Tuesday 28 February 2017

30 days hath September…

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
February has twenty eight alone
All the rest have thirty-one
Except in Leap Year, that's the time
When February's Days are twenty-nine.

The words to "Thirty days hath September" (of which there are a number of variants) are still used by many adults to prompt them into recalling how many days there are in each month! It's therefore often referred to as the Days of the Month Rhyme! The origin of the lyrics to "Thirty days hath September" are obscure but use of the word 'hath' suggests it dates back to at least the 16th century.

The composer Rossini was born on 29th February 1792.  As 1800 was not a Leap Year, his second true birthday occurred when he was 12.

But anyone born on the last day of February 1812 in Sweden never had another birthday at all!  In February 1812, as the country wavered between using the Julian and Gregorian calendars the month was allocated 30 days.

Saturday 25 February 2017

Annabel and Mac

Next time we go away Mac wants to come with us.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Toby at Four Months

My grandson, Toby, paid a visit on Monday.

He had his first meeting with mammals of the feline persuasion.  Mac was quite curious about him but Annabel was happy to ignore this strange mini-person.

He brought his Mum and Dad along too....

Friday 10 February 2017

Whale strandings in NZ

Sadly, hundreds of whales have died overnight on a New Zealand beach after a mass stranding thought to be the largest in decades.   The Department of Conservation (DOC) discovered 416 pilot whales had beached themselves at Farewell Spit in Golden Bay at the top of the South Island, with more than 70% perishing by the time dawn broke on Friday.  DOC staff and dozens of volunteers were on hand this morning trying to save the remaining 100 whales.

Peter Wiles, who was one of the first volunteers to reach Farewell Spit, said “It is one of the saddest things I have seen, that many sentient creatures just wasted on the beach.”

Andrew Lamason, a team leader for the DOC Takaka area, said the stranding was the largest in living memory, and although he had “no clue” why the whales had beached themselves this time, Golden Bay was conducive to strandings because of its shallow bay, which made it difficult for whales to swim out once they’d entered.

At high tide, at 10.30am, the 100 remaining whales were successfully refloated, but early in the afternoon at low tide 90 of them re-beached themselves. DOC staff and up to 500 volunteers are now focused on keeping the surviving whales as healthy as possible until the next high tide at lunchtime tomorrow.

The stranding at Farewell Spit makes it the third largest whale stranding in New Zealand’s recorded history.

In 1918, 1,000 whales beached themselves on the Chatham Islands, and in 1985 450 stranded at Great Barrier Island off the coast of Auckland.   New Zealand has one of the highest rates of whale strandings in the world, and since 1840, more than 5,000 whales and dolphins have beached themselves on New Zealand shores according to DOC records.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Port Sunlight Tea Rooms

I have done posts on the model village of Port Sunlight before - both on my Rambles blog (the Edwardian tea rooms) and on my 'On the Wirral' blog (housing styles and the memorial).  I've also done various posts on the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight.

Port Sunlight is somewhere that Partner-who-loves-tea and I regularly visit and we called in there last month and had tea in the tea rooms that used to be the Post Office.

The Post Office and houses in Greendale Road shown here were built between 1891 and 1894 as part of the model village of Port Sunlight. Built by Lever Brothers to house the workers in their soap works the village was characterised by wide roads and broad pavements. Many of the buildings here were built to look like they were from the Tudor period, this is known as 'mock Tudor 'style.

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