Thursday 21st September 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2017 by uppyalf

We had a brilliant night out with the volunteer team at the Birmingham Hippodrome.


The West Midlands Volunteer Awards were developed in 2016 to recognise and reward the invaluable role and significant contribution made by volunteers to the museums in the region. Volunteers are widely credited with being the life blood of many museums, generously giving their time, amounting to thousands of hours of support per year. They bring energy, enthusiasm and expertise to all areas of museum life and the awards are a chance for everyone to hear their stories and to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements.



A billion miles from home, running low on fuel, and almost out of time. After 13 years traversing the Saturn system, the spacecraft Cassini is plunging to a fiery death, becoming part of the very planet it has been exploring. As it embarks on its final assignment – a one-way trip into the heart of Saturn – Horizon celebrates the incredible achievements and discoveries of a mission that has changed the way we see the solar system.

Strange new worlds with gigantic ice geysers, hidden underground oceans that could harbour life and a brand new moon coalescing in Saturn’s magnificent rings. As the world says goodbye to the great explorer Cassini, Horizon will be there for with a ringside seat for its final moments.

The Cassini–Huygens mission commonly called Cassini, was a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to send a probe to study the planet Saturn and its system, including its rings and natural satellites. The Flagship-class unmanned robotic spacecraft comprised both NASA’s Cassini probe, and ESA’s Huygens lander which would be landed on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Cassini was the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter its orbit. The craft were named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens.

Launched aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur on October 15, 1997, Cassini was active in space for more than 19 years, with 13 years spent orbiting Saturn, studying the planet and its system after entering orbit on July 1, 2004.[8] The voyage to Saturn included flybys of Venus (April 1998 and July 1999), Earth (August 1999), the asteroid 2685 Masursky, and Jupiter (December 2000). Its mission ended on September 15, 2017, when Cassini was commanded to fly into Saturn’s upper atmosphere and burn up in order to prevent any risk of contaminating Saturn’s moons, which might have offered habitable environments to stowaway terrestrial microbes on the spacecraft. (At that point Cassini lacked sufficient impulse to leave the Saturn system, so it could only be left in orbit, where it might collide with a moon, or be destroyed.) The mission is widely perceived to have been successful beyond expectation. Cassini-Huygens has been described by NASA’s Planetary Science Division Director as a “mission of firsts”, that has revolutionized human understanding of the Saturn system, including its moons and rings, and our understanding of where life might be found in the Solar System.

Cassini’s original mission was planned to last for four years, from June 2004 to May 2008. The mission was extended for another two years until September 2010, branded the Cassini Equinox Mission. The mission was extended a second and final time with the Cassini Solstice Mission, lasting another seven years until September 15, 2017, on which date Cassini was de-orbited to burn up in Saturn’s upper atmosphere.

The Huygens module travelled with Cassini until its separation from the probe on December 25, 2004; it was successfully landed by parachute on Titan on January 14, 2005. It successfully returned data to Earth for around 90 minutes, using the orbiter as a relay. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System and the first landing on a moon other than our own. Cassini continued to study the Saturn system in the following years.

At the end of its mission, the Cassini spacecraft executed the “Grand Finale” of its mission: a number of risky passes through the gaps between Saturn and Saturn’s inner rings. The purpose of this phase was to maximize Cassini’s scientific outcome before the spacecraft was destroyed. The atmospheric entry of Cassini effectively ended the mission.


Thursday 11th May 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2017 by uppyalf

From May Day at Compton Verney to Cuba and Mexico. we get around.


Thursday 12th January 2017

Posted in Stuffed. on January 12, 2017 by uppyalf

Mysterious Planet 9 ‘is rogue world snared by our solar system’ and it could hold alien life
Newly discovered Planet 9 may have been captured by our Sun’s gravitational pull
ice planet that is so big it’s tilting our entire solar system may be a rogue world captured by our Sun’s gravitational pull.

Planet 9 is believed to be 15 times larger than Earth and is believed to be responsible for the odd behaviour of planets near to us.
Scientists have suspected that the hypothetical planet is disrupting the orbit of icy objects and could one day destroy Earth.

Although it is invisible to the naked eye, it can be spotted using advanced telescopes.

But now there are claims that the planet is a lone world that got caught up in our solar system – sparking hopes that it could hold alien life.

New Mexico State University said it was likely a “rogue planet” during a news conference.

James Vesper, an undergraduate at the University told the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Grapevine, Texas: “It is very plausible’ that Planet Nine is a captured rogue, a world that cruises through space unattached to a star.”
Mystery planet Nibiru will ‘smash into Earth’ in OCTOBER
Evidence of a Ninth Planet which is 20 times the distance from the Sun as our planet and a year lasts around 10,000 to 20,000 Earth years
The discovery of Planet 9 was hailed as a great feat for science, but came with a fatal warning.


The ice giant could destroy the solar system by causing devastating “death dance”, astronomers have warned.

It could one day hurtle through our solar system, sending planets “pinballing” into outer space or plunging into the Sun.

Dr Dimitri Veras of the Department of Physics said: “The existence of a distant massive planet could fundamentally change the fate of the solar system.
“The fate of the solar system would depend on the mass and orbital properties of Planet Nine, if it exists.”

Luckily for us, humanity has about seven billion years to prepare for this grim eventuality, which will take place when the Sun begins to die.

The Nibiru cataclysm is a supposed disastrous encounter between the Earth and a large planetary object (either a collision or a near-miss) which certain groups believe will take place in the early 21st century. Believers in this doomsday event usually refer to this object as Planet X or Nibiru. The idea that a planet-sized object will collide with or closely pass by Earth in the near future is not supported by any scientific evidence and has been rejected by astronomers and planetary scientists as pseudoscience and an Internet hoax.

The idea was first put forward in 1995 by Nancy Lieder, founder of the website ZetaTalk. Lieder describes herself as a contactee with the ability to receive messages from extraterrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain. She states that she was chosen to warn mankind that the object would sweep through the inner Solar System in May 2003 (though that date was later postponed) causing Earth to undergo a physical pole shift that would destroy most of humanity. The prediction has subsequently spread beyond Lieder’s website and has been embraced by numerous Internet doomsday groups, most of which linked the event to the 2012 phenomenon. Since 2012, the Nibiru cataclysm has frequently reappeared in the popular media; usually linked to newsmaking astronomical objects such as Comet ISON or Planet Nine. Although the name “Nibiru” is derived from the works of the ancient astronaut writer Zecharia Sitchin and his interpretations of Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, he denied any connection between his work and various claims of a coming apocalypse.

Christmas 2016



Sunday 4th December 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2016 by uppyalf


Thursday 3rd November 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2016 by uppyalf

We have had a busy last couple of weeks that’s to say October and Halloween. We met Aowen Jin at Compton Verney. We gave her a mug.


Aowen Jin is a Chinese-born British artist and social commentator. She was named by The Times as “one of tomorrow’s great artists”. Her exhibitions frequently attract critical acclaim in the media, and her artworks have been collected by Her Majesty the Queen, the Horniman Museum, and many other high profile organisations and individuals. She works between China and Britain.

On Halloween we were cutting pumpkins at Compton Verney too.


The Ghost of Harriet Ann Devall

During the Second World War, members of the armed forces were billeted there, and the men talked, perhaps half jokingly, of the ‘ghost laundry maid’, There were rooms where no one would venture after dark, but few can have known the true story of the foul murder of the laundry maid, and why she wanders through the empty rooms where once she worked so diligently. The maid was Harriet Ann Devall, known to all simply as ‘Nance’. She was 26 years old, and described as a tall, strong, robust country girl. Nance was extremely popular with her fellow servants in the big house; a bright and lively girl who laughed a lot, enjoyed a joke and certainly enjoyed life. On 1st November 1903, her murdered body was found in a ditch near the ‘top lawn’ at Compton Verney, her throat had been cut, so viciously her head was almost severed from the body. She had been cruelly slashed about the face and arms, and the wounds appeared to have been inflicted with a razor. A trail of blood, in pools and spots, indicated the body had been moved, and led back some 270 yards to one of Capability Brown’s curving bridges, spanning the lake. Suspicion centred upon a young man, 19 year old Walter Couzens.

Nance Devall had been in service at Draycott House, near Chippenham in Wiltshire, and there she met young Walter Couzens, who lived in the village. They became friendly, starting courting and eventually became engaged to be married. But after the formal engagement, their relationship seemed to suffer, Nance was having second thoughts, and she gave in her notice at Draycott House and returned to Warwickshire to be nearer to her family, who lived in Leamington Spa. She very quickly obtained a situation at Compton Verney, where many servants were kept, and it seemed lively enough to suit her, she soon settled down. She owned a bicycle, and because she did not know whether she could store it and use it at Compton Verney, she left it with Walter Couzens in Chippenham. She soon realised it would be very useful to her in her new post, and wrote to Couzens to tell him she wanted it. Couzens had been trying to get a job on the railways, but was turned down, and accordingly left his home in Chippenham and went to stay for a while with an uncle in Little Gaddesdon, Great Berkhampstead, taking the bicycle with him. This seemed to upset Nance, who simply wanted her bicycle. After some time at Compton Verney, Nance wrote to Couzens and seems to have been trying to be very honest with the young man. She said ‘. . . I really must tell you I feel I really could not keep true to you, for there are so many dances and concerts going on, and when any chap asks me to go, I go of course. And you know I always liked dancing, so really I could not give it up for anything … also I like plenty of life, so I go first with one, then another, and 1 know you are very jealous, so I thought I’d better write and tell you. So I think the best thing for us to do is part friends…’ And she goes on to say she hopes he will soon find someone else more deserving of his love, for ‘I flirt first with one then another’ she admitted. When he received this letter, and realised Nance meant what she said and wanted an end to their engagement, Couzens was very upset, and according to his uncle’s family, he went into morose silence. On the 30th October he set off from Little Gaddesdon, with Nance’s bicycle, to come to Warwickshire. He arrived at Compton Verney, and rang the bicycle bell outside the laundry, now an administration block; having been directed to the right door by a stable lad.

Nance came out and was very surprised and not especially pleased to see him, but they had a cup of tea together in the laundry. She agreed to a meeting the following evening, and a fellow servant, Kate Usher, saw Couzens ride off on the bicycle. Nance told her fellow servants that evening that Couzens had said if he couldn’t have her, then no one else should. They all advised her not to keep her appointment with him on the bridge the following evening, but Nance laughed away their fears. Walter Couzens put up at the Rose and Crown Inn, Kineton, on the night of Friday 30th October, and according to the landlord he behaved in a perfectly ordinary manner, although he did note that he slept in the bed fully clothed, which seemed to occasion him some surprise. On Saturday 31st October, Couzens obtained a day’s work on a nearby farm, but was careful to explain to the head groom there that he must leave promptly at seven o’clock that evening, because he had an important appointment.

On that same Saturday evening, just before midnight, Police Constable Simpson, going about his regular foot patrol duties, noticed a bicycle leaning on the bridge near the road at Compton Verney. He moved in for a closer look, and discovered the bicycle was heavily smeared with blood. Nearby he saw a man’s belt, and an open razor case. He reported this to his sergeant, James Smith, stationed at Kineton, but in view of the hour, and the fact that it was pitch dark, they had to wait until daylight before beginning their investigations. The sergeant and the constable looked around, and noticed a couple of letters floating on the lake. These proved to be addressed to Walter Couzens. They went up to the big house and asked the housekeeper if all ‘the girls’ were safe. They found there was some concern because the laundry maid, Nance Devall, had not slept in her bed the previous night. More letters from Couzens were found in a drawer in Nance’s room. They were love letters, but none of them contained any kind of threat.

Police began dragging the lake, thinking it possible that Couzens might have ended his own life there. But they found nothing, and the search moved upwards towards the woods. There they found the body of Nance Devall, lying on her side, her clothing disarranged, and her face mutilated. Some 14 yards off, they found the bloodstained razor, hair still adhering to it, and scratched upon the handle ‘Joseph Couzens 1899’. Several of the servants had seen Couzens when he made his unexpected call at the laundry door, and gave the police a good description. Information came in that Couzens had been seen at Barford, where he had enquired if there was a railway station, and had been directed towards Warwick. In Warwick he had purchased ‘hard hat’ for one shilling and sixpence, throwing the cap he had been wearing into a hayrick.

At Warwick station, he enquired the time of the next train to Paddington, and was told it was due in half an hour. Couzens was told he could sit in the waiting room, and the station porter was surprised to find him still there after the train to Paddington had arrived and left. He told him the next train for Paddington would be the 6.56 pm which went through Oxford and Didcot. He saw him on the platform later, presumably waiting for this train, but he did not see him get on it.

Police followed the trail left by Couzens, and eventually discovered him asleep in a bed at the Lamb Inn, Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, on the night of 2nd November. Police Sergeant Rich of the Wiltshire Police first examined his clothing, then woke him up. Couzens said his name was Robbins, and he had just arrived from Oxford. He was told he was being apprehended on suspicion of murder and he replied ‘I know nothing about that’. He was arrested, and brought back to Kineton on Tuesday, 3rd November. Rumours of his arrival had already circulated, and a great crowd stood on the platform of the little railway station, eager to catch a glimpse of ‘the murderer’. But the police had no trouble getting him through the crowd, and he remained unscathed, although there were many comments upon his youthful and haggard appearance. In his statement to police, Couzens said he met Nance Devall by appointment, and he had no thought at all of hurting her. They sat down together under a tree, he said, and they each smoked one of his cigarettes. Then, according to him, Nance put her head upon his shoulder and said ‘I wish I was dead’. He told her not to talk such rubbish, but she begged him to kill her, and ‘She pressed me so hard I cut her throat’, he said.

Couzens appeared before Warwick Assizes on 8th December 1903, and pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder. He appeared in a state of collapse and his drawn and haggard features sent a murmur of sympathy around the crowded court room. His father, Joseph Couzens, broke down completely when questioned in court, but confirmed that the razor used to kill Nance Devall was his, and he had given it to his son 18 months previously. He said Walter was the youngest of the family, and as a child he had suffered from fits, although he hadn’t heard of him having any since he left school, he said the boy was sober and industrious, and had never given him any trouble. He met Nance when she was working at Draycott House, and had developed a very deep attachment, which the girl seemed to return. After she left Draycott House, Couzens appeared depressed, and this was con firmed by his uncle and cousin with whom he had stayed in Little Gaddesdon. They spoke of Couzens sitting in morose silence for hours, speaking to no one, and only seeming to ‘come to life’ when in other company. They had never heard him say a word against Nance, they said. The other servants at Compton Verney agreed that Nance had been out several times with the stable lad, Tom Whitworth, and that she indicated her engagement to Walter Couzens was at an end.

They knew little of her relationship with Tom Whitworth, but since she was apparently planning to take him to meet her sister, it may be presumed that the seeds of courtship had been sown. The defence lawyer put forward the case that Couzens, known throughout his life as a good young man, ‘as unlikely a boy to commit such a crime as it was possible to conceive’, could not have been in his right mind when he murdered Nance. He said the jury had two alternatives, one to hand the boy over to the hangman, and the other to cause him to be confined for the rest of his life in a lunatic asylum. The jury were out for 25 minutes, and returned a verdict of ‘Guilty’. The foreman said ‘The jury have dismissed altogether from their minds the plea of insanity, but wish to recommend the prisoner to mercy on account of his extreme youth.’ Couzens was accordingly sentenced to death.

Nance Devall was buried at Leamington Spa, and her sister received a letter from Couzens, written while he was in jail, expressing his contrition for the sorrow he had brought upon them. And so poor Nance Devall, the big, strong country girl who loved life, perhaps half in love with the stable lad Tom Whitworth, died horribly mutilated by a young man consumed with jealousy; a young man with whom she had tried to deal kindly. And Nance still walks with light gliding steps through the old rooms at Compton Verney.


Thursday 20th October 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2016 by uppyalf


Experts believe mysterious aluminium object dating back 250,000 years ‘could be part of ancient UFO’

Metallic aluminium was not produced by mankind until around 200 years ago – but this appears manufactured making the object a baffling find. A piece of aluminium that looks as if it was handmade is being hailed as 250,000-year-old proof that aliens once visited Earth. Metallic aluminium was not really produced by mankind until around 200 years ago, so the discovery of the large chunk that could be up to 250,000 years old is being held as a sensational find.

The details of the discovery were never made public at the time because it was pulled out of the earth in communist Romania in 1973.Builders working on the shores of the Mures River not far from the central Romanian town of Aiud found three objects 10 metres (33 feet) under the ground.


They appeared to be unusual and very old, and archaeologists were bought in who immediately identified two of them as being fossils.

The third looked to be a piece of man-made metal, although very light, and it was suspected that it might be the end of an axe.

All three were sent together with the others for further analysis to Cluj, the main city of the Romanian region of Transylvania.

It was quickly determined that the two large bones belonged to a large extinct mammal that died 10,000-80,000 years ago, but experts were stunned to find out that the third object was a piece of very lightweight metal, and appeared to have been manufactured. According to tests, the object is made of 12 metals, 90% aluminium, and it was dated by Romanian officials as being 250,000 years old. The initial results were later confirmed by a lab in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Other experts who conducted later tests said the dates were far alter, ranging between 400 and 80,000 years old, but even at 400 years old it would still be 200 years earlier than when aluminium was first produced.

The object is 20 centimetres (7.8 inches) long, 12.5 centimetres (4.9 inches) wide and 7 centimetres (2.8 inches) thick.

What puzzled experts is that the piece of metal has concavities that make it look as if it was manufactured as part of a more complex mechanical system.

Now a heated debate is going on that the object is actually part of a UFO and proof of visitation by an alien civilisation in the past.


Gheorghe Cohal, the Deputy Director of the Romanian Ufologists Association, told local media: “Lab tests concluded it is an old UFO fragment given that the substances it comprises cannot be combined with technology available on Earth.”

Local historian Mihai Wittenberger has tried to claim that the object is actually a metal piece from a World War II German aircraft. However, this does not explain the age of the artefact.

The metal object has now gone on display in the History Museum of Cluj-Napoca with its full history causing heated speculation after it was noted that museum officials had added a sign saying: “origin still unknown”.

Sunday 9th October 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2016 by uppyalf

Well we are that busy that we just don’t get the time to add everything we do day by day.

We have been in London, Cardiff, Compton Verney, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Art and poetry at Kenilworth, Art at Banbury North Signal Box, With Steve and Rosie in Evesham, Hampton Court with many many old friends Colin and Roland and lots of new friends too. We have seen Old Custard head and 10,000 light years band with John Lodge and his mates and Spurs and Stu….here are the photos.