Race horse trainer and opera singer finds horses respond best to her singing Mozart

This is a happy story, and don’t we all need those.

I initially found the story on the BBC website HEREIt’s about opera singer and race horse trainer, Heather Main, singing Mozart to race horses in her training stables. The Daily Mirror has, for example, a four minute video interview with Heather – see HERE, in their report. 

As with all happy stories many media outlets latched onto the story. Here are three interviews with Heather posted on YouTube. Though I’m neither horsey or a punter on the horses, it’s a happy story.

England’s oddest phrases explained. Some aren’t that odd to me

Roots, it’s all about one’s roots.

In today’s BBC News online they’ve an article England’s oddest phrases explained. Well, excuse me, of the five they mention, three aren’t odd to me. I use one frequently, and another fairly often when in particular company. Two of the others, I grant you, are certainly odd. The Cornish dialect one leaves me stumped.

The first three are all in use in regular the West Midlands, which is where I hail from.

  1. It’s looking a bit black over Bill’s mother’s
  2. Going all around the Wrekin
  3. Sent to Coventry
  4. Wisht as a winnard
  5. Couldn’t stop a pig in a passage

black-cloudsThe phrase – It’s looking a bit black over Bill’s mother’s – is one I use often, which I see indicates that you and yours are lucky for that moment. When the weather is stormy and black and ominous clouds can be seen – away from where you are – you can say’s, It’s a bit black over Bill’s mother’s. Doesn’t really matter one jot who Bill’s mother is, just that we’re OK and they’re not over there. Methinks everyone should use it, as it’s a lovely phrase.

1200px-thewrekinGoing all around the Wrekin is easily understood when you know that the Wrekin is a ‘large, long hill in the Middle of Shropshire’. Typically used when someone struggles to make their point, and is rambling on, therefore, taking forever to get to the point, as it would to travel around the Wrekin. I lived not far from it in my youth, and I use the phrase when back in the West Midlands.

Ah, roots. Can’t get away from one’s roots, and nor do I want to.

Hattip Peter Evans for Cloud photo

Awesome Rio2016 Olympics competition and stunning UK success

Team-GBMust admit to not really being ready for the Rio2016 Olympics. Being warned off visiting relatives, whose said focus was on TV watching and not hosting pesky relatives, was THE reminder to get into the Olympics spirit.

When our first medal came with Adam Peatty winning Gold in the men’s 100m breaststroke I was hooked. Now that it’s all over for four years, there’s a chance of reflection. The BBC TV coverage was poor. There were some bright spots in the coverage. I’ll comment on this next, meanwhile, here’s my take on the Team GB performance.

Overall Team GB’s performance was outstanding. I’m sure it surpassed the expectations of most of us. My picks from what I watched – and it was a heck of a lot are,

  • Adam Peatty’s determination to win. Breaking his own world record in his heats. His clear superiority set the standard for the whole Team GB.
  • Bryony Page’s Silver in trampoline – unexpected, brilliant, and so modest. All those garden trampolines are sure to get more use now.
  • Max Whitlock taking Gold in Men’s Floor in Gymnastics – simply wonderful, and what an unassuming person. Our first ever win in an individual gymnastics event – then following it up with Gold on the pommel. Magical.
  • Lutalo Muhammad taking Silver in Taekwondo, and in particular his generosity and humility in his subsequent interviews – a real talent.
  • Justin Rose taking Gold in the Golf competition, for believing in the value of Olympics sporting competition, and for determination to win.
  • Jade Jones for winning a second Gold medal in Taekwondo, Sheer guts and determination.
  • Mo Farah – absolutely unbeatable athlete, and a wonderful advert for sport. Hero.
  • Maddie Hinch – goalkeeper in the Gold medal women’s hockey team – resolute, brave, intelligent.
  • Who to pick from the cycling – for me its Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish – true sporting stars.
  • Nicola Adams for winning second gold medal in women’s flyweight boxing – an inspiring character

I found the one on one battles in Judo, Boxing, Taekwondo, to be absolutely riveting. The joy of success, and the pain of failure spectacular.

Christopher’s Smile founders, Karen and Kevin Capel, on this morning’s BBC TV

Lightwater couple, Karen and Kevin Capel, set up Christopher’s Smile in 2008. A charity to raise funds for research into new treatments for childhood cancer, a neglected area of cancer research.

In January this year, reported in Camberley News, the charity hit the £1 million fundraising mark. To reach that target using only volunteers, requires dedication, tenacity, and no little courage.

I noted today in my Facebook page was this from Sharon Carter, who said this below, and posted this video of Karen and Kevin being interviewed on BBC

Great interview Kevin and Karen Capel, really getting the message across. I hope the general public are starting to understand how important your reasearch is and that it’s charities like Christopher’s Smile funding so much more than the charities they probably assume are in the lead.

Last night’s BBC Question Time – dire, Andrew Neil’s This Week – heroic

I hope I’m in the majority when I say that last night’s BBC flagship audience participation current affairs programme Question Time was absolutely dire. I frequently turned away to do more interesting stuff than listen to fractious arguments, and much spouting of platitudinous rubbish.

What a delight to be greeted by Andrew Neil’s magnificent verbal blast against the perpetrators of the Paris atrocities. In fact the whole of the This Week programme was splendid, gosh, even George Galloway was reasonable – memorably saying he’d be happy to shoot any of the Parisian jihadists. Here’s Andrew’s terrific verbal bashing of IS,

Brevity mixed with erudition, all within a strict focus on art history

I’ve mentioned before my saying to the TV, ‘aaaah Julia’ or ‘aaaah Fiona’ when either Julia Bradbury or Fiona Bruce appear on TV – to which I should now like to add Anita Rani, as Julia appears less frequently on the TV shows I watch.

Sorry, I’ve totally digressed from my topic, which is about Bendor Grosvenor, who appears in the BBC TV programme Fake or Fortune. I like the programme which is presented by Fiona Bruce – hence the link. The programme is all about uncovering the lost works of the world’s greatest painters. Bendor Grosvenor is the on-screen researcher into the murky depths of the art market. He’s Holmesian in his ability to unearth facts. The unravelling of a mystery is the fun of the programme.

Curiosity about Bendor, led to a Google search, which led to me finding his Art History News blog. It’s my view of his blog that provided the title of this article, as Bendor’s blog posts are either wonderfully brief, or lengthy learned ones. Just a delight to visit for diversion into the world of art.

Camberley & District Probus Club visit the BBC’s Broadcasting House

This week we were in the Camberley & District Probus Club party visiting the BBC’s Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London.

The BBC runs regular tours of Broadcasting House, lasting around 1½ hours. They’re well structured, informative, and if you’re confident you can practice being a news reader, and take an acting part in a radio drama. Naturally there are faces you recognise, though it’s a struggle to put a name to a face to the large number of news broadcasters.

Broadcasting House is home to BBC’s News, and Radio. Photography is allowed pretty much everywhere, although there’s no photography from the viewing area onto the news floor, beneath which is the BBC TV News Studio. For a tour you enter through the Media Café entrance, again it’s a chance to see faces you recognise from TV News. From the Media Café you look down onto the news floor, where photo’s are allowed, and from where you can watch live TV weather broadcasts.

I liked the automation of the camera’s, controlled presumably from the control room, running on rails. it was also interesting to be in the BBC TV One Show studio, sitting on the lime green sofas. Another well organised outing from our Probus Club outings team.


Biddulph Grange Garden, a splendid surviving Victorian garden

We recently visited Biddulph Grange Garden near Stoke-on-Trent. Saved from dereliction by the National Trust in 1988, and subject to many years of restoration, the gardens are a magnificent survival of the great age of Victorian gardening.

Biddulph Grange was developed by James Bateman (1811–1897). Bateman was the son of a wealthy coal and steel industrialist. From a young age Bateman was fascinated by plants, particularly orchids which were a lifetime passion. His wife Maria was also a passionate horticulturist.

Plant hunting and collecting was all the rage in the middle to late 1800’s. The Bateman’s were no different to other wealthy Victorian plant collectors. Their garden was created over 20 years from 1842, with a variety of individual gardens, each with their own microclimates, enabling exotic plants to flourish. Biddulph Grange Gardens featured as one of the gardens in the 2014 BBC TV series British Gardens in Time.

The history of the Grange and Gardens is described by the National Trust HERE. Meanwhile here’s a selection of photo we took of the Gardens.

BBC report says, Surrey under water. Hope its not true

BBC News report on Surrey under waterIt rained hard all morning, though now thankfully it’s not raining.

Will go for a walk this afternoon to check on ditches and streams, hoping that the BBC’s report that ‘Surrey under water’ is not true.

I’m confident it’s not in Surrey Heath, as we’ve done good work to reduce the likelihood of flooding.