Filed under literature

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

Strawberry Hill House

Strawberry Hill House

This country house at Twickenham is often mentioned in literature of 18th century England, but I thought it had been lost long ago. Incredibly, it has been rescued and is now open to the public. This gem was built by Horace Walpole, youngest son of Britain’s first Prime Minister. It was the first modern gothic … Continue reading

A Woman Not to be Messed With

Our female ancestors are often seen as oppressed and controlled by men, but I defy anyone to try to steer this woman. This is from Addison, in his Spectator magazine, 1711: I have, very frequently the opportunity of seeing a rural Andromache, [he seems to be referring to the Amazon leader rather than Hector’s wife] … Continue reading

Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge

The author that first got me interested in landscapes- not just the look, but the feel, the sense of deep history, was Alan Garner. We did his book The Owl Service at school, and from time to time I have dipped into his back catalogue, many of which are allegedly for children, but they are … Continue reading

A Radical Priest, R.I.P.

A Radical Priest, R.I.P.

With declining church attendance, fewer of us are aware of the differences between the various Christian churches, especially the various branches of the Catholic church. When I was researching the history of South America, I became fascinated by the Jesuits, who founded missions there t protect the native peoples from slavery. Their group was founded … Continue reading

Naming Supernatural Beasts

This is a fine selection of strange beasts, from 1584. How many names can you recognise? Odd they are called ‘bugs’. This is from Hobgoblin & Sweet Puck Fairy Names & Natures by Gillian Edwards Our mother’s maids have so frayed us with Bull-beggars, Spirits, Witches, Urchins, Elves, Hags, Faeries, Satyrs, Pans, Faunes, Sylens, Kit-wi-the-Canstick, Tritons, … Continue reading

A Poem on Sprites, From 1600

This is a small piece from Hobgoblin & Sweet Puck Fairy Names & Natures by Gillian Edwards In old wives’ dais, that in old time did live (To those odd tales much credit men did give) Great store of goblins, fairies, bugs, night-mares, Yea, far more sprites did haunt in divers places Than there be women … Continue reading

Gender Equality on BBC

On the 4ooth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the BBC announced that they would be enforcing gender equality across all services. This seems to be a good thing, providing more work for women, more visibility in the arts, so encouraging more women to become involved, and pursue careers n the arts, and it follows the announcement … Continue reading

Native American Historian

We mostly measure history in terms of years, or perhaps in generations, but memories can be closer than this system suggests. My grandfather was born about a century ago, and he could tell us tales of the gold rushes in Victoria in the 1860s. The last of the soldiers of the Great War have only … Continue reading