Winston Churchill, “The River War”

A quote from an 1899 book by Winston Churchill, “The River War,” in which he describes Muslims observed during Kitchener’s campaign in the Sudan:  Poetic licence below, by person unknownimages-1

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity.”

“The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science – the science against which it had vainly struggled – the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”images-2

Direct quote from Winston Churchill in 1948, that may well fit in with the threat facing the Western world this day.      Yours Aye

Whats in your Ration Pack-MRE?

Just a few meal selections taken from military ration packs – meals ready to eat, from various countries around the world.     The best has been saved for last…1-620xSpain. The Spanish lunch pack has cans of green beans with ham, squid in vegetable oil, and pate. There is also a sachet of powdered vegetable soup, peach in syrup for dessert and crackers handed out to go with the meal in place of bread (not shown). There is a disposable heater with matches and fuel tabs, as well as lots of tablets: Vitamin C, glucose, water purification, and rehydration.2-620xU.S. Almond poppy-seed pound cake, cranberries, spiced apple cider (the hot US non-alcoholic drink) and peanut butter and crackers make up this very American meal package. The main – pasta with vegetable “crumbles” in spicy tomato sauce – is less traditional, but the “flameless heater” shows off American tech skills – just add water to the powder in a plastic bag and it heats up enough to warm the plastic meal pouch.3-620xNorway. The Norwegian pack has American technology (the flameless heater) but British tastes. There is Earl Grey tea, beans and bacon in tomato sauce, a golden oatie biscuit and Rowntree’s Tooty Frooties.4-620xItaly. The Italian ration pack contains a breakfast shot of 40% alcohol cordial, a powdered cappuccino, lots of biscotti, and a disposable camping stove for heating parts of the meal, including a pasta and bean soup, canned turkey and a rice salad. Dessert is a power sport bar, canned fruit salad or a muesli chocolate bar.5-620xAustralia. The Australian ration pack has more small treats than any of the others. Most of it is packaged by the military, from a serving of love-it-or-hate-it Vegemite to jam sandwich biscuits and a tube of sweetened condensed milk. The bag includes a can-opener-cum-spoon for getting at the Fonterra processed cheddar cheese, and main meals of meatballs and chilli tuna pasta. There are lots of sweets and soft drinks, and two unappetising-looking bars labelled “chocolate ration”.6-620xGreat Britain. The British pack is dotted with familiar brands from Kenco coffee and Typhoo tea to a mini bottle of Tabasco. The main courses include the British favourite, chicken tikka masala, and a vegetarian pasta. There’s also pork and beans for breakfast, and lots of sweets and snacks from trail mix to an apple “fruit pocket” that looks like it might not be out-of-place in a school lunchbox. Plus packets of Polos and, of course, plenty of teabags.7-620xEstonia. Stuffed peppers, chicken-meat pâté, smoked sprats, and liver sausage with potatoes make an eclectic menu here. Plus, crispbreads on the side, and halva with vanilla for dessert. Breakfast is muesli, a fruit pocket and honey.8-620xCanada. While there are Bear Paws snacks in the Canadian ration pack, there’s the shocking omission of maple syrup. You have the choice of salmon fillet with Tuscan sauce or vegetarian couscous for the main meal. There is also the makings of a peanut butter and jelly (raspberry jam) sandwich for breakfast.9-620xGermany. The German ration pack contains several sachet’s of grapefruit and exotic juice powder to add to water, and Italian biscotti, but also more familiar treats such as liver-sausage spread and rye bread, goulash with potatoes, and for breakfast sour cherry and apricot jams.10-620xFrance. A streamlined but sophisticated French ration pack offers soldiers deer pâté, cassoulet with duck confit, creole-style pork and a crème chocolate pudding. There is also a disposable heater, some coffee and flavoured drink powder, muesli for breakfast and a little Dupont d’Isigny caramel.11-620xSingapore. The offerings in the Singapore pack were sparse despite its reputation for high-quality cuisine. There were a paltry three dishes, of Szechuan chicken noodles; a mushroom, basil, rice and chicken dish; and soya milk with red-bean dessert.Russki ration packimagesRussia. Things have improved drastically since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Each ration box now comes with 6 litres of Vodka, as opposed to just 2 litres of siphoned jet fuel soaked in black bread.              OK so I made this one up ;-)

And there we have it. No doubt a little bit of ‘this and that’ selected from each countries ration-pack would actually form some thing acceptable, and possibly palatable for a while. Though you would have a fight on your hands trying to take the Russkies vodka. “Nazdaróvye!”      Yours Aye.

Sarah Lee and David Levene, Tuesday 18 February 2014 18.26 GMT

Radical Islam ignored through ignorance

World attacks Israel but ‘just ignores’ terrifying rise of radical Islam. ONE of Britain’s most-respected authors has warned the world is ‘ignorantly’ blaming Israel for the Gaza conflict, while turning a blind eye to radical Islamists killing thousands of innocent people around the world. The former Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, Douglas Murray, claims the world is staying silent about Islamic extremism and instead obsessing about Israel’s recent response to unprovoked rocket attacks by Hamas. He added that anti-Israel protests taking place in cities worldwide were developing further discrimination and hatred against Jews.189542Douglas Murray’s with Canadian TV channel Sun News In an interview with Canadian TV channel Sun News, Mr Murray, who wrote the widely respected but disturbing book Islamophilia, defended Israel’s attack on Gaza and called those across the globe damning the war as “ignorant”. He said: “If you don’t believe that Israel has the right to stop a group that has proposed repeatedly since its existence that it wants to annihilate Israel, if you believe that Israel doesn’t have the right to try and stop this enemy, then of course you don’t believe Israel has the right to exist, you believe Israel has the right to die.” Daily Express-Douglas Murray ‘My fear for Jews worldwide following Gaza conflict protest.’-497367Watching protesters marching through London (as well as Western European cities) really hacked me off, as there were various HAMAS flags being held aloft, with supporters  wearing the same adorned around their necks triumphantly. HAMAS is a terrorist organisation, and those supporting it in any way shape or form should face the consequences. As for people of the Jewish faith holding posters stating they are ashamed to be Israeli, I say this; you can always denounce your faith, turn your back on your own people, pick up the book of hypocrisy, and swear your allegiance to those who would otherwise like to see you dead and buried, or simply become a gentile…           Yours Aye.

Hotter than the peppers Peter Piper ate

We all woke up to a beautiful cool breeze this morning, which by lunchtime turned into light rain that was forecast correctly. Unfortunately the thunderstorm that hit 20 miles away created a power surge that took out my electrical supply, and that of the surrounding area.
 ‘No problem,’ extra walks for the dogs, and a fine pot of tea upon our return brewed up using my emergency back up system.peppers

Late afternoon the sun popped out as was forecast, knocking the mercury up into the mid 80′s, just as the power jumped back in. ‘Problem!’ The whole heating system required purging due to a fuel-oil blockage, which meant cranking the heating up to 35 deg’s F for 3 hours until the blockage burned through the system. It is now 22:00hrs BST and I am throwing the towel in, just as the canines did 5 hours ago… 3 hot dogs

I’m jolly well off to sit outside and join them for a cool down, I may not be back until the morrow.      Yours Aye.

Three ‘hot dogs’ ;-)

Dis-respectful Respect Party

The following video clip of George Galloway, the MP for Bradford West, at a ‘Respect Party’ meeting in Leeds at the weekend:       Source Guido Fawkes galloway  “We have declared Bradford an Israel free zone. We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.” George Galloway: speech on Gaza-Israel war; Leeds August 2014 

For the sake of balance; on the other side of the coin we have Pat Condell, who may not be every bodies cup of tea (especially disliked by Islamic extremists due to his precise ‘as it is’ speeches.) I for one would wish to see him as UKIP’s Foreign Secretary. Take it away Pat, your 6 minute 34 second ‘nailed it once again’ clip is worth a thousand words… Pat Condell FOI“Israel doesn’t owe a biased world any explanation for defending itself against murderers.” Pat Condell; Hypocrisy over Gaza August 2014

Referring to Galloway’s quoted rant above; kindly take out the word ‘Israeli’ and then insert the words ‘Muslim,’ or ‘Gay,’ into the same rant. We should rightly expect a series of complaints that would bring forth an investigation into a hate crime. It is my humble opinion that Galloway is yet another despicable champagne socialist.            Yours Aye.

(The Respect Party is a far-left political party in the United Kingdom founded in 2004. Its name is a contrived acronym standing for Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community and Trade Unionism. RESPECT; you can kiss my sunburnt arse!)

Just in from BREITBART London: Yorkshire Police are to launch an investigation into comments made by the Respect MP George Galloway, who was caught on video standing in front of a Palestinian flag, declaring Bradford an “Israel-free zone”.

“Pass the Mustard, please.”

Colman’s Mustard celebrates 200 years on Britain’s tables with fascinating archive of photos and adverts showing how it went from strength to strength.article-2717690-204CA2AA00000578-547_964x427An 1884 Victorian label: A staple of the British kitchen is celebrating its anniversary this year. Archivist’s research reveals the 200 year history of Colman’s Mustard. A fascinating archive documenting how Colman’s Mustard impacted on the people living and working in Norwich has been uncovered to mark the 200th anniversary of the product. The gallery of vintage pictures which shows the rise of the condiment to a favourite kitchen staple includes photographs, posters, leaflets and articles dating back to 1814. The popular product was founded by former flour miller Jeremiah Colman and sold as a powder for people to mix into a paste.      Colman’s recipes…article-2717690-204C9DD300000578-580_964x805Hand tinted glass plate showing thousands of workers leaving Norfolk’s Carrow works in 1900: The gallery of vintage pictures dates back to 1814.  The first newspaper advert for the family firm from the time makes up part of the archive. It reads: ‘Jeremiah Colman, having taken the Stock and Trade lately carried on by Mr Edward James, respectfully informs his customers and the public in general that he will continue the manufacturing of mustard.’ His nephew, James, joined the company in 1823, and the firm was rebranded as J. and J. Colman. Employees worked long hours but had access to a clothing club, school and an abundance of leisure activities. Colman’s Mustard celebrates 200 yearsarticle-2717690-204CC43800000578-777_964x1647I remember my Dad letting me taste a bit off the tip of his finger when I was around 5-years-old; I approved wholeheartedly, and from that day forth any meat placed before me has a dollop upon it. It travelled with me throughout my service life to enhance 24 hour ration packs, as well as provide back up in various dining halls. In 20 minutes time it will be spread across my Aberdeen Angus beef and herb sausages. Française namby-pamby moutarde is banned from my humble abode.             “Pass the Mustard, please.” Yours Aye.

Priceless Joe Biden strikes again

Gaffe-tastic Joe Biden thinks ‘Africa’ is a country, not a continent!article-2717393-2049362100000578-732_634x426 Gaffe #4,281: US Vice President Joe Biden told the US-Africa Business Forum on Tuesday that the ‘Nation’ of Africa should be among the world’s great economic powers… Vice President Joe Biden wants everyone to know that he has high hopes for the ‘Nation’ of Africa. Biden isn’t just a walking gaffe machine – he’s a walking gaffe top-ten list. So when he goofed at Tuesday’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum, and there was no F-bomb involved, it didn’t make headlines.   < < < ‘plink’ > > > The sound of a pin dropping…article-2717393-204A120D00000578-152_634x380 Not impressed: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sits with (from right to left) Djbouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and other African leaders during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington images

But gaffe he did, in front of 50 world leaders and their entourages at the event held on the sidelines of President Barack Obama’s U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit. “If Africa’s governance and institutions can put its people in a position commensurate with their possibilities, the sky is the limit,” the V.P said Tuesday. “I mean, it is limitless.”​ “There’s no reason the Nation of Africa cannot and should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations in the near term, in the decades ahead. There is simply no reason. Joe Biden thinks ‘Africa’ is a country, not a continent!

For any 5-year-olds reading this; Africa is a ‘Continent’ made up of 54 separate ‘Countries’ that includes island ‘Nations’ off its coastlines. Keep them coming Joe…      Yours Aye.

Head down, chest out, and charge…

DSC_0017This mornings early hedgerow walk with Nipper resulted in numerous lumps and bumps around his eyes, snout, muzzle, and chest, that have since stopped irritating thanks to a solution of ‘Anthisan’ wash and cream. The lumpy rash being the grand result of stinging nettles brought about from his constant rabbit hole foraging.

He is totally fearless when it comes to the chase, each of which results in failure, as it’s the chase that matters, not the capture. Although he returns upon command I fear he will attempt a crack at the rabbits that use their escape route through the wild rose patch, the thorns of which are true wait-a-while’s. (You will ‘wait a while’ until someone cuts you free!)wait awhile thorns

Drastic times call for drastic measures… Personally I would never dress my Staffie’s up for show though each have their own black harness that obviously is a practical piece of kit for the great outdoors. Last summer in broad daylight I saw a ‘French Poodle’ being walked through a park in York. Unbelievably the owner and the dog were wearing matching coloured outfits, the dog was dressed in a purple tutu, while the owner wore a purple T-shirt, and matching skinny jeans. It being a French Poodle the sight didn’t take me by surprise, some things are meant to be?  ;-)  Boxer model shown belowDoggles-Dog-Goggles-1I have since spent over an hour trawling the w.w.w. perusing various items that may well save Nipper from himself. My solution to Nipper’s harrying tactics may prove comical, but it could prove practical in the long run. It is with a heavy heart that I place the order…. Yours Aye.

Justin Beiber ‘Baby’

188159-1Man saved from bear attack – thanks to his Justin Bieber ringtone! FISHERMAN Igor Vorozhbitsyn is lucky to be alive – after his Justin Bieber ringtone went off while he was being attacked by a bear. 

Mr Vorozhbitsyn, 42, thought he was a goner when the brown bear pounced on him as he was walking to a favourite fishing spot in northern Russia’s Yakutia Republic. But as the bear began to claw at him, Mr Vorozhbitsyn’s mobile went off and the beast turned tail and fled back into the forest.

Wildlife experts believe the ringtone – according to local media the singer’s hit ‘Baby’ – must have startled the bear into halting its attack. “Sometimes a sharp shock can stop an angry bear in its tracks and that ringtone would be a very unexpected sound for a bear,” explained one.     ‘Baby Justin’ apos-ser-preso-por-dirigir-alcoolizado-justin-bieber-virou-piada-na-internet-a-foto-onde-aparece-sorrindo-ao-ser-fichado-virou-alvo-de-montagens-feitas-pelos-internautas-1390519679735_500x500 Mr Vorozhbitsyn suffered from cuts and severe bruises to his face and chest and was rescued when he was found by other fishermen after using the phone to call for help. Mr Vorozhbitsyn – now recovering from his mauling – said: “I had parked my car and was walking towards the spot I’d marked out when there was a tremendous impact on my back and the bear was on top of me. “I couldn’t believe my luck when the phone went off and he fled. “I know that sort of ringtone isn’t to everyone’s taste but my granddaughter loaded it onto my phone for a joke,” he added.

He’s one brave honest man owning up like that! I’d rather have let the bear eat me than admit to having a Justin Beiber ring tone on my mobile phone… ;-)          Yours Aye.

Original story from the Daily Express Published: Tue, August 5, 2014

Royal Air Force humanity and splendour

Images which lay bare the humanity and splendour of the Royal Air Force. Members of the public can for the first time vote for their favourite image representing Britain’s Royal Air Force. Air force chiefs are inviting people to decide which picture from the RAF Photographic Competition captures the essence of the service.1407173286172_wps_25_Undated_MoD_handout_photo‘Warming Up for D-Day’: The photograph was taken as this newly painted BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) Spitfire was returning from its maiden flight in D-Day colours.1407173573515_wps_33_Undated_MoD_handout_photo 

Each year stunning photographs of servicemen and women are published following the annual competition, which is judged by leading figures in the photographic industry. But this year, in a first for the Armed Forces, the public can have their say by voting in an online poll.

Judges have selected a shortlist of nine images from among the various categories of the competition, which admits entries from military and civilian photographers working in public relations for the RAF.  ‘A breath of fresh air’1407173518629_wps_32_Undated_MoD_handout_photo‘Shark Attack’: An RAF Typhoon appears like a shark… Images which lay bare the humanity and splendour of the RAF: Public to decide which best captures the essence of the service                Voting is online at

Call me old-fashioned if you will; but, if I want a delicate tune knocked out I’ll call upon a Real Military Band, which follows that if I require ‘fast jet-close air support’ from a service that offers the same I would wish to see a Typhoon over my shoulder. Due to impending Government cut backs I will settle for a Spitfire. Sod the humanity and splendour, I’ll go for killing capability, and proven historic ability each and every time…      Yours Aye.     

N.B. RAF brylcreem boys are a sweet-scented delicate lot, so as not to hurt their feelings I have deliberately played down the tempo of this post, and not referred to them by their known military nickname ;-)

4th August 1914 Britain declares war on Germany

showpic2.php4th August 1914. Britain declares war on Germany. On the 9th of August the British Expeditionary Force embarked for France. By the standards of Continental European armies, the BEF was, in 1914, exceedingly small. Whereas at the beginning of the war the German and French armies numbered well over a million men each, divided into eight and five field armies, respectively, the BEF initially numbered only about 80,000 soldiers divided into two Corps.

Unlike the largely conscript armies of Germany and France, the BEF was an entirely professional force made up of long-service volunteer soldiers. As a result, the BEF was, on balance, probably the best trained and most experienced of the European armies of 1914. Pre-war British Army training emphasized rapid marksmanship, meaning that the average British soldier was able to hit a man-sized target fifteen times a minute at a range of 300 yards with his standard issue .303 Lee-Enfield rifle. This ability to pour out rapid, accurate rifle-fire would play an important role in all of the BEF’s battles of 1914. The BEF Landing in France, August 191450997The Battle of Mons was the first action of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. It was a subsidiary action of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the Allies clashed with Germany on the French borders. At Mons, the British army attempted to hold the line of the Mons-Condé Canal against the advancing German First Army. Although the British fought well and inflicted disproportionate casualties on the numerically superior Germans, they were eventually forced to retreat due both to the greater strength of the Germans and the sudden collapse and retreat of the French Fifth Army, which exposed the British right flank. Though initially planned as a simple tactical withdrawal, and executed in good order, the British retreat from Mons ultimately lasted for two weeks and took the BEF to the outskirts of Paris before it was finally able to counterattack, in concert with the French at the Battle of the Marne.I140131_124351_393762oTextCS_55452746

The first contact between the two armies occurred on 21 August, when a British bicycle reconnaissance team encountered a German unit near Obourg. One of the cyclists, Private John Parr, was killed, thereby becoming the first British fatality of the war.Private-George-E-Ellison 

Private G.E. Ellison was the last British soldier registered as ‘Killed In Action.’ His death occurred 30 minutes before the arranged Armistice ceasefire on the 11th November 1918.  Their graves lie opposite each other  in Belgium’s Saint Symphorien cemetery, which is an ­extraordinary coincidence – but their stories illustrate the monumental horror of the war.Graves-of-the-first-last-British-soldiers-to-die-in-World-War-OneSt. Symphorien Military Cemetery: John Parr’s headstone is in foreground while that of George Ellison is on the extreme right. Pure coincidence, yet some how poignant. 

The first substantial action occurred a day later, on the morning of 22 August. At 6:30 a.m., the 4th Dragoon Guards laid an ambush for a patrol of German Lancers (4th Cuirassiers of the 9th Cavalry Division) outside the village of Casteau, to the northeast of Mons. When the Germans spotted the trap and fell back, a troop of the Dragoons led by Captain Hornby gave chase followed by the rest of his squadron, all with drawn sabres.4DG-CasteauThe retreating Germans led the British to a larger force of German Lancers, who they promptly charged at. Captain Hornby became the first British soldier to kill an enemy in the Great War, fighting on horseback with sword against lance. After a further pursuit of a few miles, the Germans turned and fired upon the British cavalrymen, at which point the Dragoons dismounted and opened fire. Drummer Edward Thomas is reputed to have fired the first shot of the war for the British Army, hitting and killing a German trooper.GermansAdancingAtMonsGerman Infantry advancing in their massed formations at Mons. The first major Battle of Mons opened at dawn on 23 August with a German artillery bombardment of the British lines. Understanding that the salient formed by the loop in the canal was the weak-point of the British defences, the Germans focused their primary efforts on attacking the British there throughout the day. At 09:00hrs, the first German infantry assault began, with the Germans attempting to force their way across the four bridges that crossed the canal at the salient. Four German battalions attacked the Nimy bridge, which was defended by a single company of the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, as well as a machine gun section led by Lieutenant Maurice Dease.     War Artists impression of the assault of Nimy bridgearticle-2171109-13FE16E4000005DC-484_634x439Advancing at first in close column – “parade ground” formation – the Germans made nearly unmissable targets for the well-trained British riflemen (who were evidently making hits at over 1,000 yards (910 m), and were mown down by rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire. Indeed, so heavy was the British rifle fire throughout the battle that the Germans thought they were facing batteries of machine guns. The Brandenburgers suffered some 3,000 casualties including one of the Battalion Commander’s of the 3rd (Fusilier) Battalion, Major Praeger. These casualties had been inflicted by the 300 or so British infantrymen who defended the Mons – Condé Canal bank at St Ghislain. 640_brodie-luckyAs summer dragged on so did the endless trenches across France and Belgium; this war was never going to be over by Christmas. My Great Grandfather fought at Mons where the British army wore the khaki cloth peaked cap, which was not only ‘de rigueur’ it was the only head-dress issued for the period. After much discussion and ‘harrumphing’ by senior British military officers (“it will turn the men soft”), the initial version of the ‘Brodie’ steel helmet was issued for active service in ‘April 1916′ at the Battle of St Eloi. Where initially there were nothing like enough helmets to go round, so they were designated as a ‘trench store’ to be kept in the Front Line and used by each unit that occupied the sector. It was only by the summer of 1916, when the first million Brodies had been produced that it could be regarded as general issue. Brutal trench warfare forced technology to develop, though it did so at a slow pace, as each development was met with hissing disapproval by the British top brass. As the months turned to years, the same top brass ‘donkeys’ were led out to pasture. Lions were no longer led by donkeys…

Over one hundred years of military quotes since the declaration of WWI was read out, yet surely not one can match the mis-quote invented by writer H.G. Wells, made famous by President Woodrow Wilson ‘This is a war to end all wars’      Yours Aye.

British soldiers’ kit; 1066 through to 2014

Inventories of war: British soldiers’ kit from 1066 through to 2014. On a winter’s day in 1915 the family of one Captain Charles Sorley – athlete, soldier and poet – received a package. It was his kit bag, sent home by his regiment from the Western Front, where Sorley had been killed, aged 20, at the Battle of Loos. Out of this bag came a life abridged: personal effects, items of uniform and a bundle of papers, from which emerged his now famous sonnet When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead. A new photographic survey of military kit throughout the ages now illustrates that curious combination. Photographer Thom Atkinson has recorded 13 military kit issues for his ‘Soldiers Inventories’ series. Army-hastingS_2994153k1066. Huscarl, Battle of Hastings. ‘The Anglo-Saxon warrior at the Battle of Hastings had an extensive choice of weaponry.’          Click on each pic to enlargearmy-jerusalen_2994154k1244. Mounted Knight, Siege of Jerusalem. Re-enactment groups, collectors, historians and serving soldiers helped photographer Thom Atkinson assemble the components for each shot. ‘It was hard to track down knowledgeable people with the correct equipment,’ he says. ‘The pictures are really the product of their knowledge and experience.’army-agincourt_2994156k1415. Fighting Archer, Battle of Agincourt. Having worked on projects with the Wellcome Trust and the Natural History Museum, photographer Thom Atkinson has turned his focus to what he describes as ‘the mythology surrounding Britain’s relationship with war’.army-bosworth_2994163k1485. Yorkist Man-at-Arms, Battle of Bosworth. ‘There’s a spoon in every picture,’ Atkinson says. ‘I think that’s wonderful. The requirement of food, & the experience of eating, hasn’t changed in 1,000 years. It’s the same with warmth, water, protection, entertainment.’army-tilbury_2994165k1588. Trained Bands Caliverman, Tilbury. The similarities between the issued kits are as startling as the differences. Notepads become iPads, 18th-century bowls mirror modern mess tins; games such as chess or cards appear New Model Army Musketeer, Battle of Naseby. Each kit represents the personal equipment carried by a notional common British soldier at a landmark battle over the past millennium. It is a sequence punctuated by Bosworth, Naseby, Waterloo, the Somme, Arnhem and the Falklands – bookended by the Battle of Hastings and Helmand Private Sentinel, Battle of Malplaquet. Atkinson says the project (which took him 9 months) was an education. ‘I’ve never been a soldier-It’s difficult to look in on a subject like this & completely understand it. I wanted it to be about people. Watching everything unfold, I begin to feel that we really are the same creatures with the same fundamental needs.’army-waterloo_2994172k1815. Private Soldier, Battle of Waterloo. Kit issued to soldiers fighting in the Battle of Waterloo included a pewter tankard and a draughts Private Soldier, Rifle Brigade, Battle of Alma. Each picture depicts the bandages, bayonets and bullets of survival, and the hooks on which humanity hangs: letter paper, prayer books and Private Soldier, Battle of the Somme. While the First World War was the first modern war, as the Somme kit illustrates, it was also primitive. Along with his gas mask a private would be issued with a spiked ‘trench club’ – almost identical to medieval Lance Corporal, Parachute Brigade, Battle of Arnhem. Each photograph shows a soldier’s world condensed into a pared-down manifest of defences, provisions and distractions. There is the formal (as issued by the quartermaster and armourer) and the personal (timepieces, crucifixes, combs and shaving brushes).Royal Marines-falklands_2994178k1982. Royal Marine Commando, Falklands conflict. From the cumbersome armour worn by a Yorkist man-at-arms in 1485 to the packs ‘yomped’ into Port Stanley on the backs of Royal Marines five centuries later, the literal burden of a soldier’s endeavour is on Close-Support Sapper, Royal Engineers, Helmland Province. The evolution of technology that emerges from the series is a process that has accelerated over the past century. The pocket watch of 1916 is today a waterproof digital wristwatch; the bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifle has been replaced by laser-sighted light assault carbines; and lightweight camouflage Kevlar vests take the place of khaki woollen Pattern service tunics.

A picture paints a thousand words, and I take my cap off to photographer Thom Atkinson for researching and producing the above over nine months, that was storied in todays British newspaper ‘The Telegraph’         Yours Aye.

1st August 2014 ‘Yorkshire Day’

moor.jpg-for-web-xlargeA central tradition of Yorkshire Day is the reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity, which affirms Yorkshire’s ancient foundation in 875 AD (as the Kingdom of Jorvik by the Viking chief Halfdan Ragnarsson) and asserts the inviolability of its ancient boundaries:    Above. North Yorkshire Moors    (Click on pics to enlarge)abc-yorkshire-map-web-version“I, [Name], being a resident of the [West/North/East] Riding of Yorkshire [or City of York] declare: That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of the year 2014 of 1,139 years standing; That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire; That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women; That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status. These declarations made this Yorkshire Day 2014.”  “God Save the Queen!”    Below.  The Shambles, York.E765B7D284D632A0A53CCE134755E_h498_w598_m2In York the Declaration is made four times by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, once for each Riding and once for the City of York. The traditional boundaries of the Three Ridings run up to the ancient city walls, so by processing out of three of the bar’s (gatehouse’s) the Society can make the Declaration in each Riding, followed by reading the Declaration within a fourth bar inside the City.  Below. Undulating countryside of West Yorkshire Dalesarticle_0194acb5be46a282_1343812856_9j-4aaqskyorkshire-flag-460b_782914cThis day the flag of the White Rose of Yorkshire will proudly flutter in the breeze around each and every hamlet, village, town and city. Below. Infantry of the 10th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment going forward for the British advance. And that covers York and each Riding of Yorkshire…            Yours Aye.The East Yorkshire Regiment Going Forward For The British Advance

No place like home

1406890858396_wps_6_Auctioneer_Tom_Watson_wit‘It’s ideal if you like peace and quiet’: Holiday home with no running water, gas, electricity or toilet in 1.5-acre field has become one of the country’s most sought after properties after going up for auction for £75,000.

1406890885697_wps_7_Auctioneer_Tom_Watson_witThe Chalet – a secluded one-bedroom property which boasts an earth toilet in a neighbouring shed – is set in the idyllic North York Moors National Park. The property offers a back-to-basics lifestyle and there are no nearby houses.

Holiday home, no running water, gas, electricity or toilet, on sale for £75,000- ($126,196-) Staintondale  Staintondale, Scarborough, North Yorkshire Moors National Park  I’ve walked the coastal path and the disused railway line that passes close by to this property a hundred times or more since I was a youngster, and like many others I had no idea of its existence. A beautiful rugged piece of countryside in summer, but an absolute barsteward of a place in winter as the wind comes straight in off the North sea, which is just a mile away.  I’d buy it in a heartbeat… Yours Aye.        Below ‘North Yorks Coast’ by Richard KnoweldonMINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The female of the species…

Female of the species Kipling

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the other’s tale –
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations-worm and savage otherwise, –
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger — Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue — to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity — must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions — not in these her honour dwells.
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions — in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies! –
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges — even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons — even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish — like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it cames that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice — which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern — shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.


The female of the species is more deadly than the male…

Men are deviously allowed to think otherwise…      Yours Aye.