MIKE'S BLOG

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

Welcome to my new blog.

Author

Mike Barrett

First published (welcome to my new blog)

 (23rd October 2020)

Welcome to my new 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!

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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