tvordlj: (Halifax)
Today is the anniversary of the Halifax Explosion in 1917. I thought I knew most of what there was to know but today in the newspaper there is an article about one of the ships, the Imo which was the one that ran into the Mont Blanc which  had all the explosives on board. You'd think the ship would have been blown to bits but apparently not. According to this, the Imo was blown ashore on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, damaged to be sure, but it was patched up, renamed as Guvernören (It was owned by a Norwegian company) and became a transport for whale oil for a few years. It was scuppered near the Falkland Islands in 1921. Seems like it remained a bad luck ship.

There are memorial services around the city today on the 94th anniversary. There's the official one at the main memorial on Fort Needham but also one at a nearby fire station and also there's one just around the corner from where I live. The anchor of one of the ships was found nearby.
Here's a few pictures of the official memorial and the view over the harbour, the view of the spot where the event actually happened.
memorial photos )
tvordlj: (Maple Leaf)
I need those peach baskets back!

I was walking up a short block downtown today, from the back end of the Delta Barrington where i'd gone to get a coffee up to the entrance on the corner of Duke and Barrington, into the little shopping area where i was going to get my hair done. I spotted this inside a doorway.

There were and probably still are little short films that were aired on Canadian television that reenacted little bits of history. There was one about a family trying to escape wild brushfires, one about an immigrant couple that were building a cabin made out of sods on the Prairies. Then there was the one that the phrase in the above photo will bring back to most of us. In actual fact, the phrase didn't actually use the word "peach" but everyone knows what it means. Every Canadian, that is, and i was amused to see it graffitied on a door frame/wall.

It refers to the invention of basketball by a Canadian who, according to legend, used peach baskets for the ball to be aimed at. But because the baskets had bottoms, it took some time to climb up and fish the ball out of it so he came up with the idea of cutting the bottom out of the baskets. The caretaker of the property grumbled "I need these baskets back!" Through the cut is the Youtube of the original vignette.
Baskets! )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
next up in the 2009 books is
20. Her Majesty's Spymaster - Stephen Budiansky
This is the story of Sir Francis Walsingham who was Queen Elizabeth I's secretary and who turned out to be expert in running espionage schemes in a time where there were a legion or two of plots against England, mainly by the Catholic countries of Spain and France. This was Spain's glory era where they were the Empire of the World. Elizabeth, by the Catholics' standards, had no legitimate claim to the throne of England and though Protestantism was growing in strength, Spain and to a lesser extent, France, had much more influence in much of the world and had the backing of Rome, naturally. Walsingham used an extensive network of spies and couriers for letters, used information and threw out misinformation to stymie the enemies. His years of efforts uncovered multiple plots both to free the captive Mary Queen of Scots and to assassinate Elizabeth herself. This network also helped him keep ahead of the Spanish attack.

I really found this interesting, so much detail and research but it was very well written too, not dry and labourous to get through. The author also threw in little phrases that were quite funny and not something you often see in historical books like this, like... talking about Englishmen traveling in Italy and then an aside saying there were *always* Englishmen traveling in Italy. a "seamy fraternity of priest-takers", ... his use of descritive language makes it a lot more interesting a read. There's lots of facts and quotes from many letters and documents, not too much supposition but then that era was fairly well documented. I didn't really know much about Walsingham and his relationships to the Queen and Burghley (Sir William Cecil, her long time advisor) before i read the book but i sure do now. There's lots about the Queen herself as well. it doesn't seem to be exaggerated or pumped up for dramatic effect, Very good read altogether.
tvordlj: (Default)
Here's something in the newspaper this morning that was interesting. The Lieutenant Governor's residence/mansion has been undergoing a major renovation over the last couple of years and apparently they found shoes inside some of the walls. Turns out it's an old custom to ward off evil spirits so during the nearly-completed work, the builders did it again. Seems the custom in medieval times was to put a body under the foundations but as you can imagine, that didn't work out very well. Since shoes take on the shape of someone's feet, it was felt that the person's spirit was strong in a shoe so that was used instead. They found at least 8 shoes around the huge stone mansion, originally built in the early 1800s. History of the building here with a quicktime movie gallery here.  I know Nova Scotia has the oldest legislature building in Canada, which was opened about the same time the LG mansion was finished.  Anyway, to keep up the tradition, they've garnered some used shoes from some of the Provincial government staff, including a shoe from current LG Mayan Francis.
tvordlj: (History)
Happy Birthday to [ profile] tammihayne!!! Have a good one, chick!

My cold is slowly getting better, i think. This isn't to say it won't turn around and give me more grief so cross your bits will you?

More plans are coming together for the trip. I booked us tickets to an exhibit at the British Library about Henry VIII, curated by Dr. David Starkey who's got a new book out and tv series on it as well. Definitely one for my library. And the lovely [ profile] naturalbornkaos has organized a picnic for the Saturday afternoon we're there, risking the wrath of the early spring weather gods :)
tvordlj: (Default)
Was it very wrong of me to have a grilled cheese sandwich on cheese bread for breakfast this morning? Nah, didn't think so. It was yummy.

I've been immersed in the Halifax Explosion today, converting a tape to digital containing documentaries and a two part fictionalized mini series called The Shattered City. Not all of it was based on truth, of course, such as the German sabotage conspiracy and a few other over-dramatic exaggerations and plot devices that they yonked into it for the storytelling but the basics are true. Two ships, one containing explosives, collide in the harbour. Munitions ship catches fire and blows sky high. Pretty good special effects in the mini series and it's fun to see which real locations they used for filming. I rather think they used the waterfront area of a town like Lunenburg for the waterfront of Halifax, because it's still got wooden buildings and warehouses. (looked it up. Yep. they used Lunenburg) They incorporated some of the true stories such as the baby found in an ashcan. She was nicknamed Ashcan Annie and she grew to the advanced age of 90. Funny, too, while googling to find out about her, it turns out comedienne Joan Rivers blogged about it (third post down) after she was here a year and a bit ago. She toured around the city and found out a lot about the history and wrote about it! That's quite interesting! I think the documentaries are both quite good, one called Legacy and one called City in Ruins. I might even put them on a dvd for [ profile] gramie_dee's dad for Christmas. I think he'd enjoy it.

Nice and mild out today, a bit rainy which is ok, to get rid of some of the snow, make room for more! I went out to get a few groceries and am going to make Singapore Noodles later on.

Pretty much everything is booked for the trip now, i booked the rental car the other day so there's only two train journeys to worry about. The one between Amsterdam and Brussels i think we'll just get when we get to Amsterdam. I've got an alert set up so i'll know when the tickets for London to Manchester are released (thanks [ profile] zoo_music_girl). We'll be in London from Friday eveing, May 8 and on Saturday all day as well. I do hope it works out that we can see some of you!
tvordlj: (History)
Well that has to be the absolute worst movie I've ever had the misfortune to see. And it was like a train wreck, i couldn't turn it off. Just putting the historical inaccuracy aside, and believe me, it's only passing resemblence to history were the names of the characters, it was just appalling. The writing and acting? Oh. My. God. Every second scene seemed to take place months or years after the one before it. It jumped through time more than Skippy the kangaroo. There was nothing left of the scenery, it was chewed so badly except for Eric Bana who played an inexplicably quiet and understated Henry VIII. Yes you've just found out your wife is apparently unfaithful. What's his reaction? Bad luck, that. He did raise his voice to call for the guards to arrest her, but i think that was only because they were in the other room. Come on, Henry VIII was well known for fits of rage. One of the few times they did show him lose his temper, they implied he raped Anne which was meant to be their first time having sex. Total sensationalistic bullshit. I don't even recall that being in the book. Oh yeah. The book, by Philippa Gregory wasn't all that bad, not as a pot boiler or work of fiction. At least it had a bit of substance to it. This movie felt like a bunch of random scenes stuck together with the only continuity being the two women that played the Boleyn sisters, horribly, horribly miscast. Quite possibly the worst casting ever. Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn was every bit as bad as i expected when i first heard about it and Scarlett Johansen as her sister Mary? Laughable. And what was Kristin Scott Thomas doing in that movie other than to wring her hands every now and then.

My god what were they thinking?
tvordlj: (astronaut cat DOH)
I hope this isn't setting the pace for the rest of the day. I took my glasses off to clean them and one of the lenses popped out! I don't think i'm missing a screw but i do think the glue probably just gave way. I guess that's probably the push i need to get myself into the opticians and schedule to get my eyes tested. I'm way overdue and i do know that there's changes. I think i'll definitely not get bifocals (and i don't care if you call them whatevertheheckthey'recalled lenses, the ones without the "line" across like traditional bifocals. They're still bifocals in function if not in form). I am pretty sure i need that sort of help but i plan to get them as a separate pair of reading glasses. I don't think it will be that much of a nuisance because i only need the extra boost for small print and things like newsprint or reading in some lighting circumstances. I need glasses most of the time mainly because of my astigmatism. I don't have them on now and the words on the screen are fuzzy but i can make them out. If i had my regular prescription, the words would be just fine, sharp and clear. I suppose i could wear them and just look through one eye but i think that would give me a headache after awhile. Optician opens at 9 so i only have about an hour to wait. I'll get them to check the other lens too. (oh.. managed to pop the lense back in but i'm going to have it checked anyway)

I have a massage at noon today to work out the knots in my neck and i'm having my bushy eyebrows seen to after work, then it's off to the grocery store to pick up a few things.

I did very little yesterday, a few chores and watched quite a few videos that i'd downloaded. There's a new series that started on CTV last night called Mad Men. I hear it's also been on BBC and it has been on in the US on a cable station. It takes place in 1960 in a Madison Avenue ad agency. Everyone smokes. All the time. Everywhere. Office. Restaurant. Post-shag in bed. It seems so odd to see now. Women in the office are treated like skirts. Men in the office are rampant cheaters, sometimes with the women in the office who are all secretaries and switchboard operators. The reproduction of the look and feel of 1960 is very good. It's a soapy kind of show, of course, so it won't appeal to everyone. I downloaded the first couple of eps and i liked it well enough but i don't think i'll download the rest. I'll just try to remember to tape it when it's on and watch it there.

So i watched some of that, i watched the season finale of Season 2 of the Tudors. Queen Anne dies. But you all know that. I have to say, that series, in spite of it being an awful lot of toss when it comes to historical accuracy, and the fact that they've horribly miscast Henry, has had some good performances. Natalie Dormer as Anne really was ver good, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Queen Katherine was excellent and you just can't argue with Sam Neil in any part let alone Cardinal Wolsey. It's basically a shag fest with beautiful people and i was horrified at the first few episodes but it's like a train wreck and a trashy novel all rolled into one.

what else did i watch... oh another episode of Monarchy with David Starkey, just to keep on the historical track. Oliver Cromwell died too. Actually i saw a death mask of him in Warwick Castle a few years ago. That actually was creepier than the room full of weapons it was in. If it's accurate, my God he had a big head. He must have been a large man.

Which brings me to Doctor Who.
spoilers, and a lot of questions raised )
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
Oh and... After drooling over Foyle's history section i ended up with a book on Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford. rather than go with the usual sort. I was torn between that, a biography of Kathryn Swynford by Alison Weir and a new one on Edward I that i think would be good too.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
It wasn't quite the shopping trip i had planned but i still enjoyed myself. My friend couldn't make it for our planned shopping excursion so i rang up mom and asked "do you want to go to Chapters?" ... stupid question. She picked me up and we hit the shelves. I had 80 dollars worth of gift cards and spent almost that much again but i did get a birthday present for Mom while i was picking up things including a couple of half price calendars and a date book for work. Got two new Diana Gabaldon hardbacks, both about her secondary character Lord John Grey, and another large book called "Sun Kings: A history of magnificent kingship". It's about the lives of a number of great rulers of history and puts their lives and acheivements in the context of the time and place where they lived. Not hugely in depth of course because you could do that in a book all of it's on, one on each of them. Some of the people included are Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Napoelon, Alexander the Great, Louis VIX of course, Cosimo de Medici, Augustus Caesar, Ramses II, and quite a few others. They look at kings, queens, emperors, popes, sultans and princes from ancient times to Victorian. Lots of pictures and illustrations. it's a bit "Reader's Digest" but it's a good overview.

We went into Future Shop as well and she got a portable dvd player that she's been wanting. Lots of toys and sales in there!

She took me home to drop my bags of books and then we went back to the mall so she could try to exchange something and i went off to find a purse. Still couldn't find what i wanted. I think i might have the luck i need at Kelly's luggage in Park Lane so i'll head up there at lunchtime or after work one day. I picked up some boxed cards, photo frames and photo albums for my trip photos and a few grocery items i needed. Had to get two more items at the corner store on the way home.
tvordlj: (Movies)
It's not often i watch a funny movie and laugh out loud when i'm watching by myself. One just finished on the Movie Network, Flushed Away, that really had me giggling, *and* it's animated. It's a collaboration between Dreamworks and Aardman Studios (Wallace and Grommit, Creature Comforts fame). It's not claymation but it almost looks like it sometimes and the humour is definitely Aardman style. If you watch it... keep an eye on the slugs, they'll crack you up!

Really warm and muggy day today. Probably not too many of them left in the season. September usually has nice warm weather but very little humidity.

I took possession of the last of the dvds i ordered last month, the Ray Winstone tv series Henry VIII. Historically, a load of bollocks mostly. Helena Bonham Carter could have been a far better Anne if the character had been more scheming and ambitious but the focus really was on Winstone's performance. Lots of shouting and temper tantrums which is what Henry was famous for. I think he at least got that bit down right. Looked the part too. The best series still seems to be the one filmed for BBC in the 1970s with Keith Mitchell as Henry. He was great and the series was a bit more in depth, they could focus a whole hour on each wife so you got a bit more detail and it was fairly accurate. I'd like to get the Elizabeth R series too, with Glenda Jackson. She was an awesome Elizabeth.
tvordlj: (Default)
The Alzheimer's Society of NS is having a rubber duck race on September 22 at Bishop's Landing on the waterfront. There isn't a lot of detail on the website but i assume they're putting the ducks in the harbour. Unfortunately i have something else on in the afternoon at the same time the race is on or i'd go over and have a look.

Well, that gives "over the shoulder boulder holder" a whole new meaning doesn't it? this bra gets turned into this purse.

[ profile] medusa's Paris pics make me want to go now!

Apparently the mother of the little girl that has gone missing in Portugal is now considered a suspect by the Portugese police. I'm only surprised it's taken this long but i doubt the parents were involved other than making the bad decision to leave the children alone in a hotel room.

I had to get a request for change number for something i'm doing at work and the number i was given was 1066. That always reminds me of Dad. It's the one date in history he never forgot from school. 1066BattleofHastings he'd rattle off! As a result, it's one i never forgot either even before i discovered that i really liked the history of England and the U.K. Dates don't always stick in my mind though a few year-dates do such as (not all of them related to England/Britain) 1746, 1815, 1547, 1588, 1215, 1789, 1776, 1867, 44BCE, 1603, 1533, 1536, 1917, just to name a few.
tvordlj: (History)
Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of playwright Ben Jonson who died in 1637. Why do you care? Well in my Forgotten English calendar, yesterday's word was "ure" which means a dampish mist or atmospheric haze but an earlier meaning also was "to pray" which lead the creators of the calendar to Ben Jonson because... (yes i'm getting to the point) he was apparently buried upright in a small 1 x 1 foot plot in the floor of Westminster Abbey (Poet's Corner?) and on his epitaph was written "O rare Ben Jonson". Some say it was supposed to be "Orare" which means 'to pray' as in to pray for him but as he wasn't particularly religious, "O rare" probably is more appropriate anyway.

I then wondered about historical dates that happened before the establishing of the Gregorian Calendar in 1582. Are we saying that, for instance, the death of Henry VIII on January 28, 1547 is adjusted for the modern calendar or was it the actual date it happened in that timeline? If that's the case, on our calendar, it should be 10 days earlier. were historical dates adjusted to match our modern calendar? Any of you historians out there know? yeah i know. I'll just get me coat, shall i? I can't help it. These things occur to me and i know there are historians and history geeks like me out there on my flist that might know the answer.

So yesterday, Mom and i picked up my auntie and we drove down further into the countryside to visit my cousin in Jeddore. She's got a lovely garden and one very active doggie, Daisy. Mom and I also did a bit of shopping on Sunday when i took the car back to her, and though i tried on a lot of things, i didn't end up buying anything. Most of what i tried on were either too small or too short. I hate short tops. Even when i was thinner (never *thin* just less of me than there is now) i hated short tops that cut right across the middle of my stomach and hips. I'm tall and have big boobs and i'm far more comfortable with loose tops that go down past my hips. Short tops aren't too bad with a skirt but i rarely wear those much. Cotton Ginny does have a few tops in "longer length" which is a normal length for me but in the end, i didn't really need any new tank tops.

I do have to get one of those Tide spot remover sticks though. Apparently they really do work and i have tops that have stains on them that the washing machine either has put on or that just won't get out. I swear there are more blotches on the tops when they come out of the laundry than when they went in even though i put liquid stain remover on them. Mom tried that Tide stick and said it really works so i'm having a go. I think the drugstore might have them, i'll check later. Also want to get some extra strength stain remover for laundry purposes. The stuff i bought is the generic brand and it's not as good as the name brand (usually i get Shout).

Still no newspaper delivered by 7 a.m. this morning. Am going to call and shout at the office again. No not really but i'll call every day it's not there on time. I'm pretty sure someone is covering the regular person for vacation but they're still supposed to have it there on time and those of us that leave early and take the paper to work are inconvenienced. Bah.
tvordlj: (Easy chairs)
I've been history geeking a lot this weekend. I ordered a couple of dvd sets and got them in very quick time. The first is a two dvd set called Monarchy by David Starkey and the other focuses on the Six Wives of Henry VIII by the same bloke. I've seen a few of those on PBS but the Monarchy series is new to me. It's not complete, there's another set to complete the timeline out later in the fall. This one ends with the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. I really enjoyed the series. It was a brief overview but seemed quite accurate and had lots of points in it that i hadn't read or heard before. I love the history of England and the U.K., especially medieval to where the Georges took over and the Tudor period is my favourite. David Starkey is apparently well reknowned as a historian and researcher, from this point of view, he does seem to be quite good even if his accent is a bit odd. Very posh but with a Northern accent on some words. At least to my ears. Anyway, i've got through the Monarchy set, though i may go back and rewatch the one on the Wars of the Roses. I'll have to start in on t'other next.
tvordlj: (Word of the day)
Should be applicable to everyone!
"Ephemerist" which was recorded in Edward Lloyd's Encyclopedia Dictionary in 1895 and defined as one who keeps a journal or diary.

Something and someone i had not known/of was John Evelyn who kept a journal most of his life. He lived in and around London from 1620 to 1706 and his papers were given to a librarian after he died though they weren't published for about a hundred years after his death. That in turn inspired the publication of Pepys but that's the one everyone has heard of. Now i must add Evelyn to my list of books to read someday. I've got about half way through Pepys but keep putting it down for other things.

Oh, and if anyone in Canada is using Primus for long distance phone, they have a new plan out called Truly International with 2 cents a minute to many international destinations. I was with Five Anytime and they've just put their monthly fees up another dollar. With the fees and connection charge of 3.95 it's up to almost $6 a month which makes that 5 cents a minute go up a bit depending on how much you call. The TI monthly fee is currently $1.00 (hm... per registered number, i have two, land and mobile). Still, at .02 a minute to the UK where i'd be mainly calling off-continent will still be cheaper. So .02 a minute internationally, but .06 minutes to Canada (and the US) which is only one cent more than my old plan and adding together the UK calls i make plus the Canadian ones, it may or may not work out a lot cheaper but i expect it will a little at least. You can switch over online which i've done yesterday so i won't see a difference until at least next month's bill.

December 6

Dec. 6th, 2006 08:15 am
tvordlj: (Halifax)
In Canada, today is the 17th anniversary of the day a man entered a college in Montreal and killed 14 women. He specifically went after women and then killed himself. There are memorial services across the country to commemorate the loss. Today is also the 89th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, where 2000 lives were lost because of an accident involving two ships that collided, causing the largest man made explosion before the nuclear age. I bet Halifax is the only place that commemorates that event. Two very different events from very different circumstances. I certainly don't belittle the events in Montreal. Women are the victims of a lot of violence in this world today, even in so-called civilized countries like Canada. Even though there are very few people left alive that remember the Explosion (Just about where this picture was taken), it still has an impact on this city, on the architecture, on what makes this city what it is. There are constant reminders for me even though i have no relatives that were killed or injured. My grandparents still lived in New Brunswick at the time but if they lived on the street where my father was born in the 1930's, their house would have been flattened. It's only a few hundred yards away from where the Fort Needham Explosion memorial is today.

There's a twisted ship's cannon mounted on a corner not far from where it was found, over a mile from the harbour. I pass it every day on the bus because it's just around the corner from where i live. There's a twisted enormous ship's anchor in front of a now-closed museum building closer to the harbour. The anchor was found 3 miles away from the harbour where it was thrown from the explosion. I pass that every day on the bus too. So today i remember a devastating event in Halifax's history. I remember how Halifax pulled itself back up from its knees and rebuilt homes, businesses and lives.
tvordlj: (London Tube Map)
I have an old guidebook to London that was published during World War II. Actually i think it was probably published before the war but updated because there's a small insert piece of paper that explains that due to the "war-time difficulties", they cannot publish the full set of maps they usually do. There is one page map of central london and only one fold out city center map with the underground stations marked and the lines of the underground routes marked in geographical format, not in the stylized format you see now (when was that done? i know it was designed by an electrician i think). The map also has the main streets and thoroughfares on it. I can't imagine there would have been loads of tourists in London during the war, not with bombs falling randomly!

the London Tourist, circa 1940 )
tvordlj: (Doctor Who)
88 years ago at 8:55 a.m. local time, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One was filled with over a ton of explosives and blew up. It was the largest man made non-nuclear explosion before WWII. nearly 2000 people died and 10,000 injured. There is a memorial service starting just about now at the memorial on Fort Needham, a hill overlooking the spot where it happened. Lots of interesting information in these websites. including transcripts from survivors.
tvordlj: (Lady)
87 years ago, two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour. One of them was full of explosives which caught fire. The result was the largest and most devastating man made explosion before the nuclear age. The north end of Halifax and Dartmouth were leveled, 2000 people died and nearly 10,000 were injured or blinded. The shockwave was felt as far away as Truro, 60 miles, where dishes rattled on shelves. The day after the explosion, the city was hit with a winter blizzard. There aren't many survivors left, those that still remember are now elderly. December 6 might be the "day of infamy" for the U.S. when Pearl Harbour was attacked, and it might be the anniversary of when a very disturbed Marc Lepine shot 14 women in a university in Montreal in the early 1990's but today Halifax remembers it's own disaster, predating both of those events.

The CBC has an excellent interactive website here,

There's a good written description here.

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