World Sickle Cell Day

World Sickle Cell Day occours yearly on 19th June to raise awareness of InteSickle-cell disease (SCD), or sickle-cell anaemia (SCA) or drepanocytosis. This is a hereditary blood disorder, characterized by red blood cells that assume an abnormal, rigid, sickleshape. Sickling decreases the cells’ flexibility and results in a risk of various complications. The sickling occurs because of a mutation in the haemoglobin gene. Individuals with one copy of the defunct gene display both normal and abnormal haemoglobin. This is an example of codominance.Life expectancy is shortened. In 1994, in the US, the average life expectancy of persons with this condition was estimated to be 42 years in males and 48 years in females, but today, thanks to better management of the disease, patients can live into their 70s or beyond.

Sickle-cell disease occurs more commonly among people whose ancestors lived in tropical and sub-tropical sub-saharan regions where malaria is or was common. Where malaria is common, carrying a single sickle-cell gene (sickle cell trait) confers a fitness. Specifically, humans with one of the two alleles of sickle-cell disease show less severe symptoms when infected with malaria.

Sickle-cell anaemia is a form of sickle-cell disease in which there is homozygosity for themutation that causes HbS. Sickle-cell anaemia is also referred to as “HbSS”, “SS disease”, “haemoglobin S” or permutations of those names. In heterozygous people, that is, those who have only one sickle gene and one normal adult haemoglobin gene, the condition is referred to as “HbAS” or “sickle cell trait”. Other, rarer forms of sickle-cell disease arecompound heterozygous states in which the person has only one copy of the mutation that causes HbS and one copy of another abnormal haemoglobin allele. They include sickle-haemoglobin C disease (HbSC), sickle beta-plus-thalassaemia (HbS/β+) and sickle beta-zero-thalassaemia (HbS/β0).The term disease is applied because the inherited abnormality causes a pathological condition that can lead to death and severe complications. Not all inherited variants of haemoglobin are detrimental, a concept known as genetic polymorphism

J.M.Barrie (Peter Pan)

Best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan, The Scottish author and dramatist, Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM sadly died 19 June 1937 after contracting Pneumonia. He was born 9 May 1860 in Kirriemuir, he was the child of a family of small-town weavers. At the age of 8, Barrie was sent to The Glasgow Academy, Scotland, in the care of his eldest siblings Alexander and Mary Ann, who taught at the school. When he was 10 he returned home and continued his education at the Forfar Academy. At 14, he left home for Dumfries Academy, again under the watch of Alexander and Mary Ann. He became a voracious reader, and was fond of Penny Dreadfuls, and the works of Robert Michael Ballantyne and James Fenimore Cooper.

At Dumfries he and his friends spent time in the garden of Moat Brae house, playing pirates “in a sort of Odyssey that was long afterwards to become the play of Peter Pan”.They formed a drama club, producing his first play Bandelero the Bandit, which provoked a minor controversy following a scathing moral denunciation from a clergyman on the school’s governing board. Barrie wished to follow a career as an author, but was dissuaded by his family who wanted him to have a profession such as the ministry. With advice from Alec, he was able to work out a compromise: he was to attend a university, but would study literature. He enrolled at the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote drama reviews for the Edinburgh Evening Courant. He graduated and obtained a M.A. on 21 April 1882.

He worked for a year and a half as a staff journalist on the Nottingham Journal following a job advertisement found by his sister in The Scotsman, then returned to Kirriemuir, using his mother’s stories about the town (which he renamed “Thrums”) for a piece submitted to the newspaper St. James’s Gazette in London. The editor ‘liked that Scotch thing’, so Barrie wrote a series of them, which served as the basis for his first novels: Auld Licht Idylls (1888), A Window in Thrums (1890), and The Little Minister, which eventually established Barrie as a successful writer. After the success of the “Auld Lichts”, he printed Better Dead (1888) privately and at his own expense, and it failed to sell. His two “Tommy” novels, Sentimental Tommy (1896) and Tommy and Grizel (1900), were about a boy and young man who clings to childish fantasy, with an unhappy ending.

Barrie began writing for the theatre, beginning with a biography of Richard Savage and written by both Barrie and H.B. Marriott Watson, this was followed by Ibsen’s Ghost (or Toole Up-to-Date) (1891), a parody of Henrik Ibsen’s dramas Hedda Gabler and Ghosts. His third play, Walker, London (1892), helped him be introduced to a young actress named Mary Ansell. He proposed to her and they were married on 9 July 1894. Barrie bought her a Saint Bernard puppy, who would play a part in the novel The Little White Bird (or Adventures in Kensington Gardens). He also gave Ansell’s given name to many characters in his novels. He then wrote Jane Annie, a failed comic opera for Richard D’Oyly Carte (1893), which he begged his friend Arthur Conan Doyle to revise and finish for him. In 1901 and 1902 he had back-to-back successes: Quality Street, about a responsible ‘old maid’ who poses as her own flirtatious niece to win the attention of a former suitor returned from the war; and The Admirable Crichton, a critically acclaimed social commentary with elaborate staging, about an aristocratic household shipwrecked on a desert island, in which the butler naturally rises to leadership over his lord and ladies for the duration of their time away from civilisation.

Peter Pan first appeared in his novel The Little White Bird, in 1902, and later in Barrie’s more famous and enduring work, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, a “fairy play” about an ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. This was inspired by the Llewelyn Davis Boys whom he met in London who suggested a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The Little White Bird). It had its first stage performance on 27 December 1904. It has been performed innumerable times since then, and was developed by Barrie into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy. It has since been adapted into feature films, musicals, and more. The Bloomsbury scenes show the societal constraints of late Victorian and Edwardian middle-class domestic reality, contrasted with Neverland, a world where morality is ambivalent. George Bernard Shaw’s description of the play as “ostensibly a holiday entertainment for children but really a play for grown-up people”, suggests deeper social metaphors at work in Peter Pan.

Following Peter Pan Barrie had many more successes on the stage including The Twelve Pound Look which concerns a wife divorcing a peer and gaining an independent income. Other plays, such as Mary Rose and a subplot in Dear Brutus, revisit the idea of the ageless child. Later plays included What Every Woman Knows (1908). His final play was The Boy David (1936), which dramatised the Biblical story of King Saul and the young David. Like the role of Peter Pan, that of David was played by a woman, Elisabeth Bergner, for whom Barrie wrote the play.

Barrie had many Friends including Novelist George Meredith, fellow Scot Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa at the time, George Bernard Shaw who was his neighbour in London for several years, . H. G. Wells was also a friend of many years, and Barrie met Thomas Hardy through Hugh Clifford while he was staying in London. Although Barrie continued to write, Peter Pan quickly overshadowed his previous work and became his best-known work, and is credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously. Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents and was made a baronet by George V in 1913, and a member of the Order of Merit in 1922.

Barrie is buried at Kirriemuir next to his parents and two of his siblings. He left the bulk of his estate (excluding the Peter Pan works, which he had previously given to Great Ormond Street Hospital in April 1929) to his secretary Cynthia Asquith. His birthplace at 4 Brechin Road is maintained as a museum by the National Trust for Scotland. However, Ormond Street Hospital, continues to benefit from the somewhat complex arrangement.

Ann Wilson (Heart)

Anne Wilson the lead singer of Rock Band Heart was born 19th June 1950 Anne and her sister, Nancy, grew up in Southern California and Taiwan before moving to the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. Wilson was born in San Diego, California. Her father was a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, and she moved frequently. Her family eventually settled in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle,Washington. Shy because of a stutter, Wilson sought fulfillment in music. In the early 1970s she joined a local band, White Heart, which changed its name to Hocus Pocus, and then in 1974, to Heart.Nancy finished high school, then attended Pacific University in Oregon and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle where she majored in art and German literature. She then played solo gigs until 1974 when she quit college and moved to Canada to join her older sister Ann and lead guitarist Roger Fisher, to become the core of the Rock band Heart.

While Ann is the lead singer on the majority of the Heart recordings, Nancy is the lead vocalist on notable tracks like “Treat Me Well”, “These Dreams“, “Stranded“, “There’s the Girl”, and “Will You Be There (In the Morning)” and frequently performs background and harmony vocals on other great songs like Alone and Never. Nancy is the band’s rhythm and lead guitarist. In 1999 Nancy Wilson released the solo live album, Live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop.Nancy Wilson married film director and former Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe and she has played a role in composing music for most of Crowe’s films including Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and Elizabethtown. She had cameo roles in Crowe’s The Wild Life (1984) as David’s wife and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) credited as “Beautiful Girl in Car”. In 1990, she also contributed to the Say Anything… soundtrack with “All for Love.

In 1992, Ann Wilson appeared on Alice in Chains’ EP Sap; she sang on “Brother”, “Am I Inside” and “Love Song”. In 1993, Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley contributed to vocals on “Ring Them Bells,” a Bob Dylan cover from Heart’s album Desire Walks On. In addition, Alice in Chains bassistMike Inez and touring guitarist Scott Olson appeared on Heart’s 2003 release Alive in Seattle.The Wilson sisters started a recording studio, Bad Animals, in Seattle in the mid-1990s. They formed a side band, The Lovemongers, which performed “The Battle of Evermore” on the 1992 soundtrack to the Cameron Crowe (Nancy’s then husband) movie Singles, and later released a four-song EP. The Lovemongers’ debut album Whirlygig was released in 1997. In 2006, Wilson began recording her first solo album, Hope & Glory, produced by Ben Mink, and released by the Rounder (Zoe) Music Group on September 11, 2007.

That same year, she and sister,Nancy, were on stage for a series of concerts in Las Vegas. Hope & Glory features guest appearances from Elton John, k.d. lang, Alison Krauss, Gretchen Wilson, Shawn Colvin, Rufus Wainwright, Wynonna Judd and Deana Carter. Nancy also contributed. Three singles were released from the project, “Little Problems, Little Lies”, “Isolation” and “Immigrant Song”.The Hope & Glory version of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is available on Wilson’s official MySpace page, and charted as “the No. 9 most podcasted song of 2007” on the PMC Top10’s annual countdown.Wilson joined producer Alan Parsons in the 2001 live tribute tour to Beatles music called A Walk Down Abbey Road.On November 22, 2012, Wilson sang an original arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, accompanied by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the beginning of the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Composer Gary Fry created the arrangement specifically for its premiere performance by Wilson and the DSO

World Sauntering Day

world Sauntering Day takes place annually on June 19. Sauntering is a verb to describe a style of walking, slowly preferably with a joyful disposition. World Sauntering Day was proposed order to encourage people to slow down once in a while and take it easy, occasionally, smell the roses, enjoy life.and appreciate the world around them instead of rushing through life. The exact year of its origin is unclear, but it is credited to have begun at the Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island) in Michigan during the 1970s.

The Grand Hotel has the worlds’ longest porch at 660′ in length, and it was built by W.T. Rabe as a response towards the growing movement of recreational jogging. Sauntering has been spoken of most notably by many of the naturalist writers in history including Henry David Thoreau and John Burroughs who wrote:

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
― John Burroughs, Leaf and Tendril

Sir Nigel Gresley

Famous for being the Cheif Mechanical Engineer for the London North East Railway, Sir Nigel Gresley was, Born 19 June 1876 he became one of Britain’s most famous steam locomotive engineers. He designed some of the most iconic and damous steam locomotives in Britain, including the LNER Class A1 and LNER Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific engines. An A1, Flying Scotsman, was the first steam locomotive officially recorded over 100 mph in passenger service, and an A4, number 4468 Mallard, still holds the record for being the fastest steam locomotive in the world (126 mph). Gresley’s engines were considered elegant, both aesthetically and mechanically. His invention of a three-cylinder design with only two sets of Walschaerts valve gear, the Gresley conjugated valve gear, produced smooth running and power at lower cost than would have been achieved with a more conventional three sets of Walschaerts gear.

Gresley was born in Edinburgh, but was raised in Netherseal, Derbyshire, a member of the cadet branch of a family long seated at Gresley, Derbyshire. After attending school in Sussex and at Marlborough College, Gresley served his apprenticeship at the Crewe works of the London and North Western Railway, afterwards becoming a pupil under John Aspinall at Horwich of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR). After several minor appointments with the L&YR he was made Outdoor Assistant in the Carriage and Wagon Department in 1901; in 1902 he was appointed Assistant Works Manager at Newton Heath depot, and Works Manager the following year.

LNER 4468 Mallard

This rapid rise in his career was maintained and, in 1904, he became Assistant Superintendent of the Carriage and Wagon Department of the L&YR. A year later, he moved to the Great Northern Railway (GNR) as Carriage and Wagon Superintendent. He succeeded Henry A. Ivatt as CME of the GNR on 1 October 1911. At the 1923 Grouping, he was appointed CME of the newly formed LNER (the post had originally been offered to the ageing John G. Robinson; Robinson declined and suggested the much younger Gresley). In 1936, Gresley was awarded an honorary DSc by Manchester University and a knighthood by King Edward VIII; also in that year he presided over the IMechE. During the 1930s, Sir Nigel Gresley lived at Salisbury Hall, near St. Albans in Hertfordshire. Gresley developed an interest in breeding wild birds and ducks in the moat; intriguingly, among the species were Mallard ducks. The Hall still exists today as a private residence and is adjacent to the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, with its links to the design of the famous Mosquito aircraft during World War II. In 1936, Gresley designed the 1,500V DC locomotives for the proposed electrification of theWoodhead Line between Manchester and Sheffield. The Second World War forced the postponement of the project, which was completed in the early 1950s. Sadly Gresley died after a short illness on 5 April 1941 and was buried in Netherseal, Derbyshire. He was succeeded as the LNER Chief Mechanical Engineer by Edward Thompson. A statue commemorating Sir Nigel Gresley was unveiled at Kings Cross in London, complete with duck although the duck was removed as it was thought to poke fun at Gresley’s achievements and a new statue without the duck was unveiled 5 April 2016, however there was an outcry after the duck was removed and it has since been reinstated.