Monday, June 27, 2005

Wells Cathedral

This cathedral in Wells, England was so amazing - almost every inch of the front had some sort of carving of a statue or design on it. The twelve apostles were carved into the top/middle section. Inside the cathedral in the North Transept (all cathedrals are shaped like a cross - the North Transept would be the left hand side of the cross) there is a medieval clock. Every quarter hour, mechanical knights on horses come out and "joust." There is also a small circle in the middle of the clock which gets full of gold as the moon gets fuller.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Victory

This is Admiral Nelson's ship from the Battle of Trafalger, October 21st, 1805. It sits by a dock at Portsmouth Harbor, England. The ship had four gun decks with around 100 guns total. The back of the ship was mostly glass where the Captain's quarters were. It was fun to see a strictly sailing vessel before the age of steam. This picture only gets about half of the ship, but that shows you how large this frigate really is! Portsmouth Harbor has now restored this ship from the outside because it took heavy damage in the battle. But most of the inside wood on the decks is original. The main mast is some 250 feet above deck and the Victory housed 830 sailors.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Confederate Soldier- by Henry W. Grady

After reading "Gods and Generals" by Jeff Shaara (now a motion-picture), I remembered having read this essay which goes perfectly with that book-

The speaker has drawn for you of the North, with a master's hand, the picture of your returning armies. He has told you how, in the pomp and circumstance of war, they came back to you marching with proud and vicious tread, reading their glory in a nation's eyes! Will you bear with me while I tell you of another army that sought its home at the close of the late war-- an army that marched home in defeat and not in victory, in pathos and not in splendor, but in glory that equaled yours, and to hearts as loving as ever welcomed heroes home? Let me picture to you the footsore Confederate soldier, as, buttoning up in his faded gray jacket the parole which was to bear testimony to his children of his fidelity and faith, he turned himself southward from Appomattox in April, 1865. Think of him as ragged, half-starved, heavy-hearted, enfeebled by want and wounds; having fought to exhaustion, he surrenders his gun, wrings the hands of his comrades in silence, and, lifting his tear-stained and pallid face for the last time to the graves that dot the old Virginia hills, pulls his gray cap over his brow and begins the slow and painful journey. What does he find-- let me ask you who went to your homes eager to find in the welcome you had justly earned full payment for four years sacrifice-- what does he find when, having followed the battle-stained cross against overwhelming odds, dreading death not half so much as surrender, he reaches the home he left so prosperous and beautiful? He finds his home in ruins; his farm devastated; his slaves free; his stock killed; his barn empty; his trade destroyed; his money worthless; his social system, feudal in its magnificence, swept away; his people without law or legal status; his comrades slain; and the burdens of others heavy on his shoulders. Crushed by defeat, his very traditions are gone; without money, credit, employment, material, or training; and beside all this, confronted with the gravest problem that ever met human intelligence-- the establishing of a status for the vast body of his liberated slaves.
What does he do; this hero in gray with a heart of gold? Does he sit down in sullenness and despair? Not for a day. Surely God, who had stripped him of his prosperity, inspired him in his adversity. As ruin was never before so overwhelming, never was restoration swifter. The soldier stepped from the trenches into the furrow; horses that had charged Federal guns marched before the plow; and fields that ran red with human blood in April were green with the harvest in June. Never was nobler duty confided to human hands than the uplifting and upbuilding of the prostrate and bleeding South,-- misguided, perhaps, but beautiful in her suffering; and honest, brave, and generous always. In the record of her social, industrial, and political evolution we wait with confidence the verdict of the world.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Word of the Day


*a devotee of motion pictures; also: moviemaker

*Ralph, after winning the annual film festival, became a famous cineast in his hometown.

The Little White Horse

Here is a favorite poem of mine by Elizabeth Goudge. This is from her book (also called "The Little White Horse") that I really enjoyed too. -Erin

The Little White Horse

It was under the white moon that I saw him,
The little white horse, with neck arched high in pride.
Lovely his pride, delicate, no taint of self
Staining the unconscious innocence denied
Knowledge of good and evil, burden of days
Of shame crouched beneath the flail of memory.
No past for you, little white horse, no regret,
No future of fear in this silver forest---
Only the perfect now in the white moon-dappled ride.

A flower-like body fashioned all of light,
For the speed of light, yet momently at rest,
Balanced on the sheer knife-edge of perfection;
Perfection of grass silver upon the crest
Of the hill, before the scythe falls, snow in sun,
Of the shaken human spirit when God speaks
In His still small voice and for a breath of time
All is hushed; gone in a sigh, that perfection,
Leaving the sharp knife-edge turning slowly in the breast.

The raised hoof, the proud poised head, the flowing mane,
The supreme moment of stillness before the flight,
The moment of farewell, of wordless pleading
For remembrance of things lost to earthly sight---
Then the half-turn under the trees, a motion
Fluid as the movement of light on water . . .
Stay, oh stay in the forest, little white horse! . . .
He is lost and gone and now I do not know
If it was a little white horse that I saw,
Or only a moonbeam astray in the silver night.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Classic Mini Cooper- London, England

These cars are everywhere in the United Kingdom! After our England trip in September 2004, I was almost tired of seeing them. But now, six months later, I get excited again. Mini Coopers are the ideal car in the U.K. because the roads are so narrow. I think I saw only one pick-up truck the entire trip and now I know why.

Classic Mini Cooper