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Penshurst Place & Gardens in Kent

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Not far from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, you can find this house which dates back to 1340. It was the home of the Viscount de L’Isle, and for two centuries the home of the Sidney family, important in Tudor times, in particular Sir Philip Sidney who was an adventurer, soldier and poet during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Penshurst Place has one of the rare interiors from the 1300s and there are several rooms open to the public. In addition to the furniture of the time you can see dozens and dozens of family portraits. Like so many houses of the time, Penshurst Place also has a Long Gallery which was the room used to stroll back and forth when the weather outside did not allow for outdoor walks. The Long Gallery was usually adorned with art and paintings.

Although the Sidney family was only relatively important, there are very few other places that show how a wealthy family lived in the 1300s and 1400s. Besides the house you can explore the garden and park.

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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Folklore & Mythology

The ghost bus of Notting Hill

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There are also relatively recent testimonies of this apparition dating back to the 90s. This is a number 7 bus that appears in the Cambridge Gardens area of Notting Hill at 1.15am in the morning only in May.

The first appearance was in 1934 when a gentleman driving a car swerved quickly to avoid something and crashed into a wall and died instantly.

Some eyewitnesses said the man tried to avoid a number 7 bus, while a couple of others said there was no bus.

Other motorists since then swear they see a driverless bus with the lights off driving at high speed into their vehicle. But when they avoid them and turn to see what it was, the bus disappears.

No one has an idea of the reason for these apparitions and why they are seen always at the same time and only in the month of May.

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Herbal Medicine

How the ancient Egyptians used medical plants

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Of all the ancient civilizations, the Egyptian one was definitely the first of which we have a good knowledge of how they used herbs and plants for medicinal reasons. Sure, everything we know is a bit vague, but we have some ideas.

The first Egyptian physician we know was called Imhotep and worked for the pharaohs of the third dynasty, around 3000 years BC. We also know about him that he was an astrologer and had the ability to cure many diseases.

Obviously our knowledge is partly based on legends, anyone who was able to cure diseases was considered a magician and therefore seen as if an almost divine character, a magician and for his healing powers. But in general in Egyptian civilization, medicine and religion went hand in hand. So it wasn’t just the medicines that healed but the gods through medicines.

The concept of active ingredients, chemistry and pharmacology are modern concepts that were not found in Egyptian medicine. Another aspect of Egyptian culture that developed knowledge of the properties of herbs and plants was mummification. In fact, many substances that we use even now were used to mummify and perfume.

The interesting thing is the use of certain plants or natural remedies such as frankincense or myrrh (which would be the resins of plants and therefore require a little processing) which are still used today. They certainly used different essential oils such as peppermint, camphor and others that we also use.

Frescos have been found in Egyptian times showing the production and use of essential oils. Of course, even in this case everything was very much linked to religion.

Another thing we know for sure because papyri have been found, such as Ebers’s, which list the medicines that were recommended to a patient, were basically the ancestors of our medical prescriptions. Obviously not all medicines were plants, the Egyptians also used minerals as medicine but the majority were undoubtedly of vegetable origin.

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History

The Oldest Song in the World that can be played

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This is the oldest piece of music that can be reconstructed and therefore played is the Hurrian Hymn no 6. It was found in the Royal Place of Ugarit which is found in modern Syria but those days was in Canaan.  This piece of music is about 3400 years old. It was only discovered in the 1950s with other  five tablets containing instructions to play music but unfortunately the others were too ruined to be able to be deciphered. 

The song was meant to be played with a lyre, it also had lyrics but only some of them can be read. It appears to be a prayer to Nikal the Goddess of Orchards. It was written in the Hurian language. 

The instructions for another song were also found, this would be even older going back about 4000 years but there are only fragments and it’s impossible to play it. 

Watch  the Hurrian Hymn no 6

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