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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Diet of the pioneers

A typical emigrant wagon set off for the west with provisions of flour, sugar, bacon, salt pork and beef jerky, beans, lard, spices, dried fruit, rice, and perhaps even a keg of pickles (a popular and tasty choice for warding off the dangers of malnutrition.)

Trail cooks were not well trained and the food often consisted of barely warm beans or tough stew served with sourdough biscuits.

Friendly Native Americans taught pioneers crossing the American desert how to cook insects.

Some pioneers fried Rocky Mountain locusts in oil until crisp then seasoned them with salt.

Once they had set up a home most pioneers obtained their fresh meat such as venison, wild turkey, squirrel or fresh fish by hunting. However, once game was killed, it almost immediately had to be prepared or preserved. In summer months, meat could go bad in an afternoon.

In the Mid West corn was the most commonly used dietary ingredient. Corn meal in varying forms was the basis of many meals such as "hoe-cake", which was meal plus a shortening of bear grease, butter or lard, baked flat on a board.

One basic food source for almost every settler was the "kitchen garden." Frontier families brought seeds with them to their new homes, or bought them from the general store once they arrived on the frontier. A spring garden would be planted containing peas, and radishes, later in the summer beans, pumpkins and squash would be grown.

Lack of supplies and cash led to a great deal of improvising as women tried to cook familiar recipes with unfamiliar materials. Instead of lemon, vinegar would be used and treacle stood in for sugar.

Fur traders and trappers when necessary could survive for days on berries and tubers. However they mainly ate meat which came from hunting large game animals such as antelope, buffalo and deer. Small game was less important because it was seldom worth the effort. The meat was roasted or boiled or sometimes even eaten raw, boiled or roasted. Beaver tail was considered a delicacy.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce



American pioneers established in 1788 the town of Marietta (in modern Ohio), the first permanent American settlement outside the original Thirteen Colonies. The first group of these early American pioneers to the Northwest Territory is sometimes referred to as “the forty-eight” or the “first forty-eight”, and also as the “founders of Ohio."

This group of pioneers disembarked from the ‘Adventure Galley’ at the mouth of the Muskingum on April 7, 1788. Within fifty years of their coming, Ohio had a million and a half of people,

Arrival of Rufus Putnam and the pioneers at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers on April 7, 1788

The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest set out on the Oregon Trail with a thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri on May 22, 1843.

The Oregon Trail, which stretched 2200 miles, was the longest of the land routes used in the Western expansion of the United States.

On July 24 1847, the Mormon pioneers under Brigham Young arrived in Salt Lake City to begin settling Utah.


When the pioneers pressed westward, they built log cabins. But in the treeless Great Plains, they built houses of sod bricks cut from the prairie.

Settlers of the American frontier in the 19th century sometimes fell victim to prairie madness, in which social isolation and other hardships of life on the prairie caused them to develop mental illness.

In America knitting was an important craft for frontier families. Many pioneer and farm families depended upon the women in the household for knitted clothing.

American Farm, Museum of American Frontier 


Daniel Boone (1734-1820), a key figure in American pioneer history, settled in Kentucky, when that "Dark and Bloody Ground" was still undeveloped.

John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman (1774 - 1847) wandered the country planting apple trees, teaching the Bible, telling stories, and befriending Native Americans, wild animals, and other settlers.

US frontiersman Davy Crockett (1786-1836) is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier." He was killed defending the Alamo.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series, published  in 1932-1943 but set in the 1870s and 1880s, typified later depictions of pioneer families.

Source Comptons Encyclopaedia,

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was founded in 1965 by London Polytechnic architectural college students Nick Mason on drums, Roger Waters on bass and vocals, and Richard Wright on keyboards and vocals. Art student Syd Barratt was a childhood friend of Waters and he completed the quartet as guitarist and lead vocalist.

Barratt gave the band its name, inspired by his heroes, blues singers Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

During Pink Floyd's early shows, the band experimented with long instrumental excursions, and they began to expand them with rudimentary but effective light shows. These early light shows were very low-tech using slide projectors and colored condoms stretched over lights.

Pink Floyd released their debut album The Piper At the Gates of Dawn on August 4, 1967. Most of the songs were penned by Syd Barrett.

Guitarist David Gilmour joined in December 1967; Barrett left in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health, which was made worse by heavy drug use.

Pink Floyd in January 1968. Clockwise from bottom: Gilmour, Mason, Barrett, Waters, Wright

Throughout their career, Pink Floyd experimented with their sound. Their second single, "See Emily Play" premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, on May 12, 1967. During the performance, the group first used an early quadraphonic device called an Azimuth Co-ordinator. Using four different channels of audio, it was an early version of surround sound.

Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was released on March 1, 1973; the album is often considered the best concept album and the height of experimental rock.

The iconic artwork for The Dark Side of the Moon  Wikipedia

Dark Side Of The Moon was in the U.S. Billboard chart for 736 consecutive weeks — more than 14 years.

The Wall, a rock opera and concept album by Pink Floyd, was first released on November 30, 1979. It was the last studio album released with the 11-year-spanning line-up of Waters, Wright, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason.

The Wall features the band's only single to top various charts, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2",

By 1999 The Wall had sold over 23 million RIAA-certified units (11.5 million albums) making it the third-highest certified album in the United States.

The Wall album cover

Following creative tensions, Wright left Pink Floyd in 1979, followed by Waters in 1985. Wright came back in 1987, after Waters quit.

700 actual beds were laid out on a beach and used for the cover of Pink Floyd's 1987 album, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. None of them were cardboard cutouts.

A Momentary Lapse Of Reason

Waters tried unsuccessfully to sue the other members so that they could not call themselves Pink Floyd. He later admitted to regretting the lawsuit.

After nearly two decades of acrimony, Pink Floyd reunited with Waters in 2005 for a performance in London as part of the global awareness event Live 8, but Gilmour and Waters have since stated they have no plans to reunite as a band again.

Pink Floyd at Live 8 By Dave Bushe -

Barrett died in his home in Cambridge at the age of 60 due to diabetes on July 7, 2006.

In 2014, English YouTube star Zoella uploaded a picture to Instagram of a "random man & his dog" on the beach. The "random man" was David Gilmour.

Source Artistfacts

Monday, 27 February 2017



Pineapples originally evolved in the high plateaux of central South America and were widely transplanted and cultivated. Highly regarded for their intense sweetness, the fruit was a staple of Indian feasts and rites related to tribal affirmation. They were also used by the Indians to produce wine.

A pineapple on its parent plant by Suniltg at Malayalam Wikipedia 

The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico, where it was cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs.

Pineapples were unknown to Europeans until discovered by Columbus on Guadeloupe in 1493.

Pineapples were brought home to Europe from America by 16th and 17th century seafarers as gifts.

In 17th century Europe the pineapple remains so uncommon and coveted a commodity that in 1675 King Charles II of England posed for an official portrait receiving a pineapple as a gift, an act symbolic of royal privilege.

Charles II is presented with the first pineapple grown in England (painting by Hendrik Danckerts).

A woman named Agnes Block is generally credited as being the earliest person that managed to grow a pineapple in a non-tropical climate in around 1687. While earlier accounts of fruit producing pineapple plants in Europe do exist, whether or not these plants were cultivated in Europe or simply transferred to the continent as juveniles isn’t clear.

The pineapple was a symbol of welcome in colonial America. The exotic fruit was an expensive treat originally served to only the most-honored guest. That is why in New England you will see so many pineapples on door knockers as a symbol of hospitality. An arch in Providence, Rhode Island, leading into the Federal Hill neighborhood has a pineapple on it for that very reason.

In the American colonies in the 1700s, one pineapple could cost as much as $8,000 in today’s dollars. Some colonists would rent a pineapple and carry it around a party to flout their wealth.

Victorians grew the fruit by burying them in a manure-covered trench that they soaked in horse urine.

The first pineapples were exported from Hawaii on August 10, 1850. Twelve-thousand pineapples were shipped from Lahaina, Maui, to California.

Without any knowledge of how to can fruits, in 1901, James Drummond Dole founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901 and became known as The Pineapple King.


The pineapple is neither a pine nor an apple. The name was given to it by early European settlers in America who thought it looked like a pine cone.

The pineapple consists of coalesced berries, which have coalesced into a large, compact, multiple fruit.

Hawaii was historically the largest pineapple producer. The biggest today are Costa Rica with 11% of global production in 2014, followed closely by Brazil.

If you put a piece of pineapple somewhere in your mouth it starts "eating you". It has proteins that degrades meat.

Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that may help arthritis pain by easing inflammation.

The bromelain in pineapples literally digest the tissues in your mouth, hence the sore mouth feeling when you eat them.

Adding salt on pineapples makes it sweeter. The salt reacts with the acids of the fruit, thus converting into a neutral compound and losing the sour taste. Because of this, the pineapple then becomes sweeter.

Pineapple juice mixed with sand is said to be good for cleaning boat decks and machete blades.

In Australian slang, “to get the wrong (or rough) end of the pineapple,” means to get a bad deal.

In the 1930s in Britain, "being on the pineapple" became a slang phrase for being unemployed.

In December 2014 a boy named Grayson is said to have set a world record in Florida by popping 10 balloons with a pineapple in 30 seconds.

Sources Daily Mail, Daily Express, Food for Thought by Ed Pearce

Pine tree

Pine trees are evergreen, coniferous resinous trees (or, occasionally shrubs) that live in almost the entire Northern Hemisphere.

Pine trees grow 3–80 m (10–260 ft) tall, with the majority of species reaching 15–45 m (50–150 ft) tall.
Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora), North Korea. By yeowatzup at Flickr .

The smallest are Siberian dwarf pine and Potosi pinyon, and the tallest is a 81.79 m (268.35 ft) tall ponderosa pine located in southern Oregon's Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

The oldest pine tree is a Pinus longaeva growing in the White Mountains of eastern California. The tree was given the age of 5062 years in the growing season of 2012, (germination in 3050 BC). This also makes it the world's oldest known living non-clonal organism.

On August 6, 1964 American researcher Donald Currey had a bristlecone pine tree known as Prometheus cut down in the Wheeler Bristlecone Pine Grove at Great Basin National Park near Baker, Nevada, only to find that it was the oldest known non-clonal organism ever discovered at the time, with the age of 4,862 years.

The stump (lower left) and some remains of the Prometheus tree (center).

A 10-foot tall pine tree planted in memory of George Harrison near Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory in 2004 lived for 10 years. Ironically it died after being infested by....beetles.

When grown for sawing timber, pine plantations can be harvested after 30 years, with some stands being allowed to grow up to 50 (as the wood value increases more quickly as the trees age).

Scots pine is the only pine native to northern Europe and is an important tree in forestry. The wood is used for pulp and sawn timber products and its yield of turpentine, tar and pitch.

Scots Pine Cairngorm National Park, Scotland. By Hello, I am Bruce on Flickr

Pine trees scatter their needles across the forest floor to make it easier for fires to burn all of the other trees - pine is fire resistant so it survives.

The orange color of the soil in Ibiza comes from the tannin in the pine needles that fall from the island's many pine trees.

Pines are mostly monoecious, having the male and female cones on the same tree. The male cones are small, typically 1–5 cm long, and only present for a short period (usually in spring, though autumn in a few pines), falling as soon as they have shed their pollen. The female cones take 1.5–3 years (depending on species) to mature after pollination, with actual fertilization delayed one year.

The largest pine cone in the world comes from a coulter pine. Coulter pine occur in small areas of the west. The fresh cones can weigh up to 10 pounds.

Pine marten

Pine martens are members of the weasel family and get their name from nesting in the roots of pine trees.

They are native to Northern Europe and North America. Though struggling now, they were once Britain’s second most common carnivore.

In 2013, a pine marten held up a Swiss football match for five minutes after it ran onto the pitch and bit Zurich defender Loris Benito.

The solitary animals are skilled treetop hunters and feed on squirrels and birds.

The European pine marten has lived to 18 years in captivity, but in the wild a lifespan of eight to ten years is more typical.

American pine marten may live in captivity for 15 years. The oldest individual documented in the wild was 14.5 years old.

Generally silent, pine martens have been known to growl, snarl and make a high pitched chattering noise in mating season.

The young are usually born in March or April after a 7-month-long gestation period in litters of one to five.

Young European pine martens weigh around 30 grams at birth.

The young pine marten begin to emerge from their dens by the middle of June and are fully independent around six months after their birth.

Source Daily Mail

Sunday, 26 February 2017


The first pinball machine was introduced in 1931. It was called "Baffle Ball" and  originated from a Victorian game, bagatelle. It was an instant hit and more than 50,000 were sold.

Selling for $17.50, Baffle Ball dispensed five to seven balls for a penny.

The pinball machine was one of the few successful industries that grew out of the Depression in the United States. The early models typically charged 5 cents for ten balls, did not have side flippers, and the player had to add up his own score.

An early pinball game without flippers, circa 1932

Gottlieb's Humpty Dumpty, introduced in 1947, was the first pinball machine game to add player-controlled flippers to keep the ball in play longer, adding a skill factor to the game.

Because it offered inexpensive and interactive entertainment value, the pinball machine remained popular for decades, until the advent of electronic video games.

Pinball machines were banned in New York City from 1940 until 1976 which led to "Pinball Speakeasies." They were originally made illegal because Mayor La Guardia thought they robbed kids of pocket money.

The ban stopped in New York City in 1976, when Roger Sharpe, a player renowned for his talent, played so well in front of the City Council that he convinced them that pinball was indeed a game of skill, not just of luck.

The 1969 rock opera album Tommy by The Who, centers on the title character, a "deaf, dumb, and blind kid", who becomes a "Pinball Wizard" and gains hordes of adoring fans.

In 2016 Kokomo, Indiana, reversed a 61-year-old law banning pinball in the city.

Saturday, 25 February 2017



While test piloting a new French-built Wright biplane on September 7, 1909, Eugene Lefebvre crashed at Juvisy, France when his controls jammed. Lefebvre died, becoming the first pilot in the world to lose his life in a powered heavier-than-air craft.

Eugène Lefebvre in 1909

John Moore-Brabazon learned to fly in 1908 in France in a Voisin biplane. He became the first resident Englishman to make an officially recognized aeroplane flight in England on May 2, 1909, at Shellbeach on the Isle of Sheppey with flights of 450 ft, 600 ft, and 1500 ft.

On March 8, 1910, Moore-Brabazon became the first person to qualify as a pilot in the United Kingdom and was awarded Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate number 1; his car also bore the number-plate FLY 1.

Only four months later, his friend Charles Rolls was killed in a flying accident and Moore-Brabazon's wife persuaded him to give up flying.

John Moore-Brabazon in his Voisin Bird of Passage in 1909

French aviatrix Baroness Raymonde de Laroche was the first woman to receive a pilot's license. She received ticket No. 36 on March 8, 1910.

In 1911, Harriet Quimby earned the first US pilot's license issued to a woman. A magazine writer, she got ticket No. 37, making her the second licensed female pilot in the world.

Less than a year later, Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. She flew from Dover, England and landed at Hardelot, France, in a Blériot monoplane on April 16, 1912. Her accomplishment received little media attention, however, as the sinking of the RMS Titanic the day before consumed the interest of the public and filled newspapers.

Harriet Quimby

Quimby continued piloting aircraft until she was killed in a flying accident over Dorchester Bay during a Harvard-Boston aviation meet on July 1, 1912. She was tossed from her airplane after it unexpectedly pitched forward.

The first pilots recruited by the British military in 1911, the Air Battalion Royal Engineers (which evolved into the RAF), had to weigh a maximum of 161 lb (11st 7lb), be under 30, a good sailor and map reader — and already have earned a Royal Aero Club certificate from a private flying school.

During World War I German fighter pilot Kurt Wintgens became the first person to shoot down another plane in aerial combat in 1915.

The Victoria Cross medal awarded to legendary World War I fighter pilot Major Edward Mannock, was auctioned, along with his Military Cross and Distinguished Service Order, for £132,000 in 1992. Mannock, who notched up 73 kills, was awarded more medals for bravery than any other World War I pilot — in spite of less than perfect eyesight.

Manfred von Richthofen, or the Red Baron — the ‘ace of aces’ World War I German fighter pilot credited with 80 Allied kills — was shot during an air battle over the Somme in northern France by a bullet fired from the ground on April 21, 1918. He managed to land his trademark red triplane, but died of the single wound. Von Richthofen's last word, to an Australian sergeant on the battlefield, was: "Kaputt."

Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron.

After he was shot down and killed, the Red Baron was given full military honors by the Allies, including a proper burial near Amiens.

Amy Johnson was a pioneering English aviator, who flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. This included becoming the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia.  Flying G-AAAH, the first of two aircraft she named "Jason", she left Croydon in South East England, on May 5, 1930 and crash landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, on May 24, 1930 after flying 11,000 miles (18,000 km).

Tom Dobney had just turned 15 when, flying solo in a Tiger Moth in 1941, he became the youngest RAF pilot in World War II. Dared by a fellow pupil at Nuneaton Grammar, he’d falsified his birth certificate to enlist. Dobney was discharged when his parents found out, but joined up again when he turned 18.

Germany’s top fighter ace of World War II was Erich Hartmann, nicknamed "The Black Devil", who shot down 352 allied aircraft, almost all Russian. He crash-landed his aircraft 14 times. After the war Hartmann spent ten years in a Russian prison before being freed.

Erich Hartmann

24-year-old Chuck Yeager was a veteran Second World War pilot who in 1947, became the first person to break the sound barrier when he piloted the Bell X-1 rocket research aircraft to a level-flight speed of 670 mph.

Long before creating Star Trek, 26-year-old Gene Roddenberry was a co-pilot aboard a Pan Am plane in 1947 that crashed in the Syrian Desert. With several broken ribs, he helped save 22 people and eventually led them to safety.

Emily Howell Warner was the first female commercial airline pilot in the US. On February 6, 1973, Howell Warner served for the first time as second officer on a Frontier Airlines Boeing 737. The flight departed from Denver's Stapleton Airport for Las Vegas.

This marked an opening for American women in one of the last sex-segregated occupations in the civilian aviation industry. When Howell Warner was hired there were no other women working as pilots for the major commercial airlines. By 1978, there were about 300 female commercial pilots in the United States.

In 1976 Howell Warner was the first woman to become a US airline captain.

The Dutch king King Willem-Alexander secretly piloted KLM’s fleet of commercial Fokker 70 planes as a "relaxing hobby" for 21 years before "retiring" in 2017.


The actor Morgan Freeman turned down a drama scholarship because he dreamed of being an Air Force fighter pilot. He spent four years as a tracking radar repairman. At age 65, he finally earned his private pilot license.

Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor's brother is a pilot in the RAF, and his callsign is "Obi-Two."

English is the universal "language of the skies". All pilots must learn and speak English, regardless of their origin.

There is an FAA regulation called the 'Sterile Cockpit Rule', requiring flight crews to only discuss topics related to the flight below 10,000 feet.

In Saudi Arabia women are allowed to fly aircraft, though they must be chauffeured to the airport because it's illegal for them to drive a car.

Around 56 per cent of British airline pilots admit to having fallen asleep on the job, and 29 per cent say they've woken up to find their co-pilot asleep.

Most pilots aren't allowed to have a beard because of the shape of an oxygen mask.

Most airlines have a rule stating that pilots and copilots cannot eat the same meal to avoid food poisoning.

Source Daily Mail


The first people to use pillows were those who lived in early civilizations of Mesopotamia around 7,000 BC. During this time, the number of pillows symbolized status so the more pillows one owned the more affluence he or she held.

The ancient Egyptians used pillows made of wood or stone to rest the head of their mummies.

An ancient Egyptian wooden pillow. By

Alexander the Great always kept a copy of Homer's Iliad under his pillow at night.

The Greeks and Romans got the idea of filling pillows with straw.

After a feast many Romans would sleep on costly saffron-filled pillows in the belief that they would avoid a hangover.

In China porcelain pillows first appeared in the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and their mass production began in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The Chinese decorated their pillows by making them different shapes and by painting pictures of animals, humans, and plants on them during the Song, Jin, and Yuan dynasties between the 10th and 14th century.

 pottery pillow from the Jīn dynasty (1115–1234

In the Middle Ages sprigs of rosemary were kept on pillows to prevent nightmares.

King Henry VIII of England once banned pillows for everyone except pregnant women.

In Elizabethan England the middle classes had a mattress and a sack of chaff to rest their head on. Pillows were only for women in childbirth.

Hours before being assassinated on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. took part in a motel pillow fight.

In 2010, a Korean man fell in love and married a life-sized pillow adorned with a cartoon character named Fate Testarossa on it.

War Horse author Michael Morpurgo writes all his books lying in bed propped up on pillows "because that’s what Robert Louis Stevenson did".

10% of the weight of a 2-year-old pillow can be composed of dead dust mites and their droppings.

Sleep wrinkles, formed when your face is pressed against a pillow at night, can become permanent with age and can't be erased with Botox.

Polar bears sometimes make pillows out of snow before they fall asleep.

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Pilgrim's Progress

John Bunyan was a Reformed Baptist, who had been committed to Bedford county gaol for preaching without a licence. This was the post Cromwell era when dissenters were clamped down and only ministers of the Church of England were allowed to preach.

Bunyan was freed in 1672 after spending 12 years in prison, only to be jailed again for six months in 1675. It was during his second spell in jail that Bunyan started writing The Pilgrim's Progress. An allegory based on the author's own spiritual life, his many years in Bedford jail had given him time to read and reread the Bible and formulate this spiritual classic.

Title page of Pilgrim's Progress Date: 1678 

The Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory about a man called Christian, who goes on a journey, through the English county of Bedfordshire, to London. Christian is an 'everyman' character: he represents the reader or any ordinary person. Eventually he gets to the Celestial City.

The book was loosely based on Bunyan's own journey between Bedford and Luton. The Barton Hills near Streatley, Bedfordshire was the inspiration for the "Delectable Mountains," Houghton Abbey" (now in ruins). in Amptill was the inspiration for "House Beautiful."  The steep slope leading into Ampthill was the model for the 'Hill of Difficulty'.

Later, the "Land of Beulah" is Middlesex County, the "Very Deep River" is the Thames, and the "Celestial City" is London.

A Plan of the Road From the City of Destruction to the Celestial City,( 1821)

The narrative itself is larded with biblical quotations. In the margins John Bunyan cited his scripture references.

Pilgrim's Progress is divided into two parts, and is 108,260 words long. Each part is a continuous narrative, with no chapter divisions.

When the first part was published on February 18, 1678, it immediately became extremely popular and made Bunyan famous.

Its full title was The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream.

Part Two was published in 1684. There were 11 editions of the first part during John Bunyan’s lifetime, and two editions of the second part.

Rich in allegory, many phrases from the book have come into common use. We often talk of a 'Slough of Despond' ("One has one's own Slough of Despond to trudge through.). The expressions 'Vanity Fair' and 'House Beautiful' are also quite familiar.

The book includes a poem which became the popular hymn "He Who Would Valiant Be."

For the next 150 years after its publication The Pilgrim's Progress, like the Bible, were found in every English home. It has since been published in over 200 languages.

African version of Pilgrim's Progress from 1902

Even, the Chinese Communist government printed The Pilgrim's Progress and the 200,000 copies sold out in China within three days.

Pilgrim Fathers

The Pilgrim Fathers are the name given to the emigrants who sailed from Plymouth, England on September 16, 1620.

They called themselves "Separatists," as they were trying to separate themselves from the Church of England and establish a religious sect of their own.

Some of these "Separatists" were not escaping from religious persecution in England, but rather the tolerant Dutch Republic where some had fled to and they feared were influencing their children.

On board the Mayflower were 102 passengers (73 males and 29 females). 41 of the emigrants were Separatists, the other 61 were called "Strangers" by the Separatists, they had their own reasons for leaving England. Some were looking for adventure; others for a new path to wealth and riches.

The Embarkation of the Pilgrims (1857) by American painter Robert Walter Weir

Due to bad weather the Pilgrims were forced to land at Cape Cod, in modern Massachusetts, far away from the territory granted to them.

After tense encounters with Native Americans, the Pilgrims resettled at Plymouth Bay in December.

The first baby born on the Mayflower during its voyage to the New World was named Oceanus Hopkins. The second child born after the ship set anchor was named Peregrine White.

The first Indian who came out of the woods to meet the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock was named Samoset. He surprised the Pilgrims by coming to their settlement and greeting them in broken English on March 16, 1621. Samoset asked for some beer and English food and said he learned some of the language of English fishermen who had come to the area in the past.

The Pilgrims developed friendly relations with the native Wampanoag people. The Wampanoag people taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, hunt, and fish in the new land.

Samuel de Champlain's 1605 map of Plymouth Harbor. The star is the approximate location of the 1620 English settlement.

The well known lullaby "Hush-a-bye baby, on the tree top", is said to have been the first English poem written on American soil, when a boy that sailed with the Pilgrim Fathers was inspired by the natives' custom of propping babies cradles in tree tops.

The first ever Thanksgiving Day was celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. It was a three-day feast shared by 50 Pilgrim Fathers and about 90 native Americans to acknowledge and celebrate God's provisions of a good harvest.

The Pilgrims had a difficult struggle to establish themselves, but eventually, with new arrivals, the colony at Plymouth became one of the bases of the new American population.

We didn't start calling these settlers "Pilgrims" until 170 years after the fact.  The modern colloquial title that became their identity was extracted from a single line in one journal, written by William Bradford before beginning their transatlantic voyage: “They knew they were Pilgrims.”

It's now thought 12 per cent of all modern day Americans are descended from the Mayflower Pilgrims.

It is estimated that 35 million people worldwide are direct descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Thursday, 23 February 2017


The English common name "pike" is an apparent shortening of "pike-fish", in reference to its pointed head, which resembles the medieval pole-weapon known as the pike.

The plural of pike is pike.

Their coloring is typically grey-green with a mottled or spotted appearance with stripes along their backs, providing camouflage among weeds.

Pike can grow to a maximum recorded length of 1.83 m (6 ft), reaching a maximum recorded weight of 35 kg (77 lb).

Female pike are larger than males.

The world's biggest pike, weighing 55lb 1oz (25 kg), was pulled from Lake Grefeern, Germany by Lothar Louis on. October 16, 1986.. Unable to net the fish due to its tremendous size, and worried that he would lose it, the German fisherman plunged his hands inside the gill covers to land the pike. Such was Louis' excitement at his huge catch, he he did not feel the pain as the fish's huge teeth sank into both hands as he lifted her up on the bank.

Pikes have sandpaper-like tongues, which they use to turn larger prey around so they can be swallowed head-first.

Pike are predatory feeders eating other fish, insects, small mammals and birds. In fact pike will eat almost anything that doesn't eat them first.

There have been tales of large pike pulling small dogs into the water.

Despite this pike are lazy and avoid fast-flowing water.

The white and mild-tasting flesh of pikes have been eaten since Roman times and remain popular fare in Europe. Nethertheless, the flesh is considered bony, especially due to the substantial (epipleural) "Y-bones".

Larger oike are more easily filleted, while smaller ones are often processed as forcemeat to eliminate their many small bones, and then used in preparations such as quenelles and fish mousse.

Roast pike is a delicacy in parts of France.

Source Daily Mail

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


Pigeons are members of the bird family Columbidae along with doves. The names pigeon and dove are often used interchangeably.

Pigeon is a French word for a "peeping" chick, while dove is a Germanic word referring to the bird's diving flight

In ornithology, "dove" tends to be used for smaller species and "pigeon" for larger ones.

Pigeon By Jon Ascton - Wikipedia Commons

The species most commonly referred to as "pigeon" is the rock dove, one subspecies of which, the domestic pigeon, is common in many cities as the feral pigeon.


Domesticated pigeons were first developed in ancient Egypt, and the pigeon loft or dovecote subsequently becomes a living larder for many communities - such as medieval monasteries.

The ancient Egyptians also used pigeons for military communication.

The sport of flying homing pigeons was well-established as early as 3000 years ago. They were used to proclaim the winner of the Olympics,

In agrarian times, pigeon poop often was used as a dowry because it served as good fertilizer.

The homing pigeon is a variety of domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica) derived from the rock pigeon, selectively bred for its ability to find its way home over extremely long distances.

Pigeon in flight By Alan D. Wilson, -
 It was 11th century Baghdad where the idea first occurred of setting up a postal service using the tendency of certain pigeons to fly straight home from wherever they may be. By 1167 a regular service between Baghdad and Syria had been established by Sultan Nour-Eddin.

Genghis Khan saw the obvious potential of the bird and he used pigeons to carry swift news of each new conquest to his homeland in Mongolia.

Homing pigeons were selectively bred and originated in Belgium and England in the 19th century.

The outcome of the Battle of Waterloo was first delivered by a pigeon to England.

Stamp for 1899 Pigeon-Gram service

In 1818, a great pigeon race called the Cannonball Run took place at Brussels.

The animal most frequently mentioned in Charles Darwin's Origin Of Species is the pigeon.

In 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, French pigeons dodged German bullets and hawks to carry messages in and out of a besieged Paris. The callous authorities disposed of the few surviving birds for a franc apiece and the only memorial to the brave birds is an epic poem "Les Pigeons de la Republique".

The 1900 Olympics featured a live pigeon shooting event. The winner bagged 21 pigeons. 299 birds were killed in total.

Clocked at speeds of up to 110mph, more than 100,000 racing pigeons were used by the British for communication in World War I with a success rate of 95 per cent.

A London bus converted into a pigeon loft for use during the First World War

Killing or wounding these feathered heroes in Britain could get you a fine or six months in jail.

A pigeon, Cher Ami, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for its service during World War I. Cher Ami flew 25 miles (40 kms) on October 3, 1918 to deliver the S.O.S. message of a lost, encircled battalion despite being shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood, and with a leg hanging only by a tendon. He saved the lives of 194 soldiers.

Cher Ami

For 37 years the U.S. Army had an official department dedicated to the care, training, and deployment of pigeons, tasked with critical communications and reconnaissance missions

During World War II the American Office of Scientific Research and Development worked on such projects as training pigeons to guide missiles. (It was never achieved).

Homing pigeons were carried in bombers as a means of communications in the event of a crash, ditching, or radio failure.

Lancaster bomber crewman with homing pigeons

On November 25, 1944 a carrier pigeon Paddy was decorated for his effort in the war against Nazi Germany. In the service of Royal Air Force Paddy had achieved to get a message from Normandy to England in the fastest crossing of the English Channel: 4 hours and 50 minutes. When receiving his Order of Merit Paddy was described as "exceptionally intelligent".

In 1995, pigeons were trained to tell the difference between works by Picasso and Monet.

The French army still keeps a dovecote with about 150 carrier pigeons, for communication in case of an emergency.


In 1818, a great pigeon race called the Cannonball Run took place at Brussels.

Once a mainstay of the 19th century, modern pigeon racing uses RFID tags to track pigeons' record arrival times.


Pigeon photography was an aerial photography technique invented in 1907 by Julius Neubronner, court apothecary of Empress Frederick, who also used pigeons for film special effects and to deliver medications. A homing pigeon was fitted with an aluminium breast harness to which a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera could be attached.

A whitewater rafting company once trained a flock of carrier pigeons to carry rolls of film containing pictures of the rafters back to the base to be developed and available for purchase by the end of the trip.


Modern homing pigeons find it more convenient to follow motorways and ring roads and turn left and right at junctions rather than using their in-built navigational abilities.

It's possible for pigeons to get suntans.

Pigeons remember humans by face. Chase one away and it will avoid you during later encounters.

Originally bred from the wild rock dove, which naturally inhabits sea cliffs and mountains, feral pigeons use the ledges of buildings as a substitute for sea cliffs.

Pigeon mum and dads produce a substance called crop milk to feed their hatchlings. High in fat and protein, it contains nutrients and antibodies to nourish the young. What makes crop milk most unusual is that it's produced by male as well as female birds.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017



Domestic pigs probably descended from one species--the Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa), which can still be found in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Domestication of the pig coincided with the formation of the first permanent human settlements. The oldest known sites of pig domestication were established as early as 9,000 years ago in Iraq, Jordan, and Turkestan, with some evidence for domestication even earlier in China.

The first domestic pigs in Great Britain existed as early as 2,800 years ago.

In ancient Egypt their flesh was not eaten. Pigs were instead kept as scavengers. They loosened the soil by their rooting and so prepared it for planting. They were also used to trample down the seeds after sowing and to thresh the grain at harvest time.

War pigs (herds of pigs lit on fire) were useful anti-elephant weapons in ancient warfare.

In the Middle Ages a rabbit was worth sixpence but a pig only fourpence.

On January 9, 1386, a sow was convicted by an ecclesiastical court of murdering a young child and hanged in Faliase, France. The executioner was paid ten sous and ten deniers for his efforts in dragging and then hanging the pig.

Illustration from Chambers Book of Days depicting a sow being tried for the murder of a child

Christopher Columbus introduced the pig to America from Europe.

Yorkshire pigs are the world's most popular breed. They originated in Britain in the late 18th and early 19th century.

The first pig to fly was taken up in a wicker basket attached to a Voisin biplane belonging to Claude Moore (later Lord) Brabazon in 1909.

A heroic Pennsylvania pot-bellied pig named Lulu became a media sensation in 1998 after her owner suffered a heart attack. Lulu saved her owner's life by squeezing through a doggy door, pushing open a gate and lying down in the middle of a nearby road until a motorist stopped and followed her back to the house.

In 2001, councillors took the place of pigs in the traditional pig race in Arklow, Co Wicklow, Ireland because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

There is a Guinness World Record for the longest dive by a pig. Miss Piggy, owned by Australian Tom Vandeleur, leapt 10ft 10in, (3.31m) measured from the end of the board to where the snout enters the water) into a 34in deep pool in Darwin on July 22, 2005.


Pigs are split in to two main types, lop-eared and prick-eared- the former are more docile and the latter more alert.

The pig is rated the fourth most intelligent animal. Only apes, dolphins and elephants are smarter.

In the old days, sea captains kept pigs on board because they believed, should they be shipwrecked, pigs always swam toward the nearest shore.

Pigs are often thought to be dirty, but actually keep themselves cleaner than most pets. They are seen laying in mud because they do not have sweat glands and constantly need water or mud to cool off.

Pigs may oink in English but in French they go "groin, groin", in Polish they go "chrum, chrum", and in Mandarin Chinese, they go "Hu-lu, hu-lu".


There are more than 180 species of pigs, found on every continent except Antarctica.

They come in just about any size and color, have an average lifespan of 20 years and litters from two to 12 piglets.

Domesticated Pig and piglets

Around 60 per cent of the world’s two billion pigs live in China.

In Denmark, there are twice as many pigs as people.


A growing pig will munch its way through 2.2 to 3.3 lb of pig nuts a day, plus any extras sent its way.

By the time they are six months old pigs will have increased their birth weight by 7000%.

Pigs suffer from anorexia.


No other animal gives us more by-products than the pig.

Domesticated pigs, called swine, are raised commercially for meat. A 130lb pig will yield up to 110lb of food providing sausages, bacon, joints and fillet as well as liver, kidneys, tongue, cheek and trotter.

The average American will eat the equivalent of 28 pigs in their lifetime.

The ears are a popular treat for dogs.

Their bristly hairs are also used for brushes.

In 1997, it was reported that farmers in Laos had successfully completed trials using pig manure as a snail repellent on rice crops.

For those who wish to treat pigs as pets, they can learn around 150 tricks- double the number of the average dog.

George Clooney had a pet pot-bellied pig called Max, which he looked after for 18 years before it died on December 1, 2006.

Horror film star Boris Karloff had a pet pig called Violet.

Approximately 40 people are a year are killed by pigs in North America.


Pigs can run a 7.5 minute mile.

Piggy banks get their name from a clay called pygg from which jars were made for saving money.

Fluorescent green pigs were first bred by Chinese scientists in 2006.

Sources Daily Express, Daily Mail, Comptons Encyclopedia, Didyouknow