Posted in September 2013

If it Had Gone Boom

The idea of blowing up parliament is something that many people still think might be a good idea, but if you stop to think of what might have happened, it truly is horrific. This is from the book Gunpowder Plots, and this is a quote from James I’s Bishop of Chichester, George Carleton: “Their hellish … Continue reading


Invisible Women

A while ago I did a piece on the Pendle Witch Trials, in which modern research suggests they were covering up for Catholic priests. This is a piece from the book gunpowder plots by Antonia Fraser which shines some light on this: “the Catholic recusant population – the word comes from refusal, the refusal of … Continue reading

Music of Silents

The BBC is doing a lot on music from cinema, and the other night Mark Kermode did a wonderful piece on music from the silent era. I had always thought that music was to cover the sound of the noisy projectors, but it was, from the outset, an integral part of the whole early film … Continue reading

Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night

I have just started reading a book on the history of this celebration which is the oldest secular event in Britain. Yet it celebrates something that didn’t happen, or at least the explosion and mass murder of the royal family and parliament never happened.  It has far outlived other national events such as Waterloo Day, … Continue reading

Tredegar House

This grand estate, just off the Newport- Cardiff Road, was for centuries home to the wealthy Morgan family, who died out in the mid 20th century, and the estate is now owned by Newport Council – so is the ultimate council house – and managed by the estimable National Trust. It is a huge place, … Continue reading

A Big Tree

This is a picture of a shuffleboard, originally at the country house of Cefn Mabli, one of the wonders of Wales. It is now in  the orangerie at Tredegar House. It was made from a single piece of oak and now measures 42 foot, but the traveller Thomas Dudley visited the house in 1681 he … Continue reading

Remembering Animals

Remembering Animals

I reviewed a book a while ago called ‘Looking at Animals’ by John Berger, about how much our connection with animals has changed; once humans were surrounded by beasts; they were our intermediaries with the outside world, and literature was full of human interaction with them. Today most of us only know about animals as … Continue reading

What Life Should Be Like

This is a term I have heard talked about by a lot of music fans in Britain, especially those creaking into middle age, but I have just seen a documentary by economic journalist Paul Mason, on it, and a feature film is in the works.  I vaguely thought it was about northern bands, but it … Continue reading

On The Bus

The other day I got on a bus and there was an old man slumped in the front seat, smiling to himself and singing over and over ‘In the grey midwinter’. Other passengers ignored him as best they could, but when we pulled over to a bus stop, he called out gaily, ‘ding ding, bus … Continue reading

Macca Was There

The Beatles had a huge impact on popular music, but Paul Macartney as a solo artist and in various collaborations has far outsold his original band. 6 music’s Tom Robinson recently had a show when listeners suggested unusual songs in some way linked to Macca, if not by him. Electric Light Orchestra were namechecked early, … Continue reading