Posted in December 2013

Pop and Psychology

I listened to an interview with Peter Grabrial on his album, So, the first to feature his picture on the front, and was the album that launched his career as an independent singer/songwriter post Genesis.   One of the biggest singles from it is the deeply emotional, Don’t Give Up, which is a duet with his … Continue reading

Dancing to Manchester

This is an album generlly held to be  Kate Bush’s finest, and last night I heard a brief documentary on its making. She said it ws the hardest album, but also the most satisfying. She talked of how much weather there was in it, how it influenced the album by its constant sense of change. … Continue reading

Words in Water

Christmas is a time of families and friends coming together,  of sharing, but it can also be a time when people remember old grievances and fall out. Here is a story from Simon Garfield’s wonderful book Just My Type, concerning the font known as Doves. There is some irony here as doves are often symbols … Continue reading

The Mysterious Saint Wita

Before the Reformation, many churches had tombs of local holy people, or saints, which were visited by pilgrims in search of the healing powers attributed to the saints. Many of these were hollow beneath an effigy, so people could reach inside. This is the first account I have come across of a survivor of this … Continue reading

The Origin of Hell

Dorset is well provided with ancient hill forts, tombs and other archaeology. Here is a description of one of the most spectacular. I love the  fact that it provides  shelter for shepherds: “On the next height on the Portisham side of the monument [to Thomas Hardy, Nelson’s captain] is a cromlech called the Hell Stone. … Continue reading

A Town Without Planning

As followers may have guessed, I am rather besottted with this book, Highways & Byways of Dorset, but not just the wealth of oddities, but the wonderful prose style of  Joseph Pennell. Here he is in full flight on the coastal town of Lyme Regis:  “Lyme Regis is, on closer view, a sober, drab town, … Continue reading

A Fortune From a Second Language

The English have a bad reputation for not learning languages, and this is now threatening to damage its international reputation and commerce. But this is a rather odd story, and I don’t think it makes a lot  of sense, as  I think that back in the 16th century, Latin was widely spoken by anyone – … Continue reading

Spellcheck Meltdown

I have often found unusual names for fabrics from 18th century archives, but this account shows the wide variety that was available, in a single store. These names reflect the wide ranging sources – of different breeds of sheep that produce the wool, of cotton, of coarse and fine linen, and silks, plus the many … Continue reading

Keeping their Ettrick

I have come across some stories of odd burials, with one churchyard having a break in its wall to allow the grave of a much loved dog, of a family tomb that straddled the Anglican and Non conformist parts of the cemetery as the couple were of mixed practices, but this one takes some beating … Continue reading

A Keen Huntsman

Some more from Highways and Byways of Dorset by Joseph Penny. for those of you who suffer with noisy and messy kids, here’s a man few of us could stand to live with: “Close to Chalbury is Horton, a most unattractive village. It is possessed of a quaint church, however, which contains, among other monuments, … Continue reading