Chanel No. 5 and Sheep

This comes from a review in the Guardian newspaper of a new book, Counting Sheep: A Celebration of the Pastoral Heritage of Britain, by Phillip Wellings. I have never been impressed by British wool, finding it rough and scratchy compared to the merino wool that Australia’s industry was based on, so I assumed the only … Continue reading

English versus Italian Tourists

This is from Christopher Woodward’s book, In Ruins: “The most potent demonstration of how a resurgent but benign Nature can overcome death is the Italian city of Ninfa, destroyed and abandoned 6 centuries ago. An hour’s drive south of Rome,, it is the loveliest lost city in Europe. ‘Ninfa’ means nymph, and many still believe … Continue reading

Street Quarries

There are plenty of accounts of 18th century streets in British towns and cities being dangerous places for pedestrians, with people emptying chamber pots, with tiles falling from roofs, open cellar doors, chairmen, runaway animals, and builders’ materials. But this is an example of the huge gap between law enforcement and the lives of ordinary … Continue reading

Victim or Villain?

There are a lot of tragic stories from the past that make me realise how lucky we are not to be there, but the many instances of infanticide are perhaps the most disturbing, because this crime was seen as truly evil, so generally punished with the death sentence. But many instances, the young woman doesn’t … Continue reading

Nature and Egypt’s Monuments

Here’s a piece from Christopher Woodward’s book, In Ruins: “Sailing down the River Nile 4 years later [ie 1850] Flaubert ovserved the contest between monuments and Time played out in a brutal, desperate fight to the death. Like northern Europeans in rome, his reaction to the ruins of the Pharoas was based on their contrast … Continue reading

Britain’s Atlantis

In 1932 a fishing trawler in the North Sea dredged up a piece of peat. Weapons and bones were subsequently brought up with deep sea trawling. Research since then has uncovered a hidden land just below the surface, and even lion and mammoths have been found there. This rich and diverse landscape is now called … Continue reading

Why Is This Funny?

BBC 6 Music is celebrating a week of the 20th anniversary of Britpop, and they have a trailer with DJ Steve Lamaq making an announcement as at a school reunion, with dj, and lots of people talking. He asks the dj to turn the music down, but then a jackhammer starts. He says ‘shoosh’ and … Continue reading