“I’ve got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You’d be surprised
There’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh…”

original pooh cast
Those are some of the words of the song “Return to Pooh Corner” by Kenny Loggins. I still remember hearing this song for the first time way back and feeling wistful about my childhood – and Pooh stories, of course. From toddlers to adults, this character created by A.A. Milne is forever imprinted in many people’s hearts.

But did you know that there really is a Pooh Corner? Did you know that the forest where Christopher Robin, Pooh, Eeyore, and Piglet played in really exists? Yes, they do – in Hartfield, Sussex. If you grew up on Pooh, then a visit to where it all happened should be at the top of your list.

Hartfield can be found at the south of London, easily accessible on a day’s trip. Once you get there, you can visit the print room, where all original artwork by E.H. Shepard is available for viewing. If you want to see all of it, you would have to allot several hours.

If you prefer the great outdoors, then you should visit Poohsticks Bridge – where you can play Poohsticks – and then head on to the Pooh Corner, which used to be the candy store where Christopher Robin got his Bullseye candy.

royal albert hall
No, I am not talking about the parties that high school students look forward to each year in the United States and other parts of the world. This “prom” is a bit more, let’s say, cultured. I am talking about The BBC Proms or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. Does that suit your taste better?

The Proms is an age old tradition in the UK. It started way back in 1895 and lasts for 8 weeks during the summer period. Today, one can look forward to over 70 concerts throughout the whole season. The concerts are held at the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London – well, at least most of them.

This year, The Proms started on July 15. As it is every year, the world’s greatest musical performances will be attended by countless people.

A little more information on The Proms from Wikipedia:

Proms is short for promenade concerts, a term which arose from the original practice of audience members promenading, or strolling, in some areas of the concert hall during the concert. Promming now refers to the use of the standing areas inside the hall (the arena and gallery) for which ticket prices are much lower than for the reserved seating. Single concert promming tickets can be purchased, with few exceptions, only on the day of the concert, which can give rise to long queues for well-known artists or works. Prommers can purchase full or half season tickets instead for guaranteed entry, although not guaranteed standing position. A number of Prommers are particularly keen in their attendance, and see it as a badge of honour to achieve the grand slam of attending every concert of the season.

Photo courtesy of wallyg

It has been observed, one time too many, that people from the West seem to have a more liberal attitude than the rest of the world. Though this includes more countries than the United Kingdom, an incident in a beach in Dubai has brought negative attention to the UK once again.

The Times narrates the story:

Last week Michelle Palmer, 36, from Rutland, and Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, southeast London, were sentenced to three months in prison in Dubai for having sex outside marriage on a public beach and offending public decency. They were also fined about £200 and will be deported when they have served their sentences. They were lucky: their punishment could have been much worse.

This incident is evoking a lot of varying opinions. On the one hand, these are adults who are supposed to be free to do whatever they want to. On the other hand, some people think that their behaviour is offensive and insensitive to others. The Times feature actually leans towards the second point and I tend to agree. Indeed, we live in modern times where the attitude towards sex and sexuality has changed a lot. However, these two people were NOT in the UK. They were in a country which has a different culture, a different religion. Come to think of it, if this happened in the UK, sensibilities would probably still have been offended. The point, I think, is that our freedom should end where other people’s toes begin. Freedom is only as good as not stepping on other people’s toes. Whatever happens in your own house is your business. What you do at the beach becomes everyone else’s business.

How do you feel about this?

[From the Archives]