Saturday Scenes

Fri 31 August 2012

A Quick Swim

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 11:42

On the 25th of August in 1875, Captain Matthew Webb became the first recorded person to swim the English Channel without artificial aids. He was inspired by JB Johnson, who failed to get across in 1873.

He left his job as the captain of a steamship and began training in the Thames. He first attempted to cross the channel on the 12th of August but had to abandon the swim owing to weather. He tried again a fortnight later.

Captain Matthew Webb – The History of the first man to swim the English Channel

On August 24th 1875 smeared in porpoise oil, Webb dived into the water near Dover’s Admiralty Pier. Twenty-one hours and 45 minutes later he waded ashore at Calais much to the delight of the passengers & crew of the mailship The Maid of Kent, who witnessed his final efforts. Webb recalled in his diary “Never shall I forget when the men in the mailboat struck up the tune of Rule Britannia, which they sang, or rather shouted, in a hoarse roar. I felt a gulping sensation in my throat as the old tune, which I had heard in all parts of the world, once more struck my ears under circumstances so extra-ordinary. I felt now I should do it, and I did it.”

He became a professional swimmer and took part in a number of stunts. In 1883 he disappeared after diving into the Niagara River to swim through the Whirlpool Rapids under the falls. His memorial in Dawley reads, “Nothing great is easy.”

However, on the 25th of August in 2012, the following great photographs were easily shared with the world by submitting them to Saturday Scenes:

Looking for friendly people to follow? Say hello to this week’s submitters:

Have you got a camera or a smart-phone?

You should take a photograph on Saturday! It’s easy to join us.

Simply send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url and the location and all the rest happens automatically!

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Thu 23 August 2012

Wicked Company

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:43

She lived in the Forest of Pendle, amongst this wicked company of dangerous witches.

On the 18th of August in 1612, the final day of one of the most famous witch trials in history took place in Lancashire. The Pendle witches, a dozen men and women who lived in the area around Pendle Hill, were charged with murders by witchcraft. Half of the accused came from two families who may have been feuding. Both families were headed by matriarchs in their eighties. On the one hand, Elizabeth Southerns (aka Demdike), her daughter Elizabeth Device and her grandchildren James and Alizon Device; on the other, Anne Whittle (aka Chattox) and her daughter Anne Redferne. The others accused were Jane Bulcock and her son John Bulcock, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Gray and Jennet Preston.

Nine witches were hung at Lancaster and one at York. A further died in prison. Only one witch was found not guilty. Most of the witches confessed and gave testimony which condemned the others.


And she further sayth, that one Iohn Nutter of the Bulhole in Pendle aforesaid, had a Cow which was sicke, & requested this examinats Grand-mother to amend the said Cow; and her said Graund-mother said she would, and so her said Graund-mother about ten of the clocke in the night, desired this examinate to lead her foorth; which this Examinate did, being then blind: and her Graund-mother did remaine about halfe an houre foorth: and this Examinates sister did fetch her in againe; but what she did when she was so foorth, this Examinate cannot tell. But the next morning this Examinate heard that the sayd Cow was dead. And this Examinate verily thinketh, that her sayd Graund-mother did bewitch the sayd Cow to death.

Pratchett and Gaiman populated Good Omens with names from this trial: Anathema Device was a Practical Occultist and the descendent of Agnes Nutter, the author of The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter

Four hundred years later, there are still plenty of feuding families striving to take the best Saturday scene on Twitter! Here’s the results:

And here are the people who took them:

Have you got a camera or a smart phone?

You should take a photograph on Saturday. It’s easy to join us!

Simply send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url and the location and all the rest happens automatically!

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Fri 17 August 2012

Thou silly great oaf of all the world

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 18:22

On the 11th of August 1680, Cossack military leader Ivan Sirko died at his estate in Hrushivka. John III Sobieski, who would become the king of Poland, described Sirko as “very quiet, noble, polite and has a great trust among Cossacks”. But he is probably best remembered as the man who wrote the Most Defiant Cossack letter, in response to the Sultan of Turkey.

Sultan Mohammed IV of the Turkish Empire apparently demanded that the Cossacks of Ukraine (Zaporozhians) should voluntarily accept Turkish rule.

InfoUkes: Ukrainian History — The Cossack Letter: “The Most Defiant Letter!”

What the hell kind of noble knight art thou? Satan voids and thy army devours. Never wilt thou be fit to have the sons of Christ under thee. Thy army we fear not, and by land and by sea in our chaikas will we do battle against thee.

Thou art the Babylonian scullion, thou beer-brewer of Jerusalem, thou goat thief of Alexandria, thou swineherd of Egypt, both the Greater and the Lesser, thou Armenian pig and Tartar goat. Thou hangman of Kamyanets, thou evildoer of Podolia, thou grandson of the Devil himself, thou great silly oaf of all the world and of the netherworld and, before our God, a blockhead, a swine’s snout, a mare’s ass, and clown of Hades. May the Devil take thee!

You may be interested in a more modern translation undertaken by Wikipedians, which is more detailed, not to mention quite a bit ruder! See the talk page for a discussion on the translation.

Meanwhile, on the 11th of August 2012, no one on Twitter was the least bit foul-mouthed and we all happily shared our photographs with each other. Take a look!

And here are the noble knights that took them:

Have you got a camera or a smart-phone?

You should take a photograph on Saturday. It’s easy to join us!

Simply send a tweet to @SatScenes with the url and the location and all the rest happens automatically!

I’m looking forward to seeing your Saturday Scene in the next edition!

Thu 9 August 2012

Life is Life

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 20:47

On the 4th of August in 1997, Jeanne Louise Calmet died quietly in a nursing home at the age of 122. She was born in Arles, France in 1875: before the invention of the light bulb and the phonograph, the airplane and the automobile. She took up fencing at age 85 and rode her bicycle up until her 100th birthday. She lived by herself until shortly before her 110th birthday, after she started a small fire in her house while cooking. She moved to a nursing home where she remained until her death.

The world’s oldest ever supercentenarian: Jeanne Calment (1875 – 1997)

She gave up a two-cigarette-a-day habit a few years ago — not for health reasons, a doctor said, but because she could no longer see well enough to light up and hated asking others to do it for her.

Every year on her birthday, Feb. 21, she regaled reporters with quips about her secret of longevity — the list changed every year and included laughter, activity and “a stomach like an ostrich’s.” Her most memorable explanation was that “God must have forgotten me.”

The French had their own theories about why she lived so long, noting that she used to eat more than two pounds of chocolate a week, treat her skin with olive oil, drank port wine and rode a bicycle until she was 100.

And of course, she probably took a photograph every Saturday.

On the Saturday of August 4th in 2012, the following photographs were taken, documenting contemporary life for the next generation:

And here are the long-lived submitters:

Would you like to add your photo? It’s simple to join in:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the location

We’d all love to see even more SatScenes in the next edition!

Thu 2 August 2012

Possibly the Oldest Surviving American Warship

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:59

On the 28th of July in 1855, the sloop-of-war USS Constellation was commissioned, the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy. It was the second US Navy ship to carry this name, or perhaps it was the same ship? That would make it the nation’s oldest surviving warship… but this isn’t as simple a question as it sounds.

The original USS Constellation was a 38-gun frigate constructed in 1797: the first US Navy vessel to put to sea and the first to engage and defeat an enemy vessel. She was decommissioned in 1853 in the same yard as the sloop-of-war was built. However, the frigate was never formally stricken from the Naval Vessel Registrar but instead the USS Constellation has been listed continuously from 1797 to 1955. Some of the funds which had been allocated to rebuilding the frigate were used to construct the sloop-of-war, as well as some of the original timber. Many maintain that the USS Constellation is the same ship, although greatly modified, based on archival drawings showing modifications to the frigate before the reconstruction/building of the sloop-of-war. However, in the report Fouled Anchors: The Constellation Question Answered, it is argued that many of the “rebuild supporting documents” were forgeries. This was explained in a presentation by one of the authors.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

In preparing our 1991 report, with the help of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms, we discovered that most of the historical documentation used up to that time to defend the 1797 origin of the ship had been forged. We determined that, in all likelihood, the forger was a particular, now-deceased, longstanding employee of the ship and that most of the forgeries were created by him between 1956 and 65. Seeking self-importance, the forger attempted to defend the 1797 origin of the ship and bolster efforts to change the sloop into a frigate. He added his creations to the ships collection of historical and administrative files. However, he illegally amended original ships drawings and also planted copies of his work in the collections of Federal and institutional archives. His trademarks now are relatively easy to spot. Needless to say, one common aspect of his forgeries is that, in some way, most support the 1797 origin of the vessel.

Without a doubt, the USS Constellation is a fine ship, whether it is a refitted frigate (replacing everything from the waterline to the top of the masts) or a separately constructed sloop-of-war which happens to include some of the original timber.

Forging ahead, on the 28th of July in 2012, a number of all new photographs were posted as Saturday scenes. Will they stand the test of time?

And here are the creators who took them:

You can find out what all of these great people are up to simply by checking the current Saturday Scenes list which includes all participants from 2012.

Why don’t you join in this weekend? Just take a photograph on Saturday and send the link to @SatScenes with the location! It’s easy and fun and we love seeing new sights.

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