Everybody needs to know the details, such as they are, regarding TTIP…any trade deal that requires the negotiating details to be kept in a vault for 30 years, with only the EU committee responsible for TTIP able to view them, is no trade deal that benefits any EU member state. For all those in the remain camp, they need to be aware that the most isolating move the UK could make, is to Remain in the EU. TTIP is a deal between a country (US) and a union of countries (EU), and once signed, no individual member country can change details of TTIP to suit their own national interests.

The EU, with all of it’s faults, has managed over the years to positively regulate in areas that benefit the consumer, which is why we don’t eat beef that is riddled with growth hormones, why GMO’s are prohibited, the use of certain pesticides prohibited, but this is slowly being reversed as the drip drip of TTIP finds it’s way into the EU…once the deal is signed, EU regulation goes out of the window, as do our consumer choices and rights.

Our present government expect to stay within the EU. This is why the Investigatory Powers Bill is being pushed through…digital data from the activities of UK citizens to be shared with the US’s NSA…why? The Trade Unions Bill, limiting funding of Unions, increasing police powers on picket lines to, essentially, intimidate those who strike. The British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act. Apparently, to stop those pesky terrorists from being deported, or to stop the prosecution of UK troops who may have abused the human rights of citizens whilst serving abroad…really? No, the Bill is aimed at stopping ordinary citizens from having the ability to hold their governments to account in either human rights cases or employment issues…the Bill effectively stops workers having a voice, as per TTIP demands. It’s prevention in the face of ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement)…if a member state introduces public policy which may harm the profits of a corporation operating within that country, under ISDS rules, that corporation can sue the government, not through domestic courts, with tenured judges, but in secret tribunals. Our government are one step ahead, or maybe two or three.

A vote to Remain in the EU is a vote in favour of TTIP, it’s a vote in favour of, by the admission of the European Commission, prolonged and substantial job losses. Why would a multinational corporation hire European workers who have established labour rights and regulated wages, when they can choose states in the US whose workers have neither? The UK has no special status within the EU…the whole point of TTIP is to ensure that no member state has special status…we will be part of a bloc, our needs no more important, we will be a nation of 500 million.


Scientists pieced together 52 fragments of a skull then used modern forensic techniques to reveal how the person died.

a skull

(javier trueba / madrid scientific films/pa) the skull, known as cranium 17)

A 430,000-year-old skull pieced together from 52 fragments may provide evidence of the first confirmed murder in human history. Scientists used modern forensic techniques to reveal the victim met a grisly end and was probably killed by two blows to the head before being thrown down a vertical cave. The skull was recovered from the Sima de los Huesos (Pit of Bones) site in the Atapuerca Mountains, northern Spain, and researchers believe two holes close together in the skull were caused by two separate impacts from the same object. The forensic investigation showed the injuries were sustained at the time of the individuals death and not consistent with an accidental fall down the 13-metre (42.6ft) shaft. We’re not sure which is worse.

Writing in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, the Spanish and US-led international team concluded: “The type of injuries, their location, the strong similarity of the fractures in shape and size, and the different orientations and implied trajectories of the two fractures suggest they were produced with the same object in face-to-face interpersonal conflict.

“Given that either of the two traumatic events was likely lethal, the presence of multiple blows implies an intention to kill.”

The researchers, led by Dr Nohemi Sala, from the UCM-ISCIII Centre for the Evolution and Human Behaviour in Madrid, added: “This represents the earliest clear case of deliberate, lethal interpersonal aggression in the hominin fossil record, demonstrating that this is an ancient human behaviour.”

The skull, known as Cranium 17, forms part of the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals dating back around 430,000 years found in a chamber at the foot of the shaft. But although scientists believe they were deliberately put there after death, the only evidence of murder relates to this skull.

The people whose remains fill the “bone pit” belonged to the genus Homo, the family of closely related species to which modern humans belong. But they are too old to have been part of our species, Homo sapiens. The Cranium 17 murder victim may have been an early Neanderthal, or a more ancient human ancestor, Homo heidelbergensis.

Only two other possible cases of murder exist in the fossil record, but the evidence relating to them is unclear. One, a Neanderthal, died several weeks after suffering a penetrating wound to the body. However, it is uncertain whether the final cause of death was related to the injury.

The other, an early modern human from the Upper Palaeolithic period 10,000 to 50,000 years ago experienced a “sharp trauma” at about the time of death, but may have been killed in a hunting accident.

St George’s Day


St.George was probably made well known in England by Arculpus and Adamnan in the early eighth century. The Acts of St George, which recounted his visits to Caerleon and Glastonbury while on service in England, were translated into Anglo Saxon. Among churches dedicated to St George was one at Doncaster in 1061. George was adopted as the patron saint of soldiers after he was said to have appeared to the Crusader army at the Battle of Antioch in 1098. Many similar stories were transmitted to the West by Crusaders who had heard them from Byzantine troops, and were circulated further by the troubadours. When Richard 1 was campaigning in Palestine in 1191-92 he put the army under the protection of St George. Because of his widespread following, particularly in the Near East, and the many miracles attributed to him, George became universally recognized as a saint sometime after 900. Originally, veneration as a…

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March 15th is the fourth Sunday of Lent and traditionally is the day when children give presents, flowers, and homemade cards to their mothers. It has no connection with the hallmarkian americanised jamboree of that name. In common with most of my readers I do not need a special day to remember mine, because later in the month on March 25th is her birthday. It only takes a word overheard or someone’s gesture, as I go about my daily duties, to remind me of both my departed parents.

Most Sundays in the year churchgoers in England worshipped at their nearest parish or “daughter church”. Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or “mother” church once a year. So in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their “mother” church, or the main church or Cathedral of the area. It was the return to the “Mother” church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family.

It was quite common in those days for children to leave home for work once they were ten years old. As they walked along the country lanes, children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a small gift.

With such a richness of strong and vital images of motherhood, we have much to celebrate on Mother’s Day. However it isn’t especially our birth mothers we are celebrating but more spiritually we thank Mother Nature, who sustains us in life and to whom we all eventually return.

Thanksgiving to Mother has ties to ancient pagan ritual. Prehistoric artifacts bare proof of this. The earliest recorded festival in history honoured the Egyptian goddess Nut. She was goddess of the sky and wife of Re, the god of the sun and creator of all, and was known for her incredible beauty and kindness. Her generous and loving nature was apparently extensive, leading her into affairs with Geb, the god of the earth, and Thoth, the god of divine words. Re found out and, understandably, was furious with her, issuing a curse that his pregnant wife would not give birth to the child within her in any month of any year! Filled with sorrow that she would never be a mother, Nut turned to Thoth for comfort. Like most males, he couldn’t stand to see a woman cry and promised to find a solution. Using his divine powers of persuasion, Thoth persuaded the Moon into gambling with him. If he won he would get just a little bit of the Moon’s light. The games went on for months, and at the end Thoth had won enough light to create five complete days. Nut didn’t waste a precious moment of those five days. She gave birth to a different child on each day. From that day forward she was called “Mother of the Gods”. Her firstborn, Osiris, was the son of Re and went on to become the god of all the earth. The Great Goddess Isis, daughter of Thoth, was born on the third day. Later as husband and wife they ruled together, creating the first great nation of Western civilization during the “Golden Age of Egypt”

Another Mother figure, Eostre a Saxon deity, marked not only the passage of time but also symbolised new life and fertility. We remember her at the timing of the vernal equinox, also known as Ostara. Legend has it that the goddess was saved by a bird whose wings had become frozen by the cold of winter. This process turned the bird into a hare that could also lay eggs!

As usual the church borrowed these pagan symbols for Easter, so the egg and bunny became additional symbols for fertility and the resurrection of life.

On a less serious note I leave these memories which most children have of their Mother.

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.

‘If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished


2. My mother taught me RELIGION.

‘You better pray that this will come out of the carpet.’

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL

‘If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of

next week!’

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.

’Because I said so, that’s why.’

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.

‘If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going

to the store with me.’

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.

‘Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.’

7. My mother taught me IRONY.

‘Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.’

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.

‘Shut your mouth and eat your dinner.’

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.

‘Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck?’

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA

‘You’ll sit there until all those vegetables are gone.’

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER…

‘This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.’

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY

‘If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!’

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.

’I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.’

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION.

‘Stop acting like your father!’

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.

‘There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t

have wonderful parents like you do….’

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION .

‘Just wait until we get home.

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.

’You are going to get it when you get home!’

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.

’If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck

that way.’

19. My mother taught me E.S.P.

‘put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?’

20. My mother taught me HUMOUR.

‘When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me….’

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .

‘If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.’

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.

‘You’re just like your father.’

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.

‘Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?’

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.

‘When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.’

25. And my favourite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE

‘One day you’ll have children, and I hope they turn out just like you’

In the church calendar this coming sunday commemorates the banquet given by Joseph to his brethren and forms the first lesson of the day. Te story of the feeding of the five thousand, forms the gospel for the day. For this reason Simnel Cakes, rich fruit cakes often covered with marzipan, were eaten on Mothering Sunday, a tradition that persists today.

I’ll to thee a Simnell bring

‘Gainst thou go’st a mothering,

So that, when she blesseth thee,

Half that blessing thou’lt give to me.

[Robert Herrick 1648]

For those who celebrate the more secular Mother’s Day which falls on the second Sunday in May, and so have time to prepare this:

Receipe for Simnel Cake:



Softened Butter – 225g (8 oz);

Castor sugar – 225g (8 oz);

Eggs 4;

Self Raising flour – 225g (8 oz);

Sultanas. – 225g (8 oz);

Currants. – 110g (4 oz);

Glacé Cherries – 110g (4 oz), quartered;

Chopped candied peel – 50g (2 oz);

Zest of 2 lemons;

Mixed spice – 2 tsp.

Filling and topping:

Almond paste – 450g (1 lb);

Apricot jam – 2 tbsp;

1 beaten egg (for glaze).


1. Pre-heat oven to 150 °C / 300 °F

2. Butter and line the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 inch) deep round cake tin with buttered greaseproof paper. Place all the cake ingredients bowl and beat well. Place half the mixture in the prepared tin.

3. Take one-third of the almond paste and roll it out into a circle the size of the tin. Place it on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over and smooth the surface.

4. Bake for about 2½ hours until well risen and firm. (If the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, cover it with aluminium foil.) Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam and roll out half the remaining almond paste to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate.

6. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the almond paste with a sharp knife. Roll the remaining almond paste into 11 balls.

7. Brush the almond paste with beaten egg and arrange the balls around the outside. Brush the tops of the balls with egg as well. Place the cake under a hot grill to turn the almond paste golden.

8. Decorate with crystallised flowers if liked.

Finally as a genealogist, I dedicate this quotation to all Mothers.

“Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.” ~Aristotle



The goat (sheep or ram) is among the animals that people like most. It is gentle and calm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to make writing brushes and skin to keep warm. As it is white, people describe delicate and precious white jade to be ‘suet jade’. Thus it is close to the meaning of good things. 2015 is furthermore a year [according to Chinese Five Element (Earthly Branch) Theory] of the “Wood Goat”, which occurs every 60 years.

The Spring Festival has a history of more than 4,000 years. It is said that it originated from a belief in deities that had to be sacrificed to every year. When the solar terms changed, dictating farming activities, especially at the end of a year, people would sacrifice to the deities and pray for a good harvest.

Personality: Strengths

Characteristics of people born in the year of Sheep are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, faith in a certain religion and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to be economical. Women born in this year are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation. They are kind in heart and commonly have symmetrical figures and features.

Personality: Weaknesses

Sheep year people are often worriers who are shy, pessimistic, moody, indecisive, over-sensitive, weak-willed and puzzled about life. They are easily inclined to be deeply religious. They are timid in nature and like to be looked after by others. They like flattery, compliment and suggestions from friends. They do not dare to express their love openly and usually have interests in strange theories.

Horoscope and Numerology Elements

Earthly Branch of Birth Year: wei  Wu Xing (The Five Elements): tu (earth)

Yin Yang: yin

Auspicious Directions: east, southeast, south

Lucky Colours: green, red, purple; Avoid: golden, coffee

Lucky Numbers: 3, 9, and 4; Avoid: 7, 6, And 8

Lucky Flowers: Carnation, Primrose, Pansy.

Zodiac Sign Compatibility – Best match: rabbit, horse, pig. Avoid: ox, dog


17/02/1931-05/02/1932: 05/02/1943-24/01/1944

24/01/1955-11/02/1956: 09/02/1967-29/02/1968: 28/01/1979-15/02/1980

15/02/1991-03/02/1992: 01/02/2003-21/01/2004: 19/02/2015-07/02/2016

Celebrities Born in the Year of the Goat / Ram / sheep

Li Shimin (Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty 618 – 907), Cao Cao (King of Wei in China’s Three Kingdoms Period 220 – 280), Yue Fei (a patriotic general in China’s South Song Dynasty 1127 – 1279), and the infamous Empress Dowager Cixi. (1835 – 1908).  Michelangelo, Mark Twain, Thomas Alva Edison, Rudolph Valentino, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis.

Fortune Foretelling in 2015

It is their order to encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian), a year to offend “Taisui’, the god in charge of people’s fortune. In 2015, their fortune in all aspects will fluctuate. In career, there won’t be a promotion or salary rise. Only if they stick with their current job and work hard, will they smoothly get through the year. In wealth, they should be very cautious about any investment, or there will be a loss. In relationships, they are suggested to be tolerant of their family, friends and colleagues to avoid any conflict.

Career: They may encounter some road blocks in career in 2015, especially in March, June, September and December. In these months, their emotions will be fluctuant, so it is likely that they will argue with colleagues. In comparison, their fortune in career gets better in February, July and August. As long as they persist in working hard, they will gain much in the coming year. At any rate, no promotion will fall upon them in 2015.

Wealth: The financial fortune of sheep people will be just so-so. They should reduce daily expenses, or it will be hard to make ends meet. It is not a good idea to lend money to others. The investment in stocks, bonds and real estate should be stopped. People who are living in a rental house should keep doing this. Don’t buy a new house or move. Setting a fish tank in the west or north of the house may increase their fortune in wealth.

Relationships: Sheep people can easily lose their temper in 2015. As a result, couples and lovers may argue. They should communicate with each other to solve the problem to avoid breaking up. Also this is not a good year to get married. Single males may get involved in a relationship, and females will still expect to get back their former love.

Health: They should keep away from sharp tools and weapons such as knifes, swords, saws and scissors, because they may easily get injured this year. In daily life, they should play sports and avoid eating too much greasy food. Sheep born in 1943 and 1979 need to be careful in driving and doing sports, especially in June and December.

Study: Sheep students will hardly be able to concentrate on study this year. They should adjust their emotions to focus on study. Some students’ study may be affected by family problems, so parents should pay attention to their behaviour and try to be attentive to their children. Moreover, children may get infected some illness, which will influence their study.

2015 happy sheep


Banks not to bank on

The Other I

I was dumbfounded to learn earlier today that the  U.S budget bill passed by the U.S. Congress several weeks ago managed to sneak in a provision that would once again bail out banks that are “too-big-to-fail” if they get into trouble.  But this time, if Citi or Chase or any of the other big investment banks face insolvency, they will be permitted to take their depositors’ cash in savings accounts and CDs and replace with them a bank stock certificate — which may, of course, be of dubious value.  This applies even to deposits that are FDIC insured.

That’s bad enough.  But I also learned that banks may once again be on the edge of the same kind of disaster that floored them in 2008.

Deutsche Bank thinks that the falling oil price could trigger a huge wave of defaults because banks have lent so much money – more than a trillion dollars…

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