Monthly Roundup: March 2015

Monthly Roundup - March

To round off what has been really good month, but mainly a stressful month for me, considering the large workload I’ve had, I will take a look back over the articles I have done this month by doing a quick monthly roundup.

1.3.2015 - I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for what was expected to be the month when we start to see some nice weather, as well as the relaxing temperatures that would take away the cold, wintry weather from January & February. This month would also be the month where I would have a lot of hard work to complete, as well as the fact that I had my English & Maths exams to prepare and revise for.

6.3.2015 - As Spring has finally arrived, I used this day to cease the opportunity by taking some photos of the lovely weather, as I wanted to get back to using my Nikon D3300 DSLR after just a few weeks of using it previous. The photos I took gave me the opportunity to showcase them via the article that I wrote and published, which was titled: “A Bright & Breezy Spring!!!” This article would also showcase my videography skills, given the fact that I had recorded some video-clips, which I had put together and uploaded to YouTube via the video-editing software, ezvid.

20.3.2015 - To mark the special occasion, Madonna’s 13th Studio Album, Rebel Heart, was released to the world. I was delighted however, as the U.K. got the album the day before the U.S. did, and I was raring to go, as I wanted to hear her new album after listening to her song, Living for Love, on loop. I did a special music feature article on Madonna, because after 3 years, the Queen of Pop is finally back with a classical and perfected masterpiece, which is much better, and also continues, but focuses away from her 12th studio album, MDNA. Rebel Heart also went to number 1, which made the celebrations even better. Living for Love has most recently just surpassed 10,000,000 views on YouTube (now, not on the 20th March), which has made the longevity of this album get better and better.

29.3.2015 - As excited as I was, I was absolutely over the moon to have been nominated by Vijay Shah of the Half-Eaten Mind for the Real Neat Blog Award. This nomination would mean I would go on to answer the five questions that Kitty’s RNBA Award had set me. After I answered the questions, I would go on to nominate 10 other bloggers for all of the hard work that they had gone to into making their blog or website become known for what it is today.

Also on this day, I announced that my latest book: “My Journey Through a Lens”, would be out soon, as the book is almost nearing completion, given the fact that the contents page in this third book is almost full. This book would not only count as my 3rd installment, but it would also count to be one of the biggest books that I have ever produced.

31.3.2015 - The awards kept coming, as Chey had nominated me for the Liebster Award, which counts as the second award of 2015. This award would mean I would go on to answer 10 questions that were set by Chey, one of which I was unable to answer, considering just how much of a good, yet tricky question it was for me to answer. Overall, I did manage to answer almost all of the questions I was set, and I tried my best, so hopefully one question shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Other than that, after I answered the questions I could answer, I then nominated 10 bloggers that deserved the Liebster Award as well, but this time, I would set them 10 questions, as per the rules of the Liebster Award. After I did this, I congratulated them all in the article, but left a note underneath my name to say to those I nominated that they should get a pingback in their notification tab, as I thought that the blogs or websites I nominated would get a pingback automatically, just after this article went live.

Overall, I feel more than relaxed that the exams are out of the way, for now, and that I can get back to creating articles for the time being. This month has been a great month, despite having a week off sick earlier in the month due to a heavy head and chest cold, but, now that this month is finally at an end, I just want to say, have a happy end to your night and to the end of this month, and I’ll see you all in April :-).

Alex Smithson

Mother Nature | The Liebster Award | The Second Award of 2015!!!

Mother Nature - The Liebster Award - The Second Award of 2015

The awards keep coming for Mother Nature, as Chey, the founder of his blog, Socially Awkward Chey, has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thanks Chey :-)!!!

The Liebster Award is a chain award that is mainly created by other bloggers, which is then passed on from one blogger to another blogger, to create all-new connections. It is a wonderful and fun way to interact and also make friends in the WordPress blogging community.

To kick this award article off, I will answer the questions that Chey has asked me and the other 9 that he has nominated for this award.

Chey’s Questions & My Answers

1. When did you start writing?

I started writing articles for Mother Nature from the 6th June 2013, and since then, I have gone on to receive the Blog of the Year 2013 award in just the short space of the first 6 months that it was around, when Mother Nature used to be called: “Photography | Nature – Capture Every Valuable Moment“.

2. Why should your readers trust you?

I feel that every reader should trust me with the articles that I write and publish, as I want to be able to make the reader feel comfortable and also feel at home within the article. I want to aim to make sure that my readers get the chance to see life from my own perspective, and how I have chosen to see things in a different light.

3. When do write for your blog?

I like to write articles for Mother Nature when I can find the time to write and publish, as I’m currently in the process of doing my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course at Croydon College. When I can, I like to find the time to make and publish articles for Mother Nature, as I like to aim and make sure that I can keep everyone up-to-date on the latest articles I publish.

4. If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be?

If I could be anyone for a day? That’s a good question. Erm…I don’t know who I would want to be for a day to be entirely honest. Though that is a very good, yet tricky question that I cannot answer. Sorry.

5. How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered for the good times that I’ve shared with everyone, as I would want to be remembered for the happiest moments that have happened on here, as well as the special moments of life that I have captured along the way.

6. What kind of blog do you have, according to yourself?

This website, according to myself, is not just focused around Mother Nature, but is also focused around more of the focal points of life, for example, the news, and if possible, some or most of the things that are or have gone on in the world. Mother Nature also focuses around my photography skills, considering that I share my love entirely with photography.

7. What do you see yourself doing a decade from now?

In a decade from now, I want to see myself as being a professional photographer, as I want to be at the top of my game as a professional, full-time photographer.

8. Do you find yourself to be young at heart or an old soul?

To be honest, I find myself to be young at heart, as I like to go for every opportunity that I’m given, as this helps me to open new doors to places I had never thought I would go.

9. What or who inspires you to write?

Who inspires me to write? My two main role models, my WordPress followers, all of my friends and family, and also those who have already got their books out, and in stores too. They have all inspired me, and without them, I wouldn’t have come this far. I feel more inspired now, as I have released two books so far, with a third on the way soon, which I can’t wait to share with all you.

10. Did you like to be nominated ^^

I did like being nominated for this award, as it has made Mother Nature stronger, which has allowed me to develop my articles a lot better than before. I am absolutely thankful to have been nominated for this award, as this now gives me the chance to go further and develop my own initial ideas further for when it comes to writing and publishing articles.

In no particular order, here are the 10 nominees I have chosen to receive the Liebster Award:

1. Half-Eaten Mind | News and Views from a Partially Digested Brain

2. Dear Kitty. Some Blog

3. Tessa Can Do IT!

4. Random Ravings from Cornwall

5. Paul Militaru | Photography Portfolio

6. It’s all Coming Back to Me Now by B.A

7. Russel Ray Photos

8. DaniellaJoe’s Blog

9. WoolyandRaeski

10. One Camera, One Lens, One Year

Below are my 10 questions for those of you that I have nominated:

1. What made you want to take up this hobby?

2. Who inspired you to set up your blog/website and why?

3. What do you love the most about life?

4. If there is one thing you could do in life, what would it be?

5. What is your blog/website about?

6. Are you the kind of person who loves to go for opportunities whilst they’re still available?

7. If there was something you wanted to do other than what you currently do now, what would it be?

8. What is your most favourite quote of all time?

9. Do you like writing or reading books?

10. Did you like being nominated for the Liebster Award? If so, has it made your blog/website become stronger?

Please feel free to accept this award at any time, or, if due to possible reasons that you are unable to accept this award, for example, if there are any personal reasons involved, please feel free to decline this award at any time.

Again, congratulations to those of you who I’ve nominated for this award, you deserve this award entirely for all of the hard work that you’ve put in, and also, thanks again to Chey for nominating me, I really appreciated it :-).

Until then, have a wonderful last day of March :-).

Alex Smithson

Please Note: For those of you that I’ve nominated, you might receive a pingback on your blog or website via the notification tab, as I think that the names that I’ve linked automatically create a pingback to those blogs or websites that I’ve nominated :-).

My Journey Through a Lens | Out Soon!!!

My Journey Through a Lens - Out Soon!!!

As my third book: “My Journey Through a Lens” is almost complete, I am delighted to tell you all that this book is massive, and is the third, biggest installment in my book series, which for me, has made me go a long way, in the short space of a year.

This book, set to be my biggest, most massive one yet, is packed with so much information that is based on this website, as well as other things that I have focused on whilst I’ve been away from publishing articles.

Also, you’ll find certain articles in this new book that I’ve published in full, which have been slightly altered bit by bit, due to possible spelling mistakes, which have since been corrected, so spelling mistakes are now out of question, and as well as this, I am delighted to show you the final design, which I gather by now all of you may have seen, but also, I have shown below the fast and rapid development that the design has come from, and where it is now. The current design will be the final design that I will use for this book before I publish it.

Book Design Development

As always, I aim to improve on the design of this book, but, after designing the final design, I feel happy with it, as I know that it is bold and clear, and that it will be suitable for viewing when it is finally published.

I can’t wait to get this book out to all of you, as it contains so much information that I have gathered, as well as most of the information that I have written for this book. As always, it will be free to download online, and will be available via my main download provider, Dropbox.

This book will roughly cross over into the 400-page barrier, as the information I have gathered together has been expanded more and more over separate pages. I’m quite surprised to the fact that this book is much bigger than Book #2 (A Year in Photography), but this one is massive!!!!!!!!

In this book, some or most of the pages are filled with some of the photographical content that I have chosen to showcase on Mother Nature, and as well as this, the first 5 Case Studies are also included in this book, though two or three of them have been slightly altered, but in a way where they will still connect to the Case Studies that have already been published to this website.

I have also included two special mentions on the two main musicians I have written about. Artists, such as Ben Haenow & Madonna are going to be in this book when this book is released into the wild, and for this book, I can guarantee to all of you that this book is going to be my best one yet, and that it will also be the biggest book I have ever produced.

I have a lot of content in store to offer you all when it’s released soon, and I can’t wait for you all to read it.

To your right, I have gradually been updating the release information box, which currently shows my progress, and at this stage, this book is more than likely going to cross over more than 300 pages. The contents page is almost full, which is a good indication, as this book might be out earlier than planned.

Until then, stay tuned for more information on this book :-).

Alex Smithson

Mother Nature | The Real Neat Blog Award | The First Award of 2015!!!

Real Neat Blog Award - First Award of 2015

As 2015 has been good so far, it gives me the pleasure to announce to you all that Vijay Shah of the HalfEatenMind (News and Views from a Partially Digested Brain) has nominated me for the Real Neat Blog Award. This is Mother Nature‘s fantastic start for 2015, as this award is the first ever award for this year!!!

This award was created by one of my fellow followers, and that is Dear Kitty – Some Blog, who I have mentioned on Mother Nature before in almost the past two years that I’ve been running this website. She took to the drawing board recently to create the RNBA award through her own good use and format of her computers, and since then, the ideas she has used to create this award has evolved rapidly, with the overall appearance of the Real Neat Blog Award being absolutely relaxing, peaceful and happy to view.

The RNBA includes a set of rules that any nominees need to be aware of:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Dear Kitty – Some Blog – Questions:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

Most of the visits to my website, Mother Nature, have come from the United States and the UK, which is quite a lot of visits that this website has received in just the short space of almost two years.

2. What is your favourite sport?

My favourite sport is Baseball, as it is the type of game I would always want to play, given that my concentration levels run high ultimately in a sport like this.

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2014?

What has been my special moment for 2014? My special moment of 2014 was when I released my second book: “A Year in Photography” on Mother Nature, with the result of my own physical copy being printed by DoxDirect.

4. What is your favourite quote?

My favourite quote is: “Prevention is better than cure.” – Desiderius Erasmus

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

My favourite class when I was at school was Art & Design, as I was able to set some or most of my own creative ideas free in my own work, as well as the final pieces that I produced.

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

The one thing I wish I could have learned earlier was to know more about the evolution of life, and how life has come to make this world the best place that it is known for today.

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

The one musical instrument I have tried to play was the piano, though I did find using this musical instrument to be difficult, as it is, in my eyes, the hardest musical instrument I have ever used.

A massive thank you goes to Vijay Shah of the HalfEatenMind for nominating me for this award. To see more of Vijay’s work, please make sure to visit his news-site by clicking on the directories button on here, where I have placed a badge that will take you there. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the latest articles that he has, and is currently publishing for the HalfEatenMind.

The Real Neat Blog Award Nominees I have picked are:

1. Tessa Can Do IT!

2. It’s all Coming Back to Me Now by B.A

3. One Camera, One Lens, One Year

4. Spartacus2030 – This Blog is About My Reactions to the Life Experience

5. SV-Take it Easy

6. Russel Ray Photos

7. WoolyandRaeski

8. Rolling Harbour Abaco

9. DaniellaJoe’s Blog

10. Discombobulated Musings of a Scorpio Diva

As courtesy of Mother Nature, please feel free to accept this award at any time, or if you want to at any time, please feel free to decline this award if you are currently busy or if there are personal reasons involved. Congratulations are in full order for the 10 I’ve picked to nominate for this award, and it is such an honour for me to be a part of the WordPress community.

Until then, well done everyone, and thanks again to Vijay Shah of the HalfEatenMind for nominating me for this award, I really appreciate it so much. Again, thanks to all of you for helping me to make Mother Nature become well known for what it is today :-).

Alex Smithson

Madonna | Rebel Heart (Super Deluxe Version) [Explicit] | Special Music Feature

Madonna - Rebel Heart (Super Deluxe) - Background

Madonna - Rebel Heart - No. 1 Album - Special Music Feature

The Queen of Pop is Back!!! Just 3 years after her 12th studio album, MDNA, was released, Madonna delights us all over again with her latest masterpiece, Rebel Heart. Despite some controversy with her Super Deluxe Version artwork, which created a bit of a Twitter storm, given the sexed-up look of the bondage gear she wore, her album has surprised me, because I didn’t think it would appeal to me, but it really has.

In this album, Madonna explores a bit of sex, but more of an emotional side to her personality, as she shows different forms of emotions in Rebel Heart that even I am rather shocked about. She explores different emotions in this album that somehow show that on the outside, she may be like her normal self, but on the inside, it feels like Madonna is showing a much softer, yet vulnerable side to her personality, as well as in her music.

Living for Love is a record that I’ve been playing to death most recently, given the fact that it shows Madonna at her best, with her video currently surpassing the millions by almost each and every week since its video release on the 6th February. Despite her fall at the BRIT Awards on the 25th February, she still got up and carried on to the end, which has quite recently been stirring up as to whether that fall was a publicity stunt.

It was more of a genuine fall that she hadn’t expected, and I don’t think it was a publicity stunt at all, because when I saw the fall on TV, it was quite a nasty shock to the system, though it reminded me of the fall I had on my 367 Bromley North bus sometime around the end of November, or the beginning of December. Other than that, I genuinely thought of Madonna to be a fighter, as she carried on performing despite the fall, and I admire her for that.

Aside that, another song I have played to death since Madonna’s Rebel Heart Super Deluxe album was released on the 9th March in the UK is HeartBreakCity, as it shows a powerful, yet distinctive side to Madonna that I have never seen before. This song, as the track name suggests, indicates sadness and heartbreaking moments from which Madonna has channeled these emotions into this particular record, defining the key points that sometimes there is love, hate, but simply heartbreak at the end of it.

Rebel Heart & Beautiful Scars are also my favourite tracks to listen to, as they have a happy, yet relaxing mixture that makes me feel comfortable with listening to the whole album overall. I absolutely love this album, as it has been cleverly crafted to perfection, and it is also another one of her best albums yet.

As well as this album being released as a Super Deluxe Version, there are two other album choices for Rebel Heart, as the Standard and Deluxe Version’s are on sale. Three different pieces of album artwork have been produced for the album, and here they are in their full & true glory.

Rebel Heart (Standard), Rebel Heart (Deluxe) & Rebel Heart (Super Deluxe)

© Album Artwork Courtesy of Madonna, Boy Toy Inc. & Live Nation 2015

To dash all points aside, for those who think that Madonna is trying to use the idea of sex in this album, she does use a small amount, but a lot of this album shows a softer side to her personality, a side of which does show a heartwarming, yet relaxing feel that despite her being the age of 56, going on 57 in August, she doesn’t let people criticise her just because of her age.

This album indicates more of a powerful, yet versatile side to Madonna, because she has channeled her own feelings into a masterpiece which, despite having suffered a number of leaks over the course of 3 months prior to its release on the 9th March in the UK (10th March in the US), she has made sure that this album gets the best treatment it truly deserves.

In my eyes, I see Rebel Heart as more of a personal album for Madonna, because she has channeled her emotions, her heartbreak, and also her own vision of life from her own perspective.

This, to me, is a perfectly crafted album by Madonna, as it is different, but also personal to me, and it’s also because of the fact that she has gone back to her natural music roots, doing what she does best.

It has also just been announced and confirmed that Madonna’s 13th Studio Album, Rebel Heart, has just gone to Number 1, which is her 12th Number 1 album, which is absolutely perfect, considering how much of an effort Madonna made to make sure this album became a reality. Well done Madonna!!!!!!!! You have made this album a classic and perfect masterpiece, and now, this is your time to shine!!!!!!!!

Alex Smithson

© Madonna 2015

© Live Nation & Boy Toy Inc. 2015

The Madonna Logo, the Rebel Heart logo, the Standard, Deluxe & Super Deluxe Album Covers, including the Featured Image have been used courtesy of the record labels and the artist. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

A Bright & Breezy Spring!!!

A Bright & Breezy Spring!!!

As Spring is finally here, now comes the perfect time to breathe new life into Mother Nature. Taken this morning, I have captured the feel of Spring, despite the breeze of the cold weather. Today is a nice, breezy and sunny day, which is why I took to using the Nikon D3300 DSLR to capture these delicate, yet intricate images.

Before I went ahead and took these photos, I captured a photo of a fox which was initially sleeping, until it woke up and saw me, with the end result being that the fox had run off out of the garden.

In these photos, I have decided to go close-up, and as well as this, I have also created a very small amount of silhouette photos, which were actually taken this morning in broad daylight, even though they appear like as if they were taken at sunset.

I also recorded a few small video clips which I have put together and published as a full 2 minute and 42 second video. These connect well to this article as I’ve made sure that this video revolves more around nature, and less around what is not based around nature overall.

I have taken a bit of a twist with this video, as one of the video clips in this full video was recorded in Black & White, which brings out a different kind of side to Mother Nature on this website.

Despite this, the video I have put together is available to watch on YouTube now, but, if you want to save time in searching for the video I have uploaded today, it will be under the photos that I’ve just uploaded.

Today has been relaxing and peaceful, given just how lovely the weather was today, it wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold, the weather was just right.

I have absolutely loved today, and I want this kind of day to continue over the next few months, before the Summer heatwave really kicks in over the course of July.

How did you feel about the weather where you are today? Please feel free to leave your comments below :-).

Also, if you have a YouTube account, please make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel at your own will, and if you liked the video, please feel free to leave a comment or give the video a thumbs up. If you do both, well, that’s much better :-).

Until then, what a wonderful and relaxing day it has been :-)!!!!!!!!

Alex Smithson

Welcome to March!!! A Month Full of Hard Work, Simplicity & Relaxing Times.

Welcome to March!!!

Hello everyone, and welcome to March!!! As February finally closed its doors at 12:00AM this morning, March is set to be the month when we start to see some nice weather, as well as the relaxing temperatures that take away the cold, wintry weather from January & February.

As March is set to be a month full of hard work for me, given I have my Maths and English exams just around the corner, and with the second to last unit of my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course to go before I start my final unit in April, this month will be full of hard work, as well as extensive revision that goes towards my English and Maths exams this month.

As well as this, March is also set to be a month surrounding simplicity, as the featured image suggests, as I want to make sure that this month is based around simplicity, as well as the design of Mother Nature overall, and also, this month is set to be full of relaxing times, and being able to enjoy yourself for just how valuable life really is.

Over the course of this month, I will be focusing more on my exams that are coming up, as well as meeting deadlines for my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course work. This means that I will, in some or most cases, have some trouble in finding the time to publish articles on Mother Nature. However, I will try my best to fit at least a few articles in when I have the free time available.

Until then, welcome to March on Mother Nature!!! A Relaxing Journey Awaits!!!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup | February 2015

28th February 2015 - Monthly Roundup

As the first two months of 2015 have flown by remarkably fast, with March just around the corner, this article will take a look back on the small amount of articles that I have done this month, before February closes its doors, and before March gets underway.

1.2.2015 - I welcomed all of you back to Mother Nature for what was set to be a chilly February, as this month was set to be full of hard work, love and experiences, as everyone is preparing for what could be a hard season that is solely focused around workloads, before the Spring break is due to hit us. As Valentine’s Day was just around the corner, this month was also set to be filled with love, which would create a refreshing feel to the atmosphere over the course of the next 4 weeks.

14.2.2015 - As there was a wet storm that hit us hard where I live back in January, the rainy weather had really poured it down, with hints of thunder that followed in the process. I ceased the opportunity to get some gorgeous photos of the raindrops just after the storm passed, and by using the Nikon D3300 DSLR, I was able to capture some beautiful shots of the raindrops from certain angles, which would ultimately define just how clear and crisp the raindrops were on one of the days I was off from college last month. As the first month of 2015 was officially behind us, I would showcase these photos in the article, which would focus on the raindrops, up-close and personal.

19.2.2015 - 30 years ago to the day, the first ever episode of Eastenders debuted on our screens. 30 years on, and we would all finally find out who had killed Lucy Beale (played by Hetti Bywater) in the flashback episode that aired on this day. With many of the gripping scenes that kept viewers like myself wanting to find out who killed Lucy over the past 10 months, this night would be the night when we would find out who killed her, and why she was killed. At the end of the flashback episode, the killer of Lucy Beale was revealed to be Bobby Beale, which was one of the most unexpected, yet surprising reveals that had ever happened, which even I didn’t expect, which had indeed been a killer twist.

28.2.2015 - As I wanted to celebrate writing 200 articles for Mother Nature, I did Article #200 on the Greatest Briton himself, which was Sir Winston Churchill. Case Study #5 based on Sir Winston Churchill would take a look back over his life, and how he had risen to become the man known for supporting the United Kingdom, and also for fighting for peace for the UK during the Second World War. This article would also celebrate what has almost been my second year since I started up Mother Nature, which is why I wanted to do Article #200 on Sir Winston Churchill, as this would also mark 50 years since his death, and also for the fact that it was 50 years ago on the 30th January that his state funeral took place.

Thanks so much for making February a brilliant month for Mother Nature everyone. I’m so sorry if I haven’t been able to post much on here over the past month, as I’ve been focusing more on my work, given the fact I’ve been making sure to keep on top of my work for my UAL Level 2 Art & Design Course at Croydon College. However, I will make sure to do my absolute hardest to publish some articles over the course of March.

Until then, thanks for such a brilliant February, and I’ll see you all in March.

Alex Smithson

Case Study #5: Sir Winston Churchill | The Greatest Briton

Article #200 - Sir Winston Churchill - The Greatest Briton - Case Study #5

Marking 50 years since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, Case Study #5 will take a look back on Winston Churchill’s life, and also the elements of his life that had unfolded along the way. Also, this article brings the total amount of articles altogether to 200, which is a surprising result for me, because I had never thought that I would do this many in just the short space of almost two years, which is fantastic, and I thank you all for keeping me going since I started up Mother Nature. To kick off this Case Study, I will make sure I go in-depth as much as I can, based on the Greatest Briton himself, Sir Winston Churchill.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30th November 1874 – 24th January 1965)

Born on the 30th November 1874 in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock in England, Sir Winston Churchill was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, and was also the Prime Minister for the second time running in 1951, all the way through to 1955. Notably and widely regarded to be one of the greatest wartime leasers of the 20th Century, Winston Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer (as Winston S. Churchill), and also an artist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was also the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.

Sir Winston Churchill was born int the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Malborough, which is a branch of the Spencer family. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a charismatic politician who had served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his mother, Jennie Jerome, was an American socialite. As a young army officer, he witnessed the action in British India, the Sudan, and also the Second Boer War. He rose to fame as a war correspondent, and had also written books about his campaigns.

Being at the forefront of politics for 50 years, Winston Churchill held many of the political and cabinet positions, but before the First World War, he had served as the President of the Board of Trade, he was also the Home Secretary, and was also the First Lord of the Admiralty as part of Asquith’s Liberal Government. During the course of the war, he would continue as the First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign caused him to depart from the government.

He had then briefly resumed active army service on the Western Front as the commander of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He returned to government as the Minister of Munitions, the Secretary of State for War, and also as the Secretary of State for Air. In 1921 and 1922, Sir Winston Churchill had served as the Secretary of State for the Colonies, then as the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Baldwin’s Conservative government of 1924 and 1929, controversially returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move which was widely seen as creating the deflationary pressure on the UK economy. Also controversial was Churchill’s opposition to increase the home rule for India, as well as his own resistance to the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII.

While he was out of office and politically “in the wilderness” during the 1930s, Sir Winston Churchill took the lead in warning about Nazi Germany and also in campaigning for rearmament. During the outbreak of the Second World War, he was again appointed the First Lord of the Admiralty, and following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on the 10th May 1940, Sir Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister. His steadfast refusal to consider surrender had helped to inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult, early days of the war, when the British Commonwealth and Empire stood alone in its active opposition to Adolf Hitler. Churchill was mainly noted for his speeches and radio broadcasts, which had inspired the British people, and he had led Britain as the Prime Minister until the victory over Nazi Germany had been secured.

After the Conservative Party had lost the 1945 election, Churchill had become the Leader of the Opposition to the Labour Government, and after winning the 1951 election, he again became the Prime Minister, before he retired in 1955. Upon his death, Elizabeth II had granted him the honour of a state funeral, which had saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen in history. Named as the Greatest Briton of all time in 2002 poll, Sir Winston Churchill is widely regarded as being among the most influential people in British history, consistently ranking well in the opinion polls of the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom.

Family & Early Life

Born on the 30th November 1874, into the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough, a branch of the noble Spencer family, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, like his father, had used the surname “Churchill” in his public life. His ancestor, George Spencer, had changed his surname to Spencer-Churchill in 1817, when he became the Duke of Marlborough, to highlight his descent from John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, was a politician, and his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill (a.k.a. Jennie Jerome) was the daughter of the American millionaire, Leonard Jerome. Sir Winston Churchill was born on the 30th November 1874, two weeks prematurely, in a bedroom in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock in Oxfordshire.

From the age of 2 to the age of 6, Churchill lived in Dublin, where his grandfather was appointed Viceroy and also employed Churchill’s father as his private secretary. Churchill’s brother, John Strange Spencer-Churchill, was born during this time in Ireland, and it has been claimed that the young Churchill had first developed his fascination with the military matters from watching many of the parades that passed by the Vice Regal Lodge (now Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland).

Winston Churchill’s earliest exposure to education had occurred in Dublin, where a governess tried teaching him reading, writing and arithmetic (his first reading book was called ‘Reading Without Tears’). With limited contact with his parents, Churchill had become very close to his nanny, ‘Mrs’ Elizabeth Ann Everest, whom he had called ‘Old Woom’. She had served as his confidante, nurse and also as a mother substitute. The two had spent many happy hours playing in Phoenix Park.

Independent and also rebellious by nature, Churchill generally had a poor academic record in school, for which he was punished. He was educated at three independent schools: St. George’s School in Ascot, Berkshire, Brunswick School in Hove, which is near Brighton (the school has since been renamed to Stoke Brunswick School and has also been relocated to Ashurst Wood in West Sussex) and at Harrow School from the 17th April 1888. Within weeks of his arrival at Harrow, Sir Winston Churchill had joined the Harrow Rifle Corps.

When young Winston had started to attend Harrow School, he was listed under the S’s as Spencer Churchill. At that time, Winston Churchill was a stocky boy with red hair that talked with a stutter and also a lisp. His nickname at Harrow was always “Copperknob”, which was a form of mockery because of his hair colour. Winston Churchill had done so well on Maths in his Harrow entrance exam that he was put in the top division for that particular subject, and in his first year at Harrow, he was recognised as being the best in his division for history.

Winston Churchill, however, had entered the school as the boy with the lowest grades in the lowest class, in which he would remain in that position. He never even made it into the upper school, because he would not study the classics. Though he had done poorly in his schoolwork, he had grown to love the English language. He hated Harrow, and he was rarely visited by his mother, so, he wrote letters, begging her either to come to the school, or to allow him to come home. His relationship with his father was mainly distant; he had once remarked that they had barely spoken to one another. His father passed away on the 24th January 1895, aged just 45, leaving Winston Churchill convinced that he too would die young, and so that he should be quick about making his mark on the world.

Speech Impediment

Sir Winston Churchill had a lateral lisp which would continue throughout his career, reported consistently by many of the journalists at the time and later. Authors that wrote in the 1920s and 1930s, before sound recordings became common, also mentioned Churchill having a stutter, describing it in terms such as being “severe” or “agonising”, and Winston Churchill had described himself as having a “speech impediment” which he worked to overcome. The Churchill Centre and Museum says that the majority of the records archived showed that his impediment was a lateral lisp, while Churchill’s stutter was a myth. His dentures were specially designed to aid his speech (Demosthenes’ pebbles), and after many years of public speeched, Churchill had carefully prepared, not only to inspire, but to also avoid hesistations, he could finally state: “My impediment is no hindrance”.

Marriage & Children

Sir Winston Churchill had met his future wife, Clementine Hozier, in 1904, at a ball in Crewe House, which is home to the Earl of Crewe and his wife, Margaret Primrose (the daughter of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebury and Hannah Rothschild). In 1908, they had met again at a dinner party, which was hosted by Susan Jeune, Baroness St. Helier. Sir Winston Churchill had found himself seated beside Clementine Hozier, and they had soon began a lifelong romance. He proposed to Clementine Hozier during a house party at Blenheim Palace on the 10th August 1908, in the small Temple of Diana.

On the 12th September 1908, Winston Churchill and Clementine Hozier were married in St. Margaret’s, Westminster. The church was packed; the Bishop of St. Asaph had conducted the service, and the couple had spent their honeymoon at the Highgrove House in Eastcote. In March 1909, the couple had moved into a house at 33 Eccleston Square.

Their first child, Diana, was born in London on the 11th July 1909, and after the pregnancy, Clementine had moved to Sussex to recover, while Diana had stayed in London with her nanny. On the 28th May 1911, their second child, Randolph, was born at 33 Eccleston Square. Their third child, Sarah, was born on the 7th October 1914 at Admrialty House. This birth was marked with anxiety for Clementine, as Churchill was sent to Antwerp by the Cabinet in order to “stiffen the resistance of the beleaguered city” after the news that the Belgians had intended to surrender the town.

Clementine Hozier gave birth to her fourth child, Marigold Frances Churchill, on the 15th November 1918, just four days after the official end of the First World War. In the early days of August 1921, the Churchills’ children were entrusted to a French nursery governess in Kent, named Mlle. Rose. Clementine, meanwhile, travelled to Eaton Hall to play tennis with Hugh Grovesnor, 2nd Duke of Westminster, and his family.

While she was still under the care of Mlle. Rose, Marigold had a cold, but was reported to have recovered from her illness. As the illness had progressed with hardly any notice, it had turned into septicaemia. Following adivce from a landlady, Rose had sent for Clementine, however, the illness (septicaemia) had turned fatal on the 23rd August 1921, and Marigold was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery three days later. On the 15th September 1922, the Churchills’ last child, Mary, was born. Later that month, the Churchills brought Chartwell, which would be their home until Winston’s death in 1965.

Churchill’s Political Career to the Second World War

During his early years of being in Parliament, Winston Churchill stood again for the seat of Oldham at the 1900 general election, and after winning the seat, he went on a speaking tour throughout Britain and the United States, raising £10,000 for himself (roughly about £940,000 today). From 1903 until 1905, Winston Churchill had also engaged in writing Lord Randolph Churchill, a two-volume biography that surrounded his father, which was published in 1906 and had received much of critical acclaim.

In Parliament, he had become associated with a faction of the Conservative Party, which was led by Lord Hugh Cecil; the Hughligans, and during his first parliamentary session, Churchil had opposed the government’s military expenditure, and Joseph Chamberlain’s proposal of extensive tariffs, which were intended to protect Britain’s economic dominance. His own constituency had effectiive deselected him, although he had continued to sit for Oldham until the next general election.

In the months leading up to his ultimate change of party from the Conservativesto the Liberals, Churchill had made a number of evocative speeches against the principle of Protectionism; ‘to think you can make a man richer by putting on a tax is like a man thinking that he can stand in a bucket and lift himself up by the handle.’ [Winston Churchill, Speech to the Free Trade League on the 19th February 1904.] As a result of his disagreement with the leading members of the Conservative Party over the tariff reforms, he had made the decision to cross the floor.

After the Whitsun recess in 1904, he had crossed the floor to sit as a member of the Liberal Party, and as a Liberal, he had continued to campaign for free trade. When the Liberals took the office with Henry Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister in December 1905, Churchill became the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, dealing mainly with South Africa after the Boer War. As he was the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1905 to 1908, Winston Churchill’s primary focus was mainly on settling the Transvaal Constitution, which was accepted by the Parliament in 1907.

This was mainly essential, as it would provide stability in South Africa, and Churchill had campaigned in line with the Liberal Government to install responsible rather than being a part of the representative government. This, in turn, would alleviate the pressure from the British Government to control the domestic affairs, including the issues, mainly of race, in the Transvaal, which would delegate a greater proportion of power to the Boers themselves.

Following his deselection in the seat of Oldham, Churchill was invited to stand for Manchester North West, and he won the seat at the 1906 general election with a majority of 1,214, and had also represented the seat for two years. When Campbell-Bannerman was succeeded by H.H. Asquith in 1908, Churchill was promoted to the cabinet as the President of the Board of Trade. Whilst under the law at that time, a newly appointed Cabinet Minister was obliged to seek re-election at a by-election; Churchill lost his seat, but was soon back as a member for the Dundee Constituency.

As he was the Presiednt of the Board of Trade, this meant that he would go on to join the newly appointed Chancellor, Lloyd George, in opposing the First Lord of the Admiralty, Reginald McKenna’s proposed huge expenditure for the construction of the Navy dreadnought warships, and in supporting the Liberal Reforms. In 1908, Churchill had introduced the Trade Boards Bill by setting up the first minimum wages in Britain, and in 1909, he had set up the Labour Exchanges to help many of the unemployed find work. He helped to draft the first unemployment pension legislation, the National Insurance Act of 1911. As a supporter of the eugenics, he had participated in the drafting of the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913; however, the Act, in the form eventually passed, had rejected his preferred method of sterilisation of the feeble-minded in favour of their confinement in institutions.

Chruchill had also assisted in passing the People’s Budget, becoming the President of the Budget League, an organisation that was set up in response to the opposition’s Budget Protest League. The budget had included the introduction of new taxes on the wealthy to allow for the creation of new social welfare programmes. After the budget bill was passed by the Commons in 1909, it was vetoed by the House of Lords.

The Liberals had then fought and had also won two general elections in January and December 1910 to gain a mandate for their reforms. The budget was passed after the first election, and after the second election, the Parliament Act 1911, for which Churchill also campaigned, was passed. In 1910, Churchill was promoted to Home Secretary, and his term was controversial, after his response to the Cambrian Colliery dispute, the Siege of Sidney Street and the suffragettes.

In 1910, a number of coal miners in the Rhondda Valley began what has come to be known as the Tonypandy Riot. The Chief Constable of Glamorgan requested that the troops were to be sent in to help the police quell the rioting. Learning that the troops were already travelling, Winston Churchill had allowed them to go as far as Swindon and Cardiff, but blocked their deployment, and on the 9th November, The Times had criticised this decision. In spite of this, the rumour still persists that Churchill had ordered the troops to attack, and his reputation in Wales and in Labour circkes never recovered.

In early January 1911, Churchill had made a controversial visit to the Siege of Sidney Street in London. There is some uncertainity, however, as to whether he had attempted to give operational commands, and his presence had attracted much of criticism. After an inquest, Arthur Balfour had remarked, “he [Churchill] and a photographer were both risking valuable lives. I understand what the photographer was doing, but what was the right honourable gentleman doing?” A biographer, Roy Jenkins, suggested that he went simply because “he could not resist going to see the fun himself” and that he did not issue commands. Another account said that the police had the miscreants – Latvian anarchists wanted for murder – surrounded in a house, but Churchill called in the Scots Guards from the Tower of London and, dressed in his top hat and astrakhan collar greatcoat, directed the operations.

The house had caught fire and Churchill had prevented the fire brigade from dousing the flames so that the men inside were burned to death. “I thought it better to let the house burn down rather than spend good British lives in rescuing those ferocious rascals.” Churchill’s proposed solution to the suffragette issue was the main referendum on the issue, but this had found no favour with Asquith and the women’s suffrage had remained unresolved until after the First World War had ended.

Churchill’s Second Term as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

After the general election that took place in October 1951, Sir Winston Churchill had again become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and his second government had lasted until his resignation in April 1955. He had also held the office of Minister of Defence between October 1951 and January 1952. In the domestic affairs, various reforms were introduced, such as the Mines and Quarries Act of 1954, and the Housing Repairs and Rent Act of 1955.

The former measure had consolidated legislation, which dealed with the employment of young people and women in mines and quarries, together with safety, health and welfare. The latter measure had extended the previous housing Acts, and had also set out the details in defining the housing units as “unfit for human habitation.” In addition, tax allowances were raised, the construction of council housing was accelerated, and the pensions and national assistance benefits were increased. Controversially, however, the charges for prescription medicines were introduced.

Housing was mainly the issue that the Conservatives were widely recognised to have made their own, after the Churchill government of the early 1950s, with Harold Macmillan as the Minister for Housing, gave the housing construction far higher political priority than it had initially received under the Attlee administration (where the housing had been attached to the portfolio of Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, whose attention was solely concentrated on his responsibilities for the National Health Service, also known for short as the NHS). Macmillan had accepted Churchill’s challenge to meet the latter’s ambitious public commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year, and achieved the target a year ahead of the schedule.

Churchill’s domestic priorities in his last government were often overshadowed by a series of foreign policy crise, which were partly due to the result of the continuing decline of British military, as well as imperial prestige and power. Being a strong proponent of Britain as an international power, Churchill would often meet such moments with direct action. One example was of his dispatch of British troops to Kenya to deal with the Mau Mau Rebellion. Trying his best to retain what he could of the British Empire, Churchill once stated that “I will not preside over a dismemberment.”

The War in Malaya

This was mainly followed by the events which had become known as the Malayan Emergency. In Malaya, a rebellion against the British rule had been in progress since 1948. Once again, Winston Churchill’s government had inherited a crisis, and he had chosen to use direct military action against those in rebellion while attempting to build an alliance with those who were not. While the rebellion was being defeated slowly, it was equally known to be clear that the colonial rule from Britain was no longer sustainable.

His Relations with the United States during his Second Term

Sir Winston Churchill had also devoted much of his own time in the office to Anglo-American relations, and although he did not always agree with the President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Churchill still attempted to maintain the Special Relationship with the United States. He had made four official transatlantic visits to America during his second term as Prime Minister.

Sir Winston Churchill’s Series of Strokes

Winston Churchill had suffered a mild stroke while he was on holiday in the South of France in the Summer of 1949, and in June 1953, when he was 78 years old, Sir Winston Churchill had suffered a more severe stroke when he was at 10 Downing Street. The news of his strokes were kept hidden from the public and from Parliament, who were told that Churchill was suffering from exhaustion (to avoid the news of his stroke from getting out into the open).

He went to his country home, Chartwell, to recuperate from the effects of the strokes that had affected his speech, as well as his ability to walk. Winston Churchill, however, did make a return to public life in October to make a speech at a Conservative Party conference in Margate. However, as he was fully aware that he was slowing down both physically and mentally, because of the series of strokes that he had, Sir Winston Churchill had retired as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1955, and was later succeeded by Anthony Eden. He had suffered from another mild stroke in the December of 1956.

Sir Winston Churchill’s Retirement & Death

Elizabeth II had offered to create Churchill as the Duke of London, but this was declined due to the objections of his son, Randolph, who would have inherited the title on his father’s death. He did, however, accept a knighthood as Garter Knight. After leaving the premiership, Churchill spent less of his time in Parliament until he stood down at the 1964 General Election. As a mere “back-bencher,” he spent most of his retirement at Chartwell and at his home in Hyde Park Gate, in London, and became a habitué of high society on the French Riviera.

In the 1959 General Election, Winston Churchill’s majority had fallen by more than a thousand, and as his physical faculties had declined, he had begun to lose the battle he had fought for so long against the “black dog” of depression. There was initial speculation that Sir Winston Churchill may have suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease in his last years, although others have maintained that his reduced mental capacity was merely the result of the series of strokes that he suffered from. In 1963, the U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, acting under the authorisation granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed Churchill as an Honorary Citizen of the United States, but he was unable to attend the White House ceremony.

Despite Winston Churchill’s poor health, he still tried his absolute hardest to remain as active as he possibly could in his public life, and on St. George’s Day, he sent a message of congratulations to the surviving veterans of the 1918 Zeebrugge Raid, who were attending a service of commemoration in Deal, which is in Kent, where the two casualties of the raid were buried in the Hamilton Road Cemetery. On the 15th January 1965, Sir Winston Churchill had suffered a severe stroke which had left him gravely ill, and on the morning of Sunday 24th January 1965, Winston Churchill died at the age of 90 years in his London home, just 9 days after suffering from the severe stroke. The morning of Sunday 24th January 1965 was 70 years to the day after his father’s death.

Sir Winston Churchill’s Funeral

Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral was the largest state funeral in world history up to that exact point in time, with many of the representatives from 112 nations; only China did not send an emissary. In Europe, 350 million people, including 25 million in Britain, had watched the funeral live on television, and it was only Ireland that didn’t broadcast his funeral live.

As by decree of the Queen, Winston Churchill’s body had laid in state in Westminster Hall for three days, and a state funeral service was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral on the 30th January 1965. One of the largest assemblages of statesmen in the world was gathered for the service. Unusually, the Queen had attended Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral. As his head-lined coffin was passed up the River Thames from the Tower Pier to the Festival Pier on the MV Havengore, the dockers had lowered their crane jibs as a mark of salute.

The Royal Artillery had fired the 19-gun salute due to a head of government, and the Royal Air Force (RAF) had staged a fly-by of sixteen English Electric Lightning fighters. The coffin was then taken the short distance to Waterloo Station, where it was loaded onto a specially prepared and painted carriage as part of the funeral for its rail journey to Hanborough, which is 7 miles North-West of Oxford.

The funeral train of Pullman coaches carrying his family mourners was hauled by the Battle of Britain Class steam locomotive: “No. 34051 Winston Churchill”. In the fields along the route, and at the stations through which the train had passed, thousands had stood in silence to pay their last respects. Upon Sir Winston Churchill’s request, he was buried in the family plot at St. Martin’s Church in Bladon, near Woodstock, which was not far from his birthplace at Blenheim Palace. His funeral van – the former Southern Railway van, S2464S – is now a part of a preservation projected with the Swanage Railway, having been repatriated to the United Kingdom in 2007 from the United States, to where it was exported in 1965.

Later on in 1965, a memorial to Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, which was cut but the engraver, Reynolds Stone, was placed in Westminster Abbey, in London.

To mark the end of Case Study #5, and to also mark an end to February, here is the full video of Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral in Black & White, which took place on the 30th January 1965, exactly six days after he died at his London home, aged just 90.

Alex Smithson

P.S. It has almost been two years since I started this website, and the 2-Year Anniversary of Mother Nature falls on the 6th June 2015. Thanks so much to all of you followers, my friends, my old school teachers and my family for helping me to get this far, I couldn’t have done it all without you…again, thanks for getting me this far, and I will see you all in March.

Marking 30 Years of EastEnders, the Killer is Finally Exposed.

Happy 30th Anniversary to BBC's EastEnders

30 years ago today, the first ever episode of EastEnders debuted on our screens. 30 years on, and we will finally find out who killed Lucy Beale (Played by Hetti Bywater) in tonight’s flashback episode.

With gripping scenes that have kept viewers like myself wanting to find out who killed Lucy over the past 10 months, tonight will be the night when we find out who killed her, and why she was killed.

In the days leading up to the 30th Anniversary, Monday saw the Red Button/iPlayer screening of the first ever episode of EastEnders that was broadcast on the 19th February 1985. Tuesday’s episode marked the beginning of the live week for EastEnders, with the Twitter Hashtag, #EELive being placed up in the top right-hand corner of the episode, with the hashtag being used in last night’s episode, tonight’s episode and Friday’s episode of EastEnders. The flashback episode to Good Friday 2014 is set to do the rounds, as the killer of Lucy Beale is finally exposed, but there may be some twists ahead that could put a spring in the works.

During the live episodes, Himesh Patel (known for playing Tamwar Masood in EastEnders) took over BBC’s EastEnders account, where he would tweet during the live episodes as they unfolded, in which he would use the hashtag, #TamwarTweets.

Many famous faces have also made a comeback in the run-up to the 30th Anniversary. Actors and actresses, such as Barbara Windsor (Known for Playing Peggy Mitchell: “Get Outta My Pub!”), John Partridge (a.k.a. Christian Clarke), Tanya Franks (a.k.a. Rainie Cross), Jo Joyner (a.k.a. Tanya Cross), Jamie Lomas (a.k.a. Jake Stone) and many more.

Danny Dyer did the rounds yesterday, after he made a public tube announcement, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary, which followed with a lot of overwhelming support for Jo Joyner, after her character, Tanya Cross, accidentally said: “How’s Adam?”, which has since gone viral all over internet, but, for Jo Joyner, as amused as she was on Twitter last night, she took to the social network to tweet the hashtags, #leastyouknowitslive and #gutted. I must admit, I was a little stunned when she said Adam Woodyatt’s real name, but she stole the show, and with a comical side to her personality, everyone was delighted that she said: “How’s Adam?” because she has, in turn, created a brilliant night to remember for EastEnders, and also the whole of Twitter and further social media. Laurie Brett (a.k.a. Jane Beale), tweeted to her and said: “@dollyjoyner @AdamWoodyatt should have said- you been drinking Tan?? Love you Jo,you’re the best . And The nation loved it xx”.

EastEnders has come a very long way since it first aired on the 19th February 1985, and the whole of Walford is set to find out who killed Lucy Beale, which will send shockwaves throughout the whole of Albert Square.

Until then, Happy 30th Anniversary to BBC’s EastEnders, and let’s hope for another 30 years!!!

Alex Smithson

UPDATE: Bobby Beale has been revealed as the killer of Lucy Beale, which has to be one of the most unexpected, yet surprising reveal that has ever happened. Wow…I wasn’t expecting that. That was indeed a killer twist!

© BBC 2015

© The image behind the text in the Featured Image has been used courtesy of the BBC. All credit goes to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) for all of the hard work that they have done to make this show become the best for what it has become today.