Tag Archives: history

Remembering Not Just For A Month, But Always

I have been aware of numerous events going on to mark October as Black History Month. I have slightly mixed feelings about marking a day, a week, or a month out for a show of thoughtfulness….when really it is every single day that we should be aware of the past, making different choices in the way we behave today, and remembering that what we do now contributes to our future.

I also am mindful that Black History means different things to different people. Some of my friends are much more eager to converse about the challenges they face now as they seem to be unfairly unable to attain to certain opportunities or experience virtual harassment as they go about their daily lives. Others have spoken about some of the challenges their parents or grandparents faced in connection with governmental failures towards the “Windrush generation”.

People, Schoolboy, Africa, Student

Black History Month is about so many aspects of history, but it is hard for me not to think about the history of the slave trade because of the impact it had and because of it’s enormous scale. It is still hard to understand how it was ever allowed to happen, but it is important to remind ourselves that for far too long, too many people callously closed their eyes to the mistreatment of fellow members of the human family, and shamefully, many profited from it. Even to this day, the legacy of the slave trade and the imbalances in material wealth and perhaps just as significantly the opportunities that resulted are very uncomfortably present.

I grew up in Liverpool, and both my parents and also the school I attended made sure we visited the Liverpool Maritime Museum regularly.

Liverpool Maritime Museum

There is an exhibition there on the slave trade – which gives you an idea of the atrocities and abuses that were committed on an enormous scale. I have been learning about the horrific injustices that occured in connection with the slave trade my whole life. What I learnt made a very deep impression on me as a little girl and I am sure it has shaped my outlook on so many areas of my life. History records the shameful wealth that some accrued closely tied up with their links to the slave trade.


Although I have always loved to visit the fascinating estates in UK, and I love the National Trust and other organisations who educate visitors about properties whose owners made their wealth due to the slave trade, it does make me grieve deeply to think of how people were treated.

But my visit to Ghana provided a much deeper insight to me than my trips to the Maritime. When we visited the amazing Cape Coast in Ghana, our tour guide helped us to understand the terrifying experience for those who were crammed into effectively the dark, dungeon-like basement of the castle before being herded onto merchant ships.

Castle, Cape Coast, Ghana, Architecture

But my main memory of my time in Ghana was the incredible warmth (not just the climate) kindness, and hospitality of people. We made so many friends who we worked alongside while we were there. I will always treasure my time there.

One of the most influential experiences I had while in Ghana was when I had the chance to work alongside a gentleman who had six small children. He had come to volunteer and was patiently teaching his children to help as well. I did not notice at first, but he had no fingers at all. We were able to spend the day working with this family, training this gentleman and his children who were so eager to help. Two of the children spoke English and it turned out they were actually refugees from a French speaking West African land. A fellow volunteer told us about what had happened to this family when violence had engulfed their region. I won’t detail his account here because it is very upsetting, but due to the brutal acts committed this gentleman was now a widower with six children to feed and all of the work he did was of course more challenging without having any fingers or thumbs. He had fled his home and come to Ghana. We saw his children take the initiative in doing things that he was unable to. His children were a delight.

As we worked along with this incredible man and his children, we saw his inspiring smiles and ability to joke and laugh. He also loved singing, and he sang in French so I was not sure of all the words, but his voice was delightful. He was so proud of his children and it was clear they adored him. We had some gifts that friends had asked us to pack into our suitcases and we really wanted to give them to this family. But this gentleman would not take them without giving us something in return. When we had lunch, we were given a packed lunch by a host with all sorts of lovely food. We wanted to give our lunch to this gentleman and his children because we realized they did not have much at all. But he did not want to accept it without giving something in return. He had a pawpaw and a mango that was going to be lunch for him and his family.

He wanted to make sure that we accepted some of his fruit and only then was he happy to take the meal we had been given. He made it very clear to us that sharing was the only option he was happy with. He had more dignity and self-respect (and quite deservedly so) than so many of the men I had worked with back in the UK. He was an inspiration to me and someone I know I will never forget. He was a priceless gem of a man.

I know that Black History Month means different things to different people. Although the slave trade is a part of history that is important not to forget, it is also an opportunity to think about the incredible spirit that so many who have been mistreated in more recent decades and even the present day have shown. The strength and resilience in the face of injustices, the warmth and vibrancy and joyful energetic spirit that so many individuals and communities have been imbued with despite unfair experiences that nobody should have to go through. In the 21st century, we sometimes want to think that social injustice is a thing of the past, but we know that sadly it is not.

Attractive, Beautiful, Girl, Model

Many individuals and organizations are trying to contribute to positive changes, educating themselves about both history and the present challenges black and ethnic minorities face. Many are trying to be more mindful of creating or enabling opportunities and a fairer platform. Those who are trying to change their outlook are a positive force, but sadly there is still a lot of negative thinking and behaviour out there. We have all seen injustices occurring in broad daylight and it can be very disturbing to contemplate how ingrained some attitudes are.

I don’t think that remembering this history of abuse, discrimination and racism is just for a month, there are so many reasons to remember, respect and applaud those who despite mistreatment are still so beautiful inside and out, and proud of the inner strength, endurance and often very joyful spirit that are inspiring so many.

Feuds, Farms, Factories, And Family Trees

There is something about history here in Britain that is more than a little interesting. I suppose it is because for the past few centuries a lot happened very quickly on these shores, a lot of growth, a lot of wealth amassed and fancy buildings constructed. A lot of developments in technology and industry. A change form an agricultural way of life to a life on the ocean waves. A lot of social developments, the rise of manufacture in the form of factories to the rising up from the workforce against industrial leaders, the abolition of the slave trade, the political developments.

Of course, there is a vast deal of awfulness in the pages of history with regards to the way this weeny little island arrogantly treated others. It is quite horrid really when you realize the wealth that came along with the abuse of peoples on this soil, and even more so overseas.

But growing up on a council house in an industrial part of the north of England, and having had the chance to travel and work all over the UK, and to live in the heart of the southern countryside, before moving to London, I have always been fascinated with how much history is easily accessible to learn about. There are so many castles, palaces, estates that are full of the records of the people who lived and worked in and around those buildings.

Blickling Estate, Palace, Facade

I think many people here do have a natural fascination with the line of Kings and the political developments in this country over the centuries. There are so many iconic names in the history books – King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell, The Duke Of Wellington, Queen Victoria – as well as all of the engineers, scientists, reformers and visionaries who made their mark on this land and in some ways, on the rest of the world.

Many of us ponder the notion of being able to travel back in time and see the days of yesteryear for ourselves. Period dramas and history documentaries have been popular on television.

One show, which I have to admit I have not often had chance to view is called, “Who Do You Think You Are?” A familiar figure (yes, celebrity) has the chance to explore their family tree with the support of historians who are digging into the archives.

My sister told me the other day to make sure I watched the latest episode of the show, featuring the family tree of a comedian named Josh Widdicombe. I am not going to tell you anything about it….not a word….but if you are interested in history….this episode is well worth a watch:


Education Plays A Key Role

Children, Drawing, EducationI think I mentioned a while ago this annoying radio show one of my colleague likes to listen to at work. I heard a discussion on there the other day that left me baffled. The radio presenter and the person calling in were saying that the history of how Britain made it’s wealth is not taught in schools.

That seemed strange to me because it was taught to us as children at primary school and at high school. (My parents taught us too of course.) Our teachers made sure we understood that wealth is not a divine reward or blessing. Being wealthy is not at all good karma or whatever you call it. Wealth has often been the result of stripping the planet of its resources and stripping other people of dignity and basic human rights.

I wrote a post about my most recent visit to the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the whole floor devoted to the history of the slave trade and the mistreatment of others that brought wealth:

Slavery On A Sinister And Sadistic Scale

Liverpool Maritime Museum

Until people everywhere stop thinking of their own glory, their own desire for wealth, their own desire for fame and prominence, power and influence – there is going to be a lot of ugly cruel behaviour.

Our teachers taught us that change comes from within. Loving other people, heartfelt respect, honouring them. Viewing and treating others as greater than ourselves. Seeking to benefit others brings us inner joy. Wealth and riches are not the goal. A happy healthy human family and a clean earth upon which all creatures thrive is the grand prize that we all need to work towards.

Birkenau, Auschwitz, Concentration, CampI recall meeting a volunteer in her nineties who was in a concentration camp during the Second World War. She said something special to me. She told me that she met a woman who was of a different religion and a different language group to her, who was also a prisoner in the camp. The other prisoner gave her some of her own bread because she saw how frail and ill she had fallen. She told me that what kept her alive was not just the bread, but the love, the human kindness when she felt herself wanting to give up on life.

She was one phenomenal lady. She said that after the war, many people immersed themselves in making money, building their own businesses, finding a lovely home etc. She became a volunteer and worked for decades, living on a tiny budget and sleeping in very basic accommodation. She learnt the secret of real joy in life. It had nothing to do with possessions. It had to do with loving and giving.

Money, Dollars, Success, BusinessSo long as people seek their own glory and their own wealth – they will miss out on real joy – the real life! But what goals do educators put before children? I remember later in my schooling, teachers pressured me to look ahead at the best colleges and universities so I could make money, have an exciting career and they suggested that would be “success”.

I rejected that. I rejected the idea of using my exam grades to win advantages for myself. I became a volunteer. I feel far more successful because I have avoided the pursuit of things and money. I have seen people of all cultures working together on projects that change communities. I have seen real love in action.

Recently, I have heard a lot of people saying that all people should have equal access to opportunities, not just a select few within a particular ethnic group or culture. I understand that. It’s the “opportunities” I have a skeptical view of. The education system in this world, the money making careers, the fame and glory this world offers – they are all incredibly fickle. (I have family who are in well paid careers – doctors, finance directors, a member of parliament. My family is a mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds…which I love. Some of my close relatives who are in lucrative careers have been the targets of racial slurs from childhood to adulthood. But that is a different subject.)

Woman, Black, Businesswoman, YoungA friend of mine said she had to fight for everything she has. She said it in the context that she has suffered racism and discrimination because of the shade of her skin. From some views she has done very well for herself. She went to a top university and she did end up in a high paying career. She is proud of those achievements. She lives in a beautiful house and drives a beautiful car. She loves her designer clothes and her luxury holidays.

She has a lot to say on the subject of equal opportunities, and I understand why. But when we discussed this issue, she kept on talking about equal opportunities for education at top schools and universities, and for lucrative careers or roles within the media.

I made two comments to her that I genuinely wondered about. The first was in the context that it is predicted that there will be a huge economic crisis ahead in the wake of the …you know and the effect that social restrictions have had on the economy. I made the comment that I was concerned there would be less opportunities on the table for any jobs, nevermind top jobs.

ruiegdfhlahThe other comment O made was that there should be dignity in every role. I feel as much pride in the work I have done as a cleaner, as when I worked in finance, in a legal firm or in healthcare.

I take even more pride and reward in the unpaid work I do working as a volunteer for charities. I have no interest in lucrative careers or the acclaim of a corrupt system. I do not want it’s offer of a high salary. Nope…I am much happier working with a team of volunteers of all ages from different backgrounds as we work together to make an area beautiful.

I do not agree at all with the glorification of humans. At all. These statues being pulled down, they should never have gone up to begin with. I don’t agree with glorifying people. But my friend thinks there should be statues, but they should reflect all cultures. She said she would like to see a statue of herself one day.

I love my friend very much and I understand why gaining those things was important to her. I am proud of her determined spirit. But in some ways it saddens me. How does gaining those things help the planet, help the human race, help one to find real joy and satisfaction in life?

dahfaehgfPersonally, I think we should all be given an assignment. We should all be assigned to an area of land and work with our neighbours to make that area a paradise.

I think at some point we may all find ourselves not worrying about the things we used to worry about. I only see a future where the human family as one huge team are working together to make this whole globe beautiful and clean. When will educators start to prioritise on teaching us that getting high grades in your exams is not as important as working together and being able to look after our home, our health and each other?

Anyway…we were just talking, my friend and I…and although we agree on many things…we don’t seem to see eye to eye about the solution. We both said education is key to affecting out future. But we obviously don’t agree on the nature of that education. We didn’t argue, we are too fond of each other to have arguments when we do not share an opinion. But we did acknowledge that we have different goals for this world.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

One of the most famous world powers was that of ancient Egypt. Images of remarkable acts of construction that took place under the rule of the Egyptian Pharaohs are world famous.

Pyramids, Egypt, Egyptian, Ancient

Almost all of us have learnt about ancient Egypt at school or we have been to a museum and have seen artifacts that archeologists discovered in Egypt and have taken to other lands where they are displayed in museums.

Did you know that the scriptures often use Egypt as a metaphor for the current world system?

It is important to see the human family from our Creator’s perspective. He does not favour one nation over another. He sees a human family descended from Adam. He has made arrangements for all of Adam’s offspring to have what Adam gave up.

of great interestI have pondered myself on everything I have read over and over in the scriptures since I was a child. Right at the start the issue of rulership was raised. Soon all will face the universal issue of who should rule. We know the events forecast to happen in the future. We know how that issue will be settled. But how individuals will choose and behave remains to be seen.

The scriptures indicate that humans are allowed to rule at present. Romans Chapter 13 casts an interesting light on the responsibility allowed to them. It also shows we are to respect the authority they are currently allowed. Obey laws, pay taxes -if in doubt, just remember: “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”

When we think back over the march of world rulers, we see a long history of various forms of government. We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. We have seen those who provided an element of stability and safety, as well as helpful services for those they ruled over. We have seen those who were harsh and domineering, putting greed before goodness.

Ultimately, no matter how we humans look back on world rulers, the scriptures indicate that is our Creator who acts as judge. When a sincere individual handles the authority allowed them in a responsible way, in a way that shows good qualities, like respect for life, love for creation, concern for people to prevent suffering and hardship, our Creator sees this. When a corrupt ruler is cruel and abusive and shows greed, our Creator also sees.

We also know that when it served His purpose, our Creator has even used rulers. I have given a lot of thought over the past few weeks on the international crisis recorded in the book of Genesis. You know the story…


It is the story of a world ruler who was disturbed by a dream he had. Many are moved by the story of Joseph and how he ended up in Egypt as a prisoner. He suffered for thirteen years unjustly. But unbeknownst to him, a special role lay ahead to him. Joseph gave credit to his Creator when he was able to tell Pharaoh both his dream and it’s correct interpretation.

oiufdnbidIn response Pharoah entrusted Joseph with the task of supervising a gigantic project. During the seven years of plentiful harvests that followed, under Joseph’s direction, excess grain was gathered into huge storehouses.

Then when seven years of famine followed, people from surrounding nations travelled to Egypt to purchase grain. This was a provision to preserve lives. I was reading Genesis 47 last night about what happened when people ran out of money and could no longer afford to buy grain. Even then a solution was provided. There was a way to manage the crisis.

Many lives would have been saved because of how the crisis was handled. When a human government handles their responsibility well that is a positive thing. We benefit from many decisions and services human governments make.

We know that decades later, things had changed dramatically. A new Pharaoh ruled, one who had a haughty attitude. He behaved very differently. He committed an act that our Creator deemed wicked.


The record of human rulership is there for all to witness. There have been good, there have been bad, there have been very ugly. There are some rulers that you and I would have no qualms about labelling as “wicked”. But many others have been weak. They have been unable to fulfil their promises in their manifestos. The challenges they face are too great.

warzoneAll of them are imperfect. All of them are inadequate as they fail to ensure all of those they rule over are safe and have what they need. The current international crisis we are all affected by highlights why even the most sincere of human rulers is not qualified to rule mankind. Even when someone good hearted is in rulership they do not have the wisdom and power to protect all of their people. The challenges they face are too large issues too complex.

What history has proven is that human rulership in whatever form it takes is an impossible task. Our Creator has something better in mind for the human family and all other creatures on planet earth.

However, individual rulers are accountable for themselves. Not all would be deemed wicked by our Creator. Some have tried their best in a very demanding stressful role. Others have been corrupt and abusive. We have seen rulers who do seem to care about people, and other rulers who seem to care about themselves and wealth.

In the future we know that some human rulers, and we do not know who those individual rulers will be yet, will try to commit an act our Creator deems wicked. We also know what leads up to that event. At the moment, we benefit from those rulers who do care and despite being imperfect, are trying to protect their populace. Our Creator sees that.

One thing we all realize is that in this modern world, things can happen very quickly. A universal issue is ahead. It is that issue of rulership that will prompt dramatic events ahead. But it will pass relatively quickly. The end…the end of the challenge to our Creator’s rulership which began with Adam will be a period in which our Creator heals mankind and all other creatures on earth. The earth is to be the global paradise he originally purposed. No more tears. No more pain.

Never Ever Again

Birkenau, Auschwitz, Concentration, Camp

Today, the BBC News reported on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27th January 1945.

The overriding tone of the reports was a fear that people might forget what happened. One of the survivors commented that if you ask a young person what they know about Auschwitz, they might reply, “Who’s he?”

I do feel sad at the thought of what some humans are capable of. Not all. Many humans would not dream of committing such atrocities. But there are divisive issues brewing. There are many who are grumbling due to injustices and hardship. Even more disturbing, some people choose to entertain themselves with graphic violence in films and video games.

The world might not necessarily see these horrible extermination camps again. However, the attitudes, the sentiments, the propaganda that allowed Auschwitz to exist and operate is still rife in the world we live in.

The world desperately needs a real education. Not the type universites supply. An education for hearts and minds in what real love and real peace means. I long for the whole world to breathe a sigh a relief, knowing for sure that these things will never ever happen again.

When Our Awful History Really Is Ancient History

I was not sure what to do with Teresa’s prompt for today. My first thought was to develop yesterday’s fictional post, along a “Sliding Doors” route (you know that film with Gwyneth Paltrow). But when I checked with Teresa, this genre is more about real life historical events, and what might have happened instead – an alternative to real history.

Your challenge today, should you accept it, is to explore the world of what-ifs. Write your take on the Fantasy subgenre of Alternate History and see where it leads…or whatever/wherever the picture takes you.


When I started to think about history, I became a little bit depressed. There are so many regrettable periods in history that came to mind. How I wish certain historical events had never ever happened. But they did. They stand as warnings, lessons, testimony to how twisted and obscene man’s thinking can become. Anyway…as I was becoming a bit locked in my thoughts, I decided to just start typing and see where my thoughts went. So, this is not so much a made up story, it more a thinking out loud and pondering post.

Steampunk, Clock, Clockwork, Time

Some say that it was three million people who fled that night. Men, women children and even sheep, goats and cattle made their escape.

It had come to the point that those who had cruelly dominated them actually begged them to remove themselves. The entire land had been plagued with a series of events that had utterly humiliated the gods they worshipped. Their masters even gave them clothes and articles of gold and silver.

But a few days later, those masters had a change of heart. “Why did we let our slaves go? Let’s go after them and capture them!” The most powerful military force in the world pursued a great crowd of families making their way towards the sea. Their impressive chariots raced along. The hunt was on. They would surely have killed, maimed and captured their pray, hoping to haul back slaves to their famous civilisation.

Pyramids, Egypt, Egyptian, Ancient

The escapees would have been terrified to realize that they were being pursued by a furious world ruler who had been utterly humiliated. The mightiest army on earth was closing down on them with great rage. What is more, the crowd of three million were completely trapped. A sheer accent in the landscape to the left and right of them, as the merciless army approached behind them. In front of them – the sea.

Person, Human, Girl, Child, Eyes, FaceThe odds were stacked against the escapees. They knew it. They cried out in fear. Can you imagine thinking that the most powerful army on the planet were out to get you? Terrified for your life? On their own, they would suffered terribly. Their former masters would have taught them a lesson. How dare they defy the mightiest ruler on the planet? How dare they ask for the freedom to worship in a way they viewed as acceptable to their Creator?

I remember thinking to myself as a little girl when I first read this account, what if that powerful army had not been so blinded by their own pride and ambition? As a child, I found it hard to understand why some people find it hard to admit they are wrong and to say sorry. What is it that keeps them blind? I remember imagining an alternative history. There have been so many occasions in history when like lambs to the slaughter, individuals and nations have rushed into the most shocking and awful of criminal actions.

Medieval, Knight, Armor, Helmet, WarriorWhen I thought about Teresa’s prompt for today, there were so many awful awful events that I wanted to pick. There are so many unspeakably horrific pages of history that I would love to see erased in many respects. The Crusades. The Holocaust. The slave trade. Massacres and bloody civil wars in country after country after country. There are so many events I would love to pick as the scene of a fantasy alternative history. But the more I thought about it, I decided to steer clear of choosing one of those provoking disgraceful periods of human history.

You see…history has repeated itself so many times. And the truth is, humankind has not yet learnt from the pages of history. It will happen again. I don’t think anyone really doubts that, with so much turbulence on the world scene. But besides what we see on the news, we also know what was forecast to happen in the times we are living in. Yes, we know the final outcome of the proud and mighty. It is history written in advance. No matter what might happen from day to day, nothing is going to change the major event that is ahead of us.

War, Soldiers, Warrior, Explosion, GunsCan you imagine that situation today? Imagine a relatively small group of peaceful, law abiding people, who become the target of the most powerful military forces on the planet today. Can you imagine the rage of the world rulers as they realize there are a group of people who still hold fast to their convictions and refuse to be intimidated by threats of violence? A people who will not lift up weapons, for they have been commanded: “Stand still. You will not need to fight. I will rescue you. I will make myself known before all the nations. Your enemies who are pursuing you, after today, you will never see them again, no never again.”

History is full of surprises and miracles which have resulted in a dramatic twist of events. Back in ancient Egypt, everything pointed to the the three million who were trapped next to the Red Sea being vanquished. But mysterious events would change the course of history.


First came a cloud. Their enemies could not even see them. Then a strong east wind started to blow. Gradually the waters of the Red Sea were parted and held back by some force, allowing the huge crowd to flee over the dry sea bed. It took hours for them all to make the crossing.

In some ways it would have tested the heart condition of that powerful world ruler and his proud and mighty army. When they saw the cloud disappear and the waters being held back by an incredible force, would they not humbly hold themselves back, realizing that they were being protected by the God who was far more powerful than Amun-Ra.

lessonsBut oh no, they had not yet learned their lesson. History is full of examples of haughty, ambitious rulers who seek great glory and fame for themselves, as well as wealth and power. How the mighty fall! The wheels fell off the chariots. The best chariots in the world, the pride of Egypt, were falling apart. They began to realize how foolish they had been. But it was too late.

Now they were trapped. The sea waters flooded over them. Not one, not one escaped the sea. A page in history so utterly humiliating that nobody would want to record it on carved reliefs or engrave it on stones and clay.

Will the most powerful rulers of the world learn from history? Or will they think that they can launch an attack, using the most powerful military forces on the planet on a peaceful, seemingly defenceless people? It was recorded long ago, that in order to preserve their own authority, their own position of power, they will haughtily try to eliminate a seemingly small amount of peaceable people who are convinced that humans need our Creator to guide mankind.

Thousands of years ago it was written, “He that is touching you, is touching my eyeball.” It’s all there, in writing. But will they heed the lessons from other arrogant rulers? Will they humble themselves and learn from history? Apparently not. But this peaceful, defenceless people know just what to do, “Stand still. You will not need to fight. I will rescue you.”

I used to wonder why world rulers would be so foolish, to actually do what it was written they would do in advance. It is all there in black and white. Why would they do it, when the result is clearly stated? But just as the ancient Egyptians were blinded by that cloud, I guess world rulers today will be blinded by their own agenda. Too bad. They will try to commit a heinous crime. And that will be it, by no human hand, they will be gone. We will never see them again, no never ever again.

So today, I am not going to explore the fantasy of an alternative history. Instead it turns out I am writing about what is soon to be a reality. Our human history will finally be undone. All of the damage restored. The earth and it’s inhabitants happy, healthy, without any fear.

histor.pngI am looking forward to the future so much. The times when we will look back at the disgraceful pages of human history, times when humans sought their own glory, fame, wealth and power, and ended up wreaking misery on others. I long to see the the horrible events of history undone forever. It’s no fantasy. It will soon be our reality. All creatures on earth will thrive! I long to see the unspeakably cruel and monstrous events that plague human history become a distant memory. I long to see the beautiful people and creatures who have been abused and injured make a full recovery. I long to see them go on to live with gusto and dream without any fear.

I look forward to the time when these awful crimes that nations commit against each other will never ever occur again. When haughty, arrogant rulers will be a relic of ancient history. When we will say never again will we see these things, no, never again!

One Of My Favourite Places In London

Have you been nominated for a blogging award and wondered which questions to ask your nominees? I have asked some of my questions more than once – sometimes my brain struggles for ideas I have to admit! One of the questions I may have asked three or four times is: “If you were a tourist in London for a day – where would you like to visit?”

I am always eager to see where others would like to visit. For me…both for years before I ever moved to London and definitely since I moved to London one of my favourite places to visit is The British Museum.

I highly recommend it to you if you are passing through London at any stage. It does tend to get crowded, so go early if you can. It becomes a fascinating melting pot – people from every corner of the world come to visit and you will hear many languages spoken by your fellow visitors. I know there might be some listless types who don’t find a museum interesting, but to the rest of us The British Museum is one of the most incredible treasure troves in London.

My suggestion is to allow yourself plenty of time – because there is so much to see. Have a think about what you want to see…Ancient Eqypt? Rome? Greece? Assyria? Africa? China?…there is so much to choose from. I have the luxury of being able to go whenever I want so I tend just to look at one part of the museum each time.

I have been watching a video this morning – a history documentary – and one of my very good friends is the presenter. It’s funny watching him, but he is brilliant at it. I hopes he does more of this kind of thing in the future. There he was at the British Museum and I realized I needed to get my post finished off for Esther Chilton’s writing challenge this week on favorite places to visit!

If you chose ancient Egypt – great! I can give you directions. On entering the museum by the main entrance and encountering the very grand Great Court…you need to wander over to your left in order to find the Egyptian rooms.

One of the first exhibits you will come across is the world famous Rosetta Stone. It is fitting that it greets you because in many ways it is one of the keys to understanding ancient Egypt. I would be extremely impressed if you could read what it says! It has a passage written in three languages – Eqyptian hieroglyphics, ancient Greek and a script known as Demotic. If you have a look online you can find out all about what is written on the Rosetta Stone – which as far as I understand is about treating the Pharoah like one of the gods and celebrating his coronation day and birthday accordingly. But perhaps more significant is that the Rosetta Stone became the key that helped scholars to unlock ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Carry on through the Egyptian rooms, and you will see a plethora of gods and goddesses, trinities of gods, mother and son gods, animal gods – including the old dung beetle. I have done lots of tours at the museum with official tour guides, and one tour guide showed how many similarities there are with modern forms of religion to the traditions found in ancient Egypt. You will also come across all manner of exhibits that tell us all about the daily life of the Egyptians…and then there are the sarcophagi (I think that is the plural of sarcophagus?) and mummies. Look out for Old Ginger! Or not, if you find it a bit creepy.

I could easily spend an entire day just in the Egyptian rooms alone. But there are other parts of the museum which equally fascinate me.

At the moment my big interest lies in the Assyrian rooms. I have been looking closely at the reliefs showing the siege of Lachish. It is not normally as busy as the Egyptian rooms or the Roman rooms, so I have been able to linger when I have visited. Last time I was there I was absolutely gripped eavesdropping on a tour-guide who was enthralling his group by taking them through a verse by verse analysis of the account of King Sennacherib of Assyria and King Hezekiah of Judea. Those tour-guides are really incredible. It was one of the most exciting history lessons I have ever heard.

Is ancient history relevant to our day? Whatever you choose to go and see, remember you are often looking at the boasts of rulers of world empires. They may have done great things, they may have been revered, but they eventually crumbled. There are times when the world we live in seems scary. There may seem to be no end of political turbulence. But things will change. Rulers come and go, governments come and go, empires come and go. They may remain in the pages of history books, but soon they will be gone.

That might not sound very comforting. But in a way history is a vitally important resource for all of us to learn key lessons. The record of humans dominating each other,  oppression and slavery, acts of violence and abuse, warfare. The rise of a world power to wealth and luxury, the break down of morals and of family life, the crumbling of society…and then another military force rises up and becomes dominant. The pattern has repeated itself many times. Every form of government has been tried. There is a tremendous record preserved in stone, clay, bronze and other mediums that provide an invaluable source of lessons for all to learn from.

That testimony may serve in a judicial sense – for if a world ruler does not learn from the lessons of the history books – they are bound to face humiliation. Whether they last may be dependent on whether they have learnt lessons from history. They really ought to have known better! The question for a world leader – is how will the history books read on their stint?











Ay Ay It’s Wigan Pie!

My day out today (which was in Madchester – sorry Manchester) took me through a town I used to frequent frequently.

Wigan – what can I say about Wigan?  Apparently, it is famous for pies.  For years I have seen a dark blue van drive around with the phrase: “Ay Ay It’s Wigan Pie!” on the side of it.  In this sweltering heat, the last thing I could face right now is a pie.  However, normally, they are quite a favourite of mine.  Although a rare treat nowadays due to the calories in the pastry. These days if I was going to tuck into a pie it would be on a bed of green leaves, not the pie, mash (or chippy chips) and mushy peas (with gravy) that I remember buying as a teenager from Wigan pie shops.  It has been a very long time since I allowed myself that kind of indulgence – my hips will not allow me to even imagine it now.

But to cheer myself up over my lost svelte figure, I will allow myself the occasional treat as a reminder of the good old days when I could eat anything because I easily burnt off twice the calories during a hockey match or an eight mile run, or a basketball game, or several hours of thrashing up and down a swimming pool.  My pies of choice nowadays are the scrumptious Higgidy range:

Good grief – they are yummy!  My sister says they are posh pies.  Perhaps they are, I don’t know.  But they taste great, no matter where they went to school.

But getting back to Wigan.  If you are genuinely interested in exploring the town, then I will take the liberty of recommending a visit to Wigan Pier to learn all about how this town was built up.

wigan Pier.jpg

To be honest, I am no expert on the town.  It is actually a place that has a lot of interesting history, if you are interested in the industrial and social history of England.  I studied Modern World History (wars and politics and treaties) instead of Social and Economic History where I would have had the opportunity to learn more about the mills and factories and trade routes that shaped England,  So I am afraid to venture my limited and foggy understanding of the role that Wigan played in the cotton industry.

wigan rugby clubAlso, I remember Wigan being a very popular rugby town.  Rugby League that is, which I have been told is significantly different from Rugby Union – don’t ask me to explain the differences. But I recall that Wigan were very successful all the way through my high school years.  I went to a school that was near to Wigan.  Our home town was sandwiched between Wigan and St Helens, which are two big rugby towns.  Either side are the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, which have very popular football teams.

My main memory of Wigan is the old Olympic style Swimming Pool.  It has to be an outstanding memory in my mind because I won so many races there during swimming galas.  So it was a very special place to me.

This is how I remember the pool:wigan swimming pool

However, I am sad to say it no longer exists. Which is a strange feeling.  Any location that used to be your beloved playground, your sacred ground, your moment of victory is dear to your heart.  So to hear it has been demolished is saddening indeed.

That is one of the lessons you have to learn as you are growing up, growing older.  Things will change.  Especially man-made things!  I mean there are so many things that are reliable, the sun rising each morning, the spring arriving at long last to bring back colour and life everywhere, the moon drawing the tides steadily in and letting them ebb out again.

But bricks and mortar…there is no point becoming overly sentimental about those losses.  But the memories will last long long after the bulldozers have had their way.  I have already done a little reminiscing about the golden days of school in another post.  I am embarrassed to say, only one person (besides myself) “liked” this post.  I guess I can understand it is hard to read about someone else’s first days at school when the only school days most people can bear to think about are there own!  But here is a little passage from that post which will explain my love of the old Wigan Olypic-Sized Swimming Pool:

Life at school became a bit more interesting when I was asked to leave the rest of my class one morning each week and join the children in their last year of primary school who had weekly swimming lessons.  My sisters and I were part of our town swimming club so the headmaster wanted to see whether I swimmingcould keep up with the children three years older than me. Sure enough they entered me, in my first year of juniors (Year 3) into a couple of the races in the county swimming gala. I was swimming for the school competitively with the Year 6 kids.  Our school won so many races in the county swimming gala and I remember winning mine. The headmaster was delighted with me. We had a number of awards on display in the school lobby after that swimming gala.  Ours was a small school, so it seemed quite a victory that we had won so much.

During the six-week school holiday I had been allowed to borrow a book from the school library.  It was Heidi.  The headmaster had told me that I must be sure not to lose it, I must bring it back at the end of the holidays or else I would not be allowed to borrow a book again.  Can you imagine how devastated I was when my Dad broke the news one morning….our school (which by now I had grown to love) had been burnt down by three boys?  Two were fourteen years of age and the other had just finished year 6 – he must have been eleven. 


So, it was actually at quite a young age, the age of seven that I learnt that places that are special to you can be destroyed.  I must not allow myself to be overly weepie because the old Wigan Olympic Sized Swimming Pool is no more.

I need to cheer myself up though….maybe I could face a pie afterall!

Ooooooooh – look what I found at the supermarket on the way home!  It even says on the box they are “Rather Cheerful” – how could I go wrong with these?

Higgidy Pie 7