Monday, 28 October 2013

Patron Saint of the Impossible

Today is my 527th blog. I'm not sure why I mention it to be honest - it's an odd number (literally).

However, most importantly, severe European windstorm 'Jude' has come and gone through East Yorkshire with a bit of a whimper, dropping a lot of water but little if any wind at all. However, in the south of the UK tonight, a quarter of a million homes are without electricity and lives have been lost and my thoughts are with those deceased and their families and all those that have suffered and continue to suffer.

St Jude the Apostle by Anthonis Van Dyke, painted c1619/1621

Although no-one knows quite who named the storm, they don't normally have names here, St Jude's feast day is today, 28th October in the West, on the day the storm was predicted to land. Jude, not to be confused with Judas, alleged betrayer of Jesus was one of the 12 disciples. He is the patron saint of lost causes,  desperate situations and hospitals. Some say he might be the same Jude the brother of Jesus, but I wouldn't know not being a scholar of the Bible nor knowing much about it. How very apt that the storm be named after him.

According to Wikipedia, St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard (not the dog) had visions from God asking each to accept St. Jude as 'The Patron Saint of the Impossible'. He is venerated across a number of different religions.

The year 527 was 527 in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the letter of which we still follow today for our western dating system. Apparently the Germanic tribes called the Saxons invaded a bit of the southern half of the UK just north of the River Thames and they founded the Kingdom of Essex, now just a county of Essex, under King Aescwine. Along with the Angles, other German peoples who occupied parts of England after the Romans lost power they and the Saxons were eventually to create Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms leading the the name 'England.'

So, quite an important year in the history of the UK although sadly virtually nothing is known about Aescwine, the guy at the top.

Another use of 527 (apart from being the result of 17 x 31) comes from the United States. A 527 group is created primarily to influence the selection, nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates to federal, state or local public office. All sounds a bit conspiratorial to me.

Interestingly 527 belongs as a trademark to Levi's Jeans and in the words of their marketing gurus: The perfect everyday boot cut, this jean sits low on the waist and runs straight through the leg.

I've never looked good in jeans!

Finally, United Airlines flight 527 from Hollywood International, California landed a short time ago at the time of writing at Newark Liberty International Airport (the countries oldest airport), which took the twin-jet A320 Airbus just 2 hours 22 minutes for an average fare of just $174.02 (£179.89 or €126.24). 

A United A320 Airbus. Courtesy of
This is a distance of 2,786 miles which would take you 40 hours to drive at state speed limits at a cost to an average sized car in fuel around $286 worked out at a fuel efficiency of 35.5 miles to a US gallon and costing just $3.65 per gallon on the West Coast. Therefore it's cheaper by plane by over £100 dollars and no overnight stop to pay for.

By the way - US petrol cost an equivalent of 50 pence a litre today, compared with today's UK cost of an average of £1.30 a litre around where I live.

Hey - for someone who is poor at maths, that's not bad but please don't check it - it's probably wrong although the research was fun.

Chat soon



  1. Nothing to do with this post - sorry, but have just remembered the surname of late husband's grandmama. I left a comment on your other post replying to yours... anyway, surname was Hurdle.

  2. Oh, and I look rubbish in jeans too. They never suited me, I owned one pair which I wore for gardening, when I could be sure there would be no uninvited visitors.

  3. Hi Edwina
    Thanks for the name, I'll ask my mother who still lives in Cottingham (has done nearly 60 years) and ask if she knew them

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