English texts

Outside favourite
Ljubljana has suddenly become one of Europe's most popular cities. Ben
Mallalieu gets to grips with the seriously laid-back capital
Ben Mallalieu, The Guardian, Saturday September 10, 2005
Last year, Guardian and Observer readers voted Slovenia their favourite European country. But
does it really exist? Three years ago, it wasn't even in the top 20. It doesn't sound real - imaginary
countries invariably end in "-nia", like Ruritania and Freedonia in the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup.
In 1991, it suddenly appeared out of nowhere, claiming to have been there all along, rather like
Buffy The Vampire Slayer's sister. Until then, most people had assumed that the northern part of
Yugoslavia was populated by Slavs (or possibly Yugos) who spoke one or other dialect of SerboCroat. But the new Slovenia insisted it was a proper nation state with its own unique history,
culture and language. Since the break-up of Yugoslavia, Serbo-Croat no longer exists - it has
been split into two separate languages, Serbian and Croat, of which Slovene is now officially a
distant relative. "Perhaps a few words in common," the Slovenians say. They will also tell you that
there are no swearwords in Slovene, and the rudest insult roughly translates as "May you be
kicked by a chicken!"
Arriving in the capital, Ljubljana, does little to dispel the sense of unreality. It is a miniature city, an
improbably beautiful mixture of old, art nouveau and modern baroque in ice-cream colours. It
looks like a set for a stage production of The Prisoner Of Zenda - probably a musical version.
As capital cities go it is tiny; 300 yards from the centre, people are growing vegetables in their
front gardens. From the top of the castle you can see the whole city, and the Tivoli Gardens
stretch all the way from the centre to open country, starting as formal parkland then quickly
turning into woodland indistinguishable from the natural forest beyond. Before the ring road was
built, deer were often found wandering in the heart of the city, and sometimes bears, or so they
Ljubljana is prone to earthquakes, but architecturally these have occurred at fortuitous times. The
two biggest were in 1517 in time for much of the city to be rebuilt in high renaissance style and
then in 1895 coinciding with art nouveau. Between the wars, the local architect Joze Plecnik was
given virtually a free hand to redesign the city centre and the embankments of the Ljubljanica
river, playing fast and loose with architectural conventions like Clough Williams-Ellis at
Portmeirion. His work is full of implausible 20th-century references (you don't normally expect to
come across a low-rise renaissance version of the New York Flat Iron building). The poplars and
willows along the riverbank still grow exactly where he planned them to grow, all properly spaced,
more like an architect's model than a real place.
Inevitably come 1945, Plecnik was too much of a free spirit for his new communist masters, and
for the last 22 years of his life he hardly received a single commission. But in 1986 he was
posthumously "rediscovered" with a retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and is now
sometimes hailed as the father of postmodernism.
The city centre is traffic free, but the rest of Ljubljana is not much busier. It is probably the most
laid-back city in Europe, and the safest, and the most visitor friendly (almost everyone speaks
English). It somehow manages to be quiet but lively at the same time - quiet as in no rush hour;
lively as in street cafes and markets.
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It isn't what you would expect from a former communist country (drab with pockets of faded
grandeur). A couple of distant tower blocks mar the skyline east along the Ljubljanica, but most of
the 50s and 60s architecture is surprisingly good. And no other ex-communist state has such an
air of affluence, although it is hard to work out where the affluence comes from. There is not
much evidence of money making. Much of the country is forest, and agriculture is picturesque
rather that intensive. People seem to spend a lot of their time talking and laughing in cafes.
You would also expect a post-communist country to be enthusiastically embracing materialism,
but Ljubljana has a nicely old-fashioned radicalism, almost a 60s bohemian air. Perhaps this is
because it is more a university town than a capital, with nearly a quarter of the 250,000
population being university students.
The main effect of 45 years of communism has been to put the country in something of a time
warp, a long sleep from which it has awoken to enjoy a belated cultural renaissance. The
Slovenians have a fondness for lyric poetry of the kind that never translates well into foreign
languages. The national poet, France Preseren, lived a suitably chaotic life, was unhappy in love,
died young of cirrhosis of the liver and will only ever be fully appreciated by Slovene speakers, of
whom there are only 2 million worldwide. Slovenian musicians are more fortunate, with rock, folk,
jazz and modern classical all flourishing and gaining international reputations. Even the buskers
are talented.
The one thing Slovenia does have in common with other ex-communist countries is that it is
cheap - not ridiculously cheap, but the bills are a pleasant surprise and you don't have to waste
time looking for somewhere affordable. Beer costs about £1 a glass, more or less anywhere, and
you rarely need to spend over £10 a head on a meal with wine.
The food is an odd mixture of Mediterranean and middle European. There's plenty of fish, good
salads, wild mushrooms, prsut (prosciutto with fewer vowels) and olive oil. But given half a
chance, menus revert to the mittel Europ of large portions, rich meat (the Slovenians share the
English love of horses but for different reasons) sour cherries and cottage cheese.
The words "Lutomer riesling" ring alarm bells with anyone who drank cheap wine in the 60s and
70s, but either they kept the best for themselves or standards have greatly improved. Red, white,
sweet and dry, still and sparkling, were all very drinkable. Perhaps wine always tastes better in
congenial surroundings.
Very late on a summer night, we sat drinking Zlatorog beer on the balcony of the Makalonca bar
on the lower level of Plecnik's embankment. A breeze drifted down the narrow channel of the
slow, opaque green Ljubljanica. On the other side of the river, the city's only tourist boat lay
moored for the night. The guide on the boat is the great-niece of the model for the muse in the
Preseren statue in Presernov square, 50 yards away. Thirty yards downstream is Plecnik's triple
bridge, the city's most famous landmark.
Jason and the Argonauts are said to have rowed past this very spot on their journey back from
Chalkis to Volos, a rather long way round. (A useful travel tip is that it is generally not a good idea
to ask directions from passing goddesses.) There probably wasn't a party going on unlike most
summer nights now in Ljubljana. Somewhere near here, they had an encounter with a dragon,
and Ljubljana has adopted the dragon as its symbol.
In any other city, the bar would be full of tourists, with the prices raised accordingly, but there are
no tourist traps in Ljubljana. Even the Cutty Sark "English" pub is frequented mostly by locals.
Tourists are welcome everywhere, but nothing has been wrecked for their benefit. Nor is it likely
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Pre 20th Century History
The early Slovenes settled in the river valleys of the Danube Basin and the eastern Alps in the 6th
century. In 748, Slovenia was brought under Germanic rule, first by the Frankish empire of the
Carolingians, who converted the population to Christianity, and then as part of the Holy Roman
Empire in the 9th century. The Austro-German monarchy took over in the early 14th century and
continued to rule (as the Austrian Habsburg Empire from 1804) right up until 1918, with only one
brief interruption. Over these six centuries, the upper classes became totally Germanised, though
the peasantry retained their Slavic (later Slovenian) identity.
In 1809, in a bid to isolate the Habsburg Empire from the Adriatic, Napoleon established the socalled Illyrian Provinces (Slovenia, Dalmatia and part of Croatia), making Ljubljana the capital.
Though the Habsburgs returned in 1814, French reforms in education, law and public administration
endured. The democratic revolution that swept Europe in 1848 also increased political and national
consciousness among the Slovenes, and after WWI and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire, Slovenia was included in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
^ Top
Modern History
During WWII much of Slovenia was annexed by Germany, with Italy and Hungary taking smaller
shares. Slovenian partisans fought against the invaders from mountain bases. Slovenia joined the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1945.
Slovenes worried when Serbia, under Slobodan Milosevic, started to make noises in the late 1980s
about asserting its cultural and economic leadership among the Yugoslav republics. In late 1988,
when Belgrade abruptly ended the autonomy of Kosovo, Slovenes, along with their Croatian
neighbours, feared that the same could happen to them and that the time to decide their own fate
was imminent. Undoubtedly, the rapid breakdown of communism throughout the Eastern Bloc gave
the independence movement further encouragement.
In the spring of 1990, Slovenia became the first Yugoslav republic to hold free elections and slough
off 45 years of socialist rule; the following December the electorate voted overwhelmingly (90%) in
favour of independence. The implications for the future of Yugoslavia and regional stability were not
taken lightly; both the West and the many Slavs living in Slovenia were lukewarm about the
decision. They were right, in so far as Belgrade was not about to let the republic go quietly into that
good night. Diplomatic efforts to secede gradually were rejected, and a series of provocative
confrontations between the Yugoslav army and the newly established Slovenian army ensued. On
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25 June 1991, Slovenia declared its independence, and a show down loomed as Yugoslav forces
mobilised. Slovenian troops and civilians called their bluff by taking up what arms they could, and
the West stood by and watched. A 10-day war ensued in which lives were lost and much worse was
threatened, but with the world watching and fierce resistance from the Slovenian militia, the
Yugolsav army backed off. With no territorial claims or minority issues involved, the Yugoslav
government agreed to a truce brokered by the European Community (EC). Slovenia paid a
comparatively light price for its independence, as Croatia and Bosnia would soon discover. On 15
January 1992, the EC formally recognised the country. Slovenia was admitted to the United Nations
in May 1992.
Recent History
In October 2000, in Slovenia's third election since gaining independence, the Liberal Democratic
party was returned to power. Events since then have moved Slovenia further towards political and
economic integration with western Europe. In 2004, the country was one of a host of countries to be
admitted to the European Union and NATO. In a referendum in that same year, voters embarrassed
the government by rejecting moves to restore civil and property rights removed from nationals of
other Yugoslav republics following independence. Under international pressure, the government has
moved to restore the rights of the 'erased people' but many continue to suffer the effects of their
civil non-existence.
Triglav National Park
This is the country's only gazetted national park and includes almost all of the Slovenian Julian Alps.
The tallest peak is Triglav but there are many other peaks here reaching above 2000m (6500ft),
and the park is rich in flora and fauna. Mountain climbers are well catered for, but there are easy
hikes too through beautiful valleys, forests and fields.
Slovenia is believed to be the birthplace of skiing. On the basis of written references that go back to
the 17th century, many people believe that skiing originated on the slopes of the Bloke Plateau, in
the modern-day Notranjska region.
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Andante on Foot
hotels, move luggage - you find bargain flights.
Freedom! Easy-to-follow walking holidays in unspoilt Europe. Start any day of the week
to get best flight deals from your local airport. We book everything else for you - we even
carry your luggage!
Rediscover the essential pleasure of completing a journey on foot - journeys selected to
please all levels of fitness from the Alpine meadows of France to the wild coasts of
Greece, and from the vineyards of rural Slovenia to the vistas of Lycian Turkey.
We choose authentic farmhouse bed and breakfasts; small inns and guesthouses and a
few little hotels. Our guests say that returning to civilisation is something of an
unwelcome shock! Routes are planned with a sense of “journey”, ending in a special
Holidays that don't just make you FEEL good - they actually DO you good!
Landscapes of Mediterranean Slovenia
Your chance to experience a delightful area of Europe before it is changed for ever. The
west of this tiny country is an area of woodlands, meadows and unspoilt villages. Its
limestone foundations (Karst) give rise to the most extraordinary geological formations vast cave systems and rivers that disappear into cliffs. This porous rock is also mother to
some fine vineyards producing the unique Teran wine, a ferocious red to be drunk with
local prsut (prosciutto) hams.
Each Day's Walking
Day 1 - Arrive at Pension Erazem, near Predjama
Original communist-era hunting hotel in the woods. Freshen up, take a walk to the
villages around, and eat a hearty Slovenian supper.
Day 2 - Predjama Castle and Hudicevec
Through lovely meadows and sleepy villages via the restored castle of Predjama
(drawbridge, secret tunnels, disappearing river and all) to your first farmhouse stay (5
hrs). Alternative - taxi to Predjama Castle then walk to Hudicevec 3.5 hrs.
Day 3 - Podnanos to Slap
A short transfer to the village of Podnanos, then woodland and vineyard walking above
the Vipava valley to a working vineyard - the wine is excellent. Have a glass on the
terrace on arrival (4 hrs). Alternative - longer transfer and shorter walks 3 hrs / 1 hr
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Day 4 - Slap to Stanjel
Over the ridge to the Karst via the most lovely meadow and woodland walking to the
hilltop village of Stanjel. Your B & B is just next to the tower gateway. Supper at an
eccentric local restaurant today (3 hrs walking).
Day 5 - Stanjel to Tomaj
On to the wooded Karst proper, to the pretty hill village of Tomaj and a farmhouse
supper with (almost) everything home-produced. Visit the wine and Prsut cellars and
sample Milojka's bread and honey (4 hrs).
Day 6 - Tomaj to Lipica
A gentle though longer day's walk through the Karst via Sezana with its botanical
gardens to the famed stud farm at Lipica, home to the Lipizzaner horses, where you stay
(and eat) in the adjoining hotel. Start early to see a presentation of the Classical Riding
School at 3 o'clock on Tuesdays (not April), Fridays and Sundays (pre-booked through
AOF only) (5 hrs). Alternative - walk to Sezana 3 hrs then taxi.
Lipica to Skocjan Caves, then taxi to Trieste or Ljubljana
A morning's walk to Skocjan caves (we thoroughly recommend a tour), then our taxi will
take you to your final night's stay in your chosen hotel with time to explore (3.5 hrs).
Alternative - taxi then walk 2 hrs.
Day 8 - Depart hotel
(or choose to stay further nights).
Although Slovenia is not much larger than the U.S. state of New Jersey and you can drive across it on
motorways from east to west in about three hours and north to south in even less time, there's surprising
diversity of geography, geology, climate ... and, of course, wine ... in this small place.
Sometimes likened to "Europe in miniature" because of this variety, Slovenia touches the Adriatic along a
short stretch of coast near the port city of Koper; it offers a Mediterranean-style climate along its border with
Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia; it rises to craggy Alps in its northwestern corner adjacent to Austria, and flattens
into rolling farmland on the Pannonian plain in its eastern corner bordering Hungary.
With the help of the map above (courtesy of Poslovna Skupnost za Vinogradnistvo in Vinarstvo Slovenije,
the Union for Slovenian Viticulture and Enology), let's get oriented to Slovenia's basic wine regions - useful
information if you plan a wine visit here.
Similar to other wine-growing countries, Slovenia sorts its wine regions geographically, dividing and
subdividing its territory into specific sections whose names appear on wine labels and from which it is
assumed that wines will bear some regional character. Wines are usually varietally labeled, indicating the
grape variety from which the wine is made, although occasional blends may bear proprietary names. Finally,
wine labels will often indicate the wine's quality level: "Vrhunsko" is the highest regulatory category, although
some producers - in a move akin to the Italian use of "vina da tavola" - are now rejecting its use, labeling
their wines simply "Kakovostno" ("good").
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The History of Beekeeping in New Zealand
Honey bees have been kept in New Zealand for over 150 years. In that time, beekeeping has moved from
being a home craft to a progressive industry. New Zealand is now recognised as one of the world's most
advanced beekeeping countries, and is a leader in several important fields.
The first honey bees were brought to New Zealand by English missionaries. The earliest record of a
successful shipment was of two basket hives of bees which arrived in Northland in 1839. Many other
importations soon followed and beekeeping became a popular pastime with settlers. The first New Zealand
beekeeping book was published in 1848.
The original stocks of bees brought to the country were the Northern European black strain. They were kept
in traditional straw skeps or wooden boxes with frames. Around 1880 the first stocks of the yellow Italian
strain were imported. They, along with movable frame "Langstroth" hives, provided the foundation for
modern commercial beekeeping development.
American foulbrood was also accidentally imported in some of the original bee stocks, and by the 1880's had
become established in many hives. The fixed frame hives in common use at the time meant that combs
could not easily be inspected for the disease, and beekeeping was greatly affected in many parts of the
Isaac Hopkins, a prominent commercial beekeeper, campaigned for bee disease control legislation in the
last two decades of the nineteenth century, and in 1905 was appointed Government Apiarist. Shortly after,
the first Apiaries Act was passed. The act made the keeping of fixed frame hives illegal and introduced
measures to control American foulbrood. The New Zealand act was one of the first modern bee disease
control laws anywhere in the world, and along with a concerted campaign to reduce the incidence of the
disease, helped to make the commercial keeping of bees in New Zealand a viable farming activity.
Following the First World War, beekeeping increased rapidly as more land was developed and returned
servicemen were trained as beekeepers. Hive numbers doubled to nearly 100,000 by the end of the 1920's.
Because honey crops are extremely variable, marketing organisations where used in the 1930's in an
attempt to stabilize prices. By 1938, much of the New Zealand crop was being sold to the Internal Marketing
Division, a government agency.
Beekeeping increased again after the Second World War, and by 1950 some 7,000 beekeepers were
keeping over 150,000 hives. In 1955, the Honey Marketing Authority took over the Internal Marketing
Division's activities, and for the next 25 years was for all intents and purposes the sole exporter of extracted
honey produced in New Zealand.
The late 1970's and early 1980's saw large changes occur in the beekeeping industry. The Honey Marketing
Authority ceased operations, and private individuals and companies began exporting New Zealand honey
products. The numbers of hives increased by over 40%, to 335,000, spurred on by the demand for paid
pollination services. The range of exports also grew, and began to include many different types of honeys,
as well as live bees.
In the past several years, the industry has been affected by significant changes in government policy and
legislation. In 1991, the government announced that it would no longer fund the endemic honey bee
disease programme, thus ending taxpayer support for a service which had been in continuous existence
since 1908. The industry made the decision to fund American foulbrood control from its resources, and now
contracts the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to provide disease control services.
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Pakistani troops save climber from killer peak
Declan Walsh in Islamabad
The Guardian Thursday August 11, 2005
The Pakistani army plucked a stranded climber from an icy ledge on one of the world's most
treacherous mountains in a daring high-altitude rescue yesterday.
Two Lama helicopters hovered at almost 6,700 metres (21,980 ft) over Nanga Parbat, a
Himalayan peak known as "killer mountain", to rescue Tomaz Humar, a 36-year-old Slovene
Humar, who has a reputation for daring solo ascents, had been trapped on a sheer slope since a
snowstorm closed in last Friday.
At dawn yesterday one of the helicopters dropped a sling to carry him down to safety at the
expedition base camp more than 3,000 metres below.
Photographs posted on Humar's website last night showed him collapsing to his knees as his
overjoyed support crew gathered around him.
"I was on the phone to the camp when the news came through he had been rescued. I cried like
a baby," said Nazir Sabir, Pakistan's leading climber, whose company helped organise the trip. A
Pakistani army statement described Mr Humar's as "hale and hearty".
He had been attempting a new route to the 8,125-metre summit - the world's ninth highest
mountain - via a notoriously dangerous cliff face.
But a sudden snowstorm, triggering avalanches as often as every 15 minutes, forced him to
abandon the climb. He survived on a small ledge by burrowing an ice mushroom in the snow to
protect his head and upper body.
"The cold was the biggest danger. His sleeping bag was wet and frostbite had started to set in,"
said Sabir.
Hopes for Humar dimmed after rescue attempts were thwarted by heavy cloud. When the military
helicopters finally reached him at 6am yesterday, the operation also endangered their crew, who
were flying 300 metres above the craft's normal ceiling altitude.
When they pulled Humar from the surface he was still attached to an anchor rope which, if it had
not snapped, could have dragged the helicopter into the mountain face.
"To my knowledge I think this is the most unique rescue operation in mountaineering history,"
said Mr Sabir.
Nanga Parbat, which translates as naked mountain in Urdu, is one of the world's most dangerous
Hitler sent several German expeditions to conquer the mountain during the 1930s. The Nazis set
Nanga Parbat as a national challenge in the same way as British expeditions concentrated on
Everest and Americans aimed for K2.
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But every expedition failed and at least 30 people had died by the time the mountain was finally
scaled by an Austrian in 1953. One expedition alone cost 16 lives, earning the peak its "killer
mountain" epithet.
Humar, who claims to have climbed 1,500 peaks, was attempting the Rupal face, a 4,000-metre
rock face considered to be one of mountaineering's greatest challenges. He was climbing alpine
style, a purist approach that involves a minimum of food and equipment to favour speed and
agility, but also incurs bigger risks.
His rescue was another notable success for the Pakistani army, which in the 1980s plucked a
Belgian mountaineer from similar altitude to international acclaim. The army has honed its highaltitude expertise through the Kashmir dispute with India.
After recovering at Nanga Parbat base camp Humar is expected to fly to Islamabad today. A
biographical note posted on his website claims: "It is believed the gods are fond of him."
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Welcome to the Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales is an area of
great natural beauty in northern
England, a large part of which has
been designated as one of England
and Wales' protected national
parks. [N.B. Please note that due
to political boundary changes
some areas of the "classical"
Yorkshire Dales actually lie
outside of the regions which now
officially constitute "Yorkshire".
Please click here for more
information about the geographical
definition and maps of the Yorkshire Dales area.]
Much of the landscape here is limestone country - lush green valleys (known locally as
"dales") crested with white limestone cliffs ("scars") and limestone pavements cutting
through wilder uplands beneath towering peaks ("fells") of dark millstone grit.
Throughout the dales, fields and pastures are bounded by distinctive white drystone walls
which criss-cross the hillsides in elaborate patterns; set against the limestone cliffs and
escarpments these walls (which were originally built by sheep farmers in days gone by)
look almost a natural part of the limestone scenery as viewed today.
The geology here gives rise to some spectacular and unusual natural features, such as the
towering white cliffs and limestone gorges of Malham Cove and Gordale Scar near
Malham, Kilnsey Crag near Kilnsey, and the naturally sculptured millstone grit outcrops
of Brimham Rocks near Pateley Bridge, as well as dramatic waterfalls sometimes hidden
in deep wooded ravines such as those found on the
famous Waterfalls Walk at Ingleton (which includes
the impressive Thornton Force), Hardraw Force in
Wensleydale (which is said to be Britain's highest
unbroken waterfall), and also the very spectacular
High Force in the northern reaches of Teesdale.
But besides the obvious attractions, a hidden world
lies beneath the surface of the Yorkshire Dales, with
the limestone hills being honeycombed by countless
caves and potholes. A subterranean wonderland of
stalactites and stalagmites, cathedral-sized chambers,
underground rivers and waterfalls waits here to be
explored by the intrepid, with new passages and cave
systems still being discovered and surveyed.
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Gentler tourist attractions include popular riverside beauty spots such as Bolton Abbey in
Wharfedale, and Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale, though it is always possible to get away
from the tourists in the hundreds of square miles of unspoiled countryside that lie within
the boundaries of this beautiful area.
Geographically, the classical Yorkshire Dales spread to the north from the market and spa
towns of Settle, Skipton, Ilkley
and Harrogate in North Yorkshire,
with most of the larger southern
dales (e.g. Ribblesdale,
Malhamdale and Airedale,
Wharfedale and Nidderdale)
running roughly parallel from
north to south, and the more
northerly dales (e.g. Wensleydale,
Swaledale and Teesdale) running
generally from west to east. There
are also many other smaller or
lesser known dales (e.g.
Arkengarthdale, Barbondale, Bishopdale, Clapdale, Coverdale, Dentdale and Deepdale,
Garsdale, Kingsdale, Littondale, Langstrothdale, Raydale, Waldendale and the Washburn
Valley - to name but a few) whose tributary streams and rivers feed into the larger
To the east the countryside becomes gentler, sloping off to the Vale of York and the
towns of Ripon, Thirsk, and the historic city of York itself. Beyond that, to the north east
lies Yorkshire's other national park, The North York Moors - stretching across to the
Yorkshire Coast, and the popular
seaside resorts of Whitby and
To the south west and the south lie
the wild heather moors of Bronte
Country and the industrial
conurbation of West Yorkshire including the cities of Leeds and
Bradford (which was nominated to
be a contender for the title of
European City of Culture in 2008).
For sheer solitude and unspoiled
natural beauty, the Yorkshire
Dales remains one of England's "crown jewels", and no visit to the north should be
complete without exploring some of the country's finest limestone scenery!
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Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Planning is now well underway for the 28th hcmf, which takes place from 17 – 27
November 2005. Latest news and detailed programme information will be added to the
website over the coming weeks, so do keep checking.
Bold, daring, unique
hcmf is an internationally renowned annual celebration of cutting-edge orchestral, choral,
ensemble and electro-acoustic performances; the programme also features talks, films,
workshops, dance and dynamic education projects. Around 50 events are packed into
10 amazing days.
hcmf excels in presenting work that is intriguing, challenging and, frequently, boundarybusting, bringing internationally regarded figures together with the cream of emerging
creativity and talent.
Performers and composers from around the world are drawn to Huddersfield each year
by the magic of hcmf - and the audience gets to rub shoulders with them all.
One of the virtues of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival has always been its
ability to attract performers and ensembles who otherwise appear rarely in Britain
The Guardian, 24.11.04
The purity of what Huddersfield does would, of course, be meaningless were it not for
the fact that it is an institution totally in command of its own agenda. It is the country's
only major festival that concentrates solely on new classical music, and it has
traditionally been where the most exciting fresh work from overseas has first poured,
often to revelatory effect.
The Guardian, 30.11.04
From this unlikely, much-loved Pennine setting, out of the late-November gloom, it trains
a beacon on the world of modern music, and does so, of course, against the financial
odds. It is the only significant modern-music festival we have, and is surviving well.
Daily Telegraph, 23.11.04
The programme of events for hcmf 2005 is still being fine tuned, however, British and
international highlights will include:
Christopher Fox 50th birthday
Fox is one of Britain's most performed composers - but mostly on the continent; hcmf
presents the most significant overview of his work in his home country this season, in
four concerts featuring the Ives Ensemble, Britain's most exciting young vocal group
Exaudi, The Smith Quartet and pianist John Snijders.
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Sir Thomas More (1477 - 1535)
Thomas More - lawyer, prolific writer, MP and statesman - was Chancellor of England
between 1529 and 1532. He rose to prominence early in the 16th century as Undersheriff of London and one of Henry VIII's most effective and trusted civil servants,
acting as the King's secretary, interpreter, speech-writer, chief diplomat, advisor and
confidant. In 1521 he was made the Kingdom's Undertreasurer and knighted, and in
1523 he became the Speaker of the House of Commons.
At the same time More was building up a reputation as one of Europe's leading scholars.
He was close to the radical catholic theologian Erasmus, but wrote polemics against
Martin Luther and the protestant reformation. Around 1515 he wrote The History of
Richard III which established that king's reputation as a tyrant and has been described
as the first masterpiece of English historiography; and in 1516 published his most
important work Utopia - a description of an imaginary communist republic ruled by
reason and intended to contrast sharply with the strife-ridden reality of contemporary
Europe politics.
Despite his own free-thinking, More was a passionate defender of Catholic orthodoxy writing pamphlet after pamphlet against heresy, banning and confiscating unorthodox
books, and even taking personal responsibility when Chancellor for the interrogation,
whipping and burning of English heretics.
More took on the post of Lord Chancellor just when King Henry had become determined
to obtain a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, something forbidden by church law. The
previous Chancellor, Lord Wolsey, had failed to achieve this objective, Henry was close
to breaking with the Church of Rome, and the so-called 'Reformation Parliament' was
about to convene. More was opposed to Henry's policy.
When Henry declared himself 'Supreme Head of the Church in England' - thus
establishing the Anglican Church and allowing him to set aside his marriage - More
resigned the Chancellorship to be replaced as the King's main advisor by Thomas
Cromwell. He continued to argue against the King's divorce and the split with Rome, and
in 1534 was arrested after refusing to swear an Oath of Succession repudiating the Pope
and accepting the annulment of the marriage to Catherine. Fifteen months later More
was tried for treason at Westminster, and on July 6th 1535 he was executed by
beheading on Tower Hill.
In 1935 Thomas More was recognised as a Catholic saint.
DL Year 3 Trans