Monday, 8 August 2016

Bowerman's Nose

"A granite god,
To whom, in days long flown, the suppliant knee
In trembling homage bow'd."

From 'Dartmoor' by N.T. Carrington

Bowerman's Nose is a precariously piled stack of weathered granite on Dartmoor, England. Standing about 6.6m (21.5ft) high it is situated on the northern slopes of Hayne Down, about a mile from Hound Tor, not far from the village of Manaton.

Antiquaries believed this place to have been a place and object of veneration, a theory existed that its name derived from the Celtic fawr maen, the 'great stone', a theory refuted by R. Hansford Worth who noted that the correct Celtic form would have been maen fawr, meaning that faer maen was unlikely to have mutated into the modern 'Bowerman'. A John Bowerman was buried in nearby North Bovey in 1663 and the name also appears in a Dean Prior register of 1772, suggesting that the name is of no great antiquity. It is a place seemingly formed by a process of destruction rather than construction, similar stacks of rock may have been pushed over and destroyed to leave this single stack of rocks prominent. It may be that a small number of rock stacks once stood upon the summit of Hayne Down and Bowerman's Nose remains the single extant example. Whatever its nature, Bowerman's Nose is a landmark, a feature by which one can guide themselves about and through the landscape

According to local legend, a huntsman by the name of Bowerman lived on the moor over a thousand years ago. When chasing a hare with his pack of hounds one day he unwittingly ran into a coven of witches, overturning their cauldron and disrupting their ceremony. The witches plotted their revenge. When once again Bowerman was out hunting he and his pack of hounds came across a great white hare and gave chase. Little did he know but the hare was a witch in disguise and she led him a merry chase about the woods, bogs and rocks of the moors, when just as Bowerman was exhausted she revealed herself and turned him and his dogs to stone - the hounds became the jagged chain of rocks upon Hound Tor and the huntsman himself became the rock formation known as Bowerman's Nose. (In some versions of the tale the hounds become the 'clitter' of blocks at the foot of the rock tower.) It is said that on dark, cold, misty nights Bowerman the Hunter and his pack of Hounds briefly come to life to continue their hunting upon Hayne Down.
With some imagination it is possible to make out the profile of a human face in the rocky outline of Bowerman's Nose, but as John Page stated in Exploration of Dartmoor (1889): "If his nose bore any resemblance to the topmost layer of the pile, it cannot have boasted much comeliness."

Hayne Down, Dartmoor, Devon, England, United Kingdom. (OS Ref: Sheet 191 SX742804)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Outward Bound

-Kurt Hahn-
These 10 principles, which seek to describe a caring, adventurous school culture and approach to learning, were drawn from the ideas of Kurt Hahn and other education leaders for use in Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) schools.

  • The primacy of self-discovery

Learning happens best with emotion, challenge and the requisite support. People discover their abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure and the unexpected. In Expeditionary Learning schools, students undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. A teacher’s primary task is to help students overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can.

  • The having of wonderful ideas

Teaching in Expeditionary Learning schools fosters curiosity about the world by creating learning situations that provide something important to think about, time to experiment, and time to make sense of what is observed.

  • The responsibility for learning

Learning is both a personal process of discovery and a social activity. Everyone learns both individually and as part of a group. Every aspect of an Expeditionary Learning school encourages both children and adults to become increasingly responsible for directing their own personal and collective learning.

  • Empathy and caring

Learning is fostered best in communities where students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected and where there is mutual trust. Learning groups are small in Expeditionary Learning schools, with a caring adult looking after the progress and acting as an advocate for each child. Older students mentor younger ones, and students feel physically and emotionally safe.

  • Success and failure

All students need to be successful if they are to build the confidence and capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult challenges. But it is also important for students to learn from their failures, to persevere when things are hard, and to learn to turn disabilities into opportunities.
Collaboration and competition

  • Development

Individual development and group development are integrated so that the value of friendship, trust, and group action is clear. Students are encouraged to compete not against each other but with their own personal best and with rigorous standards of excellence.

  • Diversity and inclusion

Both diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative power, problem-solving ability, respect for others. In Expeditionary Learning schools, students investigate value their different histories talents as well as those of other communities cultures. Schools learning groups heterogeneous.

  • The natural world

Direct respectful relationship with the natural world refreshes the human spirit teaches[clarification needed] the important ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Students learn to become stewards of the earth and of future generations.

  • Solitude and reflection

Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts, make their own connections, and create their own ideas. They also need time to exchange their reflections with others.

  • Service and compassion

We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others, and one of an Expeditionary Learning school's primary functions is to prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service to others.

- Kurt Hahn

Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Anti-lout Society

"If you throw a glance at the boys of any public or secondary school you find them up to the age of 13 full of curiosity, courteous, animated by high and good spirits," he said. "Then they reach the awkward age. They often lose their freshness and their charm, sometimes forever. I belong to a secret society called the Anti-lout Society."
- Kurt Hahn, (educator)

In 'forming' his secret Anti-lout Society Kurt Hahn diagnosed six societal ills:
  1. Decline of Fitness due to modern methods of locomotion [moving about];
  2. Decline of Initiative and Enterprise due to the widespread disease of spectatoritis;
  3. Decline of Memory and Imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life;
  4. Decline of Skill and Care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship;
  5. Decline of Self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquillizers;
  6. Decline of Compassion due to the unseemly haste with which modern life is conducted or as William Temple called "spiritual death".

As with all great thinkers Hahn not only pointed out the decline of modern youth but also came up with four antidotes to fix the problem:

  1. Fitness Training (e.g., to compete with one's self in physical fitness; in so doing, train the discipline and determination of the mind through the body)
  2. Expeditions (e.g., via sea or land, to engage in long, challenging endurance tasks)
  3. Projects (e.g., involving crafts and manual skills)
  4. Rescue Service (e.g., surf lifesaving, fire fighting, first aid)To combat these he developed a programme for developing "moral independence", physical wellbeing and the ability to tell right from wrong.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

HMS Leviathan's Union Flag for Sale

- A 'lost' Union Jack flown at the Battle of Trafalgar -
A rare Union Jack said to have been flown by one of Nelson’s warships at the Battle of Trafalgar is expected to fetch up to £50,000 at auction. 
The flag has spent decades folded in a damp cupboard in a castle and is believed to be one of only three surviving from the battle. 
The 14ft-by-7ft flag is said to have flown above HMS Leviathan during the clash and was then given to the present owner’s family 170 years ago, as thanks for help winning a sporting bet.

'Lost' Union flag flown at the Battle of Trafalgar is up for sale for £250,000 after it was unearthed by descendant of a sailor who won it as part of a bet.....


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Last of the Great Adventurers

- John Blashford-Snell showing his machete -
From navigating deadly African rivers to transporting a grand piano to an Amazon jungle chief, Col John Blashford-Snell’s life has been the stuff of Boy’s Own adventures – and at 79, he’s not finished yet. Jessamy Calkin of the Telegraph meets a remarkable explorer.....
In the functions room of the Coppleridge Inn in Dorset in October last year, an auspicious occasion is taking place: the 40th-anniversary reunion of the Zaire River expedition. Zaire (now known as Democratic Republic of Congo) is the size of western Europe, and its river is the second longest on Earth, at 2,900 miles. The expedition, which marked the centenary of Henry Morton Stanley’s original voyage to discover the source of the Nile 100 years earlier, was led by Col John Blashford-Snell, OBE. Blashford-Snell, a tall man with a flawless complexion in a tweed suit, greets me warmly. ‘Come and meet some of these other idiots,’ he says. Considerable effort has gone into tracking down the members of the expedition, and John Chapman Smith and his wife have flown in from New Zealand.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The 39 Steps to Being a Lady

We’ve heard all about the criteria that make a gentleman (Gentleman’s Life, October 28) and our list —part serious, part tongue-in-cheek— seemed to strike such a chord in a society that desperately needs to be kinder to itself that we felt it was only fair to present the female view, too. 
The central principle is the same—generosity and graciousness are more important than fine feathers and a lady can come from any walk of life—but there’s one key difference: a capable lady knows when to let her gentleman take charge (or let him think so). Here are 39 steps to being a lady of 2015

A lady . . .
1. Finds laughter is the best medicine  
2. Can say ‘thank you’ no matter where she is in the world 
3. Cooks perfect, crispy roast potatoes 
4. Offers to split the bill 
5. Knows that everyone, including herself, improves with age 
6. Offers the builder a cup of tea 
7. Excels at making love, lasagne and long gin and tonics 
8. Can silence a man with a stare and make a dog lie down with a hand signal—and vice versa 
9. Can imitate Piglet and Pooh voices for a bedtime story 
10. Prefers Mr Knightley to Mr Wickham, but is secretly in love with Rupert Campbell-Black 
11. Never downs a drink in one, unless it’s a shot of tequila 
12. Is aware that the school run and dog walking do not require full make-up 
13. Never wears shoes she can’t walk in 
14. Knows when a man is spoken for 
15. Can paunch a rabbit, pluck a pheasant and gut a fish, but allows men the privilege 
16. Remembers her godchildren’s birthdays 
17. Knows songs for a long car journey 
18. Is neither early for a dinner party nor late for church 
19. Doesn’t over-pluck her eyebrows 
20. Knows how to deflect a lecher with grace, and a proposal with kindness 
21. Comforts nervous flyers 
22. Would never have Botox 
23. Knows when to let a man think it’s his idea 
24. Would never own a handbag dog 
25. Can tie—and untie—a bow tie 
26. Might not understand the rules of rugby and cricket, but enjoys the game anyway 
27. Knows when to take control in the bedroom and the boardroom 
28. Knows the difference between Bentley & Skinner and Baddiel and Skinner 
29. Instills manners in her children, but lets their characters flourish 
30. Knows when to deadhead a rose 
31. Is never afraid to overdress 
32. Can handle a sports car, a sit-on mower and a ski lift 
33. Knows when to stop dyeing her hair 
34. Teaches her son to iron his shirts and her daughter to change a fuse 
35. Owns a little black dress 
36. Always has a hanky 
37. Knows that ‘brevity is the soul of lingerie’ 
38. Has kissed several frogs and made them feel like princes 
39. However lucky in life, she doesn’t boast on Facebook



Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The 39 Steps to Being a Gentleman

Which manners maketh the (modern) gentleman? Rupert Uloth of Country Life magazine has the definitive list.....

A gentleman…
1. Negotiates airports with ease
2. Never lets a door slam in someone’s face
3. Can train a dog and a rose
4. Is aware that facial hair is temporary, but a tattoo is permanent
5. Knows when not to say anything
6. Wears his learning lightly
7. Possesses at least one well-made dark suit, one tweed suit and a dinner jacket
8. Avoids lilac socks and polishes his shoes
9. Turns his mobile to silent at dinner
10. Carries house guests’ luggage to their rooms
11. Tips staff in a private house and a gamekeeper in the shooting field
12. Says his name when being introduced
13. Breaks a relationship face to face
14. Is unafraid to speak the truth
15. Knows when to clap
16. Arrives at a meeting five minutes before the agreed time
17. Is good with waiters
18. Has two tricks to entertain children
19. Can undo a bra with one hand
20. Sings lustily in church
21. Is not vegetarian
22. Can sail a boat and ride a horse
23. Knows the difference between Glenfiddich and Glenda Jackson
24. Never kisses and tells
25. Cooks an omelette to die for
26. Can prepare a one match bonfire
27. Seeks out his hostess at a party
28. Knows when to use an emoji
29. Would never own a Chihuahua
30. Has read Pride and Prejudice
31. Can tie his own bow tie
32. Would not go to Puerto Rico
33. Knows the difference between a rook and a crow
34. Sandals? No. Never
35. Wears a rose, not a carnation
36. Swats flies and rescues spiders
37. Demonstrates that making love is neither a race nor a competition
38. Never blow dries his hair
39. Knows that there is always an exception to a rule



Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A Favourite Moriarty

.....they largely ignored the Moriarty of the printed page, the stooped maths professor with the reptile gaze and eerie, swaying face – but not Eric Porter. The grand and beautiful Granada series of the eighties made a fetish of fidelity to the original, and of course gave us one of the truly great Sherlocks in Jeremy Brett, so when it was time for the mad professor to pay his legendary visit to Baker Street they had to pull off something amazing.

And they did. Here he was at last – Doyle’s Moriarty. Better than that: Doyle plus. With long greasy hair, a soft precise voice, and a gaze that seemed to be 12 different kinds of hooded, Porter’s Moriarty was the closest thing you can imagine to a serpent in a frock coat. Even Brett looked scared.
— Steven Moffat, with Mark Gatiss, compiling their favorite screen Moriartys

Monday, 15 June 2015

Wayne & Caine

When he first met Michael Caine, John Wayne gave him some friendly thespian advice. "Talk low, talk slow and don't say too f------ much". He then baffled the Brit by adding "and never wear suede shoes". When Caine asked "Why?", Wayne replied: "Because one day a guy in the next stall recognised me and turned towards me and said 'John Wayne you're my favourite actor! And p----d all over my suede shoes. So don't wear them when you're famous, kid."

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Never Smash in a Face

"The English never smash in a face. They merely refrain from asking it to dinner".
- Margaret Halsey, American writer
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