Friday, 27 May 2016

My heart is my alibi

As we hurtle towards a long Bank Holiday weekend (and breathe a sigh of relief that this bloody week is over at last), let us raise a toast to Our Princess Kylie, whose birthday it is today!

We will inevitably let the lady herself get the party started in the most pertinent manner, with her guaranteed-to-get-you-moving classic What Do I Have To Do? - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend! We are off to visit the Boys in Braintree Manor in Essex, so posts may be somewhat intermittent until our return on Tuesday...

Kylie Ann Minogue OBE (born 28th May 1968)

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Don't anger the Fairies

Blossoms and bluebells have gone, and it's time for a new pretender to the throne here in the gardens at Dolores Delargo Towers...

From the Gardens Ablaze site:
The alternate names for Foxglove give a glimpse into how embedded this plant is in Fairy and Magick folklore, and includes Fairy Petticoats, Fairy Thimbles, Fairy Fingers, Fairy Weed, Fox Mittens, Witches Bells, Witches Thimbles, Folks Gloves, and Fox Bells. Indeed, the name Foxglove itself is derived from a legend that says that evil Fairies gave a fox the flower petals to put on his toes so that he could rob the chicken house without being heard - thus the name "fox glove."

Fairy gardens have become quite popular, and Foxglove is a must-have for attracting Fairies. Fairies supposedly play within the flowers, and each spot inside marks the spot where a Fairy has touched the surface. Placed in front of the house, Foxglove is believed to protect the occupants from evil influences. Picking Foxglove from the garden and bringing it inside is believed to anger the Fairies. Placed in a charm or talisman, a piece of Foxglove flower is believed to keep one inside protective Fairy light.

I do love a bit of "Fairy light", don't you? But the foxglove's usefulness goes further than folklore...

From "Molecule of the Month":
Digitalis is an example of a cardio-active or cardiotonic drug, in other words a steroid which has the ability to exert a specific and powerful action on the cardiac muscle in animals, and has been used in the treatment of heart conditions ever since its discovery in 1775.

The discovery of digitalis is accredited to the Scottish doctor William Withering, and makes for quite an interesting historical story. While working as a physician in Staffordshire in the 18th Century, his girlfriend got him interested in plants and botany - so much so, that in 1776 he published a huge treatise, whose title begins 'A botanical arrangement of all the vegetables growing in Great Britain...' and goes on for a further 24 lines.

In 1775, one of his patients came to him with a very bad heart condition and since Withering had no effective treatment for him, thought he was going to die. The patient, being an independent type, went instead to a local gypsy, took a secret herbal remedy - and promptly got much better!

When Withering heard about this, he became quite excited and searched for the gypsy throughout the by-ways of Shropshire. Eventually he found her, and demanded to know what was in the secret remedy. After much bargaining, the gypsy finally told her secret. The herbal remedy was made from a whole concoction of things, but the active ingredient was the Purple Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). The potency of digitalis extract had been known since the dark ages, when it had been used as a poison for the mediaeval 'trial by ordeal', and also used as an external application to promote the healing of wounds.

So Withering tried out various formulations of digitalis plant extracts on 163 patients, and found that if he used the dried, powdered leaf, he got amazingly successful results. He introduced its use officially in 1785.
Is it any wonder we are obsessed with plants?

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Serena's having a birthday party...

...but it doesn't look like many people are invited!

Many happy returns, Sir Ian Murray "Serena" McKellen , CH, CBE (born 25th May 1939)

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Adults have been urged to unlock their full potential by finding their ‘inner grown up’.

Psychologist Dr Tom Booker believes adults have lost sight of how to access their adult selves and has suggested a range of strategies to help people reconnect with their ‘repressed grown up person’.

Dr Booker said: “Instead of reading Harry Potter books, which are for children, read a book written about actual grown ups that doesn’t involve witches, zombies or goblins.

“Or you might consider watching a BBC4 documentary, or even tuning in to Radio 4, rather than watching Doctor Who, which, once again, is for children.

“Another way to encourage your inner grown-up is to read a long article in one of the broadsheets without whimpering ‘tl;dr’ and turning to a story about Kim Kardashian’s bum.”

Dr Booker also regards restaurants as ‘special venues’ where over-21s can ‘release’ the over-21 year-old person within by eating something other than chips or pizza.

He added: “And when asked if you want a dessert, don’t get all excited and order ice cream. You’re not 12 and it’s not your birthday.”

Dr Booker said the next level involves ‘taking responsibility for something’, but that was for advanced students only.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday, 23 May 2016

That's what I call "Art"

Aquilegia in the gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers

As ever, the weekend has disappeared in a blink of an eye - an evening in the pub, a trip to the hairdresser, a day pottering in the garden (at one point dodging a swarm of bees), and it's back to work again...

However, it would have been the birthday today of the wonderful Rosie Clooney, so it's over to her (in an unaccustomed "sexy" role) to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday. With a lurid technicolour set and a bevy of high-kicking bar-room showgirls - here's Red Garters:

Rosemary Clooney (23rd May 1928 - 29th June 2002)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Never mess with a drag queen on a mission

Alabama’s notorious supreme court chief justice, Roy Moore, has been suspended pending charges that he abused his authority, and he recently called a news conference to identify his enemy.

“Ambrosia Starling,” he said, then leaned into the microphone for emphasis. “A transvestite.”

The pair have been locked in an ideological war this year that started when Moore ordered the state’s lower judges to ignore the US supreme court’s ruling that legalised gay marriage. Starling headed to the capital, Montgomery, and the fight began: court and corset. Black robes versus a miniskirt. The judge against the drag queen – and the drag queen is winning.

After Starling and companions filed complaints against Moore, the state’s disciplinary board for judges removed Moore from power on May 7, charging he had “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” and “abandoned his role” as chief justice.
Go, girl..!

Here's an apposite number - Sister Queen, of course!

Read the whole story of the awesome Ambrosia Starling in The Guardian.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Shout it from the highest steeple

Another timeslip moment is upon us...

We've hurtled off in our time machine, back to this week thirty years ago.

In the news in May 1986: the trial of the IRA bombers of the Tory party conference in Brighton neared its conclusion; huge efforts were underway to clean-up/seal-off land affected by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in Russia; Labour's "Militant Tendency", Liverpool Football Club and Eurovision Song Contest winner Shadra Kim from Belgium were in the ascendant, and we waved goodbye to Talbot Cars, Hylda Baker and Sterling Hayden; civil war erupted in Somalia; at least 600 people were killed in a ferry disaster in Bangladesh; and 5,000,000 people including innumerable celebs joined Hands Across America to raise money for homeless and anti-poverty charities. In cinemas: The Money Pit, Pretty in Pink and Down and Out in Beverly Hills. On telly: A Very Peculiar Practice, Pingu and Carla Lane's comedy Bread.

In the UK charts this week: novelty songs were all the rage, including The Chicken Song from Spitting Image at #1, Snooker Loopy featuring Chas'n'Dave and the fab remake of Spirit in the Sky by Doctor and the Medics; and also scoring highly were Patti LaBelle with Michael MacDonald, Peter Gabriel, Simply Red, Level 42, Jaki Graham, Van Halen and Robert Palmer. But... just making its debut miles away down the charts was a song that was to become a ubiquitous part of that summer's soundtrack, as I recall - it's Amazulu and their eternally chirpy version of the Chi-Lites Too Good To Be Forgotten!

I'm skanking as we speak.