All history buffs and literature lovers were aware that March 15th was known as The Ides of March. For ancient Romans, an ides was merely one of several common calendar terms used to mark monthly lunar events. Until 44 B.C., the Ides of March was another way of saying March 15th. But the Ides of March assumed a whole new identity after the events of 44 B.C. The phrase came to represent a specific day of abrupt change that set off a ripple of repercussions throughout Roman society and beyond.
For historians, it was the bloody assassination of Caesar in 44 B.C. He was stabbed 23 times to death in the Roman Senate by a group of conspirators. According to Plutarch, a soothsayer had foreseen that Caesar would be harmed not later than the Ides of March and on his way to the Theatre of Pompey (where he would be assassinated), Caesar met the soothsayer and joked, "The ides of March have come", meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the soothsayer replied "Ay, Caesar; but not gone."
For literature lovers, this meeting was famously dramatized in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, when Caesar was warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15-19
Fast forward to the Ides of March 2012 and it was my birthday. I turned XX. I needed a bigger cake to fit the candles :-). Babe let me loose in TK Maxx and I picked a lovely grey lamb leather Gharani Strok handbag and a box of posh Turkish Delight as my birthday presents. Thanks a million darling.
God was just showing off when he created me
From the movie “Keeping the Faith”
The starlings have been coming to my garden party in huge numbers now. We could hear them even when we’re in the casa because they were such a noisy bunch.with their harsh shrieking calls and chattering notes. It was amusing to see their greed and bossiness at the bird-feeder. They could finish the mealworms at just one visit. Hmm…selfish too. From afar, they don’t look interesting at all. But when you see them this close and in the right light, all sort of spots and shiny speckles were reflected from their glossy green violet sheen iridescent plumage. Totally stunning. One morning, when we left the house, we saw them lining the roof, waiting (im)patiently for their breakfast.
Starlings On The Roof
"No smoke spreads out of this chimney-pot,
The people who lived here have left the spot,
And others are coming who knew them not.
If you listen anon, with an ear intent,
The voices, you'll find, will be different
From the well-known ones of those who went."
"Why did they go? Their tones so bland
Were quite familiar to our band;
The comers we shall not understand."
"They look for a new life, rich and strange;
They do not know that, let them range
Wherever they may, they will get no change.
"They will drag their house-gear ever so far
In their search for a home no miseries mar;
They will find that as they were they are,
"That every hearth has a ghost, alack,
And can be but the scene of a bivouac
Till they move perforce--no time to pack!"
~Thomas Hardy ‘Starlings On The Roof’~
My heart and prayers goes to the Belgian families whose children left, full of excitement and never completed the journey home. I cannot comprehend what they were going through. The anticipation of a joyful homecoming turning into anguish as they waited for news. The distress of parents seeing their injured babies, the relief of those who realise their babies are among those alive and the grief for those who died. Sudden bereavement for the loss of 28 lives.
May Allah comfort and strengthen the families in their sadness. On Friday, I attended the first International Students Group meeting of this year. We welcomed another new member, SA, to the group. We discussed about creating a FAQ’s for the web-page, staff training and familiarisation to standardised library terms. A lot of ideas were thrown about the future plans and strategies of the group. We were very excited about updating the international student strategy, revising the web-page and conducting another survey in the autumn term. These should keep us on our toes.
Then a brisk walk by the lakes during my lunch-break. I checked the old lake to see if there was any activity going on. Very much to my delight, the frogs had been busy and I missed their mating sessions, again. I heard a drumming above my head. I looked up and saw this gorgeous Great Spotted Woodpecker. He was soo busy that he didn’t see me and I took the opportunity to take a few photographs. A pity that it was very dark under the trees. It was raining on Saturday. A soft rain as the Irish would say. Everyone’s a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, so why not try a favourite Irish recipe and raising a glass of Guinness to all things green. I made Irish stew with chicken instead of lamb and there was a pack of potato bread for dinner. Babe was half-Irish and I guess I can say that I’ll gladly wear a green shamrock, if I can find one. Apart from an Irish themed dinner sans the Guinness, the highlight of the day was replanting a thistle in the garden and wearing a long green jumper to Brandon Marsh. I blended in nicely with the surroundings :-)
If you're enough lucky to be Irish...
You’re lucky enough!
We were greeted by a wagtail busy feeding on the roof. Bachelor males were still serenading along the path. From Baldwin Hide, Shovelers, Oystercatchers, Shelducks, Golden Eyes, Pochards, Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes and Widgeons kept us occupied. As usual, the Lapwings and the Gulls were competing to see who was the loudest. A pair of Mediterranean gulls was reported to be among the gulls but we couldn’t see them. This handsome Great Crested Grebe delighted us by swimming so close to the hide.East Marsh Hide was dead as a Dodo. In Carlton Hide, we managed to get the last 2 seats. I wonder what were they waiting for? When we were there, a Buzzard was surveying his kingdom from the dead tree, a Kestrel did a quick fly-by and a pair of Bull-finches were feeding on the last berries. I thought the Osprey pole was hoisted around here but we couldn’t see any. Fat Jasper said that it might be by the Newlands reed-beds. We will check them out later. I got up early on Mothering Sunday. It was a lovely morning and I might call up my mother-in-law later. I dug up another raised bed and made a wildflower patch. I think I’ll make another patch next week. My feathered friends kept we company with their singing and twitterings. But they seemed to be spooked lately. I have seen our neighbours cats eyeing the bird-feeder from time to time. This was one of them, Boots aka Puss-in-Boots. In the evening, I made myself comfortable on the sofa watching Liverpool winning over Stoke City, 2-1, in the 6th round tie of the FA football cup. It was wonderful to see the the players and football fans giving their support for Fabrice Muamba, the midfielder with Bolton Wanderers. He is still in intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest in the 41 minute while playing against Tottenham Hotspur. Hang tight Muamba.
Finally, this post is dedicated to all the wonderful mums, without whose unselfish love and devotion, lives would be forever changed. Happy Mother’s Day to both my mother and mother-in-law. These gorgeous and highly perfumed hyacinths from our garden are for both of you.
“Who ran to help me when I fell, And would some pretty story tell, Or Kiss the place to make it well ?