Filed under celebrations

Wassailing Exotically

Wassailing Exotically

Here’s a gem from the V&A museum, a wassail set, but not for country yokels! This is made of lignum vitae, an expensive hardwood from the West Indies, and ivory.   

Newton’s Great Promoter

Newton’s Great Promoter

Most people have heard of Sir Isaac Newton, though most are vague on the details of his theories on gravity etc. But his work was written in Latin and they were incredibly complex and hard to comprehend, even by his fellow scientists. But they were understood by French born vicar John Theophilus Desaguliers who devised … Continue reading

Street Art, Cardiff

Street Art, Cardiff

The annual Made in Roath festival is again upon us in Cardiff, and some fences have been decorated by a bunch of cross stitchers. I love them because the y make you stop and look at your local environment. Sometimes you have a brief encounter with others who have likewise paused to look and admire … Continue reading

Art and History Uniting Communities

Art and History Uniting Communities

In the midst of despair at the divisiveness and hostility between many Britons, I offer some thoughts from our Georgian past. This is one of my favourite quotes, so apologies to anyone who has read it before. It comes from Highways & Byways in Somerset by Edward Hutton, on the importance of the city of … 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

Widdecombe Fair

I recently made a wonderful purchase from an antiques store – this fine pottery mug, of indeterminate age, which came from a dealer in Burton on the Water, Gloucestershire. But the fair it refers to is on wildest Dartmoor, about half way between Buckfastleigh and Moretonhampstead, and now found in atlases as Widecombe in the … Continue reading

Raging against Maypoles

There were a lot of pious folk complaining about the pastimes of the poor after the Reformation, but Maypoles seem to have been a particular focus for their wrath, though seldom explained why. This is from Thomas Hall, Pastor of King’s Norton, in a pamphlet ‘The Downfall of May Games, published, ironically, in 1660 when … Continue reading

The Duke of Shoreditch Archery

This is some more from The Sports & Pastimes of the English: Henry VIII, having appointed a great match of archery at Windsore, a citizen of London, named Barlow, an inhabitant of Shoreditch, joined the archers, and surpassed them all in skill; the king was so pleased with his performance that he jocosely gave him … Continue reading