Filed under Victoriana

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

Victorian Cosmetics 2 – More Recipes for Unguents

Victorian Cosmetics 2 – More Recipes for Unguents

I’m adding one more recipe for a Victorian unguent from the wonderful Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness written in 1875 by Florence Hartley. I’m not sure that this one will be a great money spinner for me in terms of my post-retrenchment recovery plan, but the stories that come with it are fascinating – … Continue reading

Retrenchee Reads a Book of Etiquette

Retrenchee Reads a Book of Etiquette

I was retrenched this week. It’s quite a thing to say that out aloud. I don’t like it; it sounds dirty – stench, retrench. I prefer to think of myself as a retrenchee. It sounds exciting and revolutionary. Retrenchee and Trotsky met Frida and Diego for tequila in the smokey room. Yes, better. But, alas, I am not … 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

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