US astronaut telephones British aristrocrat at ancient castle during a spacewalk


Blackleaf
#1
When American astronaut Colonel Alvin Drew became the 200th man to walk in space recently he decided, during the procedure, to phone a British aristocrat who resides in an ancient and mysterious castle. Modern met ancient.

Colonel Drew once met space enthusiast, the Dowager Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne - who was once married to the Queen Mother's nephew and Queen Elizabeth II's cousin Fergus Bowes-Lyon, 17th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, who died in 1987 - at the Tayside Space School in Scotland, of which the Dowager is patron.

She has welcomed a host of astronauts and NASA officials to the area on educational visits and to give talks to locals.

Her home, Glamis Castle in eastern Scotland, last year hosted the wedding of astronaut Jim Reilly and space school education officer Allison Benjamin, who fell in love when they met at the castle a few years earlier. The ancient castle has been home to the Bowes-Lyon family since the 1300s. The Queen Mother (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and the former wife of stutterer King George VI) was a Bowes-Lyon and Glamis Castle was her childhood home.

So Colonel Drew thought that he would phone his aristocratic friend with Royal connections whilst doing his spacewalk.

To the Dowager Countess, speaking to an astronaut whilst he was doing a spacewalk is an opportunity not to be missed. However, she DID miss the opportunity as she was out at the time of the phonecall and the astronaut left a message on her answering machine.

The Dowager Countess confessed: ‘I came home to five messages, and among them was one from Alvin Drew of the Discovery shuttle crew saying they were over the Atlantic Ocean and wishing myself and my family well.

It was a wonderful thing to hear and my grandchildren thought it was just amazing.

It was so nice for Alvin to take the time to make the call and I hope we will be able to welcome him back to Glamis soon.’

According to legend, Glamis Castle was once the home of a "thing", something terrible, probably a hideously deformed child who was imprisoned within its walls and, when it died, the room it was kept in was bricked up.

Another legend tells how, long ago, an earl wanted a game of cards in the castle but, as it was the sabbath, his hosts refused to play. The furious earl said that he would play with the Devil instead and, at that moment, the Devil appeared and took away the earl's soul.

Legend has it that it there is also a terrible secret connected to the castle which only males of the Royal Family are told about when they reach a certain age but of which they are to utter not a word (don't bother asking William or Harry what it is because they'll pretend they don't know anything!)

But maybe it has something to do with what the "thing" is that's bricked up in a secret room. If you stand outside the castle and count the number of windows, and compare them with the number of windows inside the building, you will always be two windows short.

Needless to say, the castle is also the haunt of many apparitions including, of course, a Grey Lady.

Scotland's King Malcolm II was murdered at the castle in 1034 after being struck down by a Claymore wielding gang. His bloodstain can still be seen on the floorboards in one part of the castle.

Hi, it's me, I'm calling from space! Astronaut forced to leave answerphone message for Scottish aristocrat who was out

By Sarah Bruce
23rd March 2011
Daily Mail

It is not the sort of call you would want to miss.

US astronaut Colonel Alvin Drew became the 200th man to walk in space during the space shuttle Discovery’s recent flight to the International Space Station.

And while he was orbiting the globe, his thoughts turned to a space enthusiast with Royal connections who he had met on a trip to Scotland.


Message from the stratosphere: US astronaut Colonel Alvin Drew left a voicemail from space for his old friend the Dowager Countess of Strathmore, the widow of the Queen's cousin

So, miles above the earth’s surface, the former US Air Force officer patched a phone call through to Glamis Castle, in Angus, to talk to his old friend the Dowager Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

For the dowager countess – the widow of the Queen Mother’s nephew, Fergus Bowes-Lyon – the chance to speak to a real-life spaceman mid-mission was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Unfortunately, the dowager countess was away visiting friends when Colonel Drew called – and he had to make do with simply leaving a message on her answering machine.

And when she came back to her home at the castle, among the usual humdrum of missed calls from friends and family was a bona fide message from outer space.

The dowager countess confessed: ‘I came home to five messages, and among them was one from Alvin Drew of the Discovery shuttle crew saying they were over the Atlantic Ocean and wishing myself and my family well.


Discovery is seen from the International Space Station as the two orbital spacecraft accomplish their relative separation on March 7, 2011 after an aggregate of 12 astronauts and cosmonauts worked together for over a week


The International Space Station is seen with its full complement of solar arrays from the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-119 mission against the backdrop of the blackness of space and the Earth's horizon

‘It was a wonderful thing to hear and my grandchildren thought it was just amazing.

‘It was so nice for Alvin to take the time to make the call and I hope we will be able to welcome him back to Glamis soon.’

The dowager countess married into nobility who could trace their roots back to the greatest points of history, and is involved in the running of the late Queen Mother’s childhood home, a castle that has been the family seat since the 1300s.

But despite attracting tens of thousands of visitors a year who come to glance the past, the dowager countess herself is just as enthused about the future – and has taken a keen interest in space travel.

She is patron of the Tayside Space School and has welcomed a host of astronauts and NASA officials to the area on educational visits and to give talks to locals.

Glamis Castle last year hosted the wedding of astronaut Jim Reilly and space school education officer Allison Benjamin, who fell in love when they met at the castle a few years earlier.

The dowager countess said she was invited by Colonel Drew to witness Discovery’s final launch, but was unable to make the trip.

So, through the wonders of modern technology, Col Drew left a message on her answering machine, letting her know he was thinking of her.


Final mission: Discovery is seen from the International Space Station after the undocking of the two spacecraft in this photo provided by NASA and taken earlier this month

Former NASA security advisor John Smith, also involved with the Tayside Space School, explained: ‘Alvin has been over three times and when the dowager countess was unable to make it he was very upset so he asked if he could call her from the international space station.

‘He then emailed me from space and asked if he could call her, but the problem was that the countess was out at the time, so he left a message on her answering machine.’

The message, which was left at 3.49pm on Sunday March 6, is at the moment on a dictaphone – but is to be transferred to CD so it never gets wiped by accident.

The dowager countess plans to play it to schoolchildren, and perhaps make it part of an exhibition at the castle.

She added: ‘Glamis is such a historic building that I just thought this was a wonderful example of how it has built a connection with the future through something as amazing as the space shuttle.’


Astronauts Alvin Drew and Nicole Stott, both STS-133 mission specialists, take a break from flight day 2 duties on Discovery's flight deck as the shuttle made its way toward a weekend docking with the International Space Station last month

The mysterious Glamis Castle



Glamis (pronounced "Glahms") Castle is situated near the village of Glamis in Angus, eastern Scotland.

It is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and is open to the public. Glamis Castle was the childhood home of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, best known as the Queen Mother, the former wife of King George VI and the mother of current monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Her second daughter, Princess Margaret, was born there. Since 1987 an illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of Scottish ten pound notes (notes, but not coins which are the same throughout the United Kingdom, have their own unique designs in Scotland, their own unique designs in England & Wales and their own unique designs in Northern Ireland).

The estate surrounding the castle covers more than 14,000 acres and, in addition to the garden containing lush gardens and walking trails, produces several cash crops including lumber and beef. Two streams run through the estate, one of them the Glamis Burn. An arboretum overlooking Glamis Burn features trees from all over the world, many of them rare and several hundred years old. Birds and other small wildlife are common throughout the grounds.

The vicinity of Glamis Castle has prehistoric traces; for example, a noted intricately carved Pictish stone known as the Eassie Stone was found in a creek-bed at the nearby village of Eassie. In 1034 AD King Malcolm II was murdered at Glamis. Since 1372 Glamis Castle itself was home to the Lords of Glamis (later the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne). In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth (1603–06), Macbeth resides at Glamis Castle, although the historical King Macbeth of Scotland (d. 1057) had no connection to the castle.

The most famous legend connected with the castle is that of the Monster of Glamis, a hideously deformed child born to the family. In the story, the monster was kept in the castle all his life and his suite of rooms bricked up after his death. Another monster is supposed to have dwelt in Loch Calder near the castle.

An alternative version of the legend is that to every generation of the Bowes-Lyon family a vampire child is born and is walled up in that room.

There is evidence that the secret room does exist. If you stand outside the castle and count the number of windows, and compare them with the number of windows inside the building, you will always be several windows short.

There is an old story that guests staying at Glamis once hung towels from the windows of every room in a bid to find the bricked-up suite of the monster. When they looked at it from outside, several windows were apparently towel-less.

The legend of the monster may have been inspired by the true story of the Ogilvies. Somewhere in the 16-foot-thick (4.9 m) walls is the famous room of skulls, where the Ogilvie clan, who sought protection from their enemies the Lindsays, were walled up to die of starvation.

Another legend tells of "Earl Beardie", who has been identified with both Alexander Lyon, 2nd Lord Glamis,and Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford.Several versions exist, but they all involve "Earl Beardie" playing cards. However, it was the sabbath, and either his hosts refused to play, or a servant advised him to stop. Lord Beardie became so furious that he claimed that he would play until doomsday, or with the Devil himself, depending on the version. A stranger then appears at the castle and joins Lord Beardie in a game of cards. The stranger is identified with the Devil, who takes Earl Beardie's soul and, in some versions, condemns the Earl to play cards until doomsday.

In 1034, King Malcolm II was mortally wounded in a nearby battle and taken to a Royal Hunting Lodge, which sat at the site of the present castle, where he died. In 1540 Lady Janet Douglas, widow of Lord Glamis, was burned at the stake at the castle for being a witch by King James V.

There is a small chapel within the castle with seating for 46 people. The story given to visitors by castle tour guides states that one seat in the chapel is always reserved for the "Grey Lady" (supposedly a ghost which inhabits the castle), thought to be Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis.

According to the guides, the chapel is still used regularly for family functions, but regardless, no one is allowed to sit in that seat.

The late Sir David Bowes-Lyon, while taking a late stroll on the lawn after dinner, reportedly saw a girl gripping the bars of a castle window and staring distractedly into the night. He was about to speak to her when she abruptly disappeared, as if someone had torn her away from the window

dailymail.co.uk
wikipedia.org
Last edited by Blackleaf; Mar 23rd, 2011 at 02:39 PM..
 
eh1eh
#2
WTF. Another 'feel good forget about the illegal wars etc.' piece.

Really though? A 'telephone call', from space? He should have just sent a text.
 
Stretch
#3
I have a water front property for sale.........


at low tide
 

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