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 ›››
I’ve written before about amputees who have achieved great things in sport despite their physical disability and another such is Austrian tennis player Hans Redl.
Born in Vienna in 1914, Redl was a better than average player and made the Austrian Davis Cup team in 1937, but after the Anschluss, he represented Germany in 1938 and 1939. Read more ›››
You may not recognise the name Rebecca Rolfe, but she is a major figure in American folklore, became an animated star for Disney and was the first American to be buried in England. You will know her better by her original name – Pocahontas.
She was born near what is now Richmond, Virginia, the daughter of the supreme chief of the Powhatan Confederacy, an alliance of Algonquin tribes who lived around Chesapeake Boy. Read more ›››
The French Revolution resulted in many ridiculous ideas, but perhaps the most risible was the French Republican Calendar devised by Gilbert Romme.
The thinking behind the new calendar was twofold. First that it should remove all religious references and second that time itself should embrace decimalisation. The result was a largely unworkable system. Read more ›››
When I began my South Africa theme for this round of ABC Wednesday, I always intended that my letter R would be Cecil Rhodes because he was such a colossal figure in the history of the continent – and not just because I share the same surname!
However, Rhodes was a complex character who achieved so much in his short life and was both revered and reviled while alive and in death, so all I can offer is a resumé of his career. Read more ›››
I had a dilemma when I reached the letter R in this round of ABC Wednesday — I wanted to write about Cecil Rhodes, but how could I not include Robben Island?
So I’ve done both. You can read about Cecil here and below is a gallery of photos I took on South Africa’s former prison island. Read more ›››
On the face of it there is nothing remarkable about this photo of a train pulling into a suburban station, but the place does have historical significance for this is Rainhill where rail travel began. Rainhill is a village midway between Manchester and Liverpool and in 1829 it was the venue for the Rainhill Trials, a pioneering competition to decide a suitable design for use on the world’s first inter-city…
I suppose I could have written about a royal engagement given the the ravings of the media retinue this morning, but I find the rites of the royals a rather ridiculous racket so I shall write about riddles instead.
My love of riddles started innocently enough with my grandmother who used to test us with conundrums of the: “When is a door not a door?” variety. But it was the start of the slippery slope into riddledom. Read more ›››