I've been lurking again and reading with interest all your comments... Today I am going to answer some of the specific questions you have posted and to reveal the answer to the connection between King Henry VIII and the British obsession with ghosts!
Well that's me relaxing on the Nile! And guess what! I just answered about 30 or more of your questions and revealed the answer to my questions to you.... and they have just disappeared into thin air! There is a ghost in the machine!!!! So, sorry about that... I shall now have to come back to this later and add my comments / answers all over again. I guess the lesson is... write your blog in a word document first and then copy and paste it into the system.... Anyway it's late now so I have to go!
Promise the answers will appear soon ... I haven't given up the ghost yet!
All the best
Hello again! Well, I don't know what happened there. Spooky! But I learned my lesson and this entry was prepared and saved as a word document first! So, where was I? Ah yes... answering lots and lots of questions.
First, the answer to the question I asked about the connection between King Henry VIII and the English obsession with ghosts. Well, both Svetlana and Sero got pretty close. Svetlana talks about Henry and his wives - notably his second wife Anne Boleyn who was beheaded. That's pretty spooky! Of course she wasn't the only wife to lose her head... but more of that in a minute. Sero hit the nail on the head with his answer about the Reformation. You see it goes like this... Henry wanted to divorce his first wife Catherine of Aragon because she didn't give him an heir and he had fallen in love with Anne Boleyn. The only problem was that the Pope and the Catholic Church would not agree to the divorce. So, Henry broke with the Catholic church and formed the Church of England. And here's where the connection with ghosts comes in. Henry's split from the Catholic Church changed the way people were allowed to think about the 'undead'.
According to Catholic doctrine, people were encouraged to think of souls of the dead and the living as one spiritual family - and that ghosts appeared on Earth from Purgatory. However, the Church of England banned the idea of Purgatory and this forced the English to think of new ways of understanding ghosts. Their response was that ghosts came from either Heaven or, more often, Hell. So, ghosts were no longer helpful souls waiting to go to Heaven but unhappy or tragic spirits from Hell, mourning their failure to get to Heaven.
So there you have it. Blame King Henry VIII for the nasty ghost stories! And all because he wanted a divorce from Catholic Catherine and to marry Anne Boleyn. Of course he then fell out with Anne after they had married and had her head cut off. I still remember the rhyme they taught us at school to make sure we remembered what happened to all six of Henry's wives - divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived!
Some answers to your questions
Thanks for all your kind comments and your questions. Here I'll try and answer most of them...
My favourite singer? I have lots but I really like Leonard Cohen and Kate Bush. I consider them artists. I also admire the voices of Eva Cassidy (an angel) and Barbra Streisand (a star!). More recently, I have really enjoyed listening to Plan B.
Yes the picture of the man outside the window does look like a trick! And the chocolate cake was for the anniversary of BBCe! our coproduction with Egypt Radio.
Your English is very good. Yes, interference from L1 (your mother tongue) often causes problems with L2 (the second language you are speaking). But as long as you can make yourself understood I wouldn't worry too much about that. Keep climbing!
Thanks for your amazing blog and your kind comments. Like everyone else, I've loved reading your posts Miguel You really are a good writer. For me too writing is an expression of the Arts. I like your suggestion about creating a kind of forum perhaps on Facebook. Of course we already have several interactive social media areas which you can find on the community area of our website. But we are looking at ways of enhancing and improving all our social media work. Abeer, one of our Team Leaders, has been given the 'network' brief and already has some great suggestions. So expect to see more developments soon! As for being a good teacher - thanks! But you are a pretty good student too! Of all the questions, what is the difference between a myth and a legend - that's a good one! Well, I think it's mainly about usage - we tend to talk about myths being from the classical times (Greek myths etc) and legends being from later times (the legend of King Arthur for example). We also more colloquially talk of someone being a legend... for example football fans would consider Pele a legend, meaning he's amazingly good, a star; and use myths to colloquially describe something more recent that is a rumour perhaps but not true - it's a myth that there is a monster in Loch Ness for example. Hope that helps! Finally, glad to hear you can make an exception - does this mean I got the job as your boss!??
I know! So frustrating that I lost all these replies last night just before I was leaving the office. Can you believe it? Luckily when I came to re-write them just now (in Word first!!) I remembered most of what I said... As for the Nile it is amazing. That photo was taken on a trip I did with some Brazilian friends - we spent 3 nights on a faluca with nothing but the Nile, a book, some music and the bongos for company... oh and the two 'captains' who sailed and cooked for us.... One of the most memorable trips of my life. Earlier you asked how can I speak so many languages? Well, to be honest I would only claim to really speak English, French, German and Spanish well. As for the others - I was born in Uganda so picked up a little Swahili, I have worked a lot in Egypt over the past five years so can understand a bit of Arabic and know a few expressions... and my Chinese - well, only a couple of words so far! Which languages do you speak? I imagine Farsi is one of them? Can you teach me one or two words? Oh, and listen to that CD about ghost stories! We want to know how scary it really is!
Wow! I can't believe we were both in Egypt for the African Cup of Nations! Did you also dance in the streets?! And amazing that you are now in Kampala... that made me feel very homesick! It's my birthplace and I have very fond memories even though I was only five when we left... I went back when I was about 35 and was lucky enough to have an amazing book my mother had just written about our time in Uganda. It's a collection of stories and poems with an almost 'magic realism' style... with me as a four year old as the narrator! It's called "The Boy with the Garden in his Eyes". Can you imagine how weird and wonderful it was to have that with me? I used it as a guide-book and even found all the places my parents worked in during their time there in the '50s and '60s... and where they lived - including the house I spent my first five years in! It was amazing.
@misou / Soumia
Yes responses are important. Thank you for your kind words. And LOL that you call me Sean Connery. I too love that actor. Do you think he was the best James Bond? I think I do. Daniel Craig is also good though.
Congratulations on your quick response about Henry VIII... if you love history you'd love a TV series called The Tudors all about that period. Actually, I saw the guy who played Henry the other week in my local newsagents. He's a great actor called Jonathan Rhys Meyers. And by the way 'warm words' doesn't have an opposite meaning - it's a nice thing to say, so don't worry!
Yes enjoying chocolate cake is serious work! As for the mysterious 7th paragraph... more about that in a later post!
Glad you like the word "witty". Me too. And I love witty people. Oscar Wilde is famous for his wit.
Thanks for the kind comment about my brilliant start! Glad I compensated for the loss of the first ten days! All good things come to he who waits! Yes, the lucky seven languages... but as I said, not all of them so fluently! My French is pretty fluent as I lived there for a year and my sister and nieces still do. My German is also quite fluent, but a bit rusty. I studied at university and spent a year in Zurich, Switzerland (really another language!). I have friends in South America so my Spanish is not bad... yes, I love languages so will keep going!
You're right - this is a community that transmits warm feelings and support for others as well as a great place to practice and learn English. I've been honoured to be a part of it this month.
Tell us about the séance! What happened? What did your friend tell you that you don't believe?
By ghost writer, I meant do you think I need someone else to write for me? Someone perhaps who writes better or more often?! ;-) or is it best to get it straight from the horse's mouth!? Even if the horse is not so fast and maybe more of a donkey?!! As for the out of body experience, yes it is quaint I guess... though not sure I'd use that word... I'll tell you at the end of this post about how it felt for me!
Some answers to my questions -
I don't think I've ever stayed in a haunted house. I'm not sure I believe in ghosts, but I do believe that the spirit or soul exists before and after the body... so I guess I believe in reincarnation too... that belief is coloured by my out of body experience! I'll tell you about that now before signing off...
It was a very hot day. I was looking down on a scene in a beautiful garden. The sun was shining and the colours were bright. There were many people milling around, enjoying themselves drinking champagne and eating. At the centre of everyone's attention was a very small baby. That was 'me'... and this was 'my' Christening party. As I looked down on these people, I asked myself "So, this little thing is now supposed to be me?" and "Who are those people who now call themselves my parents?" It was an amazing experience. I only remembered it when I was about sixteen but it was incredibly real. It was a bit like being given a play to read and a part to study. But I felt incredibly peaceful and serene. My parents, by the way, turned out to play their parts fantastically! They never cease to amaze me. Here they were seven years after arriving in Uganda on an adventure that hasn't stopped. They seize every opportunity to live life to the full. I can only hope I have followed in some part in their footsteps.
Some explanations of my English -
disappeared into thin air
given up the ghost
got pretty close.
were nearly right
had her head cut off
lose her head
if you lose your head, you do something crazy!
hit the nail on the head
to get something exactly right
those not living, but not yet in Heaven or Hell
a spiritual 'waiting room' from which souls may go to Heaven
being sad about; when someone you love dies you are 'in mourning'
wandering around, walking slowly from one place to another
They never cease to amaze me
They always surprise me; I am always impressed by them