May 10, 2011

Ancient graffiti at the Tower of London.

Graffiti isn't anything new at all. Maybe it's not easy for us to imagine graffiti done in Medieval times, or at least it's not the first thing that would come to mind. However, what about prison cells? The carvings on the walls made by prisoners are images that we are much more used to, we have been seeing that in movies forever. 

Well, this very thing happened in the Tower of london as well. About 8.000 prisoners were held in the Tower between the years 1.100 and 1941, and some of them left their memories on the walls as they spent long hours in the eerie cells. These carvings are a part of history, and we can learn a little more about them in this video: 

May 7, 2011

Ever been interested in acquiring an aircraft carrier?

This proud ship that you can see to your left is the H.M.S. Ark Royal, former flagship of the British Royal Navy.

Do you want to know it a little better? According to its Wikipedia entry, she is the fifth Royal Navy ship to have borne the name of the 1587 flagship that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. Originally intended to be named Indomitable to match the rest of the class, this was changed due to the public reaction to the loss of the Ark Royal name after the scrapping of the previous Ark Royal in 1980, after 30 years' service.

Slightly larger than her sister ships, and with a steeper ski-jump ramp, Ark Royal carried the STOVL (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) Harrier Jump Jet aircraft, as well as various helicopters. With a crew complement of over 1,000 sailors and aviators, she saw active service in the 1990s Bosnian War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

Originally due to be retired in 2016, Ark Royal was instead decommissioned on Friday 11 March 2011, as part of the Navy restructuring portion of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review. After Invincible was decommissioned in 2005, and with the retiring of Illustrious expected in 2014, Royal Navy aircraft carrier usage will continue with at least one ship of the under-construction Queen Elizabeth class. After Ark Royal's decommissioning HMS Albion replaced her as the Royal Navy flagship.

Well, now that you know a little more about it, how would you like to own it? Yes, own it. The British military is selling it after having decommissioned it. Don't you believe it? Just visit the Ministry of Defence's auction website and learn about how to bid for it at the auction that there's going to take place. Bidders have until 10am on June 13 to put their tenders forward for the ship. No minimum price is given.

Or... if you are just not into aircraft carriers you might be interested in taking a look at something quite different. Something like these three Type-42 destroyers, HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton and HMS Nottingham. I can already think of a million things that I would do with one of these babies. 

May 4, 2011

More striking pictures on tornadoes in the south of the U.S.

Nature is pushing it a little in the U.S. right now... things are getting difficult for more people, as if they already weren't... 

The source of the photographs (and many more), again, here.

May 1, 2011

The Shackleton Whisky.

Sir Ernest Shackleton has been around in this blog every now and then. He was the famous explorer of the Endurance expedition that tried to reach the South Pole in Antarctica, and during that expedition a hut where the crew used to have shelter was left behind. 

Actually, they left something else than just the hut. They also left some crates of highland malt whisky that were found very deep in the ice beneath the hut. Three of them were dug up by the New Zealand Anctartic Heritage Trust, and three of the bottles were taken to the distillers Whyte and Mackay, which owns the McKinlay brand. It's been more of a century since that whisky was produced and the recipe had been long lost, as no such a whisky is made nowadays. 

All this is really exciting, but what excites me the most is the fact that Whyte and Mackay have been able to replicate this whisky, and I wouldn't mind it AT ALL if one of those replica bottles fell in my hands. 

You can learn a bit more on this in master blender Richard Paterson's blog and also here:

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