As a child I floated in a sea of wonderful words, many of which I don’t hear any more – so I am always delighted when I come across them in a crossword. One such is antimacassar, which I spotted again the other day.
We didn’t actually (more…)
There’s a great novel called Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill, “a daring saga of culture, history, and heredity”. A little girl falls down a mineshaft and we learn of all her wonderful ancestors who were born thanks to minor miracles that brought their parents together or saved them from early death. By quirks of fate does our personal DNA come together.
Obviously I would not be here today if my parents had not met. So in a way I owe my existence to World War II and specifically to the manufacture of explosives by the Royal Navy…
My father was from South Wales, my mother from South Dorset. What could possibly (more…)
STOP PRESS: Moments after I published this, reports came in of a volcano erupting in Sumatra – so best wishes to everyone struggling there…
Did you have an irrational fear of something when you were a child? In my case, for a while at least, I was terrified of volcanoes. You might say that’s not so crazy. But as I lived in Wales, where an eruption would be pretty near impossible, I think it was.
So this post is all about what (more…)
I hadn’t expected to post this today, but when I heard the news that Nelson Mandela had died at the age of 95 I felt I needed to write. I found my old diary entry for the day Nelson Mandela received the freedom of the city of Cardiff, on Tuesday, June 16, 1998 – I was there and I want to remember the great man and that lovely day.
At the time (more…)
OK, this will probably be very boring for you, but I am going to explore some big moments in history from my childhood perspective.
If I don’t do this now I never will, for there can never be a better time than the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy and the first episode of Doctor Who on TV. Those events happened in this week and I’m sure most people will have noticed the coverage in the media.
I don’t have any huge insights into history, just a few moments frozen in time. In my mind and heart I can still (more…)
This self-indulgent trip down memory lane has been prompted by two things. It was the midsummer solstice on Friday and the Le Mans 24-hour car race took place at the weekend. Bringing these together, here are my very faded images from an archaeology field trip to see the megaliths (“huge stones”) of Brittany (including Le Mans) in 1975.
It was my first (more…)
It’s a small thing, but I feel I need to note a milestone in my life. T S Eliot’s J Alfred Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons. In my case I have measured out my life in books.
Recently I came to the end of my second little red notebook listing “books I have read”. I was surprised to find I could (more…)
The other day, when I was in the middle of ironing, all the electrical power went off in the house. I assumed it was a power cut and checked with neighbours. I was surprised to find it affected only our house.
I turned the power-supply trip-switches off and back on. Nothing. I switched off the lights, radio, iron, etc and tried again, realising I had missed one of the trip-switches the first time. Hooray! Let there be light!
I switched the iron back on. Bang! Everything went again. But (more…)
May everyone out there have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2012. My gift to you for Christmas Day is some of my favourite Christmas pop songs. Not all those traditional carols (which I love) or anything too kitsch – these three rock yet at the same time are a little bit spiritual…
Greg Lake: I Believe in Father Christmas
– They said there’d be snow at Christmas, They said there’ll be peace on Earth, Hallelujah, Noel, be it Heaven or Hell, The Christmas we get, we deserve.
link to video
link to lyrics
A slushy song that has been playing in my head – and in all the high street stores – all through December…
David Essex: A Winter’s Tale
Here’s the video from 1989