Category: Notable Events

Beyond the Deepening Shadow – 100th Anniversary of Armistice

Beyond the Deepening Shadow – 100th Anniversary of Armistice

Tomorrow will see the 100th anniversary of Armistice which ended the war in the land, air, and water during the First World War.

As a symbol of remembrance, some 10,000 candles were lit at dusk (5 p.m.) at the moat of the Tower of London in the last few days and will be culminating tomorrow at the actual day of the anniversary: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Peter and I went to see the candles at the tower yesterday.  It was packed by people who were uncomplaining in an orderly but extremely long queue.

In the end, it was all worth it, the vista of the flickering thousands of lights was evocative and atmospheric.  It was amazing and wonderful to behold.


Barangay Election – Philippines

5th Annual Convention, Barrio Lieutenant Association of the Philippines, Eligio Wamil, 5th from left second row. the woman is Armi Kuusela

Barangay Election – Philippines

I thought I should post this Wamil Family memorabilia to honour the current barangay election that is gripping the Philippines.

As per above photo, my father was a former barrio captain or barrio lieutenant.  The photo was taken with Armi Kuusela, who was of course the very first MISS UNIVERSE!

She had to give up the crown in the middle of her reign to marry a very rich Filipino, Virgilio Hilario, after a very whirlwind courtship.  I think the one sitting on her right is Armi’s husband.

Anyway, looking at the above photo, my father was fifth from the left, second row, standing up. Well just look for the most handsome man, that is my father!  LOL 🙂

My father was the barrio captain of a paradise-like village of Marag.

What is a barangay in terms of a barrio?

A barangay was formerly known as a barrio. And it is the smallest administrative unit or district in the Philippines.

These villages or barrios or barangays are headed by cabeza del barrio also known as kapitan del barrio, barrio captain, also called as barrio lieutenant, teniente del barrio or the more modern Punong Barangay/ Barangay chairperson.

Barangay came from the word balangay, which is coined from the boat used by Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) people to migrate to the Philippines.

I have to say that these Austonesian people look so much like the Igorots of Mountain Province.

Anyway, please remember to vote wisely.  Elect those who are able, capable, and not prone to corruption.

Afterall, you get the people you choose!



The Blind Beggar Pub

The Blind Beggar Pub


he Blind Beggar Pub Whitechapel London E1

The Blind Beggar Pub Whitechapel London E1

The Blind Beggar Pub is a famous East End Pub in Whitechapel, East London. Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer tp buy cheaper

Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer to buy cheaper alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and cut-price shops to drink at home. These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that  houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs each over 100 years old to such in the last few years.

These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that  houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs, each over 100 years old, to such in the last few years.

Numerous history and convivial social meeting places are now disappearing from the London landscape and culture.

The Blind Beggar was built in 1894 on the site of an Inn dating from 1654.

Notable events in its history include where William Booth preached his first open air  sermon then forming a Mission that led to the founding of The Salvation Army.

The first modern Brown Ale ( my first beer when a teenager) was brewed and sold in the pub which was then part of Manns brewery.

The pub’s name is linked to a popular legend concerning a local connection with a knight, who was the son of the famous Simon de Montfort , an Earl, who rebelled against King Henry III in the 13th century.

His son Henry de Montfort,  lived in a grand manor house in the area. One story  of the legend  is that de Montfort was wounded and blinded at the Battle of Evesham and was left wandering and with no memory.  He became  a beggar. He was found by a nobleman’s daughter, who married him. Their child, Besse, could not find a husband as her father had no status, as he was the blind beggar of Bethnal Green. At that time, a woman needed a sizeable dowry to be able to marry a suitable husband.  Marriage was a way of bringing wealth and prestige to a union of families.high-classNoblemen,

Noblemen, merchants, and  knights courted her but when they found out that there was no dowry they all left, except for a lone Knight, who was not concerned about a dowry and loved Besse as she was; as herself.

This union was blessed when Besse’s father revealed that far from being the poor beggar, he was a rich nobleman and so rewarded the Knight.  As Shakespeare would have said: “All’s well that ends well” 🙂

Now, what captured my imagination to the Blind Beggar many years ago, is my interest in major historical crime cases of London.

In March 1966, a murder took place in the Blind Beggar, which later became part of London crime legend.

Ronnie Kray, the twin brother of Reggie, the notorious, infamous and any other ..’ous’!  Kray Twins  walked into the pub and calmly took out a pistol and shot and killed another criminal, George Cornell, in front of a few witnesses.

The Kray Twins

The Kray Twins (Reggie & Ronnie (front)

Ronnie Kray had a long-standing score to settle with Cornell, who was apparently as ruthless as the Krays, but who was nowhere in their league.

Such was Krays power & influence in the 1960s London’s criminal underworld, many involved  kept quiet about the Twins activities for years before they were arrested and sentenced to 25-30 years in prison.

There have been many books about the Krays & by the Krays too, which are interesting to read, if one is interested in major crimes.

Two movies have been made about the Krays too.

They are truly legends in the criminal history of London.

It appears from current on-line reviews  that the Blind Beggar today is a shadow of its former standing as a popular east end pub.

I hope the pub remains as a pub for many years to come as London cannot keep affording to lose such culturally important pubs.

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

As astronomy is a hobby & keen interest of mine, I eagerly awaited the lunar eclipse. This lunar eclipse had more publicity due to the fact that it coincided with the appearance of the so-called Supermoon.

Lunar Eclipse

Astronomers don’t really prefer to call it a supermoon.


The term would be perigee new moon or perigee full moon.

When the moon change in its orbit and is closest to earth, this is called a perigee (within 98 per cent closest to the earth).

When it is a full moon and it is 98 per cent of its closest orbit (perigee) to the earth this is commonly called a supermoon. There can be 4-6 supermoons in a year.

There won’t be a perigee full moon in 2017 because the full moon and perigee won’t realign again (after November 14, 2016) until January 2, 2018. The next supermoon lunar eclipse will be in 2033.

As I have just retired from my work career,  I could fortunately stay up Sunday evening to the early hours of Monday morning. 🙂 I had my trusty camera ready and waited in the garden. weather conditions were ideal, as not too cold after midnight with some wisps of white cloud that conveniently disappeared; so a clear dark sky for the show to begin!

Around 2am, the top left of the moon was starting to be covered by earth’s shadow as it crept across the moon’s surface.

Lunar Eclipse begins - Photo by PH Morton

Lunar Eclipse begins – Photo by PH Morton


Totality and complete earth cover happened at around 3 am.

Total Lunar Eclipse (Totality) - Photo by PH Morton

Total Lunar Eclipse (Totality) – Photo by PH Morton


A lunar eclipse totality lasts much longer than the spectacular  solar eclipse that is over in a few minutes. I watched the eclipse for 3 hours. The moon’s surface facing the earth becomes an amazing  coppery colour. Some cultures call it a ‘Blood Moon’ because of the reddish hue and regard it as a bad omen.

Of course the colour is caused by the sunlight being scattered through the earth’s thick atmosphere so the moon is never blacked out like the sun becomes briefly  in a solar eclipse at totality. The moon does not have an atmosphere anywhere as thick as the earths to scatter any light.

At sea level on Earth, we breathe in an atmosphere where each cubic centimetre contains 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules; by comparison the lunar atmosphere has less than 1,000,000 molecules in the same volume.

It’s faint trace of atmosphere contains molecules including helium, argon, and possibly neon, ammonia, methane and carbon dioxide. There is no oxygen as abundant on earth.

I managed to get some reasonable photographs as  the eclipse was finishing  around 5am.

Lunar Eclipse ending - Photo by PH Morton

Lunar Eclipse ending – Photo by PH Morton

During my eclipse vigil in our back garden into the small wee hours as we say, a curious urban fox came close to me to see what I was up to then wandered off!

I could hear an owl hooting in the distance and field mice moving in our Blackberry bush/tree. The garden is indeed a fascinating place at night 🙂

Month: February – Love Month

Sweet February Twenty Nine! –
This our grace-year, as I live!
Quick, now! this foolish heart of mine:
Seize thy prerogative!
– Walter de la Mare


Time is passing fast and furious.

I  can still vividly remember buying presents, cooking the turkey and then putting away the Christmas decorations  as if was just yesterday, and yet here we are, February already

Where has the time gone?!!!

Well anyway February is known for being the lurve month, because of St Valentine’s Day which of course falls due on the 14th of this month.

amethystDid you know?

The gemstone connected with February is the Amethyst which is a symbol of wit and health.

The month’s colour is ‘Dark Blue’

Flower: Violet








1 February 1884, the very first edition of the Oxford English dictionary was published.

9 February 1962, Jamaica became independent!

10 February 1884, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert tied the knot.

11 February 1929, Vatican City was created as a standalone independent state.

13 February 1888, the first issue of the Financial Times came out.

14 February 1929, this day became known as the infamous St Valentine’s Day Massacre, which happened in Chicago.

16 February 1937,  we’ve got nylon!  It was this day that it was patented.

18 February 1979, it snowed at the Sahara Desert.

22 February 1997, ‘Dolly’ the sheep was cloned.


Month: May

This is one of my favourite BeeGees’s songs. I think it is a very appropriate anthem for the month of May. It is so nostalgic with a tinge of sadness. It makes me think of a childhood full of innocence and promise.

By the by did I tell you that I prefer the BeeGees to the Beatles? Oh well, I am afraid I do. I may be a minority, I don’t know, but there it is.

Month: May

This fifth month of the year is dedicated to the Roman goddess of spring and fertility, Maia, who was the mother of Mercury.

May is a beautiful month. Spring is not only in the air, spring is everywhere. There is a feel of rebirth; Renaissance.

May is also the birth month of the two most important women in my life: my dear mama and of course my sister who happens to be my very best friend.

Being a permanent resident and also a working woman here in the uk, May is a favourite month of the year.  It has two Bank Holidays, the first and the last Mondays of May.

The 6th of May (2013) bank holiday is promised to be a hot day, just ideal for a picnic in the park.

Deep Lilac

May Trivia:
The colour for May is Lilac.



The flower for May is my favourite scented Lily of the Valley


The birth stone for May is emerald, love stone and my favourite cut also




Notable dates in the month of MAY:

1 May 1840, the Penny Black, the first adhesive postage stamp was issued in Britain in 1840.

2 May 1519, strange but true – the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci died a pauper on this day.

3 May 1979, the UK had its first woman Prime Minister.  Margaret Thatcher is so far the only woman to have held this position.

16 May 1929, the first Oscar (Academy Award) was presented.

18 May 1922, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) was founded.

19 May 1536, Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife) was executed at the Tower of London.

29 May 1962, Final trip of the Orient Express.


Month: April

images (1) April is the month that things seem to start to come alive, to open.  Trees start to To celebrate the month of April, let’s listen and chill to Simon & Garfunkel’s April Come She Will. I did try to look for a song, which is truly about the month of April. I found one in youtube by Deep Purple. But the song which is mostly guitar and loud rather got on my nerves. LOL. I should not confess that because it shows I have turned into my parents. Hehehe

Month: April

Anyway enjoy the melodic sound of Simon and Garfunkel…..

April Come She Will

images (2)

April is named after the Roman goddess of love, Aprilis.

Notable Events in April

1 April 1909, the first double decker bus started operating in Widnes

2 April 2005, St Pope John Paul II died in Vatican

3 April 1721, Robert Walpole became the very first prime minister of Great Britain.

4 April 1580, Sir Francis Drake completed circumnavigating the world.

8 April, traditional birthday of the Buddha.

8 April 1513, Spanish discovered and named Florida.

19 April 1951, the first Miss World contest was inaugurated and held in London

Month: It’s March


I was looking for something that would welcome the month of March but I can’t find any song that pertains to this month. Please let us know if you can think of something.

The next best thing that I can find was a marching song. ;). Yeah! And then decisions, decisions. Which particular march song would be the most appropriate and then I found this song which was in one of our favourite tv shows of yesteryear, Sean Bean’s Sharp. My husband and I used to love the songs incorporated into the series and this one was, I think, the best.

Anyway let this song be our anthem to march us into spring. Yep spring!!! Let’s go marching….

Month: It’s March


Notable Events in March

1 March 1555, Nostradamus published his books of prophesies.

4 March 1950, Cinderalla was released by Walt Disney in cinemas.

6 March 1899, Felixz Hoffmann, a chemist, patented ‘Aspirin’

7 March 1969, Victoria Line tube was opened in London

11 March 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published.

12 March 1913, Canberra became capital of Australia.

15 March 44BC Julius Caesar was murdered.

26 March 1953, the vaccine for polio was successfully tested.

31 March 1889, the Eiffel Tower was officially opened.


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