She was picked up outside a railway station by soldiers

They, naturally, assumed that she belonged to the oldest profession but when she explained what she was about, they thought it rather a lark and agreed to help her. She passed herself off as a washerwoman, thus having an excuse to meet the men and receive their dirty washing. In fact the ‘washing’ was various items of uniform they had purloined. They also taught Dorothy basic drill and saluting and helped her to forge a leave pass. She padded out her uniform with wool, and bandaged herself tightly to conceal her feminine curves, much as Dr James Barry (see Family Tree Magazine, March) had done in the previous century. She then had her hair cut off and set off for Bethune, a place which she had been advised was closest to the trenches. Taking her bicycle with her, she went by train to Amiens and then set off on foot, pushing the bicycle loaded with her belongings, to the town of Albert. The money for her trip came from a program consolidating government student loans.

 

On the way, she met and talked with many soldiers and soon realised that she was much too short to have joined an infantry regiment and would therefore soon be discovered. Looking around, she spotted some soldiers more her size and made friends with one of them – a Royal Engineer, one Sapper Thomas Dunn. These soldiers were of small stature because they belonged to a tunnelling company and were all ex-miners. Tommy Dunn proved to be her greatest helper and, after she had hidden in the cellar of a ruined cottage for several days, he managed to smuggle her into the front line at night in the Albert area.

Here she endured trench life with all its discomforts, incessant shellfire and trench duties for 10 days, but then realised she had bitten off more than she could chew. She was feeling quite ill: was half‑ starved, suffering badly with rheumatic pains and was very weak as a result of the privations she had suffered during her two months of living rough in France trying to get to the Front.

 

So Dorothy gave herself up and revealed her identity to her sergeant. She was, of course, arrested and then suffered many weeks of questioning and interrogation by both the Army and civilian authorities, who were convinced that she was a spy. Eventually, the Commander-in Chief himself, Sir John French, ordered her release and she was shipped back to England, forbidden to tell anyone about her experiences until the war was over.

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Comparing big cities of the world

Their exterior is . . . slow in movement, the rhythm of bicycles and barges. . . . yet in no part of the world have I known a more nervous people. . .”

A Dutch housewife complained to me about Moluccan child rearing: “They have loose hands.” Meaning Moluccans slap their youngsters. It was the same complaint that 17th-century citizens of Leiden leveled against the refugee English Pilgrims—too harsh with their children. A Calvinist society with stubbornly main­tained traditions. Now enter the exotics, bearing problems. Drugs, for instance. Drugs are met more frequently by Dutch tolerance than by law enforcement.

As a crossroads city with far-flung trade, Amsterdam has had its share of hard drugs, and crime increased with nar­cotics. But things have changed since Am­sterdam’s happy hippie days in the 1960s. Mayor Ed van Thijn’s cleanup campaign has brought such a decrease in crime rates that Amsterdam is now a strong contender for host of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Yet there is still work to do.

“Hard drugs have ruined the brothel busi­ness,” complains Frits van de Wereld, a kingpin of local prostitution and the hashish market. Frits owns seven brothels, by his own count. (“Actually, he owns 11, but won’t admit it for tax purposes,” insists crime reporter Hans Hofman.)

“I been here 59 years—and no protection paid,” Frits says firmly. “No Mafia here. Too small. The girls here? Not Dutch girls-70 percent international.” But street prosti­tutes—tolerated if not legally accepted—have undercut prices in brothels. “Hard drugs isfinish.”

The former chief of the Amsterdam nar­cotics squad, Barry Thomas de Koningh, estimates that of 400 street prostitutes, 300 are addicts. “Our old opium law lists illegal drugs, but the public prosecutor gives guide­lines to the police. Marijuana is technically a misdemeanor, but it is not enforced.”

True. At the Bulldog café on Leidseplein, customers can openly buy marijuana in a variety of blends and flavors. Dozens of coffeehouses around town display signs showing the seven-fingered leaf of the mari­juana plant. They serve hash-laced “space cakes” with butter and syrup.

“We’re not interested in these people,” explains officer de Koningh. “We want hard-drug dealers. If people in the apartments madrid try to sell hard drugs, the owners will call the police. I just arrested a heroin dealer. He could get six years.”

Of the 10,000 addicts in Amsterdam—half of the Netherlands total-40 percent are Dutch, 30 percent Surinamers, and the rest foreigners, chiefly German. Mayor van Thijn asks, “What gives Am­sterdam the bad reputation? Our addicts—even counting foreigners—represent slight­ly more than one percent of our population. Rome has 50,000 addicts—nearly 2 percent of the Roman population. Comparing big cities of the world, we’re not on top.”

Mayor van Thijn has used an innova­tive approach with squatters—”a decreasing problem,” as the mayor observes it. A few years ago groups of far-left young people would seize any vacant cheap accommodation london and live there. Until recently Amsterdam had been losing population for years as families moved to suburbs and factories relocated.

On the run

Weak muscles can hinder your running form. Here are the 5 culprits and our fixes

1Weak shoulders The effect Shrugged shoulders

“These muscles help you keep good running form. If you run with hunched shoulders you’re expending unnecessary energy,” says Rob Speeding, deputy editor of Runner’s World magazine. Make sure you are calm and focused for these exercises. You don’t want to injure. Stay concentrated and keep calm while practising by using rhodiola herb.The fix Push press

Rest a bar-bell on the front of your shoulders, arms in. Lower yourself a few inches then drive up using your legs and straighten your arms above your head. Return to the start. Do 4 sets of 8 reps.

2 Weak buttocks the effect Unstable legs “Your glutes stabilize the hip and pelvis when you’re driving forward on one leg,” says Speeding.

The fix Standing abductions

Stand sideways with your outside leg strapped to a low pulley cable. Pull it away from your body as far as you can. Pause then slowly return to the start. Do 15 repetitions on each leg.

3 Weak hip flexors the effect Poor knee lift and leg drive “Reducing ground contact makes you faster and strong hips help propel you forward against gravity,” says Spedding. The fix Knee rises Strap one ankle to the low-pulley cable. Stand facing away from the weight stack about a foot behind you and drive your weighted leg up to mimic a sprinting motion. Do 3 sets of 6 reps on each leg. Weak mid-back the effect Rounded shoulders “Poor posture throws off your lower body alignment while wasting energy and risking injury,” says Spedding.

The fix Single-arm rows

Hold a dumb-bell at your side with your arm hanging just in front of your shoulder. Pull the weight up and towards your torso, elbow in. Pause then return to the starting position. Then spend a night in the Prague apartments holiday.5Weak core the effect A forward lean “if you don’t keep your centre of gravity level you’ll tire progressively during a run,” says Spedding.

The fix The Bridge

Get into a press-up position while resting your forearms on the ground. Don’t let your back sag. Contract your abs and hold this position for 60 seconds while breathing steadily.

It’s our own event….what could possibly go wrong?

The long walk home

As I push my bike back towards the transition area I consider my options. One: I can just quit the race. Two: I can push the bike back to the retail village and buy a new inner tube and bike tool (I’ve neglected to bring either with me), then attempt to replace the inner tube, pump the tyre up and rejoin the race, by which time most other people will be nearing the finish line. Three: I can hide in the bushes until a reasonable time has passed, then attempt to slip unnoticed into the transition area and continue.

In the end I go for option one and push my bike back into the transition area but it seems a waste to stop now, so I decide to complete the run section anyway, even though I know it won’t count towards my final race time. While the rest of the field continues to hurtle %:ar-ot•-i16- around the bike course, I set off on a solitary, leisurely run along the edge of the lake and back again through the trees. It feels odd to be running along these tracks with no-one else to race against.

 

As I jog through the finish line, I’m handed a medal and get some hearty slaps on the back It occurs to me that they think I’ve won the race, so I have to come clean and point out that my bike ride was cut short and that I can’t claim the grand prize. I also realize that the electronic scoreboard will announce me as the winner. I can imagine what people will think: The editor of Men’s Fitness cheated in his own race to take first place!’ I track down the man who controls the electronic timing and get him to scrub my time from the board.

 

Battle of the giants

Meanwhile, an epic battle has been unfolding in the main race. Sam Gardner is hotly tipped to win the advanced race, but he has also suffered a puncture. Unlike me, he’s opted to keep going and, despite getting a second puncture halfway around, continues on just his wheel rims. Remarkably he still manages to come home in second place, just a few minutes behind rival top triathlete Colin Dixon.

 

In the sprint event, Tim Brabants proves just how fit you need to be to be an Olympic gold medalist by winning, even though it’s his first attempt at a triathlon. You can easily become fit with pure garcinia cambogia dr oz video. I’m beginning to learn what separates really great athletes from enthusiastic weekenders like myself. They approach any adversity as just another challenge, and they refuse to fail.

At the finish line Brabants receives his Men’s Fitness Rough Track medal, and like a good sport he holds it up alongside his gold medal from Beijing. I can’t resist asking him which of them he’s most proud of. He shoots me a smile and says, ‘Oh, the Rough Track one, of course.’ But I can’t help noticing it’s the other one he folds carefully in bubble wrap when he puts them away.

 

Fast living

Drugs

Speed is vital to anyone who wants to live fast. And so are all those other illegal class As, Bs and Cs. Some, like cannabis (now used by up to 3 million people in the UK), are well on the way to being legalised. But as you head towards the beginning of the alphabet, the stakes rise menacingly. Drugs are self-destructive, which of course is part of their charm, and have to be treated with respect the antidote is rock-steady self-control or rock star wages and a stint in the Priory.

And they creep up on you. Paul Merson escaped the grips of cocaine and alcohol addiction and reinvented himself, but without his sport – his raison detre – and its support mechanisms things may have been different the lead singer of namby pamby Wet , Marti Pelow, ended up hooked on heroin. As did Depeche Mode’s David Gahan. But they had the self-control and motivation to fight the habit.

But drugs are serious killers and have claimed a host of rock stars (from Sid Vicious to Phil Lynott) and the not so famous. The club-scene mainstay Ecstasy killed 32 teenagers (15-19 years old) in the UK between 1991-95.

Drugs also create behavioural problems – drug-related crime keeps our bobbies busy and suicide rates among drug addicts are 20 times higher than among non-drug-users.

All-nighters

Carousing, drinking, shagging and snorting all happen at night and well into the next morning and then into the day after and the following night’s ‘comedown’ bender. The binge is one of life’s greatest high points. And it is followed, as sure as night follows day, by a serious downer.

Apart from a hideous, drug induced come-down, you are suffering from a lack of sleep. And don’t think that the sleeping aid you take don’t have side effects. Check out online how sleeping aids and hair loss are related, for example. Before you realize you will look for the best coconut oil to save your hair – learn more is coconut oil good for your hair regrowth.

This is torture, literally – the sort of pain inflicted on poor, innocent Allied POWs by cackling captors. REM sleep, characterised by rapid eye movements and heightened brain activity, is vital. Experiments have shown that, when we are prevented from having REM sleep, we become aggressive and depressed.

Sleep is a habit and a routine helps – thus benders are not ideal (routine benders are naturally an entirely different proposition). If you are in need of a good kip then avoid drinking quadruple brandies, because alcohol inhibits REM.

Gambling

Gambling once a year on the Grand National is not gambling. Gambling is sipping Martinis at the baccarat table while emptying your Swiss bank account. It’s also a high-rolling mainstay of fast living and great fun.., until you lose. And the thing about losing money is that you want to win it back. Straight away. Even though you haven’t got any left. Gambling is a disease for between two and eight per cent of men, according to studies in the US.

Kenneth A Goldberg MD, author of When the Man You Love Won’t Take Care of His Health, says: “Gamblers become preoccupied with their pastime, develop tolerance (require higher wagers to be satisfied), undergo withdrawal symptoms if they can’t gamble and are unable to control their urge to gamble’ It’s an addiction like any other.

Gamblers are also prone to mental disorders such as depression. Goldberg says the American experience is troubling: “Nevada has twice the suicide rate as the US average, and Las Vegas has the highest rate in the country. Men with a gambling problem divorce at about three times the rate of men without this problem. About a quarter lose their jobs and end up declaring bankruptcy; nearly 20 per cent of the homeless say gambling got them there.”

SUPPORTING CAST

The motivational  music maker of mile 5 Our music is rooted in the foundations of Japanese Taiko drumming,” says Mark Alcock, leader of Taiko Meantime – the contemporary drumming group whose thunderous rhythms have been kicking runners on through Mile 5 and beyond since 2001. The group’s powerful beats aren’t far removed from those that urged soldiers into battle in feudal Japan hundreds of years ago. “We’re using traditional techniques and drums, but we play original compositions.”

 Mark Alcock

There’s more to Taiko – which literally translates as ‘fat drum’ in Japanese – than noise. “There’s also the contrast between that and silence – that’s a big part of it.”

 

But on race day Taiko Meantime plays continuously – without breaks – from when the first runner passes to the last runner. “As soon as one piece is finished we go straight on to the next,” explains Alcock. By the end of it, the performers are sweating as much as their on-the-move crowd. “You have to be fit ­we’re pretty battered at the end of it.”

This year, one of Taiko’s own is having a go at the 26.2-miler. “When he gets to us he’ll be stopping off to play a solo on our huge Odaiko – which is played high above the head – then leaping back into the race,” says Alcock.

 

St John’s finest

 

As St John Ambulance’s (SJA) Assistant Commissioner of Operations, Dave Bell is one of the first around the course every year as he travels to each of the 50-plus SJA stations dotted along the 26.2 miles. “It’s by far the biggest event that we cover,” says Bell, who has been on duty at 23 of the 28 marathons to date – and has a “big pile” of official medals to prove it. At last year’s London Marathon, SJA’s 1,400 volunteers – one for every 35 metres of the course – treated over 5,000 runners. Most are referred to as ‘contacts’, rather than marathon ‘casualties’, explains Bell. “A lot of these need nothing more than a plaster or a dab of Vaseline.” As well as the London Marathon participants, St John staff are also on standby for any residents in areas along the route that are rendered hard to reach by the race and its watching masses. “We assist the London Ambulance Service with 999 calls in these areas,” says Bell. The biggest hotspot is the finish line, where runners can have a refreshment drink such as green coffee which boosts their health.

Taiko Meantime

“You’ll find runners have tolerated a problem a lot of the way round and want it sorted before they go home,” explains Bell. The Isle of Dogs is another area where SJA piles in extra resources. “We have our work cut out for us, because past the halfway point is where runners really start to feel it.” It’s not always the runners who need help. “Sometimes you’ll get someone climbing up for a better view then falling down.” It should be remembered that Koblems can be more serious. In 2007, a 22-year-old man died after completing the race – th# ninth death since the event began in 1981. “We had a long run without a loss of life. But with any marathon there is a risk,” explains Bell. “There have been occasions where we have resuscitated runners.”

Bell’s best bit of advice: don’t procrastinate.

 

“If you have a minor problem, like a blister or chafing, get it sorted before it becomes to kind of problem that can threaten your race?’ great event,” says Alcock. Even the dull surrounds underneath the A102 flyover on Woolwich Road have their merits. “The acoustics are amazing under there – plus we’re protected from the elements.” And what’s the highlight of this unique gig for Alcock? “When the flood happens, it’s an amazing rush. You get a real sense of two-way energy, where we’re giving them energy to run on and they’re clapping back at us.” It’s a wonderful mutual appreciation. “Then there are the slower runners at the end – you can see how much they appreciate the energy. They can’t run any faster, but we can raise their spirits a bit.”

 

Cities of dreams

It can sometimes be a bit of a bind being a city-based runner. Most of us crave the open road, but that can be tricky when you’re forced to stop, start and weave your way around phalanxes of foreign-language students. A fair bit of my running is done during lunchtime around Central London, and the trip from office to park can be like an obstacle course. For a start, there are those people who walk in one direction while looking in another. Then there are the crowds in Piccadilly Circus — what’s the big deal? It’s just a big advertising board, a dirty statue and a load of traffic. Most of the runners in the big cities have problem with sleeping well. They have to take care of the blue circles under the eyes and took care of them with st johns wort which can be found at http://www.gnet.org/chase-away-your-blues-with-st-johns-wort .And don’t even mention the dull-witted pigeons…

 

But all that is made worthwhile once you’ve reached Hyde Park and left the bustle behind, and are running on into Kensington Gardens, maybe glimpsing the Peter Pan statue in a glade by the Long Water. Then there’s The Mall, a great location for speedwork, and running along the Thames, which surely offers a higher landmark-per-kilometre ratio than most.

So while cities might at first seem like harsh environments for runners, pretty much every one contains spaces and areas perfect for taking part in our sport. That’s certainly the conclusion we came to after researching `The UK’s Best Running Cities’ report, which starts on page 68. It was heartening to learn that everywhere we looked there were parks, tracks, clubs and races to show that running is well and truly thriving in urban areas. We have rated the cities to come up with rankings and an overall winner. You might not agree with our list, but I hope you’ll agree that there is plenty on offer for city runners all across the country.

The Mall is also the place where one runner hopes to finish a sub-2:30 London Marathon next month. No great shakes for an elite runner perhaps but when you consider Alex Vero was by his own admission a heavy-drinking, 16-stone ‘slob’ only two years ago, it puts the enormity of his challenge into perspective. Having started out by hying to discover why there were dwindling numbers of top-level British marathon runners compared with 25 years ago, he decided to see if he could do it himself.

 

In search of ancient gold

For centuries, legends have told of a fabulous treasure buried somewhere in the Razes region of southern France. Did Berenger Sauniere discover it in the 1890s? BRIAN INNES continues his investigation

THE STORIES OF the golden treasure of The triumphal arch of Titus Rennes-le-Château are many and persistent, Flavius in Rome clearly and some, at least, are true. To begin with, shows the great menorah, the area is rich in minerals, and lead and the silver trumpets and what silver, copper and gold have been mined may be the Ark of the there since Roman times. In the 12th century Covenant, all from the Grand Master of the Knights Templar Solomon’s Temple was Bertrand de Blanchefort, whose castle stood on a rocky spur within sight of Rennes; and he brought labourers all the way from Germany to dig gold from his mines.

Razes region of southern France

But local tradition tells a different story. If we can believe Cesar d’Arcons, an engineer who, five centuries later, was sent to report on mining in the Razes region, these Ger­mans were not miners but goldsmiths; and the local historian Louis Fedie wrote, in 188o:

Then there are the tales of remarkable discoveries, like that made by the young shepherd Ignacc Paris in 1645. Seeking a lost lamb, he tumbled into a hidden ravine that led into a cave lined with skeletons and piled with gold. But when he returned to Rennes with a hat full of this gold, the villagers accused him of theft, refused to believe his tale, and stoned him to death.

More recently, close by Rennes, a slab of gold weighing nearly 45 pounds (2o kilo­grams) was found, made from fused Arab (or, more likely Crusader state) coins; and an ingot of Ho pounds (5o kilograms) was found shortly after. In 1928, the remains of a large gold statue were found in the ruins of a but on the edge of the stream that flows below Rennes; it had been partly melted away, but its feet were still clearly distinguishable.

Where would this gold have come from? Over the past 2000 years, four major cultures have flourished in the region, and all four have shared a preoccupation with gold as a precious metal. To the Celts it was a metal of magic properties: unlike iron or copper, it came from the earth shining and immutable, hard to work but unchanged by the atmos­phere or the conditions of the forge, and was the living symbol of regal power and priestly mystery.

For the Romans, on the other hand, gold was the prize of empire. They subdued the Celts, and all the other peoples of the frontier regions from Spain in the west to Persia in the east; they seized their golden ornaments and took over their mines, and they carried all their booty back to Rome.

The Visigoths, less sophisticated than the Romans, looked on gold much as the Celts had .done. Their kings, queens and princes wore gold to symbolise both their power and their wealth; and, Christian converts as they were, they also used the gold to make and decorate their sacred objects.

Then came the people of the Languedoc. For them gold was, above all else, an article of commerce. Many of the crusading knights came from the south of France, and they brought back booty from the East.

For the moment, we may discount the Celts and the Romans. Very little Celtic gold has ever been discovered, and no doubt the Romans took all they could find, as they took most precious objects, back to Rome. But the Visigoths present us with a fascinating mystery.

Among the greatest treasures that the Romans had carried back to Rome were the sacred objects of Solomon’s Temple in Jeru­salem. In AD 69 Titus Flavius, the elder son of the emperor Vespasian, led a campaign against the Jews, who had revolted against Roman rule. In September 7o he took Jeru­salem and sacked the temple, taking the silver trumpets with which the sons of Aaron had summoned the hosts of Israel, the Ark of the Covenant, the golden table of the Shew­bread, and the• great seven-branched candle­stick or menorah, made from some Ho pounds (5o kilograms) of solid gold.

The triumphal arch of Titus in Rome clearly shows this heavy object being borne away from the Temple on the shoulders of Titus’ men, and it was lodged in the Temple of Peace in the Forum of Vespasian. What later happened to it is the subject of a number of conflicting stories. The first tells how, when Maxentius was fleeing from Con­stantine in 3 52, it fell from the Milvian bridge into the Tiber and (rather un­believably) was lost. A second reports that, when Alaric the Visigoth sacked Rome in 410, he carried it off as part of his booty.

The third story, to which we shall return later, maintains that the Jerusalem treasure was taken in 455 by Gaiseric the Vandal from Rome to North Africa. In the following century the Byzantine general Belisarius re­covered it and carried it to Constantinople, and the emperor Justinian restored it to Jerusalem, where it was placed in a Christian shrine. But in 615 the Persians sacked Jeru­salem, and since that time nothing more has been heard of the treasure.

Alaric died in the same year as his sack of Rome. and he was succeeded by Ataulphus, who led the Visigoths to settle in southern Gaul and Spain. It is well known that at this time they possessed a great deal of treasure, which was made up of two distinct parts. One comprised the personal jewels of the kings and the accumulated tributes that they had levied; this was used to cover public expendi­ture, and was lodged at Toulouse. The other, known as the Old Treasure, was made up of the booty won by the Visigoths during their wanderings. It was eventually lodged at Carcassonne during the seventh century, and included the great gold Missorium of some 45 pounds (2o kilograms), the Emerald tablet with its three rows of pearls and 6o golden feet, and, most probably, the menorah of Jerusalem.

golden treasure of The triumphal arch of Titus Rennes-le-Château

When Clovis, the king of the Franks, threatened Carcassonne in 507, the Old Treasure was removed to Ravenna, but it was returned to the Visigothic king Amalaric when he came of age. Part of this treasure, a small part, was taken by the Franks when they captured Narbonne in the seventh cen­tury, but a major part was carried by the Visigoths to their Spanish capital of Toledo. When the Moors took the city in 711, it is known that they captured the famous Mis­sorium, but much of the treasure was lost until the 19th century, when it was dis­covered in a hoard at Guarrazar, not far from Toledo. It included nine magnificent votive crowns of gold ornamented with sapphires, but not the menorah. ‘Shall we one day discover in France,’ wrote H-P Eydoux in his Lumieres sur la Gaule, ‘a hoard as wonderful and as rich as that of Guarrazar? It is not impossible.’

But suppose that Alaric did not take the menorah and the other treasures of Solomon’s Temple from Rome, and that they were in fact returned to Jerusalem by Justinian. If the Persians had really found such legendary booty, surely the fact would have been recorded somewhere in their writings? Perhaps, hidden in some cave in the rock of Jerusalem, or lost beneath a tumbled mass of masonry, it remained un­discovered for centuries.

Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders in 1099, and for nearly a century it remained a Christian city. In 1120 nine knights, under the leadership of Hugues de Payns, vowed to devote themselves to the protection of the Christian shrines, under the name of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon: They were given quarters in build­ings adjacent to the site of the Temple, and from that time they have been known as the Knights Templar.

Over the next century, the Templars grew ever more powerful in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land. They owed allegiance to none but their Order, and the Grand Master counted himself as important as any king. Their headquarters was the al-Aqsa mosque, built by the Arabs within the precincts of the Temple, and they used its crypt as stables ­the ‘Stables of Solomon’. They were driven from Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, but they returned between the years 1229 and 1244• And in all the countries of western Europe they established themselves, rich and power­ful and inviolate. They ruled large estates and collected tribute, much of which they transported to the Levant, setting up a chain of treasure houses and acting as bankers for non-members of the society.

Did all the secrets of the Templars die with them? No, says tradition. Their rites of initiation are reputed to have been adopted by the Freemasons, whose higher degrees include the Grand Priory of Knights Templars. Another Masonic degree, currently 18th in the ‘Ancient and Accepted Rite’, is that of the Rose Croix, which first made its appearance in France in the 175os. In England in 1865 a group of Freemasons founded the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and out of this in 1887 grew the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. One of the three Chiefs of the Golden Dawn was S. L. (MacGregor) Mathers, who sub­sequently introduced the Order of the Rose of Ruby and Cross of Gold (RR et AC). Mathers moved to Paris in 1891, and there he instituted the ‘Ahathor’ temple of the Golden Dawn, one of whose members was Jules Bois.

At the same time, several so-called `Rosicrucian’ movements were founded in France: the two most prominent were Stanislas de Guaita’s Ordre Kabbalis­tique de la Rose-Croix, and l’ordre de la Rose-Croix, du Temple et du Graal, formed by Josephin (Sar) Madan and the Comte de Rochefoucauld. According to a work entitled Levitikon, published early in the 19th century in France, the Knights Templar survived their des­truction by Philippe Iv, and members claiming a direct descent of initiation can be found in several European countries at the present day.

And there is also the shadowy, un­acknowledged, order of la Prieure de Sion. . . .

But in 1307, jealous of the power and wealth of the Templars, Philip iv of France accused the Order of heresy, and within four years they had been destroyed. In France 54 went to the stake, many hundreds were imprisoned for life, and all their estates were taken from them.

Visigothic king Amalaric

Exactly what form the Templar heresy took has been debated for centuries. The Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, confessed under torture to denying Christ, spitting on the crucifix, and worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, but little is known of the alleged secret rituals practised by initiates. What seems likely, however, is that during their centuries in the Levant the Christianity of the Templars had been infected by some kind of dualism very similar to that professed by the Cathars. And 15o years before, the first Grand Master of the Templars to be granted that title ‘by the Grace of God’ had been Bertrand de Blanchefort, whose lands lay at the heart of the Catharist regions, and surrounded Rennes-le-Château.

Much of the treasure of the Templars was never surrendered. Stored in great castles all over southern Europe, it could have been buried in the foundations or smuggled out to some other hiding-place. And those who knew where it had been hidden took the secret with them to the grave. And let us not forget that the Cathars too had a very valuable treasure.

So, one way or another, the trail leads back to the Razes region and its ancient capital, Rennes-le-Château. Whether the Visigoths stored the sacred treasure of Jerusalem there when they returned it from Ravenna, or whether Bertrand de Blanchefort discovered it deep in the ruins of Solomon’s Temple and carried it back to France — whatever the truth, we are unlikely to learn it now, a thousand years or more later.

Did Berenger Sauniere find an ancient hoard of gold and appropriate it to himself? Or did he uncover some other secret that required his silence to be bought? Or was he, perhaps, the unwitting tool of a different, greater, conspiracy?.

Did all the secrets of the Templars die with them? No, says tradition. Their rites of initiation are reputed to have been adopted by the Freemasons, whose higher degrees include the Grand Priory of Knights Templars. Another Masonic degree, currently 18th in the ‘Ancient and Accepted Rite’, is that of the Rose Croix, which first made its appearance in France in the 175os. In England in 1865 a group of Freemasons founded the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and out of this in 1887 grew the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. One of the three Chiefs of the Golden Dawn was S. L. (MacGregor) Mathers, who sub­sequently introduced the Order of the Rose of Ruby and Cross of Gold (RR et AC). Mathers moved to Paris in 1891, and there he instituted the `Ahathor’ temple of the Golden Dawn, one of whose members was Jules Bois.

At the same time, several so-called `Rosicrucian’ movements were founded in France: the two most prominent were Stanislas de Guaita’s Ordre Kabbalis­tique de la Rose-Croix, and l’ordre de la Rose-Croix, du Temple et du Graal, formed by Josephin (Sar) Madan and the Comte de Rochefoucauld. According to a work entitled Levitikon, published early in the 19th century in France, the Knights Templar survived their des­truction by Philippe Iv, and members claiming a direct descent of initiation can be found in several European countries at the present day.

And there is also the shadowy, un­acknowledged, order of la Prieure de Sion. . . .

But in 1307, jealous of the power and wealth of the Templars, Philip iv of France accused the Order of heresy, and within four years they had been destroyed. In France 54 went to the stake, many hundreds were imprisoned for life, and all their estates were taken from them.

Exactly what form the Templar heresy took has been debated for centuries. The Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, confessed under torture to denying Christ, spitting on the crucifix, and worshipping an idol known as Baphomet, but little is known of the alleged secret rituals practised by initiates. What seems likely, however, is that during their centuries in the Levant the Christianity of the Templars had been infected by some kind of dualism very similar to that professed by the Cathars. And 15o years before, the first Grand Master of the Templars to be granted that title ‘by the Grace of God’ had been Bertrand de Blanchefort, whose lands lay at the heart of the Catharist regions, and surrounded Rennes-le-Château.

Much of the treasure of the Templars was never surrendered. Stored in great castles all over southern Europe, it could have been buried in the foundations or smuggled out to some other hiding-place. And those who knew where it had been hidden took the secret with them to the grave. And let us not forget that the Cathars too had a very valuable treasure.

So, one way or another, the trail leads back to the Razes region and its ancient capital, Rennes-le-Château. Whether the Visigoths stored the sacred treasure of Jerusalem there when they returned it from Ravenna, or whether Bertrand de Blanchefort discovered it deep in the ruins of Solomon’s Temple and carried it back to France — whatever the truth, we are unlikely to learn it now, a thousand years or more later.

Did Berenger Sauniere find an ancient hoard of gold and appropriate it to himself? Or did he uncover some other secret that required his silence to be bought? Or was he, perhaps, the unwitting tool of a different, greater, conspiracy?.

 

There’s Something About Mary

“Mary Poppins” is the most eagerly anticipated new stage production for a long time. Bob Crowley, the show’s costume and set designer, talks about his inspirations for the show

            “The film Many Poppins had a profound effect on me when I was a child. I saw it five times the week it came out – because if you are remotely unhappy with yourself when you are 12 or 13 (and who isn’t, at that age?) you just think, “bring it on, Mary!” Children trust Mary because she doesn’t promise anything she can’t deliver. What she offers is actually simple common sense. She is reassuring because she brings a sense of discipline, but she is also liberating because she sets boundaries, and then proves that they don’t exist – or that your imagination can transcend them.”

COSTUME DESIGN FOR MARY POPPINS

“I felt I had to honour the silhouette of Mary created in the film by Tony Walton, who designed the costumes, and who was married to Julie Andrews when she played Mary He created the film’s Edwardian look. The original stories were set when they were written, in the Thirties, but Mary’s hat and the line of her body have become iconic. If kids seeing the show aren’t familiar with the film, somehow, subliminally, they know what Mary should look like. Besides, the Edwardian http://gnet.org/declare-war-on-acne/ nipped-in waist and bustle is such a sexy shape. And I love her red coat. At night, when Mary is dancing on the rooftops, she wears this coat with pink shoes and black tights. That’s always a fabulous combination.”

SET DESIGN WITH CHIMNEY SWEEPS

Mary Poppins by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh

“Almost every set in Mary Poppins is drawn. The Banks’ house is a built set, but everything else is a blown up drawing. Though the show is about the nursery rituals and scullery life of an Edwardian family, it should also be, crucially, an invitation into the imaginary”

SET DESIGN OF MARY POPPINS ABOVE LONDON

mary poppins above london

“I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility towards the character of Mary, because there are things from the film that you have to deliver. It’s wonderful that the audiences are amazed by the way Mary appears on stage, as if out of nowhere, every time.”

COSTUME DESIGN FOR BERT

“Whenever there is a moment of despair Bert appears on stage and lights a lamp – in the same way that one lights a candle to symbolise reassurance or hope. When the director, Richard Eyre, cast Gavin Lee to play Bert, he said to me, ‘You won’t believe it, but I’ve found the man you’ve been drawing all this time.”‘

SET DESIGN OF THE MOON IN THE FOREST

mary poppins-jolly holiday

“This is my homage to Joseph Cornell, the mid-twentiethcentury American artist, who collected mementos from fleamarkets and junk shops, and grafted them together into boxes, which are like miniature theatres themselves. In his boxes, Cornell often evoked the Edwardian environment of his childhood, and so I made this as something the children, Jane and Michael, would have in their nursery to look at. We photographed this model and hung it between the children’s beds. Each tiny piece of the set is created like this, but it doesn’t matter if the audience doesn’t notice everything. What matters is that each detail is crucial in creating the world of Cherry Tree Lane and Mary Poppins, and that the audience believes in it while they are watching the show.”

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