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Archive for January, 2010

Working…learning…laughing…

January 12th, 2010
A jar of coloured sand

A jar of coloured sand

Knowledge is like one of those hideous sand sculptures that were really big in the late seventies; layers of coloured sand were poured into long strange shaped clear glass bottles and proudly displayed on window ledges…at least in the town I grew up in (we had lots of sand). If you want to learn about something you have to read numerous books from different perspectives and over time you build up a unique layered mental sand sculpture of whatever you study. Ever since I was a small child I’ve been fascinated by England and English history. For my fifth birthday one of my brother’s friends (who I didn’t know and whose mother must have put together the gift) gave me this small box with two tiny ceramic animals with the words ‘Wade England’ stamped on the base . I still have the seal, the bottom encrusted with childhood dirt. Even at the age of five, England was the land of fairytales and it fascinated me. It still does, but my interests have expanded. These past five years I’ve been studying various interests, one of them being French history. All this knowledge is poured into my mental bottle making new layers that flow together. Read more…

History Notes, Regency Notes

The Absent Husband…

January 5th, 2010

The Absent Husband; the words conjure up an 18th century adventure story where a married Casanova has abandoned his responsibilities and ended reliving the plot of Robinson Crusoe. In my last post I mentioned finding online an old book, The Lives and Portraits of Curious and Odd Characters.  I was enthralled by one particular vignette, ‘Mr Howe, The Absent Husband’. I had to copy the article longhand into my Regency notebook. Later as I brushed my teeth for bed and made my hot water bottle (obviously not at the same time) I was still transfixed by this bizarre real story. Whoever the author of the original article, they manage to sound like Dr Watson writing up one of Sherlock Holmes’ unsolved cases. I shall transcribe my transcription and you’ll see what I mean. If you can think of a plausible reason WHY this man would do what he did that fits all the other facts…PLEASE share it…I beg you! (Most of the punctuation is original though I did add a few periods)

About the year 1706, I know, says Dr. King one Mr Howe a sensible well natured man, possessed of an estate of 700-800 pounds per annum; he married a young lady of good family, in the West of England; her maiden name was Mallet, she was agreeable in person and manners, and proved a very good wife. Seven or Eight years after they had been married, he rose one morning very early and told his wife he was obliged to go to the Tower to transact some particular business; the same day at noon the wife received a note Read more…

Book Reviews, History Notes, I've been thinking, Regency Notes

Real Georgians…who were really weird…

January 3rd, 2010

As the English says, I’m feeling poorly. I’ve spent most of the day lying in bed with the onset of a chest infection so I decided to read something. A few weeks ago I found a book at the charity shop that dealt with how London’s growth has been affected by wealthy people over the centuries. If it doesn’t sound like something to read while ill, you’d be right! After opening it I sat there feeling terribly confused…so and so married so and so’s daughter who inherited such and such from her uncle who was so and so and they spent the money buying such and such to make this or that… I started skimming and came across a number of interesting people and one of them was John Elews, an eccentric miser who lived in the mid to late 18th century. On looking him up on Google I came across this fantastic free on line book that was published in 1852, The lives and Portraits of Curious and Odd Characters. I think the book was originally published in the early 1800’s as it comments on eccentrics living in 1801 and 1810 as being recent. Read more…

Book Reviews, Regency Notes