In Honour of the Prescient Langston Hughes

Today is the anniversary of poet Langston Hughes birth.  I’m sure many of you know him and his works, but there are 3 poems of Mr. Hughes that I have loved for years. The first was introduced to me by my sister when we were in high school. Never a big poetry fan, this poem was short and sweet and to the point, and most important, I got it! In my very literal mind, it was profound AND easy and stuck with me ever since:

DREAMS

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

 

The next two came from a small pamphlet I got in one of my careers/jobs — either while at The White House or at ABC News/Nightline.

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This little book contains 9 poems that, through the years, have meant something different and revealed new truths every time I read them.

In today’s world, this one carries so much meaning:

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These words stick with me: There is a dream in the land\With its back against the wall.\ By muddled names and strange\Sometimes the dream is called.\\There are those who claim\This dream for theirs alone — \A sin for which we know\They must atone.

And further down: The dream knows no frontier or tongue,\The dream no class or race.\The dream cannot be kept secure\In any one looked place.\\This dream today embattled,\With its back against the wall –\\To save the dream for one\It must be saved for ALL –\Our dream of freedom!

I think all people in the United States and the U.K. can appreciate and understand this poem — and its relevance — in today’s world.

But a longer poem he wrote is equally as profound and prescient. Titled “Let America Be America Again”, it was originally published in the July 1936 issues of Esquire magazine. In this poem, Hughes contrasts his hopes for America with the true reality of life amongst social and economic outcasts. As he saw it, there were dominant groups (racial, economic, social, religious) and the wedge between those who were “in” and those who were “out” had only grown to a breaking point. Reading it again brings to mind the civil and economic unrest I see in both the US and UK today.

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A poet worth remembering, whose words seep into you and stay with you as they reach deeper and deeper levels. I leave you with one last poem, a man whose birth, and life, and death, should be honoured.

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A GREAT WAY TO END THE WEEK: LITTLE BIRD CAFE

After a long, cold, dreary week, there is nothing nicer than a warm, cozy neighbourhood place to relax in. Little Bird opened right across from the Chiswick Overground Station in July 2016 and we’d been meaning to come for a while yet life always gets in the way. But last night I walked along the river in biting cold and wind to meet my husband there for an early dinner. The thought of warmth, good food and drinks made it an easy 12 minute walk from near Kew Bridge and the fairy lights and steamy windows beckoned.

Inside, the restaurant reminded me of New Orleans for some reason. Jazzy strains of Amy Winehouse and Stevie Wonder, potted plants of all sizes and varieties (succulents, cacti, and palms) and white painted brick walls complemented with dark wood and lots of wicker and candles leant to the ‘Nawlins’ atmosphere. Lots of cushiony, deep couches in muted tones of olive and aqua were tucked away in nooks and crannies with tables and comfy chairs. It’s very small but they cram in a welcoming bar and in warmer weather, there is outdoor seating out front and a hidden garden/patio in back.  The staff were very friendly and helpful, however they reminded us a few too many times that they needed the table back in 2 hours.  We went through the small front room which was buzzing with couples and groups clearly out for a good night and down a small hallway to a back teeny room where we were seated in a luscious velvet couch that took me a while to get in and out of.

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They are known for their drinks but I think as much so they are known for the Asian fusion “tapas” which were all delicious.  As its “dry January” all bars and restaurants find clever ways to keep drinks coming, and I started off with a “Mocktail” called Lavender Hill.  Described as fresh blueberries, lavender syrup, cranberry & fresh lemon in a violet sugar rimmed glass. It was delicious, but went down very quickly for a £4.95 drink with no alcohol. My husband had the Ginger Beer Mojito (or Nojito as it was non-alcoholic too) and he swears his was better, but we weren’t going to start a bicker over that!

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We had 5 tapas to share plus 2 sides — way to much but delicious nonetheless. My favourite Dim Sum Pork Gyoza with black soy. They were thin, tender yet crisped on the outside and succulent pork and flavours inside. This was tied with the delicious Chicken Tikka Brochette with Coriander Mayo and Flat Bread. Charred with tikka flavours locked in, and the smooth, creamy mayo — I was in heaven! The Spiced Lamb Lentil Curry was quite a large portion but very tasty — i only wish they had brought more Sesame Naan with that. My husband loved the Courgette Frites and the Edamame was messy to eat but we licked the spicy sauce they were cooked in off the pods.

Little Bird is an invention of Lorraine Angliss who owns Annie’s on Strand-on-the-Green and Rock and Rose in Richmond. Funnily enough, when we first moved to London, we rented a house just down the street from Rock and Rose and everyone kept telling us about this cool restaurant that was owned by a friend of Madonna’s and how we HAD to go there. We were never very impressed with Rock and Rose, with its bordello-styled main room and chintzy wallpaper. But we moved to Strand-on-the-Green and discovered Annie’s and absolutely loved it. Delicious food, excellent service, professional staff, and a warm, inviting neighbourhood cafe.

At Little Bird, it has the same vibe, but perhaps a little cooler, and more fun.  The only slight disappointment was the Blackened Cod Fillet — my husband said it was a bit bland. But as the sultry lounge music played, our drinks in hand and bellies full, we wondered why we don’t do this more often. Now that Little Bird is nearby, hopefully we will!

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LUMIERE LONDON!

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For anyone who happens to be in the City this weekend, you cannot miss this. I am heading down on Sunday night, but a friend went last night and thought I’d share some photos:  Lumiere London

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My husband and I saw some “Son et Lumieres” Shows in France on our honeymoon years ago, but still remember what a beautiful spectacle it is, especially as they light up beautiful, centuries old buildings. But London has added so many other aspects to this show, and modernised it in an interactive way. See the photos below. You can go to different parts of the city for different routes and exhibits. Download the app and it will guide you to the different exhibits. Enjoy!!

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LOVING LONDON: The Ever-present & Underrated High Street

It is often said London is a series of villages that merge together to form a city. Travelling around the city for work and play, as a tourist and a local, I find each little neighbourhood has its own unique identity. But all these little enclaves are centered around a High Street (or Main Street to US readers) that is the lifeblood of that area.

Many people do not stray further afield than their own ‘hood on the weekends, even though geographically (and compared to the longer distances in the US) they are sometimes only 2 or 3 miles from the next village/town. Most people in Barnes are not going to venture to Chiswick, people in Blackheath aren’t going to go to Clapham. There’s so much to do right at your doorstep, there’s no need to.

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(Chiswick High Road)

You run into people you know on the High Street, you have your local butcher or green grocer (organic foods). The fishmonger is there. And the High Street shops like Jigsaw, SweatyBetty, Monsoon all have presences around the city.  State schools are all local and therefore most of your social groups. Plus there are a lot of local, wonderful eateries and pubs as well as the bigger chains like Byron Burgers, Carluccio’s and Cote offer good options for meeting up with friends.  A friend from the States sent me an article on best London pubs in the winter, wishing she could come over, but my list would be quite different — too many to choose from just in my own area that are cozy, comfy, fun, and most important, close by (topic for a blog post!) to tuck into on a dark, winter evening.

That’s not to say that people won’t venture into other areas but it tends to be for a reason. I’ll go to Covent Garden several times a year to see the ballet at the Royal Opera House and meet up with friends for an early dinner. Or visit museums and see exhibits, catch a play, do a Fun Run, take visitors to tourist sites. Any of these things will bring us into the city. But generally speaking, it’s unlikely we’ll venture from the Chiswick, Kew, Richmond area.

I don’t know if this is similar/dissimilar to the US (?). Do people in Brooklyn go to the Upper West Side on weekends? Do people in the Village head up to the Upper East Side? If you are in Union Square, would you go to Williamsburg? I think Americans are more used to travelling further distances as is the nature of a big country. But let me know!

If you hopped in a car and headed east, it’s less than 4 miles from Chiswick High Street to Kensington High Street, but on the weekends, that could take up 45 minutes, and then you have the nightmare of looking for parking. US expansion and growth included massive parking lots to their cityscapes, but London was already formed and established and there is literally no room.  By Tube, it’s probably 1/2 hour. From Fulham to Shoreditch in East London, it’s only 8 miles, but I don’t know anyone who’d drive it.   London is just too congested to even contemplate that.

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(Camden High Street)

Perhaps that’s why the public transport is so good (compared to anywhere I’ve been in the States, it’s VERY good). The bus lanes are actually that. I made the mistake of driving in one when I first got the car — twice in two days — and I got two tickets for £160 each, thanks to a CCTV camera (they’re all over London). Never again. Plus the Tube and trains run often and regularly. Even still, it takes us longer to get from West London to a concert at the 02 Arena near Greenwich than it would to go from our house to Christchurch Meadow in Oxford.

So the Hood is very appealing — especially if you’ve been running around this 10mill strong, gritty, cavernous, cold city all week.  You can see the Greens (communal village grassy squares at the centre of commerce and churches) dotted around as you fly over the city in approach of Heathrow and they fill a vital purpose to the landscape and zeitgeist of the “Big Smoke”, adding charm and reminding us of the history.

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(Clapham High Street)

London is an expansion of little villages that started to run into each other as the city exploded over time.  In the 17th and 18th century, Kensington and Chelsea were rural farm areas, known for their markets and gardens. Notting Hill Barns in 1828 was 150 acres of dairy farm and and Portobello Farm was cornfields and meadows. Shepherd Market was a little village known for its 15 days of a May Fair (where the area Mayfair got its name) and farmers brought in cattle and sheep to trade from the fields out West (including Shepherd’s Bush). Spitalfields was named after the hospital and priory founded there in 1100’s called St. Mary’s Spittel. And was considered rural until the Great Fire of London in 1666. Anyone under 30 hangs out in the ultra-cool, hip Shoreditch in East London but it got its name from the watery marshland it used to be back in Ye Olden Days (soersditch meant Sewer’s Ditch).

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(Notting Hill then)

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(Notting Hill now)

Like New York City, all these little enclaves grew over time, but unlike New York, they were edging outwards from around 1000 AD. It’s really fascinating to go to any part of town and see old Roman Walls or great architecture and palaces from long before America was even discovered.  It’s awe-inspiring. You don’t have to walk far to run into a beautiful, well-preserved building that dates back to the 15th or 16th century.  History is palpable here.

Nowadays, each High Street defines the character and livelihood of London.  Kensington High Street is all swank and money with its glittery high-end shops, Barnes is wealth and bucolic with the lovely duck pond, Shoreditch is vibrant, cool and hip, Nottinghill is eclectic, wealthy and boho, Camden is gritty and cool and hip city, Chiswick, Clapham and Putney are wonderful combinations of city and suburb near the River, Kew is insanely cute and almost rural with Kew Gardens on the doorstep, Kentish Town, Regent’s Park, Greenwich, Bermondsey, and on and on.

Tourists don’t see enough of these areas, but spend a little time here and you discover what each neighbourhood stands for and brings to the table that is the feast of London.

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(Kensington High Street then)

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(Kensington High Street now)

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(Bucolic Barnes)

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(Colourful Notting Hill)

 

Do NOT have difficult conversations on Fridays!

I’ve found that Friday’s are the hardest day of the week interpersonally. We are all tired. We’ve had a long week. We are looking forward to the weekend to catch up on sleep or relax. But with work, kids, friends and my husband, I am at my lowest emotionally. I am grumpy. I am short with people. Or even on the rare occasion I’m not, then they are.

An old boss at Nightline gave me the best advice ever: he said never have tough conversations with colleagues or bosses on Thursdays or Fridays. You are less understanding, less forgiving. Most office arguments occur at the end of the week. Have a gripe? Wait until Monday. Need to tell a subordinate they are not performing well? Give it the weekend.  I looked back at all the difficult conversations I had had that DIDN’T go well, and damnit, he was right.

At home, it’s the same. All my arguments with my husband are usually Thursday or Friday when we’re both tired and don’t have anything left in the tank to deal with each other. And with kids, my fuse is short and many times I didn’t know it until I looked back later and saw that I wasn’t myself.

The Meltdown

One Friday I had to pick our daughter up from pre-school. We had just moved back from South Africa and everything was topsy-turvy. Our sea shipment hadn’t even arrived yet so we were living out of boxes. We were having a dinner party for 7 and I had to get home to cook and prepare. And yes! We got a flat tire on the way home so I pulled into Wagshall’s Deli where there is a gas station to get it fixed while I did some quick shopping for the party. Then my husband rang while I was picking up some cheeses to say the dinner had gone from 7 to 11 people, and that won’t be a problem right? At 3 PM he tells me this! Sigh. I get more cheeses and head to the cash register when it all kicked off. The 4-yr-old Child wanted a Diet Coke and I told her no (of course). She went into a full-on tantrum. It was Exorcist-child worthy. Complete raging melt-down (see? She was tired, too, at week’s end, but did i realise that? Noooo….I was just thinking about the car and my dinner party).

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I gathered up the groceries,  got to the counter to pay, but while doing so, she had grabbed a bag of potato chips off the rack nearby. Not the small ones — no, she went for the American Extra Large Supersize bag of potato chips — almost as big as she. Glaring at me the whole time with an evil look of defiance, she plopped them on the floor and ever so quickly sat on them with gusto. The air-tight bag burst and potato chips went flying everywhere. I was trying to hold onto a wriggling, arms and legs flailing, strong 4-yr-old but it was impossible with my oversized purse and 3 bags of groceries. I withered, looked at the horrified clerk at the till and said “Add that on my bill please”.  By the time we got out of the shop, she’d done it again.

On the sidewalk, I let her just writhe on the ground as there wasn’t much I could do to control her. She was pinwheeling around on her side, kicking and screaming.  Looked across to the gas station to see the car up on the hydraulic getting its tire changed, and sighed again. A woman came out of the dry cleaners next door, saw the Exorcist child, stepped delicately over her, gave me a look for sympathy and camaraderie and said, “Been there, done that.” I loved her. She was my saviour.

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Then as quickly as it came, it stopped. The car was fixed, I buckled her into her car seat and as we drove off she exclaimed “I’m done now, Mommy. All fine.” Of course, I was seething at this point. It had been 45 minutes of Crazy Tantrum Child. Everyone and their grandmother within 3 miles probably heard her.  My herculean embarrassment had been building up since the deli and all the “Bad Mother” stares I got, and continued as I was trying to pay for the car. I didn’t realise how angry I was. At home, I had a terrible headache and got out some frozen peas to put on my forehead.  I can’t remember what it was that triggered it, but we started up again.  She was really testing my patience and, while I was putting the groceries away, she grabbed a handful of frozen peas in her little hands and brought her arm back in the baseball throw position.  Very slowly and carefully I said, “I need to tell you that if you throw those peas, Child, there will be consequences.  I need you to understand that.” The arm came down. It was a perfect pitch. Peas flew everywhere through 3 rooms.

My rage erupted. I sent her up to her room for a “time-out” as she had melted down again.  But as I look back now, so had I.  It was 5 PM and 11 people were coming in two and a half hours. I called my husband and said get home right now. I need help. I did NOT trust myself to deal with her. As he came in the door, I was cooking and things had gone quiet upstairs. Before heading upstairs to Child, he sweetly pulled a pea from my hair and soothingly offered to pour me a glass of wine, to which I (very rare) said no. I really didn’t trust myself to start drinking because I was worried I’d never stop.  He went up to deal with her and calmed us all down. By the time guests arrived, she was fine, I was a bit fragile and shaken, but we recovered for a lovely evening.

But it wasn’t until months later that I realised how these events unfolded. The stress of a long, busy week, arriving back into the country with no furniture and new routines and environment, a dinner party exploding in size, a tired child, a tired mommy, a flat tire, frozen peas in every corner of the house, all those things contributed to the bad karma.  But I can’t shake the feeling that – would this have happened on a Monday morning, for example – I might have been a little more patient, a little less tired, had a little more energy to deal with her. Or a little more clarity to see the stress mounting at my door.

So, best advice that’s stayed with me for years: Do NOT make any harsh decisions on Fridays. Do NOT have any difficult conversations. Wait. Give yourself until Monday and if you still feel the same, then you can act — but likely you will be more clear-headed about what it is you are angry or frustrated or upset about.

 

We’ve Never Had It So Good

Are you sick and tired of bad news 24-7? Is the culture of fear paralysing you? Every time I turn on the news these days, my brain is about to explode. Someone turned the fear factor dial up to 11. Gets me seriously depressed. I start thinking what’s the point?

Facts and perspective. That’s what’s important, right? So, today I’ve compiled a list that will help you, well, just live and not be weighed down by all the gloom and misery. Guess what? We’re not all doomed! Repeat it over and over to yourself and you will start to feel better.

Also, what’s your favourite good news fact or statistic? Feel free to add/comment.

And yes, I have deliberately left out some numbers that are more pessimistic (homocide numbers up in the last few years in the UK and US).  The fear-mongering needs a break every once in a while, and although some things are having a downward trend, we are still living far better than any previous generation in the history of man.  My day job focuses a lot on those dire statistics and how much more we need to do to get things right, to make things better.

But, just for today, let’s set those aside. Let’s put things in perspective. Add some context. Cheer up, it could be worse, and it mostly was. Enjoy the weekend!

The Good News List*

*(List of sources below)

• We are living in what is arguably the best era in all of human history. On a global scale, in terms of economic security, poverty, life expectancy, infant mortality, health, social freedoms, incidents and exposure to war, violence or disease, we – as a planet – are living in a gilded age that is completely unprecedented.

LIFE EXPECTANCY, LITERACY & POVERTY

• In 1900, average world life expectancy was 31 years old; now its 71 years old.
• In the U.K., a new public health report shows life expectancy has risen to its highest level ever in 2016.
• In 1800, 43% of the world’s newborns died before their fifth birthday. In 2015, child mortality was down to 4.3 percent globally.
• By 2030, South Korean women will be the first in the world to have an average life expectancy above 90.
• Across all of Europe, life expectancy keeps increasing for both men and women, with France, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland and Austria all in the top 20 countries with the highest life expectancy (those born in 2017).
• In the last 25 years, for the first time ever, extreme poverty has dipped below 10 percent of the population, mass famine has been wiped out and mass literacy has become more common than rare.
• In 1981, nine in ten Chinese lived in extreme poverty. In 2016, it’s 1 in 10.
• In 1820, only every 10th person was literate, in 1930 it was every third, and now we are at 85% literacy rate across the globe.
• By 2100, projections show that there will be more than 7 billion people with at least a secondary education.
• For the last 25 years, 285,000 new people gained access to safe water every day.

TERRORISM, VIOLENCE & DEATH

• Numerous studies show the world is becoming a less violent place. Warfare is on the decline. Anyone alive right now is far less likely to die a violent death (from either war or homicide) than in any previous era.
• Globally, the chances of being killed in a terrorist attack are about 1 in 9.3 million. (compared to drowning in a bathtub: 1 in 685,000, or being struck by lightning: 1 in 576,000 or a car accident: 1 in 18,565).
• In the U.S., being killed by a foreign-born terrorist is about 1 in 45,808. But being killed by heart disease (1 in 7), pneumonia (1 in 70), falling (1 in 133), assault by gun (1 in 358), motor vehicle incidents (1 in 113), drowning (1 in 1,183), choking on food (1 in 3,409) are far more likely.
• In Europe, terrorist attacks are up, but we are still far below the numbers we had in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.
• Terrorism is killing far fewer people in the UK now than in the 1980s. Between 2000 and 2017, 126 people have been killed in the UK in terrorist attacks (as of October 17, 2017). Although not on British soil, another 30 Brits were killed in Tunisia in a terror attack on a hotel. Compare that to 1,094 deaths from the previous 15 years (1985-1999) and a further 2,211 deaths between 1970 and 1984. The worst year for terrorism in the UK was 1988, due to a majority of deaths in the Lockerbie plane disaster when a bomb blew up a Pan Am flight with 270 aboard.
• In the U.S., violence against women and sexual assault is down. Also, violence against children has dropped dramatically from 1990 to 2012.
• Chances of being killed by an asteroid or meteorite globally are about 1 in 75,000. In the US, those numbers go up to 1 in 1.6 million. Compare that to 1 in 8 million death from a shark attack, or 1 in 60,000 from a tornado.

GLOBAL/COUNTRY ECONOMIES

• As of March, 2017, the US economy is the largest in the world, representing 24.3% of the global economy. China is second with 14.8 % of the world economy. Japan is 3rd, Germany 4th, the UK 5th, France is 6th and India is 7th. Brazil is 9th and Canada is 10th.
• As of January 2017, UK remains the fastest growing economy in the western world (“western” being key).
• Globally, in 2017, the fastest growing economy was Ethiopia. Followed by Uzbekistan. Nepal is #3, India is fourth.
• The fastest growing large economies are India and China, one and two.
• In September of this year (2017), Australia broke the record held by the Netherlands for the title of longest economic expansion on record, with 104 quarters of economic growth without recession.
• Indonesia has the largest economy in Southeast Asia, with GDP per capita steadily rising, and they are closing in on Canada for top 10th economy globally.

From The Business Insider: 

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(Courtesy of: The Business Insider. For the full article, click here)

LIST OF SOURCES

https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/09/economist-explains-3

https://www.salon.com/2014/01/15/were_living_through_the_most_peaceful_era_in_human_history_—%C2%A0with_one_big_exception_partner/

https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-10-23/world-actually-safer-ever-and-heres-data-prove

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/12/the_world_is_not_falling_apart_the_trend_lines_reveal_an_increasingly_peaceful.html

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/life-expectancy-at-older-ages-is-the-highest-its-ever-been

https://www.statista.com/statistics/274514/life-expectancy-in-europe/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39040146

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/12/23/14062168/history-global-conditions-charts-life-span-poverty

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/03/worlds-biggest-economies-in-2017/

https://www.statista.com/topics/3788/terrorism-in-europe/

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/2017-eu-terrorism-report-142-failed-foiled-and-completed-attacks-1002-arrests-and-142-victims-died

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/many-people-killed-terrorist-attacks-uk/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/world/a-history-of-terrorism-in-europe/

https://qz.com/898207/the-psychology-of-why-americans-are-more-scared-of-terrorism-than-guns-though-guns-are-3210-times-likelier-to-kill-them/

http://uk.businessinsider.com/death-risk-statistics-terrorism-disease-accidents-2017-1

http://www.lifeinsurancequotes.org/additional-resources/deadly-statistics/

https://www.techjuice.pk/a-data-scientist-explains-odds-of-dying-in-a-terrorist-attack/

https://www.vice.com/sv/article/dpkd4m/right-now-is-the-best-time-in-history-to-be-alive

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/01/26/uk-remains-fastest-growing-economy-western-world-growing-06pc/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FUN FACT FRIDAY

One of the things I love most about living abroad is learning about all the steeped traditions and local customs that make up the culture, people and country.  Starting last night, we are heading into a weekend of bonfires and firework parties across the country to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.

It always creeps up on me (after more than 7 years here, you’d think I’d remember) and I was making dinner when the booming outside thundered like tanks and rockets, and the cats came flying through the cat door in a panic with hair raised.  It lasted — i kid you not — for a good 25 minutes.  Here’s a snippet of what got them going (from the top floor of our house):

It’s crazy! This is just the average local Guy Fawkes celebration in my suburb of West London, but there are hundreds that take place all over the country.  If we had looked out the front windows we would have seen two more in Kew and Richmond.  They are everywhere. As are the bonfires. Driving through Yorkshire about 5 years ago on Bonfire Night (another term for Guy Fawkes Night), we looked out over the rolling hills and counted 6 enormous bonfires about 3 stories high all across the landscape. It really is a sight to see.

These local celebrations will go on every night through Sunday (the actual Guy Fawkes Day is November 5th) and here is a partial listing of free, excellent fireworks displays in/around London, although I’m sure there are many more.bonfire-night-beverley-westwood

And what is Bonfire Night? It is a celebration of the thwarting of Guy Fawkes treasonous plot on November 5th, 1605, to blow up the King and Parliament. That night, Guy (a member of the Gunpowder Plot), was arrested in the basement beneath the House of Lords while guarding an enormous pile of explosives the plotters were planning to set off.  In celebration of the fact that King James I actually lived (did not get blown up), people lit bonfires around London and months later introduced an Act to observe this annually in a public day of thanksgiving.  So, sorta like July 4th and Thanksgiving combined (as they don’t have either here. Although some joke that if Brexit goes through, that will be our new “Independence Day” with probably a far less celebratory mood as we break away from Europe).  Here’s an excellent explanation, should you want more. Fun tidbit: Did you know his name was also Guido? Would have had a slightly different ring to it, eh? Guido Fawkes Day? 🙂

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By George Cruikshank – Ainsworth, William Harrison. Guy Fawkes, or The Gunpowder Treason. 1840., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10479566.