Thank you for visiting! Please feel free to leave a comment. I accept anonymous comments as long as they are polite.

All written content is protected by copyright but if you wish to contact me regarding the content of this blog, please feel free to do so via the contact form.

Please pay a visit, too, to HILLIARD & CROFT


Christina Croft at Amazon

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


About depths of feeling, it's so clear that so much of what passes for 'passion' nowadays misses the mark completely. There was a time in film and music where much was left hidden and had an air of mystery about it. Nowadays 'anything goes' but it isn't passion and lacks depth. Most fascinating of all is the fact that the some of the people who are often described as 'cold' or viewed as remote are often those with the greatest depths of passion and feeling.

To cite but 3 examples: Prince Albert, Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Emily Bronte. Apart from being the love of Queen Victoria's life, Prince Albert is often seen as the epitome of Victorian coldness, yet here was a man who inspired not only the love of so passionate a woman, but also wrote music and painted with such depths of feeling. He died at only 42 and I think that had a lot to do with the power of his unexpressed feelings. Being the child of an unhappy marriage, he learned to hide his feelings at an early age but, looking at his art, his music, his social conscience, his devotion to his family, he was one of the most intensely passionate men ever to have lived.

Because she didn't have children and was married to someone who is often maligned, Grand Duchess Elizabeth is also often described as 'cold'. Her letters - filled with exclamation marks and dramatic expressions of endearment and passion - reveal a very different personality! Emily Bronte, because she longed always to be alone, is seen as another 'cold' person and yet she wrote the most passionate novel, and still more the most wonderful poetry of her century.

In an age where blatant and rather boring displays of short-lived sexuality passes for passion, it's small wonder that such people who were so 'whole' in their passion are dismissed as 'cold'. But, as Wordsworth rather clumsily wrote: "To me, the meanest flower the blows can give thoughts that lie too deep for human tears..." I often think that those with the deepest sensitivities, do not wear their hearts on their sleeves because they know that it would not be understood in a rather dispassionate world.

Perhaps it's not that people no longer have these sensibilities - it's that the most powerful feelings are frightening to most people and those who feel them most deeply feel it is better to remain silent about them.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

2009 - A time to heal

During her Christmas Day broadcast, Her Majesty the Queen - a woman of great wisdom - said, "Each year that passes seems to have its own character. Some leave us with a feeling of satisfaction, others are best forgotten. 2009 was a difficult year for many..."

Looking back at 2009, which began with such high hopes (as does every year) the Queen really captured the spirit of the age! A year, here in England, of seeing more and more coffins draped with Union Flags being brought home from Afghanistan; a year of meaningless words spouted by world leaders; a year of M.P.s' expenses coming to light; a year of shops like Borders and Woolworth's closing - empty shopping Malls and people losing their jobs; a year of more nonsense spouted about the climate change, when Nature responds by sending more snow than we have had in decades!!; a years of more child abuse scandals in Ireland being brought out.

But all is not lost! As Her Majesty said, "Each year that passes seems to have its own character..." and it seems like this one was a year of uncovering the lies that have been allowed to remain hidden and have been festering in the manner of, to quote Shakespeare, "something is rotten in the state of...." how things have been. If one wishes to re-decorate a house, it's not advisable to paint over cracks, it is better to strip the whole room and expose the rottenness as only then can it be remedied. A boil sometimes needs to be lanced in order to heal. This year seems to have been a year for lancing boils and for people to be able to say, "Things have gone on in a dark way for long enough; now is the time to expose the shadow side in order to heal it."

The most wonderful story of the year, for me, is Susan Boyle's. What a whirlwind of success for someone thoroughly without guile! After the 'plastic age', where every actor looks the same as the next, it feels as though Nature is regurgitating the nonsense we have swallowed for so long. It feels like a pivotal time of changing direction. As more and more people move to growing their own vegetables again, and finding alternative ways of earning a living than by fitting into someone else's idea of how we must live, as people turn from the idea of advertising designs for how everyone must look in order to be successful, maybe it really is a sign that 2009 will be looked back on as the year of exposure of falsehood, of lancing the boils and of making a small turning point on the road to recovering who we really are and how we might live in harmony, being who we are here to be.

(picture taken from The Telegraph website. If you object, I'll remove it :-) )

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Prince Albert's First 'Family' Christmas.

The image of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria's family at Christmas is one of the most enduring and inspires that nostalgia for the 'Victorian Christmas'. This excerpt from the wonderful book: "King Without a Crown" by Daphne Bennett, describes their first Christmas as parents. Princess Vicky (the future Empress Frederick) was just one month old:

"Driving to Windsor for Christmas, Albert refused to entrust his child to anyone, but held her on his own knee. With the radiant Queen by his side, he was filled with 'quiet satisfaction' (a favourite expression to denote extreme happiness) that Providence had been so good to him.This year his 'dear festival time' held a special meaning - he was now the father of a family. This meant three present tables...the Queen's, magnificently decorated by Albert himself with a huge arch of laurel and multi-coloured chrysanthemums, entwined to form her initials, which made her speechless with delight. An extra surprise was the enormous tree, gay with candles and decoration, which he had had sent from Germany."

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Grigory Rasputin

On this day (or yesterday if he died before Midnight) according to the Old Russian calendar, 93 years ago, Grigory Rasputin was murdered in a madcap plan to save the Romanov dynasty. To this day the exact details of his death remain sketchy and Prince Felix Youssoupov's claims to have fired the fatal bullet seem somewhat far-fetched. Nevertheless, the man was killed in vain. It was too late to save the dynasty and it was probably too late for Rasputin to claim to have any influence in anything that was going on in Russia. Events were moving too quickly and Rasputin had already gone beyond his capacity to be of any assistance to anyone.

These are only my thoughts about him and they might be mistaken. Rasputin, to my mind, was a simple peasant with a remarkable gift. He cannot be dismissed as simply a charlatan because the Tsarina Alexandra was far too astute and spiritual a being to be conned by someone so superficial. The driving force behind the Tsarina was the natural desire to end her son's suffering and her sense of responsibility in supporting her husband, Tsar Nicholas, and ensuring that he was able to adhere to his Coronation Oath and maintain the stability of the country. Alexandra was first and foremost a wife and mother. She had no personal desire for power but she had married - out of love - one of the most significant players on the world stage: the Tsar of all the Russias, who, likewise, had no personal desire for power, only the sense of having to carry that burden to the best of his ability. As any loving wife would do, she supported her husband in his work. Their only son suffered from haemophilia - a condition which, at the time, meant the slightest knock could leave him in excruciating pain and even prove fatal. Moreover, that beautiful child, was being groomed to one day rule the mighty Russian Empire and Alexandra's role was so ensure that he was capable of so doing, but the poor boy was often laid low by his illness and, like any mother, Alexandra would have done anything to ease his pain.

Into this scenario stepped the rough peasant Rasputin with his mystical gifts of being able to alleviate suffering. He was certainly successful on one level and he was also able to give Alexandra the hope and support she craved. Naturally, he appeared to her as a holy 'Man of God' - and perhaps he was, in the beginning. Alexei (the Tsarevich) felt better when Rasputin assured Alexandra that all was well. Nowadays, when so much information is available about the power of the mind, such things make a lot of sense, but then it was simply 'miraculous'. Unfortunately, I think, Rasputin came to associate himself with his own power and, becoming arrogant in his complacency, completely lost sight of his gifts. He began interfering and, like a petulant child, became angry when he wasn't appreciated, and his anger was often followed by deep remorse. He was simply 'too big for his own boots'. He couldn't cope with his gifts and they began to fail him. There was no way he could have averted the war (interesting, considering the power of the mind, that he absented himself at the time its outbreak, by drawing to himself (unconsciously) an attack from a fanatical opponent); nor could he have prevented the Russian Revolution and he made his convenient escape by opening himself to being murdered only months before it all fell apart.

The truly mystical part of Rasputin is, to my mind, his way of thinking. A gifted man who could have done so much good, but he became so self-absorbed and incapable of using his gifts wisely that it led only to disaster for him and for a dynasty. I was taught in school that Rasputin was a major factor in sparking the revolution. I don't think that is true. I think he was merely an excuse, among many other excuses, for leading Russia into the chaos that followed. Alexandra and her children respected him and, for that reason alone, I think he needs to be remembered tonight.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Royal Variety Performance

The Royal Variety Performance, which took place a couple of weeks ago, was broadcast this evening and, alongside the brilliant northern humour of Peter Kaye, and the brilliance of a ventriloquist and some gymnasts, it featured André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra. What a beautiful return to the age of elegance and beauty!

It irked me a little - as a northerner - that all the comedians (and these were mostly northern comedians) made such a big thing of the north-south divide, rather playing on the idea that all northerners are beer-swilling, uncouth people with no command of the English language. When Whoopi Goldberg then appeared and played on the same kind of divisive theme about how wonderful it is to have a 'black' president and a black princess in the latest Disney film, it seemed as though a lot of old 'chips on shoulders' came into play, rather than people being accepted for what we are.

As a northerner, I find it offensive to be classed in some particular vein - I have the northern accent but I don't have a whippet, a flat cap and have never been down 't' pit, nor do I eat black pudding. I don't like the way that we play on being northern as though it matters where we come from. And, if I were a black person, I would find it equally offensive if someone kept saying how great it is to have a black president. Who cares what colour someone's skin is? It's what he/she says that matters. There are some literary awards open only to women - and, as a woman, I find them objectionable as I find awards open only to people of ethnic minorities objectionable. It often seems that people who speak most vociferously about equality, are those with the largest chips on their shoulders. We are all just people!! Who cares where we come from, what colour or gender we are? The ones who speak in the loudest voices, seem to have the biggest hang-ups about these things and create the widest divides.

However, in the middle of all that, there stepped onto the stage the wonderful Johann Strauss Orchestra - what a beautiful journey back into that age of glittering ballrooms and refinement! The musicians all smiled at one another throughout their performance and it was utterly beautiful! Thank you, Mr. Rieu (I found your image on Google and have posted it here!).

Monday, 14 December 2009

Caring for the Planet and the Creatures We Share it With

If, instead of paying attention to so much propaganda from global politicians in the desire to raise taxes and destroy the sovereignty of individual countries, all the people who really care about this planet and the creatures upon it, were to watch this video, I am sure that such evil practices as this would stop immediately. Would that such treatment were top of the list for discussion in Copenhagen!!

Please be warned, this video is extremely distressing:


Prince Albert and Princess Alice

In loving memory of beautiful Prince Albert who died on 14th December 1861 aged only 42. In his relatively short life he had achieved so much - a great artist, composer and musician, he restored the tarnished image of the monarchy in Britain and was passionate about the welfare of the people. Far-sighted in ensuring an excellent education for his daughters as well as his sons, he was a deeply loving father and a true role model...and incredibly handsome too!!

And in loving memory of his daughter, Princess Alice, who, after wearing herself out caring for her family and the people of Hesse, died aged only 35 on 14th December 1878. Like her father, Alice had a profound social conscience and a deep, questioning spirituality. It is significant and beautiful that her last words were, "Dear Papa..."

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Some have greatness....

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them" wrote Shakespeare in 'Twelfth Night'.

The major front-of-house players on the world stage in 1914 were mostly those who had greatness thrust upon them. Franz Josef became Emperor of Austria in 1848, at the age of 18, due to the mental difficulties of his uncle and predecessor. Nicholas - at 26 - became Tsar of Russia in 1894 due to the untimely death of his father. George of Great Britain became king due to the premature death of his brother, Albert Victor; and Wilhelm II became Kaiser due to his father's throat cancer. With the exception of Wilhelm (who was busy working out the problems of his malformed arm and difficulties with his relationship with his mother) none of these men actively sought power but became the front men for the biggest disaster in history. Behind them, of course, were the same unseen 'dark forces' that continue to this day - the forces of those who 'achieve' greatness, or rather snatch at an idea of 'greatness' and power through sheer arrogance.

Across Europe in the years leading up to 1914, there was a restlessness - women were no longer content to remain disenfranchised; the industrial revolution had led people from their more natural way of life to living by the clock in slum dwellings and that couldn't continue; the population had increased and people were suddenly being herded into jobs which crushed their spirit by unscrupulous factory owners. In such a state of unhappiness, the idea was born that the king/Tsar/Kaiser was responsible for all of this dissatisfaction but in fact it was nothing to do with any of these men all of whom (excepting, perhaps, George of Britain) were victims of their greatness.

Of these 4 kings, the one who has received the greatest criticism is Nicholas, Tsar of All the Russias. So often he has been written off by historians as 'weak' but this is such a glib comment that is merely folk lore. Nicholas went out of his way to avoid the catastrophe of war. He was battling not only against those 'dark forces' of industrialists and bankers who had already decided that war was the best way to acquire wealth, but also against the rising tide of change within his own Empire. When push came to shove, George was most cowardly, in my opinion. Changing his name to Windsor to sound more English, he abandoned his close ally, cousin and friend, Nicholas to save his own skin. Franz Josef, having endured the dramatically tragic deaths of his brother, son and wife, gave up the fight and passed on. Wilhelm, I think, tried to make amends by offering safe haven to his 'enemy' Russian cousins, then fled to Holland but he was already powerless because his ministers had taken over. Nicholas, however, stood by his army, abdicated so as not to turn his army on his own people and suffered the indignity and humiliation of abdicating so as not to be unfaithful to his allies. Of the 4 of them, who behaved with the greatest courage right to the end? The 'weak' Nicholas!

Who came next in these countries? Power seeking psychopaths like Lenin (riddled with syphilis), Stalin (mass murderer), Hitler...massive propaganda machines...and what is happening today in the way of propaganda?

The most fascinating thing about history is that - as so many things in life - nothing is ever as it first appears! The most fascinating thing about the news is also that nothing is ever as it first appears. Let's be awake and aware and not be hoodwinked into believing more untruths.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Utterly Revolting Hypocrites

The Copenhagen summit is enough to turn the strongest stomach. 1,200 limousines, gourmet dinners and....free prostitutes???? What a brilliant way to 'save the world':


Saturday, 5 December 2009

What Happened to the BBC's Impartiality?

How predictable political matters are, when we look back at history and follow the channels of propaganda through the decades!

Following the briefest of reports of the leaked emails regarding the doctoring of so-called 'global warming' data, the BBC (an authority which, until now, I trusted) suddenly has gone overboard on local news as well as national news emphasising the same old message. Those many hundreds of scientists who oppose the party line were described today as 'a minority' and overlooked in a fraction of a second, while interviews were given to all those who spout the usual line.

Perhaps there is climate change but insufficient air time has been given to those who don't accept that. More importantly, even less time has been given to those (like me) who accept that the climate is constantly changing but doubt that this has anything to do with the human impact on it - which seems the most arrogant assertion of Mankind ever! Do these arrogant people truly believe that there is no power beyond their own claim for it? Have they never looked at history? The various ages show the way this planet has changed but they quote records only for the past 50 and 100 years, forgetting the centuries before that!

How revolting is Al Gore, with his investments in companies for whom these kinds of things are are very profit-worthy, as well as seizing even more control to the little core of people who like to control everyone and everything (poor pathetic creatures!). And now we hear President Obama will attend Copenhagen (undoubtedly with his huge escort of cars and planes - and massive 'carbon footprint') to tell the rest of us that from now on we must use light bulbs that give no light (and are packed, apparently, with mercury) which, because they are energy-saving means the Government can take 9p in tax for every one of them that is sold, and can make a law to remove the brighter ones from the shelves....So we go blind in this half-light and won't be able to read the small print on all the other laws that they sneak through in the name of protecting us. Good heavens!! I thought Lenin was bad, and he snatched power from only one country. Nowadays, it becomes more and more apparent even in America - the 'land of the free' - and in Britain, whose proud heritage has been side-lined to some unelected European power.

Al Gore, and all the others who are claiming to be God in this, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. If you really care for the planet, care for the creatures on it - the people and the animals (don't kill them to eat!), and the plants (individually!) - instead of going around proclaiming doom as a false prophet!

BBC, please give us at least a fair debate, and be the unbiased corporation you were created to be, instead of yielding to your control-minded masters at every turn!

Friday, 4 December 2009

An irresistible bandwagon!

At risk of jumping on a massive bandwagon, I just can't get over how truly wonderful Susan Boyle's success is. There is something about her voice which was apparent from that first audition and which is so unique because it is absolutely from the soul. Isn't it interesting that she said on an interview that when she was born her parents were told, 'not to expect much' of her because she had a disability? Just goes to show how narrow minds can be.

Still more lovely is the way that she just comes alive in her singing. It is as though there is such focus on the song that she is the music. So very different from the glossed-over, plastic faces that make so many stars look like clones - Susan is beautiful and untainted by her huge stardom. How utterly refreshing and what an honour it is to hear someone sing straight from the heart!