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  • Self Castrators July 22, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Modern
    Self Castrators

    Castration is everywhere in history. The Normans did it to the Sicilians, the Afghans to the British, the Italians to their future opera singers and Heloise’s family did it to Abelard: and, goodness, did Abelard have it coming – a father speaks. But there is a more refined category of testicle removal that is not […]

    Forgotten Anglo-Irish Inventor Anticipates the Modern Age July 21, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Forgotten Anglo-Irish Inventor Anticipates the Modern Age

    A remarkable piece of dream engineering from the latter half of the eighteenth century, the creation of the obscure but fascinating Richard Lovell Edgeworth (obit 1817), one of those men cursed to have ideas that his day could not possibly understand or produce: an Anglo-Irish Leonoardo da Vinci though with more circumspection.

    Anglo-Saxons in Southern India? July 15, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Anglo-Saxons in Southern India?

    **Beachcombing dedicates the following to DGM, who has an excellent post on this subject** For those like Beachcombing who lick their lips at descriptions of long and unlikely journeys in antiquity and the middle ages there are few more exciting sentences than this one-liner in some versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. In the year 883, […]

    Impossible Escape from Calais July 14, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Impossible Escape from Calais

    In May 1940 the British army achieved many feats of arms and endurance despite the Wehrmacht‘s overwhelming superiority in northern France. And perhaps none of these feats was equal in pathos, drama and sheer futility to the battle for Calais. Here, while the British Expedition Force was being hurriedly evacuated across the Channel to England, […]

    The Kingdom of Yetholm July 13, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Kingdom of Yetholm

    Gypsy history provides a rich field for bizarrists: after all, here is a people from the Indian subcontinent who hiked half way across Eurasia for reasons that are completely mysterious to modern historians causing confusion and marvel wherever they went. Nevertheless, even in such a rich field Beachcombing has an easy favourite: the Gypsy Kingdom […]

    Strange Speeches July 11, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Strange Speeches

    Beachcombing got an email last night from inspired speeches, a new website [now defunct!] dedicated to gathering, well, inspired speeches. His correspondent asked for suggestions for notable discourses from the past. And Beachcombing made the terrible mistake of opening said email at midnight. The result? Beach did not sleep until dawn, tossing and turning, as […]

    The Midsummer Oak and its Skeletons July 8, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Midsummer Oak and its Skeletons

    **This post is dedicated to New Moon who sent the oak story in** Here is a little bit of Sussex folklore which manages to combine English zombies, the delicate whiff of cobblers and, best of all, a famous oak. The oak tree in question is the Midsummer Oak at Broadwater, Worthing and the legend in […]

    Missing Holmes July 4, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Missing Holmes

    Yesterday it was flogging, tomorrow Renaissance cannibalism, so Beachcombing thought that today he would indulge in something rather more cerebral and what better than a gentle Invisible Library post? Beachcombing has introduced readers to several Invisible Libraries over the months, books that never existed except as titles in their creator’s imagination. And tonight he thought […]

    Bringing Back Flogging? July 3, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Bringing Back Flogging?

    Beachcombing thought that he would give a little publicity to a ‘rogue researcher’ today: a tag that refers to those who, with often commendable eccentricity, step outside the bounds laid down by their profession – Beachcombing is always on the look out for these rare souls, drbeachcombing DOT yahoo AT com. The RR in question […]

    Thomas Hood or Tom Hood’s Invisible Library June 30, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Thomas Hood or Tom Hood’s Invisible Library

    Tomorrow the monthly round up of interesting emails and communications – Beachcombing is slaving to get them ready in time. In the meantime,  a further Invisible Library to add to the one that Frank Buckland discovered in late nineteenth-century Reading and that was featured here a couple of days ago. The following list was created […]

    Invisible Library at Reading June 28, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Invisible Library at Reading

    Beachcombing pioneered, early in his blogging career, an invisible library tag for books that have never existed save in the imagination of bookophiles: Beachcombing has, in fact, been preparing his own list for the last year for a false door in the family mansion for which readers kindly offered various titles. To keep the tag […]

    Torturing Guy June 21, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Torturing Guy

    At present, the Beachcombing family are under assault from a group of teenage toughs who have taken to ringing their bell in the evening and running off into the dark. Of course, the sensible thing would be to ignore the little idiots and hope that their antics don’t wake up the children. But Beachcombing never […]

    Oaks: Sacrificial and Otherwise June 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Oaks: Sacrificial and Otherwise

    ***This post is dedicated to Justin, who introduced Beach to the Tree that Owns Itself*** ‘From little acorns might oaks…’ blah blah blah. But, seriously, oaks have long caught the human imagination from sacrificial oaks – Beach has a ‘book’ memory of a German tribe that use to hammer one part of their victim’s guts […]

    Immortal Meals 4#: Eating a French King’s Heart June 17, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortal Meals 4#: Eating a French King's Heart

    There are great men among great men (Plato, Galileo, Einstein…)  and great eccentrics among great eccentrics. For this second exclusive club Beachcombing’s candidates would include the charming and irrepressible William Buckland (obit 1856), Victorian geologist and zoophagist and, towards the end of his life, inmate in a mental asylum. Buckland – unlike his more mannered […]

    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’. […]

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