Category: GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY

Boadicea, photo by PH Morton

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
– Edmund Burke (1729 – 97)


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Autumn is here!

Autumn leaf, photo by PH Morton

Autumn is here!

Yesterday was the last day of the summer. We have had a glorious one this year.

And today, it is the first day of autumn, which is heralded by a great pouring of cold rain, almost all day long.

As autumn progresses there will be a lot of falling leaves from various shades of orange, brown and red.

UK parks, gardens, roads, and open spaces will be garland with these beautiful leaves that would be gloriously aesthetic at first but would soon enough turn into a slippery sorry mess.

Autumn though has a charm of its own.  It is harvest time.  Time to bring in the harvest from the garden.

 

Public Toilets Near Cutty Sark

Toilet break at Cutty Sark, photo by PH Morton

Toilets at Major Tourist Attraction

 

Public Toilets Near Cutty Sark

I was looking through our photos taken when we recently visited Greenwich, South East London, around the tourists-famous Catty Sark Tea Clipper museum and noticed this black edifice, which reminiscent of a Doctor Who’s TARDIS.  It seemed bigger on the inside.

Anyway, it cost £0.50p to use it.

A tip:  if you are going with a nearest and dearest, you could go in together.  If a small family, it could comfortably hold about six altogether.

The only thing is that you should all be so close as the toilet does not flush each time you use it.  It is only after you exit that it flushes and self-clean.  And you can only stay for a maximum of 20 minutes, which is more than enough time before it automatically open.

🙂 That does not mean you are trapped inside the toilet for 20 minutes, you can press the open button anytime, but the usage time is for 20 minutes only.

The toilet above is directly across the road from the Cutty Sark.

If you do not have a fifty pence or a chance, the nearest free toilets are inside the Royal Naval College which is about 300 yards across the road.  Or you could always stop for a beer at the Gipsy Moth and use their beautifully maintained loos.

 

Fury, The Hawk

Bird of Prey

Fury, The Hawk

 

Fury and his handler, photo by JMorton

In Profile

  • Name: Fury
  • Age: 9 Years old
  • Aves: Hawk
  • Occupation: Pest Controller
  • Place of Work: Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich, South London, UK

 

We met Fury and his handler recently whilst on a visit at the Old Royal Navy College to attend a tour of a once in a lifetime opportunity to be up close with the hall and ceiling murals, which is the most extensive work in the UK and can rival Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.

Anyway, Fury and his handler were promenading outside the building, alert to any uninvited guests.

Hawk is 9 years old and he regularly patrols the building and its surrounding areas for any marauding pigeons, rats, and other pests, who can create so much deposit of poos and upheavals to wherever they congregate.

Hawks are often used as guardians and mascots of large public building and areas as they are known for their keen eyesight and intelligence.

Fury at just 9, is still a ‘spring chicken’  Hawks in captivity usually live until 20 years of age.

 

Painted Hall Ceiling @ Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich

Museum

Painted Hall Ceiling @ Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich

Old Royal Navy College, photo by JMorton

Old Royal Navy College, photo by JMorton

Peter and I went to see a once in a lifetime conservation project at the Old Royal Navy College in Greenwich.

The last conservation was done in the 1950s and they reckon the next one will be in 100 years time.

There were scaffoldings everywhere, which are securely fastened and safe and convenient enough for the public to trod on to go near the ceiling and admire England’s most comprehensive and greatest decorative painting.

Close up dome ceiling, photo by PH Morton

 

Thus, it earned the sobriquet of UK’s Sistine Chapel.

They are currently cleaning and conserving 40,000 square feet of the most amazing allegorical work that used to deliver a strong political message about the monarchy, religion, navigation,  maritime power, and commerce, amongst other things.

The project was instigated by Queen Mary II, who died before its fruition.  Nevertheless, she will always be remembered for it as her image together with King William III, her husband, is depicted in the middle of the ceiling murals along several gods and goddesses.

A relatively unknown artist was commissioned to design the ceiling decoration.  He was Sir James Thornhill, who was knighted for his efforts.

He was paid a princely some £1 per square metre of work on the halls and £3 for the ceiling per square meter.

Thornhill did not work alone.   He had an assistant and hired specialist painters to finish the work as towards the middle of it Thornhill started to receive accolade and private works.

Our tour guide said that monies confiscated from an infamous Scottish pirate William Kidd, more known as Captain Kidd was used for the building and decoration for this project that was the Old Royal Navy College.

The old Royal Navy College was built as a mess hall for sailors, naval pensioner and those who used the Royal Naval hospital nearby.

The sailors and the wrens used the site as a dining area.  Inches of gravy and dried old food were cleaned up in the 1950s when it was first restored.

It is still used as a dining venue once in a while for a really grand special occasion.

Today, the building is a major attraction in Greenwich, Tourists from all over the world come to visit.

By the way, it cost about £10 for an adult and £5 for a child over the age of 6 to join the tour which will be wrapped up towards the end of September 2018.  The numerous number of scaffoldings will be taken down.

It is hoped that by March 2019, the Painted Hall Ceiling will reopen to the public in a different perspective: from the ground looking up above the high ceiling and walls.

Get down to Greenwich for this once in a lifetime privilege before it is too late.

 

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Royal Airforce Museum (RAF Museum) – Hendon

Museum

Royal Airforce Museum (RAF Museum) – Hendon

RAF Museum, photo by PH Morton

We were pleasantly surprised how much the RAF Museum had changed from a year ago when we last visited.  Actually, when we went last year, they were already busy with the renovation.

The very helpful guide had said to be sure to come back because it would be so different, with more exhibitions and things to do.  Also, a new museum restaurant will be opening as well.

As it is now the last few days before the start of the new school year here in the UK, today, with our grandson, Nathan, we went and had a fantastic time with all the amazing array of beautiful warplanes, which western democracy had much to thank for.

The renovation was partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, a very well deserved funding I say.

This renovation also coincided with the 100-Years Anniversary of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Photo by PH Morton

This is, therefore, the ideal time to visit the museum.  A perfect time for the whole family, young and adult will sure to have something to find interesting.

There are so many things that you can get involved in, plenty of interactive activities to be experienced

Like the majority of museums in the UK, the entry is free.

Of course, there are some ‘rides’ and activities that would cost between £3 to £10 per person.  The simulator machine is £3 per person, there was also a chance to board and learn more about a Spitfire for the princely sum of £10, it is well worth it as there was an assistant that would talk you everything about its history.

Peter and Nathan went to the 4D cinema.  The ticket for this is £5 per person.  Our nine-year-old Nathan really enjoyed it.  He said it feels like flying.

Photo by PH Morton

Because of its excellent and large number of exhibits, which is distributed in six hangers, it is much lauded by visitors from all over the world.

There is nothing like being up close and personal with a Vulcan Bomber.  It is quite an experience!

In fact, there was a coach full of visitors disembarking in the carpark when we were there.

The whole family could easily spend the whole day at the museum

Photo by PH Morton

There are a couple of coffee shops for a quick break.

The was also a restaurant, which serves hot food.  I have to say that they make a good Chilli Con Carne.  Our Nathan had loved, I thought he would find it too spicy but he loved it so much, he wanted his own child portion after he had fish goujons with rice as at around 3:45, the restaurant had run out of chips.

Child portion starts at £5 and adult chili portion was £8.50.

If you do not want to eat in the restaurant, there were specific rooms, next to play areas, where you can enjoy your pack lunch.

If the children needed a break and rather overwhelmed with the display, there is a play area outside, with aesthetically pleasing slides in the shapes of a helicopter, Spitfire, a castle and many more.

There are also plenty of toilets, very clean, dotted all and clearly sign-posted all over the place.

There is also a gift shop located at Hanger 1.  The items are reasonably priced.

We really had a great time at the RAF Museum and as a lottery buyer, I support this project 110%.  Well done!

By the way as a recommendation, the Vulcan Bomber is really something to behold, I would have liked it to be exhibited on its own with a gallery, where you can walk and admire it from all angles and corners.

Happy 100th Anniversary to the RAF!

 

Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Green beans & Squash With Coconut Milk)

Ginataang sitaw at kalabasa with fried fish, photo by Mae Mercado-Sanguer

Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Green beans & Squash With Coconut Milk)

I am very partial to recipes that call for coconut milk.  It makes the dish creamy and rich tasting.  Just love it.

I urge you to try this recipe as it is really something.

This recipe uses meat.  Another recipe we have uses shrimps, which is equally good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small or 1/2 a squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cubed
  • 200g string beans (green beans), cut into about 1½ to 2 inches lengths.
  • 100 g pork, cut into bite-size pieces.
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped or minced finely
  • 1/4 cup shrimp paste (bagoong na alamang) or 1¼ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1½tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Preparation:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Sauté the garlic and onion.
  • Add the pork and stir-fry until golden all over.
  • Stir in the shrimp paste, if using.
  • Pour in the water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer until most of the liquid had evaporated and the meat had softened.
  • Drop in the squash and string beans.
  • If not using shrimp paste, then add the fish sauce.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and continue to stir well until it begins to boil.
  • Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and black pepper according to your taste.

Delicious served with freshly boiled rice and any leftover is fantastic as breakfast with some fried rice.

Qixi Festival (Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day)

Qixi Festival (Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day)

Global Granary would like to wish you all a Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day!  Jiayou

Yep, me too.  I find it rather ‘strange’ to be celebrating Valentine’s Day today.  Valentine’s Day is on 14th February every year.  🙂

Today, however, is the Qixi Festival, also known as Qiqiao Festival.  This festival is celebrated just like the St Valentine’s Day, where lovers go on dates, giving presents like chocolates and flowers.

The Qixi Festival originated from one of the poems from the Shijing collection of Odes and Songs dating back from 11th to 7th century BC.

The poem is a narrative of the saga of the romantic but forbidden relationship that develops between a human and a goddess.

Niulang was a poor cowherd boy, who lived with his brother and brother-in-law.  He was a male Cinderella, maltreated and abused to the point of being thrown out of the house.

Niulang then met an old man, who told him that there was a job going for a resourceful cowherd.  Niulang was so grateful to the old man, who was, in fact, a supernatural being.  He brought Niulang to the heavens to look after sick cows.

In no time, the bovines where thriving.  The old man was grateful to the young man.  He noticed thought that Niulang looks lonely.  As a reward for the hard-working man, he introduced her to a beautiful girl, who spends her day weaving.  She is a goddess incognito and her name is Zhi Nu.

It was love at first sight for both of them.

A marriage between a mortal and a deity is strictly prohibited.

But they did not care; they were in love and got married, had two kids and would have lived happily ever after if the goddess’ grandmother did not find out.

The grandmother, Wang Mu Niang Niang, thought her granddaughter was contentedly weaving infinite yarns 🙂 in a corner of the heavens; she did not know that she was playing wifey to some mortal.

She was incandescent with rage that with her hairpin she scratched a wide ribbon in the heavens separating Zhi Nu from her mortal family.

Zhin Nu and Niulang with their children cried so much that their tears flowed into the chasm between them creating a river.

It might be pity or it might be a wish for some peace and quiet from all the cryings that a great flock of magpies forms a bridge so the family can be reunited for a day.

So it was then decided that on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month each year, the magpie will help to reunite the family.  That is why today is also known as Magpie Day.

 

 

 

 

 

Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

Drama

Life On Mars (KDrama Vs Brits) Review

  • Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal, Crime, Policing, Serial Killer, Time Travel

 


UK Tv Version

Date Released: 2006

Cast:

  • John Simm as Sam Tyler
  • Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt
  • Liz White
  • Dean Andrews
  • Marshall Lancaster

This drama is based on the brilliant original 2006 BBC TV series Life on Mars. The US and other countries copied the format for their  version of the TV series, but in my opinion, never bettered the original.

Summary of the British drama. By Peter Morton an avid fan of the BBC series)

In 2006, A modern, ambitious young Detective Inspector (DI) named  Sam Tyler is investigating a major crime. While driving to a meeting, he has a serious car accident. While he lies on the road losing consciousness, the iPod in his car  is playing David Bowie’s iconic ‘Life on Mars’ song.  Hours late,  Sam wakes up in the road and he can still hear the song. He gets up and looks around but his car has gone and an unfamiliar car is there in it’s place, with an old 1970s style 8 track tape player in the car playing the song.

Sam is confused, puzzled and with a bad headache, he gets into the car and drives to his meeting. The destination and all round him have changed.

He is about to meet and become involved with interesting characters of a bygone era. Political Correctness does not exist and life is played out to different conventions to what he has known in his 21st centruy life.

When he arrives at his destination, he is met by a senior detective, who appears to be expecting Sam and welcomes him to be a member of his team investigating local serious crimes.

The senior detective is named Gene Hunt. For the early episodes, Sam  thinks Hunt is “an overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding” Anger management is unknown to Hunt too.

Hunt’s all male detective team have similar outlooks to him and will use physical means to coerce suspects etc.  Police women (one assists the team) are seen as only generally usefu, making tea and typing up reports etc.  Sam mentions his accident and he learns from a bemused Hunt, who thinks Sam has lost his memory reminds Sam this is 1973. Sam  is of course  quite shocked and puzzled. He goes along with all that is happening, while trying to rationlise what is happening to him.

Gene Hunt & the team think Sam is initially too soft and not hard enough to be a proper detective, let alone a policeman. They get confused and think he is mad  when he tries to explain to them  modern forensics, crime detection and political correctness unknown in that time.

Sam is frustrated by the antics, hard-drinking, sexist banter and lack of modern police methods.

As teh series developes Gene Hunt becomes iconic. The viewer and Sam come to see that Gene Hunt, despite his rough and ready exterior,has in fact, a  caring side, good old fashioned instinctive  detective ability and is a committed good guy as are his team.  Sam, Gene and team get to respect each other and become friends. Romance beckons with the police woman(no female detectives), member of the team too.

The viewer, like Sam himself,  has to workout if he is dead and has either gone to some sort of afterlife, or in a coma and dying with vivid dreams, or  somehow  he has gone back in time.

While his  day-to-day 1970s experience seem all to real to Sam, he also  experiences surreal auditory and  hallucinatory instances, some where  his name being called from a distant place., Is  medical intervention trying to revive him?

Things &  events happen in the background, which intrigue the viewer. One such, is a pub barman, who gives Sam profound pearls of wisdom about existence.

As the story progresses, Sam gets to enjoy and settle into his ‘new life’ as it is much simpler and less complicated than his fast paced and pressurised, goal orientated  21st century modern existence. Sam finds genuine friendship and camaraderie and feels he is doing good. He begins to prefer to stay in this new life.

Is Sam accepting death, or his place in a new time, somehow granted to him?

In the last episode, in hospital, Sam wakes up  from a coma in his real-time. He recovers from his accident and eventually returns to work.  He feels out-of-place and hates the modern complicated world he grew up in. He takes the ultimate decision and jumps off the roof of his tall HQ building, killing himself, to return his preferred existence.

Following the popularity of the first series, a second series was made.

It was called Ashes to Ashes (another Bowie song), with a new lead character.  This time it is an ambitious female detective named Alexandra Drake.  In the first epsiode Drake is shot in the head by a criminal. As Drake lies deeply unconscious, she experiences the same as Sam did in the first series. The same 1970s era, the characters of Gene Hunt and his team. This time with added issue of being a feisty modern senior female detective previously unknown now ‘alive’ in this  male dominated world!

This second series further hints at an idea of an afterlife or existence.

Gene Hunt and his team are gradually revealed to be possibly much more than the routine cops they portray. Are they, along with some other characters  ‘angels’ or ‘guides’?  In one episode, Hunt is talking to Drake and he mysteriously  alludes to another detective who passed through before her arrival.

The viewer can ponder the deeper meaning of this, which in my opinion was an excellent, original and creative piece of drama, with great actors and acting.


 

Life on Mars poster (Korean)

  • South Korean Drama Version
  • Date Released: June 2018
  • KDrama: 16 episodes

Cast:

  • Jung Kyung Ho as Han Tae-Jo
  • Park Sung Woong as Kang Dong Chul
  • Go Ah Sung as Yoon Na Young
  • Oh Dae Hwan as Lee Jong-gi
  • Noh Jung Hyun as Jo Nam-sik

I came late to this drama, not because I did not think much of it.

Au contraire, it was the opposite.  The presence of Jung Kyung Ho and Go Ah Sung would guarantee a drama to be of topmost excellence.  Added to the equation is that this is a BBC drama original.

You cannot go wrong!!!

Episode 1

Han Tae-Jo is on top of his crop as a forensic police investigator.  He is very punctilious with his work.  Even if the result is not what is popular, he fights for it.

This made him unpopular to many policemen, who tend to look after themselves with their cronyism.  Some police cut corners to get the result they wanted.

Han Tae-Jo fought this kind of anomalies, including with a rabid policeman who sent an innocent to jail for three years.

Anyway Han Tae Jo was a key witness to a prolific serial killer, who paints the victims nail with red nail varnish.

They got the culprit and it was almost a done deal that he was going to jail.  But Han Tae Jo testified that the forensic evidence was  contaminated.  There were no other evidence and therefore the killer was freed.

han Tae Jo testimony did not sit down well with the prosecutor, who happened to be his ex-girlfriend.

Han Tae Jo himself was very upset with the result. He got home and drank himself to sleep.  He was awakened the next morning with the news that the prosecutor had gone missing.  He noticed that he received several calls from her telling him that there was someone else behind the serial killer.

Han Tae Jo was visibly upset and and scared that the prosecutor has become another statistic to the serial killing.

They search everywhere and finally found the place where the killer was hiding.  Han Tae Jo himself gave chase to the killer.  He was about to get him when someone pointed a gun to Han Tae Jo’s head and fired.

He woke up and under the David Bowie’s Life on Mars song, Han Tae Jo staggered to his car only to get hit by another car.

He then again woke up in a strange location.

It was 1998.  The 1988 was about to take place in South Korea and as a precaution, there was an impromptu war drill.

Han Tae Jo, just stood in the middle of the road utterly confused with the goings on.  And then he spied the serial killer.  He run after him and the police run after Han Tae Jo.

The man Han Tae Jo was running after was not quite the serial killer.

They all ended up in the police station, where Han Tae Jo was roughed up by the police as he cannot show any ID and the fact that he told them that he works at the Metropolitan police, which did not exist in 1988.

In the end an envelop of documents drop out from his leather jacket which notified who he was and that he was the new detective inspector.

In the station, he met everyone of the team, including Kang Dong Chul (Gene Hung equivalent) who has not been visited by political correctness.

There was also a young policewoman, who was more a housekeeper, in charge or laundry and tea-making among other menial task.  The policewoman was Yoon na took him to his new house.

The room was almost bare except for an old television.  When he switched it on, he saw someone talking about him, his body in the present time being in a coma.

Han Tae Jo was rudely woken up the next morning by Kang Dong Chul.  He took him to the site of a murder.

A girl has been killed.  Han Tae Jo immediately notices that her nails had been painted red.

 

 

 

 

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