“Oh the miserable and calamitous spectacle!” wrote John Evelyn in 1666. “...London was, but is no more”. The story of the Great Fire of London in 1666, a staple of the primary curriculum, is a glimpse of history that colours our early schooling. And this week we know why it's still important. As the horror footage … Continue reading Under duplicitous fire
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to-day To-morrow will be dying. Robert Herrick (1648) And in this week of terror, terrible grief and collective mourning we may find some consolation to think of those killed and injured like Herrick's ‘rosebuds’; cherished and adored. The rosebud, simply the … Continue reading Grieving together for the darling buds of May
Unelectable, unrealistic, unpatriotic, oh yes and a loony. The British press have found a ready beast to beat this election it seems. In a survey of negative news this week, Loughborough University have worked out that the Labour party are getting it in the neck, way more than the other political parties. And Jeremy Corbyn, … Continue reading What should Jeremy do with negative news? Have some borage.
Mrs May, ever the Vicar's daughter, seemingly wants to deliver us unto us. And she seems to aim to do so with strength and graciousness. Like a snapdragon. Upright, tall and strong. The flower with power and jaws and a snout. Believed to protect, restore, and strengthen... Theresa May's try-out then as chat show guest (BBC, … Continue reading In need of a boost for your snap election Mrs May? Bring on the snapdragons…
What does life look like at 95? Long, then short probably. There can be no denying there is a lot less to go than has gone. And of that left, one hopes, will be lived in good health. So it's not really a surprise the Duke of Edinburgh has decided to retire after 70 years of … Continue reading What to gift a retiring Duke…
Part pagan, part seasonal, part religious, part romantic, part revolutionary, part parade, part protest - May Day is a right old hotch-potch of a national holiday. We likely associate it with some kind of spectacle; May Queens and maypole dancing (in villages and towns), a bawdy Fire Festival (Edinburgh) or University students; jumping off bridges (Oxford), running into the … Continue reading May day, may day should we celebrate or commiserate?
Are horror marriages becoming a trend? In the past year we've had the celebrity version - Jonny Depp and Amber Heard, the 'trapped without love for 40 years' version - Tini Owens, 'the buried in a cesspit' version - Helen Bailey. And now we've got the Mel B version. Allegations of threesomes, extortion, physical violence, an affair with the … Continue reading It looks like a ding dong of a divorce
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it,” Joan Didion wrote in A Year of Magical Thinking. In a heartfelt BBC documentary earlier this week, Rio Ferdinand showed us his place of deep grief following the death of his wife Rebecca in 2015. The subject was always going to be moving but … Continue reading Seeing the grieving… in a man
Timed no doubt to chime with this weekend's Mothering Sunday, Kate Middleton spoke at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists this week of her experience of motherhood, "Personally, becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience. However, at times it has also been a huge challenge. Even for me, who has support at home … Continue reading It’s a mother of a day
The roaring row this week between the First Minister of Scotland and the Prime Minister looks set to become a proper female feud - up there with fashion designers, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel - who “accidentally” set Schiaparelli on fire by pushing her into a candle chandelier, in a moment of rivalrous madness. Nicola Sturgeon's determination to force another Scottish referendum … Continue reading It looks like handbags at dawn for these head girls