Sunday, 31 May 2009

Tales From Blankney

Blankney Hall - Occupants And Buried Treasure

The demesne of Blankney had been the property of the Deincourts since the Conquest, until in the fifteenth century it passed through the marriage of an heiress to the Lovels of Tichmarsh. All the estates of the house of Lovel were, however, confiscated to the Crown by Henry VII., after the battle of Stoke-on-Trent, when Lord Lovel himself only escaped by swimming his horse across the river. Blankney was bought by the Thorolds, who did much to embellish the house with the fine carved panelling of the period. But in the reign of Charles I., through a marriage with the Thorold heiress, it passed into the hands of Sir William Widdrington, who was created Baron Widdrington of Blankney in 1643. Lord Widdrington's great grandson had the indiscretion to take part in the rebellion of 1715; he was taken prisoner at Preston and convicted of high treason, and though his life was spared his estates were confiscated in the following year.
A tradition of hidden treasure at Blankney Hall survived for more than a century. When Lord Widdrington was attainted it was said that, foreseeing the confiscation of his land, he endeavoured to secure as much of the movable property as possible by concealing it in secret places, and a legend ran that he had deposited a large chest of plate in a vault beneath the great staircase. The family hopes, however, were dispelled when on one occasion, having workmen in the house, Mr Charles Chaplin, uncle of the last squire [Henry Chaplin], ordered the vault to be opened. The oak chest was there indeed, but it only contained a salt cellar of white metal and an iron ladle. Either Lord Widdrington had deliberately misled the Government treasure-seekers, or thieves had cheated posterity.

The above extract was taken from 'Henry Chaplin A Memoir' prepared by his daughter The Marchioness of Londonderry.

The Month Of May

We come to the end of another month, today is the last day in May. Before it finally slips away here are a few traditions concerning the month of May.

Gemstone: Emerald
Flower: Lilly Of The Valley

May is named after the Greek goddess, Maia.

Traditional Celebrations include dancing around Maypoles, appearance of' 'hobby horses' and Jack in Green.

May 1st is also known in some areas as Garland Day.

May 29th is Oak Apple Day - so called because on that day King Charles 1st returned triumphantly to London after evading capture by Cromwells troops, by hiding in an oak tree.


"A wet May makes a big load of hay.
A cold May is kindly and fills the barn finely."

"A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay."

"Mist in May, Heat In June
Makes harvest come right soon. "

Just thought you might be interested!

Today's Smile

Just phoned the swine flu helpline, all I got was crackling.

Swine flu isn't a problem for pigs, because they're all going to be cured anyway.

My friend says he's got swine flu.......I think he's telling porkies.

I have to say, I'm finding all these jokes about swine flu pretty boaring.


Today's brainteaser is a typical elementary maths puzzle. Can you calculate the answer? Good Luck!

One brick is one kilogram and half a brick heavy.
What is the weight of one brick?

Answer will appear in the Journal tomorrow.

Wildlife Pictures No.24

(Click on image to enlarge)
This is the last photograph in our series entitled
Wildlife Pictures. This series has produced some
wonderful images. I hope you enjoyed them!


Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.

A means of getting two people so close together that they can't see anything wrong with each other.

A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.

A female moth.

Maxine's World

(Click image to enlarge)

Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Wonderful World Of Albert Kahn

In 1909 the millionaire French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn (pictured on the balcony of his office in Paris in 1914) embarked on an ambitious project to create a colour photographic record of, and for, the peoples of the world. As an idealist and internationalist, Kahn believed that he could use the new autochrome process, the worlds first user-friendly, true-colour photographic system, to promote cross-cultural peace and understanding.

Kahn used his vast fortune to send a group of intrepid photographers to more than fifty countries around the world, often at crucial junctures of their history, when age-old cultures were on the brink of being changed for ever by war and the march of the twentieth-century globalisation. They documented in true colour the collapse of both the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, the last traditional Celtic villages in Ireland, just a few years before they were demolished, and the soldiers of the First World War - in the trenches, and as they cooked their meals and laundered their uniforms behind the lines. They took the earliest-known colour photographs in countries as far a part as Vietnam and Brazil, Mongolia and Norway, Benin and the United States.

At the start of 1929 Kahn was still one of the richest men in Europe. Later that year the Wall Street Crash reduced his financial empire to rubble and in 1931 he was forced to bring his project to an end. Khan died in 1940. His legacy, still kept at the Musee Albert-Kahn in the grounds of his estate near Paris, is now considered to be the most important collection of early photographs in the world.


Right: The statue of Eros, Piccadilly, London

Below: Fringe maker in Galway Ireland during May 1913

Below Right: Woman and child outside the smallest house in Claddagh, Galway, Ireland. June 1913.

Below Left: A policeman stands outside Swan and Edgar, a department store targeted by suffragettes during their campaign of window-breaking in 1911


Grocery List
What you spend half an hour writing, then forget to take it with you to the store.

What one experiences from changing too many diapers.

Hors d'oeuvres
A sandwich cut into 20 pieces

How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

Today's Smile

3D Picture

Gaze into this picture. What do you see?
What you should see are some cranes!
(click to enlarge image)

Mother Goose

(Click to enlarge image)

Thought For Today

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
Bulgarian Proverb

Wildlife Pictures No.23

Fly fishing! Another great photograph from our
Wildlife Pictures series.
(Click image to enlarge)

Friday, 29 May 2009

Looking Back - Man Utd First English Club To Win European Cup

On this day in 1968, Manchester United became the first English club to win the European Cup, under manager Matt Busby. They beat the Portuguese side Benfica 4-1. Celtic had become the first Scottish and British club to win the competition the previous year. Manchester United's success was all the more remarkable for the fact that just ten years before they lost eight of their best players in the Munich air crash. The victory was a person achievement for manager Matt Busby who himself came close to losing his life in the disaster. Busby was rewarded with a knighthood and he retired the following season to become the club's general manager.

For George Best it was the highlight of his footballing career, as the same year he was named as European Footballer of the Year. He was the first footballer to gain superstar status - but his fame led him into a life of womanising and alcohol. Heavy drinking led to a liver transplant in 2002 and to his eventual death in 2005.

The opening goal of the game came from one of United's greatest heroes, Bobby Charlton, who's second half header looked like clinching the game, but with 10 minutes left Benfica equalised and their striker Eusebio was then denied a late winner when his shot was saved by Alex Stepney the United goalkeeper. The match went to extra-time before three more goals from Best, Kidd and Bobby Charlton saw United run out convincing winners. Charlton and Bill Foulkes were the only survivors of the crash to play in the final.

Charlton had a distinguished career at United, and scored 48 goals for England. He was knighted in 1994.


Full Name
What you call your child when you're mad at him/her.

A person who will never tell a lie if the truth will do more damage.

A baby-sitter who doesn't hang around the refrigerator.

The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure your not raising them right.

Celebrity Swine Flu Death!


More Of Paul Smith's Incredible Typewriter Drawings

On Wednesday we published an article on Paul Smith, a man with an incredible talent. Paul, from Philadelphia, suffered from cerebral palsy, until his death in 2007, but despite his disabilities he developed a method of creating amazing pictures, just by using his typewriter. Today we bring you some more examples of Paul's wonderful artwork.

Wildlife Pictures No.22

Excuse me!I think you're in my place.
Another great picture from our
Wildlife Pictures series.
(Click image to enlarge)

Who Am I? - Yeaterday's Answer

The Answer To Yesterday's
Who Am I?
William Hague

With A Little Help From My Friends/Hippo In Bed

Thinking of throwing yourself off a bridge, but lack that little bit of nerve to carry it through. Well that's where friends come in. Watch the video clip and see what I mean

This next clip could be straight out of the 'Silentnight' bed advertisement that used to be on our TV screens, remember the Hippo in his blue and white pyjamas, and the little yellow duck, well this takes it one step further.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Looking Back - Monkeys Survive Space Mission

On this day in 1959, two monkeys became the first living creatures to survive a space flight. Able (pictured) a seven-pound female rhesus monkey, and Baker, a one-pound female squirrel monkey, were fired 300 miles into space in the nose cone of a Jupiter missile AM-18 from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The pair, who were weightless for nine minutes, were monitored throughout the flight for changes in their heartbeats, muscular reaction, pulse velocity, body temperature and rate of breathing. A spokesman from the Medical Research and Development Command of the US Army said the monkeys were in 'perfect condition' on their return. Data recorded throughout the flight will be analysed over the next two weeks.

The 15 minute flight reached speeds of up to 10,000 mph. The monkeys were recovered 1,500 miles away in the South Atlantic near Puerto Rico.

Although regarded as a success by space experts the mission attracted severe criticism from animal welfare groups. The American Embassy in London received protests from the League Against Cruel Sports and the Conference of Anti-Vivisection Societies, which is made up of 29 animal welfare groups. Strongest condemnation came from the League Against Cruel Sports who said, "Such action as this falls within the category of scientific devilry rather than scientific research." It added, "In the name of humanity we beg of you to drop these vile experiments."
Following their return, Able died from the effects of anesthesia given for the removal of electrodes implanted for the the historic mission. A subsequent post mortem examination revealed she had suffered no adverse effects from her flight into space. Baker survived a similar operation and lived until 1984,

The first animal sent into space was Laika, sent into orbit by the Russians, but days into the flight the dog died. Between 1957 and 1961 thirteen dogs were sent into space by the Russians, five of whom died. In 1958 an American squirrel monkey named Gordo died when a flotation device failed on landing. The first cat launched into space was Felix, who survived after being sent into space by the French. Since then animals including frogs, fish, crickets and even worms have been sent into space.

2008 Sand Castle Competition

(Click image to enlarge)
This is a sand castle from this year's competition at Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada. They last until the weather wears them away. Harrison Hot Springs is well known for their perfect sand for building sand castles, as you can see by the picture.

Who Am I?

Today we bring you a 'Who Am I?' puzzle. Just consider the ten clues listed below and try and identify the name of our mystery celebrity.

01 I was born 26 March 1961.
02 My middle name is Jefferson.
03 I was first elected to the House of Commons in 1989.
04 I entered John Major's cabinet in 1995.
05 I became Leader of the Conservatives.
06 I was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire.
07 I spoke at the Conservative Party Conference when I was 16
08 I was President of the Oxford Union.
09 My wife's name is Ffion.
10 I resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party in 1997.

Good luck with your answer!


Fancy Restaurant
One that serves cold soup on purpose.

A banker provided by nature.

The inevitable result when the baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.

Appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Wildlife Pictures No.21

Hang In There! Another picture from our
Wildlife Pictures series.
(Click image to enlarge)


Do you remember when?

It took 5 minutes for the TV to warm up.

Nearly everyone's Mum was at home when they got home from school.

Nobody owned a purebred dog.

When a shilling a week was decent pocket money.

White dog poo in the street.

You only had to be home when the street lights came on.

Your Mum wore stockings that came in two pieces.

All your male teachers wore ties.

Female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels.

You got your windscreen cleaned, oil checked, and petrol pumped, without asking, all for free, every time.

Cereals had free toys inside them.

My New Motto

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Paul Smith - An Extraordinary Man

Paul Smith, the man with extraordinary talent was born in Philadelphia on 21 September 1921, with severe cerebral palsy. Not only had Paul beaten the odds of life with spastic cerebral palsy, a disability that impeded his speech and mobility, but also taught himself to become a master artist as well as a terrific chess player even after being devoid of a formal education as a child.
When typing Paul used his left hand to steady his right one. Since he couldn't pres two keys at the same time, he almost always locked the shift key down and made his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys. In other words, his pictures were based on these characters...@ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ .
Across seven decades, Paul created hundreds of pictures of which he often gave the originals away, Sometimes, but not always, he kept or received a copy for his own records.
As his mastery of the typewriter grew, he developed techniques to create shadings, colours and textures that made his work resemble pencil or charcoal drawings.
This great man passed away on 25 June 2007, but left behind a collection of his amazing artwork that will be an inspiration for many.

You can see some examples of Paul Smith's artwork in the article immediately following this. Further articles showing more of his incredible work will appear in the Journal over the next few days.

Paul Smith - Typewriter Art

Following on from the previous article, here are the first batch of Paul Smith's pictures produced on his typewriter. Watch out for more pictures in the Journal over the next few days.

Brainteaser - Tuesday's Answer

In yesterdays Brainteaser you were asked to work out the correct order in which the jewels on a scroll case had to be pressed in order to open it. The answer was:
The reason being that the above order of the stones represent the birthstones for each month of the year Garnet (Jan), Amethyst (Feb), and so on.

Congratulations if you solved this somewhat difficult brainteaser!

The Human Body

It takes your food seven seconds to get to your mouth from your stomach.

One human hair can support 3kg (6.6lb).

The average man's penis is three times the length of his thumb.

Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.

A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.

There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.

Women blink twice as often as men.

The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.

Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.

If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.

Women reading this will be finished now.

Men are still busy checking their thumbs.

Wildlife Pictures No.20

This is cute! The latest picture from our
Wildlife Pictures series.


A clumsy ophthalmologist

The name men give to their mistakes

A story told by teenagers arriving home after curfew

Family Planning
The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.

Maxine's World

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Rupert Bear

When I was a young boy one of the first presents I always looked for on Christmas morning was a Rupert Bear annual. I can still remember the excitement of taking it out of its wrapping paper, the colourful cover seemed magical, promising exciting adventures within the pages. I can see now the characters who accompanied Rupert on his escapades, they were called his 'chums', Edward Trunk, Bill Badger, Podgy Pig, Tiger Liley, and as I turned the pages they became my chums too, as I lived every adventure with them. Writing this article about Rupert and his chums brings back into vivid focus those happy hours spent in Nutwood, as I was transported out of the real world and into a young boys world of fantasy. Here is a brief history of Rupert Bear, one of the best loved characters in children's literature.

Rupert Bear was created by the English artist Mary Tourtel and first appeared in the daily Express newspaper on 8 November 1920. In 1935, Alfred Bestall, previously an illustrator for Punch, became the Rupert artist and storyteller, and worked on Rupert artwork and stories into his 90s.
The first Rupert annual was released in 1936 and are still published today, often featuring fantastic and magical adventures in faraway lands.
Rupert is a bear who lives with his parents in a house in Nutwood. He always wears a red jumper and bright yellow checked trousers. He usually sets out on an errand for his mother or to visit his friends, but always ends up in a fantastic adventure.
It was Bestall who developed the classic Rupert story format, where the illustration had below it both a two-lined verse and and running prose. Bestall drew Rupert until he retired in 1973. His successor was Alex Cubie who created annual artwork between 1974 and 1977. Cubie's work is recognizable by the use of more vibrant colours and a thicker black outline around the characters.
Between 1978-2007 his new adventures were illustrated by John Harrold, from this point on they were taken over by Stuart Trotter.
Even during World War II, when there was a paper shortage, the annual continued to be released.
Rupert went on to have his own television series, and also appeared in Paul McCartney's music video entitled 'We All Stand Together'. The Rupert Bear Museum, part of the Museum of Canterbury, has collections that cover much of the history of Rupert and his friends, including Tourtel and other illustrators.

Facts About Having Kids

Birth order of Children

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your doctor confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

Preparing for the Birth

1st baby: You practice your breathing regularly.
2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

The Layette

1st baby: You pre-wash newborns clothes, colour co-ordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?


1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper--a frown--you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rs baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.


1st baby: If the dummy falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the dummy falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.


1st baby: You change your baby's nappy every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change your their nappy every two or three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their nappy before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.


1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and dry cleaner.

Going Out

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Swallowing Coins

1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin, you deduct it from his pocket money.


Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.

Emergency Numbers
Police Station, Fire Department and Chinese take-away.

A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.

Last two minutes of a football game, when your team is winning 1-0

Wildlife Pictures No.19

I've seen more comfortable restaurants!
The latest picture from our
Wildlife Pictures series.


Today's brainteaser is a real puzzle. Can any of you Journal readers crack the code?

After some relaxing, the Seekers of Knowledge received a gift from an anonymous person. The gift was a magic scroll case that had 12 gemstones on it. The Seekers were a bit shocked as they knew it was very expensive.
There was a catch with it. They had no idea how to open it. As they looked over the scroll case with amazement, suddenly they heard a voice saying, "The code to open this scroll case is hidden within the stones; you must press each stone in the correct order to open it." The magic faded out.
The stones are in this order on the scroll case: Turquoise, Diamond, Opal, Aquamarine, Topaz, Emerald, Moonstone, Garnet, Sapphire, Amethyst, Ruby, Peridot.

So, what order should the stones be pressed in to open the case?
This is actually not as difficult as it looks, not that is, once the penny drops!

Thought For Today

You will find when you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
Henry Drummond

Maxine's World

Monday, 25 May 2009

We Haven't Learned Much In 350 Years

Oliver Cromwell (pictured right) was born on 25 April 1599, and was an English military and political leader.
After the execution of King Charles I in 1649,Cromwell dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England, conquered Ireland and Scotland, and ruled as Lord Protectorate from 1653 until his death in 1658.
Cromwell was elected Member of Parliament for Cambridge in the Short (1640) and Long (1640-49) Parliament and later entered the English Civil War on the side of the 'Roundheads' or Parliamentarians. An effective soldier nicknamed 'Old Ironside' he rose to command the whole British army. Always controversial Cromwell was a hero to some, hated by others.
Failure to resolve issues between King and Parliament eventually led to the outbreak of Civil War in 1648. In December of 1648 those MPs who wished to continue negotiations with the King were prevented from sitting which led to the remaining body of MPs agreeing that Charles should be tried on a charge of treason. Cromwell believed that killing Charles was the only way to bring the civil war to an end. The death warrant for Charles was signed by 59 of the trying courts members, including Cromwell. Charles was executed on 30 January 1649.
With the King gone factions in Parliament began to engage in infighting. Cromwell who had been away on campaigns, returned to England in 1651. He demanded Parliament establish a caretaker government consisting of both parliamentarians and the army. However, Parliament ignored his request and returned to debating its own bill for a new government.
Cromwell was so angered by this on 20 April 1653, supported by about forty musketeers, he cleared the chamber and dissolved the Parliament by force. (The picture above left shows Cromwell dissolving the Long Parliament).

This quote from Cromwell as he dissolved Parliament in 1653 is quite timely...........

"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a fractious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage... Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse, gold is your God; which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes?...Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; ye were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, and are youselves gone... In the name of God, go!"

Viewed against the background of today's political scandals, it would appear we have learned very little over the last 350 years.

Today's Smile

Wildlife Pictures No.18

Baby Rhino with Mum.
Latest picture from our Wildlife Pictures series.


A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way you actually look forward to the trip.

Future tense of marriage.

A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you with his bills.

One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

The Price Of Gas In France

A thief in Paris planned to steal some
paintings from the Louvre.
After careful planning he got past security,
stole the paintings and made it safely to his van.
However, he was captured only two blocks
away when his van ran out of gas.
When asked how he could mastermind such
a crime and then make such an obvious error,
he replied, "Monsieur, that is the reason I
stole the paintings."

I had no money

To buy Degas

To make the Van Gogh
See if you have De Gaulle to show
this to your friends.
,Go on! After all what have
you got Toulouse

Maxine's World


A teenage granddaughter comes downstairs
for her date wearing a see-through blouse
and no bra. Her grandmother just pitched
a fit, telling her not to dare go out like that!
The teenager said, "Loosen up Grams.
These are modern times, You gotta let your
rose buds show!" and out she goes. The next
day the teenager came down stairs and the
grandmother is sitting there with no top on.
The teenager wanted to die. She explains to
her grandmother that she has friends
coming over and that it is just not
appropriate... The grandmother said to her,
"Loosen up, Sweetie. If you can show off
your rose buds, then I can display my
hanging baskets!"