Filed under society

England’s Vanishing Arts

England’s Vanishing Arts

Last Friday the i featured England’s last cooper, Les Skinner, 72  who is about to retire and sell his business in Liverpool. The trade was once at the heart of Britain’s trade, as they produced barrels for food and drink, whale oil so was a huge industry, and one of the last of the guilds … 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

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

This is a wonderful, haunting but small museum, a place that should make you fall down and give thanks to whoever you believe in that modern medicine exists. It’s in the attic to provide maximum light for operations. Everything is so small, especially the operating table which I doubt would be long enough for me. … Continue reading

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.   

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

What happened to objects when Henry VIII closed the monasteries? This is an area of history that is often ignored or the subject of guesswork, especially in England where there was so much destruction of religious artefacts at the long drawn-out Reformation. But here’s some thoughts. Every church that conducted masses had to have a … Continue reading

A True Romance

A True Romance

Here’s some rather wonderful images from Winchester Cathedral. Many old churches have lovely carved tombs to dead crusaders, but this one, remembering the Earl of Arundel and his second wife Eleanor, from about 1307 is rather special. Despite their wealth they left instructions to be buried together without pomp. She has her legs crossed, like … 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

Mock Battle in Spain

Mock Battle in Spain

This is from the i paper, 29 December: Revellers dressed in mock military garb take part in the Enfarinats battle in the south eastern Spanish town of Ibi yesterday. During this 200-year-old festival participants, known as Els Enfarinats (those covered in flour) dress in military clothes and stage a mock coup d’etat using flour, eggs … 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

Keith the Snake’s Road Trip

This is from the i from way back in November: A pet snake that went missing 5 months ago has been reunited with his schoolboy owner in Sheffield after slithering out of a couple’s new car. Keith, a 5ft corn snake, escaped from his travel box in June, leaving 8 year old owner Jack Wellington … Continue reading