Saturday, April 14, 2007

Birthday tag

I had volunteered to be tagged by my very old friend (inasmuch as that we've known each other a long time, not that she herself is very old, indeed she is a little younger than I am and it seems to me she is wearing disgustingly well, as well as writing like an angel and doing all sorts of exciting things up there in Yorkshire...), Tall Girl over at Smoke and Ash, in an exercise ( I hesitate to refer to it as a meme, following GrannyJ's attack on such sloppy usage!) where you find people who share or have shared your birthday, other events that have taken place on it, a couple of deaths and a festival or holiday or two (it all seems fairly flexible in the interpretation). Then I found I had also been tagged by Avus at Little Corner of the Earth, who had many illustrious things like the abolition of slavery, the death penalty etc going on on his birthday. I've taken ages about getting on with this, but I seem at last to have amassed enough considering 12th December, 1961 appears to have been pretty quiet.

Historical event:

On the day and date itself, as I was just coming into the world, the first amateur radio satellite was put into orbit, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It weighed 10lbs, was of extremely low power and only lasted for 22 days before its battery ran out, and was heard by 570 people in 28 countries - I have no idea whether this was a lot or a little. All this according to the Philip B. Petersen Collection . I was never an amateur radio person myself, but I've noticed a few other people in this realm seem to have been, so perhaps this might be of interest, anyway it sounds as though it was a noteworthy if specialist achievement.

The date was chosen because 60 years earlier, on December 12th 1901, Marconi (above, seems to have been photographed in his garden shed, where they say all the best inventors work)succeeded in the first ever radio transmission ( conveying simply the letter 'S') from Newfoundland to the Lizard Point in Cornwall. It was previously thought that the curvature of the earth would make this impossible. As a child I remember going to the Lizard and being told about this, the significance of which was rather lost on me. However, for better and worse, the use of radio waves has been one of the major developments of the last hundred years or so.

Other events of the 12th of the12th:

In 1098 in the First Crusade, the crusaders breached the walls of Ma'arrat al-Numan. Not having enough food for the campaign, they resorted to cannibalism. Lovely.

In 1787 Pennsylvania became a state. The only part of the US I know personally, my GI Bride aunty who died last year having settled there.

In 1950 the first woman rabbi to practise in the US, Paula Ackerman, led her first services. She happened to do so because her husband, the usual rabbi, had just died.


The only person I have found who shares the very same birthday and date as myself seems to be the actress Sarah Sutton who played Nyssa in Dr Who. I know about as much about Dr Who and those who featured in it as I do about radio waves, they both being lumped together in my mind in the category of The-Sort-of-Thing-My-Brother-was-Into (and therefore I wasn't), but doubtless the mention of her name may send others into a rhapsodic and nostalgic swoon.

Honor Blackman who will be 80 this year, just fancy. My second sister worshipped her as a youngster and is reputed to have escaped from the clutches of a Funny Man who Lived Down the Road from Granny by imitating one of the moves she had seen H.B. perform in The Avengers. Diana Rigg was my Avenger.

Fabulous Bill Nighy (the link is for the official website, amusing but a little overwhelming, from now on I think I'll stick with Wikipaedia; an odd and somewhat arrested world, that of fan-clubs and official websites...) was born on 12/12/49. He just gets better and better as an incorrigible old roue ( sorry, plutarch, still haven't got round to sorting out that accents folder from characters; it occurs to me seeing it written without the acute e that it's only one letter short of 'rogue', which I suppose would do just as well). I just loved him in that adaptation of Trollope's 'He knew he was right', when he was going about his mischievous purposes and said in one of his asides "But what could be more innocent than to visit my old friend, the vicar of Cock Chaffington?"- enough to get any girl's crinoline in a crinkle.
I also find it funny to think he was in that Radio 4 'Lord of the Rings' as Sam, and very good too, if you didn't think about it being him.

And just for Tom, who still has rather a soft spot, Dionne Warwicke was born 12/12/1940. I still insist on pronouncing it 'Worrick'.


Carloman, king of the West Franks, in 884 while out hunting( seems to have done for more members of European royalty than warfare, a pity Prince Charles is obliged to observe the Ban...). He was the youngest son of Louis the Stammerer, and united with his (presumably big) brother Charles the Fat to attack Duke Boso the elected king of Provence.

Clementine Churchill, in 1977, at 92. She went to my school. Not at the same time as I did.

Robert Browning, in 1889. A life of faith diversified by doubt or one of doubt diversified by faith... either way, there it was gone. I should really read more of him; I was brought up on 'The Pied Piper' of course, and 'I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three...', though I always have felt that if it was good news thay were bringing then it could have waited a bit and there was no need to nearly kill the horses. I love the line in it 'At Aershot we leapt of a sudden the sun...'.

Holidays and Festivals

Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Ignorant as I am, I knew nothing of this personage, familiarly known as 'La Lupita', or of her importance in Mexico, where, it has been said, the people only now put there faith in her and the National Lottery. Her apparition was in 1531, and it is thought that she was an amalgam of the BMV with a couple of indigenous goddesses, rather as was done in Europe perhaps a thousand years earlier.

The Baha'i Feast of Masa'il, the Day of Questions, which sounds an admirable thing to have a festival about. I encountered some middle-class English Baha'is in my teens, Tall Girl will remember it well! They were very nice, but I thought a bit soppy, and failed to convert me.

Jamhuri, or Kenyan Independence Day, marking independence in 1963 from the British.

Well there it is. Of vague numerological interest, to me anyway, is the fact that three generations of women in my family were all born on days were the ordinal number of the day is the same as that of the month: my mother on 9/9, myself on 12/12, and my niece on 5/5, thereby facilitating notation in both European and American systems. Of possibly more interest is that all the women in my family and none of the men have the ability to touch their noses with their tongues, which may be a meme in the true sense of the word, although the evolutionary advantage of it is not clear.

I am always happy to be tagged, but always feel rather backward in coming forward about tagging, lest I make a nuisance of myself! I think perhaps Marja-Leena might quite enjoy doing this, she's so interested in everything, or Catalyst perhaps while he's laid up might be able to derive some amusement from it and make it funny, Zhoen seems to have an astonishing and admirable capacity for responding to others, whilst blogging excellently herself AND doing a highly demanding proper job too. And RLC, I no longer think of you as so stratospherically distant from myself that I can't tag you in a meme - not to say I have any less admiration for your formidable wit, intelligence and achievement, but you've been so nice... there, I've buttered you up so much you'll have to be gracious and respond! Or anybody else come to that. It doesn't have to be done at such length, Wikipaedia's the best place to go, and it is quite interesting.

I think I shall have to go off-line for a couple of days. It's been a really wonderful spring holiday, we've had some lovely walks, a trip to Rennes I'll try to get some pictures up from, and I feel quite reinvigorated! But I've finally get around to asking some people over for lunch tomorrow, which means I'd better tidy the place up just a bit, and peel some potatoes and garlic, and the shelves and cupboard containing clothes have become so chaotic that that end of the house is threatening to become part of the unquantifiable mass of dark matter in the Universe, and then I really had better think about next term's lessons. And, big mistake bearing in mind the list of tasks above, I've just picked up the latest Salley Vickers novel, 'The Other Side of You', and by the time I'd finished the first chapter I knew there really wasn't anywhere else I wanted to be for the moment. Few novels get me like that these days, there are so many worlds I want to inhabit, losing myself in that kind of fiction is not so compelling.

I am longing to get round to reading so many other blogs, commenting, re-reading, re-commenting, and the number of interesting places to go and people to get to know seems to be growing all the time. And I do want to do them justice, I don't like dashing things off, I always think of things I meant to say or should have said, or occasionally shouldn't have said, afterwards. I have e-mails I want to write, but again, I like to take a bit of time, if not a Bear of Little Brain I am a fairly slow-moving and ponderous one, so please bear (!) with me for a little. Broadband has finally found its way to our backwater, the Livebox is on order, and, fingers crossed, it should be up and running here in the next week or so. While not actually enabling me to type, read or think any faster, it should mean I can get round a bit more quickly, and with those of you with lots of delicious pictures to enjoy, I won't have to get up and make a cup of tea and read the Bhagavadgita while I'm waiting.

A bientot. ( and I might even get around to sorting out that accents file...)


Fire Bird said...

Yes indeed, the Bahais (sorry can't remember where the apostrophe thingy goes). They ate well, sang well, didn't drink, which my mother for one found hard to manage on the occasions she accepted invitations to those gatherings they went in for called 'firesides'. Me, I just liked the singing...and some of the people. Lots of beautiful Persians (as they then called themselves). Bahais are horribly persecuted in Iran, along with almost everyone else.

Zhoen said...

Love what you've done with it, 'fraid I already did this one, Wiki.

But I do love the flattery. Thank you. Very kind, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you have such a way with words, Lucy, such an English way, that you make everything sound very fascinating! Thanks for thinking of me! I was tagged a while ago with this but didn't respond at the time, being too busy in the studio, though I did look at my date in wikipedia. Dreadfully boring stuff on my birthday! Now if I had your talent with words, I'd fashion something out of it. Hmm, we'll see what germinates, no promises...

Anonymous said...

By the by, many of your links don't seem to work....

Catalyst said...

Oh, my. This is the second time I've been tagged with this one...the first time by Granny J. I neglected her. I guess I'll have to do it this time, with credit to you both.

Jan said...

I know little about Clementine Churchill, apart from the obvious bits, but lives of women of that era fascinate me hugely; women who were young in the early years of the last century.
They set patterns, ideals, styles and challenges which still flourish today.

Anonymous said...

And can they do tongue shapes as well? My daughter has an astonishing ability in that direction... Not me.

Brother Dave said...

When I was younger (much,much) I could touch my nose with my tongue. However, I can't now. I don't remember when the transition occured; perhaps it occurs when one's voice breaks!

Lucy said...

TG - They were very nice and it's really a very civilised and gentle religion. I don't remember the beautiful Persians, so my dismissive 'white middle-class' was in fact unfair. I do remember the very delicious rice dishes (trust me!), but I can see your mum's point that a fireside without a glass of wine might be rather like a cornet without an ice cream, especially accompanied by other people's earnest commitment of faith!
Z - it's a small blogging world, and i'm sliw to get round, I'll enjoy reading yours anyway. No flattery ws involved.
ML- not obligatory! Sorry about the links, I did them in haste, copy&paste, copy&paste very quickly, and didn't check. I'll try to fix them when I've a minute.
Cat - GrannyJ was tagged at the same time as me, shows how slow I am! Hope you're well, only do it if you feel like!
Jan - she seemed a very nice person, and the marriage was tremendously happy. Apparently her mother was very free with her favours and no-one was quite sure who her father was.
Marly - well I can curl the sides up; I don't seem to have quite the virtuosity I used to.
Brother Dave - AHA! what's this what's this?! A blog of your own, wonderful! I shall announce it here forthwith! so the long tongue gene didn't entirely bypass the male side of the family, another theory up in smoke.

Avus said...

Well - seems like you enjoyed finding out about your "day".