Category Archives: Blog

Historical Miscellany #41 – A Sea Monster discovered in Porthleven, Cornwall (1786)

(As reported in the Hereford Journal, Thursday 12 October 1786 – Illustration from The Monsters of the Deep, 1875) A description of Sea Monster found in Cornwall The following comes authenticated from a Gentleman of Morillian in Cornwall. A JUST and particular description of a very curious and most surprising sea monster driven on shore […]

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Historical Miscellany #40 – Snowball the Greyhound [1829]

I was cheered to find out last week that “the best greyhound there ever was”, according to Bell’s Life in London, was called Snowball and came from the pretty village of Wold Newton in the east riding of Yorkshire. This is just a few wolds away from where my mother grew up and I was […]

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Historical Miscellany #39 – Damn’d Eyes [1766]

Image: A field in Worcestershire From Adams Weekly Courant, 25 March 1766, taken from The Gloucester Journal “We have an account of a very extraordinary instance of Divine vengeance that happened about a week ago at Chalford in this county. One Richard Parsons, a young man of that place, was playing at cards, and he […]

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Historical Miscellany #38 – An Essay on Blockheads [1802]

(Image: “Punch Cures the Gout” by James Gillray) (The following essay we copy with much approbation from the New York Evening Post) A blockhead is neither an ideot, nor madman. He is one who goes on through the broad road of life with the rest of mankind carrying a load of follies at his back, […]

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Podcasts: The Weather Experiment

Clouds over Filey Bay -June 2015 It’s been a busy/brilliant summer so far with trips to literary festivals at Hay on Wye, Greenwich, York, Harrogate and Buxton. Thank you to anyone who has ventured out to listen to me talking about Robert FitzRoy, clouds and meteorology. There’s a few more things coming up before I […]

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Clouds, Storms & Music Event at City University

In the performance space at City University I’m really excited about this event that’s happening at City University in conjunction with WAM. WAM (Weather Art and Music) was set up in 2012, as a special interest group of the Royal Meteorological Society. Their aim was to “bring meteorology and climate science to a wider public” […]

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The Weather Experiment on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

Last week The Weather Experiment was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week. It was superbly done – Tim McMullan makes a very fine, poised FitzRoy – and for the next few weeks the broadcasts will be available on iPlayer. Here’s a list with links to the five episodes: Stormy Weather The Weather Report Shipwreck and […]

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Historical Miscellany #37 – To a Drop of Dew [1833]

(Image credit: noahbulgaria) In 18/19th century Britain a love of nature was considered a healthy expression of Christian piety. The famous Georgian love of nature – symbolised by figures like Gilbert White and John Constable – always had this religious edge. After the Bible Nature was treated like God’s second book. Watching, recording or describing […]

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On Robert FitzRoy and misremembering history

(Cloudscape over the Thames, 04-05-15) I’ve been listening to George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier on my daily walks recently. Something that he wrote reminded me of the tendency of big events to overshadow everyday history. He was, he pointed out, visiting Yorkshire in 1936 when Adolf Hitler ordered his troops into the Rhineland. […]

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The Woman in White – #1 of my #tbr20

This post is part of this reading project. (Plot spoilers ahoy) At last I’m writing up the first book in this project. At 700 pages long Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White is the kind of sprawling Victorian novel that I rarely get around to. But it was on the reading list of an evening […]

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