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  • Marchers on the Moon June 14, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Marchers on the Moon

                        Beachcombing has previously enjoyed picking over the Victorians’ and their telescope-fuelled speculations about intelligences on nearby planets. Today though he offers up not a Victorian astronomer but an early twentieth-century newspaper clipper: Charles Fort (1874-1932) who flirted with the idea of life on the moon (and, indeed, […]

    Unluckiest in History June 12, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Unluckiest in History

                        Beachcombing has had one of those extraordinarily bad days where everything went wrong from birdsong onwards: broken computers, screaming infants, rude emails, income tax threats, temperamental car, vomiting wife (don’t ask)… In celebration of this he thought that he would muse on the unluckiest person in history: a […]

    Victorian Venus Spokes June 9, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Venus Spokes

                        Beachcombing has had a gratifying amount of correspondence over his recent article on Martian Vegetation. He thought then that he would call into cause another planet, Venus and the great Percival Lowell (1855-1916) who wrote on both planets in works including Mars and Its Canals […]

    Outrageous British Street Names June 8, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Outrageous British Street Names

              Be warned! This entry in Beachcombing’s encyclopaedia of the damned is not about British streets that happen to sound rude: Booty Lane (York), Percy’s Passage (London) etc etc etc. Rather it is about British street names that reflect our ancestors’ remarkable lack of embarrassment about the toilet and the bedroom and […]

    Victorian sewer pigs June 7, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian sewer pigs

              Beachcombing has a natural and commendable enmity towards sociology. Sociologists are the foes of history and must be resisted on the beaches, in the city and in the hills. (It does not help that his father-in-law is of that profession.) But he finds some of the nineteenth-century proto-sociologists intriguing and […]

    Orgies in Victorian Skipton! June 5, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Orgies in Victorian Skipton!

            Walter White (1811-1893) wrote about his journeys around the British Isles and Continental Europe in such classics as Holidays in Tyrol and Eastern England: from the Thames to the Humber. He was perhaps not the most exciting travel writer being rather prone to detail. But that very ability to give details […]

    Victorian Will o’ the Wisp June 3, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Will o’ the Wisp

              Beachcombing is in a Victorian country mood this week – the kind that comes and goes. It should be no surprise then that he’s decided to give a short extract from one of his favourite Victorian country books, the autobiography of John Wilkes, a gamekeeper based (for much of his professional […]

    Vegetation on Mars June 2, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Vegetation on Mars

                    Mars has a long history of befuddling human minds. Think of Giovanni Schiaparelli mapping out the ‘canals’ of that planet. Poor Perceval Lowell wrecking his scientific reputation with such publications as Mars as the Abode of Life. Nevermind all those hopped up Americans taking to the streets […]

    Tyrkjaránið – Arab Pirates in Iceland May 30, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Tyrkjaránið - Arab Pirates in Iceland

            Despite rumors of a polar bear in medieval northern Africa and well attested penetration by Rus Vikings into the Volga in the tenth century contacts between the Arab world and Scandinavia are few until (very) modern times. All the more reason then for Beachcombing to enjoy the Tyrkjaránið, the Norse/Icelandic word for the […]

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