The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Are We Mutant Aliens From Other Worlds?


Are we mutant aliens from another world? Is our complex DNA fused with Earth creature to bioligically manipulate us into what we are now? All very interesting and I'm sure this documentary will be of interest to many people of vast imagination.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Alien Planet Documentary

This is a great documentary from YouTube about alien planets and the future hope of exploration. Top scientists and film makers lend their views about what we might expect in the coming decades.

Aliens from another Planet by (YouTube lemaro1977)

Wow! Check out lemaro1977 and have your mind blown away by wonderful artistic impressions of alien life. Look up lemaro1977 on YouTube and see a host of artistic images like the one above. This person comes from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This work is spell binding and captivating. 

Moyra Melons Drops Her Ear Rings.

Moyra Melons and her husband were walking through the car park after a late night trip in the shopping centre.

"Oh dear," said Moyra. "I've dropped a fine pair of ear rings that I've just purchased."

Her husband, who was walking ahead slightly, stopped. He only caught mumbled jargon, as his mind was on; where he had parked his car.

"I beg your pardon dear," he replied looking back at his darling Moyra, as you, the reader, can see her in this photo.

"I've dropped this pair somewhere," she added.

"You can certainly say that again dear," he replied.

"I can't find them. I should be able to, they are quite dazzling, that's what attracted me to them in the first place."

"I see what you mean, they are very dazzling indeed."

Moyra looked up confused. "Can you see them then?"

"I certainly can Moyra and if you keep that stance, every other Tom, Dick and Harry is going to see the dazzling things too." 

"What do you mean? I can't see them," Moyra looked about her earnestly.

"Well you can't see what I can in this position," he grinned.

Moyra walked over to where her husband stood in the hope she could see the ear clasps somewhere upon the car park floor. She was thrilled to see her husband had the ear rings in his hand.

"You've got them!" she exclaimed jubilantly.

"I had them all the time. I put them in my pocket when I purchased them for you, remember?

"Oh yes, now I do." She frowned. "Why did you let me believe I had dropped them?"

"Well I thought you had dropped something my dear. I'll elaborate more when we get home as to go too deeply into such things here, in a public car park, would not be tactful, to say the least."

As the reader, you can well imagine that Moyra Melons did realise she had dropped something when she got home. And, she secretly agreed with her husband - such a delicate matter could not be demonstrated in a public car park.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Highwayman Tom Faggus and the Magical Strawberry Mare.

Tom Faggus and his magical strawberry mare are legendary in the west country of England. He was a notorious highwayman who achieved fame because he managed to evade capture for a long time.

He was a blacksmith in the Devon town called North Molton and he loved a woman who was to marry him. Together, with his bride, Tom dreamed of a happy life.

During his courtship, Tom came upon a young orphaned foal, caught in a muddy pond. The struggling animal was on the verge of death. Tom managed to rescue the young beast and nursed it to good health. The foul was a young female and she grew to be a fine mare that was the envy of the county. The talk was of Tom Faggus and his strawberry mare and his celebrity grew far and wide.

Then bad fortune came upon Tom. He lost his fair love when he tried to acquire some land. He was swindled and made penniless by unscrupulous lawmen. This diminished his future prospects and his fair lady broke off the engagement. In this day and age family could step in and make the engagement null and void. Especially if prospects lowered for the man's ability to provide.

The swindlers, who brought financial hardship upon Tom, may have been parliamentarian men of Cromwell’s order. This would be during the time of the English Commonwealth. Royalty was abolished and England was a republic in all but name. The country was under rule of Protestant fundamentalists. From the perspective of our day and age, these men would be religious extremists in every sense of the word. It was a world where people could be maimed for not attending enough hours a week at church. Local priests were like Big Brother reporting to higher orders about peasant's behaviour. Also Whichfinder Generals patrolled the villages and towns of England. These dreaded men searched for signs of demonic practice with twisted and unfounded religious beliefs. It was a very dark period.

Tom Faggus took to the highway robbing rich untouchable gentry on the stagecoach routes in and out of the West Country. This part of England was very remote in that day and age. Therefore it was more difficult to police. Tom managed to stay at large until 1671, if the poem about him is anything to go by. He had many daring escapes and one of his most noted was on the long bridge in the town of Barnstable. He was caught by militiamen, at either end of the bridge, when half way across. To every onlooker's surprise, Tom's bold strawberry mare, Winnie, jumped into the river with mounted rider. Both managed to swim with the tide and escaped further up river. I would imagine that a few shots were fired as man and horse went with the tidal flow. Maybe a few stray musket balls splashed around the escapees as they battled the flow. No shot found its mark. Tom with Winnie - his dynamic strawberry mare, managed to escape. 

At a later date, Tom's wonderful Winnie - the infamous strawberry mare passed away, The seasoned highway man was captured broken hearted from his loss. He stood trial for highway robbery in 1671 and was sentenced to hang in a town of Somerset county. This would be during the time of the Restoration when King Charles II had come back to power and the old Protestant zealots had all but had their day. This was a time when things had become more relaxed and people were allowed more expression.

There is no record of Tom Faggus' execution. He was convicted but 'perhaps' not hanged. Some say the stage that transported him never got to the town and that Tom Faggus may have escaped. Legend says his spirit is often riding Exmoor on his magical strawberry mare, Winnie. Maybe he was pardoned. Who knows for sure?

The Victorian novelist R.D. Blackmoore included Tom Faggus in his Lorna Doone Novel. In this story, Tom Faggus married John Ridd’s sister and his magical strawberry mare saved him from death on the field of battle after the Monmouth rebellion. This was in 1685, which means Tom Faggus was put in the future, probably after his death in real terms.

Another Highwayman named Andrew Ailes wrote a grand poem about Tom Faggus and Winnie – the magical strawberry mare and also Tom Faggus has his guns in a museum. (St Anne's Chapel Museum, Barnstaple.)

He was probably hanged but the romantics of folklore like to believe he escaped from the stage that was taking him to execution.

The Banana Splits show

Another tune that comes screaming out of the past from my Retro Brit childhood is Banana Splits - a retro American children's tv show. We had a lot of US based tv shows in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s. Many were very popular and Banana Splits was a great over all favorite of many kids in many countries. Again, this show was blessed with a catchy tune that children would sing in the school playground, especially the Tra la la, Tra la la la bit... :) 

Z Cars theme

Z Cars was a British tv police drama set in Liverpool. It started in the 1960s and run into the 1970s. The theme tune was from a piece called the 'Lost Patrol.' I used to remember this sound very vividly as a kid when Z Cars came on television. It is another of those tunes that takes me back to my Retro Brit childhood.

The tune is often heard at Everton football club when they are playing at home.

Calamity Jane of the Wild West

Calamity Jane 1852-1903
In the year of August 1903, a man closed the coffin lid upon a frail middle aged ladies’ corpse. She had died before her time due to the excesses of alcohol. Over the years, the constant intake of liquor had finally taken its toll on the woman who had died in a hotel in Terry, South Dakota. Her body, by dying request, had been bought to Deadwood, a short distance from the town of Terry. The man, placing the lid upon the coffin, would have been caught in the moment of sad nostalgia that gripped the town of Deadwood in August 1903. The man had reason to show gratitude for the dead woman because she had helped, save his life – nursing him to health, from smallpox when it swept the town in 1876. He had been an infant boy at the time and the cursing drunken frontier lady had helped in the smallpox hospital of the frontier town that had sprung up in the middle of Indian Territory. Her name was Martha Cannary and she would have been in her early twenties at the time of 1876. To Deadwood and those who read the dime novels, the lady was known as Calamity Jane. She had lived a colourful life of adventure – one that she exaggerated and another that she really lived – perhaps a sadder one that legend eclipsed.
Calamity Jane the lady of the wild frontier
She had been a wild and reckless frontier lady of her time and was reputed for telling tall stories to anyone that would listen. She was quick tempered, under the influence of drink, and dressed often like a man of the frontier in buck skins and so forth. She said that she had been a scout for Custer’s seventh cavalry in the early 1870s and had saved a Captain from death during an Indian attack. She was a colourful larger than life character that may have told tall stories and some truthful jazzed up ones. The dime novelists from the east had written accounts about her exploits because she had known Custer and Wild Bill Hickok. She had died on August 2nd, the same date that her friend, Wild Bill Hickok had, twenty seven years earlier.
Her burial was to be on Mount Moriah, overlooking the town of Deadwood, and next to Wild Bill Hickok’s grave. The town of Deadwood had a huge gathering of people for Calamity Jane’s funeral because she was an important person in the founding days of the town when all sorts of strange people came into the fringe town of Deadwood because of the gold rush.
In 1876 many of these people were misfits from the civilized world – searching for something that might give them their vocation in life. Some were good for the enterprise while others were not cut out for such things. I think people like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok were not cut out for such things. They burned brightly but always had to be moving on. Deadwood would become the end of the line for Wild Bill Hickok.
Calamity Jane had come out of hospital at Fort Fetterman after falling ill during her scouting for the US Cavalry. The stories of scouting for Custer had been before this time and these were her last days in the employ of the US Cavalry – if she ever was. From Fort Fetterman, Calamity Jane rode to Fort Laramie where she came upon another famous frontier man named Charlie Utter. He was with a wagon train going to Deadwood where there had been a gold strike in the surrounding hills and streams. People from all over were descending upon the shanty town that had sprung up in the Indian nation outside the jurisdiction of the US government. With Charlie Utter was the famous frontier man and gunfighter, Wild Bill Hickok. These were hard drinking people and Calamity Jane was taken by Wild Bill and his reputation.

Deadwood in 1876
 It was with Charlie Utter and Wild Bill that Calamity Jane entered into Deadwood. There were all sorts of cut throats and double dealers in Deadwood and within a few weeks of arrival, Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead while playing poker in a saloon. He was killed by a young man named Jack McCall who shot him in the back of the head. The death of this legendary character was a great shock. It was August 2nd 1876 and almost the entire shanty town of Deadwood turned out for his funeral. Calamity Jane claimed to be romantically involved with Wild Bill, but many of his friends discounted this. The dime novelist would use this to give Calamity Jane better celebrity for selling dime novels back east.
Calamity Jane showed the signs of obvious alcohol abuse and gained the reputation as a story teller. However, she showed endearing qualities too and she gained some special and caring friends among the outcasts and misfits of Deadwood. Perhaps these people knew the true Calamity Jane with all her weakness and fine qualities. One such quality, came to the fore during the smallpox epidemic of Deadwood. Her help was said to have been very substantial and many who came to know her, valued that less expressed feature of Calamity Jane.
She stayed in Deadwood, often seen in a drunken state, until 1881 when she moved on and tried various other things, including marriage and hotel running. These things failed because of her weakness for alcohol – the demon that would always get the better of her. She also gave birth to a daughter that she had adopted.
She joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show – shooting from her horse while galloping in an arena staged circus. This might have come about because of her reputation, back east, in the dime novels. Again, the same old gremlin took her away from the circus show and by 1903 she was burnt out and dying when she returned to the South Dakota town of Terry, close to Deadwood, where she died a few months later in August 1903.
Calamity Jane burnt her way into legend through the dime novels and her brief acquaintance with Wild Bill Hickok, plus her reports of scouting for Custer. But there were others of Deadwood that had a different impression of her – a likable but sad impression of a tomboy lady that told tall stories and drank too excess, but had a heart of gold. Perhaps the man who put the lid upon her coffin would know of the true goodness that was Calamity Jane – the rough, cussing, frontier lady that helped nurse him from the clutches of death during the smallpox epidemic in 1876.

Film star Doris Day as Calamity Jane
I wonder what the real Calamity Jane would have made of the movie about her, played by the more glamouros Doris Day. I think Calamity Jane might have been amused but also flatered.

Actress Robin Weighert plays a very good version of Calamity Jane in Deadwood tv series

There is also the HBO tv series of Deadwood that features many characters from Deadwood's history and Calamity Jane is portrayed by an actress called Robin Weighert. I have to say she palys Jane Cannary to the way many people reported her to be. Foul mouthed and hard drinking, yet with genuine moments of goodness. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Here Come The Double Deckers - theme tune

Here Come The Double Deckers was a children's programme from the early 1970s. I remember it well - more so for the song and the character called Brains. It was a combined British/American production that only run for seventeen episodes. It was scheduled for more episodes but was terminated before the full production itinerary could be completed. 

It was about a group of seven children who had a secret den on a double decker bus inside a junk yard. 

Titan - is there life on Saturn's moon

Artist's Image of Titan's methane lakes.

Titan is the largest of Saturn’s many moons and contains a very dense atmosphere. For some time now, it has been the cause of great excitement and speculation because Earth space probes have sent back a growing amount of data. Much of this has caused scientists to speculate that there is a strong possibility of strange, microscopic, organic-type life. Life that is not carbon based like we know of on Earth.

Instead of consuming oxygen, Titan’s micro life may ingest hydrogen or other types of gas and have the ability to survive in freezing temperatures of  –185 Celsius. Of course more exploration needs to be done but this moon, of the ringed gas giant, is generating a great deal of excitement because of her planet like atmosphere.

Titan was first discovered in 1655 by the Dutch astronomer, Christiaan Huygens and the European probe of 2005 was named after him – Huygens probe. This probe parachuted through Titan’s thick nitrogen atmosphere and landed on the moon’s surface. This is the most distant landing to date and Huygens probe sent data for ninety minutes before going off line.

In orbit was another probe called Cassini which photographed the physical geography of Titan at high altitude. There were many Ariel photos of cryovolcanoes – volcanoes that spewed molten ice and beds of Methane Rivers and lakes. The Cassini probe also received data from Huygens probe and relayed it back to Earth.

Monday, 26 September 2011


Fab-mundo kiddie memories of ROOBARB and CUSTARD - the kiddies five min tv show from the UK. I was much too old for it when it started, being about thirteen years, but I remember us all humming the zany theme tune. I think it was the tune that pulled in adults as well as kids. Roobarb was a dog and Custard was his friend the cat. The sketchy child-like quality of the animation gave it a real kiddie nursery glow too. Wonderful stuff - wonderful memories - chalk one up for:




...well you have to say it to the tune!

Hypatia Of Alexandria - Female scholar of Eygpt

Hypatia of Alexandria lived during the declining times of one of Europe’s most formidable Empires. She was a famous scholar born in Alexandria, Egypt – then still under rule by the great Roman Empire, but into the sphere of families that stemmed from Greek learning. Her actual date of birth is not known, but most historians believe it to be between the years of 355 AD to 370 AD. This is a fifteen-year gap, which leaves historians undecided on Hypatia’s actual age when she died in 415 AD. Therefore she could have been anywhere between the age of forty-six to sixty when her life was brutally ended.

The port city of Alexandria in Egypt was a grand place that boasted the great Greek schools of learning from the times of King Ptolemy I and his son, King Ptolemy II before 300 BC. Mathematicians and Philosophers of the great Greek learning orders revered the place as did the Romans. The great Library of Alexandria was the hub where many of these great schools of learning were situated. A little like various schools and houses in today’s great universities in Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale. Of course, there are many more universities and I’ve used two Brit and American ones because the languages at the universities are the same. It gives an idea why the Egyptian city of Alexandria used the Greek ways because of the prior Greek settlers from King Alexandria the Great’s time.

Hypatia was the daughter of Theon Alexandricus – the last Librarian of The Library of Alexandria. She was brought up and schooled in Mathematics and Philosophy and was sent to other schools of learning outside of Alexandria as she grew. Her educational experience took her to Athens and Italy where she began to develop a reputation of high prestige, despite being a woman, in a very male-dominated world

She returned to Egypt and Alexandria and became head of a school in the Library of Alexandria in the year 400 AD. It is not certain, but her father’s role as Head Librarian of the Library might have ended by this time, though he was still alive. He died in 405 AD. At this time Christianity was spreading all over the Roman Empire and Rome’s Christian Emperor Theodosius was bending to the will of the large Christian fractions that had become very fundamentalist in this time. It is believed he may have terminated the Chief Librarian position on the advice of the Bishop of Alexandria in the 390s AD decade.

Hypatia was not a Christian. She loved the study of science, maths and philosophy – much of which could not find common ground with strict Christian doctrines that were evolving after centuries of persecution. The wheel had turned full circle for the Christian followers of the martyred Jesus Christ and the enthusiasm of this growing religion was finding interpretations of witchcraft and anti-Christian teachings in many things.

Hypatia had become an outspoken woman who attracted students from far and wide to Alexandria – many of them wanting to be schooled by the great teacher of mathematics and philosophy. She had written a number of works and was recognised throughout the Roman Empire as a great patron of learning.

She was never married and one rumour alleges that she refused one proposal of marriage by showing menstrual rags inciting that there was nothing beautiful concerning carnal desire. There is also a stereotype image of Hypatia being a beautiful woman that could excite passions of the man looking at her. I’m not sure if this is true, but she did have many learned friends who sought her company. One was the Roman Prefect of Alexandria called Orestes.

The Patriarch of Alexandria was named Cyril. He was a Bishop who believed that Hypatia’s outspoken ways and teachings were detrimental to Christianity, the new religion that Rome had to succumb too, and did not like the favourable attention that Hypatia received from Orestes. She was admired as a great academic of the time and her company was sought by the higher classes of society.

Hypatia did not take these objections of Bishop Cyril seriously and continued to go about her business with no care for the Christian religion – not seeing herself as a threat to it. Her ways were unlike that of most ladies. She wore the clothes of a tutor and not those of a woman befitting her class and rank. She also moved around the streets Alexandria by herself, steering her own chariot.

One day, in the year 415 AD, she was on an outing riding her chariot when a mob of angry Nitrian Christian Monks had been incited to set upon her. They dragged her from her chariot and stripped her naked in a frenzy of religious violence. She was beaten to death and taken before a Christian temple where her dead body was mutilated by pot shards and tiles from the steps. These fragments were used to dismember her corpse before her remains were burnt. There are other sources that say Bishop Cyril’s bodyguards killed her.

She had done so many good works within the schooling of Astronomy, Platonism and Mathematics that inspired many learned people, but her life was taken in a tidal wave of religious bigotry. First, the Christian fanatics took her life but then her actual written works were destroyed in 642 AD when Muslim Arabs set fire to the Library of Alexandria. If anyone was a victim of religious intolerance, Hypatia most certainly was.

Later some Christians would revere her, though I don’t think Hypatia would have appreciated this, though some did still vilify her in later centuries.

(A movie has been made. It is called Agora and it is about Hypatia)

The Robinson Crusoe - Retro French children's tv series

As a kid, I used to enjoy this adaptation of Robinson Crusoe. To me, it was the original because it was the first time I had heard of the story. Of course I have seen other versions since, but this was and still is, my favorite Robinson Crusoe. The music was good - always capturing the mood of what was happening. It used to be on several days a week, if I can remember rightly, in the 1960s. It was on every day during the summer six weeks holidays of the early 1970s.

It was a French tv children's production that was first shown in Germany as four ninety minuet episodes. However, by the time it came over to the UK, it was dubbed into English with a new musical background, which is on the above YouTube clip. The new British version was shown in thirty minuet episodes and the musical themes were composed by Robert Merlin and P. Reverberi instead of the French/German soundtrack by George Van Parys.

Sunday, 25 September 2011


The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole was a light hearted comedy series set in 1980s Britain. Adrian Mole is a young adolescent lad who may be said, to like like Harry Potter. At least the glasses and hair give him the appearance. The theme tune was good too and each week the young Adrian would go through life's traumas that were entertaining to the watcher seeing the world through the eyes of a confused teenager. 


Pulp - Common People

Pulp - Brit band had been going for a number of years when this single elevated them into a bigger spot light.

Moyra Melons under stated Ear Rings

Moyra Melons has a knack of under stating things, like many British people do, and it sometimes leads to crossed wires in conversation. Brits are often accused of this very thing the world over. In Moyra's case it is more exceptional because she is constantly transfixed on her ear rings - an indulgence that she enjoys.

Her husband does not mind this either because he always finds himself drifting off at a tangent when his beloved wife greets him with new ear rings. And being a Brit too, he is happy with polite under statement. Though sometimes, he thinks his wife might have an ear ring obsession - a small indulgence that he is happy to accommodate, seeing as he has his own obsession that often runs parallel with Moyra Melons' ear ring fixation.

The image of Moyra Melons above, is the exact sight that greeted her husband when he walked in from another days work. He was feeling tired and a little lack lustre as he went into the front room and saw Moyra on the sofa, obviously pleased with herself and new ear rings.

"Do you think this pair are eye catching?" she asked with a tantalising grin.

The sight of Moyra Melons hit her husband like 'WOOSH.' The cobwebs were whisked from his eyes in one mesmerising blink, he began to stutter, slightly lost for words.

"I- I think they are outstanding dear. Wonderful, first class, if I may say so."

Moyra flushed and her eyes widened with delight and surprise. "Well I thought they were a nice pair but I didn't expect you to be taken that much."

"Oh they're absolutely divine," he added, delicately slamming the door, like a devil may care caveman.

Well, I can leave the rest to the reader's imagination, but afterwards Moyra Melons was a tad confused when her husband said, "By the way darling, I like the new ear rings too." 

Boadicea by Enya

Enya makes lovely dreamy music that lets the imagination drift. She is an outstanding artist and this track is a favorite.

Catweazle - children's UK tv programme

This UK children's tv programme was about 1971 to 1972 and ran for two seasons, I think. Catweazle was a wizard or enchanter from the time of the Norman invasion of England. It starts of with the duffy old wizard in his poor rags searching the forest for herbs. He is seen by a party of Norman horsemen who give pursuit. Catweazle jumps into a lake and when he comes up for air he is in a small pond in a field. The year is 1971 and he has gone forward in time. Every week he has all sort of mad adventures - mistaking combine harvesters and tractors for strange monsters and aeroplanes as giant monster birds. Twentieth century life is beyond his understanding. He still has belief in his wizard powers. In one episode, he comes across a man who has a bad cold and sore throat. He has lost his voice. Catweazle hears a record playing a song and is mesmerised and convinced, the man with the lost voice has his some how had his vocals mysteriously put upon the black vinyl disk. With great aplomb, the duffy old Catweazle crunches up the record in a bowl and tries to feed it to the man in the in his sick bed, thinking, with ill deserved confidence, that he can give the man his voice back.

Above is the clip where Catweazle begins his strange adventure from the Middle ages to the twentieth century.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Cleopatra - Last of pharaoh of Egypt

Last of the pharaohs - Cleopatra
During the time of the Roman Empire, Egypt was ruled by pharaohs of Ancient Greek origin. This came about because of Alexander the Great during the Hellenistic period. This was some three hundred years plus before the time Queen Cleopatra came to the throne of Egypt. In western culture she is iconic because European bards and story tellers revere her. She was meant to be a great beauty of a woman, though some historians try to say this is an over inflated thing.

I think Cleopatra must have been a lady of great virtue, combined with the attentions of her very best servants. This was so she could present herself as an iconic queen before high dignitaries from other lands. Rome’s Julius Caesar fell to her spell and the power he could fuse with an alliance to the Ptolemaic queen of Egypt. Later, Mark Anthony would follow in Caesar’s footsteps and the greatest of all Greek tragedies would ensue.

All of the Ptolemaic pharaohs spoke Greek and not Egyptian – they were a ruling class above the common Egyptians – similar to the way the Norman kings of England spoke French while the common Anglo-Saxon spoke English. However, Cleopatra also spoke Egyptian as well as her first language of Greek. Many of the historical scrolls of her time are in both the languages.

What I have mentioned above are the parts that stimulate the interest of the western culture – the rank and file of us average plebs. I don’t mean that in a demeaning way, but more a general view. This is because Cleopatra was caught up in a game of super power political intrigue that rocked the foundations of history, until this day and will continue long after us readers are gone. Her echo is in eternity as the last Egyptian pharaoh.

Her real title is Queen Cleopatra VII and she lived from 69 BC until 30 BC and was between thirty eight and thirty nine when she died. To her Egyptian people, she tried to present herself as a reincarnation of the Goddess, Isis.

 Her first taste of power came when she ruled with her father Ptolemy XII. After she would co-rule with her brothers; Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV and would be married to them as was Egyptian custom.

She was forced to flee to Syria in 51 BC, when her younger brother Ptolemy XIII acquired the aid of a regent eunuch, Porthinus to usurp her and become sole ruler. In Syria, Cleopatra was able to raise forces to combat her younger brother Ptolemy XIII and the eunuch Porthinus. A civil war ensued putting Egypt into confusion. Rome was unable to intervene because of her own internal strife.

Julius Caesar had returned to Rome prior to Cleopatra’s plight. He had brought his victorious army back from Gaul into Italy. He was attempting to usurp Rome of its corrupt Senators – wanting to bring them under the rule of a dictator. This dictator was to be himself, but the senators fled Rome and began a war of civil resistance led by a man called Pompey. Julius Caesar managed to route the resisters and chased them into Greece. Many surrendered, but Pompey fled to Egypt – one of the furthest corners of the Roman Empire in 48 BC.

At this time, Egypt was under the rule of the adolescent teenager Ptolemy XIII and the eunuch Porthinus and had been trying to defeat Cleopatra for three years. They received the fugitive Pompey from the Roman Republic but knew Julius Caesar and his forces would follow with ambitions of taking Pompey back to Rome. To avoid upsetting the new Roman Empire that Julius Caesar was fashioning they decided to kill Pompey and present his head to Caesar upon arrival in the port of Alexandria in Egypt.

This was a terrible error of judgement on the part of Porthinus (regent eunuch). The action did not please Julius Caesar as Porthinus had advised Ptolemy XIII it would. It disgusted the Roman general and it resulted in the execution of the eunuch regent Porthinus.

Cleopatra was able to return to the Egyptian court and make a dramatic entry before Julius Caesar. The joint rule status was resumed under proclamation of Caesar’s Rome. In quick time Cleopatra was able to win over the Roman General, Julius Caesar – forming an alliance of love. She fell pregnant with his child and gave birth in 47 BC. Cleopatra was twenty one years of age while Julius Caesar was fifty two.

Young Ptolemy would not accept this new twist of fate and tried to raise an army of rebellion. Fighting broke out in Alexandria. Many buildings were destroyed including the revered library of Alexandria. The forces loyal to Cleopatra and Rome’s small highly trained army were able to inflict a defeat upon Ptolemy XIII. He drowned in the Nile when his forces retreated across the river. It is probable that the young pharaoh was killed by foul means, though no one knows for sure.

Cleopatra then became joint ruler of Egypt with her very young brother Ptolemy XIV and gave birth to a baby son called Caesarion by Julius Caesar. The name Caesarion meant ‘Little Caesar’ and the pharaoh queen had an heir to Egypt and Rome, once Julius Caesar proclaimed himself Emperor. This, of course, did not happen and the wheels of fate took a new turn.

Cleopatra’s youngest brother Ptolemy XIV did not live for long and vanished from the records. He died when Julius Caesar went back in Rome or at least just after Caesar’s famous assassination by a league of Senators led by Brutus and Cassius. From this, all manner of political dilemma and intrigue came about in the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar had named his nephew Octavianus as his successor but hey had to defeat the supporters of the old Republic led by Brutus and Cassius. Octavianus would become Augustus (First Emperor of Rome)

After a time, this was done, but it caused all sorts of divisions. One of Octavianus’ supporters, Lepidus went to rule Spain and North Africa, while Mark Anthony, who was married to Octavia Minor (Octavianus’ sister) went to Egypt to rule this part of the Roman Empire. Once in Egypt, he also fell under the spell of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, just as his leader Julius Caesar had done.

Mark Anthony had Cleopatra’s half-sister Arsinoe, executed on temple steps in Rome so she could not pose a threat to the pharaoh queen. Arsinoe had been captured previously during Ptolemy XIII failed attempt to battle Julius Caesar’s forces in Alexandria. She had been brought back to Rome when the late Julius Caesar returned in triumph from Egypt shortly before his assassination.

For much of the time Cleopatra and Mark Anthony attained a celebrity lifestyle. He divorced his Roman wife (Octavia Minor) whom he had fathered four children by. One – the youngest daughter (Antonia Minor) would marry the son (Germanicus) of Livia Drusilla and give birth to the future fourth Emperor Claudius.

Mark Anthony and Cleopatra upset the Julian/Claudia families who ruled Rome and began to use withholding of grain exports to threaten Rome. When this information was passed down to the population of Rome, a strong feeling of anger was festered towards Cleopatra who had bewitched the popular Mark Anthony. Combined with other things, Rome’s Octavianus (Augustus) was able to get the senate to agree on war with Egypt. The first major conflict was at sea when Roman galleys clashed at the Battle of Actium. This resulted in defeat for Mark Anthony and he returned to Alexandria and committed suicide before the impending arrival of Octavianus (Augustus) Roman army.

Cleopatra followed him by committing suicide also – allowing the bite of an asp – a deadly venomous snake. Her eldest son, Caesarion by Julius Caesar was also killed. Her children by Mark Anthony were taken back to Rome and groomed to marry rulers of client kingdoms of the Empire. This was not a bad fate compared to that of young Caesarion who had claim of pharaoh and Emperor and threatened Emperor Augustus’ rule. Some historians think that Cleopatra was alive when Augustus entered the pharaoh queens palace and that the first emperor of Rome had her killed. This is possible, though it also has to be said that Rome liked to take its powerful enemies back to Rome and paraded before the mob then publicly garroted in ceremony. If so, would Cleopatra prefer to take her own life?

With Cleopatra, the rule of the ancient pharaohs died out and the nation was annexed for Roman rule.

Giving You a Dark Age Tale - Romano British Celts v Saxon Migrants in AD 567

A Celtic king dies in 567 AD. He leaves a realm in West Romano cultured Britain without an heir. While in a neighbouring kingdom of Saxon migrants a chance to expand into the Romano-British kingdom becomes a temptation too tempting to resist.

A bold undertaking by the pagan Gewisse Saxon migrants appears to be a straightforward endeavour. However, the fixations of intoxicated and audacious warriors do not always deliver the desired outcome, when up against cold reality.

SAXON QUEST by C.A. Powell

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Suede - Trash

Suede are a strange yet compelling band. Their songs are good and this video is well crafted. 

Moyra Melons' Earrings Battle Economic Truths of News Media.

"What do you think of these?" demanded Moyra Melons - searching for an opinion from her husband, concerning her latest earrings.

"Erm - very nice dear," he tutted.

They are exquisite and subtle aren't they?" She enquired.

"Subtle?" He exclaimed, raising an eyebrow.

Moyra turned to him and replied. "Yes - subtle is what I want this pair to be. Don't you agree with me?" 

Her husband came over in a hot flush and began to stutter. "I can hardly say subtle, though they are exquisite."

Moyra pulled a mock sad face. "I want subtle and exquisite - just exquisite is not good enough."

"Well my dear," began her husband who was finding it difficult to contain himself. "Allow me to explain." 

The door closed and after a time - a rather long time, Moyra Melons emerged with a windswept and rather gratified look. Also, she had decided to settle for just exquisite without subtle playing any part in her new earrings look. No amount of retro British understatement could mask the real news of Moyra's exquisite earrings.

Moyra Melons hopes such fine earrings will take one's mind off of the way our TV news and newspapers present fake news concerning our nation. If we can peddle economic truths and pussyfoot around real issues, omit obvious facts by owning the debate and choosing which things to focus on, we can sleepwalk people into all sorts of controlled beliefs. 

Don't Be Blinded by Economic Truth.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Madness - The Prince 1979

Madness were a band that became big with this first single. Many more famous hits would follow through the eighties. This one is called 'The Prince' and is from 1979.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Queen Boadicea's glorious failure echos in eternity.

This is an enjoyable video documentary about Queen Boadicea (Boudica) presented by New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless. It is well put together and is fine to watch for all fans of this certain era of history. Boadicea is plugged a lot on this blog, but then she is rather special. It is strange because she lost - yet her impact remains - thanks to the Romans - a ferocious empire of egotistical people who immortalised their enemies to make themselves appear more victories in battle. To be fair, most of us are pleased they did in this day and age. The Romans preserved Boadicea's memory for us all. If Boadicea had won what would the world be like today? Her celebrity and glory comes from vicious enemies.

There are five parts to this so watch and enjoy...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Flowered Up - Weekender

This song takes me back to my youth when living and working in London during the 1980s. This was made a little later then that, I think - perhaps about late 80s or early 90s, but my time was late 70s and 80s. This flicks a chord for me on the memory front. It takes me back to the way I used to feel. At first it is nostalgic and up lifting, but as the song sucks you in, the meaning of the weekender life style comes back to me. You reach a point when you have to take a step back and reflect on where you are going. It is also contradictory within me, because part of me wants to plunge back into the video and re-live old memories, but then the more sinister things about weekender reality kick in. It is a very well crafted video and the song is very well complimented by this great work of art. It conjures up all sorts of emotions and memories - good at first and then reminding of the more dark side too.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Rome's First Attack on Britain (Cassivellanus vs Julius Caesar)

Cassivellanus was a British war chieftain who caused considerable trouble for Julius Caesar’s Roman army while the empire campaigned against Vercingetorix of Gaul. Not much is known of him (Cassivellanus) but his impact is marked by Roman historians who made him famous in ancient history for a short time. He won Julius Caesar’s attention – enough to cause a side show campaign during the vicious Roman conquest of Gaul. It is important to know that Romans often make an opponent immense. This is to make their victories sound more considerable.

From the years of 58 BC to 51 BC, Julius Caesar led his Roman army in a huge campaign against Gaul (Today’s France). This was a long war against (Gaul Chieftain) Vercingetorix.

To the north of Gaul was the Celtic island of Britain which was strewn with many small feudal nations, like Gaul. The tribes of Gaul had become united under the one Vercingetorix leading the sub-chieftains of the Gaul nations against Julius Caesar’s Roman army. For three years this hard fought war had been raging and the Roman Empire appeared to have a difficult task subjugating the Gaul resisters.

In Britain, there was the trade with Gaul and a strong affinity with the people. Many of the Druids of Gaul were schooled in the religion by Britain – the cultures of Britain and Gaul were the same and the Roman invasion must have caused the Britons to be wary of this strange Empire.

As an island perhaps other Britons had an ill-deserved confidence of defence. Maybe men like the strange character, called Cassivellanus, could see the writing on the wall. He could have wanted to aid Vercingetorix of Gaul, or emulate him. This might have brought Cassivellanus into conflict with many chieftains of the feudal British nations – men that were happy with the continuing trade with Gaul and perhaps the Romans too. These Gaul/British tradesmen must have had some apathy towards Rome while people within Gaul fought the Latin invader.

I say this because they seemed to still trade, even when Rome was policing some of the ports. It could also mean that some of the sea traders were not of Gaul but other far-flung lands. Whatever the reasons, industry and commerce continued and with this; news and speculation were mixed with the shipping cargos.

In the third year of the Gaul campaign (55 BC) concern was brought to Julius Caesar’s camp when a group of Britons led by a usurped Chieftain came before him. This chieftain’s Latin name was Mandubracius and he was a feudal leader of a tribe called the Trinovantes. They came from the Essex area of today’s England in the south-east and just north of the river Thames.

Mandubracius had been usurped from his lands because of a Cassi warrior called Cassivellanus. Although Cassivellanus is believed to have been of the Cassi tribe; other members of the Cassi were with the Trinovante leader (Mandubracius) when he went before Julius Caesar with his news and plea for Roman help. They told Caesar that in Britain there was a new man taking charge – one potentially unfriendly to Rome and supportive of Vercingetorix. (Maybe)

It is possible that Cassivellanus might have been a rogue chieftain that sprang up by such means of virtue. Perhaps he won support by voicing the trials and tribulations of Gaul against Rome, and Britain would be next. He may have portrayed other chieftains as being lacklustre in their aid of the Gauls, who were brethren to the Britons. We only have Roman scholar’s writings about the man, but it is fair to assume he was politically motivated rather than an opportunistic conqueror. What was happening in Gaul, at the time, would surely have been big news from the sea traders and perhaps Gaul migrants fleeing the tribulation. Also, Rome would hardly take interest in Britain unless it was very necessary. Not while fighting a difficult campaign against the Gauls.

It is also unlikely that 'Cassivellanus' was the real name of this British chieftain who seemed to be bringing the British tribes under one rule. The word seems to be more of a title attributed to him by the Romans and used by their historical writers of the age. It makes the real man a little bit more of an enigma. Some believe that his name could have been a kind of nickname that lends this character; Cassivellanus further peculiarity – a strange figure of a chieftain. He might have been Vellanus of the Cassi. (Obviously, Vellanus is a Latin name and not Celtic). The word ‘vellanus’ can mean good or excellent – something high and meaningful.

It is also important not to confuse this chieftain with Caractacus who would fight the Romans almost one hundred years later, during the invasion of Emperor Claudius. This is 55 BC and the Roman Republic is still in existence.

When Julius Caesar received the Trinovante chieftain Mandubracius, the Celt is believed to have been the head of a group of other British tribesmen from nations like Cenimagni, Seguntiaci, Ancalites, Bibroci and Cassi. These tribal groups were in areas that would have traded with mainland Europe and would know of the war raging in Gaul against the Romans. Perhaps the rise of Cassivellanus and his conquest of different British feudal nations was seen as a similar step to what Vercingetorix was doing in Gaul. The usurped British chieftains decided to ally with Julius Caesar. Maybe Cassivellanus was viewed as a potential ally to the Gauls – more so than the defeated men behind Mandubracius, who had seen his domain overrun by Cassivellanus.

For whatever reason, Julius Caesar certainly saw this conquering Cassi-Brit as a threat to his attempts at pacifying Gaul. He needed grateful Celts in Britain – docile ones that might not interfere with his immediate campaign against Vercingetorix. Therefore he launched an invasion/expedition into south-east Britain in 55 BC during the late summer. It consisted of two legions. He had an ally chieftain from the Atrebates of Gaul. This chieftain called Commius had not supported Vercingetorix and his kingdom was exempt from occupation and tax. He would negotiate with the Britons. Unfortunately for the Romans, Commius was arrested upon entry into Britain.

This expedition 55 BC may have been a first invasion attempt or a reconnaissance – fact finding mission. It did no more than establishing a bridgehead in the area of today’s county of Kent. Julius Caesar did enter a dialogue with some Brit-Celtic nations and took hostages back to Gaul.

However, the Romans and Julius Caesar returned in the following year and came into conflict with British warriors under the leadership of Cassivellanus. This undertaking was on a grand scale and a very large number of ships were used to transport the Roman army of five legions to Britain. It is possible that three legions went combined with two already in place. There was no resistance while landing, according to the memoirs of Julius Caesar and it might be assumed that the Britons had never seen such a large flotilla of ships. It is probable that they needed time to organise their resistance.

The Romans established another bridgehead in Kent, set up all their supply trains and general logistics network. This was left under the command of a Roman soldier called Quintus Atrius while Julius Caesar marched deeper into the island of Britain. He finally came up against resistance after about fifteen miles in the forest and at a river crossing. The Romans were attacked by a British force, supportive of Cassivellanus, but repulsed them. As the Roman army moved on they came upon a hill fort stronghold where the repulsed Britons had retreated too. This was taken and the defending Britons were mostly able to scatter into the forest. The Romans were unable to pursue because they had no knowledge of the terrain. They then suffered a dreadful setback because word came from the bridgehead about a fierce storm in the channel. A great many Roman ships that were anchored had been damaged and also lost. Julius Caesar was forced to return to his bridgehead and make good the necessary repairs. He called all his forces back to rectify the situation. It was also believed that the news of his daughter’s death in childbirth reached him. She was married to Pompey – a man who would become a foe in future years.

It was some time before repairs and other logistical matters allowed Julius Caesar to re-send his army into south-east Britain. The British tribes engaged the army and seemed to use tactics that were mindful of what the Roman armies could do. These were mainly skirmishes and ambush which, on one occasion, resulted in the death of a Roman Tribune called Quintus Laberius Durus, who was said to have taken a spear to the chest. When this tribune fell, it is feasible that the engagement might have been a heavy encounter, though not a full-scale battle. The Britons avoided open conflict and used the forest for cover, trying to fight a guerrilla war. This had limited success as the Romans moved deeper into south-east Britain to aid Mandubracius to regain the Trinovantes kingdom. The Romans were surprised by the use of chariots among the British tribes. They would be steered with some skill to deliver foot warriors and then retreat a distance and watch before coming forward and aiding Britons to evacuate fighting engagements.

When Julius Caesar reached the River Thames, Cassivellanus had prepared defences by planting spikes under water and on the banks where the ford was. He had fought a retreating action to slow the Romans advance towards his territory, but this had only been marginally successful. Even with his river defence, the Roman army managed to cross and defeat the Britons. Julius Caesar had entered the chieftain’s territory.

However, Cassivellanus had managed to send another force of Britons to attack the bridgehead where Quintus Atrius was in charge. He hoped to divert Julius Caesar’s forces away to protect the Roman bridgehead and supplies at the channel. The Roman forces at the bridgehead stood firm and repulsed the attack.

Some of Cassivellanus’ allies among the Trinovantes deserted him and sought a separate peace with Julius Caesar, which was achieved on condition that Chieftain Mandubracius became reinstated as leader. This gave Rome a client king in part of south-east Britain. With the loss of support, Cassivellanus also sent diplomats to negotiate a peace. Apart from the storm and the forest skirmishes, not much was achieved against the Roman force.

Julius Caesar had more pressing matters to his campaign in Gaul and was forced to abandon Britain with hostages from Cassivellanus’ camp and a promise of tribute from the British chieftain, plus an agreement that Cassivellanus would stay out of the Trinovantes nation. This was established with the Atrebatian ally (Commius) also being returned to the Roman camp before Caesar and his Roman army turned and went back to the conflict in Gaul.

This seems to have been a lightening summer conflict that gave the Romans a marginal victory in thwarting possible support for Vercingetorix and his Gauls from united British tribesmen. Cassivellanus imposed himself into the Roman history books with this summer month’s conflict of 54 BC. I can’t help thinking that Caesar may have had a cheaply won victory because, with hindsight, the Britons could have detained the five legions in Britain with Caesar. Vercingetorix and his Gauls may have had a free hand to do more substantial damage. Julius Caesar's five legions would not have been forced to stay in Britain when supplies from Gaul always under threat. The Roman theatre of war would have been stretched over a much wider area. This Roman force could have been cut off from Rome with all of Gaul between them and their homeland.

If this was a politically motivated attempt by Cassivellanus to help the Gauls, it lacked boldness on Britain’s part – almost like the going got too rough for them. Many of us Brits like to imagine bold resistance to the Romans and that we drove Julius Caesar away. I'm not too sure if this is true. We revere Queen Boadicea of a later age, but I think this invasion by Julius Caesar may have achieved its aim of stopping Britain aiding the Gauls. If so, it was a cheaply won victory and the Gauls went on to pay a hefty price when Rome defeated them. An estimated one in four of the Gaul nation would die in the aftermath of resistance to Rome.

Britain would wait a further ninety years before they would become conquered by Rome under Emperor Claudius.