Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Scissors, feet and pirates.


I've been tagged by Marceline to blog some things you don't know about me. Strange, because just the other night I was trying to think of three things people didn't know about me. I managed to come up with two. Mainly because I am a chatterbox and divulge everything about my life to my friends. So apologies for those who already know these facts.

1. I am an exceptionally good whistler. I used to whistle all the time as a child. It took one morning of sitting on the stairs, determined to whistle - to crack it. After that, I whistled like an old man - in the car, in the post office, at William Lows - wherever we went.

My friend round the corner had an irritating little sister. She entered a competition on the Big Breakfast to play an instrument live on air. She entered herself as a whistler and got on! I was so jealous because I knew I was a better whistler! Bitter? Moi?......I'm also surprisingly good on the harmonica. How? I have no idea.

2. I still have my favourite pair of scissors from childhood. Why? Well, being left handed it was always hard to cut out shapes. At school arts and crafts lessons my work was always wonky and ragged because the right handed scissors hurt my hands. In primary three, my kind art teacher gave me a pair of red scissors that could be used by left or right handed people. It was a revelation. I was soon cutting away like there was no tomorrow and my confidence in doing craft work rocketed. I keep them to remind me of an obstacle I overcame. And to be honest; they do cut rather well.

3. I am a qualified reflexologist. I love doing reflexology, it's so satisfying to see someone relaxed and enjoying their treatment. If I've not practiced for a while my arms ache, but that soon disappears. I used to hate feet but now find them quite fascinating. They can tell you so much about a person. Most people baulk at the thought of touching someone else's feet, but if you follow certain hygiene practices, then it's fine. Believe me, I've seen a lot of feet and they are never as bad as you'd imagine.

4. I have one pupil bigger than the other.

5. I love to dance in my kitchen. I have no idea why, but after a couple of glasses of wine, my kitchen floor calls me to lay my feet down for a boogie.....

6. My late great-aunt claimed to have written Moonriver. She said she wrote it and sent it to a publishing company and they stole it. My sister insists that the song was Fly me to the Moon, but my mum and I remember it was Moonriver. If only, I certainly wouldn't writing this blog now. I'd be in the South of France. Sipping pink champagne.

7. I love old photographs. I love nothing more than searching through very old photos, whether I know the people in them or not. It doesn't bother me. I need to make the effort and share some of my family photos. I am lucky to have ones from the 1930s onwards.

8. I swear everyone I know has heard this. So sorry. But anyhoo......One of the best days of my life happened at the age of 17. At the time I was doing an HNC in Radio Broadcasting. My mates Yasmin and Lisa arranged for us to meet the Super Furry Animals for an interview. They were playing at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. We met them for an interview and they were rather lovely. We took them a haggis as a gift. I think that impressed them. Out of all the people who interviewed them, only the three of us got given backstage passes for that evening. We all enjoyed the gig and had a great laugh at the aftershow party. It certainly was not showbiz glamour, but a good giggle. They remain my favourite band in the world. A couple of years ago Lee and I went all the way to Ullapool to see them. A fantastic weekend and another wonderful gig.

9. I love birdwatching. I think it started in childhood when my dad would tell me the names of different birds. I find them relaxing to watch. I suppose I don't class myself as a birdwatcher - I've never been on specialist trips or gone to a club. I just like sitting in my living room watching them hop from the tree onto the bird feeder. I don't have a favourite bird, but my top three have got to be.....Robins, Sparrowhawks and Blackbirds. In no particular order.


And finally, here's a tale to read with a hot cup of cocoa......
10. This is my proudest family story. My great, great, great, great (not sure how many great) grandfather was Captain Thompson. My great-aunt found the connection during her family tree research. He was a respected Dundonian who turned bad....According to some, Robert Louis Stevenson based aspects of Treasure Island on the story of Thompson.

If the treasure was found today, a 10% fee would be given to the finders. If you read on, you'll find that there is a lot of treasure. Six foot solid gold Virgin Mary statue is the key phrase. Bling! In the 1980s we had some Americans visit to ask for more information about Thompson. I don't think my parents could tell them much. I believe the Americans were going to do an expedition, but I cannot remember the details. To give you an accurate account of Thompson, I've taken the story from this online site http://www.e-adventure.net/land/treasure/treasureisland.html. Read on and enjoy.......

A Captain Thompson who was well known by the Peruvians as a fair man, was approached as his ship the Mary Dier lay at anchor in the bay. They asked if he would take on the treasure, some priests and some guards and sail out into the open sea and wait until the coast was clear. He agreed to do the job for a handsome price. Once out to sea the crew and the Captain having loaded this immense treasure could not resist the temptation to own it for themselves. They proceeded to club the Peruvian guards and slashed the throats of the priests then tossed them all overboard. The Mary Deir then headed for Cocos Island where it took eleven trips in the ship's longboat to get the treasure from the ship to shore. They buried the treasure with all intentions of returning in a year or so after all the fuss had quieted down. The treasure was valued at roughly 12 million in an1820's market. Today it would be worth over $100,000,000. Another prize buried at that time was a solid gold, gem encrusted, life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary. They say it weighed a ton. After unloading the ship this group turned pirate, headed round the Horn towards England but before they reached the Horn a Spanish warship captured them and sent them all to Panama to be put on trial for murder and piracy. They were all convicted and sentenced to be hung, which they all promptly were with the exception of the Capt. and his mate, who they hoped would bargain their lives for the where abouts of the treasure. Once the two men and their guards reached the shore of Cocos Island, the Captain and his mate took off and hid in the dense foliage of the island. The Spaniards finally gave up looking for them after searching fruitlessly for days and returned to Panama. Captain Thompson and the mate stayed marooned on the island for many long months surviving on bird’s eggs, fruit, coconuts, and small game. Eventually they were rescued by whalers and ended up in Newfoundland. Thompson died and the mate a man named Keating produced a map of the treasure and from that point on people tried to finance expeditions to the island.
Since then real and fake maps have fallen from out of the pages of books, from between the linings of steamer trunks and virtually every nook and cranny to lead adventurers to the island. Distant relatives of pirates and seamen claim to have the exclusive charts to the islands treasure.
The sources of treasure on the island are as numerous as the expeditions to find them and many are constantly being rebutted by scholars, historians, and treasure hunters alike. Like Americas Lost Dutchman’s mine, and Nova Scotia’s Oak Island, people believe that there must be some truth to the stories, enough truth to spend millions trying to find lost treasure.

6 Comments:

Blogger Jo said...

wow! so many great facts!! how interesting... I am inspired to blog another that was inspired by your Captain Thomson! We'll be blogging random facts about ourselves as we remember them forever more :)

9:34 AM  
Blogger Mo said...

Hi Catherine Love the family history story! Talking of old photos, I've got a whole box of sepia photos that belonged to my gran taken in the 1910s and of my grandfather's fellow soldiers during WWI - he was an ambulance driver. You might just have inspired me to do something about them.

Nice to read your 10 things.

11:28 AM  
Blogger marceline said...

Everyone is so interesting :)
I also have an ancient set of scissors, my mum's sewing scissors from ever since I can remember. She told us not to ruin them cutting paper but we did one day and they were relegated to kitchen scissors. I keep them to remember not to ruin my sewing scissors.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Gwen said...

How exciting. I don't think there is anyone remotely exciting in our family. My mum says she wants it to stay that way - I wonder what she means.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Bronwyn, said...

I enjoyed your buried treasure story. You'd think a good diviner would be able to find it?

6:18 AM  
Blogger Catherine Black said...

I think we should all go and search for it!

10:59 AM  

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