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 […]

“It’s coming home, it’s coming home…”

Last week I was speaking to Dutch TV about a documentary they’re planning on the Anglo-Dutch wars, and during the course of that it emerged that the sternpiece of the Royal Charles, captured at Chatham in 1667 and a prominent exhibit at the Rijksmuseum, will be returning temporarily to the UK for an exhibition at […]

The Old Order Changeth

I spent last Saturday afternoon at the new Caird Library in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, having been invited to a special ‘bloggers’ preview’ at the end of the library’s first week with a properly restored full service following a very long hiatus. As I’ve been using the ‘old Caird’ for about thirty years, I […]

The Real Tarpaulins, Part 3: Or, Getting It Wrong and Getting It Right

My original intention for this week was to do a ‘straight’ factual outline of the careers of the three most famous ‘tarpaulin’ officers of the Restoration period, the closely inter-connected Sir Christopher Myngs, Sir John Narbrough and Sir Cloudesley Shovell. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there was a […]

The Real Tarpaulins, Part 2

This week, a couple more ‘tarpaulin’ officers whose lives provided inspiration for the character of Kit Farrell in ‘the journals of Matthew Quinton’. I’ll conclude the series next week with a look at probably the most famous tarpaulins of the age – the closely interconnected Norfolk admirals Christopher Myngs, John Narbrough and Cloudesley Shovell. The […]

History and Fiction

I thought I’d take a brief break from my accounts of ‘the real gentlemen captains’ to give my impressions of last week’s conference at the Institute of Historical Research in London, Novel Approaches: From Academic History to Historical Fiction, which continues this week in virtual form. First of all it was great fun, and it […]

Dragon’s Den

Just a quick update this week, because after several weeks of doing other things it’s time to get back down to serious writing with a vengeance! I thought I’d provide occasional updates on the progress of each of my projects, and will start with my new non-fiction book for The History Press, Britannia’s Dragon: A […]