MIKE'S BLOG

Mike's blog, daily updates and interesting news items! 

Welcome to my daily blog.

Author

Mike Barrett

First published (welcome to my new blog)

 (23rd October 2020)

Welcome to my blog which I aim to update daily with news items, stories and helpful information, oh and lots of humour so remember to check back regularly. If you would like to contribute with a news item, story or anything of interest please use my contact form here>
Articles may be edited, shortened or not accepted by the moderator as deemed necessary!

Chunnel!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 6th May 2021

On this day in 1994 the Channel Tunnel, connecting England with France, was officially opened  nearly 200 years after the idea was first conceived. There were many skeptics, the sea having provided a protective barrier for centuries what Shakespeare called - “this precious stone set in the silver sea . . . this fortress built by Nature for herself against infection and the hand of war”.
The tunnel – stretching 31.4 miles under the sea – was hailed as one of the “seven wonders of the modern world"!

UK Polio Vaccine!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 5th May 2021

 On this day in 1955 -  Over half a million people in the UK have now received the Salk polio vaccine and since the death of Birmingham City full back Jeff Hall from Polio last month, there has been a large rise in the demand for the vaccine but local health departments have run out and now ordered an extra million doses. We take it for granted that our children and grandchildren are safe from Polio, but this is only because governments, scientists and the people worked together that Polio is now no longer the threat it was.

Mrs Thatcher!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 4th May 2021

On this day in 1979 Margaret Thatcher become the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Mrs Thatcher arrived at Downing Street to take over from the defeated Labour leader James Callaghan after winning an overall majority in British Elections. Often referred to as the "Iron Lady", people either loved or hated Mrs Thatcher, perhaps most disliked by the miners for her hand in closing down the British Coal Industry with terrible consequences for the numerous pit villages and men who lost their livelihood! 

A wet bank holiday!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 3rd May 2021

Well another wet bank holiday Monday!
Is it me or does it always seem as though bank holidays are wet?

World Laughter Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 2nd May 2021

Today is World Laughter Day, an annual event celebrated around the world and raises awareness about laughter and its many healing benefits. World Laughter Day is celebrated in most large cities around the world when hundreds of people gather to have a laugh. It was first celebrated in Los Angeles in 2005 and has since spread all over the world as a way to express people’s love for comedy and laughter. So let's all spread a little happiness and share a joke and laughter with friends and family.

International Workers' Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 1st May 2021

International Workers' Day, is a national, public holiday, also known as Labour Day in most countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every year on the 1st May.

The first Landrover!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 30th April 2021

On this day in 1948 the Land Rover Series I is revealed for the first time at the Amsterdam Car Show, most of the original parts were from Rover saloon cars including the 1.6cc 50 bhp engine from the Rover P3 60 saloon. The 80 inch wheelbase car featured four-wheel drive and was priced at £450.

Happy birthday Willie Nelson!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 29th April 2021

Born on this day in 1933, Willie Hugh Nelson is an American musician, actor, and activist. The success of his album Shotgun Willie in 1973, combined with the commercial success of Red Headed Stranger in 1975 and Stardust in 1978, made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.
Watch below - one of my favorites "On the Road Again"!

Tahiti Mutiny On The Bounty!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 28th April 2021

On this day in 1789  Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against the commanding officer William Bligh aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty. The mutineers forced Captain Bligh and 18 loyal crew into a 23 foot open boat and cast them overboard. Captain Bligh and his loyal crew made it to Timor in the Dutch East Indies after a 47-day voyage and on their return to England reported the mutiny. The Mutineers eventually settled in Pitcairn Island and Tahiti.

__ ___ ._. ... .  _._. ___ _.. . Day

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27th April 2021

What does that mean? Today is Morse Code Day a method of telecommunications that was used for encoding text characters. It involves using a sequences of two different signal lengths, these were called dits and dahs or dots and dashes. The name Morse Code is attributed to the inventor of the telegraph system in 1836 by Samuel Morse. Since then it has been used for Aviation, Amateur Radio, and can even be transmitted by a flashing light. Even when radio was invented Morse Code was often used to transmit Messages over long distances, as even weak signals can carry a comprehensible message!

Chernobyl Disaster!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 26th April 2021

Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident in history, on 26th April 1986 the number 4 reactor in the nuclear plant exploded,
spewing radiation across Europe as far north as Sweden.
Shortly after the disaster, many people began to become ill, but the town was not evacuated by the Soviet authorities, this didn't happen till a day later. Residents were instructed to bring only essentials and that they could return in three days, this never happened!
Since the disaster in 1986 a 'Zone of Exclusion' has been set up around the Chernobyl plant, the surrounding area will not be safe for at least another 20,000 years.

Covid -19 vaccine!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 25th April 2021

So yesterday I had my second jab, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to help keep me safe from this awful COVID pandemic. If you haven't had yours yet then I urge you to sign up as soon as you can! Together we can beat this dreadful disease, with the vaccine, social distancing and wearing your mask.
So stay safe, get vaccinated and follow the guidelines.
 

Happy birthday John!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 24th April 2021

Happy birthday to my friend and mate John A C Golightly. Twenty one today (again), well perhaps a bit more than that!
Have a look at his handmade model wagons and carts with the link below, skilled craftsman and beautiful workmanship.
John A C Golightly

World Book Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 23rd April 2021

Today is World Book Day and was created by UNESCO to celebrate books, authors and to encourage young people to discover the pleasures of reading. Now World Book Day continues to encourage children and young people to read for pleasure through its work with authors, illustrators, bookshops and libraries.

Earth Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 22nd April 2021

Today is Earth Day an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection of our planet. First held in 1970, it now includes a wide range of events organised globally by Earthday.org including 1 billion people in over 193 countries.
Learn more here - www.earthday.org

Happy birthday your majesty!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 21st April 2021

Queen Elizabeth born in 1926 celebrates her 95th birthday today, six years after she became the longest-reigning monarch in English history. Her birthday will mark the first of her celebrations in many years which will sadly go ahead without her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away earlier this month aged 99. Her Majesty who is in a period of official mourning until this Friday, is understood to be reluctant to mark this year’s birthday. Well whatever she decides, I'm sure we all send her our birthday wishes and congratulations.

The world's first motor race!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 20th April 2021

On this day in 1887 Georges Bouton “won" the world’s first motor race, but it was a one horse race and there was no champagne celebration at the finish. Bouton and his co driver de Dion were the only ones to take part, in fact, it wasn’t even a car but a steam-powered quadricycle.
The event was organised by the newspaper Le Velocipede to prove if Bouton’s machine could reach speeds of 60kmph as he had claimed and travel the 29-kilometre distance between Neuilly Bridge in Paris and the Bois de Boulogne. 
For interest, Bouton and de Dion completed the course in seventy four minutes riding "La Marquise", the quadricycle named after the aristocrat’s mother!

Ring of Fire!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 19th April 2021

On this day in 1963  Johnny Cash released his hit single "Ring Of Fire" written by his wife to be June Carter and Merle Kilgore. It became one of the biggest hits of his career, staying at the number one slot in the country chart for seven weeks!
"Ring of Fire" reached No. 4 on CMT's 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music in 2003.
The photo shows Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash.

A Bridge too far!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 18th April 2021

On this day  in 1968 London Bridge was sold for the sum of $2,460,000 to American oil magnate Robert P McCulloch. With his purchase approved and paid for, McCulloch embarked on the massive task of moving London Bridge to the United States. The bridge was removed stone by stone with each piece numbered to aid re-assembly back at Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Lovely horse photo!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 17th April 2021

Found this on the internet and thought I would share it with you. I don't know who the photographer/owner is otherwise I would give a credit to them, if you know, please let me know.
It certainly is a lovely image and again I don't know if this is an original or has been manipulated with Photoshop or similar, not that it matters it still is an artistic picture!

Anniversary!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 16th April 2021

Well yesterday was the anniversary of the incorporation of my company Mike Barrett Productions and I forgot to mention it!
Registered in 1983 we have seen many changes over the years and transformation of the business from manufacture and servicing of audio and lighting equipment to our present format of film production company. So nearly approaching forty years and I wouldn't have missed a single minute. 

Tommy Cooper RIP!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 15th April 2021

On this day in 1984 Magician & comedian Tommy Cooper died. His large and lumbering sometimes clumsily appearance was exaggerated by his 6 foot 4 inch stature and his trademark red fez. Sadly Cooper collapsed from a heart attack on stage in front of millions of television viewers, he was midway through his performance on the London Weekend Television variety show Live from Her Majesty's, bringing about an abrupt advert break.
Enjoy the "Best of Tommy Cooper" video below.

Titanic hits iceberg!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 14th April 2021

Today in 1912 at about 11:40 PM, the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg just off the coast of Newfoundland. By 2:20 a.m. the following morning it had sank taking the lives of more than 1500 people. The Titanic was on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York when the iceberg ruptured several water tight compartments and sank the "unsinkable" ship!
It was the sinking of the world's largest ocean liner of the time and one of the worst peacetime disasters in maritime history.

Unlucky 13th!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 13th April 2021

On this day in 1970 Apollo 13 announced "Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here", as an oxygen tank exploded en route to the Moon! 
The spacecraft was launched from Kennedy Space Center on the 11th April 1970, but the lunar landing had to be aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module catastrophically failed only two days into the mission. The crew instead of landing, looped around the Moon, and returned safely to Earth on the 17th April. The mission was commanded by Jim Lovell with Jack Swigert as the command module pilot and Fred Haise as the Apollo Lunar Module pilot. Maybe Apollo 13th and the 13th April was just pushing their luck too much, fortunately it all ended safely for the crew.



Further easing of Covid restrictions!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 12th April 2021

From today outdoor pubs, shops, gyms and hairdressers can reopen. Outdoor hospitality will be among those reopening in England next week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the road map is on track and planned easements can go ahead.
However he continued to urge caution, with no changes to social contact rules and many restrictions still in place. Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households, and you must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.
So enjoy your new freedom but be vigilant and take care whilst having a pint or a meal in our new outdoor settings. Covid is still very active and a real threat to all of us, so let's be careful out there!

Happy birthday Jeremy Clarkson!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 11th April 2021

Yes today is the birthday of Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson, born in 1960 an English broadcaster, journalist and writer well known for his articles on motoring. He is perhaps best known for his TV shows Top Gear and The Grand Tour with his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May. He also currently writes weekly articles for The Sunday Times and The Sun as well hosting the new version of the ITV game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", having taken over the role from Chris Tarrant.
Always controversial and arrogant you either love him or hate him, a bit like Marmite!!



The unsinkable ship!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 10th April 2021

On this day in 1912, the British ship RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage, the journey ended in tragedy several days later when the luxury liner struck an iceberg and sank. More than 1,500 souls died, making the sinking one of the deadliest of a single ship and the deadliest peacetime sinking of a cruise ship to date. With the attention in the aftermath of the sinking the disaster has since been the attention of many artistic works, documentaries and films. Operated by the White Star Line the RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time and it's advanced safety features, such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors attracted the title of "the unsinkable ship"!

Unicorn Day!!!!!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 9th April 2021

This mythological creature has captured the public's heart! Known as a symbol of purity and enchantment, unicorns are universally loved by children and adults alike. They are well known for their inclusion in many fairy tales and legends and the roles they’ve played in literature, films and art, but do unicorns deserve their own day? Answers on a postcard!



Milk monitor!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 8th April April 2021

On this day in 1879 Milk was sold in glass bottles for the first time!
Prior to this, customers bought milk as a bulk item, with the seller dispensing milk out of a churn or bucket into jugs or whatever receptacle customers brought. The practice left a lot to be desired and hygiene was rather poor, customers then began bringing their own resealable containers to be filled. On 8th April 1879, Echo Farms Dairy introduced the first purpose made milk bottle in New York City USA.
Some of us will be old enough to remember the milk in glass bottles we received as children at primary school, this dated back to 1940 and continued till 1971 when Margaret Thatcher "milk snatcher" the then Education Secretary put an end to the practice! If you were lucky enough, you may have had the role of "milk monitor" at your primary school and the honour of handing out the milk and straws to your class mates.
By rather a bizarre turn of fate, today is also the date in 2013, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher died of a stroke in London at the age of 87, spooky!!

Beer Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 7th April 2021

Well today is Beer Day, so cheers!
However you like your beer - blonde, pale, brown, stout, bitter, IPA or Porter today is the day to exercise your right (or left) arm!
Beer is over 7000 years old and probably discovered by accident when wet cereal grains were left open to the elements and the surrounding wild yeasts happened to fall into it. With such an enormity of brewers and styles of craft beer now available, there is always a favourite for everyone, And whilst we can't go to the pub just yet, we can enjoy a pint at home, cheers!

I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 6th April 2021

Yes today is Andre Previn's birthday, born in 1929 Ludwig Priwin in Berlin, Germany.
A well respected and multi talented Composer, his family fled Germany during the Nazi attacks on Jewish Citizens and he became a naturalized citizen of the USA. Holding four Oscars including his writing and arrangement of the music for the musical "Gigi" in 1958. His works include Original Music Score for the movies "My Fair Lady" and "Porgy & Bess". In the UK he is probably best remembered for his TV appearance on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special in 1971. His attempts to conduct Eric Morecambe as the piano soloist in Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto is legendary and can be seen in the video below.
Happy birthday Andre Previn RIP or is that Mr Preview!



Easter Monday & Pocahontas!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 5th April 2021

So what is special about today, apart from a bank holiday?
After Jesus Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday, according to the bible, three days later Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. Today is also the end of Lent for Christians after their 40 days of fasting, penance, and prayers.
And if your not religious, today was the day in 1614 that Pocahontas, the native American princess was married to Captain John Smith, she was aged about nineteen. If you are a parent, I'm sure you will have watched the Disney portrayal of "Pocahontas" (several times) - I know I did! And whilst many would argue it's accuracy, the Disney film is entertaining and a good yarn!


Martin Luther King!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 4th  April 2021

On this day in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr, who was visiting Memphis, Tennessee to support a strike by the city's sanitation workers, was assassinated by James Earl Ray.
King was an African American Baptist minister and activist, he was to become the most visible spokesperson and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.



First mobile phone call!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 3rd April 2021

On this day in 1973 the first mobile phone call was made in Manhattan, USA by Motorola employee Martin Cooper to the Bell Laboratory headquarters in New Jersey. Thankfully mobile phones have got a lot smaller and we now do more on our phones than just make and receive calls!



Ferret Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 2nd April 2021

Whatever is Ferret Day? Well the ferret is a much misunderstood animal, believed to be a smelly, quarrelsome, biting beast. But have a quick look at some of the best children’s stories like Wind in the Willows to observe this furry little creature.
The word ‘ferret’ is derived from the Latin ‘little thief’, which perfectly explains these creatures and their nature for ‘ferreting’ things out.
And of course who can forget poor Richard Whitely and his run in with a ferret live on Calender News, probably one of the funniest live news moments ever!



April fools!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 1st April 2021

A disputed association between 1st April and foolishness is in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in 1932. Although the origins are less clear, the day is a chance for practical jokes and hoaxes with the media often involved in pranks, which may be revealed the following day. So don't get caught out today by some prankster shouting "April fool"!

World Backup Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 31st March 2021

Don't be caught out on April Fools Day, back up all your files, years of photos and documents.
Whilst digital photography is a boon it can also be a nightmare. In the "old days" our photos came back from the chemists as both paper photos and plastic negatives, this gave us a hard back up of our precious photographs. Now if our hard drive or USB stick fails they are gone for good with no going back to retrieving the photos out of the tin!
So please, for future generations back up those files to somewhere safe with a belt and braces approach!
Find out more HERE

Sorry, partying!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 30th March 2021

Well I missed two days updates on my blog, but with my birthday and the rule changes it's been very busy here at the Barrett residence! So within the rule of six or two households I've been able to have family around for several birthday parties over several days and it continues! It seems very strange being able to socialise even in small groups and slightly unnerving after 12 months of lock down or avoiding people. But having had my first jab and eagerly awaiting my second (no side effects) I know that providing I take care and follow guidance then I should make it to my next birthday in 2022. Thank you for all your lovely messages, here and on Facebook, stay safe and well and good times are coming - possibly even Appleby Horse Fair later this year!

My birthday!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 29th March 2021

Yes, today is my birthday and also rule changes to Covid restrictions.
From today people will be able to meet outdoors in either groups of six or two households of any number, thank you Boris!
This includes people meeting in parks or private gardens, as the government aims to make it easier for friends and families to get together over the Easter Bank Holiday & of course my birthday.
So looks like it's party time (social distance applies).

Radio Caroline!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 28th March 2021

On this day in 1964 a new radio station started transmission, but from a ship outside international waters.

Radio Caroline was the first pirate radio station, founded by Ronan O'Rahilly and George Drummond initially to break the record companies control over popular music, broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC's radio broadcasting monopoly. Unlicensed for most of its early life, it was a pirate radio station that never actually became illegal due to it operating outside territorial waters, but after the Marine Offences Act in 1967 it became illegal for a British person to associate with it.

Photo below with Tony Blackburn on board Radio Caroline.

Remembering the Tenerife airport crash!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27th March 2021

On this day in 1977 the Tenerife airport crash at Los Rodeos airport happened when two Boeing 747 passenger jets collided, it is the world's deadliest aviation accident with the loss of 583 lives.
Several planes had diverted from Gran Canaria airport to Los Rodeos and fog was causing poor visibility. Under these conditions Dutch aircraft KLM Flight 4805 began its take off, not knowing that Pan Am Flight 1736 was still on the runway. The two planes collided and caught fire with deadly consequences , only 61 people from the Pam Am flight survived, RIP.

Polio vaccine!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 26th March 2021

On this day in 1953 Dr. Jonas Salk makes an announcement that he has successfully tested a new vaccine to prevent polio.
In the United States, a major outbreak of polio occurred in 1952 and the disease infected around 57,000 people, killed over 3,000 and left some 20,000 with mild or debilitating paralysis. It was the last great outbreak of this disease, once one of the most feared diseases in the world.
Today polio is extremely rare, In 2019 there were 175 cases of polio and 364 cases of vaccine-derived polio; only Afghanistan and Pakistan reported cases of the wild disease.
Below an iron lung is used to treat patients, a large negative-pressure chamber that breathed for the patient as they lay inside.

Happy birthday Reginald Kenneth Dwight!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 25th March 2021

Yes, today is Sir Elton John's birthday aka Mr Dwight, an English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. His Collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin has lasted 54 years since 1967 and together they have created more than 30 albums. Elton has sold over 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. I'm sure we all have an Elton John favourite, one of mine is the "Circle of Life" made famous by the Walt Disney 1994 animated film The Lion King.

Peanut Month (who knew)!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 24th March 2021

Peanut Month was created by the National Peanut Board, and coincides with Nutrition month! The peanut is packed with over 30 nutrients and vitamins and they are one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world, far better than carrots, green tea, and broccoli!!
The humble peanut was found in Peru nearly 8000 years ago and made popular around the world by traders in Europe, it is grown in almost every area where the climate is suitable.
So if you want to celebrate Peanut Month open a packet of your favourite peanuts, salted, dry roasted or just plain - enjoy!

The National Day of Reflection (Marie Curie).

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 23rd March 2021

The Prime minister has backed charity Marie Curie’s plan for today, which will include a minute’s silence and a doorstep vigil to remember all those who have died from Covid.
The anniversary of the first lockdown is set to be marked with a national day of reflection and landmarks across the UK, such as the Shard in London, will be lit up tonight.
More than 146,000 people have died from Covid in the UK since the pandemic started, according to government data.
Tonight there will be a minute’s silence at 12pm to remember all those who have died during this pandemic.
People are encouraged to join in by lighting candles from 8pm and leave them on their doorsteps.
Find out more below and join in!

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 22nd March 2021

Born on this day in 1931 Shatner is a legendary Canadian actor, director, producer, author, screenwriter, and singer. In his seventy years of acting, he has became an icon for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the starship USS Enterprise in the Star Trek TV series and subsequent films. He has written numerous books hi-lighting his experiences playing Captain Kirk, his role in Star Trek, and life after Star Trek. He is also remembered for playing the veteran police sergeant in T. J. Hooker between 1982–1986.
Happy birthday William Shatner.

The vernal equinox!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 21st March 2021

The equinoxes happen in March (about the 21st) and September (about the 23rd), these are the days when the Sun is exactly above the Equator, which makes day and night of equal length.
The good news is that the days are getting longer than the nights and summer is on it's way!

Red Nose Weekend!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 20th March 2021

"Red Nose Day has arrived and this year it’s never felt more important to have some fun and raise money to support people living incredibly tough lives. We need the power of funny to turn laughs into lasting change. So whatever you can do, please join us".
THERE ARE LOADS OF WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
From buying a Red Nose or exclusive Pixar t-shirt, to turning on the telly to watch a night of unmissable one-off comedy specials, live music and money can’t buy prizes, and making a donation if you can.
The money you raise will help provide safety to families who need support. Tackle mental health stigma. Take action against domestic abuse. And help to give children a brighter future.
Please help and donate HERE

Back to the Future!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 19th March 2021

On this day in 2005 John Zachary DeLorean died. 
An American engineer, inventor, and chief executive in the U.S. car industry, well known for his work at General Motors and as founder of the DeLorean Motor Company.
The DMC DeLorean with it's gull-wing doors and brushed stainless steel outer body sadly became widely known for its disappointing lack of power and performance.
Despite the car having a bad reputation for poor build quality and an unsatisfying driving experience, the DeLorean still has a cult following due the popularity of the "Back to the Future" movies. And interestingly an estimated 6,500 DeLoreans are still on the road today!

1st Person to Walk in Space!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 18th March 2021

For many years the Soviet Union was ahead of the United States in the Space Race, especially the early days with the launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957.
They also beat the US to the first "spacewalk" outside of a space capsule in 1965 by Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, a Soviet Air Force pilot, who was chosen for the honour.
Leonov left the capsule of his Voshkod 2 spacecraft for 12 minutes and nine seconds on 18th March 1965. His spacesuit inflated so much in the vacuum of space that he could barely re-enter the capsule at the end of his walk, he had to open the valve on his suit to let out some pressure before making it back to the safety of his capsule.
America soon caught up with the first spacewalk of a US astronaut 3 months later, Edward H. White II left his capsule on the Gemini IV mission.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 17th March 2021

Whilst we can't go the pub yet we can still celebrate St. Patrick's Day at home!
St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of Irish culture on or around 17th March. It particularly remembers St. Patrick a missionary and later a bishop who shared Christianity in Ireland during the 5th century. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in all countries with people of Irish descent. Whilst not of Irish decent (I don't think so) I still enjoy the odd pint of the black stuff (Guinness)!
So let's raise a glass to St. Patrick to celebrate his life (any excuse)!

Ainlee Ryalla Duffy RIP!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 16th March 2021

It is with great sadness that I report the death on Wed 10th March
of Ainlee Ryalla Duffy. I had the pleasure and honour to film Ryalla and her lovely family back in 2005 and 2007 when we produced "Born on the Straw" a film about her everyday Romany life on the road and and "Looking Back" a film about Romany traditions and their heritage and customs. We had great fun with Ryalla, Alan Jones and myself as we spent several weeks in her company around Lincolnshire. A lovely bubbly lady who will be sadly missed by all that knew her and her many friends in the Romany community. RIP Ryalla, heaven has gained another angel!

The Ides of March

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 15th March 2021

The word ‘ides’ refers to the middle of the month and takes place on 15th March. Contrary to superstitious belief surrounding its origins, Ides really just marks the first day of the full moon in March, May, July, or October, usually falling between the 13th and 15th of the month.
The unlucky superstition regarding the Ides of March has more to do with ancient Rome. Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was rather unlucky on the Ides of March in 44 B.C when he was assassinated by his senators, fearing he would becoming a dictator.

Mothers Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 14th March 2021

Mothering Sunday, also known as Mother's Day, is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It falls exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday and generally falls in the second half of March or early April.
It is a day to honor mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law. Most people make a special effort to visit their mother, they take cards and gifts especially flowers and may include brunch, lunch or high tea in a cafe, restaurant or hotel. Sadly due to  Covid this may not be possible and people who cannot visit their mother will send gifts or cards by post.
So come on let's spoil our mum's today with something special.

There's no place like home!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 13th March 2021

No not the Wizard of Oz, on this day in 1990 a stranger than fiction event that could only happen in a fantasy movie astonished the world! An off-duty police woman and her dog was whisked up into a tornado and carried 25 feet, along with other debris, tree branches and mud. She was amazingly lucky and only suffered minor injuries and aches and pains, her poor dog had no injuries at all and escaped unscathed.
Not sure what the dog thought of the event but ever since it's been chasing it's tail!

Coca-Cola Sold in Bottles !

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 12th March  2021

On this day in 1894 the famous drink was sold in bottles.
Coca-Cola was initially sold by the glass from soda fountains because of a belief in the health properties of carbonated water. The first person to bottle Coca-Cola was Joseph A. Biedenharn from his wholesale candy company in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1894. Biedenharn used a Hutchinson bottle (as in the picture) with its patented stopper, very different from the now famous contour bottle, designed in 1915.

The anniversary of Romeo & Juliet's wedding day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 11th March 2021

William Shakespeare is known as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. His works consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets and numerous additional poems.
It is believed that Shakespeare decided that March 11 (1302), would be Romeo and Juliet's wedding day. Probably the shortest wedding in history as the couple did not make it past the first week, but they are still known as two of the world's best lovers and their tragic story has been told numerous times and in many different ways.

International Wig Day!!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 10th March 2021

A company called Temashop, a costume store in Denmark, created this special day to bring a little fun into your life! Everyone can get depressed, especially with all that Covid has brought with it. The company encourages people to get their co-workers and friends involved and really make this event something special! So come on, wigs aren't just for the follicly challenged, you can have fun dressing up and wearing that favourite or outrageous hair piece.

National Pizza Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 9th March 2021

Who doesn't like a slice of pizza? This popular cheesy circle has become a meal that is loved all over the world. But what are your favourite toppings to go on your personalised  pizza? Is it pepperoni, salami, pineapple or perhaps shrimps and anchovies? Or, maybe just plain – cheese and tomato? There are many arguments about what makes the best pizza, especially whether pineapple belongs on a pizza or not! No matter what your choice, there’s one thing we can all agree on, pizza is one of the best culinary inventions! So get on the phone and order pizza for your evening meal and support National Pizza Day, enjoy!

Back to skool!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 8th March 2021

From today, "all schools will open, with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed.
Meeting up socially outdoors with one other person will be allowed. Until then, it is illegal and you can still only meet another person, outdoors and for exercise.
People in care homes will also be allowed one regular visitor".
The next change will be on the 29th March, so slowly we are returning to normality!

Dog and bone!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 7th March 2021

On this day in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell receives his patent for the telephone in the United States.
But it wasn't plain sailing and he nearly got pipped at the post, when it came down to the wire at the patents office. The lawyers for Alexander Graham Bell and another inventor by the name of Elisha Gray both filed their patents at almost the same time and according to research years later, Bell was the fifth entry of the day, and Gray the 39th, thus won the patent!
Bell became known as the inventor of the telephone, and after his patent was filed the telephone gradually became a necessity in modern life, the rest as they say is history!

Frozen Food Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 6th March 2021

"Frozen Food Day", yes that's right, but what’s so great about frozen foods? Well a  day has been created to honor  frozen food, It’s a day to learn about the history of frozen foods and also enjoy some tasty, healthy foods that come from the freezer section!
So weather it's ice cream, fish fingers or just ice in your favourite tipple it's definitely cool to to head to the freezer!

These are the jokes, folks!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 5th March 2021

Something to make you smile during these difficult times. From the king of the "One Liners" Stewart Francis nails it!

Arise, Sir Charlie Chaplin

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 4th March 2021

On this day in 1975 — Charlie Chaplin received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace and become Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin KBE. Mind you he was 85 and had to be pushed in a wheelchair to meet the Queen who performed the ceremony.
Two years later on Christmas Day (1977), he suffered a stroke while asleep at his Swiss home. However he wasn't allowed to rest in peace, three months after his death his coffin was dug up and his body was stolen by two unemployed immigrants.
They demanded 400,000 dollars for its return but were arrested 11 weeks later in a police sting, the coffin was found buried in a nearby field. It was re-interred at its original site and surrounded by reinforced concrete, where it remains today! RIP.

Cause that'll be the day when I die!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 3rd March 2021

On this day in 1959 Rock 'n' Roll singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson died in a plane crash along with the pilot (Roger Peterson) when their chartered plane crashed near Mason City, Iowa, USA.
After his show in Clear Lake, Iowa, Buddy chartered the plane to travel to his next gig in Moorhead, Minnesota. Soon after take off, the plane crashed, killing Buddy Holly and all on board in a tragedy later referred to in the hit song - "American Pie" by Don McLean as "The Day the Music Died"!

The Hills Are Alive!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 2nd March 2021

One this day in 1965 one of the most popular musical films of all time, "The Sound of Music" starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, is released and in 1966 won an Academy Awards Best Picture.
Allowing for inflation, the film grossed nearly $2.40 billion at 2014 prices—making it among the top ten highest-grossing films of all time!

Hello March!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 1st March 2021

Today is Horse Protection Day, through the centuries, horses have carried us on their backs, pulled our vehicles, served in our wars, ploughed our fields and travelled mile after mile across our countries. They have been a major part of human civilization for in excess of 5,000 years and have had a cultural significance all over the world. In short we owe horses so much!

Tony & Sheila Price RIP!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 28th February 2021

I forgot to post this yesterday, but here it is, no less important.
Remembering Sheila Price (and Tony) today, sadly Sheila left us two years ago but not forgotten. They both live on in our memories and the fantastic legacy of Romany Gypsy and wagon restoration films they produced over many years. Love and condolences to their family and of course everyone who had the pleasure to know them.

Italy - Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27thFebruary 2021

On this day in 1964 the Italian government announced that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was in serious danger of collapse. Should an earthquake or storm be severe then this was a likely scenario. They asked for suggestions on how to save one of Italy's best tourist attractions, the work to save the Tower did not start until 1999 and was completed in December 2001.
At least they didn't correct the lean!!

National Bacon Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 26th February 2021

Who doesn't like a bacon sandwich, I know I do! 
So today is National Bacon Day and the word “bacon” goes  back to languages from before the 12th century. Especially from the French word “bako,” the German word “bakkon” and the Old Teutonic word “backe,” all of these refer to the rear of the pig. During the 16th Century, the word “bacoun” was used to refer to pork of any variety. It was in the 17th Century that the word “bacon” was only used to refer to the salted and smoked pork belly that we know today. So enjoy your bacon today and any other day you like!

Yellow Submarine (no not the beatles)!!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 25th February 2021

On this day in 1902 — John Holland an Irish engineer was granted a patent for his submarine. Holland developed the first submarine to be formally used by the U.S. Navy and the first Royal Navy submarine.
The Royal Navy "Holland 1" is on display at the Submarine Museum in Gosport England.

Appleby Horse Fair 2021!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 24th February 2021

With the recent announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson it is looking as though this years fair will be cancelled if only by a few days!
Step 4, no earlier than 21 June: - It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
"We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances". 
In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues, with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.
The fair was cancelled during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak and again last year, the only times in it's 250 year history!
Keep up to date with the progress HERE

The start of Woolworth’s !

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 23rd February 2021

On this day in 1878  the first “Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store” was opened in New York. The company become one of the largest retail success stories of the 20th century, the original Big Apple business failed. It was only when a new store was opened in Pennsylvania the following year that the wonder of Woolworth began to take off.
The man behind it all was Frank Winfield Woolworth and his UK venture proved to be even more successful and profitable than the US, by the mid 1920's a new Woolworth's store was opening in Britain every 17 days.
His UK operation outlived the US stores but its failure in 2008 was far more dramatic, it went from normal trading in 800 stores to complete shutdown in just 41 days.
What a shame, now I have to buy my "Pick & Mix" at Wilko's!

Route map out of COVID!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 22nd February 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that he would announce more details today about Britain’s route map out of the COVID lockdown and plans to ease restrictions.
"On February the 22nd, we will be setting out in as much detail as we can about where we see the dates, what the timetable could be, the earliest dates by which we want to do what - you remember what we did last year - setting out a route map, we’ll do that again,” he said. So fingers crossed for some safe compromises.

Foot and Mouth disease!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 21st February 2021

On this day in 2001 - England announced the start of Foot and Mouth disease.
The outbreak of foot and mouth disease in British pigs prompted a government ban on exports of meat, milk and livestock and threatened extensive damage to the country's farming industry.
Over 6 million cows and sheep were killed in an attempt to halt the disease with Cumbria being one of the worst affected areas with 893 cases. It was also the first year in it's history that Appleby Horse Fair was cancelled the second of course in 2020 due the COVID pandemic. We wait to see if Appleby Horse Fair 2021 happens or not!

The Channel Tunnel!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 20th February 2021

On this day in 1986, it was announced that a tunnel under the channel would be built jointly by France and Britain. This new underground link between Britain and France was commonly known as the "Chunnel" which combines the words tunnel and channel. 
Interestingly, the project had originally been drawn up back in the early 1800's by Napoleon, he commissioned the original blueprints for his project and finally in 1994 the project was completed. The rest as they say - is history!

Happy birthday Lee Marvin!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 19th February 2021

On this day in 1924 Lee Marvin was born. Known for his film roles, distinctive voice and premature white hair, Marvin initially appeared in supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers, and other hard case characters. 
My favourite film Paint Your Wagon is a 1969 Western - musical film starring Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, and Jean Seberg.  The film is set in a mining camp in the Gold Rush era California. It was directed by Joshua Logan. Watch the film clip below with Marvin singing the hit song "Wand'rin' Star"!
Sadly he died on 29th August 1987 (aged 63) from a heart attack.

Drink Wine Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 18th February 2021

Not that we need an excuse to crack open a bottle of our favorite red, white or even rose at the end of a long and stressful day! But then nothing should stand in the way of celebrating Drink Wine Day. After all, a glass or maybe a bottle of wine is truly the greatest antidote after a demanding day!.
From connoisseurs of wine from around the world to those that enjoy the odd glass on a night out or on an evening in with friends, Drink Wine Day is definitely something to celebrate.
Cheers!

The UK joins the European Communities!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 17th February 2021

On this day in 1972 the British Parliament voted to join the European Communities, as it was then known, later to be called the EU.
And ironically 48 years later we left the European Union to go it on our own, the rest as they say is history (in the making)!

Valentine's jokes!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 16th February 2021

As Valentine's Week continues here are some humorous jokes.
Did Adam and Eve ever have a date?
No, they had an apple!
The bed bugs who fell in love -
They're getting married in the spring.
Knock, knock. Who's there?
Olive. Olive who? Olive you!
How can you tell when a squirrel is in love?  It goes nuts.
How did the telephone propose to his girlfriend?
He gave her a ring!


Decimalisation Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 15th  February 2021

Today (1971) marks 50 years since Decimalisation, when we changed from 240 to 100 pennies in a pound and lost the farthing (quarter of a penny), halfpenny, threepenny bit, sixpence, shilling (twelve pence), florin (two shillings), half crown (two shillings and sixpence) and the "ten bob note" (ten shillings) The penny or it's new equivalent stayed with us and is still around today. So RIP old coins!

Valentine's Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 14th  February 2021

Be my Valentine, so come on lads and lassies get proposing!
Valentine's Day, also called St. Valentine's Day, when lovers express their affection with cards and gifts. Given their similarities, it is likely that the celebration originated in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February.
But it's not all hearts and flowers - 
On 14th February, around the year 270 A.D -  Valentine, a holy priest in Rome under Emperor Claudius II, was executed. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, where he was condemned to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. Ouch!

NATIONAL APOLOGY DAY!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 13th February 2021

Today marks the anniversary of the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples in the House of Representatives by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, apologising for past laws, policies and practices that have impacted on Australia’s First Nations People, particularly members of the Stolen Generations. The Apology was broadcast across Australia and was the start of equal rights for the Aboriginal race.

Some old Gypsy film.!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 12th February 2021

Interesting old film from British Pathé dating back to 1952.

Nelson Mandela free at last!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 11th February 2021

On this day in 1990 Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment in South Africa. Referred to as the father of the nation by South Africans, Nelson Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and politician who served 27 years in prison. After receiving his  freedom in 1990 he became the President of the African National Congress from 1991-97 before he was elected the first black President of his country after the election in 1994.

For his services to activism, he was awarded over 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Soviet Order of Lenin.
He died on the 5th December 2013 at the good old age of 95 from a lung infection. RIP

National Umbrella Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 10th February 2021

Well who'd have thought it! National Umbrella Day sounds a bit shady, but today we honor the humble  but most useful invention, the umbrella!

Not only does an umbrella keep us dry in the rain, but it also shades us from the heat of the sun. They can be a fashion accessory, decorate cocktails, part of a dance routine or just a walking stick! Remember Steed in The Avengers, he was never without his trusted umbrella. Or this dance routine below - 

RIP William John Clifton Haley!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 9th February 2021

Better known as Bill Haley (and the Comets), he is considered to have made popular the genre of "rock 'n' roll".
Haley (an American) became famous in the early 1950's with his group the Comets, they recorded classic rock songs such as "Rock Around the Clock",  "See You Later, Alligator" and "Shake, Rattle and Roll". Haley died 9th February 1981 and sold more than 25 million albums in his short life (55 years), he became known as the "Father of Rock 'n' Roll". Enjoy "Rock Around The Clock" below.

Propose Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 8th February 2021

Continuing our theme on Valentine's week, today is Propose Day.
It's the time of year when couples all around the world celebrate their love in a more official manner than usual.
"You're not someone I want to be with, you are someone I can't be without. Stay in my life forever."
"Don't marry someone you can live with - marry the person you can't live without!"
And my favourite -
"You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not."

Rose Day, be my Valentine!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 7th February 2021

Rose Day is the start of Valentine's Week, on this day couples show their love and appreciation with a spray of roses, especially red roses. And of course roses bring, freshness, fragrance and the everlasting beauty of love. So come on lads (and lasses) buy your other half a beautiful bouquet of red roses and show your undying love for the "one you love"!
As you have a week to plan this, forget the petrol station on your way home and support your your local florist and order a really special and beautiful bouquet and maybe some chocolates or another special gift, or perhaps this poem by Robbie Burns. -

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June. 
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I.
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

Happy birthday Robert Nesta Marley!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 6th February 2021

Bob Marley was born on this day in 1945, a Jamaican singer, songwriter, and musician. One of the pioneers of reggae, he fused elements of reggae, ska, and rock steady. Marley's contributions to music increased the awareness of Jamaican music worldwide and made him a global figure in popular culture. Marley became known as a Rastafari icon, he is also considered a global symbol of Jamaican music and culture and identity.
In 1977, Marley was diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma, and died from his illness in 1981, his fans worldwide expressed their grief and he received a state funeral in Jamaica. 

Still living the life of a Romany Gypsy!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 5th February 2021

Sixteen years ago In 2005 I had the privilege to film a documentary about Ainlee Ryalla Duffy and her family in Lincolnshire as they went about their everyday Romany Gypsy life still living in wagons.
Ainlee was "born on the straw" over 56 years ago, In this film we filmed Ainlee and her family still living the traditional life of a traveller, and in harmony with mother nature.
Filmed over several weeks it shows a life very different to most !
An interesting and informative film breaking down barriers and stereotypes about Romany Gypsy culture. A short sample video clip below. More information HERE

Happy birthday Alice Cooper!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 4th February 2021

Born Vincent Damon Furnier on 4th February 1948, Alice is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans more than 50 years. With a distinct voice and controversial stage shows, including pyrotechnics, guillotines, fake blood, reptiles, and baby dolls. "The Godfather of Shock Rock", Alice has built his shows on horror films and vaudeville, a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock his audiences!
Also today is seventeen years since Facebook was founded.
Enjoy the topical song by Alice Cooper "School's Out"

RIP Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 3rd February 2021

Second World War veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore, who inspired the nation in lock down by raising in excess of £33 million pounds for the National Health Service , has died aged 100, his family says.
His daughters Hannah and Lucy said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore". "The last year of our father's life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he'd only ever dreamed of." A credit and inspiration to us all and a sad loss, my condolences and love to his family. RIP Sir Tom.

Captain Sir Tom Moore, get well soon!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 2nd February 2021

Captain Sir Tom Moore has been admitted to hospital with coronavirus, his daughter said.
The 100 year old veteran, who has raised nearly £33 million for the NHS, was taken to Bedford Hospital after needing help with his breathing.
His daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore said he had been treated for pneumonia over the past few weeks and last week tested positive for Covid-19, although her father was not in intensive care.
Good luck and best wishes, make a speedy recovery Sir Tom.

National Freedom Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 1st February 2021

National Freedom Day which is always observed on February 1st, celebrates freedom from slavery. It also recognizes that America is a symbol of liberty. The day honors the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on 1st February 1865. It was not ratified by the states, however, until later on 18th December 1865!

Dave Allen!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 31st January 2021

Something to make you smile!
Do you remember this sketch from the Dave Allen Show in the 70's on the BBC. Classic comedy at it's best, enjoy.

Happy birthday Philip David Charles Collins !

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 30th January 2021

Born on 30th January 1951, Phil Collins is an English drummer, singer, songwriter, and record producer, he is best known as the drummer and singer of the rock band Genesis and for his solo career. Between 1982 and 1990, Collins scored three UK and seven US number-one singles in his solo career. His hit's include In the Air Tonight", "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)", "One More Night", "Sussudio", "Take Me Home", "Two Hearts", "A Groovy Kind of Love" (featured in the film Buster), "I Wish It Would Rain Down", and "Another Day in Paradise"!

Happy birthday Rag'n'Bone Man.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 29th January 2021

Rory Charles Graham born on this day in 1985, better known as Rag'n'Bone Man, a British singer and songwriter, known for his deep baritone voice.
His first hit single, Human, was released in 2016, and his debut album of the same name was released in 2017. 
Interestingly his name was inspired by watching repeats of the British sitcom Steptoe and Son!
Enjoy the video of his hit song "Human" below - 

The Challenger disaster!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 28th January 2021

On this day in 1986, the United States space shuttle "Challenger" exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Florida, killing all seven astronauts, including a schoolteacher chosen as the first American civilian to travel in space.
The Space Shuttle fleet were grounded for nearly three years during this time various safety measures, rocket booster redesign, and a new policy on management decision making for future launches were implemented.
RIP - Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ronald McNair, 
Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Gregory Jarvis &
Christa McAuliffe.

Holocaust Memorial Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27th January 2021

Today is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.
Between 1941 and 1945, six million Jewish men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. Their attempt to murder all the Jews in Europe, shook the foundations of civilisation.
The Nazis targeted anyone they believed threatened their ideal of a ‘pure Aryan race’, including Roma and Sinti people, disabled people, gay people, political opponents and others.
Find out more on the HMD UK website HERE

The birth of television!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27th January 2021

On this day in 1926 John Logie Baird, a Scottish scientist, gave the first public demonstration of a television system in London.
The BBC commenced the first public broadcasts in London in 1936 and regular television broadcasts began in the United States in 1939. In 1944, Baird gave the world's first demonstration of an electronic color television display.
And the rest as they say is history!

Burns Night!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 26th January 2021

Did you have a great Burns night?
Robert Burns the National poet of Scotland was born on 25th January 1759 in Ayrshire, Scotland and died 21st July 1796 in Dumfriesshire, famous for lyrics and songs in Scots and in English. He was probably most famous for "Auld Lang Syne" and his rebellion against orthodox religion and morality.
The "Selkirk Grace" is a personal favourite and well known thanksgiving said before a meal, it is usually given after guests have sat down to enjoy a Burns Night supper and before the first course is served.
"Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit".

Spotted this!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 25th January 2021

On this day in 1961 Walt Disney's animated film 101 Dalmatians, based on an adaptation of Dodie Smith's 1956 novel and directed by Clyde Geronimi and Hamilton Luske is released in the United States.
The film tells the story of a litter of Dalmatian puppies who are dognapped by the evil and cruel Cruella de Vil who wants to use their fur to make into expensive fur coats.
But dogy parents, Pongo and Perdita, are determined to save their children from Cruella, but also rescuing 84 extra puppies also destined for coats, bringing the total of Dalmatians to 101.
The film was also re-made and re-leased in 1966 starring Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil.

Sir Winston Churchill RIP

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 24th January 2021

On this day in 1965 Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill died at the age of 81. British statesman, army officer, and writer, he was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. But did you know he is credited with the "Onesie", yes Churchill had a variety of "siren suits", which he called his romper suits, including sombre, military-style suits, as well as more extravagant pin-striped and velvet varieties. The primary purpose was simply so Churchill could slip it over his clothes in the event of an air raid.
The photo below shows him in one of his onesie's.

Doggy humour!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 23rd January 2021

In these difficult times and the news full of doom and gloom something to make you smile! 
If these dogs don't make you smile, nothing will - enjoy.

Battle of Rorke's Drift.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 22nd January 2021

On this day in 1879 The British garrison of 150 troupes held off 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. Eleven Victoria Crosses and a number of other decorations were awarded to the defenders!
The Battle of Rorke’s Drift took place in South Africa and is remembered as one of the world’s most remarkable military engagements!
The truth is not quite so palatable, after the British invaded and declared war on the Kingdom of Zululand the Zulu's rightly defended their territory. On 22nd January at 4.20pm, 4,000 Zulu warriors began to attack the station, their intermittent attacks were to last for almost twelve hours. At the end of the attack and with muskets against spears around 500 Zulu warriors lay dead or wounded, whilst the British sustained 17 dead and 10 wounded. The battle was glorified in the movie "Rorke's Drift" with Michael Caine, released in 1964 (picture below).
In my opinion, not our finest hour, or twelve!

Hugging Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 21st January 2021

Hugging, is one of the easiest ways to show affection, it is something we do with our loved ones all the time. However, we don't do it enough these days, "Hugging Day" aims to encourage people to hug more, whether they know the person or not (COVID rules apply).
So if you can, hug a loved one and share the love!

Marvin Gaye!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 20th January 2021

So on this day in 1971, Marvin Gaye released the Single "What's Going On" about police brutality, - some things never change!
The lyric is as poignant today and especially with recent deaths and the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Mother, mother - There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother - There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way - To bring some loving here today, yeah!
Ironically he was shot dead by his father, Marvin Gay Snr in 1984, the day before his 45th birthday at their house in Los Angeles after an argument!
Listen and watch Marvin singing "What's Going On" HERE

Happy birthday Dolly!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 19th January 2021

Born on this day in 1946, today is Dolly Parton's birthday (yes 75) an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, but best of all known as a singer of country music. Born Dolly Rebecca Parton in Pittman Center, Sevier County, Tennessee she has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
My personal favourite was released In 1974, - "I Will Always Love You" and went to number one in the country chart. Her success is legendary as both a singer and actress as well as many other accolades. So happy birthday Dolly here's to many more!

It's, Monty Python's Flying Circus!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 18th January 2021

On this day in 1973 John Cleese had his final episode on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" aired on BBC TV.
The first episode was filmed at the BBC on 7th September and premiered on 5th October 1969, with 45 episodes over four series from 1969 to 1974.
One of my most memorable episodes was the Four Yorkshiremen sketch which you can watch below (no stereotype here)!

Happy birthday Michelle Obama!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 17th January 2021

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama was born today (January 17th) in 1964. An American attorney and author she was the First Lady of the United States and perhaps better known as the wife of the 44th President, Barack Obama.
In her role as first lady, Michelle served as a role model for women and worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. She supported American designers and is considered a fashion icon.
A very clever and talented woman!

Stuck inside with the snow?

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 16th January 2021

Here's a video of horses playing in the snow to entertain and cheer you up, enjoy!

National hat day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 15 January 2021

Yes today is National Hat Day so you can keep your hat on!
We wear hats for many reasons, hats protect us from sun and rain and others are worn for ceremonial or religious reasons. So whatever your hat, deerstalker, trilby, skull cap, fedora, flat cap, cloche, derby, or sunhat -wear it with style!

Martin Luther King!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 14th January 2021

On this day in 1979 United States of America President Jimmy Carter suggests Martin Luther King's birthday should be a holiday.
Remarkably, it was several more years and untold discussion before the bill was finally passed. Fifteen years later and only after King’s death the proposal for a holiday in his memory, was signed by President Reagan!

Let's twist again!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 13th January 2021

On this day in 1962 Chubby Checker's song "THE TWIST" is credited with starting the Twist dance craze, the song reached number one in the charts  but had previously also been at number one on 19th September 1960.
So come on - lets twist again - like we did last summer!!

Looking for a diet that works (humour)?

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 12th January 2021

Ladies and gentlemen did you put on weight over Christmas? Try the new “FROZEN” diet and watch the weight melt away.
Roger lost a stone in just 24 hours and you could too. With the FROZEN diet relax and let it go, let it go, let it go! 🤣 

Dot, dash, dot, dash!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 11th January 2021

On this day In 1838 the first public demonstration of telegraphy messages were sent using dots and dashes at Speedwell Ironworks in Morristown, New Jersey by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail.
Long before telephones and radio existed, messages were sent along telegraph wires (between telegraph poles) with a system of dots and dashes for each alphabetic letter and number and of course words.
This was how messages were sent between people and cities with Samuel Morse's "Morse code" and the start of modern day telecommunications.

Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 10th January 2021

No not me but Sir Roderick David Stewart.
Yes today is Rod Stewart's birthday and he is unbelievably 76 years of age! Stewart is one of the top selling music artists of all time, he has sold over 250 million records worldwide and had ten number one albums as well as 31 top ten singles in the UK, six of these reached number one.
His career began in 1962 when he took up busking with a harmonica and he is still going strong today!
So happy birthday to Sir Rod and enjoy the video from 1978

Let it snow, let it snow!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 9th January 2021

Perhaps the words of this song sum up yesterday and perhaps today!
"Oh, the weather outside is frightful  But the fire is so delightful. 
And since we've no place to go  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow".
Well it's been snowing all day here in Leeds and the roads and paths are treacherous, but since I've no place to go.........
Stay safe and warm and here is a joke borrowed from the web!

The King of Rock and Roll!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 8th January 2021

Born in 1935, today would have been Elvis Presley's birthday.
His first single, "Heartbreak Hotel" released in 1956, was the first in a list of number ones that reshaped American music and made Presley the undisputed "King of Rock and Roll".
Sadly he died on 16th August 1977 but his legacy and vast music catalogue lives on. Enjoy the video of Elvis singing -
"Always on my Mind"!

Happy birthday - Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 7th January 2021

So today Lewis Hamilton will be celebrating his 36th birthday and his second celebration in seven days as he was knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours list.
He also gained a seventh drivers title at the Turkish Grand Prix in November now  equalling Michael Schumacher's championship record. So well done, congratulations and happy birthday Sir Lewis Hamilton.

More jokes!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 6th January 2021

Some jokes sent to me by a friend to share with you!
Dr, Dr. I keep thinking I'm a supermarket.
Dr - How long has this been going on?
Ever since a was Lidl!

Mt friend reckons he's going to make a fortune flying people about in his invisible aeroplane.....I can't see it taking off.

What do you call people who are afraid of Santa?
Claustrophobic!

Here we go again!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 5th January 2021

By the time you are reading this, we will already have begun our second lock down!
You cannot leave your home except for certain reasons, like the last lock down in March.
These include essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work for those who cannot work from home.
All schools and colleges will close to most pupils from Tuesday with remote learning until February half term.
Early years settings such as nurseries may stay open and End-of-year exams will not take place this summer.
Find out more here - BBC

It's Trivia Day!!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 4th January 2021

All those silly facts you have acquired can finally be put to good use when you amaze your friends with your general knowledge! Trivia day is the day to share all of those silly little facts that almost nobody knows (or wants to), making this day a fun and interesting one to spend with friends or family.
The famous trivia game, Trivial Pursuit, is thought to have inspired people’s fascination with trivia and competing to see who knows more odd facts about geography, history, art, science, sports and entertainment.
So now is the day to impress your friends!

Apple!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 3rd January 2021

On this day in 1977 Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs incorporate Apple Computer, Inc. At it's headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple designs, develops and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Best known for it's Iphone, Ipad and Apple Mac computers it is one of the Big Five companies in the U.S. technology industry, along with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.
The rest as they say is history!

These are the new years jokes folks!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 2nd January 2021

I've decided my New Year’s resolution is to stop procrastinating.
Think I’ll start tomorrow!

Knock knock, who's there? Abby.
Abby who? Abby New Year!

I have decided to quit all my bad habits for the new year!
But then who likes a quitter.

What's a New Year's resolution?
Something that goes in one year and out the other.

Breaking news - the man who stole a calendar on New Year's Eve, has just got 12 months!

And finally - An iPhone and a firework were arrested at a New Year's Eve party. 
One was charged, the other was let off.

It's a new year!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 1st January 2021

On this day in 1 981 - Greece was admitted into the European Union and forty years later to the day, the UK left!
Well let's hope 2021 is a better year for all of us and we get rid of this awful virus once and for all.
Best wishes and a happy, safe and prosperous new year to all my friends and customers.

It's New Year's Eve, party time - (social distancing applies)!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 31st December 2020

What are you doing for New Year's Eve? Well it looks like we will all be playing "Billy no mates" a "bored" game for one household!
A Downing Street spokesperson said - "We've been clear, the PM has said previously it's important that everybody continues to follow the guidelines and do everything they can to reduce the transmission of the virus". Seriously though, we must all stay safe, protect the NHS and protect our loved ones! So, have fun, make cocktails, dance, video call and sing Auld Lang Syne all in the safety of your own home. 
See you all next year and thanks for supporting my little blog.

Back to work!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 30th December 2020

Well if you're still off work, spare a thought for those hard working Mp's recalled back to the House of Commons today!
The Speaker has granted the request from the Government to recall MP's back to the house at 9.30 am to debate the EU agreement with the UK.
Mind you, the house will then be suspended again to await the approval of the House of Lords acceptance of the  EU future relationship bill.
And whilst the House of Commons bar will remain closed throughout, I'm sure your MP will be looking closely at what he or she can claim on expenses, not a bad job if you can get it!
As you can see in the photo below our elected representatives certainly treat Covid and social distancing with respect!

Photo courteasy - House of Commons Library

Hearing aid, pardon!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 29th December 2020

On this day in 1952 the 1st transistorized hearing aid went on sale in Elmsford, New York. The cost was a $229.50 (about £170.00) and the hearing aid from Sonotone used two vacuum tubes and one transistor made by Germanium Products Corporation.
This was cutting edge technology in 1952!

Second Boxing Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 28th December 2020

Well who knew? If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is a substitute bank holiday. Which means a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses will be  closed. So happy Boxing Day, again, or is it?

Fruitcake Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27 December 2020

Yes, today is called Fruitcake Day and it celebrates the humble fruit cake that we all seem to love or hate! Traditionally used for wedding cake and of course Christmas cake with or without icing, fruitcakes have an incredibly long life, they can remain on the shelf for many years and still be safe to eat. The record possibly being held by a piece of a fruitcake baked in 1878 belonging to a  family in Michigan and still edible! 

Boxing day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 26th December 2020

Good to see many companies have given their staff the day off for Boxing day, from  Aldi to Home Bargains and Wickes the list is extensive! And after this dreadful year they certainly all deserve it. Well that's all from me today, after yesterday and too much food and sitting about I'm off for a brisk walk around Harewood House. Stay safe, warm and well.

It's Christmas day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 25th December 2020

A merry Christmas to all my customers, have a lovely day and I will leave you with Roy Wood and Wizard's Christmas song -
"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday"
Enjoy!

It's Christmas Eve!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 24th December 2020

I hope you're all ready for Christmas and whilst this year will be challenging under Covid regulations I hope you all have a very happy Christmas. Let's hope next year is a better one and the vaccine allows us to return to a more normal life!
Merry Christmas to all my friends, customers and anyone who knows me. Stay safe and well and I hope Santa brings you all you deserve, as long as you've been good this year!

Vincent van Gogh!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 23rd December 2020

On this day in 1888 Vincent van Gogh a Dutch post-impressionist painter cut off his left ear with a razor, after an argument with another painter Paul Gauguin, and then sent it to a prostitute for safe keeping.
In a decade, he painted over 2000 artworks, including approximately  860 oil paintings, most of which he painted in the last two years of his life!
Sadly he was not a commercial success, and his subsequent suicide at the young age of 37 came after many years of mental illness, depression and poverty.
Although he died in poverty, Van Gogh's works are now among the world's most expensive paintings to have ever sold!

Christmas tree lights!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 22nd December 2020

On this day in 1882 Thomas Edison created the first string of Christmas tree lights, not the LED type we use today but the old tungsten filament variety where you could spend many happy hours tracking down and replacing the faulty bulb!
So this year whilst you are enjoying your Christmas tree lights remember to think of Thomas Edison, America's greatest inventor!

Jupiter and Saturn’s great conjunction!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 21st December 2020

Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest – only 0.1 degrees apart – on the day of the solstice (today).
The Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years, the last one was in 2000, but these conjunctions aren’t all created equal. This years great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observed since 1226! This years extra close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction won’t be seen again until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction on the 15th March 2080.
For all of the above reasons, Jupiter and Saturn are now a sight you really shouldn't miss!
Find out more here

Elvis Presley!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 20th December 2020

On this day in 1957 at the age of 18 Elvis Aaron Presley received his draft papers to join the US Army for his National Service.
He was legally expected to serve two years of active duty in the military, and then four years in the reserve. But as he was in the process of filming King Creole, the Memphis Draft Board granted Elvis a deferment until 20th March 1958, so he could finish the film production.
Presley returned from active duty to the United States two years later on the 2nd March 1960, he was honorably discharged three days later with the rank of sergeant!

Christmas songs!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 19th December 2020

What's your favourite Christmas song? I have two - "Merry Christmas Everybody" by Slade and "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Roy Wood & Wizard. My choice has probably a lot to do with my age as both of these were released when I was in my late teens and I remember dancing with mates at the local pub!
Both released in December 1973 with Slade taking the top spot of number one in the charts and Wizard reaching number four.
Interestingly Slade from Wolverhampton and Roy Wood and Wizard from Birmingham only 17 miles apart and both in the Midlands. Well I leave you in the capable hands of Slade, Merry Christmas everybody!

Only seven days to Christmas!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 18th December 2020

Well only seven days till Christmas day, although it doesn't seem like it! Last minute shopping or perhaps you've only just begun, on the high street, online or perhaps just waiting for Santa.
Well however you you celebrate let's make it a good one! 

The first airplane flight !

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 17th December 2020

Orville and Wilbur Wright are widely accepted as being the first to invent, build and fly the first airplane. Many people had attempted  to conquer flight in the past, but most flights were generally short and uncontrolled. All this was changed by the Wright brothers when their flight from North Carolina took to the skies on 17th December 1903. In fact they made four flights defying the laws of gravity, the first of these flights, shown below, lasted an amazing 12 seconds, at an approximate speed of seven miles per hour and an altitude of 120 feet. At the time an impressive and historical event which set the standard with their three-axis control system still used today.
Up, up and away!

Jimi Hendrix!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 16th December 2020

On this day in 1966 the Jimi Hendrix Experience released it's first  single, "Hey Joe" in the UK.
After television appearances on shows like Ready Steady Go and Top of the Pops, "Hey Joe" quickly climbed the UK charts and on 29th December peaked at number six!

Glenn Miller!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 15th December 2020

On this day in 1944, Glenn Miller, band leader and a best selling recording artist  of his time went missing, presumed dead when his US Army plane disappeared over the English Channel.
Known for such recordings as "In the Mood", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "Moonlight Serenade", "Tuxedo Junction" and my favourite "Little Brown Jug". Enjoy the rendition of "Little Brown Jug" with the Glenn Miller band below!

National Energy Conservation Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 14th December 2020

Energy Conservation Day is observed every year on 14th December, the day focuses on making people aware of global warming, climate change and encourages efforts towards saving energy and ultimately our planets resources!
Well that's all for now as i'm running out of energy, will the last person to leave please turn the lights off!
(Image Credit: JobRefreshers.com)

Christmas jokes!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 13th December 2020

Here you are, some Christmas cracker jokes!

What did Adam say the day before Christmas?
"It's Christmas Eve"

What does Father Christmas do when his elves misbehave?
He gives them the sack!

Why did no-one bid for Rudolph and Blitzen on eBay?
Because they were two deer!
And even more jokes here, courtesy of WalesOnline -
Christmas cracker jokes.

Happy Poinsettia Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 12th December 2020

The day to enjoy poinsettias as they are a popular feature in many households on the run-up to Christmas. Today honors Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American diplomat who introduced the plant into the USA. He (Poinsett) served as a member of Congress and as secretary of state for war, he died near Statesburg, SC, 12th December 1851.
These red and striking plants became popular as houseplants in the mid-twentieth century, poinsettias are actually native to Mexico and Central America. As they usually bloom in December, they became a natural Christmas plant and have become the traditional flower for December.

Don't be an ass!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 11th December 2020

Some humour for today - Ho, Ho, Ho.
Answers on a postcard!

The Gordon Boswell Romany Museum

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 10th December 2020

Opened on the 25th February 1995 by Gordon and Margaret Boswell, the museum​ has the largest collection of Romany wagons and carts in the UK that is open to the public.
A unique experience for all the family, containing one of the country's finest collections of Romany Vardo's (gypsy caravans & carts) and Wardesko kola (harness) etc.
Sadly the museum is closed at this time due to Covid restrictions but hopefully will be open at Easter next year (please check before travelling).
More information here on their website.
In the meantime take a trip around the museum here with this short video clip.


Happy birthday Dame Judi Dench!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 9th December 2020

Born on this day in 1934 - Judith Olivia Dench.
Well known for her acting roles in - Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love and M in several James Bond films, she has received over six Laurence Olivier Awards for her contributions to the theatre. Described as a "National treasure" and a British acting icon!

The Murder of John Winston Lennon!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 8th December 2020

John Lennon died forty years ago today, aged 40!
An English singer, songwriter and peace activist he gained fame as  the founder, co-lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles.
At approximately 10.50 p.m. on 8th  December 1980, after a recording session, John & Yoko returned to their Manhattan home in a limousine. As they exited the vehicle and walked through the archway of the building he was shot twice in the back and twice in the shoulder  at very close range by Mark David Chapman. Lennon was taken in a police vehicle to the emergency dept of Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00 p.m. His massive legacy lives on in his music and as a peace activist.

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 7th December 2020

"A date which will live in infamy", was how President Franklin D. Roosevelt described a sudden and unexpected attack on the United States  naval station by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on 7th December 1941.

Japan aimed to prevent the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with its military actions in Asia. On the same day as the deadly and unprovoked attack, Japan invaded Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong and attacked the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island.

The air attack killed 2403 Americans and destroyed a number of battleships and other hardware, as well as important facilities at Pearl Harbor. It outraged the American people who responded by immediately declaring war on Japan. Adolf Hitler then responded by declaring war on the United States on 11th December, bringing America firmly into the war.
Some may say that the United States took their revenge On Japan on 6th August 1945, when an American B-29 bomber dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima killing 80,000 people and again three days later, a second bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000!

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 6th December 2020

St. Nicholas Day is today, Saint Nicholas lived in the country of Greece, a couple hundred years after the birth of Christ and today we celebrate Saint Nicholas and his life. He was well known for giving to people in need, especially children.
The Christmas practice of hanging up a stocking originated with Saint Nicholas, as the ancient legend states, Saint Nicholas was known to throw bags of gold coins into the open windows of poor homes. After a bag of gold fell into a children's stocking, news traveled fast and children soon began hanging their stockings up by their chimneys, hoping that St. Nicholas would repeat his generosity!
In the 1800's the spirit of St. Nicholas' life became our tradition of celebrating Christmas with Santa Claus and his kind generosity to children. Ho, Ho, Ho, merry Christmas!

Happy birthday Walter Elias Disney!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 5th December 2020

Born on this day in 1901 Walt Disney became a legend and pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced numerous developments in the production of his cartoons.
In the early 1920's he set up the Disney Studio with his brother Roy and of course the character Mickey Mouse in 1928 - followed by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, Pinocchio &  Fantasia in 1940, Dumbo 1941, and Bambi in 1942 and the show reel of successful movies and his legacy continues till this day!

Merry Christmas & thank you
West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 4th December 2020

A Tale of Safe & Well from WYFRS -
It's a pleasure to present our Christmas parody 'A Tale of Safe & Well'. ✨
🎤Performed by Firefighter Jon Arey & featuring Abi Austin with the Fixby Songbirds.
🎄Have a fantastic Christmas from everybody here at WYFRS & stay safe throughout the Festive season.
👍 Special thanks to The University Of Huddersfield for use of their studio & song production.
🙌Parody of the original song by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl.
Find all of our Christmas Safety information here - STAY SAFE

Band Aid - thirty six years ago today!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 3rd December 2020

1984 - "Do They Know It's Christmas" a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure and sung by Band Aid is released in the UK.
The record quickly becomes the fastest selling single in UK chart history, selling a million copies in seven days and passing three million sales on the last day of 1984.
The original version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" has sold 3.8 million copies in the UK to date and raised £8 million within twelve months of it's release!

Lockdown to lockdown!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 2nd December 2020

Boris Johnson has confirmed that England’s lockdown measures will end today (Wednesday 2nd December) but the nation will immediately enter a new three tier system of restrictions.
The new restrictions are a tougher version of the measures put in place in October, although there could be a temporary easing of measures around the Christmas period, at least we all hope so!
England’s tier system will be reviewed regularly in line with the government's latest data and they have a legal obligation to keep measures under continuous review. In the meantime let's all stay safe and well and with a vaccine on the horizon it looks like the end is now in sight!

It's December!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 1st December 2020

Only 24 shopping days till Christmas and we are now in the December countdown! Let's hope this awful pandemic is in decline and we can all meet up with family and friends over the festive period. Will it be a White Christmas this year?
Sadly, probably not - "we are more likely to see snow between January and March than in December, with snow or sleet falling an average 3.9 days in December, compared to 5.3 days in January, 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March!
And finally -
How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas?
Deep pan, crisp and even, Ho, Ho, Ho!

Happy birthday Winston Churchill.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 30th November 2020

Born on this day in 1874 - Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was a British statesman, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the UK from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and from 1951 to 1955. Apart from two years between 1922 and 1924, Churchill was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1900 to 1964 and represented a total of five constituencies. Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, he was for most of his career a member of the Conservative Party, as leader from 1940 to 1955. A great orator and leader, one of his many famous speeches - 
"I would say to the House... that I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: it is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: it is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival". The rest as they say is history!

Thomas Edison's Phonograph!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 29th November 2020

Thomas Edison was one of the greatest inventors and designers in history, inventor of the first light bulb, the motion picture camera and the phonograph - the first to actually reproduce a recorded sound.
He demonstrated his new apparatus on this day in 1877, having announced its invention several days before. As he turned the handle, and to the amazement of the assembled audience the machine said - "Good morning, how do you do, how do you like the phonograph?". Hence the machine spoke for itself, and introduced his phonograph to the world!

Horatio Nelson, from young boy to national hero!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 28th November 2020

1770 - On this day, a frail young boy (12 years old) stepped voluntarily into the naval world of disease, fear and uncertainty, but with a determination to make his mark in the world. He was the sixth of a typically large family (11 children) born to the wife of a vicar in the rural village of Burnham Norfolk.
His name, - Horatio Nelson and he was to become one of England’s greatest military leaders and a national hero.

One of his most stunning victories came in 1798 when, he commanded 14 ships, Nelson destroyed a French fleet of 17 ships in the Battle of Aboukir Bay at the mouth of the Nile.
His last and most famous victory came on 20th October 1805 when the French and Spanish fleets took to sea off the southern coast of Spain and the Battle of Trafalgar took place. Napoleon Bonaparte aimed to crush the British Navy and invade the country.
Before the battle began Nelson sent his famous signal to his ships, “England expects that every man will do his duty.”
They certainly did, 22 ships of the 33-strong Franco-Spanish fleet were destroyed, while the British lost not a single ship. The Battle of Trafalgar crushed Napoleon's hopes of establishing naval superiority over Great Britain.
But Nelson paid the ultimate price for his victory, he was shot by a French sniper as he stood on the deck of his ship, "Victory". Taken below decks, he died 3 hours later, he was 47!
Although a great man and national hero, Nelson was a small, standing only 5ft 4in  tall and of a slight build, surprisingly suffering from seasickness all his life!

The Fauld explosian.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27th November 2020

1944 - At around 11.00 a.m. on this day, what is generally considered to be Britain’s largest ever explosion occurred. Referred to as the “forgotten disaster” it is believed to have caused the deaths of at least 70 people. Approximately 4,000 shells detonated at  RAF Fauld arms depot near the village of Hanbury, Stoke-on-Trent, the  village was totally destroyed. The explosion left a crater with a depth of 100 feet and 250 yards across and is still visible south of Fauld, It is now known as the Hanbury Crater.
A nearby reservoir containing 450,000 cubic metres of water was destroyed in the explosion, along with numerous buildings including a complete farm. The subsequent flooding caused by the destruction of the reservoir added to the damage and death toll by drowning!
On 13th September 1990, 46 years after the explosion, it was announced that a stone was to be erected in memory of those who died, it was paid for by the public because Hanbury Parish Council did not have the necessary funds!


Courtesy of Tutbury Museum.

Simply the best!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 26th November 2020

Happy birthday Tina Turner 81 today. Born Anna Mae Bullock on this day in 1939 "the Queen of Rock" started her long career as one half of the duo the Ike & Tina Turner Revue before launching her solo and highly successful career. 
She has sold over 100 million records worldwide and is one of the best selling recording artists of all time!
Interestingly Tina has a Guinness world record for the largest paying audience (180,000) in 1988 as a solo performer which is not surprising with massive hits like - Private Dancer, What's Love Got to Do With It and of course "Simply the Best", which she certainly is!

Let it Go!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 25th November 2020

Can't believe this was 2013 (seven years ago today)!
Disney release the Original Motion Picture Sound track for the film "Frozen" it went on to receive a Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media in 2015 and Billboard Album of the Year 2014. Staring Elsa, Anna and Olaf the film achieved significant commercial success, grossing 1.280 billion dollars in worldwide box office revenue, including $400 million in the United States and Canada and $247 million in Japan. It went on to surpass Toy Story 3 (another Disney film) as the highest-grossing animated film at the time. By January 2015, Frozen had become the all-time best-selling Blu-ray Disc in the United States!
Altogether now - "Let it go, Let it Go"...............!

Freddie Mercury!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 24th November 2020

On this day in 1991 the world lost Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara) from Bronchopneumonia a complication of Aids.
A multi-talented singer, songwriter, record producer and lead vocalist with the rock band Queen, the flamboyant stage image and his four-octave vocal range made him one of the greatest singers in history! As front man with Queen his short and controversial life (45 years) was certainly full of excess, fun, laughter and lot's of talent.
His song "Barcelona" with Montserrat Caballe and Queen's huge hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" have gone down in rock and roll history.
RIP Freddie 1946 - 1991, enjoy the massive talent of Freddie in the video below.

National Cashew Day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 23rd November 2020

Well who knew that the humble cashew nut has it's own day!
The favorite snack and party nut is recognized each year on 23rd November on "National Cashew Day".
The popular cashew nut is seed harvested from the cashew tree, the tree originated in Northeastern Brazil, however it is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew apples and nuts.
Interestingly the cashew nut causes fewer allergic reactions than other nuts and especially peanuts!
Whereas peanuts, pecans, walnuts, and other nuts are sold in the shell, due to the toxic nature of the cashew nut’s shell, this is not safe. 
Well who doesn't love a cashew, well you'd be nuts not to!!

The murder of a US president!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 22nd November 2020

On this day shortly after noon in 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.
Excited people lined the streets and waved to the Kennedy's, as the car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza at around 12.30 in the afternoon.
As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository, the sound of gunfire filled the plaza, bullets struck the president's neck and head and he slumped over in the seat.
The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital just a few minutes away, but little could be done to save the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites, and at 1.00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead!
Subsequently police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald and his arrest, trial and guilty verdict have been the topic of conspiracy theories ever since, the rest as they say is history!

Is it too early to mention Christmas?

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 21st November 2020

Well to get you in the spirit for Christmas and ready to put your tree up, here are some Christmas cracker jokes!

*How much did Santa pay for his sleigh?
Nothing – it was on the house!
*What did Frosty the snowman say to the angry carrot?
“Get out of my face.”
*How did the Christmas bauble know that she had an addiction to Christmas? - She’d been hooked on Christmas trees all her life.
*What do you call a blind reindeer? - No-eye deer.
*What do you call people who are afraid of Santa?
Claustrophobic!
And finally -
Why did no one bid for Rudolph and Blitzen when Santa put them on eBay? - Because they were two deer!
Good luck with the decorations, mind you - to start so soon, you must be crackers!!

World Children's Day.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 20th November 2020

World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20th November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.
This is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
It’s time for generations to come together to re-imagine the type of world we want to create. On 20th November, kids will re-imagine a better world, what will you do?
Find out more here:

International Men's Day.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 19th November 2020

International Men’s Day seeks to raise awareness about mental health issues in men, as well as other health and societal issues, by encouraging men to open up and communicate with others. The traditional ideas of what masculinity means in society is changing, and needs to change, if vulnerable men are to be protected from these harmful conditions.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of forty-five. This is the case in many countries worldwide, including the UK, USA, Australia, and Russia. In term of statistics it seems that more women are diagnosed with depression more often than men but that men are more likely to commit suicide!
Learn more & donate here:

A Christmas present suggestion!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 18th November 2020

If your looking for a Christmas present for this year have a look at our Appleby Horse Fair 2020 DVD, packed with six hours of Appleby Horse Fair film spanning sixteen years (2004-2019).
This triple DVD set will keep you on the edge of your seat with the most exciting and compulsive viewing you will ever see!
Have a look at my website and watch a short video clip for a taster of what's to come!
Ready for immediate despatch and priced including postage.
Appleby Horse Fair 2020 DVD

National Epilepsy Day & International Students Day.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 17th November 2020

Well today we have two contenders for the 17th November!
National Epilepsy Day is observed today to focus on the epilepsy disease, its symptoms and prevention. Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. Anyone can develop epilepsy it affects both males and females of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
And - "International Students' Day" is an observance of the student community, held every year. Originally commemorating the Czech universities which were stormed by Nazis in 1939 and the students who were subsequently killed and sent to concentration camps, now marked by a number of universities as a nonpolitical celebration of the multiculturalism of their international students.
Find out more about Epilepsy and how you can help here:

The 1918 Flu Pandemic.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 16th November 2020

Well this one was a surprise for me!
The Brevig Mission is a tiny ocean-side settlement in Alaska which, in 1918, had 80 adult inhabitants. During the five-day period starting November 16, 1918, 72 of them were killed by the influenza pandemic then raging across the world.
The pandemic, commonly referred to  as "Spanish Flu"
was to cause possibly 50 million deaths, some estimates claiming a global death toll as high as 100 million!
Those between the ages of 20 to 40 were the most vulnerable, the virus so savage that a victim might show no symptoms in the morning but be dead by nightfall!
Three more pandemics would occur before Corona virus would send the world spinning in 2020. They were - the 1957 H2N2 pandemic “Asian flu” causing 1.1 million deaths worldwide; the 1968 H3N2 pandemic “Hong Kong flu” with 1 million deaths; and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic "swine flu” with up to 575,000 deaths.
The photo below from 1918 could so easily have been taken today, note the sign "wear a mask or go to jail"!

Relax it's Sunday, something to make you smile!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 15th November 2020

Last Sunday, my wife asked me to pass her lipstick to her...
I mistakenly gave her a glue stick, she still hasn't spoken to me since!

So a Sunday School teacher asks her class where Jesus is.
Little Susie says, “In Heaven!”
Little Amy says, “In my heart!”
Little Johnny says, “In my bathroom!”
Perplexed, the Sunday School teacher asks little Johnny why Jesus would be in his bathroom.
“I don’t know, I just hear my dad every morning banging on the bathroom door and yelling ‘Jesus Christ are you still in there?!"

An old married couple are in church one Sunday..
when the woman turns to her husband and says - “I’ve just let out a really long, silent fart. What should I do?”.
The husband turned to her and says - “Replace the battery in your hearing aid.”

And finally - Why couldn't the lifeguard save the drowning hippie? He was too far out, man!!
Well on that note, it's goodbye from me and it's goodbye from me - have a peaceful Sunday.

Can you help Joe Hodgson?

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 14th November 2020

If anyone can help out a friend in his hour of need, please donate below. Joe Hodgson owns and runs Joe's Owl Encounters & Exotic Mobile Zoo and is having a tough time generating enough money to feed his birds and animals.
"Founded in 2014, Joe's Exotic Animal Rescue that provides a permanent home to a large variety of unwanted and neglected exotic animals from all kinds of backgrounds."
Have a look at his website (link below) and please help with a donation, no matter how small it will all help Joe and his sanctuary. Please - Donate here

Friday the 13th!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 13th November 2020

Why is Friday the 13th unlucky? Well, the truth is that no one's sure where the exact origin of the superstition comes from.
The number 13 and Friday both have a long history of bringing bad luck - and it's the combination of the two that makes the day the most feared. Some hotels will not have a room No 13, while a lot of high rise buildings don't have a 13th floor, jumping straight from 12 to 14, and some airlines also don't to have a row 13 in their planes too. Many think that the reason for the number 13's bad luck comes from the Bible - Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is thought to have been the 13th guest to sit down to the Last Supper! Well what ever the reason - be careful out there.

The Loch Ness Monster!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 12th November 2020

It all started on the 12th November 1933 when a photo taken by Hugh Gray of "something in the loch" was brought to worldwide attention. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with a number of disputed photographs and sonar readings. Gray had taken his Labrador dog for a short walk that day and it is believed that the photograph depicts his dog fetching a stick from the loch! Many have suggested that the photo is of an otter or a swan. The original negative was lost, however in 1963, Maurice Burton came across two lantern slides from the original negative and when projected onto a screen revealed an "otter rolling at the surface in characteristic fashion". One thing is certain, whether a monster exists or not it has certainly been instrumental in the number of tourists visiting Scotland and indeed Loch Ness! Maybe one day we will discover the truth about this mythological and extremely Shy creature!

Armistice day!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 11th November 2020

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11th November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne (France) at 5:45 am and the end of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, this took effect at 11.00 in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918!
The first Armistice Day was held at Buckingham Palace, with King George V hosting a Banquet in Honour of Georges Clemenceau the President of the French Republic during the evening of 10th November 1919. The first official Armistice Day was was held the following morning in the grounds of Buckingham Palace on the 11th November 1919, which included a two-minute silence as a mark of respect for those who died in the war and those who survived.
Download your poppy poster and please make a donation to the Royal British Legion - "Money kindly donated during the Poppy Appeal supports veterans, Forces personnel and their families who have served and sacrificed throughout the generations, providing aid in many forms – from bereavement support to homelessness and everything in between. It funds crucial charity work for those in need". Please donate here:-

Television Premiere of Sesame Street!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 10th November 2020

On this day in 1969 saw the Muppeteer and Filmmaker
Jim Henson launch Sesame Street with characters like Kermit the Frog, Cookie Monster and the Grouch. Later the "The Muppet Show" was launched on TV in 1976 and continued till 1981. From this success the big screen was next with big films - "The Muppet Movie" in 1979 with those much loved characters Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo which have since become legends and part of popular culture. Sadly Jim Henson died unexpectedly of streptococcus pneumonia at the age of 53, RIP.
Enjoy the genius that is Jim Henson and the Muppets musical gang with their rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, possibly better than the original!!

Goody, Goody, Yum, Yum!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 9th November 2020

On this day in 1970 The Goodies made their television debut on the BBC with their zany sense of humour. The Goodies was the creation of Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor. Having had a big audience for their children's show, "Broaden Your Mind", they were let loose on a series with the simple premise that the trio were an agency offering to do "anything, anywhere, any time" - a premise they abandoned as soon as they could, leaving behind a tale of three very different men, all living in a giant office-cum-laboratory, usually either completely broke or amazingly rich, and always coming up with whacky schemes.
Enjoy the short Goodie film clip from the 1970s!

Happy birthday Roy Wood!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 8th November 2020

Born in 1946 Roy Wood is an English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he was well known in the 1960s and 1970s as member and co-founder of The Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. Altogether he has had more than 20 singles in the UK Singles Chart, including three UK No 1 hits and recently accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 as a leading member of Electric Light Orchestra. Is it too early to mention Christmas? Well his most famous and a big  favourite of mine is the seasonal Wizzard single "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday". Roy Wood currently lives in the former Howard Arms public house in Cubley, Derbyshire, so happy birthday Roy Wood and let's hope it isn't last orders for this multi-talented artist!
Click to enjoy - See My Baby Jive on Top of the Pops in 1973

"Every poppy makes a difference to the lives of our Armed Forces community!"

Author

The Royal British Legion

Published

 7th November 2020

Lets support our armed forces this year and give them a boost! - From the Royal British Legion website - "Like so many things this year, the Poppy Appeal has had to adapt to the threat of Covid-19. We're calling on the public to support us like never before, because every poppy counts".
"As millions of people across the UK are now unable to leave their homes to find a poppy, and with collectors unable to carry out face to face collections, we've unveiled a range of new ways for people to show their support remotely".
Please donate here and support our service men and women-
The Royal British Legion

Life on a Narrowboat DVD by Mike Barrett Productions.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 6th November 2020

Ever wondered what life is like living on a narrowboat ?
The everyday life of Graham, Vera and Meg (their dog) living on Penny Peace a narrowboat on the canals.
In this programme I spent 6 days living with them as we travelled the Peak Forest and Macclesfield waterways, it includes the Bosley Locks and the Harecastle Tunnel.
A look at a very peacefull and different lifestyle away from the rat race of modern life.
Programme 120 minutes DVD  at only £9.95 including postage.
Have a look at a short video clip here:-  LIFE ON A NARROWBOAT

Remember Remember the Fifth of November!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 5th November 2020

We all remember and celebrate the 5th November 1605 when Guy Fawkes or Guido Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives his co-conspirators  had placed in a cellar beneath the House of Lords. in Celebration of the fact that King James I had survived an attempt to end his monarchy, people lit bonfires all over London, and a few months later, the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day and holiday of thanksgiving for the plot's failure. It seems rather odd that we celebrate an act of terrorism, whereas in fact we commemorate it's failure by burning an effigy on a bonfire of one of the plotters "Guy Fawkes" or the guy!
Guy Fawkes was caught, tortured and eventually confessed to his part in the plot to blow up the House of Lords.
Prior to his execution on 31st of January, Fawkes fell from the scaffold and broke his neck, thus avoiding the horrific pain of being hanged, drawn and quartered!

Barack Obama - first black president of the USA!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 4th November 2020

On this day in 2008 history was made as Barack Obama became the first person of biracial or African-American descent to be elected President of the United States. And now the race is on again as Donald Trump and Joe Biden fight it out to reach the Whitehouse and gain (or retain) the American Presidency! Whilst you're reading this you may already know who that is likely to be, but vote counting may take days or even weeks before we know the result. In 2000 it was a month before George W Bush was declared the winner after a Supreme Court ruling, so don't hold your breath!

Laika the space dog launched into space 63 Years ago today.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 3rd November 2020

On this day in 1957, the Soviet Union sent a dog named Laika into space on board the satellite Sputnik 2. The satellite weighed 1,120 lbs and was packed with scientific instruments and a cabin for Laika, the small stray dog taken from the streets of Moscow.
Unfortunately this was a suicide mission for Laika, the satellite was never designed to return home and the Telemetry data beamed back to earth showed that Laika survived the launch and four days in orbit but then died when the cabin overheated.
Other sources say overheating occurred and the death of the dog only five or six hours into the mission.
The poor deceased dog did return to earth on 14th April 1958, when it re-entered the earths atmosphere after Sputnik 2's batteries died.
Many people reportedly saw a fiery trail as it flew over New York and reached the Amazon region in just ten minutes during its re-entry.
Three years later cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (Soviet Union) was the first person to reach space on an orbital mission — and return safely back to Earth!
RIP Laika the poor stray Russian dog who became a space pioneer, legend and the first person into space (if a dog is a person)!

Something to make you smile in these difficult times!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 2nd November 2020

As the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a four week lockdown across England to try to keep Coronavirus at bay here are some jokes to make you smile:-
Why are atoms like politicians? - Because they make up everything!
Why are pirates called pirates? - Because they arrgh!
What do you call a pony with a cough? - A little horse!
Why do cows wear bells? - Because their horns don't work!
A website said I needed a password eight characters long - I picked Snow White and the seven dwarfs!
What do you call a small mother? - A minimum!
And if you think these are bad watch Tim Vine live at the Apollo below!
Enjoy, stay safe and well and above all try to smile as we will get through this, Mike X

Happy Birthday Jim Steinman!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 1st November 2020

James Richard Steinman born on this day in 1947, is an American composer, lyricist, record producer, and playwright. 
His work includes such albums as Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell, (one of the best selling albums of all time), Bat Out of Hell II, Back into Hell, and albums for Bonnie Tyler. His most successful chart singles, Tyler's - "Total Eclipse of the Heart", Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)", the Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion" and "More", Barry Manilow's "Read 'Em and Weep" & Celine Dion's cover of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now".
In 2004 Steinman suffered a stroke and lost the ability to speak and had to learn how to speak all over again.
Long may he continue to produce chart topping music which we all love and sing along to, happy birthday Jim Steinman!

Halloween (tonight's the night)!!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 31st October 2020

But where did it all begin? 
Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, the Celts lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and northern France, here they celebrated their new year on 1st November.
Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, was a holiday observed on 31st October the evening before All Saints (or All Hallows) Day. This celebration marks the day before the Christian feast of All Saints and starts the season of "Allhallowtide", which lasts three days and ends with All Souls Day.
Celts believed that on the night before the new year (tonight), the area between the worlds of the living and the dead became less defined and a way for ghouls, spirits and ghosts of the dead to crossover over into the world of the living. Spooky, spooky!

Interestingly, one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the United States is purchased for Halloween celebrations - but then the american's make a big thing of Halloween (remember the film ET)!
Whatever you do tonight, stay safe, wear a mask (if needed) and observe social distancing & as the comedian Dave Allen used to say "may your god go with you"!

Two of the greatest showmen have something in common!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 30th October 2020

On this day in 1873 Phineas Taylor Barnum better known as P. T. Barnum who's circus "The Greatest Show on Earth" debuted in New York City. You will know him from the recent film "The Greatest Showman starring  Hugh Jackman as P T Barnum.

And the other great showman - Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou better known as George Michael who in 1987 released his debut album "Faith" which to date has sold a massive 20 million copies worldwide and numerous accolades. But more impressivly he has sold 200 million records making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. So arguably two of the worlds greatest showmen have something in common!

International Internet Day.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 29th October 2020

The very first electronic message was sent  by a programmer Charles S. Kline on the 29th October 1969 from a University in California, Los Angeles to Stanford Research Institute.
Where would we be without the internet (well not reading my blog), it's hard to imagine today’s world without it. Today offers us the chance to celebrate the pioneers who built the internet and to reflect on how our world has changed, for good or bad, you decide. Happy Internet Day!

 HAPPY
 INTERNET
          DAY
               

James Blunt - Monsters (watch the Official Video).
.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 28th October 2020

I have always liked James Blunt, actually Blount but changed as an easier to pronounce stage name (who knew)!
He wrote this song (from the Once Upon A Mind album) for his father, Colonel Charles Blount who has stage four chronic kidney disease, James revealed the illness  during the making of this emotional music video with his dad.

The lyrics  - 'I'm not your son, your not my father, we're just two grown men saying goodbye. No need to forgive, no need to forget, I know your mistakes, and you know mine'.

"It's an incredibly emotional song and one that tells him he's much more than just a father - he's my friend and I love him dearly,"
James said - "I got to make this video with him, which for me, is fantastic because I've just got to capture him on film but there I was, on set, with a crew crying on set and me crying my eyes out and the only person not crying was my father saying 'hang on what are you all doing I'm still here!"

James has two young boys which he says inspired him with the lyrics - "It's my turn to chase the monsters away". "I was only able to write that as a lyric because I have my own little children, and understand what it is they're afraid of."
Watch this emotional but "beautiful" video (another Blunt Song) right to the end, which had me in tears (doesn't take much)  - so have your tissues ready, you have been warned!

 Watch the video here:

James Blunt (from his video)







Hand made models by John A C Golightly.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 27th October 2020

Beautiful hand made model vardos, drays, Bowtops, USA Gypsy trailers & wagons with incredible detail. John can make to order or choose from his stock selection, each one takes hours and hours of painstaking work with absolute attention to detail as you can see in the selection of photos below!
If you would like more information please go to John's Facebook page here:- John A C Golightly

The Polaroid instant camera.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 26th October 2020

On this day (26th October) 1972 Edwin Land introduced the first truly instant camera the Polaroid SX-70 at an event in Miami Florida. The camera was a single lens reflex produced by the Polaroid Corporation and each photo pack contained 10 photos as well as a new battery (enough for the 10 photos) so you never had a flat battery. This was a revolution in photography the instant photo popped out of the front of the camera and developed in your hand within ten minutes (depending on ambient temperature) you then removed the backing paper to reveal your "instant" photo". I owned a later version of this camera the SLR680 which I used to take a photograph of customers hiring expensive equipment as an insurance policy for its return.
Also known as the Land camera after its developer Edwin Land, it was produced between 1972 to 1981 and in 2008 Polaroid ceased manufacture of "instant film" and hence the demise of the format, RIP.

Some humour to make you smile in these difficult times!

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 25th October 2020

You  have to smile at this Border Collie photo, ewe can't pull the wool over this lad (or lassies) eyes! Taken from Facebook so credit to the author (unknown)!

The Gordon Boswell Romany Museum.

Author

Mike Barrett

Published

 24th October 2020

Love this photo of Gordon & Margaret Boswell on their way to Appleby and cooking around a camp fire (yog). Gordon sadly no longer with us but Margaret is still continuing with the family museum in Spalding, hopefully it will be open next year (check before travelling)! Link here The Gordon Boswell Romany Museum

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