Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Do you believe in miracles?

The television schedules are now starting to fill up with Christmas movies which depict Father Christmas as a kind elderly man who can make 'miracles' and all you have to do is just need believe.

We all know of 'miracle' stories such as surviving a natural disaster or the survival of a terminal illness, or the escape from a life threatening situation. So do we believe in miracles?

A miracle has been described as a supernatural intervention in the life of a person. It has been defined as an event in the physical world that can be evidenced as having happened but that cannot be explained by any known scientific or natural process. However, Thomas Payne, one of the founding fathers of America, wrote: “All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe”.

Is a birth of a much desired child, 'a miracle'? Or now that we understand the natural process of conception and giving birth, is that birth just an event due to the natural process? Ask any mother how she would describe that birth experience!
If a man survives a train crash for example, an expert could think that he survived because of where he was sitting on the train at the time of the crash. Can we think 'that wasn't a miracle; he survived because his time wasn't up yet'? But if someone lives because his time wasn't up, isn't that the same thing as a miracle? Both are a belief in the existence of somethings just out of our control and if we are honest, are we not relieved that not all can be explained?
In other words, whilst we know that there are people  out there who will give an explanation for what happened to us or our loved ones, is the truth that we prefer to believe it was a miracle? Is it because that way, we feel more secure, more special that in some way we have been protected by a higher benevolent being?
So do you believe in miracles?


Monday, 21 November 2011

Fun with Seas-IT on facebook

We are also on facebook and we are up for having fun there too, so....feel free

The Best Fish and Chips

Fish and chips at the seaside are what British childhood memories are made of, but whenever I've visited a UK seaside town I've found over-cooked chips offered in polystyrene burger boxes which hardly enhance their appearance, taste, or their reputation. It seems there are others who want that high standard back as I've recently discovered the National Fish and Chip Shop of the Year competition.

This annual contest is organised by Seafish and is judged by them along with the British Potato Council, the National Federation of Fish Friars, and preview winners. Each chip shop is assessed on more than just the taste of their fish and chips as fish quality and sustainable sourcing practices are checked, as well as customer service and hygiene standards.

The 2011 winner was 149 in Bridlington, East Yorkshire run by Matthew Silk and Tracy Poskitt who are both passionate about quality and raising the profile of fish and chips. I was impressed to see that even their Maris Piper potatoes are farmed locally.

History of Fish and Chips
Fish and chips became a common meal for the British working classes in the 19th century due to trawl fishing in the North Sea and the railways that connected ports to the cities. Charles Dickens mentioned fried fish in his 1837 novel Oliver Twist, and deep-fried chipped potatoes were gaining popularity in the north of England at the same time. Inevitably the ideas collided and combined and by the 1850s there were street traders who sold pieces of fried fish and cooked 'shaved' potatoes in newspapers on the streets of London. And over the following decade the idea spread across the country.

Still Popular
Other meals now vie for our attention, and the national dish of England has probably moved on from fish and chips, or even the Sunday roast, to the more internationally flavoured Chicken Tikka Masala. But it has not fallen completely out of favour as there are around 11,000 fish and chip shops across the UK which sell 382 million meals each year. The nice people at Seafish have worked out that's six meals from a fish and chip shop for every man, woman and child in the UK.

While burgers and fries have grabbed the attention of the young, it's clear why obesity levels are rising. The average high street chain burger has 14.8 grams of fat per 100 grams and French fries have 15.5 grams of fat. Fish and chips are hardly slimming foods but they actually only have on average 9.4 grams of fat per 100 grams so can still be enjoyed in moderation.

Next time you're in the UK, enjoy this traditional meal at the end of the day knowing 80% of all fish and chip meals from fish and chip shops are bought during dinner hours. All that's left to debate is what the best accompaniment is: salt, vinegar, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, or curry sauce?

Laura Porter exclusively for ISIC-IT( the mother ship of SEAS-IT). She writes the London Travel site (which includes a list of the Best Fish and Chips in London) and is a regular contributor to the VisitBritain Super Blog. Follow her on Twitter at @AboutLondon

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Charlie Chaplin shanghaied -

This gem of a film was found by us thanks to the fabulous Internet Archive - moving images library - No rights reserved creative commons.
This Charlie Chaplin film was released on 4th October 1915 is about a crooked Captain who wants to sink his ship to claim the insurance and Charlie plays the boyfriend of the Captain's daughter.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Things to do at the Beach for Free

Recently, I wrote about Fun Things to Do on the Beach and I thought we could elaborate on that by proving further to the kids that we don’t need expensive toys to enjoy the seaside by listing some of the free ‘entertainment’ in the area.

Stay away from the beach shops – another bucket and spade to leave at home, anyone? – and away from the pier and the amusement arcades to reconnect with the simple, innocent fun to be found in your surroundings.

People watching: Put on your sunglasses and watch the others on the beach. It’s not about ogling the beach beauty; more about looking and wondering. Are they on a first date? Is that grandfather teaching his grandson to fish? Where did they come from? Why do you think they’re here? Who looks pleased to be here and who is only enduring it? Don’t stare or you will get in trouble but do let the people around you spark your imagination.

Collecting: Whether it’s shells, pebbles or driftwood there’s more to the beach than just sand. Find stones with holes, pebbles with stripes, different shaped seashells – just because you can. You don’t have to take them home and make a driftwood picture frame and a Zen-like threaded stone hanging (Who really has time for such things?) just to know you could, should be enough.

Stone skipping / skimming: Find a flattish stone and throw it out to sea like a Frisbee and see if it’ll bounce. Don’t get too competitive – even though there are World Stone Skimming Championships – this is supposed to be fun. Anything more than three bounces deserves a treat.

Write messages in the sand: No special equipment needed here, although it is easier with a stick. But you can do this with your finger on a small scale or by dragging your foot along on a large scale. Mark arrows and have a treasure hunt. Leave notes for friends. Maybe take photos to make postcards.

Paddle: Yep, there is a lot of water right next to the beach so indulge yourself and get your feel wet. Roll up the trousers or hitch up the skirt and feel the cold water and wet sand between your toes.

Bury each other: Simply use your hands to dig a hole and plonk your partner/child/friend in there and bury them. Or bury each other’s legs and try and stand up without assistance.

Watch the sunset: This is why staying all day at the beach is worthwhile. Once you’re wrapped up in warm clothes with the one you love, it’s incredibly romantic just to watch the horizon and the fading light.

So next time you go to the beach don’t take anything with you and you’ll still have a great time.

Laura Porter has written this article exclusively for SEAS-IT. She also writes the London Travel site and is a regular contributor to the VisitBritain Super Blog. Follow her on Twitter at @AboutLondon.