Menu
Cart 0

Autograph of the Week

Support your local independent bookshop - here's a reading list

Posted on

As the Covid-19 situation drags on, businesses are struggling. On the high street shop after shop is closing. The latest lockdown will probably see more closures, but... One bright spot is a local independent bookshop, The Open Book, and I am doing my bit to keep them in business. Then again, as the theatres are all shut, I have rather more...

Read more ›


Yours sincerely . . .

Posted on

A discussion with a teacher of English one day - before the lockdown - made me reflect on the way people have finished their letters through the ages.He said that, while explaining the niceties of when one should use "Yours faithfully" as opposed to "Yours sincerely", his students were surprised.  Their reaction was simply "but don't you just always use...

Read more ›


Keeping in touch

Posted on

We’re well into the Covid-19 lockdown here in Richmond and although most people are reasonable and well behaved, there is absolutely no doubt that they are thinking longingly of all those restaurants, cafes and pubs now closed. You can’t friends over for tea or dinner either, though some enterprising friends have organized virtual get-togethers.  It’s not quite the same, but...

Read more ›


The Question of Trade

Posted on

Trade is top of the headlines these days in the U.K.  It has always been a priority here. Britain, more than most other countries - the United States may be the closest - has always been concerned about trade throughout its history.  What can history teach us about the subject? Quite a lot, one would hope, although I sometimes fear that...

Read more ›


Women of the Eighteenth Century

Posted on

I love the eighteenth century. More specifically, the long eighteenth century, which ended sometime between the battle of Waterloo in 1815 and the death of Shelley in 1822. It was the Age of Enlightenment, the age of revolutions (American and French) and an age full of interesting, intelligent women who wielded a great deal of influence.I say “influence” advisedly, not...

Read more ›


Adolphe Sax's wonderful invention

Posted on

How many of you recognize the name of Ambroise Thomas?  To the more dedicated music lovers, his name will probably ring a bell. Aged 60, Thomas was appointed Director of the Paris Conservatoire. Throughout his working life, he produced opera after opera - twenty-four of them in all. Some were very popular in their day, but that phrase "in their...

Read more ›


A helping hand

Posted on

It is very obvious that there are more and more people today who need a helping hand. Whether you look close to home, at the elderly lady next door who can't quite manage to carry her shopping, or the growing number of homeless people in major cities all over the world, or the mother desperately juggling a part-time job, looking...

Read more ›


Easter 1916

Posted on

This year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising. In many ways, the dust has barely settled on this event. For many, it was the Queen's visit to Ireland in 2011 that marked the most significant emotional turning point in the relationship between the two countries. But go back to 1926, a mere ten years after the Rising, and you...

Read more ›


Who would you like to see around today?

Posted on

There is supposed to be a Chinese curse which says "May you live in interesting times".  There is no denying that these are interesting times. In fact, you might think that the world has gone mad, everything is in chaos, and where will it all end? This is not the first time people have felt this way. The 1640s saw a...

Read more ›


Snooper's Charter? How they did it in 1805...

Posted on

There's been a lot of talk in the media about government "snooping" into private lives, from the revelations of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, to the current debate raging in Parliament about the "snooper's charter". Is this all new?  The internet and social media may have added another dimension to this, but from a historical perspective, it was ever thus. If...

Read more ›


Back to the top