The Consequences of Varicella (Part 2)

Continuing (rather belatedly – I’ve been busy with retail) the exploration of a small area of the East End of London by foot and buggy – we lose our way, but are guided onward by the pinnacles of an extraordinary church, and discover more about the philanthropic efforts of Victorian Londoners. Continue reading

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The Consequences of Varicella (Part 1)

One of the things about this grandparenting lark is being asked occasionally to improve one’s knowledge of the East End of London by pushing a baby in a buggy around it. The Object of Worship and I had a very good walk in beautiful autumn sunshine the other day which took in two churches which I’d never been able to get into before: St Paul’s, Shadwell, and St George-in-the-East. Continue reading

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Death on the Ice

Can I enthusiastically recommend the current (until 7 January 2018) ‘Death in the Ice’ exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich? It contains some fantastic Stuff (including artefacts found in the ongoing investigations of the recently discovered wrecks of the Erebus and Terror) but the layout and interpretation of the whole tragic and enthralling story are superbly done, especially the demonstration of the terrifying small space of the living quarters on the ships. Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: October 2017

Earlier this month, I took a picture of the Malus tschonoskii @CUBotanicGarden with the idea of making it October’s plant, but after many interesting and thought-provoking conversations at the chopping-board front line at Apple Day 0n 22 October, I decided to go for broke and take on the whole genus, in a very superficial fashion. Continue reading

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Garden Work for Every Day

Back in the day, I was involved in reissuing several books by the polemical garden writer William Robinson (1838–1935), he of Gravetye Manor. The Wheel of Fortune having nudged on a bit, I am now spending a few hours each week leafing through Robinson’s weekly periodical, The Garden, which he wrote large chunks of, edited and published from 1871 to 1899. (He continued to own it until 1919.) I am looking for certain specific references, but it’s fatally easy to get distracted. Continue reading

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The Shoemaker of Banff

Samuel Smiles, biographer and enthusiast for those who demonstrated the ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, was very taken with Thomas Edward, of Banff, Scotland. He name-checked him in Self-Help (1859), as follows: Continue reading

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Object of the Month: September 2017

Now that I spend part of my time in a museum (tough gig, but somebody has to do it), I am getting quite good at pausing mid-stride and staring without actually falling over or causing anyone else to fall over. If I try this in the street, the results are usually not so good, and of course I am completely intolerant if anyone else does it to me  – ‘Come on, Tourist, are you telling me you’ve never seen King’s College Chapel before?’ (Though in fact this happens less and less often, because the Tourists are all reading about King’s College Chapel on their phones, or taking selfies, not breaking stride in awe and wonder at the sight before them.) Continue reading

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