What Andy Murray did next…

Hello and hi. If you read my blog (and I hope you do-I mean, let’s face it-you are reading it right now) then you know that I am not that keen on Andy Murray. No. No, I am not. I have previously blogged on him-but I did so, under great stress and strain, as I really don’t like the guy. Sorry (not sorry) if you are reading this, Andy Murray. Lunch tomorrow-the usual place? Haaa.

Anyway, Murray is a pretty fantastic tennis player. He sure is-I mean, how could I possibly not like The World Number 1? I mean…what gives? Allow me to explain. Please and thanks. First of all, he seems a bit down in the mouth pretty much all the time. I mean, we all get bad days-but this guy seems to have a bad day on the daily. However, on his wedding day, to his long time girlfriend, Kim Sears-our Andy was all smiles. Thank goodness.

 

So, our Andy seems to have a sour disposition more often than not and I simply have no time for someone who is ‘down in the mouth’ pretty much on the daily. No. No, I do not. There are other things I don’t like about Andy Murray, but I simply don’t have the time or the mental proclivity to list them all. Nope.

What Andy Murray did next…

Andy Murray, The World Number 1, is to donate his prize money from Aegon’s Championships (this week) to the victims of the Grenfell Tower* fire. Murray will play his first match today/Tuesday against Aljaz Bedene. Murray, if he wins (and he probably will, seeing that he has won this particular title 5 times) would earn £347K, should he successfully defend his title.

Wow, massive respect to Murray-what an amazingly kind and generous offer.  In fact, Murray has always been a pretty generous supporter of charities throughout his career and has subsequently donated to a number of charitable causes, but he has never sought publicity for this charitable donations. Amazing. Yay for him. Woot Woot.

Andy Murray charitable donations (not a complete list)

In fact, our Murray gave his £73K winner’s cheque to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity-after his friend, Ross Hutchins, was treated in the aforementioned hospital, following his diagnosis with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Then 12 months later, Murray raised more than £50K in memory of the former British Number 1, Elena Baltacha, who sadly died of liver cancer at the age of 30.  In 2015, our Murray helped raise £83K for Unicef and their work involving those fleeing Syria.

Wow. Just, wow. I salute you, Andy Murray-how great you are! I am actually liking you now. You seem OK in my book. Yes. Yes, you do. But mate…please smile more. When you smile…I smile. Yup.

 

Cheers

*Last week’s fire at Grenfell Tower-a London tower block (high rise apartment) was pretty brutal and devastating in equal measure. It is now believed to have claimed 79 lives. Of course, a lot more people tragically died in that fire, in West London-some are still yet to be identified and some never will be. How incredibly sad.

 

 

 

 

Bibia Be Ye Ye (All Will Be Well)

Hello and hi. Bibia Be Ye Ye is pretty much an amazing song by our very own Ed Sheeran. I have previously blogged on Ed. Yes. Yes, I have.  Bibia Be Ye Ye translates into: All will be well.  In this song, our Ed actually sings in Twi, which is a collection of dialects of the Akan language, spoken in Ghana. You are welcome. And now for the video. Hope you like this song as much as I do. Enjoy.

Cheers

A Fish Story…(this is actually a TRUE story)

 

 

Hello and hi. I have a fish story/anecdote for you-not my usual post…not about the UK, BREXIT, British politics, Prince Harry etc.-but thought it was interesting. I sure did. Anyway, as you probably know…when someone says ‘fish story’ it means that it is an exaggerated or incredible story. It is hard to believe. It is pretty incredulous. I think you get the point. That being said, I have a fish story…but here’s the thing-it is TRUE. It is not a fish story per se, but rather about an actual fish. Yes. Yes it is. So, this happened….

Recently in Brazil (where Tilapia has long been a staple fish, in terms of Brazilian diets) Tilapia has been assisting burn victims. Please read that again. How crazy is that? Pretty crazy, if you ask me. Yup.

Researchers at the Federal University of Ceara are confident (presumably through research-they are researchers after all) that the skin of freshwater fish can actually be developed and used as a sort of bandage for second and third degree burns. How interesting. How gross. I mean, how gross is fish skin? I mean….I eat fish pretty much every day-and let me tell you…it is horrible to touch and super slimy. I got no time for fish skin and I certainly do not want it on my second or third degree burn. I would prefer a bandage-thanks, that would be great.

Anyway, the researchers have deduced (via research) that there are certain proteins in the fish skin and that its moisture-retaining properties, disease resistance and flexibility are quite similar to human skin-as reported in The Times. Oh my Lakshmi. I mean, there are so many other things to be researching…but fish skin? But really now, it is pretty great that burn victims now have a viable option towards their healing. So, yay for that.

 

 

The aforementioned research involved 60 volunteers with burns-they had their burns dressed with Tilapia fish skin and their burns healed pretty quickly and the volunteers actually needed/requested fewer painkillers. When you have a serious burn-gauze dressings need to be changed every 24 hours-this is not only incredibly painful but there is a risk of impeding the healing process with the constant changing of the gauze-but with a sterile skin covering (like Tilapia fish skin) it can actually be left on the burn patient for a period of 10 days and then be peeled away with little or no pain.

Apparently, the Tilapia skins are cleaned and subsequently disinfected using radiation and then cut into strips. The strips are then laminated and can be stored in a fridge for up to 2 years. Erm…I think I will take the gauze. I can’t exactly go to work with Tilapia fish skin on my arm. Nope. And another thing-I recently found out about Tilapia. Basically…I will NEVER eat Tilapia again. Ever. (Thanks Dad, for that nugget of info re Tilapia-it was pretty life changing. )

In closing, just wanted to share a fish story that was actually true. Truth. That is all.

 

 

 

Cheers

 

Jo Cox MP Memorial Events

Today marks the first anniversary of the tragic death of Jo Cox MP. Cox was fatally stabbed and shot, on 16 June 2016. You can read about events being held today in the UK, intended to honour and remember her in equal measure.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-40293045

Life in London

Today Jo Cox would have been 42 years old. Here in the UK and around the world, people are celebrating her life, by taking part in various memorial events designed to celebrate the life of MP Jo Cox. The Labour MP and mother of two, was shot and stabbed in Birstall, West Yorkshire last Thursday, 16 June. Organisers said the events were intended to “show the world we have more in common than which divides us.”

Her family travelled along the river ahead of an event, in a memorial boat to Trafalgar Square. The memorial boat, covered in roses and bearing the name ‘Yorkshire Rose’ was pulled along by a barge carrying her husband- Brendan Cox and their two little ones, Lejla only 3, and Cuillin, just 5 years old. The family started the journey from the London houseboat where Jo had lived with her family. Tributes will also be…

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The Perfect Summer Song (UK)

Hello and hi. It has been pretty warm in the UK lately. I mean, yesterday there was no rain, warm sunshine and exactly 3 clouds in London Town. Make sure you read that sentence again. Please and thanks. That being said, summer is the perfect time to kick back, drink cucumber water and play some music. Yes. Yes, I drink cucumber water. Thanks for not judging me. Anyway, I think Kids is the perfect summer song. I sure do.

This song is approximately 6 years old-but it is so good. Plus-who does not LOVE Robbie Williams? Everyone loves Robbie Williams (and Raymond too-Haa). I met Robbie Williams briefly last summer and I nearly lost the ability to speak. And if you know me…at all…you know I am a talker. Yes. Yes, I am. Anyway, here is the video/song-hope you like it as much as I do.

Oh and as for the recent shambolic and deplorable election results here in the UK and aftermath-I got plenty to say on that. Yup. So, watch this space. Please and thanks. And now for the video…

 

Cheers

 

UK General Election 101

Image result for image of the UK

Hello and hi. So, today is the BIG day here in the UK. Yes. Yes, it is. Maybe you are not familiar with the UK voting process, the various political parties, the wider implications for Britain and the world-in terms of, who wins the general election, et al. Luckily, I am here to help you. As always, you are welcome. Ok, let’s do this. Right, then. First, the basics…

UK General Election 2017 (recap)

So, basically-our current Prime Minister, Theresa May was not always our Prime Minister. In fact, she previously had a pretty important job, as Home Secretary and in her role she seemed competent and respected in equal measure. Please know that the aforementioned statement is a massive generalisation. Loads of people did not like her in the slightest.

Image result for image of the UK

Anyway, our Theresa was Home Secretary and David Cameron was Prime Minister. Both of course, belonged to the Conservative Party (or the ‘nasty party’ as they are sometimes referred to). Anyway, David Cameron during his tenure as PM had this lightbulb moment/dumb idea that the country should vote in a referendum regarding whether or not the UK should LEAVE or REMAIN in the EU. Enter: BREXIT.

Image result for image of brexit meme

I mean, no one was that bothered about it-sure, people were not that impressed with Brussels-nerve centre for the EU (or Brussel Sprouts for that matter) and people just wanted to get on with their daily lives, watch channel BBC news, watch EastEnders and drink tea as well as a pint of ale, three times weekly. That is what the people wanted. The people could not give a monkey’s about the bleedin’ referendum (to be said in a Yorkshire accent). Ok, please know I am painting this picture with broad strokes here-of course people cared about the referendum but guess what-a lot didn’t. And they either did not vote or tried to vote strategically-which of course backfired for them. Some people even wanted a 2nd referendum! What the what? No. Just, no.

So, the referendum happened and the UK voted to LEAVE the EU. The people had voted-but many did not understand fully what they were voting for and some didn’t vote at all. Then 3 minutes after the referendum results came out, David Cameron our PM resigned. Yup. You see, our Dave was in the REMAIN camp and he could not exactly be true to himself while leading the country towards BREXITING (when he thought and believed the opposite).

Then there was a vacancy. Enter Theresa May-who was Home Secretary at the time. And get this…she was NOT even elected by the people. Nope. Ain’t democracy grand? But here’s the thing, Theresa was in the REMAIN camp as well-but being PM was such a good offer, she could not turn it down. No, no she could not.

 

 

 

So Theresa became PM and had the dauntless task of BREXIT-ing. Poor lass. Then there were reports that there were Chinese rumors within her own Party-the Conservative Party/the ‘nasty’ party and Theresa desperately needed the support of the people (the people who did not vote for her). You see, she needed a proper mandate to lead-she needed a solid base of power, she needed to be elected by the people in order to lead of us out of the EU-in order to BREXIT. Enter the UK general election. Then our Theresa out of nowhere called a snap general election-but she said 11 times that she would not. But she did. Guess what? Politicians lie. Yes. Yes they do.

UK General Election Summary

Today, 8 June 2017 the UK election is taking place. Voting will take place from 7am to 10pm. 46.9 million people are registered to vote. It will be interesting to see how many people actually get out and cast their ballot. First results are expected from 23:00. In brief, the general election will decide which party (or maybe which coalition of parties-oh please, God, no…just, no) forms the next UK government. There are 650 seats in the UK Parliament’s House of Commons up for grabs.

Parties

Conservative, Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party, UKIP, Green, Alliance Party.

Bet you did not know all of that! But if you want to know more about the aforementioned parties and a manifesto guide in terms of where they stand, you can do that here. You are welcome!

 

But really now, this election boils down to a contest between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. And that, to many people, is not much of a choice. I mean, I am making massive generalisations here…so, thanks for understanding and any nasty comments will be reported to the Queen. Totally joking. I have never met the Queen…but I have met Prince Philip. Allegedly.

So, in conclusion…that is all she wrote. Watch this space for election results. Yup.

Cheers

 

 

                                                                                                                                     

 

Meet Sadiq Khan

Life in London

Salutations. By now you have probably heard that the new mayor of London Town is Sadiq Khan. This means that he will be in charge of the UK’s capital city for the next FOUR years. Oh vey. See how multicultural I am? I just mentioned a Muslim mayor and commented using a Yiddish expression indicating grief or dismay. Don’t get me wrong, am sure Khan will do a great job, but London will miss Borris Johnson-our former mayor. Sure, he was a buffoon but he was a wonderful wordsmith,  and seemed to understand the challenges that faced (and continue to face #BoroughMarket) the greatest city on earth (after Washington DC).

That being said, here is a brief bio on Sadiq Khan. Oh, they keep banging on how he is the FIRST Muslim Mayor of Europe. Great. I am the FIRST American person to live on this street but you don’t see me mentioning it…

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#LondonBridge #LondonTown

Hello and hi. I have no words today. Instead, I will post some images.

Keep Calm and Cary On illustration by Lesco Griffe

JK Rowling tweet says the UK is not 'reeling' - Don't confuse grief with lack of courage she says.

'This is what 'reeling' means in British English' tweet says showing photo of woman drinking cup of tea after Blitz bombing

Photo of tube sign posted by Tony Parsons says 'London Bridge will never fall down'

                                                                                                                Images: BBC website

If you are reading this, keep your loved ones close. Be safe. That is all.

Cheers

Getting Girona Gold

 

Hello and hi. Not my usual post. I hope you like it. Yes. Yes, I do. Ok, let’s do this. Right, then…

Approximately 50 years ago, Belgian Robert Sténuit discovered pieces of eight (a Spanish dollar, equivalent to 8 reals) in the freezing, dark, seabed- off the coast of Northern Ireland. Oh you are not familiar with this story? Allow me. You are welcome, of course.

In 1588, the Girona-one of the most important ships in the Spanish Armada, sank beneath the freezing iciness of the Atlantic waves, after striking rocks at Lacada Point near Portballintrae, County Antrim. Later, this place was to become the resting place of the Girona along with its haul of gold and various artefacts.  In brief, there was a massive cache of Spanish treasure on board. In addition, all but nine of the 1,300 on board met their fate, in an unmarked, watery grave. How terribly tragic.

Fast forward and it is the anniversary of Sténuit’s discovery of the Girona gold, and the anniversary has now been commemorated in a series of events of Northern Ireland’s north coast.

Events included a wreath-laying ceremony, which took place from a Navy vessel, near Lacada Point (the rocky place that is believed to have been struck by the Girona.

Image result for Image of Lacada Point Northern Ireland                                                                                                                       Image: The Daily Mirror

In addition, a service was held at St Cuthbert Church near Dunluce Castle, where an estimated 260 Girona sailors were buried. The aforementioned events were organised by the Causeway Coast and Glens Council-which commemorated the lives lost as well as the cultural/historical impact of the Armada and its subsequent legacy.

In addition, the anniversary reflects both the gold and artefacts recovered by Stenuit-but also the anecdotes which denote those poor sailors who were sadly swallowed by the sea, while on board the Girona. The Girona set sail in May 1588 and it was a galleass ship (it was part gallery, part galleon) and was meant to be one of Spain’s principle weapons in the war against England.  But by the time the Girona sank by 1588-the ship carried more men than it was intended to and also, it had picked up surviving crew from other shipwrecks. The nine survivors of the shipwreck were later helped by local chief Sorley Boy McDonnell.

McDonnell was extremely wary of attracting unwanted attention from Crown forces, who no doubt would take interest in the Girona and its treasure. So McDonnell did the only thing a person could do in this situation. Lie. McDonnel told the Crown forces that the ship had sunk at another point on the coast-and not the real location. From that moment on, the Girona and its secrets lay in the silent deep and under water for 400 years. 400 years later a certain and determined Belgian by the name of Robert Sténuit, commenced a covert mission to uncover the lost Armada ship.

 

 

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Robert Stenuit, 2008

                                                                                                                              Image: BBC News

 

Robert Sténuit, brief bio

Sténuit was considered, a vanguard-the guy was a trailblazer. He sure was. In addition, Sténuit  was also a historian and he had a hunch-some might call it a historical hunch or rather a gut feeling, as to where the Girona had sunk. You see, whike looking at 19th century maps, he noticed 2 markings, which were: Spaniard rock and Port na Spaniagh. He followed through on these points and his hunches turned into reality.

Sténuit told a 2008 documentary, “the geographers came and asked people how is this place named and why. There was a very vivid memory of what had happened.” Later, in 1967, Sténuit commenced his search/dive and was accompanied by his associates, Mark Jasinski, and his wife, Annette. Within a week diving around Port na Spaniage, they had located a bronze Armada cannon, an anchor and a gold escudo. At that moment, they knew they had found the right place. Jackpot. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.  But the crew maintained a pretty strict silence on their discovery-as they had no legal powers over the wreckage site, they knew, that they could potentially lose out. So, they kept quiet about their discovery-and later stashed their finds in an underwater cave and later, went to London Town to get financial backing for a more comprehensive search/dive of the seabed.

Sténhuit and his crew, returned in April 1968-and registered an interest with the receiver of wrecks-Sténuit was pretty confident that he had legal power of the site, at this point, but still, kept quiet.  Later, as told to a documentary on this subject, he said, “We told people we were filming the underwater eco-system around the Giants Causeway,”

But the crew’s decision to salvage a full cannon, actually let the Armada secret out of the bag. Sténuit remarked, “Everyone could see what we were doing. There was pandemonium, there was big posters in the street…The evening newspapers printed ‘GOLD’ like this across the front page, and everyone was there during the weekend. We were overwhelmed by tourists.” Soon after, Sténhuit’s crew were joined a couple of divers from the Belfast Sub-Aqua Club. The Belgian told the documentary: “I asked them if they were going to the site of the Girona, and none of them answered anything…I went to the skipper of an open boat who was there to take them somewhere and asked the same questions and he said ‘no, we’re going the other way, we’re going west’…then the boat went out of the harbour and went straight east to the Girona.”

Sténhuit described in the documentary, they were “not coming in an inquisitive mind but an acquisitive mind” though Alan Wilson, from the club, said they simply thought they were “diving on a wreck”. “We thought there was a big boat there,” he told the documentary, with a laugh.

In the finish, as expected, headlines were made-but for vastly different reasons after Sténhuit confronted a diver underwater in order to prevent him lifting a piece of lead from the wreck. He remarked at the time, “It made me angry, yes,” he said. “We were trying to reconstruct a puzzle and if you are missing a piece of the puzzle you cannot reconstruct it.”

By 1969, Sténhuit and his crew felt that they had pretty much exhausted their dive efforts – but this was just the beginning of the story of who owned the Girona gold.

What Spain said…

Spain later claimed that the cache from the wreck belonged to them-of course they did. But others argued that the find should remain in Northern Ireland. In the finish, a court decided that no single owner could be found-this meant that the artefacts would subsequently be sold. They were later valued at £132K and  Sténhuit agreed to a deal, for it to stay in Northern Ireland and in the Ulster Museum, where the Girona gold remains an integral part of the museum’s exhibitions.

An artefact recovered by Robert Sténuit and his crew from the Girona

An artefact recovered from the Girona

 

Robert Sténuit and crew members survey their findings from the Girona dive

Findings from the Ginora

 

                                                                                                                             Image: Mark Jesinski

NB  Sténhuit and his associate, Jesinski later returned to Portballintrae to film the 2008 documentary, and said that while the endeavour was financially worthwhile, it was also the most fulfilling of their lives. Indeed it was. The Belgian said, “I don’t like the word profit, in that context…because it’s not what we had in mind. Our time was compensated, and handsomely, in two ways. Because we had some of the best years of our lives and a little money to put butter in the spinach, as we say in France.”

END

 

*Sources used: BBC News

 

 

A Few Thoughts on James Blunt…

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Hello and hi. Nice long weekend! Yay. Here in the UK we too are having a long weekend-Bank Holiday Monday-which means: No work. Sleeping in. Pub beer garden (allegedly). Running for the ice cream truck (I don’t know why I am even running-I mean, he will stop for me-I am a repeat customer. Please tell me he will stop. Dear Lakshmi, I hope he stops). In addition to all of the above I will be reading the broadsheets (newspapers) and listening to music as I do so.  Yup. I can multi-task…I am a girl after all. Please read that sentence again. Yes, I said it.

That being said, I plan on listening to a bit of James Blunt too. He has a new album out. I have mixed feeling about this guy-in regards to his background, education, Army career and his belated start to his singing career… et al. I have a lot of questions for James Blunt. Yes, yes I do. I mean, I try not judge people… but this guy has had a pretty privileged background (not even judging-just an observation, people) but apart from that, he is terribly funny and his humour is: typical British-self deprecatingly and howlingly funny.

Like I said, I have mixed feelings about Blunt. Some say he is ‘easy on the eyes’…am still deciding regarding that. But, in the finish-he seems like an OK guy. Yes. Yes, he does. Will blog on James Blunt later…but for now, check out his new single: Love Me Better. I like his voice in this and the raw transparency/honesty in the lyrics. I also like the 3 background singers who do a bit of Bhangra dancing-and of course, I like the girl in the video-and how she is Blunt’s perfect woman. I guess you can tell how much I liked the video- hope you like it as much as I do. Yes. Yes, I do.

Cheers