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Numbers 268/84: Toby steps up as Head of Zoo at The Manor House

Sad day at The Big House. The senior male quadruped at The Manor House was Barney the Cat; he's reigned supreme for a decade and survived a severe road accident in his time. But sadly today he succumbed to lung cancer, not something we'd expected but a painful affliction. His sister Travis lives on of course, Julian suggesting she's now Mistress of the Zoo. But surely Toby, the later arriving solus Dog should be designated Head of Zoo. He's a great one although prone to fruitlessly chase tractors and launch frequent sorties on any chocolates or food within or even beyond his reach. We wish him well in his new role, No-Longer-the-Underdog. I still recall my role in Worthing taking our dog Peter on his final visit to our Vet. He didn't have the Norfolk Terrier pedigree Toby brings to his new role but we all loved him greatly.
Today is St Galentine's Day. There just had to be a fictitious US Saint enlisted so that the ladies of the world could celebrate their own female friends before the world became lost in the girl/ boy fascination of St Valentine. It should be celebrated not by any sort of Hen Party but a sophisticated gathering apparently enlivened by the drinking of Rosé. It's never been clear whether its participants expect to party again the following day or make the arrangements as compensation. But any excuse for a party which presumably during lockdowns needs to be shared via ZOOM as we managed for Burns' Night.

Is 13th unlucky? It was the date in 1542 when Henry VIII's fifth wife Catherine Howard was executed and Galileo went on trial in Rome by the Inquisition. Catherine married Henry at Oatlands Palace at Weybridge [left above] where we ourselves held a Revans University/IMCA Congregation in the modern Oatlands Park Hotel. A cousin of both Queens Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour she was just 21 when she was executed in The Tower of London. She'd been Queen herself for just 18 months. She was arrested, accused of treason, at Hampton Court Palace but escaping running screaming through the corridors to Henry seeking protection which was not forthcoming. Her ghost still runs and screams to this day.

Galileo was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, a polymath, from Pisa. He was the father of observational astronomy, modern physics and scientific method making him in truth the father of modern science. Galileo's championing of Heliocentrism and Copernicanism* met with opposition from within the Catholic Church and from some astronomers so he was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615 which concluded that heliocentrism was foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems [1632] which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits who had both hitherto supported him. His trial by the Inquisition found him "vehemently suspect of heresy" and he was forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest during which time he wrote Two New Sciences [1638], primarily concerning kinematics and the strength of materials.
Flooding precautions still in place at The Manor House! The waters are leaving through the blue pipe ….. but there's more rain forecast for the coming week. Need to take care the crocodile doesn't bite through that pipe ….


* Copernican heliocentrism is the name given to the astronomical model developed by Nicolaus Copernicus and published in 1543. This model positioned the Sun at the centre of the Universe, motionless, with Earth and the other planets orbiting around it in circular paths, modified by epicycles, and at uniform speeds. The Copernican model displaced the geocentric model of Ptolemy that had prevailed for centuries which had placed Earth at the centre of the Universe.

Published Date: February 13th 2021

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