Essential Historical Research Skills, Number 714: Red Wine

Pukka historians will tell you that the really important research skills are things like objectivity, respect for one’s sources, empathy with the people of the past, a strong command of context, open-mindedness, and the ability to avoid sneezing onto priceless fourteenth century manuscripts. However, none of these are as important as red wine. Of course, […]

Serendipity

Sometimes – very, very rarely, but sometimes – thinks click together in an unexpected but beautiful, seemingly preordained way. This is the moment called ‘serendipity’, and it’s doubly appropriate in this case, as that was part of the official pedigree name of my first dog. (‘Peredur Serendipity’, since you ask – a distinctly wilful dachsund […]

The Offpeak Day Return of the King

A bit of an oddity for this week’s second blog. (And anybody thinking ‘the blogger’s a bit of an oddity anyway’ is toast.) Last week’s trip to Galloway – see the previous post – provided me with lots of inspiration of all sorts, and, thanks primarily to Wigtown, also provided me with lots more books […]

A Very Palpable Hit: the State of Maritime Historical Research Conference 2017

Greenwich, 0900, Saturday 9 September: will anybody actually come? will the speakers be any good? will the technology work? is this, the first conference that the Society for Nautical Research has ever staged under its own auspices, going to be a success? Greenwich, 1745, Saturday 9 September: yes, they did; yes, they were; yes, it […]

UPDATE – The Battle of Northampton; or, Are You Carmarthenshire in Disguise?

This afternoon, Friday 4 August, Northamptonshire County Council has announced that, in the short term at least, it’s backing down over the woefully misconceived and crassly announced scheme described in my post below. You can find a link to the full statement, and some clarifying remarks, here. While this is clearly welcome, the long term […]

You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time (Redux)

The current media storm about ‘alternative facts’ put me in mind of a post I first published on 1 November 2011, when this blog was read by two men, a dog, and a vole called Kevin. So I thought I’d re-post it now for a rather wider audience, especially as it chimes neatly with some […]

The Kings of Post-Truth

OK, right, all this ‘post-truth’ malarkey, then. Now, you know you’re never going to get out-and-out politics in this blog, for reasons I might fully elucidate one day. But for various reasons, I’ve been getting a little peeved with all this media hype about ‘post-truth’, ‘fake news’, and so on and so forth. To me, […]

Noah’s Archive

So there are conferences which you go to and think ‘meh’, conferences which take place on a Saturday and you’ve completely forgotten what they were all about by Monday, and the conferences that fire you up and leave the building thinking you’re Thor or Wonder Woman (delete as applicable) and that the bad guys had […]

Game of Hats

Back after a terrific weekend at the Historical Novel Society conference in Oxford. Yes, there were big guns – Melvyn Bragg, Fay Weldon et al – but as always at such events, the information and ideas coming out of the panel sessions were more important, and the networking was more important still. In the latter […]

A Darker Angel

Last week, I posted the first few pages of the fictional plot of Death’s Bright Angel as a ‘teaser trailer’ for the book’s forthcoming publication. But as I’ve mentioned before, this title is actually ‘two books in one’, with the second part being a detailed historical analysis of the evidence surrounding the outbreak of the Great Fire. […]