Of Kings, Car Parks and Bandwagons

After the discovery of the remains of King Richard III, it seems to be obligatory for every history blogger, Tweeter and Facebooker to have their say on the matter, so for what it’s worth, here are a few of my thoughts. First, bouquets to Leicester University’s archaeologists for a stunning piece of work; second, brickbats […]

Stasis

A strange thing happens to me in secondhand bookshops these days. Time was when I couldn’t go into one without leaving laden down with books. Now, though, I invariably browse the shelves and think ‘got that…got that…don’t need that…got that…’. I used to have a lengthy ‘wants list’ on Abebooks, but now it’s virtually empty. […]

The End

It’s good to be back after a two week break, although ‘break’ is probably the wrong word – most of that time having been spent frantically finishing off Britannia’s Dragon, which has now gone off to the publisher! This is my fourth non-fiction historical book, so I think I’m now probably qualified to pass on some of […]

Repository Bingo, Part 1

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the start of my research into the seventeenth century navy – or at least, the formal, funded, full-time student start, as I’d been tentatively examining the subject during the previous couple of years, when I was still teaching in Cornwall. Apart from the fact that realising it’s been […]

The Sailors’ (and Soldiers’) Graves

Last week’s post about naval and maritime graves in west Wales got a very positive response, so I thought I’d return to a similar theme this time. I spent the second half of last week further north, on the shores of Cardigan Bay, dodging torrential downpours, visiting a few places of naval interest (both expected […]

The Sailors’ Graves

It’s OK, minions of the Carmarthenshire County Council damage limitation department, you can stand down – this one isn’t about you. A reblog of one of my old posts (from July 2012) this week because of pressure of work, but I hope it’s one that will appeal to both my followers who are into maritime […]

Keeping the Past Alive

As followers of my Twitter feed will know, I spent much of last week at the first Defence Heritage Conference, splendidly organised by Wessex Institute of Technology and held at the Royal Beach Hotel in Portsmouth. This proved to be an excellent event with some great networking and interesting papers, ranging geographically from Taiwan to […]

The Comfort Zone

One of the challenges and delights of working on my new non-fiction book, Britannia’s Dragon: A Naval History of Wales, is that it’s taking me into all sorts of uncharted territory and, in some cases, territory I’m revisiting after many years. The book is meant to cover the entire time period from the Romans (AD 60, to […]

Coast of Ages

I spent the whole of last week on a Britannia’s Dragon research trip in north-west Wales. Coming originally from the south-west of the country, where it’s far easier and quicker to get to London than to the north, I knew Anglesey and Snowdonia quite well but didn’t really know the Llyn Peninsula, and this proved […]

Flash Pepys, Saviour of the Universe

Last week saw the anniversary of Samuel Pepys’s birth in 1633, and Twitter was abuzz with the inevitable superlatives – the greatest English diarist! the founder of the modern Royal Navy! One only needed Queen to belt out ‘Pepys, Saviour of the Universe’, with Brian Blessed bellowing ‘Sam’s alive?!’, and the hyperbolic overdose would have […]