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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Dickens.


Charles Dickens





    The one story that so captivated me,  all those years ago was a story called.....                        'A Christmas Carol'.

                 


 It was a Christmas Ghost story. There was a film made about it in 1951 and my sister Norma, took my brother Clive and I  to see it, at The West Derby Cinema,  in the village where we lived.

 What a fabulous film it was too, it was screened in black and white, which made it more realistic, particularly in the 'ghostly' scenes!

 I think we spent most of the time hiding under our coats because it was so scary.


 

 

  My sister, who was eight years older, used to read it to my brother and I in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The underlying theme of the story was about a Miser called Ebenezer Scrooge,  Scrooge's meanness, and in particular, the way in which he treated poor Bob Cratchit, his Articled Clerk.

 He made him work very long hours in the office, which was very cold and damp he knew Bob had a large family to feed yet gave him a pittance to live upon.

 However, Scrooge was to have an Epiphany. 

On going to bed on Christmas Eve, he fell into a deep slumber, and had the most frightening dream  which illustrated his meanness. It pointed out how his life would be if carried on being so mean and it was not a nice picture.  He was visited by ghosts in various  forms, including his former partner, Jacob Marley.  I won't go through the whole synopsis as I feel most of the readers will already have read this enchanting story. if you haven't I implore you to do so.

Some illustrations to help with the story line,
The Ghost of the Christmas Present
The Ghost of the Christmas Present    
              



Christmas at The Cratchits

Bob and Tiny Tim dashing home for their Christmas

 
                                                   









The magnificent St George's Hall Liverpool

and 

Charles Dickens

Entrance

Magnificent Main Hall 

Charles Dickens used to give  readings of his works in the Small concert hall. They were called 'The Penny  Readings' and insisted that people were charged just one penny to enable even the poorest to attend.

 

He used to travel to Liverpool from London to give readings in the magnificent St Georges Hall. He loved Liverpool and said 'excepting London, it was his favourite city'. He was also quoted, as saying that  'Liverpool is a city that has a love affair with words' and described it as 'that rich and beautiful Port' !

As it is my quest to keep my beloved city in the picture of this round of Abcw  I am trying to keep a link between each post. I could have written so much more about Charles Dickens and Liverpool and will when the next relevant letter appears.

My sincere thanks to the Delightful Denise for Devising Abcw and also to the dashing Roger for administrating Abcw so diligently

 
 



 

 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Cathedrals Churches and Choirs

 When I was a youngster I loved going to Church, my local Church was called St Christopher and played a pivotal part in the community where I lived.
It was known as the Church of the Children, for very good reason too, There were so many activities for children to participate in, from Brownies, Girl Guide, Life Boys, Boys Brigade, Youth club and my very favourite pastime was singing in the Church Choir.
 
 
 The main Church Building.


It was a bright and airy Church which was very welcoming particularly for Children.. There used to be an annual Summer garden party with a Rose Queen, picked by the Children of the Sunday   School.

 The Rose Queen and her entourage would sit on a flat back truck and lead the procession through the local streets. All the Children of The Sunday School would dress up and parade behind The Rose Queen. I was a lady in waiting one year much to my dismay, as I was a bit of a tomboy and preferred climbing trees to dressing up in frilly dresses, but Mother insisted! So there I was feeling a right fool having to wave to spectators as we went by. It didn't help that my brother who was dressed as a Crusader was marching behind the float making derogatory comments about my 'skinny banana legs' and sniggering with his horrid friends!    

 I was so proud to be able to join the Choir when I was thirteen, I had to sit on a wooden chair just to the side of the Choir stalls whilst I learned the psalms and hymns that  were sung at every service. Eventually I was robed in a Cassock and surplice and given the honour of taking my place with the rest of the Choir and walk solemnly down the aisle singing the opening hymn of the service. This was to encourage me in enjoying singing in Choirs for many years to come.

 

Cathedrals.

We are most fortunate in the City of Liverpool to have two Cathedrals.

The Liverpool Anglican Cathedral  which stands with great majesty on St James Mount, overlooking the city and across the River Mersey to the Wirral peninsular and beyond to The Welsh hills

This picture was taken before the building was complete, WW1 and lack of funding then WW2 hampered completion

 

 The completed final part of the Cathedral
The new grand West entrance of the Anglican Cathedral. 
 

The Cathedral was eventually  Completed in 1978 Looking down the aisle from the grand West entrance . I have had the great honour of singing in the Cathedral in a Choir created from schools from all over Liverpool. Two Choristers were selected from each school,  joining the  Cathedral Choir and an adult mass Choir in performing  Claudio Monteverdi's Vespers. The BBC Symphony orchestra accompanied the performance and   The  famous Composer and conductor  Walter Goehr led this mighty recital.

It was broadcast on Radio 3 live. On reflection, this must have been one of the greatest honours in my life. 

 

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King.

 



 

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King stands at the opposite end of a road called Hope Street.   

The ultra modern Roman Catholic Cathedral  of Christ the King,  is a most unusual building and initially it was slated by the Critics when it was first built. 

The Main Sanctum

 

I am pleased to say that, opinion has Changed and it is now, rightfully, a highly acclaimed place of worship. It is a wonderful building and has a maze of tunnels beneath it forming an amazing Crypt

Apart from it being an alternative place of worship it is used for receptions,

 I think it is spectacularly quite different from any place of worship but it is amazing...well worth a visit.

 

We even have a folk song, sung by The Liverpool Spinners called,

 'In my Liverpool Home'.

In this tuneful ditty the two Cathedrals are mentioned,

goes something like this....

'In my Liverpool home

In my Liverpool home

We speak with an accent exceedingly rare

If you want a Cathedral

We've got one to spare

In my Liverpool home.... tra la laa ! '

 

Crikey ! That was a long post, I hope you all haven't fallen asleep halfway through reading it! 

 
My sincere thanks to the cheery  Mrs Nesbitt for devising abcWednesday and Roger the very capable administrator.  
 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

B for Banking and Beatles

I started my working days at Lloyds Bank Executor and Trustee Company in the magnificent India Buildings Liverpool.


This is the entrance to India Buildings.

 I felt so proud and fortunate to work in such splendid surroundings. Running through the centre of the building was Holt's Arcade which housed several small businesses.

 

Holts Arcade. Wonderful architectural details, just look at that ceiling!

These were truly exciting days for me,

My first job and own bank account, complete with a cheque book  bearing my name.

 Now that I was working I was expected to pay my way in the household. I remember asking my mother should I pay in cash or would she like a cheque....much to snorts of derision from my slightly older brother, commenting that she should take the cash as my cheque would probably bounce..... There was always a little sibling banter between us!

Working for Lloyds Bank gave me many opportunities in life such as going to a city college on day release and taking specialised exams in financial subjects, and furthering my education in several other relevant subjects. I just loved it, I felt so grown up, being able to buy my own clothes, have my hair styled in a posh city hairdressers and going out for business lunch with my work mates, on pay day....Oh how grown up and independent I felt.

I can't possibly talk about this most impressive era in my life without mentioning.....

 

'THE BEATLES'

They were the most talented and famous group to emerge in the sixties and we fellow Liverpool people had a front row seat watching their meteoric rise to International fame.

 After watching them perform in local clubs and town halls around Liverpool, we all knew they were something very special. They used to play at a cellar club in the city called

'THE CAVERN'

My very best friend Barbie and I used to dash out at our lunch break every Friday to watch many of the talented groups that were around, including The Beatles.
These were such heady days that I shall never forget, the Beatles played such an important part in my life.


When The Beatles made their triumphant return to  Liverpool, after taking the world stage by storm, our boss at the bank let us leave work early so that we could see them arrive at The Liverpool Town Hall for a Civic Reception with Mr and Mrs Mayor.

On the balcony at the town hall.


The crowds pressing forward toward the Town Hall, along Castle St in Liverpool, all eager to get a glimpse of their favourite band.
The white building on the top left of the picture is where Barbie and I stood to get a glimpse of our beloved Beatles... Grandstand view!  .

..Barbie and I were at the very front of the crowds and  a kindly policeman let us slip under the barrier, as fans were in danger of getting crushed,  many girls fainted in the clamber. 

We were so lucky, when the boys got out of their limousine, we were so close, that I managed to touch Paul's arm.

 200,000 fans lined the streets to welcome them home from their successful trip to America.

 

Performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in the US.

They'd made it in The US... to follow..The World Tour and we all know the rest!

 

My sincere thanks to the brilliant Denise for having the bravado in devising abcwednesday and also to the bookish Roger for being the backbone  in his administration.

abcwednesday-mrsnesbitt.blogspot.co/ 

 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A for Aubergines Altinkum and Anatolia.

I just love Aubergines, cooked in any shape or form.

My first taste of the delectable 'Egg Plant' was during our first holiday in Turkey many years ago. This was the start of a great love affair with one of my  favourite countries in Eastern Europe/Asia Minor.

Pictured below is my version of  Imam Byildi, a dish of baked Aubergines, stuffed with minced lamb,  garlic,  tomatoes, onions, basil and a splodge of red wine, seasoned to taste with a soft cheese on top to finish. If you haven't tried this before there are lots of recipes on-line  for your perusal. Some of the recipes are meatless but adding meat makes it more filling.


 My take on Imam Byildi, all ready to pop under the grill to melt the cheese.

On reflection, I put extra cheese on this after I'd taken the picture, but it is personal preference, I use feta cheese or mozzarella.

Folklore.

 

One folk story behind this dish was that, when the Imam's wife prepared it for him,  he became so ecstatic that he fainted!

Imam Byildi literally translates as 'the imam fainted'.... My husband didn't faint when he tried my recipe, however he did say it was very good and had a second helping !

 Another story that was widely believed, that, a local Imam married the daughter of a wealthy olive oil merchant and part of the wedding dowry was twelve jars of olive oil.

 Each day thereon, the dutiful wife made his favourite dish for him.

 On the thirteenth day the twelve jars of olive oil had gone, on learning this he was so distressed that he fainted.

 

ALTINKUM in Turkey, Asia Minor

This was our first experience of Turkey and what a beautiful country it is, stunning beaches and verdant pastureland, with goats in abundance  from the  highly bred 

Angora Goat.

It's coat is woven into the most expensive Cashmere fabric   

 

Then there are the ubiquitous Mountain Goats which can be encountered in

Abundance all over the rocky terrain surrounding the villages and towns of Anatolia in the  South West region of Turkey

Every corner you turn, these chaps can be seen peering down, whilst perching on the precarious rock faces  lining the road sides through the Anatolia region

 

All out of 'A's now so, time to say Adieu, Au revoir and Auf wiedersehen to all out there.

Hurrah! My first letter 'A'.

 

My sincere accolades to the adorable Denise Nesbitt for working so hard in devising abcw and the astute Roger for being such an amazing administrator.

  

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Z for Zazu and Zane

Zazu  is a zany character from the wonderful production  of The Lion King by Disney Presentations.
There is an animated film version and a stage production, last Saturday we had a lovely family afternoon in the Liverpool Empire Theatre.


We had really good seating in the lower circle, I had to go in my wheelchair which was great as there are special little bays to accommodate wheelchairs, with specially designated seating, so Ian and I were seated amidst part of our  family, daughter  Ingrid and husband Mike with their children and our grandchildren, Olivia Grace and Christian  Zane.
Christian has the second name of  Zane after his paternal great grandfather Chris Zane Christianson who lost his life in WW2, aged 22, serving as a flight sergeant in The Royal Canadian Air Force
 His family are Ranchers in Edmonton , Alberta Canada.
 
 
Back to the character of ZAZU  in the  wonderful Lion King  production.........
 
 

This how he appeared in the animated version.

 

 

This is Zazu  in the  production  we saw at the theatre.
 
 

 Zazu is a Red Billed Hornbill and is the 'Major Domo' in Lion King's household.
For the uninitiated, his job was to keep the Lion King amused and give a  'morning report' of goings on in the Kingdom.
One of his 'morning reports' went thus,
 
'Well!  the BUZZ from the bees is that the leopards are in a bit of a spot
All the baboons are going ape over this
Of course the giraffes are acting like they're above all of this.
The tick birds are pecking on the elephants.
I told the  elephants to forget it but they can't.
The cheetahs are hard up but I always say that cheetahs  never prosper.....
 
and so Zazu went on dropping his funny little 'anecdotes' all around the stage.
He certainly got a rousing reception from the audience.
from the stage show, stunning dancing and singing 
 
 
If you haven't had the opportunity to see the stage show of The Lion King I  suggest you go along and see it...
It's Zestful and Zany,
and just Zips along 
That's all for now, I have reached my ZENITH !
Just off for a Zzzzzzzzz.
My thanks to the ZANY Denise for devising abcw and the Zestful Roger for  being the 'Admin man'.
 Z for Zazu and Zane

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Yogi and Yogi

There are two Yogis'  that came to mind whilst I was pondering a subject to write about that included the letter Y  for  abcWednesday.

The first is The Maharishi YOGI,  a highly regarded seer who developed the art of Transcendental  Meditation.
 He came to the fore in the 'sixties',  influencing many artistes including, The Beatles and The Beach Boys.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India.

 

With the Beatles.

This was quite a turning point in the career of one of The Beatles, George Harrison. He was already quite an accomplished  musician and highly influenced by The Maharishi's mystic teaching, went on to learn the Sitar and wrote some of his best works ever (in my opinion), including,

 My Sweet Lord

Something (in the way she moves)

then there was the mystical and moving,

Within you without you.

Here Comes The Sun 

My Sweet Lord.

Who can forget Eric Clapton's version of George's stirring,

'While my Guitar Gently Weeps'

'Eric's son Connor tragically died after a fall from a window in a high storey building in New York about 29 years ago. I think he was 4 at the time .

He wrote 'Tears from Heaven' in memoriam to Connor and somewhere in my memory box he sang this along with 'While My Guitar Gently weeps' at one of his concerts.

 I was gently weeping too on hearing this most evocative recording!

As an ardent Beatles fan I can never thank enough,

 The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi 

 for having such a profound effect upon The Beatles and particularly, my favourite Beatle George, who wrote his best music ever....

.I truly believe The Maharishi Yogi, cast a wonderful spell on George, stirring his creative mystical talents, thus allowing him to write such lovely music.

 RIP George.

The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi left his physical body in 2008 at Vlodrop in the Netherlands.

 He died in a sitting position which is considered to be very sacred..

RIP  Maharishi M Yogi guru to The Beatles and many more faithful followers.

 
 

On a lighter note who can forget the incorrigible YOGI BEAR ?

 

Yogi's main purpose in life was to filch as many picnic hampers that he's able from unsuspecting campers in the mythical Jellystone Park, where he lived alongside his sidekick......  Boo Boo  the baby bear. 

 

 

Yogi and his little chum Boo Boo. 

 

 

However,  Park Ranger Smith did all he could to stop the naughty bears from upsetting the campers by stealing their picnic hampers.

 
 
 
 
 

Whenever Yogi managed to scamper off with his contraband Park Ranger Smith would usually be in hot pursuit!

 
 
 

Yogi also had a sweet little girlfriend called Cindy bear who disapproved of Yogi's antics! 

 

Yogi wasn't the brightest bear in the woods but he truly believed he was 'Smarter than the average bear'....Hey there Boo Boo.....

 

'Hello Mr Ranger Sir' just one of YOUR average bear days!

That's all folks ! 

My sincere thanks to the Yummy  Denise Nesbitt for devising abcw and also to the never yielding youthful Roger for being such a tenacious administrator.