Filed: History

Swan With Two Necks

Of all the sad changes that modern has brought, and there are many to offset the good, one of the saddest is the passing of the traditional public house.

It isn’t so long ago that there was a pub on every street corner and several in between. They were as much a part of the social fabric of the country as the church or the factory, and all they had to do was serve beer, provide a dart board, a pack of cards for entertainment and a packet of crisps for the hungry. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Jonah of the Week: 73-year-old former SAS trooper, Tom McLean, is planning to cross the Atlantic in the belly of a home-made whale. Nicknamed ‘Moby‘, the 65 foot craft has taken 20 years and £100,000 to complete and McLean’s plan is to sail it to the Azores where real whales congregate just to see what happens.

One that got away: I missed this one last week – Time Magazine named Evelyn Waugh among the top 100 most read female authors and presumably excluded George Elliot for the opposite reason. As one wag commented: ‘When Evelyn Waugh is trending on Twitter, you know that somebody did something stupid.’ Read more ›››

Lost Memories

Some time ago I came across a stack of old postcards in our local church thrift shop and bought them out of interest. My first thought was that they were someone’s memories that had passed to the shop counter after their death, but since they are all from the early 20th century, that seems very unlikely.

I suspect that they belonged to a local deltiologist (that’s a postcard collector to you and me) and that they had ended up there for the same reason. Read more ›››

G is for Albert Göring

Nazi Germany produced many monsters, such as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, but there were also unlikely heroes, among them Göring’s brother Albert, also known as Der Gute Göring (the Good Göring).

Albert Günther Göring was born in 1895, two years after his brother, Hermann, the son of the solidly middle-class Heinrich and Fanny Göring. Read more ›››

Dad’s Doodlebug


Strange how conversations pan out. If you asked me how me and dad got from talking about how he needed a new pair of slippers to his close encounter with German Doodlebug during the war, I couldn’t tell you, but that we did.

It happened around Christmas in 1943 or 1944 and was one of several scary experiences, even though he never got closer to the front than the Home Guard. Read more ›››

Happy Kissing Friday

Yorkshire Pudding confessed to me the other day that his childhood experiences had influenced his later career as a lothario and it seems that this date may be the root cause of his philandering for today is Kissing Friday.

Apparently there is an old Yorkshire tradition that two days after Ash Wednesday, boys are allowed to kiss any girl they choose without fear of a slap round the head or knee in the groin. Read more ›››

E is for the Chevalier d’Eon

Chevalier d'Eon

In 2011, a portrait of an unknown woman appeared at a provincial sale in New York mistakenly attributed to Gilbert Stuart, famous for painting George Washington on the dollar bill.

Even in its dirty state, it was clear that the rather butch woman in the feathered hat was sporting five o’clock shadow and was bought by an intrigued London art dealer who took it home for restoration. Read more ›››

My Dad’s Army

Further to yesterday’s post, I was chatting to my dad about his experiences in the Home Guard and as far as he is concerned, Dad’s Army is as much documentary as it is comedy.

He was drafted in to the Home Guard in 1943 when he was 17 and was none too happy about it as it took up pretty much all of his free time. Read more ›››