Posted in December 2012

Sandy’s Big Brother

Apologies to those who are still reeling from the recent hurricane, but I just found the following which made me catch my breath. This is from ‘A Brief History of the Caribbean’ by Jan Rogizinski’: Hurricanes were common, esp late summer when easterly waves develop, usually from east Caribbean or east Atlantic, off the coast … Continue reading

Dead Cats on Kindle

Dead Cats on Kindle

  This is about the history of water supplies in Bristol, from religious houses piping water from the springs on surrounding hills until the big cholera outbreaks forced local authorities to build proper modern systems. It is also about drinking fountains, past and present, mapping where they are and were. It’s not just about Bristol. … Continue reading

Seeking Truth in Fantasy

Terry Pratchett is one of the world’s biggest selling authors, though his genre, that of fantasy, is often derided by ‘serious’ writers and critics. But to create a fantasy world as complex as he has achieved, takes a level of understanding and skill that leaves most authors eating his dust. He does this in part … Continue reading

Charles Waterton Investigates Arrow Poison

This is from a wonderful book of this valiant explorer‘s travels in South America in the early 19th century. His first journey was to investigate the poison that indigenous people use on the darts they use to kill birds. . ‘All that thou wilt find here is a concise, unadorned account of the worali-poison, It … Continue reading

England by Foot

One of many culture clashes noticed, and suffered by Carl Philip Moritz was the treatment of travellers. He was from Prussia, a pastor fond of walking, so when he announced his plans to go for an extended walk in England, he was repeatedly warned against it. On arrival at inns, he was often refused food … Continue reading

English Literacy

In the bible of Bristol history, the 19th century journalist John Latimer claimed that most of the city’s inhabitants were ‘as illiterate as the back of a tombstone, but this changed dramatically in the succeeding decades, with many schools being founded, often by Non Conformists, especially Quakers. Carl Philip Moritz’s observations in London of 1782 … Continue reading

Riding on the Outside

Most of the travelling done by Carl Philip Moritz on his visit to England in 1782 was as a pedestrian, but at the end he had to return to London to sail back to Hamburg, so to save money he travelled on the roof of a stage coach, which he claimed would remember as long as … Continue reading

London’s Pleasure Gardens

This is some more from the Journal of Prussian Pastor Carl Philip Moritz: Vauxhall Gardens Vauxhall is really the name of a small village where the garden of this name is situated. On payment of a shilling for admission anyone may enter. In so far as one can compare the lesser with the greater. I … Continue reading

What Lord Reith Planned?

The shadow of the BBC visionary may have been spinning in his grave today, but I think more likely he was chuckling, if a little bemusedly, at the Radcliffe & Maconie radio show this afternoon. But not due to their content, but from two of their listeners. A man claiming to be a civil engineer … Continue reading