Monthly Archives: February 2013

The fishing village of Polperro


The fishing village of PolperroPolperro is a small fishing village with a pretty harbour which faces south-west towards the Atlantic. We arrived here at the end of winter when the place seemed dead. The atmosphere of peace and silence was so that one would believe you were at the very end of the world. Entry into the village is forbidden for cars, so we parked outside the village in an allocated car park where we found an antique horse drawn cart used in the summer to take tourists into the village. We left walking towards the village down some very narrow streets and right at the very beginning of our walk it became very clear why it would be impossible to drive into the village.

The fishing village of PolperroThe small alleys, paths and the maze of little streets The fishing village of Polperroamong the old fishing cottages all lead you downhill to the harbour. There are no stations or big shops and no hustle and bustle of a big city. Polperro offers the visitor a few ancient pubs, taverns and inns, as well as tea rooms serving traditional Cornish cream teas. Behind the windows of the little antic shops you can see strange, ancient and exotic things as well as amusing souvenirs. The superficial small river running beside the street in front of the cottages is like a small stream flowing down to the sea. The gentle murmur of this brook blends wonderfully together with the sound of seagulls soaring overhead and along the coast. To meet someone on any street in the winter is practically impossible since everyone rushes home from the cold wind after sunset.

The fishing village of PolperroIn a local art shop we found a good choice of pictures with local landscapes. It seemed that all local areas, cottages, facades, side streets, passages, balconies, and sea views are sketched by some artist or other. In the summer among the hundreds of tourists that flock here every year, you will find lots of them carrying canvases, paint boxes and easels. One hundred years ago this place was beautifully described by writers who visited here. They wrote about stagecoaches full of artists and about the ancient customs of the fishermen and inhabitants as told them by the old folk that lived there years earlier. Apparently there is not a lot that has changed in the old village since those days, except the people are now different.

Polperro is mentioned for the first time in the Doomsday Book during William the The fishing village of PolperroConqueror’s time as belonging to two ancient manors. Royal documents in the 13th century have it down as a fishing village. But most of all, Polperro became famous for smuggling, especially in the 18th century when England was at war with France and the customs duties for goods were very high. One day a man called Zephaniah Job arrived in the village and organized a very successful business. He became “The Smuggler’s Banker” and helped a lot of local smugglers thrive. Diamonds, coffee, silk, tobacco and other goods were unloaded without lights in Polpero’s harbour during nights with poor visibility and most often during the winter. In Polpero’s Heritage Museum of Fishing and Smuggling there are a lot of historical artefacts and documents that can be enjoyed by interested admirers.

The fishing village of PolperroFishing has been the main occupation of the inhabitants for most of Polpero’s history. In the winter the population is only about 600. On our short walk we noticed that hardly any lights were switched on in any of the cottages, this is probably due to the fact that many are bought up for summer holidays or to be let to the visiting tourists and not to be lived in as permanent homes. This sleepy village in the winter will suddenly wake up in the bright spring sunshine then come summertime thousands of tourists will fill up the streets and the place will once again burst of new life. The white washed cottages and the picturesque landscapes will be overrun by curious tourists with cameras eager to get the best shots with their families. Cosy ancient corners will surely find new artists sheltering in them, painting their own little masterpieces of these beautiful landscapes with their imaginative and visual perspectives.

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“Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Scotney Castle


"Midsummer Night's Dream" at Scotney CastleIn the County of Kent in England, there is an island on a small lake with a classic medieval castle called Scotney; it is surrounded by a ditch and a 19th century picturesque park. The first person to own this castle was a French knight called Lambert de Scotney in 1137.

 During spring and summer, the landscape surrounds of this"Midsummer Night's Dream" at Scotney Castle now ruined castle with derelict walls and gaping windows, changes to a blossoming world of pink azaleas, lilac bushes, rhododendrons, creeping wisteria and beautiful roses. The wonderful setting of the park creates an aura of mystery and magic. This fantasy world helped to set the scene for Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The idea of creating “live” theater was undertaken because the play was written for a private wedding party and the author assumed the play would be performed in the open air.

 "Midsummer Night's Dream" at Scotney CastleThe park becomes a bustling scene on summer evenings with huge crowds of spectators and actors appearing on an imagined stage among the bushes. The plays fairy elves coupled with the moonlight blend harmoniously in this woodland scenery. Can you imagine anything more romantic than a fairy tale being enacted in this way? I would love to experience this wonderful spectacle in this fairyland park.

 This castle same as many other ancient places has its own ghost, which is said to be about 300"Midsummer Night's Dream" at Scotney Castle years old. Arthur Darrell the owner of this castle in the 18th century was under investigation regarding some smuggling accusations. He managed to escape from justice by instigating his own death so as to stop prosecution and continue with his unlawful business. They say his “body” was delivered to the castle for burial in 1720 but the customs inspector in charge at the time suspected that he was still alive. When he was about to start his investigations, Arthur Darrell killed this clever and ingenious inspector. They named this Customs officer, now immortalized in the history of the Scotney castle,  as he sometimes emerges above the watery ditch where, according to legend, his body was thrown, hence the dripping wet ghost. This story was only given credence in 1924 when Darrell’s coffin was opened and only stones were found inside.

 "Midsummer Night's Dream" at Scotney CastleThere are many legends and stories about everything in the world, it is almost impossible to ever know the real truth about anything but what is the point? We all love secrets and unusual stories, mystery attracts us to these places. Therefore when you will next visit this castle, take a walk in the park and try to imagine some mythical scene. The atmosphere for this is especially helpful if you come here in the months of May or June.

 A delightful mansion in the Elizabethan style was erected in the 18th century near the river "Midsummer Night's Dream" at Scotney Castlebank next to the romantic ruins of the old castle which can also be visited. This marvellous park will fill your imagination of the fantastic world described in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and then maybe you will have a sudden realisation that the world of fairies and elves is only a reflection of the world we live in.


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Is Stonehenge the temple of the sun?

Is Stonehenge the temple of the sun?Once a year, on the day of the summer solstice, Stonehenge, the temple of the sun, an architectural complex of stone monoliths in Wiltshire, changes into a fairy tale, a beautiful cascade of candles are lighted along the track leading up to the stones where fiery sculptures decorate the night landscape with mysterious ardent figures of shiny stones dance in the night. This ritual attracts a huge number of tourists, most of them fans of historical riddles.Whether this monument is Neolithic or from the Bronze Age, it has fallen victim of its own success, according to some independent travel analyst too much has been made of it.

In the 1970s, every 21st of June admirers of various cults visited this place. At that time it was possible to enter the site absolutely free, one could approach the stones and touch them, some fans even settled down with tents and spent the night during periods of the summer and winter solstices. Hordes of hippies descended on the site creating havoc which forced the police to disperse them. But times have now changed. The Monument is now enclosed with a huge fence and it has become one of the most popular tourist sites in Wiltshire. Even having to pay £7.80 for the entrance ticket (compared with the free entry to museums in London), you are not allowed to come any closer than 10 meters from the stones. Unfortunately, in the last 150 years the construction has changed considerably. How can one tell how much it has changed over thousands of years? Some scientists believe Stonehenge is about 5000 years old… Thank God that the stones were not taken away for some other projects or as souvenirs, they were probably ignored because they are too heavy.

While excavations by Is Stonehenge the temple of the sun?archaeologists have produced pottery fragments, Roman ceramics, 70 burials and a large number of deer horns. There are a lot of theories about the origin and purpose of this monument. Over the centuries it has been a place for healing diseases to a temple of a pagan deity, imaginative ideas such as the home of the Wizard Merlin, a portal to another dimension and one of the most outrageous hypotheses – an airfield for alien spaceships. The assumption in the 18th century about it being a construction as an observatory was closer to reality. I saw a picture in the British museum from a book of that time where there where many more stones and their arrangement strengthen the theory of it being an astronomical arrangement.

Today scientists believe that there are 30 million hours of human work in this construction. This fact impresses me… The complex was erected 1000 years before Celts and was under construction for 500 years. But analyses made by radio-carbon dating, which gives an accuracy by some one thousands years, have all so far remained unconfirmed.

Is Stonehenge the temple of the sun?Nevertheless, when songs and legends are not available, scientific and technical progress helps to uncover some of the mystery. I found some latest information about this mysterious place in the newspaper “The Guardian”. It was about a 3D laser scan of the stones in October 2012 when scientists submitted new and interesting data. Having processed 850 gigabytes of information, it revealed 72 hidden engraved images on the surfaces of the stones and the existence of a further 46 engravings which were only supposed to exist in the 1950s but have now been confirmed. New technologies are helping modern science to achieve the impossible. All these art works invisible with the naked eye, were revealed by volume scanning of the 83 existing stones. It revealed tool marks made some 4.500 years ago, and scores of little axe heads graffiti added when the enormous slabs were already 1000 years old, also damage graffiti contributed by Georgian and Victorian visitors, the best revealed image was of a dagger normally intended for deity pacification.

Besides engravings on the stones there is no doubt that the construction was used as a temple for the Is Stonehenge the temple of the sun?celebration of the summer and winter solstices. The polished front surface of the stones is directed towards the temple entrance from the northeast where they would be first seen by the approaching visitors. One of the stones was even shaped so as to allow a line of sight through to the setting sun on the winter’s solstice.

 On the planet there are many more similar constructions, for example, Dolmens in Russia. And not far from Stonehenge, less than 30 km away, there is a stone circle monument in the village of Avebury. Probably, Stonehenge has also been rearrange for touristy and public relations. Constant reference of a secret discovery always attracts the curious. But I doubt if all of Stonehenge’s secrets will ever be discovered. Do you believe that Stonehenge is the temple of the sun?

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The year of the snake


The year of the snake Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means your family will not starve. The Snake is keen and cunning, quite intelligent and wise. The Chinese New Year is celebrated all over the world as many people believe in the ancient horoscope of animals. Are you a snake with lots of possessions and full of generosity?

On the 11th of February 2013 a wonderful time was had at the Genting The year of the snake Casino in Reading. All customers were greeted with a friendly smile, a small traditional Chinese red envelope containing a prize and a ticket to a grand and delicious Chinese buffet. At exactly 1am, the great Chinese drum was banged and a ceremony welcoming the New Year started among amazed spectators who could not stop taking photos of a most beautiful dragon sitting on the floor in the centre of the Casino.

The year of the snake The Dragon started to dance to the music of the Chinese band which consisted of a large drum, a very loud gong and various other instruments, with amazing fluttering eyes and a gaping mouth the dragon displayed a fantastic agility as it squatted and jumped about, followed by a small procession all around the casino among the gaming tables.

Hundreds of Chinese and members from many other countries then queued The year of the snake all along the bar to be served by none other than the casino’s friendly staff to the most delicious and appetizing Chinese food. With noodles and rice, came crab claws, prawns, roast duck, chicken and pork with lots of greens and other Chinese delicacies. All served with chop sticks and Chinese sauces.

The year of the snake The management who organized and supervised the whole affair ensured a very smooth operation and a fantastic friendly atmosphere. A lot of the prizes were money to spend in the Casino and lots of free beer to go with the dinner.

A wonderful time was had by all and some of us went home with a little more money than when we arrived, how was your Chinese New Year spent, don’t forget to let us have your comments.


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