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  • Snowball Atrocities #1: Snowball Bomb May 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Snowball Atrocities #1: Snowball Bomb

    Sometimes the blogger finds a newstory that he cannot let go. After a week of wrestling with his conscience Beach has decided that he simply has to give this particular incidence of love between the peoples of Europe wider coverage. We are in 1931. Prague. Thursday. Two schoolboys were killed in the course of a […]

    Review: The Bye Bye Man May 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The Bye Bye Man

    Robert Damon Schneck, The Bye Bye Man and Other Strange-but-True-Tales (New York 2014) RDS has built a reputation, in the last decade, for ‘strange stories’ well told with a strong bias towards the supernatural. This ‘new’ collection – actually originally published by Anomalist Press in 2005 as The President’s Vampire – has the typical RDS […]

    What Language is Closest to English? May 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval
    What Language is Closest to English?

    English is a Germanic language and its closest living relation should be one of the Continental Germanic tongues, German, Dutch and the like. However, try speaking English to a German who knows no English, or try understanding German (with just English) and you will find that they are very distant relations. An Italian listening to Spanish: or […]

    Review: Lost Book of Moses May 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Lost Book of Moses

    Chanan Tigay, The Lost Book of Moses (Harper-Collins, 2016) This blogger has a dilemma. There are three pages of a century-old book he wants about an obscure English county. The book is not present in any library in the world, but one copy exists in the hands of a bookseller who wants about two hundred […]

    Transvestite Vicar Ghost in Interwar England May 4, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Transvestite Vicar Ghost in Interwar England

    This story haunted Beach more than any other he has covered in the last couple of weeks. There are several Beachcombian themes that come together and then rip a man’s life apart: ghosts, English deference (and its disappearance), the eccentricities of those in religious office, and the loneliness of each and everyone of us in our […]

    Mysterious Balaclavas on South Georgia May 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Mysterious Balaclavas on South Georgia

    In 1982 Argentina invaded two British possessions the Falklands (2 April) and South Georgia (19 March). The British, under a determined Margaret Thatcher, sent a task force to retake the islands, something that was finally achieved 14 June of that year. The deadly struggle between the two sides included many moments of tragedy: all too […]

    Review: Physical Evidence, A Feeling for Magic May 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Review: Physical Evidence, A Feeling for Magic

    Ronald Hutton (ed), Physical Evidence for Ritual Acts, Sorcery and Witchcraft in Christian Britain: A Feeling for Magic (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) Academic essay collections fall into different categories including such old and tried favourites as: ‘new directions’; ‘pot pouri’; ‘the EU gave us some money so we had a conference’; and ‘x is wrong and […]

    Lost Sounds #1: Dawn Chorus of Clogs in the Nineteenth Century April 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Lost Sounds #1: Dawn Chorus of Clogs in the Nineteenth Century

    The clog was the preferred footwear of the English industrial north, and particularly the industrial north-west. Shoes were cut from wood and tipped with iron in Lancashire, in the West Riding and the mill towns of Cheshire and Derbyshire. The clog cost relatively little, it was good for defending yourself, it was durable and it […]

    Tony, Where Are Your Footnotes?! April 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Tony, Where Are Your Footnotes?!

    Tony Judt’s Postwar (2005) is one of the most important history books of the last generation. However, the book that runs to over eight hundred pages has a strange lacuna. It lacks notes and it lacks bibliography. Judt was quite open about this lack of reference apparatus and explains it in his introduction (in a […]

    A Mediumistic Maid April 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    A Mediumistic Maid

    There is the need for a collection of all Arthur Conan Doyle’s gadding around in his ‘psychic’ years. And when that time comes Strange History will have several stories to offer up: sometimes ACD turns up as an expert on the spot, at other times the press use ACD as an expert or talking head. […]

    Buried Six Times in Twelve Years April 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Buried Six Times in Twelve Years

    Most cultures look with distaste on the removal of dead bodies: many families will do whatever they can to avoid such a thing for their loved ones. So imagine the trauma of being buried and reburied six times in a dozen years. Let’s start though with our death. Paul von Hindenburg, the President of Germany […]

    Review: Nanny Says April 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Nanny Says

    Diana, Lady Avebury (ed) Nanny Says (London: Dobson, 1972) The Nanny was an institution of upper middle class and aristocratic families in Victorian, Edwardian and inter-war Britain. She was the efficient and often frightening family child carer. She stepped in at a couple of weeks after birth taking over from the harassed mother (who would be allowed […]

    WW2 Myths: Forgetting General Winter April 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    WW2 Myths: Forgetting General Winter

    Today a bit of WW2 cobblers: the myth that the German High Command in 1941 forgot that there was a winter in the Soviet Union; thousands of German soldiers on the road to Moscow would be immobilized by ‘General Winter’ and have to face -20 or -30 degrees with nothing but lederhosen. Now as it […]

    Review: A Word Geography of England April 3, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: A Word Geography of England

    When Beach was a little tyke (boy) he used to run out to lek (play) and then he and his friends would go to the shop to buy spice (candy): trousers were ‘togs’ in those not so halcyon days, and missing school was ‘skiving’. Dialect is dead in England (save perhaps in the north-east), but […]

    Index Biography #28: Prize a book March 31, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Index Biography #28: Prize a book

    ***James H was one of three with the correct answer, but the first…*** The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The creator must find a biography of a famous individual from history, they must turn to the index and write down eight peripheral facts […]

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