Posts Tagged ‘UK Blog’

This week as the clock ticked by the 1000 days until the Olympics opens in Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Olympic Park in east London to inspect preparations for the 2012 Games. Her Majesty planted the first of four thousand trees on the park site and met workers involved in the project. She walked along a section of what will be the 100-meter track and went to the top of the stands to view the work on the main stadium. Unlike some countries leaders the Queen at a sprightly 83 did not use fashionable transport. Instead her majesty, who will be also be celebrating 60 years on the throne when the Olympics open, traveled to the top of the stadium in a builder’s lift, or as one official called it a “shabby cage”.

While the Queen made no complaints about the trip, there was plenty to “beef” about at one of her castles. Two Yeoman Warders or “Beef Eaters” from the Tower of London were suspended and a third is under investigation over charges of bullying Moira Cameron, who two years ago became the first female beefeater in the tower’s 1,000-year history.

The term Beefeater most comes from the original Wardens’ payment in rations that included beef, as well as mutton and veal. Feeding beef to elite troops to make them strong is good nutrition planning for one’s army. This may also be connected to the etymology of the word “beefy” meaning strong and large, since the general public would have been unable to afford beef as a regular part of their diet. Retiring as a Yeoman Warder and continuing to eat beef rations would have been seen as a generous reward in a society that may not otherwise have cared for their aging population.

Yeoman Warders began guarding the Tower of London in 1485; today there are 35 Yeomen Warders and one Chief Warder. All warders are retired from the Armed Forces of Commonwealth realms and must be former senior non-commissioned officers with at least 22 years of service.

The Tower of London said in a statement: “We can confirm that three Yeoman Warders are under investigation in response to allegations of harassment. Two have been suspended. We take such allegations very seriously and our formal harassment policy makes it clear that this is totally unacceptable.”

It said an investigation was already under way and should conclude within two to three weeks. “Meanwhile, the Tower of London is a close-knit community and, understandably, this is a difficult time for us all.”


BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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When I went back to England a few weeks ago, it was interesting to see the increase that “Halloween” has encroached on the British public. There has always been a festival at this time of year, which I will blog about next week, Halloween however has only recently entered the British way of life.

This is actually quite funny seeing how the the festival actually started in the UK in the first place.

Halloween has its roots in Samhain (pronounced sow-in), an ancient harvest festival held at the end of the Celtic year. The festival marked the end of summer and the beginning of the dark wintertime. It was believed the spirits of the dead returned on this eve to damage crops and play tricks on the living. It was also believed that the Celtic priests, or Druids, were able to make predictions about the future, which they did during large bonfire celebrations where they wore animal skins and sacrificed crops and animals to the spirits.

The Romans, were the first people to change this event, they brought with them the Britain their own Feralia, the day to “honor the dead” in late October, as well as another holiday to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. It is possible that this Roman influence is the reason apples are given out and bobbed for on Halloween.

By around AD 800, the Christian festival “All Hallows” replaced Samhain and became “All Hallows Eve,” and eventually shortened to “Hallowe’en.”

The celebrators of Samhain wore animal skins at their bonfire celebrations many often dressed as saints or angels. Later on men in Scotland would impersonate the dead on the day, explaining the ghoulish tradition we still observe.

During the mid 1800’s, Irish and English immigrants flooded the United States and brought Halloween with them. From these immigrants we received the Halloween traditions we recognize today, however skewed they are now. For instance, the first “trick-or-treaters” were far from today’s smiling children with commercialized costumes. They lived in Medieval England, and practiced “souling,” in which poor people would beg for sweet breads, in return for praying for the families’ souls. Later, the immigrants who brought Halloween to America would develop their own version of trick-or-treating, but it didn’t become popular here until the 1930s.


Halloween is the second highest spending holiday after Christmas.

Harry Houdini died on Halloween

The first jack-o-lanterns were carved out of turnips

A quarter of all candy sold annually is for Halloween night.

About 21% of pet owners dress up their pets for Halloween

The original Halloween was so strapped for money the he prop department had to use the cheapest thing they could find, which turned out to be a spray-painted William Shatner mask. The film was made on a budget of $320,000 in about three weeks and grossed more than $65,000,000


BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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In the week when Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronalda agreed to transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid for eighty million pounds ($131,215,730). The World Twenty20 crickets tournament is going on. in rugby the British and Irish Lions are touring South Africa heading for the first test match, France beat New Zealand, and lesser teams such as the USA, Canada, Russia etc are playing. And the Penguins finally pick up the Stanley Cup in the seventh and final play off game, more or less without the help of Sydney Crosby. I’d though for my Sunday blog I’d go into a sporting event, which unlike most of what I’ve listed above American’s actually follow and “almost” understand. The sport of NASCAR… okay so I use the term sport loosely.

When NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) was formed in 1948, there was a definite shortage of new cars in the post-war era. The feeling was that race fans wouldn’t stand for new cars being beat up on a race track while they were driving a rattletrap pre-war automobile, so “Modified” cars were the early staple of NASCAR racing. In some instances during the early days, rental cars were actually used as race cars by point-chasing drivers who had no locked-in “ride” for an event. Cars were typically either driven to the track or “flat-towed” behind pick-ups and family sedans. From those early days NASCAR now sanctions over 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 39 states, Canada, and Mexico. NASCAR has presented exhibition races in Suzuka City, Japan, Motegi City, Japan, and Melbourne, Australia.

NASCAR is one of the most viewed professional sports in terms of television ratings in the United States. Internationally, NASCAR races are broadcast in over 150 countries. NASCAR holds 17 of the top 20 attended single-day sporting events in the U.S., and claims 75 million fans who purchase over $3 billion in annual licensed product sales. Many marketers consider NASCAR fans the most brand-loyal in all of sports and as a result, Fortune 500 companies sponsor NASCAR more than any other Motor Sport.


Okay so NASCAR is popular, and in the southern states perhaps even a religion, but where did the idea come from.

Just think… highly sponsored teams, vehicles with tremendous horse power, cheered on by thousands, going round and round in a circle, with spectators dressed up in the colors of their favorites, and spectacular crashes that add to the mix.

Basically NASCAR is a modern version of Chariot racing.

The most famous arena was the Circus Maximus, which was 600 meter’s long and 200 meter’s wide. It could hold up to 250,000 people (25% of the population of Rome). Seats ran in tiers around the arena Chariots were pulled by two or four horses, and were driven seven times around the ring at extremely fast speeds. Great skill was needed and sometimes accidents happened, drivers were also trampled to death on a regular basis. Big crowds turned out to watch the races. The racers were divided into teams, red, white, blue and green, and their fans wore these colours. Huge bets were placed on the races.

At one end of the track, there were boxes where the chariots waited. The judges sat above them and started the race by dropping a white handkerchief. A fence ran down the middle, called a Spine, and the chariots went around this. Chariots were pulled by two or four horses, and were driven seven times around the ring at extremely fast speeds. Great skill was needed and sometimes accidents happened, drivers were also trampled to death on a regular basis. Big crowds turned out to watch the races. The racers were divided into teams, red, white, blue and green, and their fans wore these colours. Huge bets were placed on the races.

At one end of the track, there were boxes where the chariots waited. The judges sat above them and started the race by dropping a white handkerchief (flag?).

Even today, these arenas would be spectacular. Seating 250,000 people, it would be the biggest stadium in the world. Today the largest stadium can hold 120,000 people, so this shows how far advanced the Romans were two thousand years ago.

So the next time, you see a NASCAR event, just think.

“Are you really watching modern day chariot racing?”

Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
Across the Pond



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With having to change my radio show from Wednesday to a Tuesday, my Views, Reviews and Weird News blog has moved to a Wednesday. A blog about radio show guests, some of the interviews, book reviews and some weird news from Across the Pond.


Last Wednesday I had one of the most enjoyable “Book and a Chat” radio shows with X Soap star and Emmy award winner, now author Louise Shaffer. I always enjoy doing these shows but Louise and I had so much fun, even after the show ended we were still chatting on the phone.

Thursday I appeared as a guest on WXCI radio at Central CT University, as always it was fun, and the 30 minutes show which is aired over much of Southern Connecticut went great.

Saturday at the last minute my friend, writer and fellow radio show host Kim Smith stepped in at the last minute and as normal, the Kim and Barry show was a period of news views and laughter.

Monday my special blog guest was Liv from LIV READ BOOKS, again a great interview.

As mentioned I’ve had to move my Wednesday blog radio show to a Tuesday (softball games are now on a Wednesday) and yesterday I my guest was young writer Esteven Vega, a young man whose first book was published when he was only 15, and whom I’m sure has a fantastic future. Another enjoyable chat.

I have also just signed an option that will now allow my POD books to be sold with “bye back” which means they can now be available in “normal book stores” not just online.


Last week as I typed the blog the number of interviews rose to the big 70, hence the picture, in the last seven days this number has climbed to 75.

Here are the last five reviews…

A teen romance that finds more than one reward…, May 26, 2009

“Across the Pond” starts out by a Mom and Dad in England who aren’t able to take their son “Fred” with them on their vacation and decide to send him to the USA to stay with old friends. As a trade off he is given a project to work on “word differences” to earn a game and finds while he is there that his prize may be more than a game…he sees and finds may first things including “Brit” his first love. This was an easy read and a story that keeps you interested, until the end.

A delightful read full of emotions and humour., May 23, 2009

“Across the Pond” begins with a British teenage boy going to America. Although his stay was short, it was filled with comedy, emotion, romance, suspense, and action. I couldn’t put the book down as I kept wanting to know what is going to happen the characters. If yo0u have teenagers, give them this book. If you a an adult, it is time for you to remember the passion you used to have. “Across the Pond” is a rare treasure you shouldn’t pass on.

Well written story that can be appreciated by all ages, May 21, 2009

Brief overview of the story: Fred from England travels to visit family friends in America, where he encounters their daughter Brit, and they start a budding romance.
I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read, with the target audience clearly for middle/high school, yet, it still remained entertaining and had enough substance for older readers as well. I was a little skeptical at first, assuming the story would follow a cliché romance, but was pleasantly surprised at how tastefully the story was handled. Especially since it broke away from the stereotypical boy meets girl, and incorporated both different cultures and sports into the core of its plot. I would definitely recommend this book to friends and family!

What A Great Read!!!, May 21, 2009

What a wonderful book! I surprisingly read the book in one sitting as I was immediately taken by this book. It transported me back to my teenage years. This book is for both the young and the young at heart. I can not wait for the (hopefully soon to come) sequel. I would highly recommend this book!

Suprisingly Entertaining!, May 19, 2009

When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be another teeny-bopper book that only middle/high school females would like. Boy was I wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed the tale of a Brit, Fred, traveling to the US visiting a family friend while his parents were off in Australia. Another character in the book, Brittany, the daughter of the family friend, and Fred hit it off, first as friends, and then into a young romance.

My favo(u)rite part of the book was the differences in English (British and American.) I liked learning about the differences that I didn’t know about.

Anyone and everyone should pick up this book and enjoy a great story that is humo(u)rous as well.


Britain’s longest living married couple have celebrated their 81st wedding anniversary.


Three Year old Purchases earhdigger online

Today Wednesday May 27th ninety years ago, the Pop-up toaster was invented.

That’s it for this week, more weird news next Wednesday

Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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