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Showing posts from February, 2009

Derbyshire Villages

Hereby I would like to recommend a book about Derbyshire villages, edited by Derbyshire Federation of Women's Institute, and published by Countryside Books.

This book contains descriptions of over 100 villages written by the people who live in them - the local members of Derbyshire's Women's Institutes. Their entries record the history, architecture, atmosphere, anecdotes, people and events which make each village different from its neighbours.

Completing their text are 50 full-colour photographs taken by well-known landscape phptographer, Bill Meadows. They show Derbyshire at its best in all seasons and demonstrate the appeal  of its villages and countryside.

Their entries are arranged in an alphabetical order, rather than geographical one or other ways, this arrangement may give you an impression of a dictionary or encyclopedia, quite plain and a little bit boring. But it's really a good book for you to keep on bedside table,  read one or two pages before go to bed. 

Eve…

the dullest blog in the world

I came across a "dulllest blog in the world", this blog is powered by Wordpress, and uses the default template,  the latest entry is dated March 16th, 2006, it looks the author stopped updating since then. but this post has got 274 comments:
Some pencils were scattered around on my desk. I picked them up one by one. I placed the pencils in the drawer which I use to store pencils.

via the dullest blog in the world .
It quite amusing, people's life really just as dull as that.

I wonder why the blog owner dosen't moneytise his blog since the traffic must be huge. but if he adds some banner on it, then it will lose the "dullest" feature. Actually this blog is doing a very good job for the author monetizing his other blog and website, the secret lies in the blogroll, about page and rss.

River Forth - Crossing Scotland

The Forth gave Stirling a key place in Scottish history. Until 1936 it was the first point from the east where the river could be crossed by road. The main traffic on Scottish roads until the late nineteenth century was the cattle brought south by drovers to be sold in the great market at Falkirk. The drovers crossed the Forth at Stirling. Where they watered the cattle in the river before the last stage of the journey to Falkirk, about 20 kilometres further on. The first railway north of Stirling also crossed the Forth There This railway brought an end to droving, because it was cheaper to load cattle on to trains than to drive them south on foot.

 For 500 years, from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth, there was a series of wars between the english and the Scots. A vocanic rock rises over 120 metres above the low-lying and marshy ground beside the river, commanding a view in all directions and with sheer cliff-faces on two sides. It was the perfect site for a fort, and from the …

Characters in Romeo and Juliet

Juliet is a young girl, only 14 years of age.

Romeo is a person who rushes into things without thinkings.

Lord Capulet is a stubborn old man. And he can also be short-tempered. Lady Capulet is much younger than her husband. She is an aristocratic lady, and not very warm-hearted.

Friar Laurence is a priest, he should not have married the lovers in secret. Is it wrong to deceive the parents of Romeo and Juliet?

Mercutio is always talking and joking. He is also Loyal and honourable.

Tybalt is a quarrelsome young man. He is a troublemaker who loves fighting. He is the person who keeps the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets alive.

The Nurse is a down-to-earth, rather stupid woman.

Paris is a handsome young man, pleasant and courteous. Because he is a cousin of the Prince of Verona, he is a most eligible suitor for Juliet.

The Romans

The Romans came from Italy and their capital city was Rome. The Roman Empire lasted from around 146 BC to AD 476. They built many defensive walls along the border of the whole empire. Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Raetien border in Germany are two famous frontiers and they form part of a network of forts and towns that covered the whole roman Empire.

A centurion was in charge of a unit of 80 men called a century. Each century had a second-in-command called an optio, a trumpeter and standard bearers. Six centuries made a cohort and often included cavalry. Centurions and decurions had their own quarters at the end of each barrack block.  The cavalry soldiers often shared with their horses! A soldier's life was tough. Deserters could be badly beaten, or even stoned to death. The soldier's daily ration of food was about 1.5 kgs (3lbs) pf bread. 1 lg (2.25lbs) of meat, 1 litre (4.5 cups) of wine and 400 millilitres of olive oil.  

Romans built straight roads, so the …

What can this be in a foggy forest?

A little elf all by himself.
Three bears in picnic chairs.
A fairy queen on a trampoline.
A unicorn blowing a horn.
Goldilocks with a box of chocs.
A witch on a broom, with an engine -vroom, vroom.
An ogre doing yoga.
Cinderella and Snow White in a water pistol fight.
Little Red Riding Hood and her Gran selling ice creams from their van.

Hooray! A Travelling Fair!

Focus on Tudor Life: Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I is the second daughter of King Henry VIII.

As a princess, she doesn't think woman is a weaker sex, she said: "I know that I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, bu I have the heart and stomach of a king..."

After she succeeded Queen Marry, who is her elder sister, the successor of King Edward VI, the son of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth always maintained high standards at her court. She even refused to employ anybody who was ugly - a young man was once denied employment because he had a front tooth missing. Elizabeth hated being disobeyed. Her ladies-in-waiting were expected to ask her permission before they married. Nobody was allowed to sit while she stood, and anyone addressing the Queen had to do so on bend knee.

Even though England was not a rich country, Elizabeth insisted that her coronation appear grand and extravagant. She wanted to show people that she was the rightful heir to the throne.

Elizabeth never married. When Elizabeth was a teenager, she…

Compost for containers

Garden soil can be used for planting containers providing the plants are short term, such as annuals or pansies, and are replaced after a few months. But there are many disadvantages to using soil in pots, not least in that it will be full of weed seeds just waiting to germinate and choke the plants. There will probably be some pests such as chafer grubs. Vine weevils and leatherjackets, and spores of various fungal diseases. Garden centres and  stores are well stocked with a range of proprietary composts to suit every plant's needs, including soil-based kinds whose soil has been sterilized, and soil-less types using peat, coir (coconut fibre) or other additives to provide a suitable growing medium.

The one great advantage of soil-based compost is that it is more retentive of moisture and so less likely to shrink away from the edge of the pot as it dries out, making re-watering easy. Its disadvantage compared to soil-less compost is that it is heavier and a large container recentl…

How to interpret a prophecy

Three witches told Macbeth that no one 'of woman born' will harm Macbeth, and he will not be defeated until 'Birnam wood comes to Dunsinane'.

Macbeth is not too alarmed by these sayings. because he thought that forests and trees cannot move, which is same to say "until the sea is dried up, and stone is rotten, and the mountain Tai will be flattened to the level of the ground" in Chinese sayings. Although most of his noblemen and soldiers have joined the other side, he still believe he cannot be beaten - or until Birnam forest comes to Dunsinane.

But Malcolm and Macduff's soldiers are gathered in Birnam wood, each one is given the branch of a tree to camouflage them as they move forward to attack. Macduff reveals that he was born prematurely by Caesarian - so he was not born in the normal way.

In the battle, Macbeth is killed.

Characters in Romeo and Juliet

Juliet is a young girl, only 14 years of age. How could her father marry her to Paris so young? (I hope this is not a silly question)

Romeo is a person who rushes into things without thinkings.

Lord Capulet is a stubborn old man. And he can also be short-tempered. Lady Capulet is much younger than her husband. She is an aristocratic lady, and not very warm-hearted.

Friar Laurence is a priest, he should not have married the lovers in secret. Is it wrong to deceive the parents of Romeo and Juliet?

Mercutio is always talking and joking. He is also Loyal and honourable.

Tybalt is a quarrelsome young man. He is a troublemaker who loves fighting. He is the person who keeps the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets alive.

The Nurse is a down-to-earth, rather stupid woman.

Paris is a handsome young man, pleasant and courteous. Because he is a cousin of the Prince of Verona, he is a most eligible suitor for Juliet.

Warrior Amazon

In Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, one interesting character is Hyppolyta, who married the Duke of Athens at the end of the play.

Hyppolyta was the queen of a tribe of female warriors called the Amazons. According to ancient stories, the Duke Theseus went to war with the Amazons and after he had defeated them in battle he fell in love with their queen.

Although this has never been proved even in the myths, but it has been widely believed that Amazon warriors cut their right breasts off to make shooting a bow and arrow easier.

But it seemed that this horrible practice might not applied to their queen, I wonder how could a woman won the love of the Duke of Athens with only one breast?

Some fun facts of the Life of Shakespaeare

William Shakespeare's family had been humble farmers in Warwickshire since the Middle Ages. The William's father decided to better himself and move to the town of Stratford, only a few miles from the family's home. John Shakespear set up business as a glove maker, his works prospered and he was soon able to buy two houses in Henley Street, Stratford - and it was in one of these that Shakespeare was born in 1564.

William Shakespearmarried Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a Stratford neighbour, who was eight years older than him. In 1583, his daughter Susanna was born and in 1585 the twins Hamnet and Judith. So by the age of 21, William had not only a wife but three children support.

Shakespeare went to London and becomes and actor. The reason why he went to London and when in not certain. One story relates that it was because he was caught poaching deer and rabbits on Sir Thomas Lucy's estate, Charlecote Park, near Stratford and forced to flee to the city. He met and fell m…

Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain

Celtic People lived in Britain before Roman times; the Celts started coming to Britain from Europe around 700 BC.

In the year AD 43, the Romans invaded Britain.

The Romans mainly settled in the south of Britain. They called this land Britannia. They ruled over it for nearly 400 years.

Sea-raiders from Europe invaded and settled in Britain. Some of the invaders were Angles, some were Saxons, some were Jutes. We call them all Anglo-Saxons.

In AD 793, raiders attacked the monnastery at Lindisfarne, a small island off the north-east coast of England. They were Vikings from Scandinavia. Vikings terrorized parts of the world for about 300 years.

Boudicca Revolt

Boudicca was a Celtic Queen.  She  lived in the area that is now called East Anglia. In AD 60, Boudicca's husband died. Teh Roman raided his land and homes. This made Boudicca very angry and she decided to fight back. She led a hug revolt against the new Roman rulers. This made her one of the most famous women in British history.

Wolf Island

I am reading Darren Shan's wolf Island (Demonata 8 ).

Darren Shan is number one master of horror. Darren shan is also the author of the phenomentally successful twelve book series The saga of Darrren Shan. His adventures have been read by millions of people around the world in several different languages, yet much of his life remains shrouded in mystery. He lives in seclusion in the depths of Ireland. and he never drinks blood. Or so he claims.

Trespassers will be eaten....

"We spot the werewolves as we skim the treetops. Mutated, vicious, hairy monstrosities, all fangs, claws and muscles. The beast within me tries to force its way to the surface, howling silently at its warped brethren. I've never rid myself of the wolf....

As the mysterious Shadow builds an army of demons, Grubbs and his team search desperately for answers. But when they follow up a new lead, it leads them to an old unexpected foe - the Lambs.

The curse of the Gradys has returned with a vengeance. Werew…

The language of plants

There are dictionaries of plant terms containing lots of words you will never have need of, - the following are several groups of those word you are most likely encounter.

Deciduous and Evergreen

Deciduous plants drop their leaves in winter, produce new foliage in the spring, such as oak or lilac.

Evergreen plants retain their leaves throughout the winter, including laurel and holly.

Hardy, half-hardy, and tender

Hardy plant can survive outdoors all year round without protection. Obviously, plants that are hardy in mild area may not be hardy in colder area.

Half-hardy plants need protection when the temperature drops to freezing.

Tender plants will suffer in cold weather, even before it reaches freezing point.

Acid loving and alkaline loving

Acid loving plants grow best in soil that has a pH lower than 7 - i.e. soil that contains no lime. Such plants include rhododendrons and camellias, and are often also known as calcifuges (lime haters).

alkaline loving plants grow best in a soil that has a p…

Why do leaves change color under less light area?

The energy produced in the leaf is dependent on its green coloring and on daylight; as a result, when green leaves become pale it usually means that the plant has a problem and the leaves can't do their job.

In areas where there is less light - under trees, for example - colored leaves can be an advantage. The white spots on variegated leaves magnify the available light and direct it on to the green parts. If the underside of the leaf is purple, the light is reflected back into the leaf rather than passing through.

Dora goes to the Doctor

Today my mami is taking me for a checkup at the doctor's surgery.

We have to go to the bus stop to catch the number four bus which will take us to the doctor's surgery. Then we go to the waiting room where the nurse will call us into the examination room for my checkup.

The bus took us to the doctor's surgery, but the door to the waiting room is closed. I press the buzzer. Nurse pilar opened the door to waiting room.

Nurse Pilar says that Dr Lopez will be ready for us in a few minutes. There are lots of books and toys in the waiting room. The puzzle on the floor is a picture of the human body. But the heart of it is missing.

The Nurse Pilar called my name and we can go into the examination room for my checkup.

The first thing Nurse Pilar does is weigh and measure me to see how much I've grown. Then she takes my temperature by putting a thermometer in my mouth. Nurse Pilar says my temperature is just right.

Now it's time for Dr. Lopez to come in and examine me. Firs…

Johann Strauss, Liszt, and Beethoven, and Blind Tom

Many a great performer-artist found an appreciative audience among Derbeians. For example, in October 1838 Johann Strauss the Elder, father of the composer of The Blue Danube and himself described in the Mercury as 'the celebrated Valz Composer, from Vienna', brought to Derby his 'unrivalled Orchestra composed of 28 ARTISTES'.

Johann Strauss was followed two years later in September 1840 by probably the most famous and distinguished musician to visit Derby, at least in Victorian times, the virtuoso pianist-composer Franz Liszt. He played some of his own compositions on a new grand piano 'brought expressly from London for the occasion'. He was raising money for a statue of Beethoven to be put up in the great man's birthplace, Bonn.

The  one astonishment event starred 'Blind Tom', who despite his black skin, in the estimation of  Derby's senior paper, was ' assuredly one of the most accomplished musicians ever heard in Derby'. On the grand…