Plant of the Month: July 2019

The nasturtium (occasionally nasturtian, or, if you are an A.A. Milne fan, mastershalum) is one of those plants which it is quite easy to overlook for their ubiquitous familiarity. Simple to grow (and to regrow if you save the seeds), bulking up rapidly, with complex, brightly coloured, endlessly repeating flowers, and leaves with decorative veining and the delightful ability to capture pearls of rainwater in their slightly indented centres, what’s not to like? Continue reading

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The Great Belzoni

… is today hung on display in the Fitzwilliam Museum – or, at any rate, a spectacular likeness produced after his death is. I mentioned this fascinating character several times in my previous blogging persona, but his arrival in Cambridge is a good excuse to revisit his extraordinary career in more detail. Continue reading

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I didn’t mention that at Niguliste, there is also a collection of silver objects, many of them formerly owned by the various guilds of Tallinn. By far (in my view) the most attractive of these items is a popinjay, made in the first half of the sixteenth century. It belonged to the Brotherhood of the Black Heads, and was given to the winner of a regular archery contest. Continue reading

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Five years ago, and in another life, I wrote about Laulupidu, the Estonian music festival held every five years, and guess what, we’ve just returned from the 2019 celebration in Tallinn – even more significant than normal as it is the 150th anniversary of the first ever festival in 1869, put together by a group of intellectuals who (along with their counterparts all over Europe) had begun to reclaim the minority or ‘peasant’ languages of their own countries. Continue reading

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Sedgwick’s Boots

I begin with an appalling confession, made because of my reasonable confidence that nobody (least of all @TheMuseumOfLiz) actually reads this stuff … Here goes: although the Golden Jubilee of my arrival in Cambridge is only just below the horizon, I have never, before today, visited the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Feel free to gasp in horror. Continue reading

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The Stepney Meeting

A stone’s throw away from the back of Stepney’s enormous churchyard, where the parakeets and pigeons own the sky, and even closer to Lady Mico’s almshouses, is a much smaller cemetery, its gravestones broken, eroded or obscured by the black, sooty pollution of old London. This is the burial ground of the Stepney Meeting, on a small corner plot which once housed almshouses and a school as well.

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Plant of the Month: June 2019

This seems to be an amazing spring/summer for roses – even mine are looking good (or were until it just started raining), and they are by no means my most successful plants. And it’s not just locally, either. We’ve just been to Amsterdam and Leiden for a few days, in beautiful weather, and roses are burgeoning everywhere from the botanic gardens to the pavements in fronts of the houses. Continue reading

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