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Monday, 18 November 2013

Boudicca and Cartimandua - Ancient British Queens meet




This is a new cover for the novel; Meeting Boudicca. It is a fictional story of a secret encounter between the Iceni Warrior Queen and Cartimandua of Brigantes. When Boudicca lost her final battle against the Roman Empire she went into the wilderness to take poison and die. Her body was never found.

However, prior to ending her life and leaving the cruel world of Roman Britain, the warrior queen must play one last part in the drama of another British queen of the Brigantes. Her name was Cartimandua. She was everything that Boudicca was not. A friend of Rome.


Sunday, 17 November 2013

George Orwell's Writing of Homage to Catalonia



George Orwell is an enigma to me - a very great one. I just get engrossed in anything he has written. He has the ability to be depressing, defeatist, morose - yet I can't put down anything he writes. I've never know anyone as compelling as this man was.
 
This is another tale of his soul searching exploits during the Spanish Civil War. I think this is the pinnacle of his life time endeavour and real sacrifice for an alternative way of life via socialism.
 
This is the journey, through his remarkable life, where I believe he realised equality can't work, especially trying to fight in the anarchist's brigade during this terrible civil war in Spain.
 
After this came Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four. Orwell's works are a stage through the journey of his deep thinking life. Sometimes via essays, auto biographical or fiction.
 
This author is truly brilliant and you can see the development of his thinking if you read his publications in order.
 
Homage to Catalonia is a very important book - a very important book indeed.

 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

James Hunt's Son Tom Hunt In Interview.

video
 
Tom Hunt, the son, of the late James Hunt - British Formula one racer of the seventies decade. Here Tom Hunt talks of memories concerning his late father and the new film called Rush. It concerns the rivalry and friendship between Niki Lauda, the Austrian Formula 1 driver, and James Hunt. Both were in the McLaren racing team of 1976. The movie follows the Formula 1 competition in which Niki Lauda had the horrific crash and then went back to his racing car six weeks later.  
 
 
It was James Hunt's only Formula 1 championship competition win and follows his flamboyant playboy lifestyle alongside his rivalry and friendship with the dynamic young Austrian driver who won three Formula 1 championship competitions in 1975, 1977 and 1984.
 
Tom Hunt was only seven when his father, James Hunt, died of a heart attack in 1993 at the age of 45. The film set in 1976 is when James Hunt was in his late twenties, ten years before Tom Hunt was born. The film has had sound reviews and caused great interest from many people, including Niki Lauda who is now 64 and helped director Ron Howard with the film.
 
 


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Thomas Plunket - The Sharpshooting Irishman of the Napoleonic Peninsula War in 1809


As Thomas Plunket fired his dynamic shot most believed he reclined in this manner.

Some say November 1808 and other reports say early January 1809. Well, it was during the Peninsula War and Britain was retreating before the French forces of Napoleon’s army. Sir John Moore was head of the British army at this time before Sir Arthur Wellesley (AKA Duke of Wellington) took over. This was a dire time for Britain and the French were almost routeing many parts of the rapidly retreating British as they made towards a port called A Coruna in Spain.

One body of the British army had maintained discipline and these particular men were of a special rifle brigade of sharpshooters called the 95th Rifles. They wore a green uniform and stood apart from the scarlet jackets of other British foot soldiers.  These men carried special Baker rifles that differed from the muskets of the rest of the British army. They were often at the rear guard of the failing forces, trying to buy time for the retreating army. The sharpshooters of the green-jacketed 95th rifles would target the advancing French, trying to halt the enemy advance as best as possible.

The last of Sir John Moore’s British Army, led by Henry Paget (Lord Paget) arrived at a bridge outside a small Spanish village called Cacabelos. These men were the stragglers making for A Coruna. Also by the bridge was a group of the sharp shooter green jackets of 95th rifles. There had been rioting and confusion at Cacabelos and as the order was being restored to guide British soldiers over the bridge, reports were brought before Henry Paget of advancing French Chasseurs – dreaded cavalry units of the French Napoleonic army.

These mounted French forces were led by Brigadier General Auguste Francois – Marie de Colbert – Chabanais – a thirty-one-year-old veteran of many battles, including Egypt, Marengo, Austerlitz and many other campaigns. By all accounts, he was a charismatic heroic young officer that made his way up through the ranks from the start of the French revolutionary wars. On this particular day, he came upon this staggered formation of the retreating British soldiers and managed to capture fifty of them. He saw more British soldiers making for the Bridge and decided to press home his advantage. However, he noted the British positions of defence and decided to form his cavalry in formation for the proper attack.

 As Colbert led his mount forward, a shot rang out well beyond the normal range of 200 to 300 meters. The gallant French cavalry officer was struck in the head by the projectile and he fell back upon his mount and slid down onto the snow layered ground. His fellow cavalrymen looked on in shock and bewilderment. All believed General Marie de Colbert to be out of range and in an area of relative safety. 

All the British soldiers would have assumed so too. All except one 95th rifleman of the British forces. The shot was fired by an Irishman of the 95th called Thomas Plunket. The sharp shooter hit Colbert from beyond the normal range of expected accuracy. As the Irishman began to withdraw and reload his Baker rifle he stopped once more and fired a second shot. He killed another officer riding to aid the already stricken Brigader General of the French Chasseurs. In one fatal moment, the enigmatic young French officer was no more. The sharp shooter of the British army had dealt a vicious blow to the French cavalry as a minor battle ensued. Around 200 men on either side were killed before the French halted and the British withdrew in the enveloping darkness.

Thomas Plunket's shot was a mind blowing distance of the time.

Some say Thomas Plunket’s shot was around 600m though many rightly challenge that. However, most believe it was in excess of 300m and the Irish sharpshooter performed this task twice killing two high-ranking officers of the French cavalry. This was witnessed by Henry Paget and Sir John Moore from a hilltop overlooking the action. Again, this account is questioned. It seems distance and reality might have been twisted when the story was recounted sometime later. Some accounts say Thomas Plunket advanced to meet the enemy before laying upon his back and steadying the rifle with his foot. This advance could have cut the distance down from some of the exaggerated accounts. However, the undeniable fact is, that Thomas Plunket shot and killed two officers of the French Chasseurs.

Thomas Plunket went through the entire Peninsula War and saw the final victory in that theatre of the campaign under the Duke of Wellington. He would later take part in the Hundred Days War when Napoleon returned from exile on the island of Elba. During the Battle of Waterloo, Thomas Plunket was wounded, but he still survived. He recovered from a wound to the head and was discharged from the army. He was awarded 6d a day pension but re-enlisted back into the army where an officer who knew him, got his pension awarded to one shilling a day and rank of corporal. No one knew exactly the year Thomas Plunket was born in Ireland. It is possible he may not have known this either. He died in Colchester, England in 1851 and is remembered in history for his exceptionally long range shot that killed Brigadier General Auguste Francois – Marie de Colbert- Chabanais of the French Chasseurs.


1. Frenchempire.net http://www.frenchempire.net/biographies/colbert3/
2. Napoleon-series.org http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/biographies/c_plunkett.html







Wednesday, 13 November 2013

German Tiger II Tank WWII


 
This ferocious piece of engineering was an absolute beast. It was dreaded by all allied forces through out World War II and in all theatres of campaign. The Tiger II was an impressive upgrade and was produced from 1943 to 1945.
 
Its main service was from 1944 to 1945 - coming into service when Nazi Germany was already losing the war. If such a heavy armoured tank had been in production when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, one shudders at the thought. The tanks official title was; Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B. As previously mentioned, the tank was an upgrade, hence the B, but it was shortened to Tiger B or Tiger II as we commonly know the tank today. There are still some left in various museums around the world, including UK Bovington Museum. 
 
The Tiger II made its infamous presence known to the allies during the Normandy campaign on 11th July 1944 and went into service on the Eastern front against Soviet forces on 1st September 1944. The were used by the German Army and Waffen-SS. Sometimes Germans refereed to the Tiger II as Königstiger. This translated means Bengal Tiger.
 
 

 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Moyra Melons Purple Ear Rings

When Moyra Melons' poor husband went up stairs to go to bed, he was confronted by her in a new bedtime outfit.

"Do you think the purple ear rings are a little over the top?" She asked him.

He, of course, stuttered a little and coughed. "Well... I think they go very well with the rest of your night attire dear."

"Really," she replied encouraged. "So they were a good choice?"

"An exceptionally good one dear, but they might not match your night attire for too long. Perhaps another colour, like flesh pink would have been more appropriate."

"Flesh pink?" Moyra looked a little perplexed.

"Yes, you'll understand in due course I'm sure," replied her husband feeling that 'Devil may care caveman" feeling rushing all over him.

"Are you alright?" enquired Moyra. "How do you feel?"

"Like I've just slain a dragoon and now I want my booby prize."

"Booby prize?" replied Moyra Melons.

The bedroom door slammed shut and in no time at all, Moyra Melons realised why she might have been better off with flesh coloured ear rings to match a different type of suit from the purple one she had been wearing.




 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Great Overload Image


Overload get a graffiti image, which I think looks great. I don't think this picture is in UK, but somewhere in Europe. I wonder where? Does anyone know>