Battle of the Pyramids

Battle of the Pyramids

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(21st July 1798)

The decisive battle fought near the pyramids of Giza that gave Napoleon control of Egypt. He took Alexandria by storm on 2nd July, and then, with 40,000 men defeated a Mameluke army of 60,000 led by Murad Bey. The victory enabled Napoleon to take Cairo and allowed France to control Egypt until its withdrawal in 1801.

Robert Owen

Robert Owen

(1771–1858)
Welsh social reformer and industrialist. A pioneer socialist thinker, he believed that character is a product of the social environment. He founded a model industrial community centred on his cotton mills at New Lanark in Scotland; this was organized on principles of mutual cooperation, with improved working conditions and housing together with educational institutions provided for workers and their families. He went on to found a series of other cooperative communities; although these did not always succeed, his ideas had an important long-term effect on the development of British socialist thought and on the practice of industrial relations.

Nimitz, Chester William

Nimitz, Chester William

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 (1885–1966)
US admiral. After various surface ship commands and shore appointments, he took over command of the Pacific Fleet in 1941 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. From his Hawaii headquarters, he deployed his forces to win the Battle of Midway, and subsequently supervised the moves in the Pacific Campaigns, leading to successful actions off Guadalcanal and in the Leyte Gulf. To a large extent he was responsible for making the Pacific Fleet, weakened by Pearl Harbor, the instrument of Japan’s defeat. After the war he was briefly chief of naval operations.

Musketeer

Musketeer

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 In the 16th and 17th centuries, a foot soldier armed with a musket, a large-calibre smooth-bore firearm that was aimed from the shoulder. Inefficient hand cannons had been used in Europe during the 14th century, and matchlock “arquebuses” were subsequently used, rather haphazardly, in battle. In the mid-16th century Spanish troops pioneered the use of the more powerful, more accurate mosquete (musket). They also evolved complementary battle tactics. Effective as these weapons were, infantrymen still needed forked stands as props for aiming and firing; and since they were slow to load, pikemen had to be included in battalions to protect musketeers from enemy cavalry charges. The 17th-century development of the bayonet eventually removed the need for pikemen. Wheel-lock and flintlock muskets also became practical for military use at this time.

Chapter 8 – Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink

Chapter 8 – Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink

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It has been a while since I have reported on our little cat’s adventures due to a temporary lack of routine caused by much needed refurbishment of the house amongst other things. It is worth noting that Jemima has been incredibly relaxed about the redecoration process. She has moved around the house and changed her daytime ‘bedroom’ with her usual easy going nature and good grace. Our decorator and friend Dympna has her own cat and she and Jemima have got on incredibly well. We have also done our best to accomodate Jemima’s needs by doing any work in the kitchen early in the day and leaving the back door open to minimise discomfort from paint fumes when she is sleeping in there at night and this has worked well too. Jemima has also taken advantage of the decorating routine during our recent brief spell of much welcome hot weather.  We have been decorating the spare bedroom and Dympna left some dust sheets covering the sofabed in order to protect the sofa and the bits and pieces we had placed there to allow room for the work to be carried out.  Jemima very quickly realised that these dustsheets were a great cool place to sleep under during the hottest part of the day.  I discovered this accidentally one afternoon when we were looking for her. Clare and I were sure that she wasn’t out because she had disappeared for much longer than usual but was nowhere to be seen in the house. Eventually, I entered the spare bedroom and leaned over the back of the sofabed in order to check behind it, resting my hand on the back as I did so.  I was greeted instantly with a yowl from Jemima as if to say:

“Oy, geroff me. I’m trying to sleep!”

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I mumbled my apologies and left the room so she could sleep in peace.

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During the past few weeks she has become more confident and playful around water. I may have posted previously how we had concerns over her drinking habits when she first arrived and whether she was drinking enough. We bought a drinking fountain which has proved to be a great success because she is able to drink water that is moving.  At that time we attempted to persuade her to drink from the running tap in the kitchen sink to which she took great displeasure, leaping off the worktop and miaowing loudly as she did so. In recent weeks however, she has become more and more curious about running water around the house, possibly because she likes the fountain. She has been caught drinking water from the bath after Clare has had a shower and frequently sits on the side of the bath while we wash our hands in the washbasin. She even plays with the water as it comes out of the tap. She has even become nosey about the water disappearing down the pan when I flush the toilet and sniffs and pokes the back of the toilet as she hears it draining way.  And, as if to show just how clever she is Jemima has learnt my toilet routine. A few days ago she jumped onto the side of the bath and gazed at the sink before I had flushed the toilet. This hopefully, says as much for my hygienic routine of always washing my hands as it does for her intelligence!

All in all Jemima’s wonderful character continues to emerge and as her personality develops we are grateful for every day that she lives with us.

John Lambert

John Lambert

(1619–83)

English major‐general. He rose to prominence as a Roundhead officer during the English Civil War. He accompanied Cromwell as second‐in‐command on the invasion of Scotland (1650). He entertained high political ambitions and was chiefly responsible for drafting England’s first written constitution, the Instrument of Government (1653). He supported Cromwell loyally (1653–57), but then resigned all his commissions when his own path to power seemed blocked. In 1662, after the Restoration, he was tried for treason, and spent the rest of his life in captivity.

Siege of Kut

Siege of Kut

(December 1915–April 1916)

Successful siege of the town of Kut-al-Amara, now in Iraq, by Turkish troops in World War I. Kut-al-Amara is on the River Tigris and was garrisoned by a British imperial force under General Townshend, who had retreated there after his defeat by the Turks at Ctesiphon. Badly organized relief forces failed to break through and the garrison capitulated on 29 April 1916 after a four-month siege. 10,000 prisoners were marched across the desert, two-thirds dying on the way, while some 23,000 troops of the relieving force were also lost. The defeat severely weakened Britain’s prestige as an imperial power although Kut-al-Amara was recaptured in February 1917.

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