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There was a time when I really admired Prince Harry, despite some of his party scandals.

The Prince Harry of active British Army service and of the Invictus Games has been replaced by one of snobbishness and environmentalism.

Has marriage changed him or was this always in the back of his mind?

His interview with Jane Goodall, doyenne of primatologists, has just appeared in the September 2019 edition of British Vogue. His wife, Meghan — the Duchess of Sussex — guest edited this edition of the magazine.

The Duke of Sussex — Prince Harry — spoke of his love of nature and the environment. Prince Harry’s dialogue is in bold. Jane Goodall’s is in normal print:

… I think, weirdly, because of the people that I’ve met and the places that I’ve been fortunate enough to go to, I’ve always had a connection and a love for nature. I view it differently now, without question. But I’ve always wanted to try and ensure that, even before having a child and hoping to have children…

Not too many! [Laughs]

Two, maximum! But I’ve always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation.

But, in fact, we’ve stolen their future. Not all of it. But we’ve got to try and pay a little of it back. And get together to try and heal some of the harm, and at least slow down climate change.

The New York Post‘s Page Six picked up on the interview and Harry’s perspective (emphases mine):

Harry’s outlook on family is a stark contrast to his brother — and to the royal matriarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton already have three kids: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The Queen has four children, although all of her kids only have two.

In his interview with the conservationist, the prince also brought up racism and “unconscious bias,” saying some people don’t realize their own prejudices are inherited …

The prince has previously criticized British tabloid coverage of his former TV-actress wife, whose mother is African-American and whose father is white, as having racist overtones.

I thought so, too. This video compilation of headlines and reporters’ text messages is a fine example.

However, I’m highly disappointed in both of them, should the following story turn out to be true. On Saturday, July 27, the New York Post‘s Page Six reported on a story in The Sun that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not want any communications with their neighbours on the Windsor estate. The couple live in the highly expensive Frogmore House, which the Queen had refurbished for them:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are off to a rough start with their new neighbors.

Handlers warned people living near the royal couple not to talk to the pair, pet their dogs or ask about baby Archie, among other “over the top” rules, according to a report.

Locals at the couple’s Frogmore Cottage home on the Windsor estate are also prohibited from offering neighborly favors, such as babysitting or dogwalking, The Sun reported.

Pleasantries — specifically “good morning” — are banned, and commoners are forbidden from placing letters in the royal mailbox.

“It’s extraordinary. We’ve never heard anything like it. Everyone who lives on the estate works for the royals and knows how to behave respectfully,” one resident scoffed. “We aren’t told how to behave around the Queen like this. She’s very happy for people to greet her.”

“An overly protective palace official” issued the royal commandments at a recent meeting for residents, The Sun reported. It’s unclear how locals who break the rules will be punished.

The Sun had more:

The astonishing “do and don’t commandments” were issued at a residents’ meeting.

One local said: “It would be funny if it wasn’t so over the top.”

Narked neighbours ordered not to talk to Harry and Meghan said last night: “Even the Queen doesn’t demand this.”

Also:

The warnings were made at a recent residents’ meeting where the issue of the Sussexes’ move to the private Home Park estate was raised.

Royal commentator Ingrid Seward said: “It sounds as if Harry and Meghan’s ­incessant demands for privacy means that palace officials are second-guessing what they might want.

“It’s odd because it’s just good manners to engage your neighbour in conversation in a pleasant way. It’s a very normal British thing to say ‘Good Morning’ and pat a dog.

The Queen always chats to neighbours and even has tea with people on the estate as she’s very friendly with them. The ‘not petting the dog’ is particularly strange.

“Maybe Harry doesn’t want people approaching them and using their dogs as an excuse to talk. And of course the dog with no name keeps its privacy as they won’t tell us its name!

Meghan brought rescue beagle Guy over to the UK from Canada, then she and Harry got a black labrador last September.

They have always refused to reveal her name, even when asked by well-wishers.

Bizarre, and not the level of behaviour expected of a member of the Royal Family.

Harry was raised by his father and late mother to behave better than this.

If Palace officials are ‘second-guessing’ what the couple might want, as Ingrid Seward said, then the Duke and Duchess should tell the residents’ association that there was a mistake and that, of course, they are happy to get to know their neighbours.

Not a lot of people outside the UK realise that these grand country estates — including those of nobility — house employees and their families. The Sun‘s article states:

Around 400 people live in the private Home Park and Great Park area of Windsor, which is run by the Crown Estate.

They include the Queen’s right-hand woman and dresser Angela Kelly, Prince Charles’ old nanny Mabel Anderson and the governor of Windsor Castle.

You do not treat employees like dirt, especially when they are your grandmother’s and father’s.

About 20 years ago, there were two BBC series about the Duke and Duchess of Bedford of Woburn Abbey. The first series featured the elder Duke and Duchess handing over the estate to their son, and the second series featured the current Duke and Duchess running the estate and bringing up their first child. It was shown on PBS in the United States.

I mention this because the one of the first things that the family said — and repeated often — was the importance of the relationship between them and their employees who lived and worked on the estate.

I was amazed at how close they were — and are — to their employees. They held holiday celebrations in Woburn Abbey, which, by the way, is open to the public. They made visits to their employees’ cottages in times of loss or illness. The programmes were a joy to watch.

Therefore, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not behaving in a ducal way at all.

Dukes are said to be among the kindest men in the Realm. They can suffer insufferable bores quite readily, making said bores feel very comfortable indeed. Dukes have a kind word for everyone. They are also very helpful, reaching out to others in need.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would do well to remember that British taxpayers subsidised the refurbishment of their home, Frogmore Cottage, to the tune of £2.4m! Granted, the couple did pay for the fixtures and fittings, however, the point still stands.

This was such an outrageous amount of money that there was a call for a parliamentary enquiry on June 25. Although the Royal Family’s Sovereign Grant costs only 74p per year per UK resident:

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, questioned why £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money had been “thrown” at Meghan and Harry’s Frogmore Cottage residence while public services were under financial pressure …

The annual royal accounts were released on Monday and, at a press briefing, Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, who is responsible for monarchy’s accounts, gave details of the Sovereign Grant, the funding used to pay for the Queen’s official duties and areas like royal travel, salaries and the upkeep of occupied royal palaces.

Sir Michael said of Frogmore Cottage: “The property had not been the subject of work for some years and had already been earmarked for renovation in line with our responsibility to maintain the condition of the occupied royal palaces estate.

“The Sovereign Grant covered the work undertaken to turn the building into the official residence and home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new family.

That same day, another report appeared stating that Prince Charles’s expenditures had continued to increase over the last year. The Press Association reported:

Charles pays for the public duties of Harry and Meghan and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and some of their private costs, out of his multimillion pound Duchy of Cornwall income.

Royal accounts showed that the prince’s bill for the Sussexes’ and the Cambridges’ activities, plus other expenditure including Charles’s capital expenditure and transfer to reserves, was £5.05 million in 2018-2019, up 1.8% or £89,000 from £4.96 million in 2017-2018.

Over two years, the figure has risen more than £1.5 million from £3.5 million in 2016-2017.

In the year Harry and Meghan married, Charles’s non-official expenditure increased by £155,000, up 5.2% to £3.16 million.

Clarence House’s annual report provides no detailed breakdown of the funding for the activities of the Sussexes and the Cambridges, with royal sources saying the details were private.

The prince contributed to the Sussexes’ wedding and hosted Harry and Meghan’s evening wedding reception at Frogmore House, where the newlyweds enjoyed a spectacular firework display and partied until 3am with celebrity guests.

A royal source said: “Their expenditure is met by help from their father or things that they would pay for themselves from their private expenditure.”

In closing, I wish the Sussexes well, but they would do well to remember on which side their bread is buttered.

Public sentiment, particularly in Britain, is a fickle thing. And, when the public decides you’re out of bounds, you’re out, often for good.

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On June 29 and 30, 2019, a new era dawned for baseball — in London.

The first Major League rivalry games, featuring the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, the 2018 World Series winners, took place during London Series 19 at London Stadium in the East End.

The number 19 represents 2019.

Tickets went on sale late last year. They were incredibly expensive, starting at over £100 apiece. Not surprisingly, we decided to watch it from home:

London Stadium was built for the capital’s 2012 Olympics. The opening and closing ceremonies took place there. For the games themselves, it was the athletics stadium, the scene of so many marvellous medal-winning achievements for both Olympians and Paralympians.

Today, the stadium is West Ham United’s home ground.

A lot of hard work by thousands of men and women behind the scenes to temporarily transform a football (soccer) pitch into a baseball field. This was also an international effort. The turf came from France. Other parts of the field came from Canada. The various elements can, everyone hopes, be stored away for next summer’s London Series.

This is what the stadium looked like:

The venue attracted fans from all over Europe — and the United States:

The stadium was nearly filled to capacity — 60,000 — on both days. It was a joy to watch at home:

Despite the breathtaking stadium, its design and location had a strange effect for batters, pitchers and those in the field. Foul territory was double that of a normal ballpark. There was a certain drag on the balls once in air. This produced a lot of home runs, pitches that didn’t go quite to plan and a lot more running by those in the outfield. The commentators said that scientists attended both games to study exactly why this was happening, as the drag is much different to the usual.

The sunlight was also a major problem. The stadium had a huge black screen on the wall behind second base. That was so the batter could see an aiming point. Yet, as the commentators showed us on both days of play, from certain angles, the sun rendered that white, too.

On Saturday, the first game opened with the national anthems of both the UK and the US:

Then, it was time to play ball!

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Prince Harry and Meghan — threw the first pitch. They’re avowed Yankees fans, as you can probably tell from their attire:

This was the lineup:

Incredibly, at the end of the first inning, the score was 6-6!

Saturday’s final score was an unusual 17-13. The Yankees had won:

A fireworks display took place afterwards:

This was a first not only for the Yankees, but any MLB team:

Sunday’s action took place in the afternoon.

BoSox fans were hopeful, especially with their lead of 4-2 by the second inning. This chap had a hat in each camp, so to speak. Worth watching:

Fans were told on both days that they could keep any balls that reached the stands. This happened a lot:

Then, at the top of the 7th, doom struck. Three BoSox pitchers in that inning could not stave off the Yankees:

Boston’s Alex Cora already knew that he will have to dramatically improve his bullpen when trading for the 2020 season starts in July. He needs much stronger pitchers overall.

Cora has already told his star batters that they will have to play more offensively when on the field. Mookie Betts has been taking that advice on board and is beginning to play more aggressively, anticipating opponents’ moves and strategies.

Sunday’s final score was another rout for the BoSox, unfortunately:

Next year, our other favourite rivalry will battle it out in London Series 20:

Representatives from the Chicago Cubs and the St Louis Cardinals came here to watch this year’s games.

They can hardly wait for 2020! Nor can we!

Special thanks go to MLB, Mitel and other sponsors for making the London Series possible. THANK YOU!

Thanks to my two readers, Mary Ann and CherryPie, who commented on my Alzheimer’s ‘train ride’ post this week.

Both ladies suggested that diet could help alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms. An Englishman, Mark Hatzer, experienced excellent results with his ailing mother.

I do think there is some truth in it, but, as the Alzheimer’s Society states at the end of the article about the Hatzers (emphases mine):

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help people with dementia to manage their symptoms, but there is no strong evidence that these steps will slow or stop the underlying diseases that cause dementia.

I also know Alzheimer’s patients who have since gone to their eternal rest who did all the right things and still got the disease!

They socialised, they went to church, they walked, they read and they did puzzles.

This is from Mark Hatzer’s advice list from the aforementioned Alzheimer’s Society article on him and his mother:

Doing any, all or some of those does not guarantee warding off Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

I know from experience.

Most of the employees at The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes had responsible jobs and were cut off in their prime because of early-onset forms of dementia.

I congratulate Mr Hatzer and his mother. He lives with her and has been able to spend his time outside of work helping her over the past few years.

My point is not to expect too much from the standard Alzheimer’s/dementia advice.

In closing, one of the reasons we could be seeing an increase in these diseases of the brain is our modern propensity to eat a carbohydrate-rich diet. I would second Mr Hatzer’s recommendation about eating lots of fresh leafy vegetables and those rich in beta carotene.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were in England and Normandy for commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The night before, he hosted Prince Charles and Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall for dinner at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London. The guests at his table were also in Portsmouth the following morning. Theresa May is on the right in the photo:

On Wednesday, June 5, the Royal Family’s Twitter account summarised D-Day’s importance:

Also:

The Allied landings on the Normandy beaches marked the start of a long and costly campaign to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation.

This was the scene in Portsmouth, on England’s south coast that day:

A short time later, veterans who had been involved 75 years ago began taking their seats:

The Queen, who served as a mechanic during the war, arrived:

This is a photograph for the history books:

Warm exchanges took place beforehand:

The Queen stood between Prince Charles and President Trump to watch the proceedings:

She addressed the crowd, referencing her father, George VI:

President Trump read then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s prayer for the troops:

D-Day veterans appeared on the dais to grateful applause.

Actress Celia Imrie (speaking in the next video) compered (emceed) the various performances:

The following ABC News video has the Portsmouth commemorations in their entirety:

The BBC has a set of photographs covering the day’s events.

Afterwards, the Queen, Prince Charles and the Trumps met with veterans who so bravely served in D-Day operations:

Trump also met with British veterans as well as US Navy personnel based in England:

The Queen then bade farewell to the Trumps, who were leaving for Ireland, where the president met with the prime minister there that afternoon:

The Trumps went to Normandy the following day for D-Day ceremonies before returning to Ireland, then onwards to the United States.

The Q Tree has the Trumps’ schedule after Portsmouth for the rest of June 5 (emphasis in the original):

2:50pm BST / 9:50am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Southsea Commons en route to Southsea Castle Landing Zone, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

2:55pm BST / 9:55am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Southsea Castle Landing Zone, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

3:05pm BST / 10:05am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Portsmouth, United Kingdom, en route to Southampton Airport, Southampton, United Kingdom, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

3:25pm BST / 10:25am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Southampton Airport, Southampton, United Kingdom

3:35pm BST / 10:35am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Southampton Airport en route Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland, Southampton, United Kingdom

U.K State Visit Concludes ~

4:50pm IST / 11:50am EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

5:00pm IST / 12:00pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon Airport en route to Shannon Airport Terminal, Shannon, Ireland

5:05pm IST / 12:05pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport Terminal, Shannon, Ireland

5:15pm IST / 12:15pm EST THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

5:20pm IST / 12:20pm EST THE PRESIDENT participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

6:00PM IST / 1:00pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon Airport Terminal en route to Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

6:05pm IST / 1:05PM EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Shannon Airport, Shannon, Ireland

6:15pm IST / 1:15pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart Shannon, Airport, en route to Trump International Doonbeg Landing Zone, Doonbeg, Ireland, Shannon, Ireland

6:35pm IST / 1:35pm EST THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY arrive at Trump International Doonbeg Landing Zone, Doonbeg, Ireland

The Clare Champion featured their arrival:

At the end of Tuesday, Trump tweeted:

He and his entourage would fly from Ireland to Colleville-sur-Mer in the département of Calvados of Normandy the following morning.

Speaking of Normandy, two British veterans were preparing to re-enact their jumps from 1944. Here is one of them undergoing a refresher course:

This is what happened on Wednesday, June 6:

This is what the Trumps saw as they landed in France that morning:

The following is an excerpt of President Trump’s speech on Omaha Beach:

The Q Tree has his speech in full on Omaha Beach, excerpted below (emphases mine). More than 60 surviving American D-Day veterans flew to France for this important anniversary. Many more Second World War military survivors also attended:

President Macron, Mrs. Macron, and the people of France; to the First Lady of the United States and members of the United States Congress; to distinguished guests, veterans, and my fellow Americans:

We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar. On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrificed their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty.

Today, we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization.

To more than 170 veterans of the Second World War who join us today: You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You’re the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Here with you are over 60 veterans who landed on D-Day. Our debt to you is everlasting. Today, we express our undying gratitude.

When you were young, these men enlisted their lives in a Great Crusade — one of the greatest of all times. Their mission is the story of an epic battle and the ferocious, eternal struggle between good and evil.

On the 6th of June, 1944, they joined a liberation force of awesome power and breathtaking scale. After months of planning, the Allies had chosen this ancient coastline to mount their campaign to vanquish the wicked tyranny of the Nazi empire from the face of the Earth.

The battle began in the skies above us. In those first tense midnight hours, 1,000 aircraft roared overhead with 17,000 Allied airborne troops preparing to leap into the darkness beyond these trees.

Then came dawn. The enemy who had occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in the history of the world. Just a few miles offshore were 7,000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors. They were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.

There were the British, whose nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of Dunkirk and the London Blitz. The full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride.

There were the Canadians, whose robust sense of honor and loyalty compelled them to take up arms alongside Britain from the very, very beginning.

There were the fighting Poles, the tough Norwegians, and the intrepid Aussies. There were the gallant French commandos, soon to be met by thousands of their brave countrymen ready to write a new chapter in the long history of French valor.

And, finally, there were the Americans. They came from the farms of a vast heartland, the streets of glowing cities, and the forges of mighty industrial towns. Before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community. Now they had come to offer their lives half a world from home.

This beach, codenamed Omaha, was defended by the Nazis with monstrous firepower, thousands and thousands of mines and spikes driven into the sand, so deeply. It was here that tens of thousands of the Americans came

One of those men in [Colonel George] Taylor’s 16th Regiment was Army medic Ray Lambert. Ray was only 23, but he had already earned three Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars fighting in North Africa and Sicily, where he and his brother Bill, no longer with us, served side by side.

In the early morning hours, the two brothers stood together on the deck of the USS Henrico, before boarding two separate Higgins landing craft. “If I don’t make it,” Bill said, “please, please take care of my family.” Ray asked his brother to do the same.

Of the 31 men on Ray’s landing craft, only Ray and 6 others made it to the beach. There were only a few of them left. They came to the sector right here below us. “Easy Red” it was called. Again and again, Ray ran back into the water. He dragged out one man after another. He was shot through the arm. His leg was ripped open by shrapnel. His back was broken. He nearly drowned.

He had been on the beach for hours, bleeding and saving lives, when he finally lost consciousness. He woke up the next day on a cot beside another badly wounded soldier. He looked over and saw his brother Bill. They made it. They made it. They made it.

At 98 years old, Ray is here with us today, with his fourth Purple Heart and his third Silver Star from Omaha. Ray, the free world salutes you. Thank you, Ray.

Trump related a few more real life stories about what is known as the Longest Day, unimaginably harrowing. God was with the Allied troops.

Trump concluded:

The men behind me will tell you that they are just the lucky ones. As one of them recently put it, “All the heroes are buried here.” But we know what these men did. We knew how brave they were. They came here and saved freedom, and then, they went home and showed us all what freedom is all about.

The American sons and daughters who saw us to victory were no less extraordinary in peace. They built families. They built industries. They built a national culture that inspired the entire world. In the decades that followed, America defeated communism, secured civil rights, revolutionized science, launched a man to the moon, and then kept on pushing to new frontiers. And, today, America is stronger than ever before.

Seven decades ago, the warriors of D-Day fought a sinister enemy who spoke of a thousand-year empire. In defeating that evil, they left a legacy that will last not only for a thousand years, but for all time — for as long as the soul knows of duty and honor; for as long as freedom keeps its hold on the human heart.

To the men who sit behind me, and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never, ever grow old. Your legend will never tire. Your spirit — brave, unyielding, and true — will never die.

The blood that they spilled, the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they made, did not just win a battle. It did not just win a war. Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization. And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come.

Today, as we stand together upon this sacred Earth, we pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. We will forever be together. Our people will forever be bold. Our hearts will forever be loyal. And our children, and their children, will forever and always be free.

May God bless our great veterans. May God bless our Allies. May God bless the heroes of D-Day. And may God bless America.

The Q Tree has full coverage, including this 90-minute video of the day’s commemorations:

This is NBC’s video, which begins with an analysis of D-Day:

French president Emmanuel Macron also addressed the American veterans. I was in France at the time and watched part of his speech on BFMTV. It was highly evocative and really captured the idea of Americana. Whoever wrote it should get a pay rise. I was very moved by it. He spoke, as did Trump, of young soldiers from farms in the Midwest mixing with their comrades from Manhattan and New Jersey, writing their girlfriends farewell letters.

Afterwards, Macron shook hands with all the veterans and spoke with each individually. I’m not a Macron fan at all, but I have to give him credit for that.

Trump tweeted a short video recapping his day in Normandy:

This is the view of the Trumps’ departure, returning to Ireland before flying back to Washington:

Reflecting on D-Day, someone online posted this excellent graphic from Gab:

We should be so grateful for everything that God has given us — especially peace and freedom in the Western world.

However, it would also be prudent to look at how we have squandered the opportunities for our young people in peacetime. The safe space generation is not equipped to deal with the horrors of life such as it is.

May the good Lord grant us the wisdom to get us out of a navel-gazing attitude towards one of genuine progress and ingenuity, such as that of the post-war years.

In closing, let us give thanks to the Greatest Generation for their immense courage and bravery.

On Monday, June 3, 2019, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in London for a three-day State Visit:

The Daily Mail has a full itinerary of the trip.

The president’s adult children accompanied them, along with Cabinet members and senior staff.

America’s first couple stayed at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, Winfield House. The Trump offspring stayed at the Corinthia Hotel in central London.

Monday was packed with events for the Trumps. This video recaps the day, which began by landing at Winfield House, meeting the Queen for lunch at Buckingham Palace, taking tea as guests of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House and being the guests of honour at a State Dinner at the palace:

I was out of the country at the time and wanted to have a record of his trip by posting about it here. I am not sure how much made the media outlets and how it was reported.

One thing that did surprise me — and my better half, who is English — was that the president spoke with the honour guard as he was inspecting them. Both of us were shocked. This is a no-no. Then, Prince Charles did the same. See a brief glimpse at 11:40:

France’s BFMTV showed much more of Trump’s talking to the honour guard. The French commentators were equally surprised.

Meanwhile, the Queen, her daughter-in-law Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Mrs Trump enjoyed a light moment:

Afterwards, the Queen hosted a private lunch and showed the Trumps various items and documents from the Royal Collection pertaining to the United States.

Then it was time to go to Westminster Abbey. The Duke of York — Prince Andrew — accompanied the Trumps, who received a tour of the Abbey from clergy and placed a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Despite its title, the video below does not include tea with Prince Charles but does have extensive coverage from the visit to Westminster Abbey:

 

The State Banquet took place that evening:

Protests took place outside the palace, but guests were undisturbed:

As one would imagine, much preparation went into this dinner:

This is what the ballroom looked like as the Queen’s guests filed in:

Sarah Sanders, who also accompanied the Trumps on their 2018 visit to Windsor Castle, will have another lovely memory of her time as press secretary:

At the State Banquet, the president remembered the events of D-Day and those who bravely fought for freedom:

He also made another faux pas. Like Michelle Obama, he touched the Queen. Unlike Michelle Obama, he did it twice. The Daily Mail reported (emphases mine):

The Special Relationship between Britain and the United States was reaffirmed last night with moving toasts in the Buckingham Palace ballroom as Donald Trump clinked glasses with the Queen and patted her shoulder having called her a ‘great, great woman’.

Amid the splendour and ceremony of a state banquet for 170 dignitaries and guests, the US President thanked the monarch for her ‘gracious hospitality’ and ‘nearly seven decades’ of personal friendship with the United States.

He spoke of the Blitz and the bombing of Buckingham Palace, saying that ‘in their dark hour the people of this nation showed the world what it means to be British’.

He praised the Queen a ‘great, great woman’ recalling her service on the Home Front during the war, and said ‘the bond between our nations was forever sealed in that great crusade’.

He said the Queen embodied ‘the spirit of dignity, duty, and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart’.

Raising his glass the 45th President of the United States said: ‘On behalf of all Americans, I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations and to the long cherished and truly remarkable reign of Her Majesty, the Queen.’

Shortly before retaking his seat Mr Trump appeared briefly to breach royal protocol by placing his hand on the Queen’s back in a gesture of personal thanks. By tradition the Queen should not be touched, but the President’s host seemed unperturbed following his warm personal toast.

In her address, the Queen welcomed the Trumps, celebrated the Special Relationship between the UK and the US, and while Brexit was not mentioned she highlighted how the two countries faced ‘new challenges of the 21st century’. 

The article includes a brilliant set of photos, by the way.

Here is another terrific photograph:

The Queen’s remarks followed:

Mr President,

I am delighted to welcome you and Mrs Trump to Buckingham Palace this evening, just twelve months after our first meeting at Windsor Castle. Visits by American Presidents always remind us of the close and longstanding friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and I am so glad that we have another opportunity to demonstrate the immense importance that both our countries attach to our relationship.

In the coming days, you will see some of our most treasured historical buildings, speak to the business leaders whose expertise and innovation drive our economies, and meet members of our Armed Services, past and present. You will also travel to Portsmouth and Normandy to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

On that day – and on many occasions since – the Armed Forces of both our countries fought side-by-side to defend our cherished values of liberty and democracy. Mr President, in your State of the Union Address this year, you paid tribute to some of the American heroes who risked their lives, and we owe an immeasurable debt to the British, American and Allied soldiers who began the liberation of Europe on 6th June 1944.

I paid my first State Visit to your country at the invitation of President Eisenhower. As Supreme Allied Commander, he had ultimate responsibility for the execution of the Normandy landings. In his headquarters in St James’s Square – not far from Buckingham Palace – British and American officers worked closely together to plan the freedom of a continent, and it would be no exaggeration to say that millions of lives depended on their common endeavour.

As we face the new challenges of the Twenty First Century, the anniversary of D-Day reminds us of all that our countries have achieved together. After the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions, to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated. While the world has changed, we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures: nations working together to safeguard a hard won peace

Mr President, as we look to the future, I am confident that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite us. Tonight we celebrate an alliance that has helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades, and which I believe will endure for many years to come

The Queen then proposed a toast:

At the end of the day, Trump tweeted:

Protests did take place around the country, but a crowd of well wishers was on hand in front of Buckingham Palace to greet him.

Events on Tuesday, June 4 involved talks about trade:

More protests took place in London:

Interestingly, Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump did not shake hands when he and his wife arrived:

The Trumps received a tour of No. 10:

Mrs Trump was with Mr May during the meeting between the president and our outgoing Prime Minister:

Here are clips from the May-Trump press conference:

Meanwhile, a British woman burst the Trump baby balloon. Great news, even if she was arrested:

The Gateway Pundit reported:

“I’m going in..I’m going,” the woman says as she walked up to the baby Trump blimp.

The woman then stabbed the blimp with a pen and a small popping sound is heard followed by gasps from onlookers.

The woman screamed “It’s a national a disgrace! The President of the United States is the best President ever! Shame on you!” after she popped the balloon.

Police quickly moved in for the arrest as the woman walked away.

“It’s going down baby,” the woman said as police approached her and cuffed her.

The woman, whose hand was bleeding, had a fiery exchange with the police and pleaded for them to stop manhandling her.

That evening, the Trumps hosted a dinner for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Winfield House:

The Daily Caller has more photos.

It should be noted that the Trumps did not experience all the trappings of a full State Visit, which includes staying at a royal residence and addressing either house of Parliament.

The Washington Examiner explained:

… royal watchers said the Trumps will be missing out on many of the trappings of a state visit, such as staying at Buckingham Palace. “Not being invited to speak before Parliament is testament to the fact they know he is going to be rude and there’s going to be massive protests,” said Marlene Koenig, an author and expert on British and European royalty.

“They are doing the bare minimum of what they would do for a state visit of a major ally.”

Several honors afforded visiting American presidents or other heads of state will be missing.

He will not get the usual welcome in Horse Guards Parade, the grand parade ground in central London where visiting heads of state are usually invited to inspect the honor guard with the queen before a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace.

Instead, he will follow the example of President George W. Bush, who was given his royal welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in 2003 because of fears protesters would line the route through London

Trump will not get to stay at Buckingham Palace with the Queen. Both Bush and Obama, the only two American presidents to have been granted official state visits, stayed at the royal residence, but Trump has been told that renovations to the east wing of the palace meant its guest rooms were out of service

The run-up to this visit featured speculation about whether Trump would be invited to address the British Parliament.

In the end, the speaker — the figure who presides over the House of Commons and who had previously said Trump’s attendance would run counter to Parliament’s longstanding opposition to sexism and racism — said he had not been asked by British officials to host the president. Presidents Obama, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton all addressed Parliament.

A U.K. official said Trump had not requested to address Parliament. “The president not asking to do that is the norm,” he said. On both sides of the Atlantic, a mutually-convenient cover story of Trump not being asked to be invited in order to avoid being told he will not be invited appears to have been adopted

Previous visits have sometimes reflected the warm relations between individual leaders.

In 1982 the queen invited Ronald Reagan to stay with her at Windsor Castle and took him horse riding. A decade late, Bill and Hillary Clinton were treated to a night aboard the royal yacht Britannia.

And in 2011, Obama grilled sausages with David Cameron in the garden of Number 10 during an event for British and American service personnel.

That said, in summing up his stay in the UK, Trump tweeted:

I will cover the president’s attendance at D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth and in Normandy in tomorrow’s post.

In the coming days, I hope to have time to post on President Trump’s recent trips to Japan, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France.

For now, here is an interesting conversation wherein British Trump supporters talk about the Left and media manipulation:

In case the tweet gets censored, this is what the black supporter says:

The left say I shouldn’t exist, if you’re a particular person you should vote a particular way. That’s why they’re going to lose again to Trump in 2020.

Good man. The other men seem to be from Northern Ireland. They all understand what is going on.

Having been out of the country at the time, I was heartened to see that a great crowd of supporters, like these gentlemen, welcomed the American president to London. They were along The Mall, which leads to Buckingham Palace, and in front of the palace itself:

I would love to hear what these good people have to say about Brexit!

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the author Judith Kerr went to her eternal rest.

A survivor of Nazi Germany, she was best known for her children’s book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, a modern classic in Britain and the Commonwealth:

I am unfamiliar with the book and Ms Kerr’s other works. However, from reading and hearing about The Tiger Who Came to Tea, I had the mistaken impression it was for adults. People have been saying it is about the sexual revolution of the 1960s, or feminism, or an unhappy marriage, or alcoholism or depression.

So it was interesting to run across a tweet from the BBC’s Emily Maitlis:

Her colleague Nick Robinson tweeted this reply:

She told me that some told her the tiger was really the Gestapo. Even when she said “No, he’s just a tiger” they said “Ah, you may think that but it’s your subconscious conjuring up the Gestapo”

Sometimes, a story is just a story.

Writers and playwrights have had to deal with readers’ deep introspection for years. Arthur Miller was one of them:

Sometimes a name is just that: a name. Nothing more. No deep symbolism.

In closing, here is Emily Maitlis’s interview with Judith Kerr, who was 92 at the time. She describes her happy childhood in Paris, then London. Her parents, who were going through endless difficulties during the war in Paris, protected her from it all. She did not know that her mother was suicidal for a time. She found out only when she read a collection of family papers as an adult:

Kerr, a former screenwriter for the BBC, told Maitlis that she came to writing books ‘late’, as a wife and mother. Her husband, Tom (Quatermass) Kneale — a fellow BBC screenwriter — strongly encouraged her. She said that, had she not started writing books, she would have become religious.

As it turned out, she said she never was religious. She said near the end of the video that she strongly supported euthanasia.

Maitlis says she was ‘inspired’ by meeting her idol. Oh, well.

I should think it would be impossible not to embrace religion after what she and her family went through. Personally, I would be giving hearty thanks to God daily. Then again, perhaps her parents were not religious in the first place, so she never had the example.

More’s the pity.

When I was a nipper, I was very grateful when plastic straws first appeared on the market and in restaurants.

That was in the mid- to late 1960s.

Finally, I could suck as hard as I wanted to on my soft drink.

Paper straws are upsetting for children. They are unaware how quickly paper straws become soggy.

Kids love to see how hard they can suck on a straw whilst drinking a beverage. They also like blowing into a straw and watch their milk bubble up.

Children need plastic straws.

I am proud to say that, as an adult, I have a surfeit of plastic straws: three or four boxes purchased over the past few decades, totalling 900+.

It is just as well, because, following the example of America’s loony-tune West Coast (apologies to the sensible souls there), England will ban plastic straws — as well as stirrers — from April 2020.

What is wrong with our once great nation?

On May 22, The Guardian reported:

Plastic straws and drink stirrers, and cotton buds with plastic stems will be banned from sale and use in England from next April, the government has confirmed.

The move, which has been in the offing for more than a year, is hoped to vastly reduce the litter and other environmental impacts of the nearly 5bn plastic straws currently used each year in the UK, along with more than 300m plastic stirrers and close to 2bn cotton buds with plastic stems.

Huge numbers of these items, particularly cotton buds, are flushed down toilets or otherwise end up in litter – surveys have recently found waterways across the UK teeming with plastic, putting wildlife at risk.

I have seen a lot of rubbish in my time, but I have rarely seen a plastic straw discarded as litter.

Only the disabled or someone with a medical need will be allowed a plastic straw. The government must add children to that list!

Think of the children!

This is especially irritating. It is shameful for Theresa May’s office to be putting out a tweet like this when she should have given us Brexit on March 29, 2019. Ironically, the day this tweet came out was a very difficult one for her regarding Brexit. Never mind plastic straws. She could be out of office shortly for not delivering as pledged:

It doesn’t matter how many plastic straws are used. What matters is how they are disposed of.

Furthermore, we are not talking about a UK-wide ban — only one in what used to be Merrie Olde England!

I have not finished writing about the humble and useful plastic straw. At least another post will appear on that great invention at some point.

In closing, as if that were not enough, eco-warriors also want to ban balloons:

… the items expected to be banned were only part of the plastic problem, said Emma Priestland, campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “These three items are just a fraction of the single-use nasties that are used for a tiny amount of time before polluting the environment for centuries to come,” she said.

“Ultimately, we need producers to take responsibility for the plastic pollution caused by all their products, whether it’s bags, balloons, packets, containers or otherwise. That’s why we’re campaigning for legislation to cut back on pointless plastic across the board.”

These people are joyless. That includes our Scottish-born environment secretary Michael Gove.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have issued an invitation to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for tea when they visit the UK next week.

This is a first for any US president, according to the Daily Mail:

Mr Trump will be the first serving American president to meet Prince Charles on such intimate terms.

This is partly because the Queen has been handing over a number of her responsibilities to him, the heir to the throne.

The Mail reported (emphases mine):

The unexpected meeting will take place at Clarence House, the heir to the throne’s official residence in London.

It will come on the same day as the Queen’s official state banquet for Mr Trump, which Charles will also attend. The prince did not meet the President on his working visit to Britain last year, which included a meeting with the Queen at Windsor Castle amid massive protests in the capital.

His sons, Princes William and Harry did not meet with the president, either:

Reports at the time suggested Charles and his sons William and Harry had refused to have anything to do with the arrangements, which was seen as a snub by the Americans.

However, this year, The Daily Caller says that the Trumps will meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the State Banquet, which the Queen will host:

Kate Middleton and Prince William are also expected to be at the banquet.

The Daily Mail points out:

The Donald Trump Prince Charles met on a visit to New York, soon after his wedding to Camilla in 2005, is a very different figure from the outspoken president he will welcome into his home.

Despite their intrinsic disagreement on climate change and chlorinated chicken, Prince Charles and President Trump will no doubt find subjects on which they do agree.

Camilla is highly regarded as someone who puts everyone at ease. She also has a sparkling wit.

The Trumps are sure to have a delightful afternoon.

Those going into London that day will find increased security measures and road closures in the vicinity around Clarence House, no doubt.

President Trump and First Lady Melania visited the UK in July 2018, which I covered at the time:

When Mr May hosted Mrs Trump in London (July 13)

When Trump met with Britain’s two most powerful women (July 13)

July 13: Piers Morgan’s exclusive interview with President Trump

July 13-15 : Trump’s weekend in Scotland — memorable for the wrong reason

I hope the Trumps have a safe, enjoyable and productive visit.

stdunstanDo you ever wonder about the origin of displaying ‘lucky’ horseshoes near a door?

I always thought it was pagan superstition.

However, the origin lies in a legend about St Dunstan — whose feast day is on May 19 — and the devil.

St Dunstan’s two encounters with the devil are said to have taken place in Mayfield, East Sussex. VillageNet has a detailed description of Mayfield’s history, including the legends about Dunstan (emphases mine):

The saint, formerly a blacksmith, was working at his forge when the Devil paid him a visit, disguised as a beautiful woman, with a view to leading him astray. However St Dunstan spotted the cloven hooves beneath the dress, and grabbed the devil’s nose with his red hot pincers! thus foiling Satan’s evil intentions. According to another legend, Satan returned again as a weary traveller in need of a horseshoe, Dunstan saw through the disguise once again and beat the Devil until he pleaded for mercy, and swore never to enter any house with a horseshoe above the door.

St Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta has this variation on the legends:

He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries, having gained fame for the many stories of his greatness, not least among which were those concerning his famed cunning in defeating the Devil.

English literature contains many references to him, for example in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and in this folk rhyme:



St Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull’d the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.

Another story relates how Dunstan nailed a horseshoe to the Devil’s hoof when he was asked to re-shoe the Devil’s horse. This caused the Devil great pain, and Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil after he promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe is over the door. This is claimed as the origin of the lucky horseshoe.

In 1871, Edward G Flight wrote a humorous poem about the legends with accompanying text, which is equally amusing. The renowned George Cruikshank provided the illustrations (see one on the right, courtesy of CatholicSaints.Info). The Horse Shoe: The True Legend of Saint Dunstan and the Devil, Showing How the Horse-Shoe Came to Be a Charm Against Witchcraft is worth a look. Here is an excerpt of the text (emphases in the original):

To all good folk in Christendom to whom this instrument shall come the Devil sendeth greeting: Know ye that for himself and heirs said Devil covenants and declares, that never at morn or evening prayers at chapel church or meeting, never where concords of sweet sound sacred or social flow around or harmony is woo’d, nor where the Horse-Shoe meets his sight on land or sea by day or night on lowly sill or lofty pinnacle on bowsprit helm mast boom or binnacle, said Devil will intrude.

Flight’s work includes a letter from ‘a friend’ describing the virtues of the noble horse and how the horseshoe repels the devil (emphases mine):

… In proportion as they developed unblemished honour, with undaunted bravery, graceful bearing, and magnanimous generosity, were they deemed worthy to rank among Christendom’s bright chivalry.

The horse-shoe was, no doubt, regarded as typical of the noble qualities of its wearer. These being so hateful to the ugly, sly, intriguing, slandering, malevolent, ill-conditioned, pettifogging, pitiful arch-enemy, it might well be supposed that the mere apparition of that type would scare him away. To this supposition is ascribable the adoption of the horse-shoe, as an infallible charm against the visits of old Iniquity.”

The Drinks Business has a good page on St Dunstan and provides us with a more recent, although doubtful, story concerning the holy man and the devil. This, they say, was popular during the past two centuries. It concerns the frost that occurs in the West Country in England around St Dunstan’s feast day, May 19:

The tale was apparently particularly popular in Devon in the 19th and 20th centuries and goes thus.

Dunstan had bought some barley and made some beer, which he then hoped to sell for a good price. Seeing this the Devil appeared before him and offered to blight the local apple trees with frost (the tale is presumably set in Somerset, perhaps when Dunstan is Abbot of Glastonbury). This would ensure there was no cider and so drive demand for beer. Dunstan accepted the offer but stipulated that the frost should strike from the 17-19 May.

As stories go this comes close to blackening the good name of the saintly man who tweaked the Devil’s nose and the legend likely arose among disgruntled cidermakers who perhaps thought Dunstan wasn’t doing enough to protect their crop on his feast day.

The article also says that, because Dunstan was not only a blacksmith but also a silversmith and jeweller, the London Assay Office used to start its new hallmark year on his feast day:

He was, reputedly, a skilled blacksmith and jeweller and is generally venerated as a patron saint of smiths.

In his various roles as bishop and archbishop he worked hard to restore monastic life in England and reform the English church.

Dying in 988 he was canonised in 1029 and until Thomas Becket’s martyrdom in 1170 he was considered England’s favourite saint.

His association with silversmithing meant that for a good 600 years the London Assay Office hallmarks ran from 19 May (his feast day) to 18 May the following year. This was only changed in 1660 when Charles II moved it to his own birthday, 29 May.

What a fascinating history to a centuries-old legend about the lucky horseshoe.

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