Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis Night ( Walpurgisnacht) occurs on the night of 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century Missionary and abbess in Francia. In Germanic folklore, Walpurgisnacht, also called Hexennacht (Dutch: heksennacht), literally “Witches’ Night”, is believed to be the night of a witches’ meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe. The first known written occurrence of the English translation “Walpurgis Night” is from the 19th century. Local variants of Walpurgis Night are observed throughout Europe in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, and Estonia. In Denmark the tradition with bonfires to fence off the witches going to the Brocken is observed as Saint John’s Eve—essentially a midsummer celebration “with witches”.

As Walpurga’s feast was held on 1 May (c. 870), she became associated with May Day, especially in the Finnish and Swedish calendars. The eve of May Day, traditionally celebrated with dancing, came to be known as Walpurgisnacht (“Walpurga’s night”). The name of the holiday is Walpurgisnacht or Hexennacht (“Witches’ Night”) in German, Heksennacht in Dutch, Valborgsmässoafton in Swedish, Vappen in Finland Swedish, Vappu in Finnish, Volbriöö in Estonian, Valpurgijos naktis in Lithuanian, Valpurģu nakts or Valpurģi in Latvian, čarodějnice and Valpuržina noc in Czech.

The Germanic term Walpurgisnacht is recorded in 1668 by Johannes Praetorius as S. Walpurgis Nacht or S. Walpurgis Abend. An earlier mention of Walpurgis and S. Walpurgis Abend is in the 1603 edition of the Calendarium perpetuum of Johann Coler, who also refers to the following day, 1 May, as Jacobi Philippi, feast day of the apostles James the Less and Philip in the Catholic calendar. The 17th-century German tradition of a meeting of sorcerers and witches on May Day eve (Hexennacht, “Witches’ Night”) is influenced by the descriptions of Witches’ Sabbaths in 15th- and 16th-century literature.

In the Czech Republic 30 April is pálení čarodějnic (“burning of the witches”) or čarodějnice (“the witches”) is celebrated, during which Huge bonfires—up to 8 metres (26 ft) tall—are built and burnt in the evening, preferably on top of hills. Young people gather around. Sudden black and dense smoke formations are cheered as “a witch flying away”. As evening advances to midnight and fire is on the wane, it is time to go search for a cherry tree in blossom. Young women should be kissed past midnight (and during the following day) under a cherry tree. They “will not dry up” for an entire year. The First of May is celebrated then as “the day of those in love”.

In Estonia, Volbriöö is celebrated throughout the night of 30 April and into the early hours of 1 May, where 1 May is a public holiday called “Spring Day” (Kevadpüha). Volbriöö is an important and widespread celebration of the arrival of spring in the country. Influenced by German culture, the night originally stood for the gathering and meeting of witches. Modern people still dress up as witches to wander the streets in a carnival-like mood. The Volbriöö celebrations are especially vigorous in Tartu, the university town in southern Estonia. For Estonian students in student corporations (fraternities and sororities), the night starts with a traditional procession through the streets of Tartu, followed by visiting each other’s corporation houses throughout the night.

In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). Walpurgis witnesses the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland’s towns and cities. The celebration, which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, typically centres on copious consumption of sima, sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages. Student traditions, particularly those of the engineering students, are one of the main characteristics of Vappu. Since the end of the 19th century, this traditional upper-class feast has been appropriated by university students. Many lukio (university-preparatory high school) alumni wear the black and white student cap and many higher education students wear student coveralls. One tradition is to drink sima, a home-made low-alcohol mead, along with freshly cooked funnel cakes.

In the capital Helsinki and its surrounding region, fixtures include the capping (on 30 April at 6 pm) of the Havis Amanda, a nude female statue in Helsinki, and the biennially alternating publications of ribald matter called Äpy and Julkku, by engineering students of Aalto University. Both are sophomoric; but while Julkku is a standard magazine, Äpy is always a gimmick. Classic forms have included an Äpy printed on toilet paper and a bedsheet. Often, the magazine has been stuffed inside standard industrial packages, such as sardine cans and milk cartons. For most university students, Vappu starts a week before the day of celebration. The festivities also include a picnic on 1 May, which is sometimes prepared in a lavish manner, particularly in Ullanlinnanmäki in Helsinki city.

The Finnish tradition is also a shadowing of the Socialist May Day parade. Expanding from the parties of the left, the whole of the Finnish political scene has adopted Vappu as the day to go out on stumps and agitate. This includes not only political activists. Other institutions, such as the state Lutheran church, have followed suit, marching and making speeches. Left-wing activists of the 1970s still party on May Day. They arrange carnivals. And radio stations play leftist songs from the 1970s.

Traditionally, 1 May is celebrated by a picnic in a park. For most, the picnic is enjoyed with friends on a blanket with good food and sparkling wine. Some people, however, arrange extremely lavish picnics with pavilions, white tablecloths, silver candelabras, classical music and extravagant food. The picnic usually starts early in the morning, where some of the previous night’s party-goers continue their celebrations undaunted by lack of sleep. Some student organisations reserve areas where they traditionally camp every year. Student caps, mead, streamers and balloons have their role in the picnic, as well as in the celebration as a whole.

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht or Hexennacht (“Witches’ Night”), the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken mountain and await the arrival of spring and also hold revels with the Devil. Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is also noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectre when a shadow of a person can appear magnified by low level sunlight shining behind and below as the sun is setting.

The Brocken (or Blocksberg) also features in Goethe’s play Faust when magician Mephistopheles conjures up supernatural creatures During Walpurgisnight. “Walpurgisnacht.” Is also mentioned in Bram Stoker’s short story, “Dracula’s Guest,” an Englishman (whose name is never mentioned) is on a visit to Munich before leaving for Transylvania. It is Walpurgis Night, and in spite of the hotelier’s warning not to be late coming back, the young man later leaves his carriage and wanders toward the direction of an abandoned “unholy” village. As the carriage departs with the frightened and superstitious driver, a tall and thin stranger scares the horses at the crest of a hill. In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called “Easter fires” (Osterfeuer). In rural parts of southern Germany, it is part of popular youth culture to play pranks such as tampering with neighbours’ gardens, hiding possessions, or spraying graffiti on private property. In Berlin, traditional leftist May Day riots usually start at Walpurgis Night in the Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg.

Sweden celebrates Valborg, which has more to do with the arrival of spring.  celebrations vary in different parts of the country. Walpurgis celebrations are not a family occasion but rather a public event, and local groups often take responsibility for organising them to encourage community spirit in the village or neighbourhood. During the Middle Ages, the administrative year ended on 30 April. Accordingly, this was a day of festivity among the merchants and craftsmen of the town, with trick-or-treat, dancing and singing in preparation for the forthcoming celebration of spring. The first of May was a great popular festival in the more midland and southern parts of Sweden. On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires blazed. Walpurgis bonfires are part of a Swedish tradition dating back to the early 18th century. At Walpurgis (Valborg), farm animals were let out to graze and bonfires (majbrasor, kasar) lit to scare away predators. In Southern Sweden, an older tradition, no longer practiced, was for the younger people to collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight. These were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task was to be paid in eggs.

Choral singing is popular in Sweden, on Walpurgis Eve and choirs Sing traditional 19th century songs of spring. traditional spring festivities are held in the old university cities, such as Uppsala and Lund, where undergraduates, graduates, and alumni gather at events that last most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30, or siste april (“The Last Day of April”) as it is called in Lund, or sista april as it is called in Uppsala. For students, Walpurgis Eve heralds freedom. Traditionally the exams were over and only the odd lecture remained before term ends. More modern Valborg celebrations, particularly among Uppsala students, often consist of enjoying a breakfast including champagne and strawberries. During the day, people gather in parks, drink considerable amounts of alcoholic beverages, barbecue, and generally enjoy the weather, if it happens to be favorable.

In Uppsala, students have honoured spring by rafting on Fyrisån through the center of town with rickety, homemade, and often humorously decorated rafts. Several nations also hold “Champagne Races” (Swedish: Champagnegalopp), where students go to drink and spray champagne or somewhat more modestly priced sparkling wine on each other. The walls and floors of the old nation buildings are covered in plastic for this occasion, as the champagne is poured around recklessly and sometimes spilled enough to wade in. Spraying champagne is, however, a fairly recent addition to the Champagne Race. The name derives from the students running down the downhill slope from the Carolina Rediviva library, toward the Student Nations, to drink champagne.

In Linköping many students and former students begin the day at the park Trädgårdföreningen, in the field below Belvederen where the city laws permits alcohol, to drink champagne breakfast in a similar way to Uppsala. Later at 15:00 o’clock the students and public gather at the courtyard of Linköping Castle. Spring songs are sung by the Linköping University Male Voice Choir, and speeches are made by representatives of the students and the university professors.

In Gothenburg, the carnival parade, The Cortège, which has been held since 1909 by the students at Chalmers University of Technology, is an important part of the celebration. It is seen by around 250,000 people each year. Another major event is the gathering of students in Trädgårdsföreningen to listen to student choirs, orchestras, and speeches. An important part of the gathering is the ceremonial donning of the student cap, which stems from the time when students wore their caps daily and switched from black winter cap to white summer cap. In Umeå, there is a tradition of having local bonfires. During recent years, however, there has been a tradition of celebrating Walpurgis at the Umeå University campus. The university organizes student choir songs, there are different types of entertainment and a speech by the president of the university. Different stalls sell hot dogs, candies, soft drinks, etc.

Walpurgisnacht is not celebrated today in the Netherlands due to the national Koninginnedag on the same date, though the new koningsdag (king’s day) is on 27 April. The island of Texel celebrates a festival known as the ‘Meierblis, where bonfires are lit near nightfall, just as on Walpurgis In order to drive away the remaining cold of winter and welcome spring. In recent years a renewed interest in pre-Christian religion and culture such as Walpurgis Night. In 1999, suspicions were raised among local Reformed party members in Putten, Gelderland of a Walpurgis festival celebrated by Satanists. The party called for a ban. Rumors that Satanic sects celebrate Walpurgis Night come from other towns as well, with the local churches in Dokkum, Friesland organizing a service in 2003 to pray to the Holy Spirit to counter such Satanic action.

Édouard Manet

French painter Édouard Manet Sadly died 30 April 1883 in Paris After contracting rheumatism, syphilis and Locomotor Ataxia a known side-effect of syphilis, which caused him considerable pain and for which his left foot was amputated because of gangrene. He was born 23 January 1832 at his ancestral hôtel particulier (mansion) on the rue Bonaparte. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law. However His uncle, Edmond Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1841 he enrolled at secondary school, the Collège Rollin and in 1845, he enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts and subsequent lifelong friend. in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro, but twice failed the examination to join the Navy. Instead From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet copied the old masters in the Louvre and From 1853 to 1856, visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, and was influenced by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya.

In 1856, Manet opened a studio Where he painted The Absinthe Drinker (1858–59), beggars, singers, Gypsies, people in cafés, and bullfights. He rarely painted religious, mythological, or historical subjects; apart from Christ Mocked, now in the Art Institute of Chicago, and Christ with Angels, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Manet had a portrait of his Mother and Father and The Spanish Singer, displayed at the Salon in 1861. In 1862 he painted Music in the Tuileries, and in 1863 he painted The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe) which was exhibited at Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) and also painted Olympia, both of which caused great controversy. In 1868 he painted Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets and also became friends with impressionists Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, Morisot also became his sister-in-law when she married his brother, Eugene in 1874. Unfortunately Manet was excluded from the International Exhibition of 1867 at the Paris Salon, so he set up his own exhibition.

In 1879 he painted a self portrait and became influenced by the Impressionists, especially Monet and Morisot and also painted two portraits of the composer Emanuel Chabrier. Among Manet’s fans were Émile Zola, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Charles Baudelaire. In 1878 he painted The Cafe Concert, which was set in the Cabaret de Reichshoffen on the Boulevard Rochechouart, and went on to paint many other cafe scenes depicting the Bohemian social life in 19th-century Paris in which people were depicted drinking beer, listening to music, flirting, reading, or waiting. Manet also visited Pere Lathuilles a restaurant on the Avenue de Clichy and painted Chez le père Lathuille (At Pere Lathuille’s). In 1873 he painted Le Bon Bock and in 1864 he painted The Races at Longchamps and Masked Ball at the Opera and his 1868 painting The Luncheon was painted in Manet’s Dining Room.

Manet also painted War subjects including View of the International Exhibition, and the Battle of the Kearsarge and Alabama (1864), the Battle of Cherbourg (1864) and The Barricade. The French intervention in Mexico also interested him and he Painted The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, 1867, an action which raised concerns regarding French foreign and domestic policy and is currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In January 1871, Manet traveled to Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Pyrenees and his friends added his name to the “Fédération des artistes” of the Paris Commune. In 1973 He painted The Railway, widely known as The Gare Saint-Lazare, and In 1874 painted several boating subjects which are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, His last major work, was A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère), and In 1875, he provided Lithographs for a book-length French edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. Then in 1881,the French government awarded Manet the Légion d’honneur.

Sadly Manet contracted syphilis in his forties, for which he received no treatment. He also suffered from rheumatism. In the years before his death, he developed locomotor ataxia, a known side-effect of syphilis, which caused him considerable pain. In April 1883, his left foot was amputated because of gangrene, and he died eleven days later on 30 April 1883 in Paris and is buried in the Passy Cemetery in the city.

International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day is a yearly event on 30 April, organized by UNESCO to celebrate “the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.” The Day was proclaimed during the UNESCO General Conference in November 2011. The first annual International Jazz Day was kicked off in Paris by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. UNESCO partners with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock was born April 12, 1940. He Started his music career with Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock’s music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs “cross over” and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Hancock’s best-known compositions include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”. His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

Sergio Leone

Legendary Italian film director, producer and screenwriter Sergio Leone Sadly died on 30 April 1989, of a heart attack at the age of 60. He was born 3 January 1929 and started out In film After watching his father work on film sets, and began his own career in the film industry at the age of 18 after dropping out of law studies at the university.Working in Italian cinematography, he began as an assistant to Vittorio de Sica during the movie Bicycle Thieves in 1948. Leone began writing screenplays during the 1950s, primarily for the ‘sword and sandal’ (a.k.a. ‘peplum’) historical epics, popular at the time. He also worked as an assistant director on several large-scale international productions shot at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome, notably Quo Vadis (1951) and Ben-Hur (1959), financially backed by the American studios.When director Mario Bonnard fell ill during the production of the 1959 Italian epic The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli Ultimi Giorni di Pompei), starring Steve Reeves, Leone was asked to step in and complete the film. As a result, when the time came to make his solo directorial debut with The Colossus of Rhodes (Il Colosso di Rodi, 1961), Leone was well-equipped to produce low-budget films which looked like larger budget Hollywood movies ln the early 1960s, sadly historical epics fell out of favor with audiences.

So Leone shifted his attention to a sub-genre which came to be known as the “Spaghetti Western”, owing its origin to the American Western. His film A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari, 1964) was based upon Akira Kurosawa’s Edo-era samurai adventure Yojimbo (1961). Leone’s film elicited a legal challenge from the Japanese director, though Kurosawa’s film was in turn probably based on the 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel, Red Harvest. A Fistful of Dollars was also notable for establishing Clint Eastwood as a star. Until that time Eastwood had been an American television actor with few credited film roles.The look of A Fistful of Dollars was established by its Spanish locations, which presented a violent and morally complex vision of theAmerican Old West. The film paid tribute to traditional American western films, but significantly departed from them in storyline, plot, characterization and mood. As a child the American Old West fascinated him , which carried into his adulthood and his films.Leone’s next two films – For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – completed what has come to be known as the Man with No Name trilogy (a.k.a. the Dollars Trilogy), with each film being more financially successful and more technically accomplished than its predecessor.

The films featured innovative music scores by Ennio Morricone, who worked closely with Leone in devising the themesSergio Leone’s next film Was Once upon a time in the west, Which was shot mostly in Almería, Spain Cinecittà in Rome & Monument Valley, Utah & starred Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. Once Upon a Time in the West emerged as a long, violent, dreamlike meditation upon the mythology of the American Old West, with many stylistic references to iconic western films. The film’s script was written by Leone and his longtime friend and collaborator Sergio Donati, from a story by Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, it was a huge hit in Europe, grossing nearly three times its $5 million budget among French audiences, and highly praised amongst North American film students. It has come to be regarded by many as Leone’s best film.

Leone’s next film Once upon a time in the West was shot mostly in Almería, Spain Cinecittà in Rome & Monument Valley, Utah & starred Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. Once Upon a Time in the West emerged as a long, violent, dreamlike meditation upon the mythology of the American Old West, with many stylistic references to iconic western films. The film’s script was written by Leone and his longtime friend and collaborator Sergio Donati, from a story by Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, it was a huge hit in Europe, grossing nearly three times its $5 million budget among French audiences, and highly praised amongst North American film students. It has come to be regarded by many as Leone’s best film.

After Once Upon a Time in the West, Leone directed Duck, You Sucker! (Giù la Testa, 1971). Leone was intending merely to produce the film, but due to artistic differences with then-director Peter Bogdanovich, Leone was asked to direct the film instead. Duck, You Sucker! is a Mexican Revolution action drama, starring James Coburn, as an Irish revolutionary and Rod Steiger, as a Mexican bandit who is conned into becoming a revolutionary.Leone continued to produce, and on occasion, step in to reshoot scenes in other films. One of these films was My Name is Nobody(1973) by Tonino Valerii ] a comedy western film that poked fun at the spaghetti western genre. It starred Henry Fonda as an old gunslinger facing a final confrontation after the death of his brother. Terence Hill also starred in the film as the young stranger who helps Fonda leave the dying West with style.Leone’s other productions included A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975, another western comedy starring Terence Hill); The Cat (Il Gatto; 1977, starring Ugo Tognazzi), and A Dangerous Toy (Il Giocattolo; 1979, starring Nino Manfredi). Leone also produced three comedies by actor/director Carlo Verdone, which were Fun Is Beautiful (Un Sacco Bello, 1980), Bianco, Rosso e Verdone(White, Red and Verdone – Verdone means “strong green” – a pun referring to the three colours of the Italian flag, the star and to director Verdone, 1981) and Troppo Forte (Great!, 1986). During this period, Leone also directed various award-winning TV commercials for European television.In 1978, he was a member of the jury at the 28th Berlin International Film Festival.

Leone turned down the opportunity to direct The Godfather, in favor of working on another gangster story he had conceived earlier. He devoted ten years to this project, based on the novel The Hoods by former mobster Harry Grey, which focused on a quartet of New York City Jewish gangsters of the 1920s and 1930s who had been friends since childhood. The four-hour finished film, Once Upon a Time in America (1984), featured Robert De Niro and James Woods. It was a meditation on another aspect of popular American mythology, the role of greed and violence and their uneasy coexistence with the meaning of ethnicity and friendship. Unfortunately Warner Bros. Edited it drastically for the American market, abandoning its flashback structure for a linear narrative. Lasting over just two hours, the recut version received much criticism and flopped. However The original version, was released in the rest of the world, and achieved major critical acclaim, with some critics hailing the film as a masterpiece.

Before his death he was part way through planning a film on the Siege of Leningrad, set in the Eastern Front during World War II. He was survived by his wife and three children.In his later years, Leone had a falling out of sorts with actor Clint Eastwood. When Leone directed Once Upon a Time in America, he commented that Robert De Niro was a real actor, unlike Eastwood. However, the two made amends and reconciled before Leone’s death. In 1992, Eastwood directed Unforgiven, a revisionist western drama for which he won an Oscar for best director, as well as Best Picture. Leone was one of the two directors whom Eastwood dedicated his award to, the other was Don Siegel who directed Eastwood in a string of movies in the 1970s, including Dirty Harry. (The film contains a dedication “To Sergio & Don” before the end credits roll.)

Steam spotlight-Severn Valley Railway 2016

I have also recently watched this DVD which features footage taken on the Severn Valley Railway and Elsewhere taken during 2016. First up It Features the Spring Steam Gala which took place March 2016. Engines in steam were West Country Class Pacific 34027 Taw Valley, Battle of Britain class Pacific 34053 Sir Keith Park, GWR 1501, Ivatt class 4 43106, GWR Prairie tank engine 4566, GWR Manor class locomotive 7812 Erlestoke Manor, GWR 28xx class 2-8-0 2857 and GWR 1450 on the Auto train. The Visiting engines for the event were Pannier Tanks 6412 &6430 plus GWR Hall class locomotive no.6990 Witherslack Hall.

The DVD also features 1450 on the Auto Train with the Eardington Flyer, 34053 Sir Keith Park on tour at the West Somerset Spring Gala masquerading as 34098 Templecombe. 4566 on the tour at the North Norfolk Railway, 34053 Sir Keith Park at the Keighley and Worth Valley Autumn Gala. GWR Prairie tank 4566 at the Great Central Railway. 43106 at the North Norfolk Railway Autumn Steam Gala. 34053 Sir Keith Park at the Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala. Ivatt Class 4 43106 at the Mid Hants Autumn Steam Gala and 7812 Erlestoke Manor at the Gloucester,Warwicksire Cotswold Festival of Steam.

Also featured are The Santa specials between Kidderminster and Arley, featuring 34027 Taw Valley, 34053 Sir Keith Park, Ivatt Class 4 43106 and GWR Manor class 7802 Bradley Manor and 7812 Erlestoke Manor. As is the End of Season Gala featuring Hughes Crab locomotive 13065, LNER A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado and GWR large prairie locomotive 4270

Also featured is the Severn Valley Railway Pacific Power event which featured the iconic LNER A3 Pacific 60103 Flying Scotsman, LNER A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado, SR Battle of Britain class pacific 34053 Sir Keith Park and SR West Country class Pacific 34027 Taw Valley

Steam Railway DVD’s

Unseen Steam -1967 The last full year of steam

I have recently watched a few steam DVD’s including Unseen Steam -1967 The last full year of steam. This features rare archive footage from the online transport archive Taken during 1967. This was the last full year of Steam Workings on British Railways before being banned. This DVD Features many steam locomotives including Stanier 8f 48697 on the RCTS Wrexham Mold and Connah Quay Railway railtour.

Other steam locomotives featured include BR Standard Pacific no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell, BR Britannia Class 70000 “Britannia”, Jubilee Class Locomotive “Kolhapur”, Rebuilt SR Pacific locomotives, LNER Greseley k4 no. 61994 “The “Great Marquess”. Unrebuilt SR Pacific locomotives 21C123 “Blackmore Vale”,  unrebuilt SR West Country class Pacific locomotive 34019 “Bideford”. Standard class 4, SR Merchant Navy class Pacific Locomotive, BR Standard Class 9 locomotive 92003 “Black Prince”, Stanier Black 5 45xxx, an LNER A4 Pacific on Greyrigg Bank and GWR 4-6-0 4079 “Pendennis castle” on the Birkenhead flyer plus many more.

Pacifics in Preservation

I have also watched Pacifics in Preservation which features Pacific Locomotives (4-6-2 wheel arrangement) which were seen as the most glamourous steam engines and were often found heading the most prestigious of express passenger trains of their day.

Several surviving examples of pacific design are seen in action in this programme including a Princess Coronation class no. 6201 Princess Elizabeth, 6233 Princess Margaret Rose, A4 class 60009 Bittern, 60019 Union of South Africa, 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, Sandard class 7 70013 Oliver Cromwell. Southern Region Merchant Navy class “Clan Line”, west country class “Eddystone, 34082 and Battle of Britain class “92 Squadron” which was recently at the Severn Valley Railway’s Spring Steam Gala.

Unseen steam-The Glorious Years

This Heritage DVD features archive footage of steam engines during the 1950’s and 1960’s. including Steam Engines working on the sea front at Dawlish Warren, The Brunel Centenary, which took place in 1959 to commemorate the Royal Albert Bridge in Plymouth, the isle of Wight , Raynes Park Station and elsewhere. It Features appearances by standard class 5 locomotive No. 76012, A1 class no.60037, Jubilee Class locomotives, GWR 0-6-0 Pannier tank engines, SR West Country class Pacifics, and A4 2-6-4 Pacifics, the Highland Railway 103 Jones Goods locomotive at Helmsdale in the Scottish Highlands and SR West Country class Pacific no.34052 Lord Dowding among many others.

International Dance Day

International Dance Day is celebrated annually, on April 29. It was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Council (CID, Conseil International de la Danse), a UNESCO partner NGO. The date is not linked to a particular person or a particular form of dance, although it’s also the day when the French dancer and ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre was born. The main purpose of Dance Day events is to attract the attention of the wider public to the art of dance, which being a part of every culture, constitutes the ideal means for bringing together people from different countries and to address people who do not follow dance events. The president of the International Dance Council also sends the official message for Dance Day to every country around the world and it is posted at the official website for Dance Day.

The International Dance Council considers that while dance is an integral part of human culture, it is less prioritized by official establishments in the world. Professor Alkis Raftis, president of the International Dance Council, said in his 2003 Dance Day Message that In more than half of the 200 countries in the world, dance does not appear in legal texts and There are no funds allocated in the state budget to support this art form.

The focus of Dance Day for 2005 was on primary education. International Dance Council urged dance establishments to contact the Ministries of Education with the proposals to celebrate this day at all schools with writing essays about dance, drawing dance pictures, dancing in the streets, etc. The 2006 message addressed the reluctance of dancers to join collective organizations, expresses an opinion that this is a major reason of the lack of the due recognition (legislation, financing, visibility) of dance in society, and calls: “Dancers of the world, unite!” The 2007 Dance Day was dedicated to children.

Individual Dancers struggle to approach Government, Sponsors and the media and often achieve poor results, so in 2008, Alkis Raftis circulated an e-mail aimed at Governments (national, regional or local), sponsors (private or public) and the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV) stating that they are the three most important factors affecting the practice of Dance and proposed a better way to advertise dance through CID Sections representing all forms of dance, all levels, all functions”

The United Nations proclaimed 2010 as International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures and designated UNESCO as lead agency, having regard to its experience of more than 60 years in advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples. The new Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, proposed a universal vision, which she called the “new humanism” – a vision open to the entire human community, providing a humanist response to globalization and crisis, aiming at the safeguarding of social cohesion and the preservation of peace. Dance Festivals also promote reciprocal knowledge and respect of diversity in the most lively manner.

Teachers offering classes in foreign countries provide immediate bridges of understanding ingrained into the bodies of dancers; there are tens of thousands of dance teachers crossing national borders yearly. Many people also attend dance festivals yearly Congresses and open conferences also provide opportunities to showcase one’s work to an audience of peers; there are dozens of international meetings of dance researchers, historians and critics in any given year. Attending festivals, classes or conferences and watching a dance from a foreign country is another way to vividly illustrate cultural diversity, Also In 2014, a flashmob of around 50 classical dancers also got together to perform.