Thursday, February 15, 2018

HAPPY YEAR OF THE DOG | Good Luck Year, But Not for Trump

Happy Chinese New Year!
It will be the Year of the Dog in the zodiac calendar. It is the Year of the Earth Dog. (The twelve years of the zodiac cycle within a larger 48-year cycle governed by the four ancient elements, fire, water, earth, air, similar to the length of the Kondratiev cycle.)
This can be a lucky year, because the dog is loyal. But it is an unlucky year for those born in a prior Year of the Dog.
Donald Trump was born in such a prior year, 1946 (he, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were born within three months of each other).

Those who take the feng shui of the zodiac calendar seriously are predicting that Trump will have bad luck in this year, from February 16, 2018 through the beginning of the next year in February 2019, which will start the year of the pig.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BIRTHDAYS | March 2018 (Children's Book Authors)

Women's History Books for Kids

2 - Dr. Seuss, 1896-1991
3 - Erik Blegvad, 1923-2014 - Patricia MacLachlan, 1938
4 - David A. Carter, 1957 - Peggy Rathman, 1953
5 - Mem Fox, 1946 - Howard Pyle, 1853
6 - Sid Fleischman, 1920 - Chris Raschka, 1959
8 - Peter Roop, 1951 - Robert Sabuda, 1965 - Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - International Women's Day
9 - Margot Apple, 1946
11 - Peter Sis, 1949
12 - Marguerite De Angeli, 1889 - Virginia Hamilton, 1934 - Carl Hiaasen, 1953
13 - Diane Dillon, 1933 - Death of Claire Huchet Bishop, 1993 (b. 1899, date unknown).
St Patrick's Day is March 17
15 - Ruth White, 1942 - Heidi Whitaker
17 - Penelope Lively, 1933 - Patrick McDonnell, 1956 - Wendell Minor, 1944 – St Patrick's Day (during the month before this date, a special discount is offered to previous Boissevain Books customers; you should have received an email about this on Feb. 17 or 18)
18 - Douglas Florian, 1950
20 - Mitsumasa Anno, 1926 - Lois Lowry, 1937 - Bill Martin Jr., 1916 - Louis Sachar, 1954
21 - David Wisniewski, 1953
22 - Randolph Caldecott, 1846
26 - Betty McDonald, 1908
27 - Dick King-Smith, 1922 - Patricia C. Wrede, 1953
30 - Anna Sewell, 1820

Boissevain Books LLC is a publishing company created by the six children of Hilda van Stockum – five of them (Olga, Brigid, Randal, John and Elisabeth) alive at the end of December 2017, Sheila having sadly died on September 25, 2017 in Watford, UK. The primary mission of Boissevain Books is to keep Hilda van Stockum's 25 award-winning books for children available for purchase and remembered after her death in 2006.

Other Months of Birthdays of Writers4Kids: February 2018 January 2018 . December 2017 .  November 2017.  October 2017 .  September 2017 . August 2017 . July 2017 .  June 2017 . May 2017 . April 2017 . March 2017 . February 2017

All original content in this post © 2006-2018 by Boissevain Books LLC.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Denis at our house in Vero. He calls this our national security
strategy meeting. He was born in India. His father was a
British Army Brigadier. Denis served in the U.S. Army.
Products of the English Benedictine Congregation had several mini-reunions in Vero Beach, Florida this past week.

First we had a formal lunch reunion, about 30 people, at the Moorings Club, south of Vero Beach, kindly sponsored by alumni members of the club. 

Several representatives of Portsmouth Abbey School visited, including the incumbent headmaster, as part of an annual tour of retired Portsmouth alumni in Florida. The tour usually takes in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach as well as Vero Beach.  
We were joined by the family dog, HachikĊ.
Denis holds on to a palm leaf to restrict its growth.

I attended the event in 2015 and again last year when relatives of the late Fr. Damian Kearney were there who reside in the Vero Beach area.  

A few days later, I had a visit from Robert Denis Ambrose, who was known as Bob at Portsmouth and as Denis at home and currently. 

Denis was at Portsmouth for the two academic years 1953-1955, first in the Barn, headed then by Fr Bede, and then at St Bede's House, where the housemaster was Fr Hilary. Denis says he has fond memories of these years. He remembers also Fr Aelred ("Barney") Wall and the Associate Headmaster, Cecil Acheson, from Ampleforth.
We looked over the potential attendance list for the Portsmouth
Class of 1958 60th Reunion, planned for Newport, Sept. 28.

Denis then transferred to Ampleforth College, at St Wilfred's House. He told me it was a bit of a shock to go from the more laid-back environment of Portsmouth to Ampleforth. 

Denis recalls many moments of his time at Ampleforth, and personalities such as Regimental Sergeant Major Hennessy, Father Julian, the swimming coach and the teas after swimming meets, especially the away matches where the teas were a schoolboy's dream. 

Denis was taken aback by the number of rules at Ampleforth, many more than at Portsmouth, and the fact that they were effectively enforced. Boys were not allowed to eat candy bars on public streets, for example, and were forbidden to sit on radiators.

He has strong memories of his study of history at Ampleforth. He says that one theme that recurred was: "England's foreign policy is and has been about maintaining the 'balance of power'." 

(My own recollection is studying the Wars of the Roses to death. I learned that a red rose of Lancaster does not smell as sweet as a white one of Yorkshire.)

England may no longer rule the waves, but that doesn't mean it will now Waive the Rules. The central heating in British schools and universities, he thinks, is still not turned on till late November. He likes a book by Jeremy Paxman, The English

Despite the rigors of the English classroom and plumbing, Denis believes, both Ampleforth and Portsmouth hold out a model of peace and tolerance, the Benedictine way of life, that is a worthy one to follow.
L to R: Denis, John, Bill.
After three years serving in the US Army, Denis trained as a civil engineer, spending several years designing bridges and obtaining a Professional Engineering License. 

Subsequently he obtained a bachelors degree in business from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Lebanon Valley College. He was engaged in economic feasibility studies and valuation studies for water and wastewater projects including certifications for bond issues and rate covenants and presentation of testimony before regulatory agencies.  He still provides consulting services on a limited basis. 

The same summer of 1955 in which Denis was heading across the Atlantic from Portsmouth to Ampleforth, I was going the other way. 

I found the transition relatively painless. I had been at Gilling Castle and the Junior House at Ampleforth College for three years.
The academic environment at Ampleforth was austere, Old School... My brother was in the upper school and used to visit me with the late Johnny Encombe, who also had a younger brother at Gilling.

L to R: John (pushing back on a fast-growing Bougainvillea), Bill and Denis.
I started learning Greek at Gilling Castle as well as continuing Latin and French. Our ancient history teacher, Fr Bruno, gave us vivid descriptions, which have stayed with me more than 60 years, of the Battles of Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae.

Denis stayed with us in Vero for a few days, during which time we paid a visit nearby to Bill (Gregory) Floyd, Portsmouth '57 and former Abbey headmaster. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

WOODIN(G) | Did British Ancestors Have a Coat of Arms?

If you search online for the name Woodin or Wooding (which sometimes seem to have been used interchangeably in the 17th century in Britain and the United States), you will find Coats of Arms attributed to them. I found them and sought advice from William Hunt, former Windsor Herald of the College of Arms. I sent him three designs of Arms attributed to Woodin(g) in which the dominant charges are Pheons, Owls, and Roses. All three employ chevrons, which suggests that this is the common theme among Woodin(g)s.

Pheons. A phone is a barbed arrowhead, which can have its points up or down. The first looks as though it would be blazoned: "Sable a Chevron Argent between three Pheons Argent points upwards Sable" and the historical background below the Arms says it is in Burke's General Armory in 1884.

Hunt, who after retirement in 2017 is now research assistant to John Petrie, Rouge Croix Poursuivant, looked for a record of grants of the claimed Arms and found none. His report to me on this design is that Arms looking like this were confirmed, but not to anyone named Woodin(g).
[It] was confirmed to William Sulyard of Eye at the Visitation of Suffolk in 1561 (G7.24b). [Blazoned with a different tincture, "Argent a Chevron Gules..."]
Hunt did a thorough search and found no arms for Woodin(g) except for a recent (1994) grant to a Wooding.
I have checked our records and can report that there has been no confirmation or grant of Arms to someone of this name [before 1994]. I have checked the grants made in Scotland before 1972, and there is none there either. We have photographs of the Arms granted and pedigrees recorded in the Ulster Office, which was the heraldic authority under the British Crown 1552-1943. Despite what Burke’s General Armory says, there is no reference to this name there either. 
Owls and Roses. In addition, I sent two designs featuring owls and roses. Both have been attributed to a Woodin(g). One was blazoned "Gules a Chevron between three Owls Argent" (below, left) and the other featured roses (below, right):

The response on these two designs was equally negative:
[The design] with the owls [was confirmed] to Sir Samuel Sleigh at the Visitation of Derbyshire in 1662 (C34.4b) and the one with the roses was confirmed at the Visitation of Norfolk in 1563 as the unidentified 4th quarter in the Arms of Mary, one of the heirs of Henry Bures of Acton co Suffolk, who was married to Thomas Barow of Wynthorpe co Lincolnshire (G1.25). As you are no doubt aware, a difference in colour is not a difference as far as the Laws of Arms are concerned, as a design must be unique when seen in black and white or on stone, silver, etc.
Too bad. The upshot is that if the Woodin family wants a coat of arms, it will have to design one anew and have it registered, possibly borrowing from the 1994 Arms that have been granted to Mr. Wooding.

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