Not A Norse Saga

(With apologies to the real Norse sagas, especially the greatest of them all, that unmissable TV staple of my childhood, Noggin the Nog.)   Runes the First Harken, ye warriors, as you sit by your campfires in the long dark nights. It was a time of heroes. To those who considered them so, these were Kor-binn […]

Art

Time for some culture, although I can’t help thinking of a quote I first came across when teaching Mussolini’s Italy to schoolchildren some 30 years ago: ‘when I hear the word “culture”, I reach for my gun,’ said, yes, Mussolini’s Minister of Culture. Seriously, though, this is a particularly good time to be a lover […]

“One Year of the Sea! There’s Only One Year of the Sea!”

A version of this post would have been my first of the year, and would have been published some weeks ago, had not more pressing matters intervened. *** So it’s 2018, the Wales Year of the Sea. Or so the marketing gurus who came up with the concept tell us. Now, those of us who […]

Unbereaveable

First, and most importantly, thanks to all those who sent condolences for the passing of my mother – your kind thoughts are very much appreciated. Secondly…well, yes, secondly. Any death is sad: that goes without saying. But, let’s face it, death has always been with us – along with taxes, if one believes the old […]

A Mother and A War

Apologies for the late start to blogging this year, and for my near-total absence from social media last month. This was due to the unexpected death of my mother a week after the New Year – ‘unexpected’ despite her being 92. Obviously, there have been a thousand things to do (I was her only child), […]

The Sandwich of Xanadu

Last week, I went along to the Historical Writers’ Association Christmas bash. This is always great fun – it’s good to touch base with one’s fellow practitioners, especially because our line of work is, by definition, pretty solitary. Above all, it’s always reassuring to find that author A has exactly the same issues that you […]

Stasis Revisited: Part Two

So now, as promised in Monday’s Part 1, here’s my utterly personal and idiosyncratic ‘top five’ of UK secondhand bookshops. As in the previous post, everything in black font after the section break below is material originally posted five years ago, when I only produced a top three; everything in red is brand new, and […]

Stasis Revisited: Part One

Last week, I used my recent holiday in Galloway as a perfect excuse to update an older post about King Arthur, first published four years ago when this site had a much, much smaller following than it does now. This week, I’m doing a similar exercise with an even older post, from the very early […]

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 […]

Dead Admirals Society Dons a Kilt

Apologies for the ‘radio silence’ last week. Regular followers of this blog will know that I sometimes take myself off to Landmark Trust cottages to brainstorm new novels or just to chill, and I spent last week at the tiny but perfectly formed Glenmalloch Lodge in Galloway. The upside of this was that even by […]