”, “acorn”, or “brook” …

“Blog” was also added in … but who but Lenny of such a young age blog, or know the reason for it … at 7 – 11?  Maybe one or two … but honestly … kids should be playing conkers, by the babbling brook, under the oak tree producing acorns.

Fifty percent of us now live in urban conurbations … but we wouldn’t be here but for life on earth … all our knowledge comes from this wonderful natural world of ours … it doesn’t come from broadband, or MP3 players …

A for Acorn - the fruit of an oak tree

So we must encourage our youngsters to remember words such as A is for Acorn, B is for Brook, C is for Conker, D is for Dictionary or Dog …

I grew up with these words … not D for Dog, but C for Cat … the Acorn is an amazing fruit which gives us that incredible oak tree, which will over time look after over 200 other species during its 250 year lifetime …

C for Conker - the fruit of the Horse
Chestnut tree

We played C for conkers … a childhood game – that may be a bit rough now … banished by the Health and Safety Peeps, while the Horse Chestnut tree is succumbing to Bleeding Canker – a lethal bacterial infection.

Two things here … do we not want our children to be interested in Botany and ancillary disciplines?  Also we should remember Anne Frank – this was the tree she mentioned in her diary … I have to say I did not know this.

Our food comes directly or indirectly
from plants, such as rice here

… and not A is for Attachment, B is for Block-graph, C is for Chatroom, D is for Dialogue … R is for ridiculous?!

In delisting these words we will lose their connotations and thus our descriptive phrases of the great outdoors … without language we will eventually lose the land itself.

B for brook
I checked in on B for brook … we had one nearby that as a family we’d walk to, paddle in, play Pooh Sticks, or just watch it babble away … as Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) describes in his poem “The Brook”:

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Til last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling.

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go
But I go on for ever.

Pooh Bear and Christopher Robin
playing Pooh Sticks

PS H is for Hip … improving rapidly – walking without sticks, but taking one when I do my long walks – half an hour or so at the moment … stretching out each day.

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Lenny and update ...

Connections ... support, thoughtfulness, care and compassion ... 
Roses and Fynbos (South African
endemic vegetation) 

This is the email I got from Lenny as soon I emailed saying I was home safely from my hip op ... 

*~^o^~ cheerhip hip hooray!!!!

my grandblogmom is home!!! *=D> applause

*:D big grin im soooooo happy!!!

now all you need to do is just take it easy and.........  

eat yummy good food (wear expando pants). *^O^||3 eat

*:(tv) tv watch something fun on the telly.

listen to some cool music. *o|^_^|o music

*I-) sleepy take lots of loooong naps.

get a little exercise. *[]==[] exercise ack!

*?@_@? studying study for you next blog post or golden age university talk.

play an exciting computer game *:(game) play game "i won! i won!"

*o|\~ sing sing a happy song ("mud mud glorious mud! nothing quite like it for soothing the blood!")

have a welcome home party *&lt:-P party "yippee! I'm home!!" *&[] giftgifts would be cool! :)

*B-) cool stay the cool grandblogmom that you are.

it wont be long til youre skipping happily down the road!!

i love you bunches!

...lots of soft and gentle hugs from lenny

Lenny's African critters ... 

I have no idea if the emoticons will come out - if not ... then the squiggles are emoticons - think laterally!!

Bull Finch
Now Lenny needs lots of support from all of us bloggers ... if you know his email please send a get well and good luck message ... poor lad has also had a hospital trip and needs our cuddles and love ... 

I won't give his email out ... because he may be overwhelmed by his inbox ... but I'd love it if you could leave a thoughtful message here for him ... 

Honestly - life can be tough, most of us are oh so lucky and fortunate ... also my experience with my mother and uncle taught me so much ... but again I was lucky - they were both cognisant til the end ...

... however reading other bloggers' stories really has opened my eyes to positive experiences we gain should life lead us down these tricky paths ...

Blue Tit
... then we meet the little wonders of this world - the carers, the friends, the family, the ones who realise what it is that is required to offer pro-active support and care - having been in hospital myself for elected surgery ... I've been struck by peoples' meaning towards care ... interesting and honestly not particularly brilliant from many who should know better ... such is life ...

Gold Finch

... but I know you all - the bloggers who read, who care and who are thoughtful ... 

So a quick update from this end of the world ... all is progressing nicely - I'm nearly off my sticks in the flat ... and am walking round the Close twice a  day now - to stretch out ... I'll increase the walking out slowly ... slightly pulled muscles by doing too much over the weekend ... 

Lenny is priority - but you'll have gathered that ... but isn't his email to me just brilliant ... and he emailed again last Monday just before he went off to hospital - though didn't tell me - perhaps he didn't know ... 

Hardwick cares
and sends his love
to Lenny

He was full of the Baseball Game - Seattle Sea Hawks v New England Patriots ... which he'd obviously enjoyed ... and had also watched the Australian tennis ... and asked how I'd enjoyed it as he knows I love my tennis ... 

Thanks all ... and looking forward to reading your comments for Lenny ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories