Posted in June 2016

A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters

This is a book that sounded intriguing – the tagline was ‘148 Diaries Found in a Skip’. Literary giant Margaret Drabble and historian Kate Sumerscale provided high praise, but I struggled to finish it. Masters discovered the mouldy and tattered diaries in 2001, full of dense handwriting and occasional drawings which began in 1952 and … Continue reading

Harvest Home, Monmouthshire, 1796

This is from a wonderful book I’ve just discovered, The Diary of a Farmer’s Wife 1796-1797 account of a single year written by Anne Hughes who lived in the remote countryside near Chepstow, Monmouthshire. It’s wonderful as it is written in her dialect, which is sending my spellchecker into meltdown, but you can hear the speech … Continue reading

Brexit – They Didn’t Mean It

As I mentioned yesterday, there’s now a petition to re-run the EU  Referendum because a lot of people voted as a protest against the government, never believing it would happen. Claims have been making the rounds for a long time that Johnson is actually a supporter of the EU, but used this as an excuse … Continue reading

Anne Seymour  Damer

Anne Seymour  Damer

Anne Seymour Conway was born in 1748 to a respected Whig family; her father was nephew to Robert Walpole. She married young, to the future Earl of Dorchester, but they were il matched: she was sociable and loved society, while her husband was grave, but loved spending money whilst disastrously managing it. After 7 years … Continue reading

British Racism?

There has been a lot of talk of this in relation to the recent EU referendum, with Brexiters being accused of being anti foreigners, little Englanders, etc. Whilst there are of course elements of this mindset here, as everywhere, I have spoken to a lot of people who want limits on immigration but who do … Continue reading

Jack London’s London Journey Begins

Against all the advice of his friends and the authorities, Jack London purchases some dirty, frayed, working man’s clothes and sets forth on his journey, with some money seemed inside his singlet in case of emergency. He bids farewell to his friends and : No sooner was I out on the streets than I was … Continue reading

Jack London on London’s Poor

The horrors of life for the poor in London are so well documented by Charles Dickens that his surname has become synonymous with them. Together with the exhortations for change by The Times, and the work of social reformers, the Salvation Army and others, I thought things would have improved. I knew that many men … Continue reading

Octagon Chapel Bath – Update

This chapel was the first subscription chapel in England. William Herchell was organist there and his sister was in the choir. It is one of he most beautiful Georgian buildngs in Bath, but when the Royal Photographic Society moved out it struggled to find new purpose, especially after the main street entrance was sold for … Continue reading

Capturing Asteroids

This seems to be an idea from science fiction, and for no apparent useful purpose, but this article from the i on 2 June suggests otherwise: Asteroids were once viewed as the vermin of the sky, disrupting astronomical observations by leaving streaks on long-exposure photographic plates used to stay the stars. How times have changed. … Continue reading