21 December 2016

Shortest

At last, here in the northern hemisphere, we have reached the winter solstice and therefore the shortest day of the year. Now we can begin climbing back up again to the light.

On the left there's an image of Queen Jane - otherwise known as Lady Jane Grey. She had the shortest reign in English history - just nine days in July 1553 before fate pointed her in a different direction. She was beheaded in The Tower of London on February 12th 1554. Her death was down to religious warfare as Catholicism struggle to reassert its power in a country that was moving towards Protestantism, rejecting the yoke of Rome.

Below there's Chandra Bahadur Dangi who died last year. He was Nepalese and at just 21.5 inches tall, he was the world's shortest man. To me it is sad that he died far away from home in Samoa and not in the mountain village where he had lived and worked for seventy years before being spotted by a passing tourist. In old age he had opted to join a travelling circus, displayed as a freak, no longer loved and supported by his family and neighbours back in Reemkholi, Nepal.

17 comments:

  1. When I realized this morning that it is the 21st today and from now on, daylight time will be a tiny bit longer each day for the next six months, I drew a deep breath of relief.
    Much as I like Christmas and all that comes with it, I still prefer the warmer, lighter seasons.

    It is sad that Mr Dangi chose to leave his home village instead of staying there for the rest of his life. But of course we don't know what really prompted his decision.

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    1. Money and the possibility of travel and fame are the things that drew him away. If he hadn't been spotted in 2012 he would have surely died peacefully in his homeland and might still have been alive today.

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  2. Our daylight Dublin, Ireland is 7hrs 29mins and 55 secs Winter Solstice,
    yesterday 20th Dec it was longer by 3 sec and tomorrow 22nd it will be longer by 4 secs.
    So roughly three days the same length.

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    1. The solstice day can be on the 20th, 21st, 22nd and even the 23rd - but I guess that with your interest in Druid ways you already knew this Mr Heron. This year it's the 21st.

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  3. I agree with Meike. I'll feel better when the days start to get noticeably longer again. I don't mind cold weather, but I hate short, dark days.

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    1. I love long summer nights. Here in northern England the sun sets well after ten o'clock at night in mid-summer. But to truly appreciate springtime and summer we must also know the darkness of winter.

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  4. I understand your theme of shortest, but what a weird pairing to demonstrate it. I wonder what would have happened if Queen Jane had lived. Her husband was a bit of a prat, but she was yet another religious fanatic, so maybe England was no worse off under Mary. Something I've always wondered about, If Henry's marriage to Katherine was valid, then Mary was the heir after Edward. If the marriage to Katherine was not valid then the marriage to Anne was , and Elizabeth was legitimate. They couldn't both be, but somehow it seems they were. I'm confused. It sounds a bit like my romantic (?) history. I'm confused about that too. Back to the point. The short days don't bother me. More time to sit in front of a log fire, working on my embroidery, and drinking spiced rum. Anyway, it's the solstice, so I'm off to dance sky clad tonight....well, I might keep my thermals on, us ancient witches are allowed these little indulgences. (Mainly, I suspect because sky clad crones are not a pretty sight

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    1. "Weird pairing"? I guess you are right Lesley but then I'm a weird kind of fellow. Jane Grey was only sixteen or seventeen when she was executed so little more than a child. I am not a historian but I have the impression that she was just a pawn in a political power struggle.
      PS Do you drink spiced wine from a pint tankard or just neck it directly from the bottle?

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    2. Yes, 'poor' Jane. Oh the delights religion and politics. As to your question about a tankard or just necking the nectar, it depends how desperate I am. Sometimes, on the odd occasion when I have to appear ladylike, I stick a long straw in the bottle. When I was in hospital for 6 weeks earlier in the year I arranged to have a vodka IV. attached, our NHS is wonderful

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    3. I thought your drip would be filled with Heineken as it refreshes the parts other beers can't reach.

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  5. I guess that means my days are about to get shorter. Solstices sure do roll around quickly these days.

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    1. You Aussies stole our summer and we want it back!

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  6. And it was our longest day here yesterday. And I was told last night at the Christmas party that sometime around 1 am it was supposed to be the darkest ever in something like 500 years!

    However, I've since learned that was not so....http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/21/health/darkest-night-debunk-trnd/

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    1. It seems that the internet contains an increasing number of spoof stories.

      I hope you behaved yourself at the party and didn't get into a fight with The Lord and Lady of The Manor.

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    2. No, I behaved myself like the good-mannered girl that I am, Mr. Pudding!

      I had a good time, though. I matched up with a few like-minded and humoured people; and we shared lots of laughs together. It was fun. :)

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  7. So today was the "short " theme. Interesting how far apart these three stories are.

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    1. Only the word "shortest" connects them Red. I hope you didn't mind.

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