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Edward Colston and Bristol

Edward Colston and Bristol

The story  of Bristol’s Edward Colston (1636-21) has been dividing the city for decades and has now reached new levels with the decision to remove his name which has existed for well over a century from the city’s main music venue. The Guardian paper notes the similarities between this dispute and that of Cecil Rhodes … Continue reading

The So-Called Disease of Aging

The So-Called Disease of Aging

Last night I watched a BBC documentary largely focused on the work of eminent biologist Paul Nurse, on current work on gene technology in relation to the process of ageing. He spoke of how cells develop cancer and dementia due to the simple process of age, the cells just accumulate damage which impairs the usual … Continue reading

Origin of Vampires

Origin of Vampires

Here’s a story that justifies reading outside a person’s normal area of interest. Tschiffley’s Ride is one of the great travel adventures, the sort of journey only Werner Herzog would contemplate filming. Please. Aime Tsciffley, a Swiss former teacher, footballer and boxer moved to Buenos Aires in 1920. In 1925 he set of in the … Continue reading

Thatcher’s Art Foiled by a Dog

Thatcher’s Art Foiled by a Dog

This is from the i paper a few weeks ago, and is  a fine lesson in how the best laid plans can fail: Previously unseen government documents show how the former Prime Minister pulled out all the stops in 1988 to persuade Swiss-based industrialist Baron Heini Thyssen-Bornemisza and his Spanish wife to bequeath their collection … Continue reading

Beyond Love

I’ve become a huge fan of Ira Glass’s ‘This American Life’ podcast, especially since it provides a welcome antidote to all the bad news coming out of the states recently. Last week i stumbled upon one of the strangest stories ever, in the episode ‘Grand Gestures’ which challenges so many aspects of what we are … Continue reading

Glass Art

Glass Art

Glass is one of those materials we tend to take for granted, as it is used in windows and drinking glasses, and I’ve long had a glass scrubbing board. Glass was used in religious houses to encourage people to look up, to think of higher things, but windows could create magical effects when the light … Continue reading

St Kilda’s Diet

St Kilda’s Diet

St Kilda is one of the most isolated places in the British Isles, an archipelago in the Outer Hebrides whose final human inhabitants left in 1930. It is now home to 600,000 nesting birds each year. This is from the i paper of 29 December: A 250-year-old census has revealed that islanders on St Kilda… … Continue reading

Religion, Charity and Britain

This is from the i of 28 December by Nick Spencer. It’s a great article as it fits with anecdotal stuff I’ve heard, of homeless people being able to stay a few nights in a church, of various events being held for the poor who are not necessarily Christians. But also, beyond this article, sometimes … Continue reading

Unearthing Medieval Trellech

Unearthing Medieval Trellech

This is from Wednesday’s i paper and is a fantastic example of the value of so-called amateurs, and how much can be achieved by local communities. It was a medieval mystery that baffled experts for decades. Now a history fan has finally unearthed the priceless remains of a lost city- thanks to a colony of … Continue reading

Health Advice for Young Gents – 1836

Health Advice for Young Gents – 1836

This is from the i paper of 30 December As the season of overindulgence takes its toll, it is perhaps heartening to know that pre-Victorians faced a similar dilemma over gym regimes and fad diets. Researchers at Cambridge University have unearthed an 1834 manual called British Manly Exercises, which aimed to help the middle and … Continue reading