Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

So many things to be thankful for--
This certainly isn't everything, but what I could think of right now.
Do you have some you could add to the list?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Banbury Cross

Do you remember the nursery rhyme?
Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.
We drove to Banbury one day where we saw the two statues -- one of Banbury Cross and the other of the lady on the horse.
The words of the Banbury Cross nursery rhyme are often attributed to the "fine lady" Elizabeth I of England. One day she travelled to Banbury to see a huge stone cross which had just been erected at the top of a steep hill. When the Queen's carriage started up the hill a wheel broke and the Queen chose to ride the cock horse to the Banbury Cross. The people of the town had decorated the horse and the Queen was attired in her fine jewellery, as well as shoes with pointed toes. The fashion of the day was to attach bells on the toes of those shoes.
Thus the nursery rhyme. The original cross of the rhyme was demolished in 1610.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama Victory Brought Euphoria In Britain

Election of the new president in America elicited such excitement in England that radio commentators were euphoric. Words such as "amazing performance, historic event, massive effect, high expectations" were common terms. He "hits the ground running, has enormous prestige, second coming." He's "the people's president, change has come, just believe." One reporter even joked, "now the weather will be better." On a Sunday morning radio program they talked about Obama's message of Hope. A newspaper cartoon had a sign by the White House, "Please don't walk on the water!" On the radio they were calling in and singing songs about Obama. "Barack Kareoke" "Obama Mia, Yes We Can."
Newspapers on the news stands had Obama front page headlines for three days with photos of him and his family. Headlines, such as -- "Whole World is Galvanized." "Obama Mania Across the World." "World Looking to Obama to Solve Problems." "Obarmy Army." "As Obama Gets Elected, the Earth Moves." "Obama Factor Boosts Tourism in America."
This has been very interesting experiencing this frenzy. We were in a shop one day and in conversation with the clerk, after she knew we were from America, she mentioned the election and wondered if I was sorry to be here and miss that. "Oh," I said. "Absolutely not. I really enjoyed being in this country and seeing what happened here with our election in America.
We never would have known any of this if we were home."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Remembrance Sunday in Great Britain

Standing outside by the Redditch War Memorial on a cold, windy Sunday, we took part in the Remembrance Sunday Observance, which is held every year on the Sunday before Armistice Day. It included the wreath laying ceremony, which was preceded by the Two-Minute Silence Observance signalled by the bugler. The wreath ceremony was led by the mayor of the town of Redditch.
Following the ceremony we attended services at nearby St. Stephen's Church. This was a continuation of remembering the war veterans and ended by singing "God Save the Queen," Britain's National Anthem.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day & Guy Fawkes Day

Today, November 4, is Election Day in America. In England it's the day the early 1600s when a conspiracy to destroy the English Houses of Parliament was discovered. Through means of a tunnel 36 barrels of gunpowder were stored in a vault below that House by a group protesting the suppression of the Roman Catholics. After receiving a tip from one of the conspirators, a search was made of the vault where they found the gunpowder and a Catholic Englishman, named Guy Fawkes, who was commissioned to set off the explosives. He was arrested, tortured and later hanged. Today the plot is celebrated as Guy Fawkes Day and the explosion is commemorated by fireworks on November 5. So tomorrow night we will be hearing a lot of "booms" and "bangs" and will see the skyline bright with fireworks.