Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts 
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
Art Kate Green

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Jeannie Mole

The plaque at the News from Nowhere bookstore in Bold Street to socialist, trade union organiser and feminist Jeannie Mole. She actually lived at 46 Bold St, which until a couple of months ago was occupied by Panchos Burrito. Following text from Wikipedia.......
Harriet Fisher Jones was born on 2 May 1841 in Warrington to her father, Evan Jones, a tinsmith, and his wife, Harriet Jones. As she and her mother shared the same name, she became better known as Jeannie. In 1860, she married a fruit merchant, Robert Willis, and the couple travelled to New York City, where she took an interest in the black rights movement. On her return to England, she and her husband settled in London and had a son, Robert Frederick Evan Willis, better known as Fred. Willis spent some time helping the poor in the slums of London. She was heavily influenced by the works of Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin, setting her on the path of socialism.
In the late 1870s, Willis divorced her husband and remarried. Her new husband was another fruit merchant, William Keartland Mole, who was also the son of a wealthy Liverpool jeweller. William was 22 at the time, and the marriage was witnessed by Mole's son, as well as her brother. The family moved to Liverpool, living on Bold Street. It was there that she began her lifelong ambition to improve the lives of those in poverty within Liverpool.
Finding just six socialists in Liverpool, Mole started propaganda meetings in her home with the support of her husband and son. These meetings lead to the formation in 1886 of the Worker's Brotherhood the first socialist society in Liverpool. The Brotherhood, despite never achieving great numbers, went on to help form the Liverpool branch of the Fabian Society in 1892. Mole became vice-president of the Liverpool Fabian Society in 1895. She also focused on more practical solutions for social issues, for example, funding a "socialist food van" at a cost of £55 6s 5d and campaigning for a "people's hall" in Liverpool for the working class.
Mole was an early follower of dress reform, a feminist movement against the cumbersome garments of the Victorian era, and would regularly wear an outfit reminiscent of Greek robes. She gave the pattern to Caroline Martyn and Julia Dawson, who wore similar outfits.
In 1888, Mole and the Workers' Brotherhood started to campaign to unionise the female workers in Liverpool into female-only unions. They started working with the Women's Protective and Provident League (WPPL), calling for the founding of a local branch, and in January 1889, the group set up the Liverpool Workwomen's Society, representing bookfolders, tailors, and cigar makers, with Mole acting as secretary. Women were over-represented in these poorly paid trades, with four women for every man working in them. The society relaunched the following year as "Liverpool Society for the Promotion of Women's Trade Unions", expanding its membership to other trades in reaction to Liverpool City Council's inaction over sweating systems in the area.Mole helped set up specific unions, such as one for (primarily Chinese) laundresses and washerwomen. Around the same time, the House of Lords launched a select committee on sweating systems, with the ensuing publicity encouraging the group to take further action.
In 1894, Clementina Black set up the Women's Industrial Council ; soon after, Mole helped found a Liverpool branch in which she was the secretary. The council helped form unions for upholsteressess and marine-sorters, as well as worked with the other groups set up by the Workwomen's society. In her role, Mole also stepped up inquiries into working conditions for women; for example, when an industrial accident killed a woman at the Old Swan Rope Works in Liverpool, Mole attended the case as secretary of the 'society for inquiring into the conditions of working women' She ensured that a factory inspector attended, that the jury made recommendations to prevent future accidents, and that compensation was paid to the woman's next of kin.
In 1895, Mole leveraged her position in the Liverpool Women's Industrial Council (LWIC) to encourage a strike amongst Liverpool's women ropemakers to stop fines on top of loss of wages for petty misdemeanors such as turning up late.Despite the successful outcome of the strike, the section of the LWIC led by Eleanor Rathbone wanted to focus on "social investigation" and disapproved of the action, leading Mole to disassociate herself from the group. Mole also created and edited the "Women's Page" of the Liverpool Labour Chronicle newspaper.
Mole suffered a heart attack in 1896, likely due to excessive work and the ensuing illness lead to her taking a step back from organisational work the following year. Her son, Fred, died in 1905. On 15 April 1912, whilst on holiday in Paris, Mole died.

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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Happy St. Patrick’s day

Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone or as it is said in Gaelic “Lá fhéile pádraig sona dhaoibh”. Now in the spirit of things haunted and spooky and in celebration of all things Irish on this day lets look at one of Ireland’s most famous and probably most famous legends the Banshee. The Banshee or Bean Sidhe as its said in Gaelic is probably the most notable Irish spirit that is associated with death, and the legends of the Banshee goes back for centuries and it can be documented back as early as the 8th century. She is more often than not confused as being a ghost but in fact she is a fairy or one of the sidhe (shee) which is Gaelic for fairy, and her cries or wails do not cause death instead it warns and signals when a death is or is about to occur.
The Banshee have been described as a young woman with long red hair and very pale skin with red eyes caused by her cries to descriptions of her being an old woman with gray stringy hair also with fire red eyes. She is also said to appear as a woman who died in childbirth and she is also said to be seen to be wearing the clothes of the person who is about to die. She is also said to be seen as a washer woman cleaning blood soaked clothes on the shores of rivers. It is said that when a Banshee becomes aware of a humans presence she often will disappear into a mist which is than accompanied by the sound of flapping wings. Another notable feature of the Banshee is she is often seen seen with a silver comb which she uses to groom her hair and if you happened to find one on the ground you best leave it where it lies for if you were to take it….well lets just say the consequences would be tragic.
The most notable feature of the Banshee is her cry or caoine which translates into keening and this is a common practice in Celtic cultures were laments and songs would be sung during and after funerals. There are several variations of what the Banshee sounds like some say its like a soft song while others say its more like a wail or scream and some even say it shrieks like an owl. Traditionally her keening was heard before the death of one of Ireland’s major families or clans. And it is believed that these families had their own Banshee and that when these families migrated the Banshee followed them and continued to fore warn of death. The Banshee has been seen and heard by many people in Ireland and Scotland alike it is said that in 1437 King James I was approached by an Irish seer who fore told of his upcoming death and it was believed the seer was a banshee. The Banshee have even been reported in countries like the United States in places like North Carolina and in South Dakota as Irish people have migrated to other countries. So my friends may the “Luck of the Irish” be with you today and beware any screams in the night feel free to share this article and dont forget to click like and subscribe, and remember to stay spooky and let them know why they fear the dark.

Friday, 16 March 2018


SANREMO, ITALY Edward Lear's Grave

There once was a man named Lear / Who found limericks so dear / His final resting space / Is an unusual place / Most people don’t know he’s here. 

Renowned as the author who wrote “A Book of the Nonsense” and who popularized limericks as a form of poetry, Edward Lear’s final resting place is fittingly unusual. Hidden away in the relatively nondescript Foce Cemetery near the Italian Rivera city of Sanremo, the English artist’s overgrown grave and its neighbor ensure his appealing oddness transcends even death.

Though noted for his whimsical poems (the most famous of which is probably “The Owl and the Pussycat”), illustrations, and paintings, Lear was also an extensive traveler. Having developed a fondness for Italy, he settled in Sanremo in the 1870s and saw out his final years there in a house he named “Villa Tennyson” (after his friend Emily Tennyson, the wife of the poet Alfred Tennyson).
Afflicted by life-long health problems and unmarried (he proposed twice to a woman 46 years younger than him and was rejected both times), Lear’s dotage is colored with a certain melancholy. To combat the loneliness and depression (which he called “the Morbids”) that dogged him, the Englishman relied on the companionship of his cat, Foss, and his Albanian Suliot chef, Giorgio Cocali, who he described as a faithful friend but “a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef.”
The bodies of Giorgio and his eldest son, Nicola, are buried in the grave that stands next to Lear’s. Lear died in 1888, and his funeral is said to have been a sad and lonely affair, with none of his long-distance old friends able to attend. Foss’ funeral two years earlier in the garden of Villa Tennyson, in contrast, was allegedly one of greater ceremony.
Untended and unkempt, the graves themselves are appropriately wild. Lear’s headstone proclaims the artist to be “a landscape painter in many lands” and “dear for his many gifts to many souls”. Lines about the Albanian Mount Tomohrit from the Alfred Tennyson poem ‘To E.L. (Edward Lear), on His Travels in Greece” are also inscribed as a further tribute.
Thankfully, perhaps, the headstone doesn’t bear either of the long names that the idiosyncratic author would use to introduce himself—like “Mr. Abebika Kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto Phashyph” or “Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps.”
Know Before You Go
Staff may not be aware of the graves' locations so visitors may have to do some searching to find Lear and Cocali.
The cemetery is about a 30-minute walk from the center of Sanremo. It can be reached by following Corso Matuzia by foot or on the bus (there is a bus stop just around the corner). Alternatively, visitors approaching along the beach promenade route can get to the Cemetery by turning right at Villa Matutiae and heading up the walkway to Via San Rocco.

Intriguing stories served fresh daily Tell Us About Your Most Unusual Cookbook

Do you have an offbeat cookbook in your collection? Gastro Obscura wants to see it.

We hope that it's not a real hippo cookbook.
We hope that it’s not a real hippo cookbook. GEZELLIG-GIRL/CC BY-ND 2.0

HUMANS HAVE BEEN COOKING BY the book—or clay tablet—since about 1700 B.C. Modern cookbooks, meanwhile, come in endless varieties and serve a number of purposes. They can be gateways to new cuisines. They can be comforting collections of reference material. (Just look at The Joy of Cooking, which has eight editions and has been in print for 87 years.) Or they can be downright bizarre.
There’s no shortage of unusual cookbooks. Nostradamus, famous for his prophecies, published a cookbook of love potions and jam recipes. Hundreds of years later, Salvador Dali wrote a cookbook filled with vibrant illustrations and Surrealist musings. He also included recipes for tequila artichokes and crawfish with “Viking” herbs (that is, dill). What’s on your bookshelf?
Perhaps you own a slightly-menacing promotional cookbook for bananas from the 1970s. Or the Boy George cookbook, filled with macrobiotic recipes. Some wildly popular books and TV shows have tie-in cookbooks: Game of Scones, anyone? Or maybe you own a cookbook filled with recipes passed on by ghost cooks.
If you have an unusual cookbook, Gastro Obscura wants to see it! Send a picture, description, and the story of how you received your unusual cookbook to anne.ewbank@atlasobscura.comwith the subject line “Unusual Cookbook,” by Friday March 16 at 5 p.m. If you’ve made something from your cookbook, we’d love to hear about that too. We’ll publish our favorite reader stories in an upcoming article, so please include your full name and where you live in the email.
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