Saturday, May 29, 2010

28 days later

The phrase, "Hoist by his own petard" springs to my mind. I have always thought that phrase had something to do with a small naval flag. I must admit that I never really saw why being hung up by your own flag was such a bad thing, but I've always thought that "hoist by your own petard" meant that you had got caught out doing something you were ashamed of.

Like going on about how good you had been putting a post on the blog every day. And look at this. I think that it is actually more than 28 days later, but that was the name of a film, it seems appropriate, though I think it was a film about "zombies" taking over the earth, so it is not at all appropriate really. Oh, to damnation with it!

Anyway, getting back to being "hoist by my own petard", I discover that it means something else entirely. It appears that a petard was "an explosive charge or grenade that was used to blow a hole in a door or wall or even a fortification". Being a French word, Danielle will be sitting there saying "I knew that, it is a french word". I also discovered that it is related to the French word peter which means "to break wind". So finally, after many, many years I understand something that a young Frenchman called Jean-Francois who was staying at my parent's house when I was about 13, apologised for saying, when my Dad thought he had simply been calling out his name. (My Dad was called Peter.) Aha!

So anyway, to be hoist with your own petard means to be the victim of your own attempt to hurt someone else, and I was not trying to do that, so it was an inappropriate thing to say. Neh mind, eh!

I've discovered two other things that I want to share with you all, (all two or three of you readers). The first is about today. I was messing about with Wikipedia. I read an article the other day that told how to use Wikipedia to create PDF books which can be read off-line. About a week ago I happened to be surfing through some of the hundreds of TV channels that you can receive on SKY, when I came across a TV station that was rebroadcasting "Babylon 5" from the beginning. Babylon 5 was one of my favourite series when it first came out and I watched it from beginning to end, quite religiously. By chance I came upon this channel just as it was showing the first episode of Series 2 when Sheridan first arrives on Babylon 5. It really took me back. I am quite a fan of Bruce Boxleitner and I rather think that he is a much under rated actor, but that is just my opinion. So I was looking up details of the characters and I found quite a lot of information on Wikipedia, which, as you will know, treats the characters in some TV and novel series as if they were real people. Daft but fun. Then I found this thing about making books in PDF format using Wikipedia. So I was just having a play when my eye fell on the "THIS DAY IN HISTORY" tab. I am a history freak, only right and proper when you have been a History Teacher for so many years.

So what caused my attention to be caught, I hear you bellow in exasperation. On this day, 350 years ago, Old Rowley came home from his holiday in Holland. That makes sense doesn't it. Old Rowley is the familiar nickname that was used to speak of our most illustrious King Charles, the second of happy memory to bear that name. Charles Stuart, King Charles I was executed by order of the Commonwealth Government in January of 1649. For Eleven years and a few weeks England was a Republic. No King or Queen. No President either, the idea being far too new. Instead we had the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell (who happens to be a bit of a hero of mine, but more of that another day.) Cromwell died in 1658 and there was a bit of a mess for the next two years while various people tried to sort things out. Then in 1660 General George Monk marched his Regiment of the New Model Army towards London. The rest of the New Model Army just sort of faded away, leaving Monk's Regiment, a Guards Regiment, raised in the village of Coldstream on the Scottish border, as the first Regiment to be formed in the Modern British Army. Once he signed the Declaration of Breda, the dead King Charles I's son, Charles, became King and England was restored to a Monarchy. And this happened on 29th May, 1660. There you jolly well go.

Here is a picture of Charley:

One of my favourite Kings of England. I have always believed that he had a good sense of fun, and he was very fond of Oranges!

The other thing that I have discovered today, and this is a lot smaller and more significant in many ways, is that the translation engine in Microsoft Bing appears to be a damned site better than the translation engine in Google that I have always used up to now. I was looking at Danielle's Blog, and noting that she has obviously given up on me because everything is in French, and I was getting to really enjoy her Paris Travelogues which were usually in English. Anyway, I started using Google Chrome the other week as my main Browser, just to give it a good trial. And I have been using Bing as my main Search Engine. I'm reading Danielle's Blog when I see a little message at the top of the screen. It says "This Page is in French. Would you like to translate it into English Yes / No". So I clicked on YES. Well you would, wouldn't you. And it really didn't seem to bad. It did seem better than the last time that I used Google Translate when the result appeared to be in Serbo Croat. So I'm quite happy really.

So not at all a bad day. I've written in my blog for the first time in a month. I had a really nice walk with my dog, Jasper. (We went out at 6.10 am and got home at 8.15, he had two good runs off his lead and we walked around the woods above Gamesley.) Had a lovely meal accompanied by a delightful glass of Rioja. (Now you know why I have written such a load of old drivel tonight.) Watched Doctor Who. and I have avoided the Eurovision Cheating Contest by dint of writing my Blog.

It has been a good day. See you all soon. Keep the faith!

1 comment:

Ann said...

Well Kevin, that was quite a history lesson. I really didn't like history when I was a student, many moons ago.

I wondered what happened to you, it was nice to read and catch up. The movie I remember titled 28 Days, was different then the one you remembered. The one I remembered didn't have zombies in it. It had Sandra B. the one who just won the oscar this year. Can't think how to spell her last name. Anyway I think it had something to do with being in rehabilitation for alcoholism or something or other. It's been a few years ago when I watched it. I guess I need to go google it.

"Hoist by his own petard" never heard that expression in my lifetime. I just learned something new, now if I can remember what I learned. That is the question!

Have a great time until you post again..