The Photocopier of Doom

In the near future, I promise to start blogging again about matters other than the situation at Carmarthenshire Archives, the subject of my last two posts and of a remarkable and gratifying response from individuals and online communities around the world. But while I’m waiting for responses to the letters I’ve sent to the Keeper […]

Carmarthenshire Archives: An Update

In my previous post, I presented the situation at the archives as I understood it, and noted that I had not received any reply to the email that I sent to Carmarthenshire County Council a fortnight earlier. Perhaps coincidentally, I received a detailed email from Jane Davies, Senior Cultural Services Manager, some six hours after […]

Carmarthenshire Archives: Farce or Greek Tragedy?

A warning: if you’re in search of a short and cheerful read, I suggest you leave this post now and click on something like Buzzfeed instead. On the other hand, if you have a few minutes to spare to read a woeful tale of institutional failure, threatening access to – and the very existence of […]

Annus Mirabilis: Or, a Very Good Time for 17th Century Naval History

This is turning into something of an annus mirabilis for we few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters), who nail our tattered colours to the rickety mast of seventeenth century naval history. Next month, on 4 July, there’s what promises to be a fascinating day at Hastings under the auspices of the splendid Shipwreck […]

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I recently assumed the chairmanship of the Research and Programmes committee of the Society for Nautical Research. I was very proud to do so, and as my colleague Lorna Campbell, who’s just taken up the chair of the society’s Publications Committee, blogged about her new role last week, I thought I’d follow suit! I’ve been […]

The Turn of the Cards

You know the scene. Perhaps it’s in a 1930s cop movie, or maybe it’s a 1970s Cold War thriller. In either case, there might well be a moment where a bespectacled drone leads our hero into a huge, dark basement. The lights flicker on, illuminating the cobwebs in the corners. Rats scurry across the floor. […]

Arfur Minute

A confession: I very nearly became an Arthurian. Before you all run off into the hills, screaming hysterically, bear with me for a few minutes. Remember that I originally come from Carmarthenshire – Caer Myrddin, the fort of Merlin, right? So the Arthurian myths and legends were all around me from pretty much as far back as […]

Labels in History, or Why Historians don’t Complete Arguments with ‘QED’

When this post goes ‘live’, I’ll be heading north to spend a week shut away on my own, brainstorming the plot of ‘Quinton 6’. (The first draft of book 5, The Battle of All The Ages, is currently out with its critical readers, and after I’ve made the inevitable revisions and redrafts, it should be on […]

The Proof of Sod’s Law; or, the Curse of the Killer VIPI

People sometimes ask me which I prefer writing, fiction or non-fiction. I love doing both, and both have their pros and cons, but one of the biggest differences between the two genres is that with fiction, of course, you don’t usually forget to put things into the book. Sure, you might deliberately cut a sub-plot […]

Mr Stark and Mr Staring

Just when you’re starting to think ‘what shall I blog about this week?’, along comes good old David Starkey and solves the problem. (Actually, in true London bus fashion his intellectual soulmate Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Eton – sorry, Education – then came along too, but more of him anon.) For those […]