What a gorgeous spring sunny day!
I hope it is sunny where you are, too. I want to share with you an old poem about my family, beautifully read by the British actress Noma Dumezweni. She has such a captivating voice! If you are ever sad, think of a big yellow field of gentle, happy Daffodils, and you will feel happy again!
Below is the text of the poem. It was written by a famous British poet, William Wordsworth.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Hello readers, this is Mr Daffodil’s friend, MX Clocktummy here. Usually Mr Daffodil shares some of his favourite music with you on Friday. However, today is a very special Friday, and Mr Daffodil agreed to let me write a post today about a special human: Mr John Harrison.
Today is definitely the anniversary of John Harrison’s death and possibly also the anniversary of his birth.
One of the problems people had in the seventeenth century was that the calendar was wrong, so although Mr John Harrison was born on 24 March 1693, it was later decided that he was really born on 3 April 1693. He lived a long time and died on 24 March 1776.
Another big problem at that time in history was that people couldn’t tell the time very well, because my relatives who lived then were not very accurate. This was especially bad for sailors, who would really have liked to have good clocks so that they could calculate where their ships were. Unfortunately, the best clocks were too big for the ships, and the little clocks were did not keep good time because they got seasick, and also because we clocks generally do not like getting wet.
Mr John Harrison was a clever man who worked for many years to create a “marine chronometer” that would be portable and precise. Many people thought that he would never succeed, because this was very difficult to do, but he made it.
His Sea Watch No.1 was also called H4 (because her older sisters H1, H2 and H3 were not really ready to go sailing). H4 was a true hero. She had many adventures sailing to Jamaica and back. Some twin copies of H4 even went to explore the Pacific Ocean.
These Clocks are real heroes, I think, and today we should be thankful for the hard work and patience of their maker, Mr John Harrison.
You can read all about Mr John Harrison and his awesome clockchildren in a little book called Longitude by Dava Sobel. I would love to meet Ms Sobel and tell her how much I liked her book. As soon as I had read it, I ordered some copies of it for the History of Time section of the Cowentry University Library where I work as the Chief Librarian’s Timepiece.
Last week in Leaf 8 we saw Mr Daffodil arriving to the Cowentry University Campus.
Mr Daffodil bathed in the rain drops and admired the fascinating colourful buildings, wondering what amazing scientific adventures were happening inside.
But he could not understand why everyone seemed in such a rush, and why everyone looked sad. Maybe they just did not like the rain?
He went into the Library. It was dry, warm and full of interesting books!
But everybody there was looking just as unhappy…
Perplexed, Mr Daffodil walked around the Library, trying to avoid being stepped on by busy students and lecturers.
He really wanted to talk to someone and find out why everyone was in such a terrible mood.
But the large human figures towering above our little yellow friend were all just rushing about and nobody noticed him.
To Be Continued next Monday…
I have not written a new story today because I have been very busy these past few days. I have been travelling on important Daffodil business! I am attending the big daffodil event at St Paul’s Cathedral which started last week. Thousands of Daffodils* gathered to support the Marie Curie charity and the nurses who work there. We are supporting an important cause. Marie Curie is a great charity that takes care of very ill people, makes sure they are not alone and helps them feel better.
If you are in London, come by and see us! You’ve most certainly never seen so many Daffodils in one place. And you can hear stories from nurses and patients and pick up a daffodil pin.
He are some pictures!
* 2100 Daffodils, to be precise. That isn’t as many as “thousands” but is very impressive and beautiful nevertheless. Very yellow.