Durham; half church of God, half castle against the Scot.
The City of Durham was founded in 995 AD, although I guess there were people living there for centuries before the monks arrived to ‘officially’ found Durham City. Building work on the spectacularly imposing Norman cathedral was begun in 1093 AD, but there was an earlier Anglo-Saxon cathedral on the site for about 100 years before that.
History is always written by the winners.
get a book about Durham
The first picture of the cathedral is a stock photo, the tower was covered in scaffold when I was there.
In medieval times touching the door knocker gave criminals sanctuary.
I used to drink in that pub when I was a younger man.
Folklore connects us with the wisdom of centuries past.
Modern science has ‘proved’ that old-fashioned weather lore is pretty accurate ~ for England anyhow, and what Gentleman really cares about any place but England? We shouldn’t call them old wives’ tales because much true ancient lore comes from sailors, soldiers, and farmers. Weather lore is often very accurate. And while older people often give good advice, the wisdom of ages past, seniors don’t much like taking advice from the young.
Advice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey’s end. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Going back beyond Roman Times, our oral history is full of rhymes, anecdotes, adages, warnings, and axioms. They wouldn’t have lasted this long if there wasn’t a lot of truth in them.
- Red sky at night, sailors delight. This appears in the Bible, where it relates to shepherds. It means that if the sky is red at sunset, then tomorrow will be a fine day ~ and this is mostly accurate. In fact this saying is utterly reliable when the weather comes in mostly from the west, as happens in Great Britain.
- Mackerel sky and mares tails make tall ships carry low sails. If there are high clouds that look like the scales of a fish, (altocumulus), and / or streaky clouds like a horse’s tail, (cirrus), then we are due for a storm with high winds within the day ~ allegedly. As it goes, this is always true. A prudent skipper will be ready to shorten sail if he sees a mackerel sky.
- St. Swithun’s Day. If it rains on St. Swithun’s day then it will rain for the next 40 days and nights. This lore, and the poem that goes with it can be traced back to the 14th Century, but probably goes as far back as the 9th Century in Southern England. It’s mostly not true ~ we never get 40 days and nights of consistent weather in England. However, St Swithun’s Day, (or St. Swithin’s Day), is on July 15th, and you can guarantee that if it does rain on that day England will have a wash-out of a summer. As a matter of fact, it rained all day here on St. Swithun’s day this year, and the weather has been very wet ever since then.
- It’s too cold for snow. In England this saying is true. It can be too cold for it to snow. Actually the whole saying is a misconception, it should really be ‘it’s too dry to snow’. Very cold air is always dry air, because only warmer air will carry water vapour, and you need water vapour in the air to have snow. It almost never snows in bitterly cold Antarctica.
- A ring around the moon means rain or snow is coming soon. This is very true, and also applies to predicting the arrival of a hurricane. The ring around the moon, (less frequently a ring around the sun), is due to ice crystals forming in cirrus clouds in the high atmosphere. If you remember cirrus clouds are also the mare’s tails that predict storms.
- A stitch in time saves nine. This saying goes at least as far back as the 18th century in England, and it’s completely true, relevant today, and utterly applicable to our lives. What is means is that if you sort out a small problem now, it will save you from it growing into a much bigger problem in the future. It is exactly analogous to that other saying One year’s seeds is seven years weeds, which appears in Shakespeare’s Richard II. Ignore a small problem and it will soon grow into a great big problem. Ignore acorns and before you know where you are you will be up to your armpits in oak trees.
- There will be the devil to pay. Meaning that if we do something very bad there will be terrible consequences later. This is always true. This saying has nothing whatsoever to do with Satan ~ like many English epigrams it has maritime origins. ‘The Devil’ was the longest seam on a planked wooden ship, and ‘Paying’ means caulking. If you’ve ever done it you’ll know that caulking a seam on a boat is a heartless task, involving thick string-like stuff, tar, a special caulking chisel, a hammer, and a lot of time.
A hell of a lot of English folklore goes back at least as far as the Roman occupation of Britain; for example ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need’. This saying is supposedly from Marcus Tullius Cicero, who died in 43 BC.
The snag with using folklore for your weather forecasts is that you don’t get to see the cute weather girls on TV. Seems a guy can’t have everything.
check out this book
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
not every woman loves the same flower
nor wants the same flower from her love
Our Scientific Power has Outrun Our Spiritual Power.
Among the things with which I will have nothing to do with whatsoever are; God, Gods, Goddesses, Angels, Cherubs, Seraphs, Spirits, Ghosts, Flying Saucers, the channeling of mystical beings and spirit guides, people who are believed to have peculiar psychic abilities…, and sushi.
However, I do believe in the existence and efficacy of some very strange things indeed.
There are more things in heaven and earth, [Horatio], Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ~ Shakespeare, Hamlet.
I have no real faith in astrology, despite the fact that I was born on March 23rd and I am a very typical Ares male. Anyone who knows me will agree that I am a crazy mixture of the fearless warrior and undisciplined schoolboy ~assertive, bold, egotistical, extrovert, independent, macho, stubborn, but very in touch with my inner child. Also, if I don’t have real faith in European astrology, why should I believe anything about Chinese astrology? That, even though I am an archetypal Horse male ~ independent, generous, globetrotting, restless, revolutionary, wandering, driven by an irresistible force. Add Ares to Horse to Man, and you get a real maverick ~ I am indeed an iconoclast.
Logically and scientifically, why and how could when you were born have any effect whatsoever on your character, your personality, your life, your luck, your past, present, and your future?
Well, I think when you were conceived, when and where you were developing in the womb, and when you were born does have a major effect on your entire life, and I partly base this on the theory of the interconnectedness of all things. Also I believe the perfectly respectable Jungian philosophy of the collective unconscious, and that other perfectly respectable theory that there is a collective consciousness. Over and above all this psychology, I believe that the seasons of our conception and earliest development have an overriding effect on which human archetype we become.
That begins to explain a lot of European astrology and its monthly cycles, but what about Chinese astrology and it’s 12 year cycle? Our sun operates on just about an 11 year cycle, and everything on this planet and far beyond is influenced, driven, and controlled by our sun. Astronomy is a very ancient science, dating back to at least 35,000 years BC. There is no doubt that our ancient ancestors knew all about the cycles of the moon and sun, and that astronomy and astrology were one in the same thing until as recently as the 17th century in Europe. There is no doubt in my mind that about 5,000 years ago Stonehenge was built as an astronomical / astrological / religious / political clock and calendar.
Why is it then that both European and Chinese Astrology actually has it all wrong? There should be 13 star signs in European astrology to agree with the lunar cycle, and 11 animals in Chinese astrology to agree with the solar cycle. Turns out there are 13 astrological star signs, the 13th being Ophiucus, also turns out that the normally accepted dates for which star sign you were born under are wrong as well. Who knows why the ancient Chinese did anything.
Never underestimate The Power of 12. If man can make something add up to the very symbolic number 12, he is much happier than with, say 13, or 11. Thirteen is an ‘unlucky’ number, and the number 11 symbolises male and female equality, and that was an anathema to our ‘civilised’ ancestors.
Numerology is another very ancient mystical belief. Face it, back in the day when no ordinary person could read, write, or do arithmetic, anyone who could count had to be half way to being a powerful sorcerer or wizard. I believe in both unlucky 13, and even unluckier Friday 13th. Who at NASA thought it was a good idea to have an Apollo 13? (It made a great Tom Hanks movie.)
What scientific or logical basis is there for believing in the power of numbers? How and why does numerology work? Anything to do with numbers and mysticism is almost always laid at the door of Pythagoras, who, if the stories are to be believed was a genuine genius. Most genuine geniuses have weird cults built up around them and Pythagoras was no exception with Pythagoreanism, and that’s close enough to ‘cults’ like Satanism, the Knights Templar, Illuminati, and Freemasonry for me. These guys are all very into the power of geometry, (as am I ~ 3,4,5). And why is the Eye of Providence on the US one dollar bill?
Number rules the universe. ~ Pythagoras.
According to the theories of the collective unconscious and collective consciousness, and the fact that numbers do rule the universe, numerology just has to work, (in one form or another).
Some are deemed to have psychic powers, the capacity to supernaturally see things and do things which is denied to ‘ordinary’ people. Mostly I believe that real psychic abilities do not exist. However, I do believe that some people have greater faculties than most. For example, I know when people are lying. My ability to tell when someone is passing off ‘alternative facts’, or being ‘économique avec la actualité’ or especially ‘not telling the whole truth‘ is not something that I learned on purpose. My ability to be an almost infallible lie detector grew in me by accident, probably from childhood. I can’t ever turn this ability off, although more often than not I choose to ignore it ~ people don’t like it if you point out to them that you know they’re lying.
Something else some people have is ‘inherent omniscience‘ ~ if they want to some people can know everything there is to know about someone they’re with, or have met, and have talked with for a while. It seems very spooky, very mystical, and evidence of real psychic abilities ~ it isn’t.
So how does this work? It turns out that some people allow themselves to see and feel much more than others. Some people have a natural gift for this. If you want to know how to do this for yourself, then I suggest you spend a few years diligently studying Neuro Linguistic Programming. If you are of above average intelligence, quick of mind, and have an excellent memory, eventually you will be able to astound others with your own ‘psychic abilities’.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~ Arthur C. Clarke
There is more in this universe than mankind knows, or respectable scientists will admit. But I don’t believe any of it is given to us by the Gods, or is sorcery, or magic, or from the spirit realm. I firmly believe that what some see as magic is actually the application of advanced knowledge. In which case almost everyone and anyone can become a witch, sorcerer, psychic… All it takes is the desire, time, intelligence, and a hell of a lot of hard work.
It helps if you have a familiar called Pyewacket.
these thoughts are mine and mine alone
Even Banks and Credit Card Companies are Dishonest
There is a truism ~ everybody lies. These days, even the people you should be able to trust to help you look after your money will lie to you. Just three recent examples in the news;
- Thousands of staff at Wells Fargo Bank routinely created false customer accounts based on real customers’ email addresses. All told about 2 million fake accounts were created. These fake accounts were allegedly used by staff to meet their sales targets ~ and some 5,300 Well Fargo staff have been fired. Would that it were all ~ trust me, there is more nasty news to come on this one concerning customer charges and wrong-doings higher up in the bank.
- The great credit card scandal continues. Credit cards are a rip-off for everyone except the banks. Despite official interest rates being at an historic low, the interest charged on credit card balances continues to rise to usury levels. And, in Britain Mastercard is accused of setting punitive charges on retailers, resulting in an estimated overcharging of £14 billion between 1992 and 2008. Guess who ends up paying for all this ~ you do. Mastercard are being taken to court in a class action.
- Four ex-employees of Barclays Bank are facing long jail terms for manipulating LIBOR. You may think LIBOR, (London Inter Bank Offered Rate), has got nothing to do with you. As a matter of fact the interest costs of everything you have ever borrowed is based on Libor. If you can’t trust the financial markets, then who can you trust?
Not one of the companies and people you trust to manage your money are completely honest with you. When it comes to your money, trust nobody.
Complete honesty is much more than not cheating, stealing, and lying ~ although banks, insurance companies, pension providers, credit card companies, financial advisers, et al, do more than enough outright cheating, stealing, and lying. Complete honesty means not lying by omission, being straightforward, being open, telling you what you need to know, avoiding obfuscation… None of the financial companies and people you deal with abide by that definition of honesty.
If they wanted to be really honest, then they wouldn’t have you sign a legal agreement which included pages and pages of small print.
What should you do;
- Check your bank and credit card statements for unexpected items, especially unexpected charges.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
- If it looks to good to be true it is.
- If you don’t understand something, have it clearly explained until you do understand.
- Never pay for financial advice, never pay an up-front or annual fee for a credit card or bank account.
In high finance there is a concept called ‘counter-party risk’ ~ one of the assumptions in that concept is ‘buyer beware’, never assume that the person or company you are dealing with is telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
George Bailey would be horrified.