- The German supermarket chain Aldi is giving the likes of Tesco and Morrison’s a tough time in the UK but they have recently had some serious problems of their own in their home country following the discovery by authorities of highly contagious norovirus in Aldi frozen strawberries.
- In Bavaria a moose has been spotted for the first time posing for a selfie in the state’s national forest (see picture…).
- English troops overseas forced to eat dead horses and drink water from puddles (sanctioned by the House of Lords). Details below…
While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:
or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:
I hope you find the article below interesting…please visit chrisduggleby.com again.
Lord Willoughby’s Battlefield Leadership Skills
Let’s start with the troops eating horse meat and drinking puddle water. For those who are unfamilliar with Peregrine Bertie the 13th Baron Willoughby de Eresby (1555-1601) here is a picture of this handsome chap:
He was so popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) that a ballad praising his exploits in the battlefield circulated throughout England. I think we can consider this to be one of the first national UK pop songs. The ballad “My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home” is rather long but here are a couple of extracts:
The fifteenth day of July, with glist’ning speare & shield,
A famous fight in Flanders was foughten in the field:
The most couragious officers were the English captains three,
But the bravest in the Battel was brave Lord Willoughby.
His ability to motivate his troops to eat their horses and drink water from puddles was particularly impressive:
For seven hours in all mens view the fight endured sore,
Until our men so feeble grew that they could fight no more,
And them upon dead horses full savourly they eat
And drank the puddle water, they could no better get.
At about the same time Elizabethan England had another celebrity named John Dowland (1563-1626). He was a very accomplished Lute player and singer and therefore the renaissance equivalent of today’s most famous rock guitarists/vocalists.
Although Dowland was a gifted player and composer of the Lute he was also very active oversees working as a court musician in Denmark and later back in England (under James I). Whilst working in Paris for England’s Ambassador to the French Court he converted to Catholicism and his income was, for that period, so astronomical that it is almost certain that he was engaged in international espionage. Try to imagine a cross between Eric Clapton and James Bond! Even Queen Elizabeth I remarked of Dowland that he “was a man to serve any prince in the world, but was an obstinate Papist.”
Inspired by the ballad “My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home” Dowland composed a beautiful lute duet. I have taken the original music and rearranged it to be performed by the TRANSFORMATES 變 Synthesizer Ensemble (part of the TRANSFORMATES 變 Music Project). Why not click on the video below to listen to this and watch the accompanying video (hot off the press from the V&LIUMM Alpine Studios)? As the synthesizer ensemble joins in don’t forget – this piece was written over 400 years ago!
With this soothing renaissance music playing in the background let me now explain about those noroviruses found in Aldi strawberries and the sighting of Bavaria’s first posing moose. In the next couple of weeks I will add an article to the Transformates 變 own website (link here) which will provide you with much more information about the fascinating lives and adventures of both John Dowland and Lord Willoughby (including the full text of the ballad about Lord Willoughby’s battle prowess).
Moose Caught Posing in Bavaria
Regular visitors to my website will know I like to keep non-German readers updated on the latest developments coming out of the German language press. In particular I try to give prominence to news items that we do not get to see in the international press. Well the posing moose is just such an item. Here is the selfie!
There have been earlier reports of sightings of moose in Bavaria but this is the first time that one has actually been captured on camera. It is believed that the young male animal came over from the border from the neighbouring Czech Republic and unless some lady moose also crosses the border into Bavaria it will have to return home in order to mate. The animal was captured with a forestry monitoring camera set to automatically take photos of (suitably posing) wildlife. So for readers who have not yet visited the beautiful Bavarian countryside here is another reason to come – and bring your camera. Next time he comes he may be fully grown:
..and perhaps even bring his wife with him?
German Aldi Strawberry Investigation
If you have never had a Norovirus infection consider yourself lucky – I picked it up during a business trip to Spain a few years ago. The combination of stomach cramps, general pains, fever, weakness and the tendency to throw up at very little notice made it one of the worst illnesses I have had to endure. The virus is extremely infectious and there are many strains so even if you develop immunity to one you could quite possibly find yourself on your back again when the next wave of suffering comes to your neighbourhood. Since it is a virus infection antibiotics are useless – you can merely try to mitigate the symptoms, take care of yourself and hope it passes quickly (with me it took over a week to get over the worst). The illness left a lasting impression on me because I was just about to hand in my boarding pass to board a plane to the UK from Spain when I had to immediately run to the nearest rest room and empty the contents of my stomach into a convenient lavatory bowl.
Early in my career I had the good fortune to study virology when I was working towards by first degree in the Manchester medical school. As a result I have always had an interest in news about viruses and this probably explains why an article in the German press about the discovery of Noroviruses in Aldi strawberries caught my eye.
Unlike the home grow strawberries in the picture above those investigated in Aldi stores by the German Health Officials were deep frozen. They were part of a 25 tonne lot imported from Egypt. Specifically stores in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt where involved and Aldi has immediately withdrawn the products and offered a refund to customers having already purchased the products. Packs of strawberries and of mixed berries were involved. They were sold under the trade mark “Golden Fruit” and imported by the company Frost Import GmbH – the batches involved had sell-by dates of 28.4.2017 and 5.5.2017.
Fortunately the German Authorities are quite vigilant in their random spot checks on the quality of food sold in German supermarkets. You can actually get the official information from a Government website – Lebelsmittelwarnung.de (Translation: ‘food products warning‘). If you would like to take a look at the official warning for this incident the link is here. It might be worth checking whether the safety checks practised in your own country are sufficient to pick up such contamination. Fortunately the management of Aldi Nord in Germany responded very quickly once the authorities advised them of their discovery.
So that’s all for this week – a rather varied bag ranging from an Elizabethan James Bond, a posing moose and strawberries that make you vomit. If you want to be kept informed why not add your name to the subscriber list?
Enjoy the rest of the week!
Chris Duggleby started his scientific career in the Bacteriology and Virology department based in the Manchester Medical School. From there he went on to spend over 35 years in the chemicals and oil industry which included setting up a polymers research and development group in Geneva, Switzerland. Following an MBA at Warwick University he went on to lead a number of international manufacturing and marketing operations in the Chemicals, Plastics and Oil industries. He has lived and worked in the several countries including UK, USA, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Russia and China. More recently he was invited to take on a senior leadership position in the Audit Department of one of the Worlds largest oil groups. Here he used his global change and risk management experience to help the group through a major environmental disaster. He has now retired to focus on writing about risk management and producing music in his studios near London, in the Alps and Cape Town.
If you found this article interesting why not try the following?
Pandemic Risk Management Article by Chris Duggleby (February 2012) (or ‘How to Prepare for the Consequences of Microbial Sex!‘)
Have you checked out my other interpretations of baroque musical masterpieces using contemporary instruments? If not try the play list below (it is of course free!):