Declarations of Independence, once lost are now found

We’ve all done it, that is filed something away, perhaps incorrectly, and then lost track of it. Well, in the past month two lost Declarations have been found.

Perhaps the more important of the two, certainly for the Lithuanian centenary celebration in 2018, is one of the three missing original copies of the Declaration of Independence of Lithuania in February 1918. The Guardian reports that the document was lost during the turmoil at the end of World War 1. It was found in the German Foreign Ministry archives in Berlin by a Lithuanian professor. Click on the image to link to the article [also, click to expand]

The other lost document is a parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence dated around 1780. The document was found in the West Sussex County Archives by two researchers from Harvard University. Again The Guardian has a report on the finding. Click on the image to link to the article [also, click to expand]

As I said at the start, things are easily lost, yet take years to find them again.

Where to See Five of the Planet’s Most Mysterious Geoglyphs

A geoglyph in the UK features in this article on April 20th 2017 Where to See Five of the Planet’s Most Mysterious Geoglyphs in the Smithsonian Magazine.

The Oxford dictionary defines geoglyph as – A large-scale image or design produced in the natural landscape by techniques such as aligning rocks or gravel or removing soil or sod, the complete form of which is visible only aerially or at a distance.

It’s surprising and pleasing that the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire is regarded as one of the five most mysterious geoglyphs. Research into the age of the Uffington White Horse considers it to have been created between 1200 BC and 800 BC, making it over 3,000 years old. There’s more about the White Horse at Wiltshire White Horses, and the National Trust. Below is a NASA satellite image of the Uffington White Horse.

Visiting a narrow gauge light railway in the Forest of Dean

We spent our Easter holiday visiting friends at the edge of the Forest of Dean.

On one of our country walks in the Forest we passed by the Lea Bailey Light Railway. The others, in our party, were tolerant of my interest in heritage railways, and so we had a peek at the railway workings. There wasn’t any activity at the railway,

It’s one of the distinctive things about us British that we cherish railways, and heritage railways even more bordering on a passion. Such passion is required in bucket loads to preserve the Lea Bailey Light Railway, as my photo montage below should attest. The Forest of Dean has had coal mines and iron mines going back centuries, all now worked-out or closed. The mine workings for which the Lea Bailey Light Railway were for gold mining. Newsletter 1 on the LBLR website says,

A brief history of the Level might be of interest. It is notorious as the Forest’s ‘gold mine’. It was apparently dug in 1906- 7 by a group of investors operating under the name of the Chastan Syndicate (who also briefly owned the unsuccessful Fairplay Iron Mine) but although gold was found it was in such small quantities as to be not commercially viable. So the Syndicate apparently failed. Then after WW1 the level was dug some 580 yards to the Wigpool Iron Mine gale, but was abandoned after a few years with only 3000 tons of ore removed.

It’s not Eros in Piccadilly Circus. Do you know who it depicts?

Everyone knows that the statue in Piccadilly Circus is the statue of Eros – mostly that’s because it’s the name to which it’s commonly referred.

Well, the truth is that it’s not a depiction of Eros, but Anteros, his twin brother. Londonist explains why our confusion over the name,

Gilbert [the sculptor] spent a long time considering how to celebrate the life of Shaftesbury, a philanthropist and social reformer. Lord Shaftesbury campaigned against many injustices, such as child labour conditions, limiting child employment in factories and mines.

For five years Gilbert considered various ideas to celebrate the charitable life of the Earl. He eventually decided on a fountain, topped with the winged figure of Anteros, the ancient Greek symbol of Selfless Love.

Gilbert described Anteros as portraying “reflective and mature love, as opposed to Eros or Cupid, the frivolous tyrant.”

But the English, with our unhelpfully generic singular word for ‘love’, whether its love for your grandma, your hot new boyfriend or your baby niece, struggled with this idea. The boy with the bow and arrow was Eros, and neither explanations nor re-branding exercises were going to change that.

It was the first sculpture in the world to be cast in aluminium and is set on a bronze fountain.

Diego Delso, delso.photo, License CC-BY-SA

Photo of the Week No.25: The Mountbatten’s and Nehru by Cartier-Bresson

Photographed on the steps of Government House in Delhi by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1948 are, Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma; Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India; and Edwina Cynthia Annette, Countess Mountbatten.

Like most of us, I imagine, we appreciate a good news photograph that captures something of the situation of the people included in the photo. This is so in this photo. Widely acknowledged that Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten had a very close friendship, even speculated having an affair. It’s a very good photo from a master of photography, Cartier-Bresson, a believer in capturing the ‘decisive moment‘.

Surrey Heath’s art collection on view

Over the years generous donors have gifted Surrey Heath with paintings and drawings. Some of that collection is on display in Surrey Heath Museum’s current exhibition of the Borough’s art collection. Here’s my photo of some of the paintings on show and the exhibition details. On show is my favourite painting from their collection – The Washing Line by Percy Harland Fisher.

Surrey Police Band concert series at St Barbara’s Garrison Church

Concert bands are popular, attested by the audience appreciation for the Royal Logistic Corps Band [RLC], and the Surrey Police Band. Both perform in Deepcut, the RLC at the Tela theatre inside Princess Royal Barracks, and the Surrey Police Band at the Garrison Church of St Barabara’s.

The Surrey Police Band has announced their concert series for 2017 at St Barbara’s Church on their smart new website. SEE HERE for concert dates. Concerts sell out quickly, so worth booking well ahead of the concert performance. The next band concert is,