Check out Diary From England's post at the Blog Village Recreation Carnival. There are a lot of other good posts over there too. It's well worth a visit.
Whilst on the subject of carnivals, don't forget I'll be hosting my own "England Goes Gonzo Carnival" here at Diary From England on 1st October. As my blog is mainly centred on life and news from England, that will be the theme. I will welcome posts from British and foreign bloggers alike. All I ask is that you submit an England related post please. Maybe you have lived, worked or vacationed in England, have English ancestry or could write about life in England, or what you like or dislike about England. I hope I can count on your support and you'll join me to help make the carnival a success. I would ask everyone to get their posts across to me by 11.59pm Fri 28th Sept, so you have plenty of time to think of a good one. Please e-mail all posts to:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Buckingham Palace announced the engagement this weekend of the Queen’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips to his Canadian girlfriend Autumn Kelly. Peter Philips is the son of the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) and like his sister Zara, he doesn’t hold a Royal title or carry out official Royal engagements. Both Peter and his sister try as much as possible to keep a low profile out of the public eye, not easy sometimes when you’re related to the Royal family.
For those of you interested in the Royal family, Princess Anne or the Princess Royal as she is known is the Queen’s second child and only daughter. Princess Anne is a tireless charity worker and one of the hardest working members of the Royal family. The Queen also has three sons. Prince Charles is the Queen’s eldest child and heir to the throne. Prince Andrew or the Duke of York as he is known is the Queen’s second son. The Queen’s youngest son is Prince Edward or the Earl of Wessex as he is better known. If you would like to know more about Her Majesty the Queen and the British Royal Family, click on the link below:-
Police have closed off streets near Canary Wharf in London after the discovery of an unexploded bomb from World War II on a construction site. The bomb, a German V1 missile was discovered near an office block which houses 80,000 workers in the city. At weekends the area is usually busy with shoppers. Police closed off roads and evacuated the construction site as bomb diisposal experts were called in to make the missile safe. Fire and ambulance crews were also in attendance at the scene.
Thousands of the V1 missiles, nicknamed “Doodlebugs” were fired on London during the war. According to government statistics there are hundreds of wartime bombs buried around Britain. Many are only unearthed when building and excavation work is in progress as in this case.
A council in Bournemouth, Dorset has banned its local swimming pools from lending out inflatable armbands and rubber rings to children in case somebody picks up an infection from blowing them up! They haven’t even stopped to consider that it could lead to a child being drowned. Sounds like commonsense is in short supply down in Bournemouth. Parents have been inflating rubber rings and armbands for their children for many years, without suffering any contagious diseases. Surely the commonsense approach to this if germs are a worry, would be for the pools to purchase inflatable pumps (which are readily available from sports shops) so that parents could inflate the armbands and rings that way, rather than banning them from being available altogether.
Meanwhile a Remembrance Day Parade which usually takes place in Horwich has been cancelled for the first time in 60 years due to health and safety fears. There are fears that other parades held around the country could suffer the same fate due to councils imposing high road closure fees and also forcing event organisers to employ paid marshals to man roads along the route. The issue of councils and the police charging to ensure the safety of Remembrance Day Parades is crazy and an insult to the people who lost their lives fighting for this country. The fact that these brave souls cannot be remembered due to overzealous bureaucrats imposing new rules and regulations is a disgrace.
It’s often said that animals have the gift of second sight. Some are almost human and have the ability to sense when something is going to happen. That’s certainly the case of Oscar, a cute white and tabby cat that resides in a Rhode Island nursing home. Apparently the cat has an uncanny habit of being able to predict a resident’s passing. Oscar does a daily round going from room to room visiting every resident and giving them a quick sniff. True to form, he then either moves on or settles down with them for a quick cuddle. Settling down for a quick cuddle with a resident almost always means their time is up.
Apparently Oscar’s predictions have been so accurate that whenever this happens, the staff start contacting the poor resident’s family and clergy to tell them the bad news. Oscar who has so far predicted the passing of over 25 patients has been nicknamed, “The Angel of Death”. So far no explanation can be given for his uncanny behaviour! Strange!
Photo:- Courtesy of The New England Journal of Medicine
Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford Upon Avon was in the news this week, after strange lights were seen in the sky on Saturday evening. Was it a bird, was it a plane? No apparently, according to local people, it was UFO’s! They brought the town to a standstill for about half an hour as eager stargazers ran out of pubs and houses and motorists stopped cars, camera phones at the ready, to get a closer look at the formation of five glowing orbs which hovered high up in the sky above the town.
Three of the orbs had formed a triangular shape with one to the right of them and then another one came hurtling towards them at speed, according to observers. Apparently there was an eerie silence as the objects hovered over the town for about half an hour without making a sound and then moved slowly away, towards the horizon. The MoD has ruled out the possibility of UFO’s believing that there is a much more rational explanation and that aircraft lights or other natural phenomena are responsible.
It would be wonderful to think that there is life on other planets out there in the universe, apart from this one. Certainly Hollywood movies have been adding fuel to this theory for years. I always keep an open mind on these things. Maybe one day (hopefully in my lifetime!) we will have evidence of the existence of aliens from other worlds and prove all the sceptics wrong. Here’s hoping! I wonder what Shakespeare would make of it all. It’s enough to send the Bard spinning in his grave!
Oh the wonders of modern technology! I was interested to hear that it may soon be possible to make a doctor’s appointment via your tv set! A pilot scheme is going to be running in some areas of the country, where people can access the same appointments screen as their doctor’s receptionist via a special password put into their digital tv box. Appointments can also be re-arranged and cancelled and all at the touch of a button!
The initial results of a trial of the scheme in Yorkshire look promising. It drastically cut the number of missed appointments. If successful, the scheme is set to be adopted by over a thousand GP’s surgeries around the country. In the future, patients will also be able to order repeat prescriptions through their tv too. What a brilliant idea!
As heavy rain continues to sweep across the country, Britain is suffering the worst floods for 60 years. Thousands of people are still being evacuated from their homes as water levels continue to rise in rivers across the south of England and the Midlands. The current floods are the worst in the history of Britain with the River Thames in Oxfordshire and River Severn in Gloucestershire perilously high. Thousands of homes have been left without power and clean water.
Scientists are linking the severe weather conditions to global warming. Their argument is that as the earth heats up, it creates more moisture in the air which leads to heavier rainfall. Meanwhile severe flood warnings remain in place as yet more rain is forecast.
Around 600,000 copies of JK’s Rowling’s latest Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows" were delivered to British homes on Saturday, all pre-ordered by readers eager to discover the fate of their favourite boy wizard. Royal Mail organised the deliveries with military precision, using 180 extra trucks and an additional train service to distribute the books from retailers’ warehouses to delivery offices across the country.
Meanwhile Harry Potter author, JK Rowling has written to retailers worldwide urging every bookshop selling the new Harry Potter book to display posters of missing British tot Madeleine McCann. The little girl’s father, Gerry McCann described the news as “fantastic”. It’s certainly a great way to keep the little girl in the public eye. Initially JK Rowling had suggested inserting bookmarks bearing Maddy’s photo into every copy of the new book. However this idea was dropped in favour of the posters as JK Rowling believed herself and book retailers had a responsibility to younger readers, to protect them from exposure to certain issues without their parents’ consent.
The Beeb has apologised to The Queen after wrongly implying that she walked out of a photo shoot with photographer Annie Leibovitz. In a trailer for the documentary, “A Year with The Queen”, Annie is seen telling her Majesty she would look better without her tiara, the clip then cuts to a conversation between The Queen and her Lady-in-Waiting walking through the palace, where the Queen says, “"I'm not changing anything. I've had enough dressing like this, thank you very much," implying that she walked out of the portrait session. However, the clip was actually filmed before the portrait was taken.
The trailer was shown at a press launch, showcasing the BBC’s Autumn tv schedule. The press then had a field day with several stories of the Queen walking on Annie, appearing in newspapers and on the internet. The BBC has now apologised to both The Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset that has been caused, stating that the trailer was shown to journalists in error. The documentary, “A Year with The Queen” is due to be shown on British tv later in the year.
According to recent research, it seems that more and more Britons have come to rely on Blackberrys, Ipods and mobile phones to store information. Many people have come to rely on them as a “memory substitute”. Unfortunately the downside to this is that all this reliance on modern technology is making us forgetful. A recent survey found that only one in three people in the under 30’s age group could remember the phone nos. of friends before they had to look them up. In addition a worrying 5% couldn’t remember their own home address! Unfortunately when people use all this technology, they are not using their own memories. It’s obviously true what the experts tell us, the less you use your memory, the poorer it becomes. You have been warned!
Every little job seems like a mammoth task to me this week as I’m suffering with a really bad bout of flu. I thought the dreaded flu was looming as I had a sore throat for about 3 days after I got back from Italy. Air conditioning on planes has a lot to answer for! I really hate it as it spreads so many nasty germs! Still never mind, it’s nearly the weekend.
In a bid to curb the growing problem of obesity in Britain, researchers from the Department of Public Health have suggested introducing a “fat tax”. They believe that thousands of fatal heart attacks and strokes could be prevented if VAT was added onto a vast range of salty, sugary and fatty foods. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has condemned the idea, arguing that people don’t want to live in a “nanny state” and it will turn them off the idea of healthy eating. Critics argue that it would be better to reduce the price and availability of better quality, healthier foods.
I personally believe that whatever you do, it won’t make a difference. It’s like the old saying, “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. At the end of the day, people will eat what they like, whether it is healthy or not and unfortunately there isn’t much the government or anybody else can do about that. In some ways we are all victims of the 21st century. There are so many different varieties of foods available now, some healthy and others not so healthy. We are also bombarded with advertisements in the media for different varieties of foods. It’s a big temptation for everybody and why is it that so-called unhealthy foods always taste so good, even if like myself, you do sometimes feel guilty after eating them! People have become greedy. Also portion sizes have grown much larger over the years. I watched an interesting programme on tv recently, where they discussed the types of food people ate during wartime, when rationing was in force. There wasn’t the varieties of foods available but the population was a lot healthier. Times have changed a great deal since those days and not always for the better.
Meanwhile experts say that a government scheme to give free fruit to schoolchildren may not result in any long-term health benefits. The government has spent millions of pounds giving daily free fruit or vegetables to four to six year olds in Britain’s state schools. Researchers discovered that whilst vitamin levels in the children rose initially, they soon fell back down again after a few months. It seems a lot of carers and parents were under the impression that children were getting enough fruit and vegetables at school, so provided them with less at home.
I’m back blogging again after my Italian holiday. Italy was wonderful as always. This was my third visit there. I stayed in the Lake Garda area on this occasion, at a resort called Riva Del Garda. It’s a really good base for touring the surrounding area. I visited Venice, Verona and the Italian Dolomites. My Mum and I took a gondola ride in Venice, which was a novel experience. We also visited St Mark's Square and the Basilica. Verona is also well worth a visit. I particularly enjoyed watching the street performers. They stand like statues, dressed in costumes. There was an Egyptian Mummy, Michelangelo and a woman dressed in Shakespearean costume. Having done some Shakespeare at college, I also enjoyed visiting Juliet’s house and balcony and reading the thousands of love messages that people from all over the world had left on a wall near to the house! The Dolomites are also well worth a visit. The views are spectacular. It was a really good holiday and I enjoyed every minute of it. The weather was also good in Italy, a lot better than in England right now. England has had an exceptional amount of rain this Summer, with the wettest June on record and the “rains” set to continue until the middle of July. It was raining on the way to the airport and raining when we came back home! Despite the rain, it’s still nice to be back home again with a cup of English tea, even if the pasta and ice cream doesn’t taste as good as it did in Italy!
As some of you know, I'm heading off to Italy tomorrow. I'll be going to Lake Garda and flying home next Thursday. So this will be my last post before I go away. As the airport is a distance from my home, My Mum and I have a 3.00am start to allow for check in, etc. Just hoping there are no flight delays and we get away safely. It's a bit chaotic at all the airports at the moment with the attempted terrorist attacks. Some airports have been closed for a short time and flights cancelled. I'll be posting with a vengeance when I get back.
I'm also planning to host a Gonzo carnival at Diary from England on 1st October. I'll be hosting a Gonzo "All England" carnival. As my blog is mainly centred on life and news from England, that will be the theme. I will welcome posts from British and foreign bloggers alike. All I ask is that you submit an England related post please, maybe you have lived in England, have English ancestry or could write about life in England, or what you like or dislike about England. I hope I can count on your support and you'll join me to help make the carnival a success. I'd like to say a big thank you again for all the nice comments and e-mails I have received recently about Diary from England. They are much appreciated. See you when I get back.
As some of you know, I didn't go in person to the Concert for Diana, tickets were like gold dust and also it was too close to my holiday (I fly tomorrow). I did however watch the concert on tv. It was an excellent show with some good performances from the likes of Take That, Nelly Furtado, Tom Jones, Status Quo, Rod Stewart and many others. The concert featured a veritable feast of talent from the worlds of the arts, music and dance. Diana would have loved it. What better way to remember Diana and celebrate her life.
I love talent shows, even if they do sometimes bring the worst out in people! My current favourite is America’s Got Talent. I really like that show and I think the judging panel of The Hoff, Brandy and Piers Morgan really complement each other. There are so many good acts to prove that America does indeed have talent, it must be really hard trying to choose the best one. We had the same problem with our own show, Britain's Got Talent. One act I particularly enjoyed was the rapping granny! I also liked the young magician with the birds, the young girl singer with the harp and the man with the performing dogs. The judging panel will have their work cut out choosing a winner.
Britain welcomed a new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown this week. I must admit I do like Gordon Brown and much prefer him to his predecessor Tony Blair. It seems a lot of the country must agree with my sentiments as the Labour government's popularity is riding high again after Mr Brown took over the reigns at No.10. Gordon Brown has spoken of a new government with new priorities meeting the hopes of the nation. We can only hope that particularly where the NHS and education are concerned, Gordon will put his money where his mouth is. As first-time buyers struggle to get a foot on the property ladder, Mr Brown has promised affordable housing for all. He has also urged hospitals to clean up their act in a bid to fight the MRSA bug.
With Britain's terror alert level now raised to critical after two foiled terrorist attacks in London and one at Glasgow airport, it looks like Gordon Brown will have his work cut out. Mr Brown has urged the public to be vigilant at this time, stating that Britain will not yield to acts of evil. Good luck Gordon. It looks like you're going to need it with the battle against terrorism to fight alongside all the other problems inherited from Tony Blair.
We are all searching for the fountain of youth and many Britons think they have found it, in the shape of the Goji berry. The Goji berry already has a reputation as a super fruit and has played an important role in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Only recently introduced to the West, it is also known as the longevity fruit as it fights ageing. Sales of the fruit in a British health food chain have soared by 1000 per cent in a year. Wow!
It's the 1st of July today and there's still no improvement in the terrible weather we've been having here in England. It looks like the heavy rain is here to stay with forecasters predicting it will continue until the middle of July. It's been the wettest June on record. Some areas of the country have experienced heavy flooding, with insurance claims running into millions. Our hearts go out to those poor people who have lost their lives due to the adverse weather conditions. Other poor people have lost their homes and possessions with insurance claims running into millions of pounds. With more severe weather warnings forecast for this weekend, as a massive clean-up operation has begun, people all over the country are bracing themselves for yet more flooding.
I love the new Brain Training game ads with Nicole Kidman. In them, Nicole is seen doing various exercises on the Nintendo DS Lite using the Kawashima Advanced Brain Training game. The games are based on research done by Dr Ryuta Kawashima. He says that the brain is like any other muscle of the body and needs to be exercised every day to keep it in shape. Apparently doing some simple maths or memory exercises every day increases blood flow to the brain, helps memory and improves thinking capacity. This is particularly important for older people to help avoid Alzheimers and dementia. As someone who loves crosswords and suduko puzzles, I'm looking forward to getting one of the new games myself.
Meanwhile new research from the U.S. shows that blueberries may hold the key to fighting Alzheimers. Apparently tests on lab rats showed that the blueberries anti-oxidant properties slowed down the loss of brain cells. A good reason to eat some blueberries!