Cyber Crime

I am involved in a Cyber Security Awareness Conference taking place on 23 March 2017 at CEME Conference Centre, Marsh Way, Havering, RM13 8EU. Of course, cyber crime and security is not my specialist subject, I’m an HR Professional and Coach and there is an HR aspect to the conference. There is another reason (or reasons, to be perfectly correct) that I’m involved in this.

People who know me personally will know that I am very careful about my personal security. And by personal security, I don’t just mean the physical side of things, there is very little you can do when someone rides on a pavement on a scooter and then drags you along the road until they get your handbag. I mean, I don’t advertise my full date of birth on social media, I don’t use the same password on every site I use and I certainly don’t use the password “password.” I like the sites where I can use special characters as well as numbers and capitals. I insist on checking ‘phone numbers and ringing back when banks, etc, ring me, because I won’t give out personal information when I don’t know to whom I’m talking. So no-one was more surprised than me when I had my identity stolen as couple of years ago. I read on the internet that it takes six months and 200 hours of work to sort it out, and that is about right, in my experience. However, I was very, very lucky. I caught it quickly enough, and I didn’t lose any money.

Six months later, one of my credit cards was fraudulently used, even though it was in my handbag at the time. Ten grands worth of fraudulent activity, so the bank told me, but they blocked the transaction and cancelled the card. A minor inconvenience, but far better than the alternative.

So I started to use one card for online transactions and another for physical purchases. That worked well until I got my bill this week. A less ambitious transaction of around six hundred quid on the online card. I have no idea how or where the person or persons concerned got my details. I don’t recall using any dodgy sites. Most of my online shopping is on Amazon or Tesco, with a bit on Debenhams and few shoes sites. (Yes, I still love my shoes.) That one is still under investigation, and I will be more than a bit miffed if I don’t get the money back.

Another thing. This blog site, which, to be honest, doesn’t have many followers, and certainly doesn’t make me any money (which, frankly, begs a question) was subject to a cyber attack a few weeks ago – over 700 attacks in a 12 hour period. I sat at my computer watching the emails come through telling me what was happening and I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do. I set up a rule to put all the emails in one folder and got on with my day and eventually it stopped. Whoever was doing it had a very sophisticated system, the attacks were coming from all over the world. But what I didn’t and don’t get is: What was the point? They didn’t get any money out of it. I’m not famous. And they didn’t get into my site. What was the point?

I may never know that, but what I do know is this:

• Cyber Crime cost each UK resident £210 in 2015 and that figure is set to rise on an annual basis.
• 39% of victims do not report cyber crime (I didn’t report the attack on this site. I had no idea to whom I should have reported it.)
• 93% of cyber attacks on business are directly linked to a lack of staff awareness and training.
• Only 6% of global IT spend is aimed at staff training and development.
• Employees are the main target of cyber crime due to threats from phishing and social engineering.

What should you do?

• Watch this space for more details about the conference on 23 March 2017. I’ll be posting more about it over the coming weeks as details unfold.
• Don’t open email attachments, especially if you don’t know the sender.
• Don’t use free wi-fi in cafés etc, it’s not secure and it can even allow viruses into Macs. (They tell me that they don’t get viruses and I am still not convinced.)
• Change your passwords often.
• If someone sends you an email to tell you that they have changed their bank account, speak to them to verify it. There have been way too many cases of people losing money this way.

© Susan Shirley 2016

Jam

Jam.  Otherwise known as fruit preserve.  I have vivid memories of my childhood, with my Dad growing fruit and vegetables all year round, and my Mum bottling fruit for use in pies at a later date (there were no freezers in those days).  She also used to make jam.  I think black currant was my favourite, maybe strawberry (who doesn’t like a strawberry?) but she also made raspberry sometimes too.  Blackberries, apple and rhubarb were saved for the pies.

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Courtesy of Photobucket

It’s pretty simple to make jam, you chop up the fruit (well, maybe not with blackcurrants and raspberries), pop it into a large pan, add water and sugar and heat it.  After what used to seem like an interminably long time, the jam is ready to go in jars.  Cover with grease proof paper secured by a rubber band, put a label with the type of jam and the date and off you go. Fruit like raspberries and strawberries don’t contain much of the secret ingredient that makes the jam set – pectin – so you have to add that.  The jam doesn’t thicken otherwise.  The science behind fruit preserves is that all that sugar changes the osmotic potential of the substance (ie jam) making it harder for bacteria to grow on it, thus preserving the fruit for longer.

I seem to remember Mum also making marmalade (Mary’s malady, as we were taught in school.  As I recall, we were taught that it was made for Mary, Queen of Scots, when she had a cold).   Maybe someone gave us a load of oranges for her to make it?  Seville oranges, the traditional fruit for marmalade, wouldn’t have been common when we were kids.  Of course, Mum normally bought the marmalade, probably Robinsons, they seemed to make most of the jam etc in those days.  Thin or thick cut; I always liked thick cut myself.  And then they started making it with lemons too.

Courtesy of Photobucket
Courtesy of Photobucket

Then there was lemon curd, which contains beaten eggs, the juice and the zest of the fruit, without the actual fruit.  That was always used for lemon meringue pie.  Usually served with cream or evaporated milk in our house.  There was no interest in the calorific value of the food in those days.  Quite rightly too, for people who had grown up doing physical work and walking miles to and from school every day, which my Mum had to do as a child.  It’s only now that we are more sedentary and have cars and other vehicles in which to transport ourselves that we really need to worry about what we eat.

Courtesy of Photobucket
Courtesy of Photobucket

Mum occasionally used to make chutney too, tomato chutney, I think, although it certainly wasn’t as common as the jam making.  Chutney originated in India, and wasn’t originally intended for storage, so didn’t contain as much sugar as the modern day products.  In fact, if you go to a decent India restaurant, they make the chutneys fresh on a daily basis.

So here are five interesting facts about jam:

  1. The EU has strict rules about the amount of fruit that has to be present in any preserve calling itself jam.
  2. Spanish artist Joan Miro used blackberry jam as an art medium.
  3. Jam probably originated in the Middle East centuries ago.
  4. Jam has about half the calories of butter or margarine.
  5. Pepper jelly is becoming popular in the US.

 

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

 

 

Snape Maltings

I stayed with Kate and Geoff for a few days after my birthday. Kate and I had plans for a few days, and had hoped to go to the coast for one of our days, but the weather was wet and windy, and we thought we’d stay in land. We trotted off to Snape Maltings instead.

At its height, Snape Maltings was one of the largest flat floor malting in the country.  Basically, when the barley was wet, and being allowed to sprout prior to drying, it was spread over the floor of the building, to give it a larger surface area. After 120 years, the maltings closed in 1965. Apparently, it was a very inefficient plant. Well, I suppose if they were still using the same method, it probably would be.

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Soon after closure, a chap called George Gooderham bought the buildings and so began a conversion from an industrial area to shops, concert hall and art galleries.

The river Alde at Snape
The river Alde at Snape

The first thing to be built was the concert hall, then came the craft shop. There were some beautiful pieces in there, many of which were made locally. There are also some lovely clothes shops selling off high street pieces. Yes, I cannot lie, I did buy a hat.

The village of Snape itself has been there in some form or other for about 2000 years, although the original settlement was on higher ground, and moved closer to the river at a later stage. For a little village, it has a lot of history.

The wherry at Snape
The wherry at Snape

The Romans also settled here, whilst on their quest to subdue all the tribes in Britain. There was a priory just outside of the village too, founded by a local landowner named William Martell, before he set off for the Third Crusade. Like other priories, it met its demise in the reign of Henry VIII, however, one of the barns remains.

The Romans used the area for salt production; in the 19th century the area was used for producing fertiliser, which led to the formation of the company Fisons. Sugar Beet was – and still is – produced in the area, and, of course, malting barley happened in the area.

Snape became a tourist area as far back as the 18th century, as a result of the race course, which led to what is now the A1094 being built to make it easier to get to. By the end of the 19th century, Snape was a busy inland port.

The remains of an old rudder at Snape
The remains of an old rudder at Snape

When I visited the Maltings, I wondered why anyone would put a concert hall in this area – a village that is a bit out of the way. Until I learned about the connection with the composer Benjamin Britten.

Britten was born in Lowestoft in Suffolk and went to school in Holt, in Norfolk, before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Music. Despite travelling to America, Britten didn’t forget his Suffolk roots, and in June 1948, along with singer Peter Pears and producer Eric Crozier, founded the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and Arts. In its early days, there was no venue in the area that was really big enough to do it justice, but, when the concert hall at Snape Maltings was built, voila! The concert hall was burnt down on the first night of the 1969 concert, moving the festival to other areas. It was rebuilt by the following year, and the festival has gone from strength to strength.

There are a couple of little restaurants at Snape Maltings, as well as the other attractions, and various events take place throughout the year, including a farmers’ market on 5 November this year. See the link for further information:

Home

© Susan Shirley 2016

Earl’s Court – The Changing Face of London

I went to meet a friend for lunch the other day, near to the old Earls Court Exhibition Centre.  Oh, my, how it has changed since I used to got to meetings over there, which was only a year ago.  In knew that there was re-development work on the horizon, I didn’t realise that the work had already started.  Walking past a couple of rows of boarded up buildings was quite a shock.

There is a little side road, I’m not sure whether this is Empress Place,  with some charming little cottages, I’m not sure whether this is Empress Place.    At least, they look charming from the outside – I wonder how it must feel to have all that building work going on around you.  Particularly as those premises have been selling to for a shed load of money before all the redevelopment.  Maybe they still do.

The original Earls Court was opened in 1887 and rebuilt in 1937, in the art moderne style.  (A bit more modern than art deco, I think, but I am not an expert in these things.)dscf9754

Earls Court was London’s main exhibition centre for many years.  It hosted the Ideal Home Exhibition (if you didn’t have sore feet and a sore back after that, you’d done something wrong), the Royal Tournament, the Motor Show, Crufts, and, up until 2010, The Brit Awards, to name just a few.  I remember going to many an exhibition or show there in its heyday.

So popular was it that Earls Court Two was built and opened 1991.  However, over the intervening years, other venues were built, and in some cases closed: Docklands Arena, the O2.  The Olympia Exhibition Centre was opened the year before Earls Court, and although not quite such a convenient location, it’s still going strong.  The whole area around the Earls Court Exhibition Centres was scheduled for demolition in 2013 to make room for more – and presumably more lucrative – residential properties.  Which brings us to where we are now.

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Unsurprisingly, the whole area was once a green field area, part of the manor of Kensington, and for years owned by the Earls of Oxford (hence the name Earls Court).  When the railways came to the area, in the 1860s, development started.

At the end of the Second World War, many Polish immigrants settled in the Earls Court area.  In the 1960s, Australians and New Zealander’s who came to the UK on their travels tended to settle in this area – it was one of the cheapest areas in Central London.  That’s changed too.

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North End Road is still a bit more “local” looking, with the pound shops, and local pubs, although for how long is anybody’s guess; a number of council tenants are being rehoused as a result of the redevelopment.

I suppose it’s all inevitable.  Nothing and nowhere stays the same.  I wonder what I’ll be writing about this area in ten years from now?

 

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

 

 

 

Professional Social Networking

 

I’ve been doing a bit of networking of late.  It’s reputed to be one of the most effective ways to grow your business.  In fact, according to write Adam Small, it is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organisation. It’s also quite a sociable thing to do, so what’s not to like?

I don’t remember how I first came across Dean Cassidy, director of Professional Social Networking (is not remembering a social networking gaff, I wonder?  I don’t think we met face to face.  I don’t think he knows how we first came in contact either so maybe we’ll just keep quiet about that and move on.)

I received an email from him recently, informing me that he would be inviting people to an event, and then, by chance, met him at another networking event.  I liked him and his enthusiasm.  So when I got the invitation to his inaugural networking event at the Stirling Bar at the Gherkin, I was in.

There are several networking organisation’s around, from chambers of commerce (which, to be honest) vary in their effectiveness from area to area, to dedicated networking organisation’s.  When you are starting a business, it’s all a bit hit and miss.  Or at least, that’s the way it has been for me.  You don’t know where to go or how to build your business, which networking groups to join or not.  The one I liked the look of, from a membership point of view, was 4Networking – you pay a membership fee but there is no compulsion to attend every week as there is with some.  It was at one of these lunchtime meetings that I met Dean face-to-face.

I like Dean.  He’s young and enthusiastic.  He’s worked for another networking organisation but his is different.  He doesn’t charge an annual membership fee, but he does charge more for an entrance fee.  It’s around £37 a throw.  Some people said to me that they thought it was quite expensive – I did a quick tally up in my head – actually, it’s not.  When you work out the annual fee that you pay to other organisations, and the fee for breakfast/lunch, Dean’s events are on a par or a bit cheaper.  Plus we got wine, yay!  (That actually didn’t work out well for me, I found a soul mate, or maybe I should say a drinking mate, and we ended up getting ever so slightly Brahms and Liszt, but that’s another story.)

There were about 16 of us at this event, which is a good size.  If there are too many people, it can get unwieldy.  I was lucky enough to see a couple of people I already knew, and met some nice new people.  There were people from a wide range of employments there: a jeweller (who is about to become my new BFF, her jewellery is stunning), a tax accountant, an osteopath, someone from IT, graphic designers, to name just a few.  Everyone I spoke to was very friendly and, I guess because we are all in a similar position, we are all prepared to try to help each other out.

Dean has big ideas – and good on him – he wants to be countrywide within two years.  I think that is entirely possible.  That works for people like me, too, because, if we happen to be working somewhere else, and the timing is right, it gives us a chance to go to a networking meeting elsewhere and meet different people.  (4Networking does that too.)

So what next?  Dean has another lunch coming up in a couple of weeks, which I won’t be able to attend, so I’d best be ready for the November one, when the tickets are sold, they are sold.

If you want to find out more about Dean’s company, check out his website:

www.prosocialnetworking.co.uk

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

 

 

The Day I Didn’t Go to Southend

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I had intended to go to Southend at the weekend, but for some reason I didn’t.  I fancied a walk along the front, to take in the sea air.  I checked the train times and fares.  Plenty of trains and the fare was not expensive. I was ready to rock and roll.  Except that I just couldn’t organise myself to go.  I had work to do and that took priority.  I’m not sure now when I will get the chance to go, so I read up on the town anyway.

Southend or Sarfend as it’s known in Estuary English (there is even a website of that name) is about 40 miles east of London.  Its proper name is Southend on Sea, but even the railway stations just refer to Southend.

Southend started life as the southern end (south end) of a village called Prittlewell, on the land owned by Prittlewell Priory.  Prittlewell Priory was not in the same league as Barking Abbey, it was home to only 18 monks.  Some of the priory building did survive Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, although not much of the original building remains due to the various subsequent rebuilding projects.

No visit to Southend would be complete without a visit to the pier.  It was built in 1830, when Southend was growing in popularity as a seaside resort.  The Southend coastline is made up of mudflats, which means that the sea is never very deep, and at low tide, it is about a mile from the beach.  This all meant that, unlike many other coastal towns, pleasure boats were unable to stop near to the beach, so pressure was put on the local authorities to build a pier, and a long one at that.

Southend Pier
Southend Pier

The first pier was opened in June 1830 but was still too short.  By 1833 the pier had been extended to three times its length, and by 1834 it was 7,000 feet long.   The railway hit Southend by the mid 1800s, bringing more visitors from London, which put a lot of pressure on the wooden pier.  By 1887, it was decided to replace the wooden pier with an iron pier, and although it wasn’t completed until 1889, it was opened to the public by summer 1887.

During World War II, the pier was taken over by the Royal Navy, closed to the public in September 1939 and was renamed HMS Leigh, with the nearby town of Westcliff being imaginatively named HMS Westcliff.  HMS Leigh served the dual role of being the Naval Control for the Thames Estuary and was also a mustering point for convoys.

The pier re-opened to the public in 1945, and very successfully, until a fire in 1959 destroyed the pavilion at the shore end of the pier.  The pavilion was replaced by a bowling alley in 1962 but Southend had missed the boat – the Brits had discovered cheap package holidays abroad and visitors to the pier declined.  The pier started to fall in to decline.  In 1980, the council announced that the pier was to close, which caused protests.  Clearly the pier has remained open and the pier has been restored as a visitor’s attraction, with a more recent Pier Pavilion for theatre and art exhibitions.

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The beaches at Southend are mostly sandy, great for building sandcastles, and there are several to choose from.  There are also a number of parks in the area, great for walking the dog, since they aren’t allowed on the beaches in the summer months.

Worth a visit is the Belton Hills Nature Reserve, or if the weather is not great, there are the Southend Pier Museums and Southend Central Museum and Planetarium.  There is the famous Cliff Lift at Western Esplanade, a funicular railway, and the Kursaal, which, as well as being a Grade II listed building which was an amusement park, is now a bowling alley and casino.

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© Susan Shirley

Bacon

I love bacon.  I love a bacon sandwich.  Nowadays, usually a toasted bacon sandwich.  I happened to catch a snippet of a TV programme about Wiltshire cure bacon…  Mmm, thought I.  Let’s investigate this further.

Bacon, as you probably know, is pork meat.  The process starts by curing – usually with large quantities of salt, which dries the meat, or with brine (generally known as Wiltshire cure).  The first bacon produced is known as green bacon (I don’t think I’ve seen this cut for a while, but I remember my Mum buying it when I was a child – green back bacon) otherwise known as fresh bacon.  Bacon is then usually dried for several more weeks, or boiled or smoked.  If it’s boiled, it’s ready to eat; otherwise it usually needs cooking first.

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Wiltshire cure bacon originated in the 18th century, apparently it has a milder flavour than traditional bacon, which was more popular at the time.  It means soaking the meat for four or five days, and needs less salt than the traditional method.

Boiled bacon (or bacon ready for boiling) is usually bought by the joint.  Bacon for cooking comes in rashers.  It’s also incredibly useful for laying over chicken to be roasted or to make “pigs in blankets” – sausages rolled in bacon rashers.

Pigs in blankets
Pigs in blankets

Bacon is distinguished from ham by differences in the curing process, and ham is traditionally made only from the hind legs of the animal.

Cuts of bacon vary around the world, but here in the UK, we commonly eat the following:

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Streaky bacon (also sometimes called side bacon) – this comes from the belly of the pig, and tends to be alternating layers of fat and lean.  (It’s the most common bacon in the US.). It’s ok if very well cooked.

Back bacon is from the loin in the middle of the back.  It’s very lean, with a layer of fat around the side.

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Cottage bacon is usually a thinly sliced, oval shaped cut from the shoulder.

Jowl bacon is smoked and cured meat from the cheeks, known as guanciale in Italy.  I don’t believe I have ever seen this.

Slab bacon (and again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this) comes from the side of the pig and is usually not sliced into rashers.  It tends to be quite fatty and is the same time of cut as salt pork but differs in that the latter is not cured.

My favourite bacon is probably smoked back bacon, but I’ll eat any of it, as long as it’s well grilled…  Got to go, it’s just about ready to eat.

 

© Susan Shirley 2016

 

A is for.. August Bank Holiday

A is for August Bank Holiday, which is this weekend, yay!

In England, we have eight public holidays per year. The easy ones to understand are Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and New Year’s Day. The others are not quite so straightforward. Why do we have August Bank Holiday, for example? And why do we call them bank holidays? We need to go back to the nineteenth century to find out.

The Bank of England, founded in 1694, observed around 33 religious festivals, including saints’ days, as holiday, but that changed in 1834 when they reduced to four! And slavery had been abolished in the previous year. Just for interest, they were

May Day – 1 May
All Saint’s Day – 1 November
Good Friday
Christmas Day

These holidays became known as Bank Holidays because, in general, if the banks didn’t work, there was no point in other businesses working.

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In 1871, the Liberal MP John Lubbock, who himself had been a banker, put forward a bill to go through parliament to give workers an extra four days off:

Easter Monday
The first Monday in August
Whitsun Monday (the first Monday in May)
Boxing Day

Fortunately for the rest of us workers, the Bank Holidays Act of 1871 was passed. Good Friday and Christmas Day weren’t included because they were already recognised as common law holidays.

In 1971, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act was passed, which is the legislation that regulates the bank holidays that we have today. It covered most of the bank holidays that we have today, except for New Year’s Day and May Day. These two days were introduced in 1974 (New Year’s Day) and 1978 (May Day). In 1965, the date of the August Bank Holiday was changed from the first Monday in August to the last Monday of the month. In 1971, Whitsun Bank Holiday was replaced by the Late Spring Bank Holiday, the last Monday in May.

What I didn’t know until I started researching this was that bank holidays are proclaimed every year by way of Royal Proclamation, and to move any bank holidays that fall on weekends (so that we still get two bank holidays when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday and Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, for example).

So that’s why we have bank holidays.

© Susan Shirley

Greek Mythology

I recently had a conversation about a subject close to my heart – Greek Mythology. I don’t profess to be an expert in mythology, Greek or otherwise, but here’s the abridged version of what I do know:

The ancient Greeks, like the ancient Romans, and many other cultures, didn’t believe in just one God, they believed in many. In Greek mythology, the Gods originated something like this:

In something akin to evolutionary theory, first there nothing – Chaos – out of which came Gaia (the earth). There was also Eros (love), the Tartarus (the Abyss, which I think is perhaps most easily described as hell), and Erebus (a dark shadow). (Rightly or wrongly, I always associate this with Freud’s shadow.)

I don’t see any of this as being very different from the earth, air, fire and water that we see in other cultures. Maybe not exactly the same, but there are analogies in the properties.

Gaia gave birth to Uranus by means of asexual reproduction (as happened with all life on this planet in its early days), then, as a result of a union between Gaia and Uranus, the first of the Titans (the elder Gods) were born.

There were six males: Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Oceanus and Cronus.

And six females: Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Rhea, Theia, Themys and Tethys.

They all had different attributes, good and bad. Cronus was the youngest of the Titans, and Mum and Dad decided that there should be no more offspring after this. However, Cyclopes (with the one eye in the centre of his forehead and Hecatonchires (hundred-handed ones) soon appeared.

Both Cyclopes and Hecatonchires were thrown into Tartarus, which did not impress Gaia one bit. In fact, she was decidedly pee’ed off (she was their mother, after all), consequently, Gaia persuaded Cronus to do a Lorena Bobbitt on his father (for those of you who don’t know, Lorena cut off her husband’s penis. Technically that is not castration but it’s a pretty effective way of making a point). Cronus castrated his father and became the ruler of the Titan’s. Rhea, his sister, but also his wife (how weird is this?) was his consort.

Rhea and Cronus were the parents of Zeus (thus, Rhea is known as the mother of the Gods). Cronus feared that his children would behave towards him as he had to his father (quite a reasonable concern, I should have thought) so whenever his wife gave birth, he ate the child.

Zeus
Zeus

Strangely enough, Rhea was not happy with this, so when she gave birth to Zeus, she hid him. When Zeus was grown up, Rhea drugged and poisoned Cronus and he vomited up all the other children. One wonders whether Cronus had a history of indigestion?

Long story short, Zeus and Cronus had a disagreement and, with the help of Cyclopes (whom Zeus had freed), they beat Dad. Cronus and the rest of the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus and so the reign of the Olympian God’s began.
Zeus’s wife, Metis, was expecting, however, there had been a prophecy that she would give birth to a God greater than him, so Zeus ate his wife. (There’s a bit of a theme emerging here.). The daughter Metis was carrying at the time of her demise – Athena, the Greek Goddess of wisdom, reason, intellect and the arts and literature, burst forth through Dad’s head, fully grown when he ate her mother. (That’s what I call girl power!).

Greek Mythology continues to be equally complicated and violent. Here’s a quick overview of the Gods and Goddesses:

Zeus – became the supreme God after he kicked his Dad’s butt.

Hera – the Goddess of marriage and family, wife of Zeus. Zeus was a bad boy, but Hera didn’t take it lying down.

Aphrodite – was born out of the foam when Cronus threw his father’s testicles into the ocean. She was reputedly bad-tempered and jealous, as well as being the goddess of sexual love, and was married to Hephaestus.

Aphrodite
Aphrodite

Apollo – The son of Zeus and Leto, the God of music. He was the twin of Artemis (the huntress) and is usually known as the sun God.

Artemis – One of the virgin goddesses, and the huntress. She is called Diana in Roman mythology.

Ares – son of Zeus and Hera, he was the God of War and Aphrodite’s lover.

Athena – Daughter of Zeus and Metis. As well as the attributes I listed above, she is also the Goddess of War.

Athena
Athena

Demeter – sister of Zeus, goddess of agriculture and vegetation. She was the mother of Persephone, the goddess of the underworld.

Dionysus – the Greek God of Wine, (yay!). Otherwise known as Bacchus, he was the son of Zeus and Semele.

Hades – sometimes known as Pluto, the brother of Zeus. He ruled the Underworld and was married to Persephone.

Hephaestus – husband of Aphrodite, apparently he was a bit lacking in the looks stakes. He was the God of metallurgy.

Hermes – the messenger of the Gods. Son of Zeus and Maea (she was a nymph, and a daughter of one of the Titans, some serious interbreeding going on here).

Hestia – the eldest daughter of Rhea and Cronus, the goddess of the hearth, home and family. In Roman mythology, she was known as Vesta, she of the virgins fame…

Poseidon – aka Oceanus, the older brother of Zeus, ruler of the oceans.

Now doesn’t that little taste make you want to find out more?

© Susan Shirley 2016

Daydreaming Stanley Kubrick

I went, with fellow blogger Gianni Washington TK link to see Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick at Somerset House. I confess right here that I am not an artsy person and what art I do like is mainly confined paintings or photography of wild life. I do think its good to push your boundaries a bit sometimes, so when Gianni suggested going to see Daydreaming, I was up for the challenge.

It was probably one of the weirdest events in my life. I am not someone who just goes to see a film because it is directed by a certain person, and I didn’t realise I’d seen so many of his films until today. The only ones I knew to be his were 2001: A Space Odessey and Full Metal Jacket.

Somerset House gave all the visitors a little guide book, although there were places where I found it too dark to read it!

The exhibition started with a display of a sort of three dimensional image of a chimp looking through into a space helmet – then went straight into a load of electric, log effect fires. Apparently, this referred to a scene in The Shining. That was pretty normal compared with the rest of it.  I tried to photograph this but it just turned out as an orange blob.

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Two big teddy bears on cardboard boxes, apparently with a scent in the room that I couldn’t smell (Gianni could, so it was clearly there) seemed OK, until I read what it was depicting a reference to the pantry scene in The Shining.

I completely missed the sinister aspects of some of the paintings I thought some of them looked quite nice, while others were just a bit.. Well, plain, I suppose. The picture of the barn for the final duel in Barry Lyndon fell into this category for me.

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I did like the breathing camera, although I didn’t realise that was what it was until afterwards. I started by thinking it was a peacock feather, but the eye of the peacock seemed to be the centre of the universe.

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I had to take a photograph of the concrete penis on top of a crushed car Partly because I could actually understand what I was looking at and partly because it just epitomised the weirdness of the exhibition.

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If I say that I didn’t really enjoy it, that doesn’t mean its a reason not to go – I did say at the start, I am not an artsy person. I feel a bit sorry for these artists, all their work was wasted on me, but if you like that kind of thing, go along.

 

© Susan Shirley 2016