24 July, 2014

A Visit To Byron Bay And Eating Coleslaw Coincidences

Byron Bay, Australia

On Monday the 14th July I was feeling a bit lazy in the evening so I had a look to see what was on television. I saw that there was a documentary where the English comedian, John Bishop, was cycling in Australia recreating a journey he had done when a much younger man.

Byron Bay lighthouse, Australia

It sounded interesting and I said to Karin, "I wonder if he'll go through Byron Bay which Darren likes so much?"

Karin was immediately confused as our son is called Darren, "Darren likes it?" she questioned.

"No, not our Darren. I mean Darren my blogger friend in Australia."

"Oh, right."

Byron Bay coastline, Australia

I turned on the television. The programme had started and John Bishop was just arriving in - yes - Byron Bay!

"Well, I never," I said, or words to that effect.

Surfing in Byron Bay, Australia

My camera was on the coffee table so I picked it up and snapped a few pics from the television. They are none too special in quality - but may give an idea as to why Aussie Darren is attracted to the area. A man of good taste!

John Bishop also went to Brisbane, where Darren lives. That's a windswept Bishop below, in his cycling gear, with Brisbane in the background.

Strange how I got to see this television programme and at the exact right moment, it certainly wasn't planned - at least by me!

I also had another sort of similar thing happen last week connected with the Internet.

I was using the computer and Karin called up to me, "Do you fancy coleslaw with your meal tonight?"

"Yes please," I answered while clicking to go to Thex Dar's Google + page, which I often visit, His top entry was titled Thex Cole Slaw and was a recipe for coleslaw! I left him a comment saying: "Strange - my wife asked me a few minutes ago if I fancied some coleslaw with my meal tonight. I said yes!"

There seems to be a lot of potential for synchronicity through the Internet and the media at large.

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23 July, 2014

The Ghost Sightings In London's Top Hotel

The Langham Hotel
Photo source: The Langham Hotel
The Langham Hotel is one of London's finest five star hotels but is also reputed to be one of England's most haunted places to stay. This can be confirmed by some of the England Cricket players, like Stuart Broad for example.

The fast bowler described his experience, while staying at the hotel.

"It was so hot in the room I just couldn't sleep. All of a sudden the taps in the bathroom came on for no reason. I turned the light on and the taps turned themselves off. Then when I turned the lights off again the taps came on. It was very weird.

It really freaked me out. I ended up asking to move rooms. Bealey [his girlfriend] was pretty spooked too.

Ben stokes has had some problems sleeping as well. He's in room 340 and it seems the third floor is where a lot of the issues are. I'm telling you something weird is going on.

He went on to say:

"I've slept okay during the current Test but the Sri Lanka Test was not great. One night I woke up in the middle of the night, around 1.30am and I was convinced there was a presence in the room. It was the weirdest feeling.

I turned the light on and looked online and could see Matt Prior was online too. I went to his room and he had exactly the same thing! Neither of us could sleep because we were spooked out."

That's the cricketers experience but The Langham Hotel has a long history going back to 1865. The cream of Victorian society would frequent the hotel, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde. The Langham Hotel website actually indicates that they have seven ghosts.

The most famous of the ghosts haunts Room 333.

A BBC Radio announcer, Alexander Gordon, awoke suddenly in the night to see a fluorescent ball which slowly took on the shape of a man wearing Victorian evening wear. The announcer asked the ghost what it wanted and it began to float towards him, with its legs cut off some two feet below the ground, arms outstretched, eyes staring emptily. At this point the announcer got up and fled.

Other BBC staff reported seeing the apparition in the same room, though it usually only appears during the month of October. The explanation for why the ghost looked to have his legs cut off, some two feet below the ground, is that the floors have been raised since Victorian times when central heating pipes were installed.

A further guest told how a friend of hers had seen the ghost in Room 333. He had thrown his boot at it and the boot sailed right through the ghost. An American journalist also saw an apparition in this room.

Another ghost is described as a grey haired Victorian gentleman, dressed in a cloak and cravat with blank staring eyes. It is said that he is the spirit of a Doctor rumoured to have killed himself after murdering his bride while they honeymooned in the hotel.

Also seen is a footman dressed in blue livery and with powdered hair from the 18th Century. This is most likely a ghost from the days when the Foley Mansion stood on this site. Then there is the large Germanic looking man, in military style dress, who stands at a window on the fourth floor. The legend is that he is the ghost of a German Prince who threw himself out of the window just before the outbreak of the First World War.

BBC staff also told of how they experienced the antics of a mischievous spirit who had a habit of tipping sleeping night shift staff out of their beds. It is also rumoured that former guest, the exiled French emperor Napoleon III, returns from his last resting place to haunt The Langham’s basement.

If you want a good night's ghost hunting try The Langham Hotel - that is, if you can afford five star London prices!

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22 July, 2014

Fate Smiles As Cyclist Cheats Death Twice

Maarten de Jonge
Photo: Maarten de Jong / Twitter
I have written before about how it appears that some people are meant to survive, no matter what. Maybe they have some unfinished business here on earth. This struck home again with the case of Maarten de Jonge and Malaysian Flights MH17 and MH370. With both flights all of the passengers were killed or presumed dead.

Mr de Jong was due to travel on both of these flights but for some reason changed his plans both times.

Maarten is a cyclist with Malaysia's Terenggany cycling team. He actually cancelled his seat on MH17 to save money by transferring to a cheaper flight. He also escaped death on the MH370 because he decided to again exchange his ticket, this time for an earlier flight.

He said of his good fortune, "How happy I am for myself and my family. Though my story is nothing, attention should be paid to the victims."

There was another similar case too. Gert Jansen and his family were turned away from boarding MH17 at Schiphol Airport because it was over booked. He said, "All those faces of people with whom we stood in line, are etched in my memory."

It does make you wonder about fate and the things we may have committed to do in this life.

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21 July, 2014

The Butterfly As A Sign From The Deceased

I've written previously about how a butterfly is sometimes said to be a sign from someone who has recently died. This is something with which the English actress Lysette Anthony agrees. When her mother, the former actress and producer Bernadette Bennett, died, "Extraordinary things started to happen." Here's Lysette's experience.

"I saw my first ghost at the Windsor Theatre and I discovered he was a well known ghost there.

I know this sounds bonkers, but in the play I had this speech right at the end. It was a sad speech and that is when I would pour out my grief, crying real tears on stage.

One evening there was this massive butterfly and one of the other actors commented on it being an 'old soul'. The butterfly was having a lovely time fluttering around the set. When I came to do my final scene it landed on my white hat and it stayed there until the end of the play.

I like to think that was my mother taking her last bow."

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19 July, 2014

Ebony Eyes Found Safe And Sound

I bought a pack of  Everly Brother's CDs - there are 75 of their recordings. I've always liked their harmonies and John Lennon once mentioned how he and Paul were influenced by them.

I played one of the CDs and the song Ebony Eyes, about Flight 1203, made me smile - even though it's supposed to be a weepy.

When my son was small I had this song on a cassette which I played in the car on the way to the airport, when we were going on holiday. I remember Karin told me not to play it again, as she's not too keen on flying at the best of times, so the song didn't help. Of course, my son wanted the song again!

Anyway, since that time I've always wondered what happened to Ebony Eyes and if the soldier, who was waiting for her, ever married someone else and - oh, okay I wasn't really too bothered but yesterday I did wonder if the song was in any way prophetic regarding any Flight 1203.

I did a Google search and didn't discover anything about Flight 1203 - but I did find out what happened to Ebony Eyes. What a relief. She's okay!

I found out that the Beverley Sisters did a song about Flight 1203, goodness knows how long ago - no doubt cashing in on the Everly Brother's number at the time. It was the first time I'd heard it and it seems that Ebony Eyes missed the flight!

P.S.The similar names of the Everly Brothers and the Beverley Sisters is a coincidence. The sisters signed a record deal back in 1951, way before the brothers released their first single.

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18 July, 2014

How Women Were Encouraged To Give Up Their Sons And Husbands For War

1914 Daily Mail

This follows on from yesterday's post 1914 Adverts At The Start Of World War I. I made light of the start of the war and ended the post with "... it's not like millions of people will be killed or anything."

But, of course, people were wrong with such assumptions. The Daily Mail reported on the 4th of September 1914 how 10,345 had now been killed, wounded or missing. And this was just one month into the war. Much, much worse was to come.

To quote Wikipedia: "The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was over 37 million. There were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history."

The horrors are unimaginable as sons, husbands and brothers were enticed into the war ...

From the Daily Mail newspaper 4 September 1914
Okay, that's it. I won't go on about it. We can't change what happened. We've just got to hope it will never happen again.

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17 July, 2014

1914 Adverts At The Start Of World War I

Newspaper headlines, start of world wasr 1

1914 saw the start of World War 1. Britain declared war on Germany on August 4th. But I wondered what was being advertised in the newspapers and magazines at that time. Here are a few 1914 adverts - the first was an obvious one: Join the army, but the rest were a mixed bag. I guess no one back then had any idea as to how the war would change the world.

1914 Join the Army advert

"Though there's a possible war we still have our luxuries like custard to comfort us ...

1914 advert for custard

... even if we might have to use margarine rather than butter ...

1914 advert for margarine

... and paste isn't so bad on sandwiches.

1914 advert for meat paste

The good old French will no doubt help out and we'll drink Eiffel Tower lemonade to show our appreciation.

1914 advert for lemonade

And a cup of tea always puts the world right, doesn't it?

1914 advert for Lipton's tea

If we need a pill we can rely on Beecham's.

1914 advert for Beecham's Piulls

The children will still be able to shine their shoes and there will be ...

1914 advert for Cherry Blossom shoe polish

... pretty blouses for the ladies ...

1914 advert for women's clothes

... even silk ones.

The men? Well they can have some comfy pyjamas for any chilly nights and ...

1914 advert for pyjamas

... we'll all be able to keep our hair shiny ...

1914 advert for Macassar Oil

... and light our cigarettes. So it won't be so bad ...

... it's not like millions of people will be killed or anything."

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