The Isle of Wight has many amazing attractions, from places in nature, to ruins and monuments. From red squirrels to dinosaurs. Countless tourists find beaten or undiscovered tracks and travel the Island enjoying the beautiful views. Yet the Island’s history will always be related to the lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who have created in Osborne House a family retreat and a home filled with many happy family moments.
Queen Victoria bought Osborne House in 1845. She had spent two holidays on the Isle of Wight as a young girl, in Norris Castle, the estate next door to Osborne. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert liked the house and the views of the Solent. But when it became obvious that it was too small for their needs, they have decided to build a new residence in the style of the Italian Renaissance complete with two belvedere towers between 1845 and 1851. Prince Albert designed the house himself together with builder Thomas Cubitt, whose company also built the main façade of Buckingham Palace.
Because of the layout of the estate, gardens and woodlands, Prince Albert made use of his knowledge of forestry and landscaping. Below the gardens there was also a private beach where the Queen had her own private bathing machine.
The grounds include a ‘Swiss Cottage’, which was dismantled and brought piece by piece from Switzerland to Osborne where it was reassembled for the royal children, who were encouraged to garden. Each royal child was given a rectangular plot in which to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers, in order to then sell their produce to their father. Prince Albert used this as a way to teach his children the basics of economics. The children also learned to cook in the Swiss Cottage, which was equipped with a fully functioning kitchen. Both parents saw this kind of education as a way of keeping their children’s feet firmly on the ground in spite of their royal status.
The royal family stayed at Osborne for lengthy periods each year: in the spring for Victoria’s birthday, in summer for Albert’s birthday, and in winter for Christmas.
The domestic idyll at Osborne was not to continue. In December 1861, Prince Albert died at Windsor Castle. During her widowhood, Osborne House continued as one of Queen Victoria’s favourite homes, until her death there in 1901.
The house is now a very attractive English Heritage location, being at the same time museum and hosting various events throughout the year. It comprises also a lovely café and a souvenir shop with many attractive items.
For those of you who did not have yet the chance to visit the Isle of Wight, I warmly invite you to spend few sunny days and discover it for yourself. And if you come here take some time to discover this wonderful house as well. In order to raise your interest I take you on a quick tour. Please enjoy the art objects, the beautiful un-palace-like rooms and the great atmosphere.
500 words, Adela Galasiu, March 2016
Photos: Osborne House, by Adela Galasiu, February 2016, Isle of Wight, UK
The “Three Little Pigs” is a fairy tale that has become very popular in our culture. It was originally written in England, the earliest credited story version being written by James Orchard Halliwell in 1849. The story appeared in a book titled “Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales.” It is not known if Halliwell, who later used the name Halliwell-Phillipps, created the story himself or has simply passed it down from his previous generations.
Halliwell was credited by Joseph Jacobs when he adapted the story for a book titled “English Fairy Tales.” Jacobs made changes to appeal to a younger audience. In the original story, the “Big Bad Wolf” was boiled in a pot and eaten by the three pigs. Rather than end the fairy tale in such a horrible manner, Jacobs adapted the tale, so that the “Big Bad Wolf” came down the chimney and burned his tail. In the Disney interpretation, the wolf lands in a pot of boiling turpentine, but runs away in pain through the chimney.
The basic story of “The Three Little Pigs” is a tale of three little pigs who each builds a home. The first one takes little time in building the home out of straw and spends the rest of his time playing and relaxing. The second little pig builds a home out of sticks, which takes a bit longer, but he too values relaxation time. The third little pig chooses to build a home out of bricks, which requires a great deal of time and effort. He values more taking the time to build a home properly over relaxation and recreation. When the big bad wolf comes to the homes, only the third pig’s house stands up to the pressure applied by the wolf.
The moral lesson learned from “The Three Little Pigs” is that hard work and dedication pay off. This idea that taking the time to perform a task the right way has been widely adopted by many teachers and parents of children for generations. It has became extremely popular in the United States with Walt Disney’s adaption of the tale.
Here you can find Disney’s adaptation:
In 1933, Walt Disney released an eight-minute animated film of the “Three Little Pigs.” According to the Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts, this short film has inspired many Americans through the Great Depression. Just as the three little pigs were able to overcome adversity through hard work, many Americans believed that their hard work would eventually lead them out of the Great Depression.
But starting from the Disney version of the story, the cinematography has continued to adapt, and it is really interesting to see how the story has been changed in time, in different moments in time and according to different trends, into:
a musical version
a reality version
an unhappy ending version
or an Italian Mafia style version.
The story has , like all fairy tales, a seed of truth hidden deep inside. And it can also mean something completely different to different people. The moral of the story nevertheless inspired generations to work hard for success, with the hope that one day the hard work will lead to success and happiness.
Yet, no matter how you look at the story and whichever your favourite version may be, enjoy it. 🙂
Memyselfandela, July 2015
She had not written for many days, weeks, months, it felt rather like eons. Struck by a fierce silence, she didn’t find the words any more. Painful silence, coming from deeper than the words can say. From deep within where thoughts do not have time or do not dare to descend in normal days that gallop worst than wild horses. Life seems to have stopped and unfolded in front of her eyes with a sort of cruelty that she did not know how to swallow. Cruelty or acute sarcasm. As if life itself would have smiled at her with half a face and smashed her badly with a slap coming from the opposite side.
Yes, life is sarcastic and unfair. Who told you that there are happy ending stories? There may be many fairy tales, but not many real happy endings. She did her best to make things happen but at some point she understood that she has no power over life itself, that life is a far bigger force than she can even understand with her mind and that all she can do is to accept with humiliation that in some ways she has lost the battles long before they have even begun.
Shredded often between her beautiful imagination and the cruel reality, she had learned that the most powerful thing one can do in this life is to survive. And the most crazy to dream. She has never dared to lay on paper all her thoughts, out of fear that if she would have done so, maybe the whole reality would have cracked over her. Yet in moments when nobody noticed her, she has dared to close her eyes and without a word to imagine a parallel world where everything was different than in this one.
There was in the end no lesson she could have cascaded on others. No great wisdom and no big prise. She had only learned that she knew nothing and as such, she stopped talking about life. She stopped complaining and equally she stopped rejoicing. She had reached a state of acceptance that was similar to the shell of a tortoise, trying to keep the very core of her far away, deeply hidden from any pain.
In an untold resilience her spirit has lost many other souls, even the ones she has loved the most. Their voice has faded just as sudden as it has made itself heard. Their presence has stopped shining a warmth of goodness and joy in her existence. Yet she was adamant she did not lose them completely and she will once again have the blessing of meeting them all. In her fantasy at least.
On the corner of a little table hidden in a tea room where nobody stopped today because of the horrible weather, she broke her silence, but allowed the secrets to remain in the deep hidden corners of her soul, brewing there, unknown to others, yet ready to emerge one day, truly full of magic.
500 words, memyselfandela, November 2014
Yesterday lovely Nicola Humphries, BBC producer and wonderful woman with a big heart, has given me the opportunity to tell a story.
It has all started with my beloved Rhapsody in Blue and Gershwin, but for me this represents the tip of my soul iceberg. I have dived very deep in my past to the times when I was a happy child. I have spoken about life in the Communism, oppression, the tragic death of my father which has coincided with the beginning of the Romanian Revolution on the 22 of December 1989. I have tried to describe life as it was, but time was short and words don’t come always easy. I have had moments when my mind has frozen and when I could not find my words as in the back of my eyes I have kept my tears, because I cannot get back in some moments in time without feeling again all that intense pain.
I am in love with music because it has always been for me a gate to freedom and a window of hope in the darkest moments. I have remembered the most intense moments that I have lived and witnessed, the blood on the streets of Sibiu, the fear when people were shot, the agony of not knowing what was happening with my father when he did not come back home, the death striking my family when we have least expected, the love and the absolute loss.
I may be different than other people given the intensity of situations that I have lived, things that could have made other people get insane. I have been through things that normally do not happen to other people. Those have been moments that have not destroyed me, but made me stronger. This is one of the reasons why I write and I have started my blog. I believe that despite all pain, beyond all loss, life is both a path and a fight. We can all create a better path and win our battle. I truly believe that none of us should give up, that we should all have peace of mind and hope in our heart for the day to come. I believe it because I have been myself on the edge of despair and I have looked into the abyss of depression many times in my life.
As I came out of the BBC I have entered the Church of All Souls. I believe nothing is accidental. I have been not given the chance to speak about me alone, but the chance to recall and mention my mother, my father, my love, my loss, my hope. Maybe it was a way of setting myself free and closing a deep pain of the past, a bleeding succession of losses that I have lived with for a long time.
500 words, memyselfandela, February 2014
Photos: Adela Galasiu, February 2014
Many thanks to wonderful Nicola Humphries and BBC 4, Soul Music.
I live waiting on the platform for my destined train. Sometimes I overslept in the waiting room and missed it, but most of the times I was here on the platform when it arrived. I have travelled for a while, I have learned new things but when I got off the train I have realized it has brought me back to this station with a name that I am still trying to decipher.
It’s just a normal train station like all others. With a huge clock, with huge windows, with many people carrying around small and big luggages and baggages stuffed with their own existence. Many run after trains they almost miss, others wait a bit restless for their journey, but the most rare kind of passengers are the ones that radiate happiness when they see their train arriving. Not many smile as they step in their train.
Above my head, on a wall, is scribbled Paler’s Decalogue, for some a blasphemy, for some food for thought:
“1.Wait, no matter how long.
2. Wait, no matter for what.
3. Don’t remember quite anything instead. The only good memories are the ones that allow you to live in the present.
4. Do not count the days.
5. Do not forget that any waiting time is temporary, even if it lasts for a lifetime.
6. Repeat yourself that there is no such thing as a desert. There is only our incapacity to fill the void in which we are living.
7. Do not put in the same pot both the prayer and God. Prayer is sometimes a form of hope of the one that does not dare to hope on his own.
8. If this thought helps, do not seek to admit that you hope because you don’t have something better to do or even in order to prevent the outcomes of doing nothing.
9. Bless the opportunity of completely belonging to yourself. Solitude is a whore that doesn’t blame you for being selfish.
10. Remember that Paradise was , most certainly, in a grotto.”
No days or nights are the same. They are all different and this is a blessing in itself.
Sometimes moths circle around the glowing beauty of a single light in the night, in a dance that fascinates me so much that I forget how much I still have to wait to see my train coming. Their mesmerizing dance takes me out of my world for a while.
Sometimes the dirty light reveals the faces of all the unknown people still waiting by my side, some worried, some cheerful, same frowning, some left with only few more drops of life.
Life goes on on the platform. The days grow, the nights slowly fade, the time sometimes pauses. The most beautiful light of all is the sunrise invading like molten gold the quiet platform, flowing between trains and passengers, flooding the huge waiting room in which some just enter and some still wait for an eternity to finally get born.
Today is such a glorious day after the storm of the wind outside and the storms we may all have had at some point in our lives. Sitting here this lazy morning I have taken time to indulge in a fantastic cup of tea and, as it often happens to me when I have a moment of relaxation like this or when I smoke, thoughts flow through my mind with a different intensity than normal.
It has crossed my mind at some point that life is indeed extremely beautiful, but it is only us humans that tend to complicate it and make it difficult for ourselves as we concentrate on the negative in it. Instead of seeing what we have good in our existence we tend to look for those things that don’t work perfectly. Instead of cherishing what we have received we torture our minds with what we wish we would have had. Instead of acting on the positive we dwell on the negative.
Many of us here try to share their own view on life and in this process many of us sometimes write. But you know what crosses my mind often? Just as we TRY to write , we also TRY to live. We hesitate in writing just as we hesitate in life because we are so damn afraid of failure, of what others may say or think, that we may get paralyzed by this fear. And that is only because of not trusting ourselves completely. My friends, if we don’t trust ourselves, who else will do it? Do we really need someone from the outside to give us confirmations about who we are or what we can do?
It all starts with a step. It all starts with a word. Then comes another step, another breath, another word. It all flows just like life flows. The main thing is to try. If someone would ask me what one must do to become a writer I would say: “Simply live. Just abandon your fears on the side of the road and carry on. Just let the life create your own unique path and let the words gush out of your mind, just as they gush out of your heart. Because if there’s a demon that can reduce our life to numbness and nothing, that demon is called fear. Dismiss it and you will be free, free to be yourself. Just as free as the little happy mayflies who live short lives but nevertheless enjoy every breeze, every contact and every breath while dancing in the sun.”
Today, regardless of the negative in my life, I live and write. I may take wrong steps or good steps, I may write silly words, wise words, ordinary thoughts, but I refuse to listen to the little devil that whispers poisonous failure. Instead I promise myself that I will live and write, the best I can, the most authentic I can. Shorts stories. Long stories. Sad moments. Poetry. Beautiful moments. Moments alive.
Shades… A million shades… The afternoon was made out of so many shades between the black and the white.
The sky was not perfectly blue, the heart was not perfectly light, the hope was not really a hope.
If it would have been love or no love at all, all would have been so simple, but the heart was flooded by all those shades of colors and feelings and electricity boldly lingering in their touch. It was a delirium of things and images passing before her eyes while she was processing the remains of the previous days.
“Why is life not simple like in those romantic movies where all is fine?” was the thought lingering in her mind while watching him stop in front of another little shop, with the amazement of a child that has just seen something he was hoping to discover for a lifetime.
Entering the shop she realized that it would make a beautiful present to compensate his birthday. She missed it, it’s true, but not because she didn’t care, but because she didn’t know him yet back then. But still, she would have loved to have been there with him that day, and in her heart she was.
He loved them all. It’s true, they were all beautiful ties, hand made, real, just like he loved to feel authentic and sharp and real…
With a smile in the corner of her soul she sent him to have a look in the back of the store while she took the tie he had admired in the very first moment. 69 pounds, that was the price. It was perfect. The colors were perfect, shades of color, shades of life. The price spoke volumes. To him it would have probably meant an erotic thing, but to her it was a tangible translation of the moon dust trapped inside their bones, of their breath as they were kissing and talking about the muses watching over their love, of the raise and fall of their entwined souls, or the incarnation of all the things that were present in that very second when she wished him happy birthday, now, better later than never.
In the back of her mind there was only a song lingering talking about the raise and fall of the same moon dust that was still shining in his eyes just like that night when they have met the first time, not even knowing if tomorrow will ever come or if there will be a chance for another minute together.
The day was fading, in the corridors of the city, in the tunnels covered in graffiti, as the two lovers were getting back from a city adventure that meant all and nothing, while lights were shining on the side of the road, like fireflies dancing songs known only to themselves.
And the light was dying in millions of shades of obscurity, while the moon, all alone, saw the loneliness crawling back in the souls of the eternal loners.
500 words, memyselfandela, September 2013