Finding Uncle Dai

(Please scroll down to the very bottom for a very important announcement about forthcoming posts! Meanwhile…) If you can’t beat them, join them. Britain seems to have gone overboard for the World War One centenary, several months before the actual anniversaries begin. There have already been TV programmes and new projects galore, with many of […]

Last Invasions

It’s nice to be back after a break of a few weeks, during which I’ve made great progress on ‘Quinton 6’ – nearly 30,000 words written already! It’s been quite an eventful time, too. I gave a talk at the Nelson Museum in Monmouth, which is a wonderful place and should be a ‘must’ for […]

The Birth, Death and Rebirth of a Royal Dockyard

(Cross-posted on my Welsh naval history site , I spent the weekend in Pembroke Dock, attending the launch events for the bicentenary of the foundation of the Royal Dockyard in 1814. The yard was established to take advantage of the tremendous deep water harbour of Milford Haven, and was intended to be exclusively a […]

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 […]

Reclaiming the Past

Last Saturday, I attended the annual conference of Morol, the Institute of Welsh Maritime Historical Studies, in Cardiff’s glorious Pierhead building. This proved to be a stimulating and highly convivial affair, although the afternoon session was conducted against the backdrop of an almighty storm which caused flash flooding throughout Cardiff; indeed, the downpour was so […]

Launching the Dragon

You are in an oak-panelled library, or, perhaps, a fine old bookshop, full of musty antiquarian tomes. All around you is a hubbub of lively, erudite conversation. You’ve tried to play ‘spot the celebrity’, but there are just too many – Huw over there, Jeremy in the corner talking to Melvyn and Polly. You sip […]

Castles in the Air, Part 1

Castles kicked it all off for me – ‘all’ being the lifelong interest in history, leading ultimately to a career teaching it and a second career writing about it. A visit to Pembroke Castle when I was five years old proved to be the catalyst, and a year or so later, when my parents and […]

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 […]

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 […]