The first recipe I decided to try from the Ration Book Diet (see my review here) was, of course, the Sweet Potato and Honey winter dish. The original recipe would have had regular potatoes rather than the sweet variety, so … Continue reading
… in 1916, the Battle of the Somme began. Lasting until 18th November 1916, it was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front and saw more than a million men wounded or killed. It remains one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
…in 1914, the RMS Titanic left Queenstown and set sail across the Atlantic to New York. Below is the very last photo ever taken of her, by Mr John Morrogh at Red Bay, Crosshaven.
To celebrate the 87th Academy Awards, here is a complete list of every woman who has taken home the Oscar for Leading Actress over the years. Katharine Hepburn holds the record for this category, having taken home four Academy Awards for Leading Actress … Continue reading
This week, my boyfriend took me to see Les Miserables at the West End. Despite being a huge fan of the film adaptation and having sung all the songs in my high school choir, I had never been able to see the show on stage. It didn’t disappoint. But, before this turns into a review of the musical or – worse – a lengthy love letter to the musical that is Les Mis, I wanted to look into the history behind the story – and the tragic events that inspired the novel it’s based on.
It’s freezing outside (and inside – did I mention I’m in a super old, steel boat?) so I thought I’d share some of my favourite winter landscapes from the late 18th Century to help make the cold weather feel a bit more beautiful and a bit less brutal.
For a Titanic-obsessed, WW1-enthusiast, you can imagine how delighted I am to find myself currently working on a World War One battleship. Not that I am doing anything nautical in my job, I should add, but the digital agency I work for happens to have its office onboard the HMS President.
Naturally, I did a bit of investigating…
This year marks the centennial of the First World War: an epic, transformative global conflict that lasted just over four years and claimed the lives of seventeen million soldiers and civilians. Today, there are no living survivors of the Great War; we must rely solely on collective memory to understand what happened amid the blood and the mud, the writing and the waiting, one hundred years ago.
There is, of course, an inherent problem with this. The British remember the war in a particular way; as, indeed, every country involved does. For us, the war was futile, horrific, catastrophic – a war of ‘lions led by donkeys’ – that stripped our country of its bravest and brightest. Interestingly, this was not the common belief in the immediate aftermath of the war; this idea only really gained traction during the economic slump of the 1920s. But despite this fact, and even in the face of a recent boom in scholarship around the First World War, there has been little impact on popular remembrance. The war is still understood in Britain as the ‘bad war’ – especially in contrast to its successor – and this over-arching narrative is emphasised and promulgated by popular culture.
It is the year 308 BC; fifteen years after the death of Alexander the Great. During this time, his empire has been unofficially divided between his closest companions: Ptolemy, a Macedonian general and one of Alexander’s oldest friends, has control of Egypt; the one-eyed general Antigonus has Asia Minor and Syria, and Cassander – son of the late great general Antipater – has forcefully taken over as regent of Macedonia and the Greek city states. This arrangement, however, is far from secure and intermittent, bloody war rages throughout Alexander’s lands.
In Sardis, the capital city of Lydia (situated in modern-day Turkey), Cleopatra of Macedon plots her escape. She has been living as a guest-prisoner with Antigonus for more than ten years. She is a princess – the full sister of Alexander the Great. By now she is about fifty years old. Most of her family is dead – mother, father, brother and half-siblings all having met untimely deaths. Somehow, word has reached her that Ptolemy, ruler of Egypt and a childhood friend of her brother’s, has asked for her hand in marriage. Despite having rejected the proposals of many of Alexander’s other generals, she accepts. This is where we find her, attempting to make her way south to Egypt.
She never makes it. Antigonus’s men find her and she is brought back to Sardis, imprisoned and killed. The question is, why?
I’m currently having a bit of a Jack the Ripper phase. Despite previously knowing very little about the grisly east end murders of 1888, now – I confess – I’m hooked. Tempted as I am to try my hand at a bit of armchair detective work, I am actually more interested in why myself and most people are fascinated with serial killers, rather than actually who Jack the Ripper was. After all, if I told you that the Ripper was ‘Joe Bloggs’, a 43 year old butcher who lived in Whitechapel, would that really satisfy your curiosity? Would the ‘who’ without the ‘why’ bring us any sort of closure?
Just to clarify, I’m pretty sure there was no 43 year old butcher in the Whitechapel area called Joe Bloggs at the time of the murders. If there was, then it looks like I’ve found a new and lucrative career as a psychic.