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  • Churchill buries Chamberlain June 14, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Churchill buries Chamberlain

    In winning the Nobel Prize for literature Winston Churchill was placed among writers of the calibre of Thomas Mann, W.B. Yeats and Rudyard Kipling. This is probably – as Churchill was the first to admit – to overstate his talents as an author: there is something to Evelyn Waugh’s bitchy description of Churchill’s ‘pseudo-Augustan prose’. […]

    Roman Mosaics and Bras in 1930s Leicester June 6, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
    Roman Mosaics and Bras in 1930s Leicester

    A busy day for Beach today – the hunt for mice, newspaper columns and the ongoing search for an aupair – and so he thought that he would just quote from this 1930s guide to Roman Britain for a strange archaeological visit. Leicester, for those who don’t know it, is a rather frightening English Midland […]

    William Herschel and Trees on the Moon May 23, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    William Herschel and Trees on the Moon

    Born in Hanover,  but living in Britain for most of his adult life, William Herschel (obit 1822) was a celebrated astronomer in the century after Newton. WH has crossed Beachcombing’s radar not just because of his great achievements – discovery of Uranus etc – but because of some of his more curious speculations. For centuries, […]

    Occam’s Razor and Flying Bombs May 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Occam's Razor and Flying Bombs

    Beachcombing always feels niggles of annoyance when Occam’s Razor comes up. It is not that he dislikes the principle of succinctness per se: indeed, most of the time this principle is a useful brake on our imagination. After all, if Beachcombing opens his door in Little Snoring and finds no tiger then it is surely […]

    Origins of the Two-finger Insult May 19, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Origins of the Two-finger Insult

    The sun is in the heaven, term is over and with the good luck that characterises him Beachcombing has come down with a cracking summer cold. Indeed, as he walks up and down the stairs he feels as if his head is banging on the walls on either side. In this emergency situation he thought […]

    Shelley, the Cat, the Kite and the Bolt of Lightning May 11, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Shelley, the Cat, the Kite and the Bolt of Lightning

    Beachcombing thought that today he would combine a recent obsession – cats, with an older obsession – lightning and a coming obsession, kites. The party guilty for bringing these three unlikely subjects together was none other than Romantic brat extraordinaire Percy Bysshe Shelley (obit 1822 – ‘I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed’ […]

    Black Cats: Unlucky for Some May 3, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Modern
    Black Cats: Unlucky for Some

    Beachcombing’s mother has flown in from the Dominions to visit her grandchildren and generally cause confusion – arguments over restaurant bills, dietary controversies and black cats… On the last point Beachcombing has to admit though that his mater has a point, one worth sharing with a wider audience. It would hardly be worth worrying about […]

    From Ox Carts to Railways May 2, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
    From Ox Carts to Railways

    Archaeologists love the idea of continuity, the notion that little really changes, that from generation to generation, though the forms, languages and professions of faith may alter, the substance remains the same. Historians are, generally speaking, the opposite. They fixate on change and have little patience with the archaeological fraternity – Beachcombing wrote for many […]

    Misplacing Masterpieces at Railway Stations April 29, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Misplacing Masterpieces at Railway Stations

    Beachcombing heard today that his father – pater Beachcombing – will soon be coming for a visit to the Beachcombing house in Little Snoring – the first time in a couple of years, so a cause of celebration. Beachcombing’s favourite story about his father is that once while travelling by train to his publisher in […]

    Cellini’s Canon April 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Cellini's Canon

    Beachcombing has been thinking in the last hour about objects that are far travelled – for example the Indian buddhas that made it to Viking Scandinavia or, say, the Viking coin that (allegedly) ended up in pre-Columbian Maine. And it was while musing on these far-flung things that Cellini’s canon came to mind. Now admittedly […]

    Immortal Meals 2#: Eating in a Victorian Dinosaur April 10, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortal Meals 2#: Eating in a Victorian Dinosaur

      Sadly Beachcombing will just write as a short post today as the sfiga hex has settled over him. Paul Johnson’s book has extended its evil to Beach’s comic shelves that collapsed in the night and the attack on his body is now burning fierily, so much so that Beachcombing is enforcing what the medieval used to […]

    The Day Wager April 8, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Day Wager

    A recent post that has haunted Beachcombing was that concerning an early submarine exploring a world of Merfolk near the Isle of Man in the seventeenth century. What most interested Beachcombing was not curiously the mermaids, welcome as they were, but the fact that an innovative technology had slipped unnoticed into an eighteenth-century Manx folk […]

    Vikings Vikinged in Dorset UK March 29, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Prehistoric
    Vikings Vikinged in Dorset UK

    Beachcombing has sometimes confessed in this place that he is not a great fan of the Vikings. Indeed, say ‘Viking’ to your average medievalist and they will get lyrical about sturdy boats and trips to Greenland. Beachcombing, on the other hand, sees burnt monastic libraries, lines of children being brought to slavery in the fiords […]

    Capital Punishment and Prehistoric Burials March 19, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Prehistoric
    Capital Punishment and Prehistoric Burials

        You are a member of the minor nobility in some part of northern Europe found guilty of murder in the fifteenth century. After the capital sentence is passed you are thrown in the back of a cart and driven out to the local place of reckoning.  However, as you are also interested in history […]

    Jesus Christ and an Egg from Leeds March 18, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jesus Christ and an Egg from Leeds

    Beachcombing has recently become curious about a passage in Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (160). ‘A panic terror of the end of the world seized the good people of Leeds and its neighbourhood in the year 1806. It arose from the following circumstances. A hen, in a village close by, […]

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