Filed under English History

Is It Me Or Is Everything Just S**t?

Is It Me Or Is Everything Just S**t?

I lost my courage somewhere along the line and you can’t do much when you’re not brave. Coping with this idea of failure has been hard, as my Dad said it would be. I have felt a little bit useless, a little bit weepy, a lot bit like I want to hide away. So, things have been…well, they’ve been sh*t but as a friend reminded me this morning, sometimes you just have to face up to the sh*t and get a move on.

How did they dump their baggage in time past? Because I really need a roadmap here. I’m not sure how to start over. I’m not sure how to start writing again either. The W.C. seems as good a place to start as any really. Continue reading

Prostitutes, Charles Dickens and Heritage Day

Prostitutes, Charles Dickens and Heritage Day

Today in South Africa, we are on holiday. It is a public holiday, Heritage Day. Originally called Shaka Day and only celebrated in Kwazulu Natal, 24 September commemorated the life of mighty King of the Zulus, King Shaka. Shaka was a brutal, fiercely intelligent, militant Zulu chief who conquered disparate small tribes and united the Zulu nation. He … Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth I and Halitosis

Queen Elizabeth I and Halitosis

The Past was a very smelly place. I’m quite sure that we would all just about fall over should we have to return to a time of tanneries along rivers, open sewers, horse-powered transport, rushes as carpet into which you would throw your leftovers, and people not overly fond of taking a bath. Having said this, … Continue reading

How Music Saved Lives in 1755.

How Music Saved Lives in 1755.

Yesterday, in my On This Day in History app, it said that on 14 June 1755, Samuel Johnson published the first edition of his dictionary. As it turns out the app was wrong. It was first published on Tuesday 15 April 1755. Nevertheless, it led me to spend an evening reading the dictionary – a … Continue reading

Of a Strongman and a Fig Leaf

Of a Strongman and a Fig Leaf

I have been working on another article and in researching it, I came across this delightfully silly photograph of Eugen Sandow (1867-1925). I was researching purple hair; I don’t know how I stumbled upon it. Eugen was touted as The Perfect Man. Hmmmmm…not entirely sure about that, but the photo did make me smile in this week of South African … Continue reading

South African Ghost Stories: Jan Smuts’ House

South African Ghost Stories: Jan Smuts’ House

It is difficult to write a short story about a ghost that involves the life of Jan Smuts, the 2nd Anglo/Boer War, concentration camps, hidden treasure, the Great War, WWII, a Greek princess, Prime Ministers, pickles, tough Boer chicks and a spot that I just love to visit. I will continue to remind myself throughout, however, that I’m … Continue reading

Historic Fashion Faux Pas

Historic Fashion Faux Pas

I am reading Catharine Arnold’s wonderful City of Sin: London and it’s Vices. The cover features a plate of William Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress. Bearing in mind that Hogarth was a satirist, one should perhaps take his picture with a pinch of salt but I was transfixed and thoroughly amused by the sheer number of fashionable beauty … Continue reading

Victorian Circus: “An evil influence”

Victorian Circus: “An evil influence”

I am researching a family tree for a friend of a friend. All of the action takes place near a town close to Belfast called Banbridge. It is on the River Bann on a stretch of river where the trees grow so thickly on the bank that I can’t see a footpath. The river is deep and dark. It … Continue reading

Who Do You Think They Are?

Who Do You Think They Are?

Who comes to mind when I tell you the following? He was a middle-class London lad with serious aspirations. He studied in Paris. He had a penchant for wearing silks and furs and threw the most lavish parties in town. He had over 150 knights in his service. He owned six ships and was partial to blood sports. He … Continue reading