Posted in September 2015

Drain Art

One of the thing I love about the Victoriana is how great they made functional things look. Down at the beach at Weston super Mare they have this lovely drain outlet: And someone has brightened this one

Shaking the World

I’ve just dipped into Madeleine Bunting’s book The Plot, about a piece of land in Yorkshire on the edge of the moors where here sculptor father built a chapel. She writes of how many clerics became archaeologists, as they had time, education and money. But it also seems odd, as they were trying at least … Continue reading


Rough Justice

This is from a wonderful book by E P Thompson, whigs and hunters: Reverend Thomas Power seems to have married a local Wokingham woman for her money; and she was so truculent as to neglect to settle all her worldly goods upon him. A year or two before, Power had been assiduous in attempting to … Continue reading


On Saturday night I paticipated in something that really shows the value of the BBC. They broadcast an 8hour performance of music by Max Richter who also played keyboards, starting at midnight. I am an incredibly light sleeper, long plagued with noisy neighbours, so was unsure about this. I did wake up – I don’t … Continue reading

Brian Eno on Art

Last night was the annual John Peel lecture, which last year featured Iggy Pop, but this time the so-called polymath of Eno. I was intrigued by his claims of the importance of art being something that defines us as humans, but then he defined art as anything we do that we don’t have to. We … Continue reading

Depopulation of the English Countryside

19th century England saw an increase overall in population and massive numbers of people, especially the poor, emigrated due to claims of overpopulation. But William Cobbett in his rural rides repeatedly rants about the depopulation of southern England, especially the hungry ragged poor in the fine countryside which is highly productive, yet unable to pay … Continue reading

Quite a Diet

Obesity was common in wealthy English of the 18th and 19th century, but here’s a doctor who put himself on an impressively drastic diet. This is from the Chester Courant of 1809: Resurrection of Corpulence The celebrated Dr Cheney, of the last century, by an abstemious diet so reduced himself as to be able to … Continue reading

Slaves in Marseilles

This is another snippet from Thomas Platter’s Travels of 599. Before this young physician reached England he trained at several places in France and his home of Switzerland. He was fascinated by the slaves in Marseilles: “They were fed on biscuit, a sort of hard thin bread of dirty corn, that had to be dipped … Continue reading

Illegal Cricket

This comes from the Nottingham Evening Post in April 1926. Cricket as a Crime By an act of Edward IV, cricket was prohibited because its popularity threatened to interfere with the practice of archery and any person indulging in it was liable to a fine of £10 – an enormous su i those days – … Continue reading

Harvest Home

I have just discovered an incredibly dusty old tome on my shelves, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England in 1599. He was a recently qualified physician from Switzerland who came to England fluent in Greek, Latin, and French, with some Spanish, and of course couldn’t find anyone who could understand any of them, not even at … Continue reading