My Titanic Story

Our family has no connection to the Titanic, but there was a strange eerie coincidence. Several years ago my brother and I went to see one of the Titanic exhibitions which displayed articles that had been brought up from the wreck.
As you entered the exhibition you were given a 'boarding pass' with the name of a member of the crew or a passenger. I had a woman who survived the sinking, my brother had a carpenter from Cornwall who didn't.

What was strange was that in February 1913, just ten months after the Titanic our grandfather sailed to America en route to Canada ... and he was a carpenter from Cornwall.

Winter visitor

Not sure if this is due to the cold weather, but walking back from meeting this morning I saw a Little Egret in a stream. What's really strange is this was in the middle of town with houses around. I can remember when they were incredibly rare, and it was still startling to see one.

Bringing the sunshine

Since it's absolutely perishing at the moment, I was thinking back to when I was warm in the summer. And the warmest time was in Boston, so thought I'd post a few pictures to bring a bit of sunshine - like Morecambe and Wise! When I came back in June I posted some pictures of the WAFA Show we went to, but we also visited around Boston. We stayed with some friends who took us on some trips, a great treat since we couldn't have managed that ourselves. Theoretically I could have hired a car, but driving in Boston just looks insane, so it wasn't going to happen. Having a local driver meant we could get out of the city, and then look back at the Boston skyline:

Boston skyline

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whither are we going

A small meme

From frivol

"I'm running a test (not really - it's just a meme) to see who's reading my posts. So, if you read this, leave me a one-word comment about your day that starts with the third letter of your LJ USERNAME. Only one word please. Then repost so I can leave a word for you. Don't just post a word and not copy - that's not as much fun!"

No obligation, anyone. :)

"The Artist"

Just been to see the new silent film The Artist and found it unique and very witty. From the opening credits, which use the same typeface and format as the old 20s and 30s films, you're drawn into the world of the silent film. After a few minutes you forget it's in black and white, and when they do use real sound it's startling and discordant after the music of the soundtrack which has been doing so much to tell the story.

There are lots of call-outs to old films, the star "George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, is a combination of John Gilbert, Rudolf Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks. You get a Keystone Kops moment, a bit of swash-buckling, an actor disappearing into quicksand, a call-out to the first sound scenes in "Singing in the Rain" with the fixed microphones, and a very clever dog, like the terrier in the 'Thin Man' films. There was also a cheerful dig at the historical inaccuracy of the old films, where after a sword fight with costumes reminiscent of the Three Musketeers, Napoleon suddenly stands up :-)

They have a lot of fun with the idea of talking in pictures - the opening scene shows the hero being filmed in a scene where he is fiendishly tortured, and the intertitle (a word I never knew before!) comes up with "I'll never talk". But he does, right at the end, and with just the right words.

Trevithick's Tunnel

Here's an fascinating article about attempts to build a tunnel under the Thames.
I would probably have found it of interest by itself, but it also sheds a bit more light on a local hero from my home town in Cornwall - Richard Trevithick. It strikes me that he was a bit like Charles Babbage who came up with the idea of a computer; the resources of the time were not enough to accomplish his ideas.
Makes you wonder if there are geniuses out there nowadays who look like failures because the facilities to implement their ideas just aren't available at the moment.

Genographic Project

I've just seen someone's post about the National Geographic's Genographic Project and it reminded me that several years ago I took part in this. IBM was providing support for the project which meant we could get the kit for a cheaper price than on the website.

So I took the cheek swab and sent if off, and found our maternal family is part of Haplogroup H, which is basically your bog-standard European. All our ancestors hung out around the Mediterranean during the last Ice Age and then spread back up when the temperatures rose. Since I'm female they can only test the maternal DNA, and I'd need a male relative tested to be able to find out if the paternal side is any different. I wonder if they're still doing the cheap kits ...

An easy New Year Resolution

If you've already failed to keep your New Year Resolutions then here's an easy one that you can do in 5 minutes: Join the Organ Donor Register and don't forget to tell your next-of-kin.

If you're not in the UK it should only take a few seconds Googling to find your donor register ... and you're never too old. They may not take all of you, but there's still bits of you they can use, if you die in your bed at the age of 102 :-)