It’s Yer Actual Orfenticity, Innit

Last week, I went to see Dunkirk, which has been getting pretty much unanimous rave reviews from film critics worldwide. And I have to say I agree with them – this is one of the best war films I’ve seen (and I’ve seen rather a lot), totally gripping from beginning to end, and very unusual in […]

The Return of Ranty McRantface

[Note: those not interested in naval stuff, or in a good old-fashioned rant, can look away now, watch repeats of The West Wing or Jeremy Kyle on daytime TV, and come back next week instead. On the other hand, if you’re not interested in naval stuff or good old-fashioned rants, what the heck are you doing here […]

Maritime Historians, Assemble! (No Hulks)

Back in March, I flagged the call for papers for the first conference to be organised under the direct auspices of the Society for Nautical Research, which has traditionally only provided financial support for conferences organised by others. Organised jointly with the Greenwich Maritime Centre, this will be held at the Old Royal Naval College, […]

Books. Beer. What’s Not to Like?

It is a truth not universally acknowledged that Jane Austen brewed her own beer, so I have absolutely no doubt that, as she looks down upon all the events marking the bicentenary of her death, the great author would thoroughly approve of Open Book, the first ever literary festival in Hitchin. The strapline, ‘Books, Beer and […]

The Devil Upon the Wave – Teaser Trailer

To mark the publication by Endeavour Press of the new Quinton title, The Devil Upon the Wave, I’m delighted to provide a treat for my loyal readers and followers of this blog – namely, the first few pages of the book. *** Here, Painter, let thine art describe a story, Shaming our warlike island’s ancient glory: A […]

Amsterdam Good Time, Part 2

Conferences are often opportunities to meet old friends and make new ones, and that was certainly true of last weekend’s conference in Amsterdam to mark the 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on the Medway. I caught up with several people I hadn’t seen for ages, finally met some of my Dutch Twitter followers in […]

Amsterdam Good Time, Part 1

And so it continued. Not content with fireworks, rowing contests, schoolchildren’s chain-making competitions, and exhibitions galore, it was finally time for the historians to have their four-penn’orth about the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway, which was why I spent last weekend in Amsterdam, attending a conference jointly organised by the Naval Dockyards Society […]

I’m a Doctor – Why Can’t I have a Tardis?

What, you mean doctorates in History don’t count? But a Tardis would have been very useful over the weekend, when I was in Portsmouth for the AGM of the Society for Nautical Research, followed by a splendid dinner on the lower gundeck of HMS Victory, but I’d also have loved to be in Chatham for ‘Medway […]

Medway 350, Day 4

Inevitably and naturally, Sunday was the day for a little more solemnity; certainly rather more solemnity than that provided by the hijacker of yesterday’s post, the scurrilous shade of Samuel Pepys himself. Above all, the day featured a service at Rochester Cathedral to mark the 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on the Medway. For […]

Medway 350, Day 3

(With an affectionate nod toward Samuel Pepys, esquire, sometime Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board, sometime Secretary to the Admiralty, sometime President of the Royal Society, sometime Master of Trinity House, sometime serial bonker)   Up betimes, and to ye dockyard at Chatham, where I enquired where I might find Pett. ‘No pets […]