Algernon Blackwood

English short story writer and novelist Algernon Henry Blackwood, CBE was born 14 March 1869 in Shooter’s Hill and between 1871 and 1880 lived at Crayford Manor House, Crayford and was educated at Wellington College. Blackwood had a varied career, working as a dairy farmer in Canada, where he also operated a hotel for six months, worked as a newspaper reporter in New York City, became a bartender, model, journalist for the New York Times, a private secretary, business man, and a violin teacher.

He became one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories and he was also a journalist, he also wrote the short story collection Incredible Adventures (1914). he was also an occasional essayist for various periodicals. In his late thirties, he moved back to England and started to write stories of the supernatural. He was successful, writing at least ten original collections of short stories and later telling them on radio and television. He also wrote fourteen novels, several children’s books, and a number of plays, most of which were produced but not published. He was an avid lover of nature and the outdoors, and many of his stories reflect this. To satisfy his interest in the supernatural, he joined The Ghost Club. He never married; according to his friends he was a loner but also cheerful company.

Blackwood was a member of one of the factions of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as was his contemporary Arthur Machen. Cabalistic themes influence his novel The Human Chord. His two best known stories are probably “The Willows” and “The Wendigo”. He would also often write stories for newspapers at short notice. Blackwood’s novels were a speculative and imaginative treatment of possibilities outside our normal range of consciousness, often concerning hidden human powers and the extension of consciousness. He also wrote a number of horror stories and stories which induced a sense of awe in the reader such as the novels The Centaur, which climaxes with a traveller’s sight of a herd of the mythical creatures; and Julius LeVallon and its sequel The Bright Messenger, which deal with reincarnation and the possibility of a new, mystical evolution of human consciousness. Blackwood also wrote an autobiography of his early years, Episodes Before Thirty and an biography, Starlight Man, was also written by Mike Ashley

Sadly Blackwood died after several strokes. Officially his death on 10 December 1951 was of cerebral thrombosis with arteriosclerosis as contributory. He was cremated at Golders Green crematorium. A few weeks later his nephew took his ashes to Saanenmöser Pass in the Swiss Alps, and scattered them in the mountains that he had loved for more than forty years.


Albert Einstein

German-born theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, Albert Einstein was born March 14th, 1879 in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire. He is Often regarded as the father of modern physics and was one of the most prolific intellects in human history, and is best known for developing the theory of general relativity, E = mc2, which was revolutionary in physics. For this achievement he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. The latter being pivotal in establishing quantum theory within physics. Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe as a whole.

He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, and did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the U.S., becoming a citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he helped alert President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon, and recommended that the U.S. begin similar research; this eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein was in support of defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced using the new discovery of nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, together with Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

During his life Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works. His great intelligence and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with genius. In 1922, Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. This refers to his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect, “On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light”, which was well supported by the experimental evidence of that time. The presentation speech began by mentioning “his theory of relativity which had been the subject of lively debate in philosophical circles and also has astrophysical implications.

Einstein also won many awards for his work, including the Max Planck medal of the German Physical Society In 1929, for extraordinary achievements in theoretical physics. In 1936, Einstein was also awarded the Franklin Institute’s Franklin Medal for his extensive work on relativity and the photo-electric effect. The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics also named 2005 the “World Year of Physics” in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of the annus mirabilis papers. The Albert Einstein Science Park is located on the hill Telegrafenberg in Potsdam, Germany. The best known building in the park is the Einstein Tower which has a bronze bust of Einstein at the entrance. The Tower is an astrophysical observatory that was built to perform checks of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.

The Albert Einstein Memorial in central Washington, D.C. is a monumental bronze statue depicting Einstein seated with manuscript papers in hand. The statue, commissioned in 1979, is located in a grove of trees at the southwest corner of the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences on Constitution Avenue. In 1999 Time magazine named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century, ahead of Mahatma Gandhi and Franklin Roosevelt, among others. In the words of a biographer, “to the scientifically literate and the public at large, Einstein is synonymous with genius”. Also in 1999, an opinion poll of 100 leading physicists ranked Einstein the “greatest physicist ever”. A Gallup poll recorded him as the fourth most admired person of the 20th century in the U.S. In 1990, his name was added to the Walhalla temple for “laudable and distinguished Germans”, which is located east of Regensburg, in Bavaria, Germany. The United States Postal Service also honoured Einstein with a Prominent Americans series (1965–1978) 8¢ postage stamp and In 2008, Einstein was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Pi Day

March 14th is Pi Day which commemorates the mathematical constant Pi The number π (/paɪ/) is a mathematical constant. Originally defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, it now has various equivalent definitions and appears in many formulas in all areas of mathematics and physics. It is approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi”.

Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a common fraction (equivalently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern). Still, fractions such as 22/7 and other rational numbers are commonly used to approximate π. The digits appear to be randomly distributed. In particular, the digit sequence of π is conjectured to satisfy a specific kind of statistical randomness, but to date, no proof of this has been discovered. Also, π is a transcendental number; that is, a number that is not the root of any non-zero polynomial having rational coefficients. This transcendence of π implies that it is impossible to solve the ancient challenge of squaring the circle with a compass and straightedge.

Ancient civilizations required fairly accurate computed values for π for practical reasons, including the Egyptians and Babylonians. Around 250 BC the Greek mathematician Archimedes created an algorithm for calculating it. It was approximated to seven digits, using geometrical techniques, in Chinese mathematics, and to about five digits in Indian mathematics in the 5th century AD. The historically first exact formula for π, based on infinite series, was not available until a millennium later, when in the 14th century the Madhava–Leibniz series was discovered in Indian mathematics. In the 20th and 21st centuries, mathematicians and computer scientists discovered new approaches that, when combined with increasing computational power, extended the decimal representation of π to many trillions of digits after the decimal point. Most scientific applications require no more than a few hundred digits of π, and many substantially fewer, so the primary motivation for these computations is the quest to find more efficient algorithms for calculating lengthy numeric series, as well as the desire to break records. The extensive calculations involved have also been used to test supercomputers and high-precision multiplication algorithms.

Because its most elementary definition relates to the circle, π is found in many formulae in trigonometry and geometry, especially those concerning circles, ellipses, and spheres. In more modern mathematical analysis, the number is instead defined using the spectral properties of the real number system, as an eigenvalue or a period, without any reference to geometry. It appears therefore in areas of mathematics and the sciences having little to do with the geometry of circles, such as number theory and statistics, as well as in almost all areas of physics. The ubiquity of π makes it one of the most widely known mathematical constants both inside and outside the scientific community; several books devoted to it have been published, the number is celebrated on Pi Day, and record-setting calculations of the digits of π often result in news headlines. Attempts to memorize the value of π with increasing precision have led to records of over 70,000 digits.

Pi Day is celebrated on the 3rd Month 14th Day since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of pi in the decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day. The earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations. There are many ways of observing Pi Day. These include eating pie, discussing the significance of the number Pi and more recently watching Life Of Pi.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has often mailed its application decision letters to prospective students for delivery on Pi Day. Starting in 2012, MIT has announced it will post those decisions (privately) online on Pi Day at exactly 6:28 pm, which they have called “Tau Time”, to honor the rival numbers Pi and Tau equally.The town of Princeton, New Jersey also hosts numerous events in a combined celebration of Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday, which is also March 14. Einstein lived in Princeton for more than twenty years while working at the Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to pie eating and recitation contests, there is also an annual Einstein look-alike contest.

Adam Clayton (U2)

Best known As the Bass Player with Irish Rock Band U2 Adam Clayton was Born 13th March in 1960. Clayton has resided in County Dublin since the time his family moved to Malahide when he was five years old in 1965. Born in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, England, his family moved from Oxfordshire to Malahide, County Dublin When Clayton was five years old, where Clayton attended boarding school first at Castle Park School in Dalkey, then at St. Columba’s in Rathfarnham. He later changed school to Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, where he met fellow bandmates Paul “Bono” Hewson and Larry Mullen Jr., and was reunited with his boyhood friend Dave “The Edge” Evans. Mullen had posted an advertisement on the school bulletin board for musicians to form a band with him; Clayton showed up at the first practice, which also included Dik Evans, Dave Evans’s older brother, Ivan McCormick, and Peter Martin, who were two of Mullen’s friends. McCormick and Martin left the band soon after its conception. While the band was a five-piece (consisting of Bono, The Edge, Mullen, Evans, and Clayton), it was known as Feedback. The name was subsequently changed to The Hype, but changed to “U2″ soon after Dik Evans left the band.

As a bass player, Adam Clayton’s most recognizable basslines include “New Year’s Day”, which evolved out of an attempt to play Visage’s song “Fade to Grey”, and “With or Without You”. His style includes Motown and reggae influences, and cites artists such as Paul Simonon of The Clash as influences on his musical style. When Clayton first joined the fledgling U2, he did not have formal training in the bass. In the band’s early years, he generally played simple parts in 4/4 time. He has also sung on several occasion, including on the song “Endless Deep”, the B-side to the single “Two Hearts Beat As One” from 1983. Clayton also sung backup vocals on “I Will Follow” during live performances in 1983 and 1984. He also spoke the last verse of “Your Blue Room”. Clayton can be heard speaking on “Tomorrow (’96 Version)” (a rerecording of “Tomorrow” that he arranged) a song from U2′s 1981 album October. He plays the guitar on a few occasions, most notably the song “40″, where he and guitarist The Edge switch instruments. He also plays the keyboard introduction to “City of Blinding Lights”.

Clayton is well known for his bass playing on songs such as “New Year’s Day”, “Bullet the Blue Sky”, “With or Without You“, “Mysterious Ways“, “Get on Your Boots“, and “Magnificent“. His work on No Line on the Horizon has been cited as his best bass playing. He has worked on several solo projects throughout his career, such as his work with fellow band member Larry Mullen Jr. on the theme of 1996′s Mission: Impossible. Clayton, as a part of U2, has also won 22 Grammy awards. and numerous other awards, including those for Best Rock Duo or Group seven times, Album of the Year twice, Record of the Year twice, Song of the Year twice, and Best Rock Album twice.


Sir Ken Dodd OBE

English Comedian and entertainer Ken Dodd sadly died 11 March 2018. He was born on 8 November 1927 in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, Lancashire, in an old farmhouse. He went to the Knotty Ash School, and sang in the local church choir of St John’s Church, Knotty Ash. He was to live in Knotty Ash all his life, and often referred to it in his act.

He attended Holt High School in Childwall, but left at the age of 14 to work for his father, a coal merchant. Around this time he became interested in show business after seeing an advert in a comic: “Fool your teachers, amaze your friends—send 6d in stamps and become a ventriloquist! and sending off for the book. Not long after, his father bought him a ventriloquist’s dummy and Ken called it Charlie Brown. He started entertaining at the local orphanage, then at various other local community functions. His distinctive bucked teeth were the result of a cycling accident after a group of schoolfriends dared him to ride a bicycle with his eyes closed.

Ken Dodd got his big break in 1954 at age 26 When he made his professional show-business debut as Professor Yaffle Chucklebutty, Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter at the Nottingham Empire. Then in 1955 he appeared at Blackpool, in “Let’s Have Fun”. His performance at the Central Pier was part of a comedy revue with Jimmy James and Company. Also on the same bill were Jimmy Clitheroe and Roy Castle. Dodd gained top billing at Blackpool in 1958. He has guested on a number of television and radio shows and made several appearances on BBC TV’s music hall revival show, The Good Old Days.

Dodd had been described as “the last great music hall entertainer”. His stand-up comedy style was fast and relied on the rapid delivery of one-liner jokes. He said that his comic influences included other Liverpool comedians like Arthur Askey, Robb Wilton, Tommy Handley and the “cheeky chappy” from Brighton, Max Miller. He interspersed the comedy with occasional songs, both serious and humorous, and, ventriloquism. Part of his stage act featured the Diddy Men (“diddy” being local slang for “small”).

Dodd worked mainly as a solo comedian, although he occasionally appeared in dramatic roles, including Malvolio in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on stage in Liverpool in 1971; on television in the cameo role of ‘The Tollmaster’ in the 1987 Doctor Who story Delta and the Bannermen; and as Yorick (in silent flashback) in Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1996. Dodd was renowned for the length of his performances, and during the 1960s he earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest ever joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three and a half hours (7.14 jokes per minute). Ken Dodd also appeared on many Royal Variety Performances. The last was in 2006, in front of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, at the London Coliseum. In 1987, Dodd officially opened the Arndale shopping centre in Accrington.

Dodd continually toured throughout his professional career, performing lengthy shows that frequently did not finish until after midnight. In 2012 at the age of 84, he played the Princes Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex on 7 July. Starting at 7.15 pm he continued until just before 9.00 pm when Sybie Jones took to the stage. Returning at 9.30 pm he continued until 10.00 pm. The second support act performed until Dodd’s return just before 11.00 pm when he continued until 00.25 am. During 2017 Dodd continued to tour the UK extensively, with his comedy, music and variety show.

Dodd also released eighteen hit records, Including “Love Is Like a Violin,”Happiness”, “Tears”,”The River (Le Colline Sono In Fioro)”, and “Promises”, plus numreous comedy novelty records, including the 1965 EP Doddy and the Diddy Men, featuring the song “Where’s Me Shirt?” which Dodd co-wrote.

In 1989 Dodd was charged with tax evasion. The subsequent trial, with the prosecution case led by Brian Leveson QC, produced several revelations. The Diddy Men, who had appeared in his stage act, were often played by local children from stage schools, and were revealed never to have been paid. Dodd was also revealed to have very little money in his bank account, having £336,000 in cash stashed in suitcases in his attic. When asked by the judge, “What does a hundred thousand pounds in a suitcase feel like?”, Dodd made his now famous reply, “The notes are very light, M’Lord. Dodd was represented by George Carman QC, who in court famously quipped, “Some accountants are comedians, but comedians are never accountants”. Dodd was eventually acquitted. Despite the strain of the trial, Dodd immediately capitalised on his new-found notoriety with a successful season running from Easter to Christmas 1990 at the London Palladium. It was there he had previously broken the house record for the longest comedy season at the theatre, in 1965, with a residency lasting 42 weeks. Some of his subsequent material mocked the trial and tax in general. For a while he introduced his act with the words, “Good evening, my name is Kenneth Arthur Dodd; singer, photographic playboy and failed accountant!

Ken Dodd was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1982 New Year Honours for services to show business and charity and was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to entertainment and charity. The award was formally conferred by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 2 March 2017. In 2002, Dodd appeared in the TV special An Audience with Ken Dodd. Dodd was voted 36 amongst the ‘Top 50 Comedy Acts Ever’ In a 2005 poll of comedians and comedy insiders to find the ‘Comedians’ Comedian’ and was made an honorary fellow of Liverpool John Moores University in 1997. A statue depicting Dodd with his trademark “Tickling Stick” was unveiled in Liverpool Lime Street railway station in June 2009. Dodd was inducted into the exclusive show business fraternity, the Grand Order of Water Rats. Dodd was made an honorary fellow of the University of Chester in 2009, having been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at a graduation ceremony in Chester Cathedral. He was awarded a Doctorate of Letters at Liverpool Hope University in 2010 during the university’s Foundation Day celebrations. In 2016, Dodd was awarded the Aardman Slapstick Comedy Legend Award, in honour of his lifetime’s contribution to the world of comedy. He received the award as part of the Slapstick Festival in Bristol.

Dodd sadly died at his home in Knotty Ash aged 90 after recently being hospitalised for six weeks with a chest infection. He had been touring with his stand-up stage show until 2017. Two days before his death he had married his partner of 40 years, Anne Jones. Numerous stars paid tribute, including fellow Liverpudlian Paul McCartney.

Commonwealth Day

Commonwealth Day is held annually on the second Monday in March to celebrate the Commonwealth of Nations. It is marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. During the service the Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth, broadcast throughout the world. In the year before the quadrennial Commonwealth Games, the Queen starts the Queen’s Baton Relay on Commonwealth Day at Buckingham Palace, handing the baton to the first relay runner to start a journey that will end at the Opening Ceremony of the upcoming Games. While it has a certain official status, Commonwealth Day is not a public holiday in most Commonwealth countries, and there is little public awareness of it.

Empire Day was introduced in Canadian schools, first in Dundas, Ontario in 1898, on the last school day before 24 May, Queen Victoria’s birthday. It was celebrated more widely throughout Canada each year. A typical Empire Day in Canadian schools occupied the entire day and included inspirational speeches by trustees and songs such as “The Maple Leaf Forever” and “Just Before the Battle”. Empire Day was instituted in the United Kingdom in 1904 by Lord Meath, and extended throughout the countries of the Commonwealth. This day was celebrated by lighting fireworks in back gardens or attending community bonfires. It gave the King’s people a chance to show their pride in being part of the British Empire.

Empire Day was also celebrated in the Cape Colony before the Boer War and thereafter throughout the Union of South Africa. General Jan Smuts was born on Empire Day in 1870 (24 May 1870). In 1958 Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day, in accordance with the new post-colonial relationship between the nations of the former empire. The National Council of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Canada wrote a letter to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau saying that Commonwealth Day should be observed on the same day throughout all countries of the Commonwealth. So during a meeting of officials in Canberra in 1976, the Canadian proposal of the second Monday in March was adopted.

Sir Terry Pratchett OBE

Popular English novelist Sir Terry Pratchett OBE, Sadly passed away on 12 March 2015 at the age of 66 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. Born 28th April in 1948. He is best known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre In particular the popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels. Pratchett’s first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and his first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic was published in 1983. Since then he has been very prolific, writing on average, two books a year . After finishing the fourth Discworld novel, Mort, he decided to focus fully on hs novels and make his living through writing and published his fifth book Equal Rites soon after. Since then He has written many other discworld Novels including, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Monsterous Regiment, Hogfather, Small Gods, Soul Music, Interesting Times, The Truth, The Fifth Elephant, Maurice & his Educated Rodents, Carpe Jugulum, Hatful of Sky, Wee Free Men, Making Money, Wintersmith, Thud!, Night Watch, Unseen Academicals, I shall Wear Midnight, Raising Steam, Dodger, Snuff and The Shepherds Crown. He has also collaborated with many other authors including Neil Gaiman on Good Omens and Small Gods and Stephen Baxter on Long Earth, Long Mars and Long Cosmos. The Discworld novels all had distinctive cover art by Josh Kirby and Since Kirby sadly passed away in October 2001, the covers have been designed by Paul Kidby.

Many of Pratchett’s books have also been adapted for Radio and Television, the BBC’s Woman’s Hour broadcast The Colour of Magic as a serial in six parts and Truckers was adapted as a stop motion animation series for Thames Television by Cosgrove Hall Films in 1992. Johnny and the Dead was also made into a TV serial for Children’s ITV on ITV, and in 1995. Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were adapted as animated cartoon series by Cosgrove Hall for Channel 4 in 1996. In January 2006, BBC One also aired a three-part adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb. A two-part, feature-length version of Hogfather starring Michelle Dockery, David Jason and featuring the voices of Christopher Lee and Ian Richardson, was first aired on Sky One in the United Kingdom in December 2006, and on ION Television in the U.S. in 2007. A two-part, feature-length adaptation of The Colour of Magic and its sequel The Light Fantastic aired during Easter 2008 on Sky One. A third adaptation, Going Postal was aired at the end of May 2010. The Sky adaptations also feature the author in cameo roles. A BBC Program entitled Back in Black, featuring Paul Kaye as Terry Pratchett, also aired in 2017.

He remains a hugely popular author to this day and many of his books have occupied top places on the best-seller list. According to the Bookseller’s Pocket Yearbook from 2005, in 2003 Pratchett’s UK sales put him in 2nd place behind J. K. Rowling and in the paperback sales list Pratchett came 5th, behind James Patterson, Alexander McCall Smith, John Grisham and J. R. R. Tolkien). His sales in the UK alone are more than 2.5 million copies a year. In 1998 Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” he was also knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the Carnegie Medal for his children’s novel The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. In December 2007, Pratchett publicly announced that he was suffering from posterior cortical atrophy, a variation of Alzheimer’s disease and, subsequently, made a substantial public donation to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust. He also filmed a programme chronicling his experiences with the disease for the BBC and His last novel “The Shepherd’s Crown” was published posthumously in 2015.