Women You Should Know

A side step from the wedding stuff for a moment, and a look into some info on women we should know but most likely don’t. It’s International Women’s Day today and a chance to celebrate being a woman, acknowledge how far women and feminism has come, and to research all those women – who should be famous, but because they are women from history, we just don’t know about them. Or enough about them.

Yes, we know Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Galileo – and the list goes on. In fact, I just googled ‘100 Scientists to Shape the World’ and there was one woman who I had heard of. ONE! Marie Curie. Well, we need to get to know the other women who did amazing things. This is in no disrespect to the¬†fantastic things the above men did. It isn’t to compete. It isn’t to show women are better. It is to uncover history. It did happen. Men did amazing things, yet so did women. We should know about both.

So, without further ado – and with thanks to the Women’s Rights Page that I follow, let me introduce you:

WOMEN

  • Maris Mitchell was an astronomer in the 19th Century and discovered a comet. I never knew this. The comet was named after her as ‘Miss Mitchell’s Comet.’ I find this interesting that it needed the title ‘Miss’ – anything named after a man doesn’t tend to need the title ‘Mr’, but maybe I’m reading too much into it ūüėČ

  • Emmy Noether was an influential mathematician – again in the 19th Century, who was known for her contribution to algebra and theoretical physics. Go her!

  • Jocelyn Bell Burnell was an astrophysicist and discovered the first radio pulsars. I don’t know what these are, but she sounds clever ūüėČ

  • Valentina Tereshkova – still alive today – was the first woman in space,¬†(the fifth Russian cosmonaut)to go into the Earth’s orbit when her spaceship Vostok VI was launched¬†from Moscow.

  • Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin was a British-American astronomer and astrophysicist, who proposed in her Ph.D. thesis an explanation for the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium. Wow!

  • Lise Meitner was a physicist who worked on nuclear physics and radioactivity.

  • Caroline Hershel¬† – an amazing astronomer, who worked alongside her brother Sir William Hershel for both of their careers. High five for also managing a working sibling relationship!

  • Rita Levi-Montalcini:¬†A neurologist¬† who was a Nobel prizewinning Jewish scientist. She carried out her cell growth research while hiding from the fascists during the second world war.

You see, with my background, I have always been fascinated with women like Jane Austen, The Brontes, George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans) who were trying to write in a male dominated world – writing with pseudonyms in some cases to just get noticed. But, I haven’t considered the Science field before. The above women have all succeeded in Science (arguably an even more male-dominated field).

Their history is there in black and white: we just need to read it and share it ūüôā

Happy International Women’s Day!

XSXS

Seeing Shakespeare

Yesterday was a first for me. I finally¬†got to see Shakespeare! My boyfriend said that I can’t actually see him -but why not? I saw people dressed as him and also his grave… good enough.

Yes, Stratford was a lovely day out and the perfect place for the complete Shakespearian geek like me. I let my inner geek out first thing in the morning as I took out my William Shakespeare bag out¬† – basically a small shopping bag with his head on. Haha. And I got out my Shakespeare trivia cards for the journey ; -) Luckily, my boyfriend’s Mum, my sister and good friend, weren’t put off and we all had a lovely day.

We saw¬†four main places…. either walking or hopping on our¬†partly open-top bus:

Shakespeare's birth place

Shakespeare’s birth place

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DSCF4584 Ann Hathaway’s pretty cottage – the place that she grew up in and where she and Will ‘courted’ as a young couple.

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Nash’s house. The house Shakespeare is believed to have spent his last days – belonging to his granddaughter and her husband. This is the beautiful garden outside the house.

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… And finally his grave in the Church of Holy Trinity.

It was all very historical and interesting.¬†It was fascinating to see¬†inside the houses and get an idea of what life was like then, in addition to just admiring the beauty of the outside. You could imagine Shakespeare¬†walking up to Ann Hathaway’s cottage (which is actually a massive farm house and has fondly been referred to as a cottage¬†because of idyllic appearance) to ‘court’ her. Would he have been nervous to¬†see her family? And tipped his hat off to her father out of respect? We even saw the bed that Will may have had-a-way with our Hathaway ūüėČ The ‘cottage’ was so lovely, that I would have happily moved in (add some heating, electricity and take away the millions of nosy tourists of course ūüėČ ).

A personal highlight for me was the character room at Nash’s house. Naturally, a purpose built room for tourism – but it was great to see displays of the ‘top ten characters’ and you could add your own favourite Shakesspearian character to a board too.There was a quiz on the wall too!¬†I felt like I was at some sort of Shakespeare convention – not a ‘Trekkie’ but a ‘Shakey’ if you will ūüėČ I added ‘Othello’ to the favourite character board. That is my favourite play and I love that Othello himself is a little different to other charcters. He is black, yet in an important position and very well-respected for the time period. He is a calm, collected and gentle character, yet jealousy results him in him murdering his own wife. I love the dramatic change in him throughout the play and shows, perhaps, that jealousy (or another strong emotion) can drive any of us¬†to murder. Sadly Othello didn’t make their top-ten though:

Top Ten Characters

  1. Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)
  2. Hamlet (Hamlet)
  3. Bottom (A Midsummer’s Night Dream)
  4. Beatrice (Twelfth Night)
  5. Mercutio (Twelfth Night)
  6. Romeo (Romeo and Juliet)
  7. Falstaff (Henry IV part 1 and 2 and Merry Wives of Windsor)
  8. Macbeth (Macbeth)
  9. Henry V (Henry V)
  10. Cleopatra (Anthony and Cleopatra)

 

The hop-on, hop-off tour bus gave us much entertainment. One reason being, we went on the open-top section and it was freezing and blowy! We also kept having to duck when we passed trees (which was a lot), which was scary but also extremely funny! The tour guide on our bus (when we wimped out and sat inside the bus) was very informative and entertaining. She told us a few facts about general Tudor life:

  • As we drove past a road, she told us it used to be a popular highway. In wet conditions, it became very soft and poor people would come and ‘cup’ mud in their hand in order to make pots. This left many holes in the road… and you’ve guessed it, that’s where the term ‘pot-holes’ comes from!
  • Tudors used to use frog salvia to aid their sore-throats. Scientists have since found that there is infact an enzyme in frog saliva that has antisceptic in it. So they weren’t (too) crazy… and that is where the term ‘a frog in your throat’ comes from.
  • Four-poster beds became popular in Tudor times. I thought it was a warmth related reason. It comes from the fact they had hatched roofs though. There wasn’t any ceilings in bedrooms, so rubbish and bugs would fall from the hatching onto people in bed. Someone ( a man apparently -I’m not convinced!) invented the canopy like part in order to catch the bugs and rubbish. Clever! It then became a fashion statement too.
  • My favourite fact also links to the thatched roofing. When Tudors realised that thatching was a fire hazard, they all had to change to tiling. A team from the town committee went to¬†an inn¬†to tell the keeper that he had to change his roof to tiles. He gave them so much free ale that they forgot to ask him! So it is still thatched today:
Old Thatch Tavern

Old Thatch Tavern

 

So I had a very Shakespeare-y day and I loved every second! The nearby buildings were all named after Shakespeare quotes or plays or characters. I even had a milkshake called Much A Do About Oreo!

I fully recommend a day at Stratford to anyone who is interested in Shakespeare – even if you are not there is still so much to do. We paid ¬£25 and this included the bus (which you can get on and off as much as you wish) and also the entry to 3 houses. There are still 2 main other houses to see and a boat trip that we didn’t do – so there is just so much! And I’ll be definitely going back….. no ‘to go or not to go’ question ūüėČ

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For a recent post about Shakespeare’s birthday, take a look at this:

https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/celebrate-this-23rd-april/

A not so stupid Cupid!

A topical blog today (I do try!)… Happy Valentine’s day! That can mean whatever you choose. I think it is experienced in¬†three different ways: the completely insufferable loved up couples who completely embrace the commercialism of it all; the single people who also then stem into two groups of the cynical and the ‘couldnt give a damn’ ones; and the people who just use it as an extra excuse to appreciate and spend time with loved ones (well just the one ūüėȬ†)

I fall into the the¬†latter category. I didn’t always, as my boyfriend and I used to buy presents, go out for dinner and all that smoochy¬†stuff. I think when you have been together so long then you go from the that category to just appreciating each other. My boyfriend, incidentally, is with his true love¬†tonight (he does happen to have more than one!)… his rowing boat! No we haven’t spent the eve opening¬†loved up pressies¬†and having¬†a romantic meal¬†– he has at rowing and me? Well, I am sitting here writing about it! ūüėČ But, he is going to finish early – as to me ‘time’ is a more valuable gift than jewellery¬† – not that I wouldn’t happily¬†accept that too ūüėČ

Yes, a lot of people hate Valentine’s day because they think it another occasion that they have to remember, spend money and conform to. But as I say, it can just be an extra excuse to spend quality time together. I say ‘extra’ excuse because it should be in addition to other special evenings. You shouldn’t need Valentine’s day to arrive in order to have a ‘date’ or to spend some romantic time together….. love shouldn’t be an annual event! But you can receive the day with a hug and a kiss and feel blessed to have a loved one. Even if you don’t have a romantic loved one, you can still feel lucky and grateful to have loved ones in your life. Or just stick on the chick flicks/get drunk with other single friends/eat chocolate¬† – as you don’t have to share ūüėČ

Let’s remember¬†how Valentine’s Day began. Interestingly, it wasn’t associated with romantic love until the middle ages. Before this, it was a¬†date to celebrate¬†numoerous Christian¬†saints called ‘Valentinus’.¬† The 14th of February was the day they were ‘honoured’.¬† Then one particular ‘Saint Valentine’ was¬†focussed on when we look back to history¬†and he was¬† thought to be imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted¬†under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius and before he was executed he left a note saying ‘From your Valentine.’ Which could explain why it is typical to sign your cards as that now.

But yes the romantic love idea came more into play during the time of Chaucer, where ‘courtly love’ was popular. By the 15th century, this date became a day to present loved¬†ones with confectionary, flowers and¬†hand-made¬†cards. It was from¬†the 19th Century that mass-produced cards replaced the ‘hand made cards’.¬†Sad really, but I am sure there are still some people out there that do make their own personalised Valentine’s.

Also, don’t forget Cupid, who is a symbol or icon¬†of Valentine’s Day. Cupid was the god of desire, erotic love and affection. Cupid carries an¬† arrow with a golden, sharp¬†tip and who ever gets hit with it, experiences¬†uncontrollable desire. What a lot of people don’t know, is that he also had a second arrow with a lead point and this was for negative purposes – it would cause the person to run away. I didn’t realise this until it was mentioned in Romeo and Juliet where Romeo says that Rosalind¬†won’t be hit by the right arrow and return his love. I love this idea about Cupid as it has a dual effect and shows that love is two-sided. It can be¬† lovely and amazing but also painful and hurtful¬† – reflected by his two arrows!

I have to share you my favourite love poem with you today to finish off. I have mentioned it in a blog before so that may be why it seems familiar (https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/that-stinging-feeling/). I think it shows what should be important about Valentine’s Day and realising the reality of love:

Valentine

Not a red rose or a satin heart

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

Here.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

So there you have it. You may have flowers today. Or a necklace. Or some chocolate. But it doesn’t have all that emotion and meaning¬†to it like an onion does it?! I love this poem as it shows that love starts and stops like the stanzas and the lines. Love clings to you, whether you want it to or not, like the stench of an onion onto your skin. It is honest about love and a brilliant metaphor for love.

There you go, we have the history of Valentine, cupid and how the day has changed, all for a modern poet to say that love is a vegetable! ūüėČ

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day in which ever way you choose ūüôā

XSXS

Age is a Growing Number

People say that age is ‘just a number’. Which I guess it is. Especially when it comes to people who you are friends with (age doesn’t matter) and when couples have a huge age difference. You may want to do certain things that isn’t normal for your age…. for example this afternoon I am going to use bright coloured poster paints (that are actually called finger paints aimed at toddlers!) and paint some Harry Potter banners for my boyfriend’s sister’s themed birthday party in a few weeks. So yes in that instant as well, my age of ’26’ is just a number!

But it is a growing number… we all get older every day, every year. And until you get into your twenties, I don’t think you really bother about it. And until you get to 18 you worry about it in reverse as in you want to be older so that you can get into clubs and get served for alcohol. So from 19 – 20, it suddenly loses its novelty yo get ID’D¬†and by the time you reach 22-23 sort of age, you want to be ID’D because it shows you look a little younger. I remember, a couple of years ago, I went out for my birthday with my sister and her friends (who are 5 years younger). So I was turning 24 I think and they were all about 19. We queued up to get into a club and all of them were ID’D¬†and I fumbled in my bag for my pink, driving licence to present it proudly to the bouncer. As I did this, he laughed and said he didn’t need to see mine! Gutted. On the odd occasion¬†that I do get ID’D, it is either because the shop assistant is being over cautious with the ‘look under 25 rule’ or I am looking particularly rough without makeup or something. Or both!

Yes, I’m at the stage there where I love being in my twenties and even though I don’t get ID’D¬†much, I can make my peace with that. I feel more self-assured¬†than I did when I was 18 and more self-confident and know more what I want from life. And I still party sometimes like you can see in Down and Dirty with the Teenagers Part 1 and 2 and Not Sloshed enough to Mosh? My main fear in life is turning 30. Something about that one seems so grown up. Twenties to Thirties. You are more likely to be married with kids in your thirties and do all the serious, grown up stuff. Not as many allowances for screw ups! So for my 30th in three years time, I plan to have a party and celebrate the last 30 years whilst getting very drunk. Surely, you are never too old for that? ūüėČ

It is funny how some people are about ages. At school at the minute, there is a competition for the kids to guess the combined age of the English department. There is a mixture of ages so it is quite amusing. Some are shy about the kids knowing their ages. When kids guess ages it’s normally way off anyway… they don’t seem to have any idea. I have had guesses of anything from 18 – 45 (the 45 guess was from a special needs kid, I will add!). I offered for the department to add my ’26’ age in…. as I am partly with the department too so could be in or out…. and said it could help to lower the average ūüėČ

At the beginning of summer, we had our ten year¬†school reunion. That’s when you feel being grown up and a little older, when you have your first school reunion! Ten years since we left, woah. It was a great evening actually. Some of my close friends organised it and I helped out by getting some old photos together. It was a great night to catch up with people¬†and I actually spent a lot of the night talking to people who¬†I never even spoke to at school. Ten years can change people a lot and the shy, geeky kids are all grown up (I was one of them!) and actually willing to socialise with people. I recommend it to others who are considering a reunion!

I also wrote a poem for the occasion actually, take a look:

Ten years since…..

Ten whole years it has been,
Since years at school as a teen,

Since in Maths we saw Chicken Legs dance,
And over her glasses, she did glance,

Since ‚Äėsignificant‚Äô Lord of the Flies,
Was a ‚Äėbitty‚Äô chapter in our lives,

Since small, white notes were always passed,
As the back turned they flew so fast!

Since Drama was a Jolley time,
Where farting and burping, both a crime,

Since Collier said ‚ÄėOui‚Äô and ‚ÄėNein‚Äô,
Oh Howe did we survive this time?

Since some teachers went into a Buckle,
Pea shoots flew as all did chuckle,

Since Peanut came out of her shell,
If we said too much, she did yell,

Since strict sir Sealy ruled P.E,
But on the fields we could be free,

Since Music gave us fun and smiles,
A purple tracksuit you could see for Miles,

Since Lappy had scared us all so,
But Good Head on his shoulders though,

Since Science gave us Bushes and Woods,
Fires and chemicals and sometimes floods,

And Big Man Watts was the guy in charge,
Where no problem, too small or large,

It really has been a whole decade,
But our funny memories will never fade…

There is a lot of mentions of teachers there, which naturally you won’t quite get the humour unless you went to our school. Many people enjoyed my poem to reflect back on the good and bad times…. which ten years later all seem funny. That’s the thing as we all get older, you have memories that you have built up. The older you get, the more you get.

(See my Circle of Life post for some other thoughts on life and age.)

See you tomorrow, all of us a day older ūüėČ

XSXS

Lost in Transit

I had a whole other post planned for today. I was going to share my favourite quote with you and talk about that. But that’s down the pan. Because, something so bizarre just happened that I just have to share with you……

Have you ever thought about the people who lived in the house before you? You may have met them if you bought the house off them. We bought our house off the¬†previous owner’s daughter as she had died – after turning the lovely bathroom suite into a disable and she didn’t even have the time to make the most it, we all lose on that one. I also tend to think about owners before her. Our house was rented for a few years before we bought it so there has been quite a lot of occupant. Some things from the old woman and her husband remained though. Like the locks on the stair and pantry door. Odd. I thought she was trying¬†to keep her husband from the food or alternatively lock him in there! I found out after because my Dad is mates with the woman we bought it off (see it’s always who you know ūüėČ ). Turns out the man had bad dementia and would go into a room and forget how to get back out. The locks were to stop him going either in the pantry or upstairs. We also found a trap door in our living room when we bought a new carpet. I was already gob smacked as the old carpet had a date of purchase on it and it was 50 years old!!!! I thought about the day it got put down and how the floor had not seen any light since. We then discovered the trap door and were muchly excited at the thought of money… or not so excited at the image of a dead body. Neither were down there and it was just a view of the pipes. Very odd. Viewing hole perhaps? The screws were so old when we got it open that we couldn’t put them back so we sealed it shut, preventing future occupants the joy of anticipation of what could be in there.

Anyway, the odd thing that happened to today! I got home and there was a letter, a small envelope in a plastic wallet with a note from the post office of apology. It said how Royal Mail were very sorry that the letter had taken so long to arrive. I couldn’t think of anything we had not received and then looked at the address¬†‘Mary Smith’. Mmmmm… we have lived there for nearly 3 years so it had taken a long time to arrive. I then looked at the date of postage and it was 2003!!!!! It had taken 12 years to arrive…. lost in their network it said. I was quite excited about what could be in so had a peep inside. You know what it was? Something really important since it had an apology letter? Something really worth waiting 12 years for? Nope. A Christmas card! I then felt unreasonably angry for some reason. I thought: ‘How much money and time has been wasted to get this to an address, with now¬†different occupants, twelve years too late! And it was only a christmas card! Poor Mary must be thinking ‘God, I never did get a Christmas card off¬†Doreen in 2003!’ Maybe she even stopped sending them in return because of this. I know my Gran does that. She will say, ‘Well she never sent a card last year so I’m not bothering again!’ So maybe the contact ended between Mary and Doreen because of that. Sad thought. I just still can’t get over the fact that it has been floating around the ‘network’ for 12 years. Crazy.

Something similar happened a while ago. We received a parcel addressed to someone else but with our address on. I opened it. I just had to. It was a lovely card, a little girl’s jumper and a handmade wooden teddy bear. I felt sad that the owner would never receive it. I kept it for some reason. I just had a feeling and figured that eventually I would give them away. I was convinced the woman would never know¬†because how close could these people be if they didn’t even know each other’s correct address? Anyway, a few months later, guess what? She showed up at the door. I was so glad I had kept it. She was very happy and said the sender would too. We exchanged a bit of small talk and she commented on how the house had changed etc. Must be weird going back to your old house years later. Happy ending that time…. just wish I could tell Mary that Doreen did send Christmas wishes 12 years ago!

We also get junk mail for various people and get calls for ‘Mrs Curtis’ very regularly. I like the fact the house has a history though…. a bit of character. Maybe one day something more useful will arrive through the post or I will find another money laden trap door ūüėČ

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

I-fell off the Tower…

Afternoon people… life after holiday is a tad boring. The thing that keeps me going during the post holiday blues is the thought of having all the holiday snaps printed, framed and albumed! So today I have been out and bought huge collage frames to display the lovely French monuments and also the Italian highlights of Pisa where I visited at Easter.

The mighty Eiffel

I didn’t really fall off the tower haha. (Wondering though – is that why it is called ‘Eiffel.. as in I -fell?’)….. no I didn’t…but I could have! I’m not a fan of heights, which is why I am so proud of myself for climbing (and lifting) my way to the top…. and also climbing to the top of a crazy leaning tower earlier in the year! I don’t let my fear of heights stop me doing things but I do go a little funny when I look over the edge… and even if I didn’t fall over, I think my heart might have leaped off a few times.

For the Eiffel tower, we walked towards it on our first evening and everything seemed to peaceful. We decided to go up it because it seemed so quiet and we smugly thought that no one else would think of doing it at night. Ha! We walked round a corner and there was miles of queues, probably as the tower is tall. Seems everyone in Paris had the same idea. I was actually quite surprised at how cheap it was to go up the tower Р10 euros (But a bit dearer if you got the lift up). This was because I was automatically comparing it to the tower of Pisa, where it cost 15 euros! Logically, to me, the Eiffel should have cost more with it being grander, lighting up and being 320 metres tall. The Pisa tower is only a measly 55.8 metres!! yet costs more Рthose damned Italians!

Anyway, the queues were too huge, so we decided to come back the next evening, a tad earlier. We did and managed to get in straight away. We had gone for dinner before and I wanted to wear a pretty dress and heels – as you do on holiday! So I made¬†my bloke¬†promise that we would get the lift option as my poor feet were on their own shoe towers already. This was agreed and as we were waiting to pay we heard the French lady cashier tell this couple off; ‘you need to speak to tell me what you want you know, it makes it very difficult you know!’ It seemed they were probably not confident to talk in French so opted for no language at all. We were laughing at this and thought we would have no trouble as we had been ordering in restaurants in French etc. We had a swift exchange and into the tower we went…… except my boyfriend and forgotten to ask for the lift option!!! Walking it was.

We did it though. And I have to admit it was better because we got to see every floor in detail and had a good old drink too before going up to the next floor!!! You had to get a lift to the final floor anyway so my tired feet got a little rest. We had to wait 45 min though to get up and to get down!! Very popular! I felt okay up there but couldn’t look over the edge immediately and I also felt a little queasy when my boyfriend leaned over…… but the champagne we had up there eased this a little! So yes, I went up to the top of the Eiffel and didn’t fall over and I also made it down – hurrah!!

The drunken tower of Pisa

Back in April, I went to Pisa with two friends. Me and one mate walked up the leaning tower whilst the other mate stayed firmly on the ground and watched us from below. Typically, it was the windiest day we had experienced whilst in Italy, which doesn’t bode well when the tower is nearly falling over anyway. But still, I feel¬†I can relate to the leaning tower as I spend most of my time on holiday drunkenly¬†leaning too! We made it to the top – in trainers! It was so blowy and you could really feel the ‘lean’ and I thought we could easily have been swept off into the Italian air! But we didn’t… again I plucked up courage after a while and looked over the edge – even gave my mate a wave at the bottom. There was amazing views of Pisa… and the thing I love about Italy and also France is that all the buildings are so pretty (but not always on the inside as you learn in yesterday’s post Riches to Rags to Riches!) and I could look at them all day.

So yes this year has been a good year of travel and I have conquered two of the world’s monuments and survived! Haha…. thank god for French and Italian wine (and champagne) to make that upwards¬†journey a little more bearable for Acrophobic me! At least I don’t have to do it on a daily basis…. even though our stairs are pretty steep…can’t say the views at the top are as pretty though ūüėČ

Onwards and upwards,

See you tomorrow!

XSXS

 

Off with your Head!

Hey people…

Since my day so far has been pretty boring and I just feel I am waiting to go on holiday now… I thought I would share with you one of my interests. I am a little bit obsessed by Henry VIII and his six wives… no it’s not boring! I, for one, hated¬†history at school. But now that I have matured (a little!) and the learning of the subject is not forced upon me, I actually¬†quite like certain eras quite a lot. It fits it quite nicely with English and Literature you see… and the Tudor¬†period is the same time as Shakespeare. But that isn’t why I am fascinated by good old Hezza… it’s the fact that he seemed to be so attractively challenged yet managed to get six women to marry him. Six!

I started thinking about the old womaniser last night when the Olympic ¬†closing ceremony¬†was on. Not because he was such a budding athlete… even though I do believe he was pretty good at jousting and hunting and even tennis…. it was because they called our current Prince Harry, Henry. The Facebook¬†updates were quite funny as they cried out that the BBC had made such a mistake and called our young prince by the wrong name! It’s like everyone was looking for something to go wrong or be said wrong! It is of course, his actual¬†name. It then made me think of the Tudor king because people often referred to him as ‘Harry’ in his younger years at least. And I started thinking why? Why are Henrys¬†called Harry and vice versa? There must be an actual reason out there, which I’ve not bothered to go out and research just yet… I’ll save it for a quiet evening when I have nothing better to do. It doesn’t make sense though does it? The name doesn’t even shorten by doing that? Hezza¬†is much better… haha even though that doesn’t shorten either to be fair.. but definitely a more modern name for our current prince.

Back to Henry the VIII…. I was thinking that if he was a man living in today’s society then he would surely be on Jeremy Kyle. I can see the headline of the show now; ‘Man married six women… killed two, ditched two and one died having his baby!’ (His current beau.. good old Katherine Parr would be a guest on the show also!) I guess we have a lot to thank Henry for. There would be no D.I.V.O.R.CE song, would there? Would are population be dire? Think about it… if people were stuck with one person and never there was an option to get divorced then maybe they wouldn’t want to procreate? Then again there is always affairs… and that’s something else we learned from the saucy Tudors!

Who could resist that??

¬†My main fascination with his wives, lies with Anne Boleyn. She seemed such a rebel for the time and is painted in such a horrible light. Beheaded for many reasons.. one being incest… but what’s a bit of brotherly and sisterly love between family? I guess that’s the point! But the thing is, women were under so much pressure in those times to marry someone in order to support their family.. especially if they were poor. She¬†was told to ‘seduce’ lucky Henry by her father and uncle and would have had no choice in the matter. Women were pawns in the market of marriage and wealth. She then had to produce a son to keep Henry’s love and interest. So even if she did succumb to her brother then it would have been to double her chances of falling pregnant and with a son. Very weird and slightly disgusting but if it is true then it shows how desperate she felt. Witch craft was another apparent offence…. because she had some miscarriages and they thought she was cursed. I tell ya, us women need to breathe sighs of relief that we don’t live in that era. She was also accused of having affairs.. yet Henry had them openly. Men were allowed to though *sarcastic eyebrow raised look*. It seemed six women in a lifetime wasn’t enough.

The six lucky ladies….

¬†I won’t go into all the wives but what I find so amusing about the whole story…. is that Henry’s¬†one goal in life (apart from abolishing the catholic church)seemed to be to obtain a son to take over the throne. Yet who reigned for 45 years after his death? Elizabeth. A woman. His daughter.¬†And Anne Boleyn’s daughter at that. His son? Edward VI managed a sickly six years. I’m not on my feminist high horse or anything here… poor Eddy can’t help the fact that he died so soon but I’m just saying that Henry had nothing to worry about because the one thing he wanted he didn’t need. A queen filled that gap just fine.

The much wanted son  

(Not bad for the daughter of an ‘incestuous witch’ eh??)

Anyway, I want to share a poem with you that I have written….see what you think…

Another One

Spain in my bed every night,

Such passion, such morals,

Loved by all.

But no boy. No boy. No son.

Out with the old, in with Boleyn,

Dangerous, excitable,

Hated by all.

And no boy, no boy, so no head.

See more, I need a new love,

A not so plain Jane,

Gentle, kind and loving,

And a boy! A boy!

But exchanged for death.

Tears make a river to the next,

Yet I like her not! I like her not!

Picture tells a different tale,

I judge the book by the cover.

Don’t read the full story.

 

How… I move for….ward,

Light and easy.  Young.

Unlike me.

Lots of boys.

But in her bed.

So off with her head!

Finally, last chance at love.

As I near the end.

Someone to care,

Like a daughter.

I can die now, it’s done.

I have a son.

(I did have this in six separate stanzas but couldn’t get it to stay like that on the post.. I was also wondering if it worked better like¬†this though,¬†as in, it doesnt stop; like Henry’s search for a wife doesn’t stop. What do you think?)

So remember ladies…. make sure you get knickerless or you could end up headless ūüėČ

If any of you are interested in reading about the Tudor period; Alison Weir’s Six Wives is a good read. Also for you fiction lovers… Phillipa Gregory’s The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl and ¬†The Boleyn Inheritance are a good historical-fiction¬†trilogy.

See you tomorrow,

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