Category Archives: Chat from the author

DIDN’T HE DO WELL!

Sir Bruce Forsyth (1928-2017)

Remembering Passchendaele 1917 …

Remembering Passchendaele 1917

100 years ago today saw the beginning of one of the bloodiest and most deadly conflicts of WW1. The battle of Passchendaele began at 3:50 a.m. on 31 July 1917 and was to last until 10 November.

At the end of three months of fighting, over half a million soldiers from both sides had either been killed, wounded or posted missing in action. That averages out at five thousand men a day. They were fighting to control just a few square miles of land, most of it reduced to muddy vision of hell.

This last picture kind of says it all. Here are two soldiers sharing a cigarette at the end of the battle. One is Canadian and the other is German.

By Jupiter! It’s 1951 …

By Jupiter! It’s 1951 …

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and is a gas giant made mostly of hydrogen. It is about 484 million miles from the Sun and takes 12 years to make just one orbit. This amazing planet actually radiates more heat itself than it receives from the Sun.

On July 10, the Juno spacecraft flew just 5,600 miles above Jupiter’s most recognizable feature: the Great Red Spot. It’s a storm that’s raged for 350 years, and it’s so large it could swallow Earth whole.

Now, Jupiter has 69 known moons, four of which were discovered by Galileo in 1610. You haven’t heard me mention 1951 yet. Allow me to remedy this.

Ananke is a retrograde irregular moon of Jupiter. It was discovered by Seth Barnes Nicholson at Mount Wilson Observatory on 28 September 1951. Ananke did not receive its present name until 1975; before then, it was simply known as Jupiter XII. It is very small with a radius of just 8 miles. Our own Moon has a radius of 1079 miles. Ananke is 13 million miles away from Jupiter and takes 610 days to complete one orbit. The temperature on Ananke is minus 150 degrees centigrade.


OK. I have news. There is another Jupiter.

The Jowett Jupiter is a British sports car which was produced by Jowett Cars Ltd between 1950-1954.

A racing derivative of the Jupiter, the R1, was entered in the 1951 1500 cc sports car race at Watkins Glen, driven to first place by George Weaver.

The Few … 77 years on

The Few … 77 years on

Exactly 77 years ago today, on July 10th 1940, the most decisive air battle in history began in the skies above Britain. 

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/battle-of-britain-pilot-to-join-prince-william-for-memorial-flight-anniversary-1-5097227

 

John Conteh … boxing clever

John Conteh … boxing clever

John Conteh was born on 27 May 1951. He is a British former professional boxer who competed from 1971 to 1980. He held multiple light-heavyweight championships, including the WBC title from 1974 to 1978; and the European, British, and Commonwealth titles between 1973 and 1974.

Conteh was one of the celebrities featured dressed in prison gear on the cover of the 1973 Wings album, Band on the Run. He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1974. He also has the distinction of being British Superstars competition champion in 1974, the second year of the televised sporting event. Conteh is now an after-dinner speaker and speaks at venues all across the country.

9th December 1974: American heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali with British champion John Conteh. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Hotel Sahara (1951)

Hotel Sahara (1951)

Hotel Sahara is a 1951 British war comedy starring Yvonne De Carlo, Peter Ustinov and David Tomlinson.

In WW2, desert hotel proprietors Emad and Yasmin are caught between the warring armies and have to constantly shift their political allegiance to whichever army happens to control the area.

Inside my head …

Inside my head …

I had an MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan the other day. It was actually quite relaxing in a weird sort of a way, confined in a narrow tube with magnets whirring and buzzing away all round. Reminded me of the noises you get on an arcade pinball machine. It was a busy little miracle building up images of the inside of my head.

The whole process took about twenty minutes. Lying there, I brought to mind so many things. Summer days and starry nights. Butterflies and the cats we looked after on Corfu. Things going on at the edge of the universe. My wife. My children. Songs & poetry. All sorts of stuff. I wanted that scanner to see beautiful things … just in case it had to see something not so beautiful.