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Declaring War in WW2: National Styles March 23, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Declaring War in WW2: National Styles

The characters of countries are reflected in their cuisines, their clothes, and their soap operas, so why not in their declarations of war? Thought it might be fun to see whether this notion stands up and so this morning ran through every WW2 declaration of war that I could find from 1 September 1939 through […]

ROLFUDRETUS and Last Country Standing January 11, 2014

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
ROLFUDRETUS and Last Country Standing

This is a bad period in Italy. The self-employed, a quarter of the population, are presently being taxed at about 50%. The public sector is inefficient and weighs the country down. The law – always a relative concept in Italy – has become a simultaneously braying and defecating ass. And the Euro is crushing Italian manufacturing. […]

Hooping Cough Cures September 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Hooping Cough Cures

We are in 1862 A correspondent transmits the following account of a superstitious ceremony which took place the other day at Neilston [Lowland Scotland]. The jolly blacksmith there is in possession of a fine young she ass, which, with her frolics, has caused great amusement amongst the boys of the town, while some calculating old […]

It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession… July 21, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
It is a fact universally acknowledged that an Inuit in possession…

Imagine Jane Austen at her writing desk while sister is downstairs playing the harpsichord. Suddenly there is an excited knock on the door and Cassandra comes running up the stairs. ‘Jane, tis so exciting, some Inuit have come to the Hall. George Cartwright brought them back from Labrador.’ Jane puts down her pen and passes […]

Jasper and Butternuts on the Edges of Vinland June 9, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Jasper and Butternuts on the Edges of Vinland

***Dedicated to Wade*** Jasper is a silica stone that was used by our ancestors both as a decoration and as a form of primitive match. Because of its fire-making properties jasper is often found in archaeological digs. A nice example of this is the dozen odd pieces of jasper that have been discovered over the […]

Review: The Terror That Comes in the Night June 4, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Review: The Terror That Comes in the Night

Beach has been lucky with his reading recently. It began with Dennis Gaffen’s Running with the Fairies, passed on to Chris Woodyard’s Face in the Window and Emma Wilby’s Cunning Folk and then there was a jump back in time with Mike Dash’s Borderlands. Another excellent addition to his library has been David J.Hufford’s The […]

Frobisher’s Missing Five February 7, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Frobisher's Missing Five

There is a fascinating episode in Frobisher’s 1567 first trip to the North West Atlantic. Five of his men vanished in the most extraordinary circumstances while on Baffin Island (Arctic Canada). But these foolish men, being five of them in all in the bote, having set on land this stranger at the place appointed: the […]

Inuit in Orkney? February 2, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Inuit in Orkney?

James Wallace was minister of Kirkwall in Orkney (Scotland). In 1688 he wrote the following account, though this was not published till 1693, by which time the good minister was dead. Sometimes about this country are seen these men they call Finnmen. In the year 1682, one was seen in his little Boat, at the […]

Inuit as an Unlikely Source for Medieval Charts January 29, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Inuit as an Unlikely Source for Medieval Charts

Could you draw a perfect, to scale map of the area that you live? Close your eyes, consider the fields, the rivers and streets and then give it a go. After you’ve spent ten minutes with some coloured crayons compare your effort with a professionally produced map, contours and all. The chances are that you […]

Bishop Erik’s Unorthodox Trip, 1121 January 14, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Bishop Erik's Unorthodox Trip, 1121

Let’s start with historical orthodoxy. From c. 950-1000 Viking Greenlanders crossed the Davis Strait and set up a settlement or perhaps several small settlements in Canada. This settlement or these settlements may or may not have been just for the summer, but the fact is that, in any case, they were shortlived. The Greenlanders simply […]

The Loss of the Douglas C-54-D in 1950 January 11, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Loss of the Douglas C-54-D in 1950

Scores of planes have permanently gone missing since the beginnings of aviation a century ago, but almost all of these have one thing in common. They were flying over deep water or they were close to deep water when they disappeared from the radar. It makes sense: it is very difficult for a large plane […]

Thirteenth-century Viking Legend in Canada? January 10, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Thirteenth-century Viking Legend in Canada?

Did the Vikings believe that mythical outlaws dwelt on Canada’s Baffin Island, perhaps parallel to the outlaws of the Icelandic interior that we have looked at before on this blog? It seems unlikely given that Greenlanders – the closest ‘Vikings’ to Baffin – are not supposed by some to have visited North American after about […]

Tanfield Valley: Europeans in Pre-Columbian Baffin Island? January 3, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Tanfield Valley: Europeans in Pre-Columbian Baffin Island?

Tanfield Valley [A] is one of the most exciting sites to have come under the archaeologist’s trowel in the last fifty years: less golden but in its way as thrilling as Tutankhamen’s tomb. The valley – more a hollow – is an unusually green part of rocky Baffin Island and for five seasons, Patricia Sutherland, […]

Mysterious European Figure in Pre-Columbian Baffin Island December 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Mysterious European Figure in Pre-Columbian Baffin Island

A thirteenth- or fourteenth-century Thule ivory carving from southern Baffin Island in Canada should hardly surprise anyone. After all, the Thule Inuit did dwell in this place at that time. But when Debora Sabo dug up the carving pictured above in 1972 she was understandably jolted by her discovery, so much so that she dedicated […]

Further Thoughts on the Inventio Fortunata with Thanks to Readers December 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Further Thoughts on the Inventio Fortunata with Thanks to Readers

The Inventio Fortunata (the Happy Discovery) is a text that we’ve already looked at twice on this blog. A first post described its extraordinary survival in a burnt copy of a copy of a copy in the wrong language. A second post alleged that the IF detailed an English trip to Arctic Canada in 1360. […]

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