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The Index Biography #1: Prize = The Ghost Wore Black October 31, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
The Index Biography #1: Prize = The Ghost Wore Black

***It took just three hours for Hapax to write in with the correct solution and there is no second prize, for the answer see tomorrow’s Beachcombed** The Index Biography is a new form of biography pioneered by this blog and introduced in a previous post. The writer must find a biography of a famous individual […]

Jokes From World War 2 October 28, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jokes From World War 2

Unlike our previous post on jokes about the World Wars here are a series of jokes from world war two. Beach can’t guarantee that every single one came from the the period between Sept 1939 and the summer of 1945, but they have a contemporary feel. Here are his favourites. Note a factory worker, Marianne […]

Tolkien, a Poppy and the Death of Traditional Fairies October 24, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Tolkien, a Poppy and the Death of Traditional Fairies

Tolkien has rarely featured in these pages, but given Beach’s interest in fairies, it was only a matter of time before the Oxford don had a post dedicated to him. Very likely in 1913 or 1914 – the dating depends on the evidence from a fabulous article by John Garth – Tolkein had an unusual […]

The Good Friday Agreement, Teletext and an Anonymous Phone-Caller October 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Good Friday Agreement, Teletext and an Anonymous Phone-Caller

The Good Friday Agreement – and we’ll come back to that name in a minute – was signed 10 April 1998. It was the single most important step in the winding down of the low grade civil war that had marred the province since the late 1960s and that cost over three thousand lives in […]

Authority in the Village from Italy to Ireland October 18, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Authority in the Village from Italy to Ireland

Beach lives today in a small village in central Italy. The village is isolated and there has been little marriage with ‘outsiders’. Up on the hills, barely disturbed by such inconveniences as the twentieth century – the Germans occupied for a couple of weeks and blew up half a dozen houses – the folk kicking […]

Twelve Best History Montages October 13, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Twelve Best History Montages

By history montage we refer to short length runs of images and film available on youtube often with attractive music in the background. They are typically put together by amateurs and their productions standards and their production values can be a little shaky. However, often late in the evening or when he wants his daughters […]

Jokes About the World Wars October 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Jokes About the World Wars

Laughing about the Great War and the Second World War? Probably not in good taste. But some jokes get closer than narrative history to the sheer pointlessness of it all. Three of the best jokes we’ve found follow. First, let’s start with WW1 reduced to a bar fight. Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together […]

The Moment the Cold War Ended (according to Anthony Robbins!) October 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Moment the Cold War Ended (according to Anthony Robbins!)

  ***Thanks to SM!*** Anthony Robbins is a well meaning and (for tens of thousands of people) effective life-style coach. In his voluminous tapes, cds and books he includes endless anecdotes about his meetings with the great and the good of the earth. There is an element of name-dropping in some of this but SM […]

Horse Whispering Witch September 16, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Horse Whispering Witch

A weird witchcraft story published in 1984, recalling an event in 1908. The date, the subject matter and the place, East Anglia, are all quite surprising as are the horses. Don’t really know what to make of this one, though it is fun to read. In 1908 I was a blacksmith’s helper working for Mr […]

The Maps of Michael Izady September 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
The Maps of Michael Izady

***Thanks to Stephen D for this one!!!*** Beach loves maps, who doesn’t? But he was sceptical about Michael Izady’s efforts until he actually went to take a look at the host site. Basically MI has set himself the task of charting ethnic, linguistic and religious groups in the Middle East. For most of us that […]

Review: The Hikey Sprites September 12, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Review: The Hikey Sprites

Review of Ray Loveday, The Hikey Sprites: The Twilight of a Norfolk Tradition (Norfolk 2009) The Hikey Sprites (aka Hyter Sprites) were Norfolk fairies that were summoned up by parents and grandparents to corral children into decency: ‘you be good or the Hikeys will get you’; ‘get home before dark or the Hikeys will get […]

The Things We Couldn’t Say September 9, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
The Things We Couldn't Say

A heartbreaking story yesterday. A friend works with the terminally ill, helping those suffering and family members ‘survive’ the process. She is a trained psychologist and a very energetic and capable, elderly woman came under her care. As part of a therapy of ‘release’ this elderly woman, with a steadily growing malignant tumour inside her, […]

The Axe Murderer Who Became A National Hero September 8, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
The Axe Murderer Who Became A National Hero

Nations and cities have passionate rivalries with their neighbours. Beach, for example, grew up in Britain a country where national identity is based not on love of the Queen or respect for the rule of law but rather on disliking the French. However, the whole British-French thing (‘the best of enemies’) is a fairly tame […]

Boggart Catching September 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Boggart Catching

This little passage appears in Harry Speight, Chronicles and stories of old Bingley. A full account of the history, antiquities, natural productions, scenery, customs and folklore of the ancient town and parish of Bingley, in the West Riding of Yorkshire (London: Elliot Stock 1898), 268. It is typical of those extracts in general books that […]

Cauls in the Deep South September 5, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Cauls in the Deep South

Beach has been obsessed the last couple of weeks with baby’s cauls. The caul for readers who don’t know (and Beach was vague previous to the obsession) is the amniotic sac which holds us in our mother’s belly. In some very few cases, a baby is born with a caul in place, in the same […]

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