I have quite a soft spot for South Africa. It helps that we spent some time there, of course, and we have lots of very fond memories of the places we visited, but it goes beyond that - it is one of those countries where I can imagine living.
This may sound like wishful think, and it probably is, and yet only this week we were looking online for houses in Montagu, the quiet town in the mountains of the Western Cape that we fell in love with, even though we were there for just a couple of days. Read more ›››
I've been a most irregular blogger of late, having had almost nothing to say other than for my ABC Wednesday postings which don't really count as they are generally planned well in advance.
Why this should be, I'm not sure. Post holiday depression perhaps, although we've been back for over a month, or maybe it's just the cold and bleak whether that is getting me down. Or is life just not funny any more? Read more ›››
We all like to think that there is an ancestor with a claim to a title or was notable in some way, but few people can have taken his family history as far as Sir Thomas Urquhart when he published his Pantochronachanon in 1652.
Subtitled 'a peculiar promptuary of time', it claimed to trace the Urquhart genealogy back through 153 generations in an unbroken line to the Garden of Eden, taking in Methuselah and Noah along the way... Read more about Sir Thomas Urquhart ›››
Before the rise and fall of cigarettes, the most common way of partaking of tobacco was in its powdered form as snuff and there was no more devoted sniffer of snuff than Margaret Thompson of Burlington Gardens on old London town.
In truth we know little of Thompson's life, but are in doubt about her fondness for snuff from the instructions she left in her will when she died in 1776... Read more about Margaret Thompson ›››
There can be few people with a more unfortunate name as Clotworthy Skeffington, a cruel trick played on him by his parents, but one he tried hard to live up to.
Born in 1743, he was then the latest in a long line of Clotworthies, the family having adopted the first name from John Clotworthy, the Anglo-Irish politician who became the first Viscount Masserene whose title passed to his son-in-law, Sir John Skeffington... Read more about Clotworthy Skeffington ›››
Heard on Radio Five - Shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, on fuel poverty, government intervention and EDF's planned 3.9% increase from January:
"No amount of hot air from Ed Davey and the energy firms is going to keep people warm this winter."
You really couldn't make it up could you? Read more ›››
In a parallel universe somewhere, all Hollywood movies are made in Russian, the Beach Boys are called пляжные мальчики and the American Civil War pitted east against west rather than north against south. And all because their Nikolai Rezanov didn't die prematurely of a fever...
Rezanov was born in St Petersburg in 1764 to an impoverished noble family, although he spent much of his early years in Eastern Siberia after his father was made chairman of the Province Court Civil Chamber in Irkutsk... Read more about Nikolai Rezanov ›››