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  • The Knight, the Lance and the Lightning Bolt July 11, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Knight, the Lance and the Lightning Bolt

    ***dedicated to Typhon who asked this question*** You are a knight, a protector of the realm and an important local landowner.  You are, as befits your station, mounted and covered from head to toe in plate armour: the only thing you see is the narrow line of sight afforded to you by the eye slot in […]

    The Green Devil of Quimper June 19, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Green Devil of Quimper

    Beachcombing was taught many years ago not to trust Breton sources: there is (an almost Gaelic) tendency to colour over the terrible monotone of reality with illusory rainbow details. This rule probably holds good if you are dealing with a twelfth-century saint’s life written about a sixth-century saint (many other posts, many other days). But […]

    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’ […]

    Beethoven and the Fire from Heaven January 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Beethoven and the Fire from Heaven

    Beachcombing recently offered three posts on the subject of lightning, trying to dig up some occasions when a bolt has changed, however modestly, the course of human history. Beachcombing must confess though to being slightly disappointed that lightning has not done more for (or against) humanity: any other lightning offers – drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT […]

    Mary Anning and the Fire from Heaven January 4, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mary Anning and the Fire from Heaven

    Beachcombing is in disgrace tonight for accidentally sitting on ten-day-old Tiny Miss B – she was wrapped in a duvet on a sofa and Beachcombing homes in on comfort wherever it is to be found. Beachcombing will expiate his guilt by writing about Mary Anning (obit 1847), the fossil hunter and an extraordinary fire-from-the-heavens episode […]

    Martin Luther and the Fire from Heaven December 29, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Martin Luther and the Fire from Heaven

      Beachcombing has looked before at hinge moments – moments where a simple incident changes history; moments which, had they not happened, would have resulted in a quite different world. Beachcombing thought that, in this spirit, he would today visit Mansfeld, Germany 2 July, 1502 where a young student, Martin Luther, is out walking. Luther’s great fortune […]

    Fire from the Heavens in Early Medieval Ireland December 26, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Fire from the Heavens in Early Medieval Ireland

    Beachcombing has been cursing his internet provider today that has managed, with characteristic incompetence, to deprive the Beachcombings of their connection to the world wide web – no joke when you live in a rural idyll and make most of your phone-calls by skype. In any case, Beachcombing will do his best to smuggle this out […]