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Showing posts from January, 2016

CULTURE: The Three Wise Men like no where else!

Post 123. Written by guest author MikeH

Bio:MikeH, born in Mexico, now living in Barcelona, has an avid interest in ancient history, mythology and a longing to understand early civilisations. When he is not working, you will find him on the tennis paddle court or exploring the historic city of Barcelona while enjoying delicious Spanish tapas. 

Baby Jesus in a cake, letters in shoes or in helium balloons, attending parades, drinking “atole” and eating “tamale”… This is just an appetizer on what you can discover in my post about how “Los Reyes Magos” is celebrated in Mexico. I will begin my post with a brief description of the origins of this festivity then explore its main elements from my perspective as a child growing in Mexico. 

Los Reyes Magos de Oriente", "Los Tres Reyes Magos" or simply "Los Reyes Magos (Three Wise Men) is celebrated on January 6th in most Spanish-speaking countries. According to Mexican tradition, Los Santos Reyes bring presents to children. I…

LITERATURE: The Witch of Ballyvale Part VI

Post 122. Written by Ben Kesp

Over the next two years, the arrival of Bill Roche at the cottage of Heather Rose became a common occurrence. However, it was into my first year with Heather that she became aware of my abilities which she later christened as a gift. Losing myself in a trance concerning a vision of Bill Roche, Heather soon got the information out of me of what had happened. She was very interested to learn more about this and how long I had it. Learning that I had these visions since birth, she knew it was not something that could be learned. 
I should say at this point that Heather was an outcast from the rest of the villagers. I soon began to realise this when I started attending the local school and the other children would call her names. Children are children and never quite understand what they are talking about, just listening to stories from grownups. 
Heather always refused to be treated by the village doctor or see a priest. She made her own remedies, and…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 121.  Written by Ben Kesp 
Celtic Myths and Legendsby Peter Berresford Ellis 

This book almost fell off the shelf into my hands, screaming for me to pick it up. The mammoth book of Celtic Myths and Legends details stories from six Celtic cultures: Irish, Welsh, Scots, Breton, Cornish and Manx. Some of the stories are new, translated from manuscript and untold before to the modern reader. 
Peter Berresford Ellis from the UK has published numerous books and graduated in 1989 in Celtic Studies from the University of East London and in 1992 with a masters. He has conducted extensive research in the field of Celtic studies which date back to the dawn of European civilisation. 
Added to his knowledge of the subject, his ability for story telling uniquely allows him to bring to life these ancient stories for new generations of all ages. The stories, some familiar and others unfamiliar allow you to expand your imagination and enter great worlds of magic, battles, creatures, heroes, kings, …

LITERATURE: Desert Adventures

Post 120. Written by Ben Kesp

Copyright © 2015 Ben Kesp

Gradual warmth spreads over his body.  Before, there was nothing.  Empty and dark.  Slowly lifting his eye lids, the red glow of the sun lights the sky around him.  Focusing his gaze, views of sand reach his eyes on all sides. Where is he?  The coolness of the desert evening becomes apparent sending goose bumps over his skin.  Peering down at his naked body only seeing his underwear, he ponders the moment.  Bright blue briefs.  They are unfamiliar to him.  He is startled by his appearance and tries in vain to recollect his memories.  Blank thoughts greet him.  His toes play with the sand beneath his feet, still warm after the day’s burning sun.  He takes a few steps ahead and stops to survey the sight before him.  Mounds of sand stretch as far as he can see.  Not a tree in sight, no vegetation of any kind. He processes the current position as if waiting on instruction. His stomach calls for food.  Not knowing which direction to wa…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 119. Written by Ben Kesp

Fortress Malta: An Island under Siegeby James Holland

I will be honest, I am not a war buff nor would I pick up a book of this nature however it was loaned to me following a conversation on the bombardment of Malta during World II. As the expression goes “never judge a book by its cover” and in this case I can certainly say it is true. This was not the book I had been expecting. Granted there are many technical aspects to be discussed concerning the battles, the ships, submarine wars, air forces, ground strikes, strategy and various tactics but what pulled me in was Holland’s ability to humanise the story.
James Holland was born in Wilshire, UK and is a member of the British Commission for Military History. He contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines and has written numerous works including “Italy’s Sorrows” and “The Battle of Britain”. 
Interchangeably he writes about the ferociousness of the war on Malta and the lives of the people down on the …

HIST & MYTH: Barcelona's Horrors - Enriqueta Martí

Post 118. Written by Ben Kesp

Swollen population, disease, high mortality rate, unemployment and strife were all part and parcel of city life in early 1900 Barcelona. It was a dark period in the city’s history. Families crowded into cramped apartments, infectious diseases and brothels all added to the seediness of the place. Exporting of adult films and images to Europe and America made Barcelona the pornographic capital of Europe. The rich were rich and the poor lived in desperation. 
A woman soon become known on both sides of the divide accused of living a double life. A beggar by day and a lady of luxury by night, dressing in furs, hats and wigs. Everything was exposed in 1909 when she was arrested, accused of running a brothel that offered sexual services from children aged between 3 and 14 years of age. The wealthy knew of her and dared not speak. Missing children was a common occurrence in Barcelona, often sold and sent to South America. Sex trafficking, slaves and prostit…

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 117. Written by Ben Kesp

The Man in the Iron Maskby Alexandre Dumas 
Welcome back to Mondays Book Talk for 2016, which will run for the next five weeks and what an epic literary work to begin with!
One day while browsing in my local book store, I happened to pick up one of the Collins Classics - The Man in the Iron Mask. Not having read the previous adventures of the three Musketeers I decided to give this one a read. The book is the final instalment for the Musketeers, D’Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis and Athos and I am sure brings a suitable end for any fan of the Musketeer trilogy. Having said this, you do not necessarily have to read the previous books to enjoy this instalment. 

Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was contemporary of the French novelist Victor Hugo. Dumas genre was adventurous romanticism. His works include the three novels about D’Artagnan, (The Three Musketeers that concludes with The Man in the Iron Mask), The Count of Monte Cristo and The Corsican Brothers.
The M…

LITERATURE: The Witch of Ballyvale Part III

Post 116. Written by Ben Kesp

Part III

Slamming the door of her cottage shut, Mags fights to keep the blame from creeping in through her raging emotions. Trying in vain to push the horrifying scenes from her mind, she paces to the fire hearth and grabs the small brush to sweep out the ashes. Her heart races. Grabbing the ash bucket, she shovels in the light brown ash with trembling hands. Anger rises for Bill Roche and his blind sighted ways. A man like him would never learn his lessons. How quick he is to take the law into his own hands! This act will not be forgotten, and the local authorities will act on it, but it will all depend on the ruling from landlord Crosby. He controls everything that happens in the area. 
Dropping her brush and shovel next to the flag hearth, she rises, moving slowly into the centre of her small kitchen. Glancing around at her belongings she has gathered over the years as she sits by the floor-to-ceiling dresser, she muses the thought of fleeing. S…