Thursday, 1 October 2009

Looking Back - Sleepy Boris Snubs Irish Leader

On this day in 1994, a meeting between two international statesmen in Ireland had to be cancelled - because one of them overslept. Russian President Boris Yeltsin (pictured right) had agreed to break a flight from the United States to Moscow in County Limerick for a reception with the Irish prime minister. But instead there was a minor diplomatic incident when the Russian leader failed to appear.
Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, Ireland's leader, had to be content with meeting the Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, who reported the president was asleep.
The taoiseach, his wife, two ministers, a group of Irish MPs, an Irish guard of honour, a military band and delegation from the Russian embassy were all waiting on the tarmac to greet Mr Yeltsin. They stood while his plane inexplicably circled Shannon airport for an hour, and for another 15 minutes after it landed, before they were told the president was too tired, and then too ill, to see them.
Mr Reynolds - who had to cancel a lavish reception at the nearby Dromoland Castle - denied he had been snubbed. Whilst accepting Mr Yeltsin was ill, Mr Reynolds was frustrated that the president could not attend a news conference about the peace process.
And it was rumoured the vodka-loving leader had over-indulged his taste for the drink on the journey from Washington.
Mr Yeltsin's health seriously declined after suffering a heart attack in 1996 and he resigned in 1999.


Today is the first day of October. The month when Autumn takes a firm grip. Dark nights and colder weather. Here are a few facts about the month of October.
October is the tenth month in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with a length of 31 days.
October is commonly associated with the season of Autumn in the Northern hemisphere and spring in the Southern hemisphere, where it is the seasonal equivalent to April in the Northern hemisphere and vice versa.

In common years January starts on the same day of the week as October, but no other month starts on the same day of the week as October in leap years.
The month of October has become famous as 'Red October', due to the Russian revolution of 1917, although in the modern Gregorian calendar, the revolution started in November.

In the nineteenth century, the month of October was dedicated to the devotion of the rosary in Roman Catholic countries.
By the Slavs it is called 'yellow month' from the fading of the leaf; to the Anglo-Saxons it was known as Winterfylleth, because of its full moon (fylleth) winter was supposed to begin. The October birth flower is the calendula (marigold) and represents sorrow and sympathy. October's birthstone is the opal. The opal is thought to have the power to predict illness. It represents; Hope, Innocence and Purity.

The Golden Years

Harvest Festival

A harvest festival is an annual celebration which occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Given the differences in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times throughout the world. Harvest festivals typically feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. Ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals: eating, merriment, contests, music and romance are common features of harvest festivals around the world. In Asia the Chinese Moon Festival is one of the most widely-spread harvest festivals in the world. In India, Pongal in January, Holi in February-March and Onam in August-September are a few famous harvest festivals. In North America, Canada and the US each have their own Thanksgiving celebrations in October-November.
In Britain, thanks have been given for successful harvests since pagan times. The celebrations on this day usually include singing hymns. praying and decorating churches with baskets of fruit and food in the festival known as Harvest Festival, Harvest Home or Harvest Thanksgiving.
In British churches, chapels and schools and in Canadian churches, people bring in food from the garden, allotment or farm. The food is often distributed among the poor and senior citizens of the local community, or used to raise funds for the church, or charity.
Nowadays the festival is held at the end of harvest, which varies in different parts of Britain. Sometimes neighbouring churches will set the Harvest Festival on different Sundays so that people can attend each others thanksgiving.
Farmers celebrated the end of the harvest with a big meal called a harvest supper. Some churches and villages still have a Harvest Supper.
The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in churches began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Victorian hymns such as "We plough the fields and scatter", "Come ye thankful people come" and "All things bright and beautiful" but also Dutch and German harvest hymns in translation helped popularise his idea of harvest festival and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service.

Little Johnny

Little Johnny watched, fascinated, as his mother smoothed cream on her face. "Why do you do that, mommy?" he asked. "To make myself beautiful," said his mother, who then began removing the cream with a tissue. "What's the matter?" asked Little Johnny. "Giving up?"