Screenshot of Dizzyrambic Imaginings
So I thought, “If they can offer Edgar Allan Poe(ms!) free on Amazon why not offer mine for a day or two?”
My collection wound up #3 in the USA and #23 in the UK! Wow! Next to EAP!
Screenshots of the poems pages above and below:
(Click on the screenshot for Amazon Links)
An extract from Mules; Masters & Mud - the sequel to The Quarry Bank Runaways.
It is the chapter about the runaway apprentice Thomas Priestley when, as an adult, he is wounded while attending what became known as the Peterloo Massacre.
Chapter Ten: Injury
On a fine sunny morning in August 1819 Thomas, with eight other cotton workers, was travelling on a horse drawn cart to Manchester. The road from Mellor was not one of the best in wet weather, but the rain had stopped as they joined the turnpike road, passing through Stockport, to pick up Tommy and some other club members, when everyone was in high spirits. They were all looking forward to hearing Henry Hunt speak to an assembly of people on Parliamentary reform and against the Corn Laws, for which the high price of food was being blamed. The many peaceable workers, like Thomas, had high hopes for a non-violent orator like Hunt to bring to the attention of the government the claims of “ordinary folk” of the causes for the many hardships in their lives. It was rumoured that hundreds would be there in St. Peter’s Fields and that it would remain peaceful enough for women and children to be present.
‘Wotcher, Tommy, ’ow’s things?’
‘Pretty fair, Jacob, pretty fair... What’s that clothes prop for, then? It looks like a flag.’
‘Clothes prop? Nay, mate that’s me banner demandin’ the vote, ain’t it.’
Jacob was a secret convener of club meetings and groups for the surrounding mills of Stockport. He had become quite a confidante of Thomas and Will Souter and kept them informed as much as he could about changes in employment law and other developments. He had listened to Francis Place speak against the Combinations Acts and had joined the march two years earlier when the workers had hoped to present a petition to the Prince Regent in London. The large group of protesters had walked but a few miles south of Manchester when troops had broken it up, causing more dissidence to spread to many more workers.
There were eight leather flagons on the cart with contents that added much to the holiday mood amongst the men aboard. As soon as the scrumpy cider had all disappeared everyone was agreed the ale would be most welcome. Even with an early morning start to the journey the cart was not going to reach Manchester much before lunchtime. Frequent stops for the relief of eight bladders had a lot to do with the delays and word had reached the pie-men and other purveyors of food about the meeting on St. Peter’s Fields. The suppliers of such refreshments were scattered along the route every half mile or so and they were doing well. The cart from Mellor found it was one of very many by the time they reached Ancoats. Most of the men on the cart had never been to Manchester and while they were most impressed by the many enormous mills that towered above them, they were alarmed to see how densely populated the area was. Dozens of people walked to and fro while small gangs of small children played in the filth.
‘Where do all these people live?’ asked Thomas.
‘Why in these tenements an’ back-to-back houses, Tommy. Oh, an’ though they’ve got better roads around ’ere it’s for the convenience o’ the mill owners an’ merchants, see: for the transport o’ bales an’ what ’ave thee.’
‘Look at the state o’ the roads,’ said Tommy.
There were piles of discarded bits of broken furniture, rotting vegetables, filthy soiled clothing and stinking excrement littering the sides of a yellow stream. The yellow stream was an open running sewer that would eventually find its way into the Rochdale Canal or either of the rivers Mersey or Irwell.
‘Aye, an’ ’alf these ’omes ’ave got no privies or plumbin’, pal,’ said Will. ‘No surprise, there’s so many poor kiddies dead afore they’re ten around the town, eh,’ he continued. ‘Thee can nigh see th’ miasma that’s acomin’ up off them streets; causin’ all sorts o’ diseases, see.’
The wagoner driving the cart was attempting to find a way through Redhill Street and as they passed by the enormous eight storey edifice that was McConnel’s Mills he told Jacob that he was about to stop.
‘See, Jacob, ah needs ter find a farriers ter attend to me hoss… Mebee, a stable somewhere round ’ere, if ah can… Hoss is trottin’ a bit lame, see.’
‘No problem, mate,’ replied Jacob. ‘It ain’t that far ter walk from here… Ah knows the right road. We go past th’ Infirmary on Piccadilly?’
The wagoner nodded and the workers got down from the cart, still in high spirits, chatting about the high hopes they had about Orator Hunt and what they expected to hear in his speech. There were no open public spaces neighbouring the many mills; no parks for the group to stroll through or sit and chat; no public buildings nor churches with churchyards. Everything about the place where they had stopped was about cotton: scotching it; carding it; spinning it; weaving it and selling it. They were in the growing heart of Cottonopolis.
The group from Mellor and Stockport were amazed to see dozens of wagons and carts lined up around the streets bordering St. Peter’s Fields. But the sheer numbers of happy people, men, women and children, congregating upon the site meant for the speeches was a shock – there were many, many thousands and they all seemed to be in the same holiday mood as all of the club members. There were sideshows, entertainers of all kinds, pedlars and stalls with refreshments; the carnival atmosphere belying the serious nature of the reasons for such an assembly of thousands from the working classes of the north of England. Henry Hunt’s reputation as a radical reformer had reached the local magistrates and they had called upon the Yeomanry of Manchester and Cheshire to stand by in case of insurrection from the crowds. A narrow passage, lined by constables, allowed Hunt and others to approach the raised platform amidst the packed assembly and the suffocating heat of the middle of the August day. Watching from his room at the corner of St. Peter’s Field the chairman of the magistrates was encouraged by Hunt’s enthusiastic reception to issue warrants for the arrest of the speakers and send orders for dispersal of the assembly. He feared for the preservation of the peace, ensuing riots and, therefore, that lives and property were in danger; not only that but he assumed what he saw was but a part of a nationwide rebellious movement.
The speeches began; banners were waved; repeal of the Corn Laws was demanded; shouts and cheers followed; universal suffrage was reasonably demanded; more cheers and cries of: ‘Hear, hear! Well said, sir! Hurrah, that’s right!’ could be heard above the holiday hum of the crowd. Up on their platform Hunt and his entourage were growing ever more animated and arms were raised, waved in the way of many a country church choir master. The people, many still dressed in their plain working clothes, were unaffected by the contrast with the fine apparel worn by the lecturers. Ordinary people were whooping and applauding with such exuberance that they could be heard miles away. The swelling sound was now about to be misinterpreted by the Yeomanry, strategically assembled to the west and east of St. Peter’s Fields, supported by hundreds of constables and a company of hussars. The poorly trained, volunteer cavalrymen of the Yeomanry were commanded by Captain Birley, who was also a local factory owner.
It was not ten minutes after one thirty when the captain led his cavalry towards the platform of speakers. This was to assist the chief of constables and his men in the arrest of those same speakers. In attempting to force their way through, the horsemen lost all sense of self-control and drew their sabres, hacking their way through everyone in their path, men, women and children! In the panic of people trying to get out of the way the untrained horses reared and plunged into them, injuring many more. When the arrest warrant had been served by the police officer, the Yeomanry then set about seizing and destroying the many flags and banners, and to disperse the crowd further. But this was not possible while the main exit from the area was blocked by rows of foot soldiers with fixed bayonets.
Thomas and Jacob became incensed at the sight of a large group of flag-carrying women from a female reform society, all dressed in white, who were being savagely attacked by horsemen. More spilt blood conflicted horribly with the white dresses of the women and a few brave souls attempted to defend themselves with their short flag staffs. With eyes as wild as those of their steeds the cavalrymen slashed out, not caring whether the flags parried their deadly sabres or whose head was split open.
‘Come on, Jacob!’ yelled Thomas as he flung himself forward at one of the horsemen and held on to his weapon arm. The man would not be pulled down from the saddle and received a hefty blow to his back from Jacob’s banner pole. This was then a signal to the soldier’s comrades to turn their attention to the two men and rain blows upon them. Thomas and Jacob were not alone in attempting to return the fight physically, while the many brickbats and loud curses from the people heard by the magistrates caused them to rouse the hussars into the fray.
‘The crowd must be dispersed! The yeomanry are now being assaulted! Go to it!’ they ordered the officer commanding the hussars. Within ten, or maybe, fifteen minutes the assembly in St. Peter’s Fields had been dispersed, although riots continued throughout the streets of Manchester for hours. Bloodied and injured bodies in their hundreds strewed the area and later it was found that there were eleven fatalities among them, including nine men and two women. Thomas and Jacob, with three of the women reformers, lay unconscious where they fell. They were surrounded by others, similarly wounded and bleeding, unable to hear the groans and cries of pain that arose like an invisible cloud of doom over the field.
The majority of the ruling classes did not save their blame and recriminations just for those working class people who were able to walk away from St. Peter’s Fields free of injury. Many of the wounded did not seek medical treatment for they were certain that it would invite retribution from the authorities. Rumours of such a spiteful attitude had a strong basis in fact. The mill owner who had captained the unruly yeomanry, one Hugh Birley, was greatly offended when he discovered that one of his male workers had dared to attend the meeting in St. Peter’s. His hurt and annoyed feelings were somewhat appeased, however, when he subsequently sacked the three sons of the man later. The surgeon in the Infirmary who was attending to the wounds of some of the workers brought there had definite views about the ‘upstarts’ from the lower classes learning a suitable lesson as a penalty for their ‘crimes’. Unfortunately, Thomas and Jacob were two of those on the receiving end of the surgeon’s disciplinary measures as they lay awaiting treatment.
‘The sabre wounds to your heads are going to need sponge cleaning and packing, gentlemen. The redness and pus that is forming indicates to me that wound fever has begun, but of course that is quite normal where sepsis is concerned. Are you in pain?’
Both men had not ceased groaning since they had recovered consciousness and the red swelling around the cuts was considered by the surgeon to be a sign of healing, rather than one of serious infection. Their bodies and limbs were covered in bruises and this was considered to be of very little concern. Jacob’s cuts to his crown and ear were deeper than those to Tommy’s head and arm and causing him considerable pain.
‘Will thou see ter me companion first of all, sir? I think he’s a sufferin’ most,’ said Thomas.
The surgeon drew closer with his bowl of vinegar water and the same cloth that he had been using all afternoon.
‘I expect you two foolish fellows will be returning to work peacefully quite soon. No doubt you’ll agree that you’ve had your fill of these ill-advised Manchester meetings.’
Despite the pain and the temptation to swoon again into a state of unconsciousness Thomas and Jacob shook their heads, just a little, as much as the soreness would allow.
‘Oh, no, sir; our cause is just. We mun stick together an’ demand the vote an’ better workin’ conditions,’ answered Jacob.
‘While them laws as keeps the price o’ bread up too ’igh is there we gotter keep goin’, sir. Folks is starving’ while wages is pressed down by factory owners,’ added Thomas.
Their replies appeared to upset the disposition of the surgeon. The discussion that followed, for more minutes than the time it took the hussars and cavalry to disperse the assembly of people, was a diatribe from the medical man versus an insistence of more rights from the two wounded men. It ended when the surgeon ordered the pair to be taken away by their friends and to be taken ‘back to whence they came’ – untreated!
Eddy had begged to be allowed a day off to see his wounded brother in his simple lodgings near to the bleaching works in Edgeley. He had got a lift on a wagon and was unable to pay much attention to the garrulous driver in his anxiety about Tommy’s injuries. Will Souter had stayed with Thomas for as long as he could before returning to work at Quarry Bank and his news of the events in Manchester had caused a hotchpotch of opinions about the wisdom of attending the meeting. Condemnation came naturally from the managers while support for fellow workers was the popular emotion from the spinners. Will was relieved to find that he still had his job but the overlookers reminded him again and again that that would not be the case once Robert Hyde Greg assumed the reins and took over from Samuel, his father.
John, the wagon driver, was still chatting to Eddy as they approached Edgeley along the main Cheadle road.
‘Oh, aye, lad, ah remembers all this ’ere land afore they come along an’ planted woods an’ dug the reservoyer… Twas long afore Sykes come along an’ took it for their bleachin’ works, tha knowst.’
‘Huh, huh,’ responded Eddy but deeply distracted by his own worried thoughts.
‘Ah’ll drop thee off by them rows o’ cottages then, lad,’ he said nodding in their direction. ‘S’near to the Manchester road, ye seem ter think, eh?’ John gave up waiting for an answer; then he called to his horse, ‘Whoa!’
He waited and Eddy suddenly came to life, realising they had stopped. He jumped down from the wagon, muttering garbled words of appreciation.
‘Oh, aye… Right… Thanks, John.’
‘Glad ter ’elp, lad. Hope thy brother’s owreet. Bad do that in Manchester… Aye, very bad!’
But Eddy had quickly walked well away, looking around, trying to remember which house matched Will’s description. He knocked at one of the doors and waited, his heart pounded against his ribs.
‘Thee found it alright, then?’ said a plump woman with rosy cheeks and wearing a long apron. She beckoned him in to the sparsely furnished and damp smelling front room.
‘How’s Tommy doin’?’
‘Not so bad as when his pal called me in. Will was it?’
Eddy drew cautiously closer to the bed.
‘Aye, but he don’t look too good, to me,’ said Eddy.
The nurse attending to Thomas was standing at the foot of his bed holding a bowl of pink water, a pink-stained towel and a large pink block of carbolic soap. Thomas was lying there mumbling deliriously, his face covered with perspiration, his left arm horribly swollen below the elbow. A rough cap of blooded cotton covered most of his head and he kept twisting his face from side to side.
‘Tommy’s a strong man,’ said the nurse. ‘If we can keep ’is strength up wi’ a bit o’ me chicken broth an’ a sip o’ sherry water when e’er we can, I think ’e might be all right for a while... But…’
She sucked her long next breath in through a row of gappy blackened teeth and held Thomas’ uninjured right arm by the wrist, a grim expression changed her face. ‘But we may need th’ medic or a barber for ’is bad arm… Very bad that is, son. We needs ter bleed him I thinks - unless thee wants to do it alone?’
‘What! No, no, I could never do that… Can… can thou find a proper bloke ter do it, nurse?’
Thirty minutes later she’d returned with a local barber who was known to apply simple surgery or traditional remedies to the sick – bleeding or horse leeches were his speciality. Eddy was not sure he liked the idea of a man who was not a doctor. If only Milly were here to tell him what it was best to do. The young man felt like he was just a little child again, confused and distraught.
‘Eh up, lad! Let’s ’ave a look at ’im, then.’
The man had a leather bag of water under his arm that sloshed about as he handed it to Eddy, while he prodded and poked Thomas’ injured arm, causing terrible groans of pain from him to rebound from the damp, unpainted walls. The screaming stayed in Eddy’s ears for a while, obliterating his bewildered fears but bringing back the tears, all of which he had suffered while the nurse had been gone. Eddy had knelt beside the bed praying for help from God, grateful for his brother’s guidance in how to speak to the Lord when feeling helpless and alone. He had gently slid his hand under Thomas’ left hand and stared intently at the remaining stump of his forefinger, remembering when Tommy had told him the story of losing it in a spinning mule, how it had become a focus for him when he had run away from Quarry Bank Mill, how Tommy had continued to use it as his lucky talisman – his “rabbit’s foot” – over the successive years, how he’d found strength when obstacles lay in his path and he’d had to battle on. And now the stump was swollen like a scarlet blister at the end of his swollen and scarlet arm.
‘Dost ’ave ter cause Tommy pain like that?’ demanded the youth.
‘Aye, lad, if’n thee wants me ter ’elp thy brother. Ah needs to see ’ow much poison’s in theer... An’ it ain’t lookin’ right cheerful ah can tell thee.’
The big man turned to the nurse as he grabbed the leather bag from Eddy with his large hairy hands. ‘Martha, thee did reet ter fetch me but I ain’t too sure that there’s much blood left in this ’ere arm for me leeches. They ain’t too partial ter pus an’ poison, see.’
So saying he took six leeches, one at a time, from the bag and carefully placed them on the red and yellow swellings on Thomas’ bloated forearm.
‘It ain’t so bad if I shares the poison art among them, see. But there’s a lot in theer an it’s a spreading round the poor feller.’
He then placed a gentle hand on Thomas’ brow.
‘He’s burnin’ up… An thee could ’ave ter fetch a surgeon ter tek ’is arm off, son. Best not delay too long.’
‘I thought thee might say that,’ said Martha. ‘Can thee pay?’ she asked Eddy.
‘Is he gunner die, then?’
‘The leeches could gi’ ’im a bit o’ time, son – but it’s gunner keep festerin’, see. An’ the more o’ that poison gets inter ’im… less likely he’ll live. Best tek ’is arm off afore it spreads into the rest on ’is body, pal… Dost want me an’ Martha ter tek care on it? We’ve done it afore, tha knowst.’
The big man put a friendly arm around Eddy’s shoulders and Martha nodded, reassuringly, to Eddy. Seeing his confusion and moistening eyes Martha approached the pair and put her hand on his chest. What was he to do? Of the only two people he truly trusted in the world, one was dying in front of him, while the other was far away in London. He was tempted to burst into tears once more and flee from the room, leaving it all to the adults. How could he give permission to them to cut off Tommy’s arm, so losing his hand and lucky charm, his source of strength?
They slowly became aware of a new sound in the room, a struggling, fractured voice: ‘Eddy… Eddy, pal… C’mere, mate.’
Your comments (below) are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I did a Giveaway promotion last weekend for my first Historical Fiction. The Quarry Bank Runaways was then listed as #1 USA and #2 UK on Amazon European Historical Fiction downloads! 😁 So I hope may see a positive response in future sales? Click on the screenshot for links to book page.
ANTS IN SPACE
OK, so it took a long while to come back with news about my kids sci-fi book! But a lot of "life" got in the way in between then and now. After a few changes and edits etc the finished product is FABULOUS!
The link to Amazon is above where there is a paperback and an ebook, aimed at children 8 to 10 who want an adventure in space - on another planet and with some very funny moments along the way. Oh, yes, and they have to be as small as ants and speak an alien language in a squeaky little voice! (So do the adults who want to read it with them!)
See you on ANTANESTA!
G J Griffiths
False News Flash! (A Blast from the Past)
This is a re-arrangement of an amusing false news flash that circulated around various school teacher common rooms about 20 years ago:
A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square and a calculator.
At a morning press conference the Attorney General said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement.
He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of Maths instruction. “Al-gebra is a problem for us,” said the Attorney General. “They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like ‘x’ and ‘y’ and refer to themselves as ‘unknowns’. But we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with co-ordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, ‘There are three sides to every triangle.’”
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Crump said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of Maths instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.”
White House aides told the gathered reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.
WOW Blog – Primary and Secondary Sources of History
We were looking at the gable end of one of the rows of cottages when I asked the group of children visiting from a primary school, “Can anyone see something different about the end of that building?”
I was leading the group on an educational tour around Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire and we had reached the small village on the estate which had once supplied workers for the cotton mill. The group were in Year 6, averaging about 10 or 11 years of age, and had been quite excited when going around the mill itself earlier, nervously watching the various noisy spinning and weaving machines in action. Now we were outside on a dull and overcast day and I was attempting to extend their experience of things around the village before their visit to the Apprentice House after lunch.
“It’s very old,” ventured a dark-haired girl dressed in character, wearing a white apron and a white mop cap like most of the other girls. The boys wore flat caps and waistcoats, much as you’d imagine finding Oliver Twist would appear if he’d accompanied them.
“That’s because it’s been there nearly two hundred years and it was once a farm building back then. Now that’s a big clue,” I replied.
Blank faces all around. I glanced at their teacher who smiled back at me, raised her eyebrows then said, “Remember what we were saying earlier, Year 6, about primary and secondary sources of information in History?”
Some of the children looked more intently at the brickwork while others had lost interest and were either staring up at a very large old oak tree or kicking at the grit and pebbles on the path.
“The bricks go up in a curved shape around the edges of the wall,” said another girl.
“It’s like an arch,” added a boy.
“Good, well done,” I said. “So what sort of building do you think it could have been before people lived in it as a cottage?”
More blank faces, so I added, “If it was on a farm before it was converted to be a row of cottages?”
“Was it a barn?” asked the first girl, the one with long dark hair.
“That’s right and the arched shape was the entrance, where the barn door had been. It was bricked up when Mr Greg the owner needed to offer houses to the workers in the cotton mill.”
There were murmurs of “Oh, yeah” from the children and I asked them, “So, what do you think? Is this a primary or a secondary source?”
Later on, when were on our way back to the room in the mill where they would sit and have lunch, I chatted to their teacher. She had said that the children in her class did not have to know such detail as primary and secondary sources but she thought that it prepared them a bit more for History taught in high school the following year. I found that interesting since I could not recall being taught about sources in my own History lessons when at school several decades ago. In fact the way we were taught was extremely boring and seemed to be mainly about learning the dates of battles and treaties. We did that from a book or more often by listening to the teacher sat at his desk droning on and on. To me it felt like a punishment. There was no hint of personal discovery or research about sources of information, through play acting of characters or group discussion.
“Why do you think it’s so important at this younger age?” I asked the primary teacher.
“Firstly, because History was my main subject at college before I became a teacher,” she admitted a little sheepishly. “And secondly, because it can often be so interesting – even fascinating - to find out some of the information and facts behind characters and events from History and so on.”
I had to agree and when I think about when I started taking children and adults around Quarry Bank Mill a few years ago, admittedly, somewhat apprehensively as a retired science teacher I remember it was discovering lots of details, facts and figures about the Greg family, their mill and their cotton workers that inspired me to discover more. To begin with of course I needed to get some details clear in my head so that I could pass on the correct information to the visitors. But very soon I was reading up about the Industrial Revolution and trying relate that to the various novels I’d read and enjoyed by authors like Dickens, Gaskell and Eliot. Learning more and more about workhouse children, “indentured” as cotton apprentices during those times, sometimes from the age of five, inspired me to write novels about them. Researching primary and secondary sources became essential and, like that primary teacher had said, fascinating for me, even though at times some details were quite upsetting.
Some of the videos I discovered, often quite by accident, were very helpful and a few like those below, mentioned and presented by teachers like Ms Stacy Stout; https://www.youtube.com/missstoutsHistoryclass could maybe be useful to others – students, teachers, and writers, of or about the Industrial Revolution.
Video Title: The Children of the Revolution – Children Who Built Victorian Britain;
Video Title: A Factory Worker in the Industrial Revolution;
Video Title: Industrial Revolution – A Boon to Industry – A Bane to Childhood;
These videos illustrate vividly the kind of thing that I wanted to draw a reader's attention towards in my historical fiction novels.
It may be of interest or helpful to others to include a Summary of what I have found about Primary and Secondary sources:
A distinction between primary and secondary shows the degree to which the author of a piece is removed from the actual event being described. So then the reader of it knows whether the author is either reporting their impressions first hand or is the first to record them after an event i.e. primary. If conveying the experiences and opinions of others is second hand then it is secondary. A primary source provides direct or first-hand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects.
Primary sources are contemporary accounts of an event, written by someone who experienced or witnessed the event in question. These original documents are often diaries, letters, memoirs, journals, speeches, manuscripts, interviews and other such unpublished works. They may also include published pieces such as newspaper or magazine articles (as long as they are written soon after the fact and not as historical accounts), photographs, audio or video recordings, research reports in the natural or social sciences, or original literary or theatrical works.
Secondary sources interpret primary sources, and so can be described as at least one step removed from the event or phenomenon under review. Secondary source materials, then, interpret, assign value to, conjecture upon, and draw conclusions about the events reported in primary sources. These are usually in the form of published works such as journal articles or books, but may include radio or television documentaries, or conference proceedings.
We might ask questions such as:
· How does the author know these details (names, dates, times)? Was the author present at the event or soon on the scene?
· Where does this information come from - personal experience, eyewitness accounts, or reports written by others?
· Are the author's conclusions based on a single piece of evidence, or have many sources been taken into account (e.g., diary entries, along with third-party eyewitness accounts, impressions of contemporaries, newspaper accounts)?
Ultimately, all source material of whatever type has to be assessed critically and even the most scrupulous and thorough work is viewed through the eyes of the writer/interpreter. If we are to get at the truth of an event then this must be taken into account because primary and secondary sources form the cornerstones of historical research. A modern-day work of History is essentially a description and interpretation of primary sources, along with commentary of secondary sources. A book from 1877 England would be a primary source about Victorian History. An agricultural building like an 18th century barn converted into cottages or a Methodist church would be a primary source about Georgian History.
Secondary sources are interpretations of History. Think of them as History books such as Edward Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. This is a secondary source because it interprets facts of the past and it is not from the period in question. The book was written in the late eighteenth century, putting it well outside the end of the Roman Empire and making it a secondary source.
I volunteer for a UK heritage trust and for the last two years I was asked to be Father Christmas at the local Museum. The children were mainly 6 months to 3 years old and most parents wanted to photograph their little one with Santa, preferably on his knee. Here are a few things I found humorous - hope you agree?
Question: And what would you like Father Christmas to bring you? Answer: A beard!
Question: ditto – Answer: Blue! – Follow up Question from Santa: Anything blue in particular, like a fire engine, ambulance, teddy bear, train, astroturf? Answer: Yes!
Question from Mummy to very little girl: Have you got a question for Father Christmas? Answer: Does he move? So I stood up to prove I could and – the child burst into tears!
A baby about 6 months old would not sit on Santa’s lap as requested by Mummy and Daddy, so I said, ‘Maybe if Mummy holds the little one and...’ before I was able to finish saying ... ‘and I’ll stand by you while Daddy takes the photo’, Mummy said ‘Good idea!’ and sat on my knee holding the still struggling baby! Daddy took several photos muttering, ‘That’s great! Now smile!’
Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos by Michio Kaku
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Michio Kaku’s brilliant book is one of those few that make the reader feel sad at the end. This is not because it has a denouement that pulls out the tears for the events that overtake any of the participants but because of the author’s skill of inspirational explanation about such an incredible subject. You just feel as though you want more of this kind of elegant and entertaining exposition. What could be considered to be very dry and difficult areas of physics to make explicable to those with little interest in or knowledge of science are made as compelling and as intriguing as any crime thriller. The main subjects Kaku tackles are cosmology and quantum theory, as well as a fair dose of string theory which is his specialism. But his weaving of philosophy, science history and the many anecdotes surrounding famous names, for example Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Hawking, as well as some less well-known physicists to layperson readers, has produced an extremely comprehensive book about parallel universes that is accessible and fascinating – without as I recall any sign of an equation throughout it!
The “events” of which I spoke earlier are all those, physical, chemical, or biological that have occurred since the so-called Big Bang and Inflation; and those that are still yet to descend upon all planets, galaxies, universes; and include all forms of life and consciousness as the “participants”. When the author moves towards the end of the book on to the subject of the purpose and meanings of life and the universe it is with great sensitivity, even optimism, and his undoubted enthusiasm and awe for the wonders and mysteries of “everything” in this universe also comes through. Many of the subjects are handled with a hint of fun and amusement from Michio Kaku and this often helped to balance my own large lumps of scepticism in some of his discussions. Another great bonus for this particular reader was a better grasp of string theory, which I once despaired of ever achieving. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the destiny of humanity in this or any other world – one that may be just a few millimetres away.
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My poem reached number 2 in the author'sden list of Popular Poems in the Thanksgiving list. CHUFFED!
Writer of Wrongs - an aspiration!