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  • Beachcombed 41 November 1, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Beachcombed
    Beachcombed 41

    Dear Reader, Crisis continues here as Beach’s father-in-law’s building problems have spiralled out of control: f-i-l classic example of a very intelligent person completely lacking in wisdom; fifty years of sociology haven’t helped either. Interesting new experiences have included getting a nonsensical bill for 50,000 euros; being shouted at out over the phone; opening hysterical […]

    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 […]

    Review: The Ghost Wore Black October 30, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: The Ghost Wore Black

    The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past is the latest in Ghosts of the Past series by Chris Woodyard. Anyone familiar with CW’s style will know by now what to expect. There are half a dozen thematic chapters, which takes us from devils, to wild men, to spring-heeled jack wannabees: ‘ghosts’ has to […]

    A Russian Prince in Seventeenth-Century Rural England? October 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Russian Prince in Seventeenth-Century Rural England?

    Woolley is a rural parish in what was once Huntingdonshire and what is now Cambridgeshire. Its has provided one very worthwhile episode for the annals of bizarre history and that concerns its seventeenth-century rector Mikipher Alphery. Poor old Alphery was kicked out in 1643 during the Civil War when Cromwell and his devils were getting […]

    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 […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #8: Abercrombie and a Friend from Madras Speak! October 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #8: Abercrombie and a Friend from Madras Speak!

    Beach began thinking that there was just one account of Williams dream, his own (1832). He then learnt there was a second earlier account (dating to 1828), which shows signs of not being written by the author. However, since then – in great part thanks to Wade and Bob – he has realized that there […]

    Were-Storks and the Origins of Storks’ Baby Carrying! October 26, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Were-Storks and the Origins of Storks' Baby Carrying!

    There is the well established legends of the storks flying, in antiquity down below the Sahara to battle the pygmies. But what about this unusual medieval legend that appears in a fourteenth-century work in two parts. First our author is describing the well-established error, one that survived into the nineteenth century, that certain birds hibernate […]

    The Law and Cauls October 25, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    The Law and Cauls

    Long-time readers of the blog may remember several posts on cauls (the membrane that sometimes sticks to a child as he or she exits the womb). ‘Hooded’ children or caulbearers are often said to have psychic gifts. But there is also a tradition of excellence in law: the reason for the connection between these two […]

    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 […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament 7#: Perceval Speaks! October 23, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament 7#: Perceval Speaks!

    ***For all previous posts on the Perceval Dream follow this link*** In one of the many modern books that describe the Williams’ dream this strange addition to the legend is included. Get ready for a laugh. A week later, Spencer Perceval himself had a very disturbing dream. After he shared with his family the nightmare […]

    Hot Mermaids from Renaissance Venice! October 22, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Hot Mermaids from Renaissance Venice!

    Beach is feeling very shallow today and so he thought that he would celebrate a wonderful new book that arrived through the post: Alison Luchs, The Mermaids of Venice (Brepols 2010). Why shallow? Well, he can’t celebrate the scholarship of the good Prof Luchs because he hasn’t read any of her words yet (another post, […]

    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 […]

    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #6: The Bude Kirk Rumours October 20, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Dreaming Murder in Parliament #6: The Bude Kirk Rumours

    Now consider this strange little annex, in Lang. One very curious circumstance in connection with the assassination of Mr. Perceval has never been noticed. A rumour or report of the deed reached Bude Kirk, a village near Annan, on the night of Sunday, May 10, a day before the crime was committed! This was stated […]

    Medieval Horse Whispering October 19, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Medieval Horse Whispering

    Beach was fascinated by the example of East Anglian horse whispering, which he stumbled upon, and above all with readers’ replies elucidating this tradition. A bit more research has led him to a medieval parallel. It is a fascinating piece. Note that our author Gervase (early thirteenth century) doesn’t see the knight horse conjurer 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 […]

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