Saturday, May 9, 2009

Come Cheer Up Me Lads, Tis To Glory We Steer.............

I have a wee bit of a ear worm working on me this weekend. The song,"Heart of Oak" as you can tell by my blog title. One of the reasons for this, is this You Tube clip:

This was a competition that was held by members of the modern Royal Navy to commemorate the gallant service of navy gun crews from the ships H.M.S. Powerful and Terrible. During the Boer War they marched with their artillery pieces to assist and support the British Army in their attempt to relive the siege of Ladysmith in South Africa.

This competition is hardcore to the max. These men trained for months before the competition, injuring themselves even to the extent of traumatic amputations of fingers. But to show how dedicated and motivated these guys were about this contest, they would get stitched up, bandaged up and go right back to practice. I don't think the competition is still held, which is a shame. Check out the clip and see if you agree with me.

Well, let see. Since I last blogged, I went to San Juan, P.R. and returned, finished up a few projects, Finally got information on some surgery I have been needing and generally just caught up on things around Casa Williams.

San Juan was a great deal of fun. I couldn't get around like I wanted to due to my knees, but since this was my second trip I knew what to expect. Thanks to the assistance of other members of my hospital, I was able to focus more on interaction with the public and enjoying the sites and sounds of the old city. Old San Juan is of course a old town, with cobblestone streets. Some of the cobblestones sections are over 300 years old. The streets are narrow and parking is at a premium. So if you ever end up in the town, don't plan on driving. Walk or catch a cab.

The old buildings are very narrow, but are built upwards for more living space. Buildings could have as many as 4 or 5 stories and sometimes have gardens and patios on the roofs. Painted in pastels, with dark wood doors and window frames, the buildings of the old city are very beautiful and inviting.

This trip I got a chance to interact with some of the locals a great deal more than last time. Almost all that I had dealings with were warm and welcoming, grateful that we had come down to help them rediscover their history and heritage. I can't even count the number of times I was invited out to have a drink or for something to eat by the locals. I couldn't take advantage of those kind offers, since pain pills and booze just don't mix, and the night life in San Juan starts at 11:00 P.M. I will admit that I am getting just a little long in the tooth to be out parting all night long.

In talking to the people that came by our set up, I found that the local schools didn't teach the kids anything about the history of the island. That is a damned shame with as such a rich and varied historical record as San Juan and all of Puerto Rico has. In our own small way, I hope that I sparked a interest in the local heritage with all out visitors.

Also being a big time foodie, I developed a taste for the local food. (Not that I have ever turned down much of ANY type of food) I picked up a few recipes that I hope to try to reproduce here at the Casa. I have to convince my dear wife that I can indeed do something with plantains and other odd (at least to our southern taste and traditions) stuff. I will report on the results of my experiments.-grin-

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