26.6.06

MONKEY BUSINESS
AT MERSEYSIDE


This news tickled my funny
bone this week:


A safari park is warning visitors to remove England
flags from their cars after a group of baboons
began stealing them.
The animals have
built up a huge collection of flags

in the monkey enclosure at
Knowsley safari park in Merseyside.

Keepers at the park say the 120-strong troop
of baboons have been known to help themselves
to windscreen wipers but have now turned
their attentions to the World Cup flags.

Safari Park general manager David Ross said:
"Many people are wisely removing the flags
before they set off on the safari drive.

"But if they forget, the baboons
usually take them and they've
now built up quite a stash."

He added: "Visitors are certainly enjoying
their antics with the flags as it does look like
they are showing their support for the
efforts of the England team.

"The baboons have always been great fun but
they are the vandals of the animal world.”



23.6.06


MIDSUMMER
MAGIC


Midsummer is celebrated each year between
the 20th and 26th of June, at the lightest point
of the year. It is the biggest summer celebration in
Finland, and signals the start of "the real summer".

It is a celebration of light, summer and the
"nightless" nights. In Lapland, the most northern
part of the country, the sun doesn't set at all
during June and the first half of July.
The name
"Juhannus", as the Midsummer is called in
Finnish, originates from John the Baptist
("Johannes" in Finnish), who's commemoration-,
and birthday is celebrated in Midsummer.

The history of Midsummer celebrations
date back to pagan times. In eastern Finland,
it was called "The Celebration of Ukko", the
Finnish God of thunder. He is the most important
God because he creates rain, the essential
ingredient for a good harvest.


In the old days people believed in the magic
of midsummer night. They thought that if a
girl picked 7 different flowers and put them
under her pillow, she could see her future husband
in her dreams. Or if she looked at the surface
of a pond she'd see her future husband’s face on
the surface. If you already knew who you wanted,
you had many ways of making him want you.
For example, you could go to the field which
belongs to the boy's family and roll around naked.

Many Midsummer traditions from the past are
still followed today, one of them is building a
"kokko", a huge bonfire by the water.
All over Finland close to midnight on
Midsummer Eve the bonfires are ceremoniously lit.
In the past the whole village would gather
together around the bonfire, and strict rules
were followed as to how and when the fire was lit.
It was usually the oldest man in the village who
received the great honour of lighting the fire.


According to an old belief, the short night of
Midsummer tempts witches, demons, fairies
and elves to tease people so they have to be
driven away- that is why people had make
loud noise and start bonfires. Another theory
is that burning fires is a Christian custom.

Over the centuries bonfires were burnt all
over Europe: in Russia, Scandinavia, the
Alpine countries and Ireland. Nowadays Finland
is thought to be the only country which still
follows the tradition. For example the Swedes
replaced bonfires with Midsummer poles in
the 19th century. Bonfires have not always
been set up everywhere in Finland: originally
it was a custom of people in the northern and
eastern parts of Finland, especially in Karelia
but the end of last century the custom
spread all over the country.


Another old tradition is to decorate houses
and doorways with young birch trees and flowers.
Midsummer decorations represent the
beginning of summer. In the past, herdsmen
in the countryside decorated cattle with flowers
to ensure a rich milk production. Traditional
Midsummer foods were dairy products
because after a long winter indoors, cows
once again started to produce more milk.


22.6.06

A STUDY OF
ROSES 22.6.2006







SIOUXSIE THE
SUNBATHING
GREAT DANE

Siouxsie, the other of our dogs, loves her sunshine and on a day like today The Grand Old Lady can be found lounging about in the garden warming her bones. Bless!


20.6.06

R.I.P TOP OF
THE POPS

Sad news today: UK television's longest running
music show is being axed after a steady decline
in viewing figures, but Top of the Pops leaves
behind unforgettable highlights -
and mishaps - from its 42-year history.

From a converted church in Manchester on
New Year's Day 1964, Jimmy Savile introduced
The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Dusty Springfield
to viewers - and Top of the Pops was born.

Despite its beginnings in Manchester,
it is BBC Television Centre - where it
moved and was filmed for decades -
that is regarded as the show's
"spiritual home".

Many describe the 1970s as the programme's
heyday, when its Thursday night slot would
attract 15 million viewers.
An appearance on
Top of the Pops would virtually guarantee a
high placing when the new charts were
unveiled the following Sunday.


The first time I saw TOTP was in a London
hotel room in 1978 (I was 12) and was instantly
hooked. It epitomised everything that
was cool about the music scene.
The last Top Of The Pops will
air Sunday 30.7.2006.

This is the second time this year a
childhood/teenage favourite of mine
and many millions of others has been
cancelled due to poor figures: music mag
Smash Hits folded in February.


Dwindling circulation took the magazine
from a readership of one million in 1989
(cover starred Kylie and Jason) to latest figures
of 120,000 and a cover picturing random
celebs talking about snogs.


The first edition had super cool Blondie on
the cover in September 1978. Nick Logan,
who founded both The Face and Smash Hits,
was an ex-Melody Maker editor who put together
the first issue on his kitchen table.


19.6.06

A FEW IMAGES FROM
THE GARDEN JUNE 2006








9.6.06


EVERYWHERE YOU GO
YOU ALWAYS TAKE
THE WEATHER WITH YOU...

Yessirree, it don't get
much better than this! :-)


6.6.06

ROAD TO HELL?

No.

Actually it's railway track between
Joensuu and Siilijärvi in Finland.

Today is the 6th day of the
6th month in the year 2006.

Although some people are terrified
it will be the "end of the world" either in the
form of an comet destroying the earth or the
appereance of the Anti-Christ, loads of
people also want to make it a day to remember.

For instance in the Dutch city of Enschede
so far 17 couples have applied to marry today.
Typically there are only two to three
weddings in the city on a Tuesday.

Apparently, one couple even asked to get
married at 6 minutes past 6 on the
morning,
but the authorities refused
to get out of bed that early.


There's a is a ketchup sachet with
the expiry date 06/06/06 for sale on Ebay.

The seller warns:

Not recommended for consumption
as the ketchup
will be past its best
before date when delivered.


As R.E.M put it:

It's the end of the world as we know it
It's the end of the world as we know it
It's the end of the world as
we know it and I feel fine