Tag Archives: Interesting Facts

Phillis Wheatley’s Story

Hi everyone, hope you are all okay. This week’s blog is to do with Black History Month. I think it is important to celebrate the lives of those who changed the world, despite adversity and all of the bad events that occurred in their lives, some managed to achieve their status as being the first black author or poet, to the first politician, from the first Mathematician to the first Aviator, and there is so many more that have overcome bigotry, racism and being slaves, etc…

Biography

Phillis Wheatley was to become a first as she was to become the first African American female poet that got published. Phillis was born in Senegal or Gambia in 1753. As a young child of eight she was brought over to the United States as a slave in 1761 on a ship which she had boarded called ‘The Phillis.’

She was then bought by a wealthy family in Boston and it was there she was given their surname Wheatley. No-one knows her real name, so she was given the name Phillis by the Wheatley family because that was the name on the ship that had brought her over to the states.

The Wheatley family soon became aware of how bright and intelligent she was, and even though it is not common for slaves, especially female slaves to be educated, that Susanna and her children helped to educate her. She proved to be an outstanding student, which she excelled in numerous subjects and prove to be an excellent scholar and the Wheatley’s had encouraged her to pursue writing and had allowed her to abandon her slave duties. It was not until 1773 her book of poems of various subjects that catapulted her to stardom as she became the most famous African American in the world at that time.

Interesting Facts

  • The Wheatley’s names were John and Susanna Wheatley.
  • Phillis had been kidnapped as an eight-year-old in Africa and brought to America to be sold. She was brought over to Boston on an enslaved person ship.
  • She was purchased as a slave by John Wheatley, for his wife Susanna, even though she was in poor health.
  • She couldn’t speak any English when she came to the Wheatley family.
  • African Americans were discouraged and intimidated from learning how to read and write.
  • Even though she was supposed to be a slave for Susanna, it was Susanna who chose to educate the young girl, even though Phillis’ health was not particularly good, but her intelligence was difficult to ignore.
  • Susanna Wheatley and her husband John, and their own children all played a role in Phillis’ education. They taught her to read and write and she studied Latin, Greek, English, Ancient history, literature, and mythology.
  • By the time Phillis was 12 she published her first poem. It was published in the Newport Mercury. Its title was On Messrs. Hussey and Coffin.
  • Her only book was titled Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Publishers in America did not want to publish the book because it was written by a slave.
  • Susanna Wheatley used her connections in England to get Phillis’ book published. It became popular in England and soon it became popular in America in the Thirteen Colonies as well.
  • While Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to have a book of poems published, she was also the first slave to have one published as well. She was only the 3rd American woman to have a book of poems published.
  • She was invited to George Washington’s house for a private reading of her poem “To His Excellency, George Washington”.
  • Phillis was the first African American woman to make a living from her writings.
  • Phillis traveled to London, England to promote her work, but when she returned to America several of the Wheatley’s had died. Susanna died in 1774 and John died in 1778, followed by Mary Wheatley (John and Susanna’s daughter) the same year.
  • When John Wheatley died Phillis was freed, according to his will.
  • Phillis tried to publish another book that was unsuccessful. Because her work often included subjects on the Revolutionary War, when it ended her career floundered as well.
  • Phillis married John Peters with whom she had three children. Two of them died in infancy.
  • Phillis’ husband was incarcerated for debt and sent to debtors’ prison in 1784, and Phillis was left to work as a maid in a boarding house to support her infant son.
  • Phillis Wheatley died in poverty at the age of 31, on December 5th, 1784. Her son died a few hours later.

On Imagination

On Imagination is one of Phillis Wheatley’s poems

Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,
 How bright their forms! how deck’d with pomp by thee!
Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand,
And all attest how potent is thine hand.

 From Helicon’s refulgent heights attend,
Ye sacred choir and my attempts befriend:
To tell her glories with a faithful tongue,
Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.

 Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,
Till some lov’d object strikes her wand’ring eyes,
Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,
And soft captivity involves the mind.

Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul.

Though Winter frowns to Fancy’s raptur’d eyes
The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;
The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,
And bid their waters murmur o’er the sands.
Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,
And with her flow’ry riches deck the plain;
Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,
And all the forest may with leaves be crown’d:
Show’rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,
And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.

Such is thy pow’r, nor are thine orders vain,
O thou the leader of the mental train:
In full perfection all thy works are wrought,
And thine the sceptre o’er the realms of thought.
Before thy throne the subject-passions bow,
Of subject-passions sov’reign ruler thou;
At thy command joy rushes on the heart,
And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.

Fancy might now her silken pinions try
To rise from earth, and sweep th’ expanse on high:
From Tithon’s bed now might Aurora rise,
Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,
While a pure stream of light o’erflows the skies.
The monarch of the day I might behold,
And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,

But I reluctant to leave the pleasing views,
Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;
Winter austere forbids me to aspire,
And northern tempests damp the rising fire;
They chill the tides of Fancy’s flowing sea,
Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. See you all next week.

A Father’s Day to Remember

Hi everyone, Father’s Day is almost upon us once again, so todays post is to dedicate… fatherhood, for both those that are here with us and those that can’t be.

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate and honor our fathers by celebrating fatherhood, and the paternal bonds that have been forged. They are the male role models in our life that make a massive impact on our lives, and influence us on our future. There are many countries that celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June, but it’s also widely celebrated on other days in many other countries.

Father’s Day Facts

  1. Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Sonora Smart’s Dad, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there.  The first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.
  2. Canada’s national symbol, is the beaver, and is one of the few male creatures in the animal kingdom that sticks around after mating to help raise the kids. In rare cases, biologists have even spotted male beavers taking on the role of a single dad.
  3. In spite of the impression you might get from the media, according to the Office of National Statistics, four fifths of children in the UK have a Dad at home – eighty per cent of dependent children live with their father.
  4. Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day was originally met with laughter. It was the target of much satire, parody and derision with a local newspaper complaining that it would lead to mindless promotions such as ‘National Clean Your Desk Day’.
  5. The first American president to support the concept of Father’s day was President Calvin Coolidge, who did so in 1924… but it wasn’t until in the year 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation that resulted in the declaration of the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day.
  6. In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September, which is the first Sunday of Spring in Australia, and is not a public holiday.
  7. The world record for having the most number of children officially recorded is 69 by the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (1707-1782), a peasant from Moscow. His first wife gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. Dinnertimes must have been hectic!
  8. More from the Office of National Statistics; in 1971 the average age of a father where the birth occurred inside a married relationship in England and Wales was 27; by 1999 this had increased to 31. These days, fathers are generally three years younger where births occur outside marriage. The average age of the father where the birth occurred outside marriage decreased from 28 to 26 between 1971 and 1991 but had since increased to almost 28 again in 1999.
  9. In Croatia, according to the Roman Catholic tradition, fathers are celebrated on Saint Joseph’s Day on March 19. It is not a public holiday.
  10. According to greetings card makers Hallmark, Father’s Day is the fifth-largest card-sending holiday.
  11. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.
  12. In Thailand, Father’s Day is set as the birthday of the king. December 5 is the birthday of current king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Thais celebrate by giving their father or grandfather a Canna flower which is considered to be a masculine flower.
  13. One of the best-know quotes about fathers was from Mark Twain. He said of his Father ‘When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.’
  14. In Germany, Father’s Day is celebrated differently from other parts of the world.  It is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called “Men’s Day,” or gentlemen’s day. It is tradition for groups of males (young and old but usually excluding pre-teenage boys) to do a hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine or beer (according to region) and traditional regional food.
  15. Father’s Day was created to complement Mother’s Day, a celebration that honors mothers and motherhood.
  16. In China, Father’s Day is celebrated on on the third Sunday in June now, but it used to be celebrated on 8th August. The reason is a linguistic one; the Chinese for eight is “ba”, while a colloquial word for father is “ba-ba” – therefore the eighth day of the eighth month sounds similar to “papa”.
  17. Going for a floral gift? Traditionally fathers should be given the gift of white or red roses. The rose is the official flower for Father’s Day. Wearing a red rose signifies a living father, while a white one represents deceased father.
  18. Canadian women are more likely than their male counterparts to buy a gift  for Father’s Day, but men are more likely to buy something expensive. The most generous of all are fellows in the Atlantic Provinces, who spend an average of $106.
  19. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.
  20. In Brazil Father’s Day is celebrated 3 months after Mother’s Day, on the second Sunday of August. A publicist Sylvio Bhering in the mid-1950s selected the date in honor of Saint Joachim, patriarch of family (as well as the Catholic day of godfathers).

No matter who you are, you can’t help but love jokes from dad. It doesn’t matter how corny or silly they are, they always seem to make you smile. I incorporated some dad jokes into this weeks blog, hopefully they will give him a laugh.

Now I thought that I would celebrate dads this year by selecting 20 Father’s Day jokes just for them, as it wouldn’t be father’s day without a joke or two.

Q: What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?
A: Nacho cheese!

Dad Wisdom: I wouldn’t buy anything with Velcro, it’s a total rip-off.

Q: What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
A: A nervous wreck

Q: Why do fathers who golf take an extra pair of socks?
A: In case they get a hole in one

Science teacher: When is the boiling point reached?
Science student: When my father sees my report card!

“While having their evening dinner together, a little girl looked up at her father and asked, “Daddy, you’re the boss in our family, right?” The father was very pleased to hear it and confidently replied, “Yes, my little princess.” The girl then continued, “That’s because mommy put you in charge, right?”

Q: What do you call your dad when he falls through the ice?
A: A Popsicle!

Dad Wisdom: I gave all my dead batteries away today… free of charge.

Dad: How old is your father?
Child: As old as me.
Dad: How it is that possible?
Child: He became a father only when I was born.

Q: What did the buffalo say when his son left?
A: Bison

Q: What did one ocean say to the shore?
A: Nothing. It just waved.

Q: What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?
A: A stick.

My dad used to carry around a frayed knot in his pocket just an old tied up piece of rope. Then any time someone asked him something and the answer was, “no”, he would just pull out the frayed knot and say, “‘afraid not!” and he would burst out laughing. Nobody else thought it was funny.

Q: Why did the scarecrow win an award?
A: Because he was outstanding in his field!

Dad Wisdom: Our wedding was so beautiful, even the cake was in tiers.

Q: Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl going to the bathroom?
A: Because the “p” is silent.

Thankyou for taking the time to read my post. Wishing all you fathers out there, A Happy Fathers Day.

20 Interesting Facts

Hi everyone, hope your all enjoying the sun when it does come out. well everything is slowly starting to get back to normal. I should say the ‘new’ normal, because what we once knew as normal as now gone, this is why I thought that I would do my blog on some interesting facts surrounding the UK, I will sometime soon do some facts on the rest of the world, so keep posted.

Interesting Facts on the UK

The English drink more tea than most other cultures in the world, even more than the Japanese. The Irish drink more tea than the English. 

George Floyd death: PG Tips and Yorkshire Tea express 'solidaritea ...

Winston Churchill was terrible at school, except in English composition and history. In fact, he failed twice at the entrance exams for the Royal Military College, before going on to become one of Britain’s most famous prime ministers! 

British road signs can be baffling. If you see the Red Ring of Death, it usually means No Vehicles except bicycles being pushed by pedestrians.  

Queen Elizabeth II is distantly related to Vlad the Impaler, the infamous Romanian ruler who gave rise to Dracula stories! 

Many medical and scientific terms come from Greek words. Words that start with ph – are usually of Greek origin! Think phobia, physical, philosophy etc. 

The “London Bridge is Falling Down” nursery rhyme may be over 1000 years old. It may also point to the many fires and collapses the bridge was prone to over the centuries, and take a dig at ‘my fair lady’ or Queen Eleanor who may not have made the best use of bridge revenues. 

King James I proposed one flag for the joining of Scottish and English crowns, and the King James’ Union Flag was designed, which is now known as the Union Jack.

The world’s shortest flight is only 47 seconds (in ideal weather) to 2 minutes long, between the Orkney Islands of Papa Westray and Westray.

Papa Westray | Orkney.com
Papa Westray Island

Sadly only 21 percent of local Welsh people can speak their native language, which is called the British tongue in English. This is ironic, since 98 percent of Britain’s population (derived from the oldest name for the British Islands) speak English.    

London Tube stations used to have a ‘stand on the right’ escalator rule until it was thankfully scrapped in 2015. 

The Scottish national animal is the Unicorn. Why a creature that doesn’t even exist? It appears that according to Scottish mythology, the Unicorn is the natural enemy of the Lion, the symbol that the English royal family adopted for itself.  

Pyjamas was actually an Indian Bengali word derived from Persian that came into the English language.  

King Henry VIII exploded in his coffin, and his remains were ‘licked up by dog’ as was bravely predicted by Friar Peto. He was not the only exploding king of England, however. William the Conqueror was the other. 

The Bank of England that we know today was founded in 1694.

The Bank of England can and should do more to encourage lending ...
Bank of England

The British Royal Family is not just an icon of tradition (and fashion). Only when the Queen gives her ‘Royal Assent’ on a bill and signs it, can it become an act. Interestingly, Royal Assent has not been refused since 1707.  

The oldest building in Britain today is at Skara Brae, in the Orkney Isles of Scotland

It is not surprising that ‘salsa’ comes from Spanish, but did you know, so did ‘tornado’?   

Rural houses in Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll with the altered name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch which holds one of the longest names of any place in the world.  

In the 1600s, London was separate from Westminster but then rich people built houses on the Thames between the two cities.

The nursery rhyme Mary had a little lamb was based on Mary Sawyer, an 11-year-old Bostonian girl, whose lamb followed her to school one day in 1817. but she never wrote the poem,

In Scotland, if you get drunk and have a cow in your charge, for some reason you could be jailed or fined up to 200 pounds. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. See you all next week!