Thursday, 23 April 2015

Today is . . .

St George's Day.

Cry God For Harry, England and St George.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Blackthorn in Stanmer Woods.

And many happy returns, ma'am.  There was a time when the Beeb would play the National Anthem before the news on this day but those times are long gone.

Monday, 20 April 2015

70 years ago today

From the BBC:

Russian troops have captured some outlying suburbs of Berlin at the beginning of what promises to be a bitter battle for control of the city.

The Red Army approached the German capital from three directions, north, east and south-east. The northeastern suburb of Weissensee is the closest to the centre being only three miles away.

The Nazi minister of propaganda, Josef Goebbels, has issued a statement saying Berlin will be defended to the last. He said anyone who showed cowardice, hoisted the white flag or attempted sabotage would be treated as outlaws.

Hitler ordered a counter attack. But the Wehrmacht's 9th Army was cut off by Marshall Konev's forces in the forest south of Berlin, near the small town of Halbe.

Over 50,000 soldiers and civilians died. Their bodies were left piled high beside the narrow paths in the forest.

The Red Army meanwhile pressed on into the heart of Berlin. Zhukov's and Konev's troops were still racing to be first to capture the city and in their haste many lives appear to have been needlessly lost.

Figures vary but one source says the battle for Berlin cost the Red Army some 70,000 troops.

They used tanks to force their way into the city but these were very vulnerable to Germans firing bazookas from destroyed buildings. Ultimately, however, the German forces, mostly made up of old people and members of Hitler Youth were no match for the Soviet forces.

As the Red Army took control it also wreaked revenge on the people of Berlin. Hospital records suggest some 100,000 women were raped in Berlin in the last six months of the war. 
Germany then, Syria today?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Near la Prévière

Great swathes of yellow oil seed rape are to be seen in France as in England.  This field is on the edge of the village in France where we have our getaway cottage, which we will be visiting very soon.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

My favourite things

It wasn't very long ago, a couple of weeks or so, that I saw a photograph in the paper of Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews.  It was published to mark the 50th anniversary of the film - and if you need to ask, "what film?", then you are a lot younger than 50!

One of the songs that Julie Andrews sand in the film listed her favourite things:
Whiskers on roses and warm woollen kittens
Raindrops on kettles and bright copper mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.
I got to wondering what I would list as my favourite things but I didn't get any farther than a nice cup of tea!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Spring greens

At this time of the year it is always a pleasure to see the elm trees in bloom.  And yesterday morning, as I walked through Hollingbury Woods, I managed to watch a green woodpecker drumming, the first time I have ever seen that although I hear it frequently enough.  I usually only see these magnificent birds as they fly between trees.