See You in Le Touquet: A memoir of war and destiny

By |2024-01-15T20:36:40+00:00January 15th, 2024|Uncategorized|

For most of us, setting out to write about our parents would present a few challenges: where to start, what parts of their lives to focus on, and, most importantly, how to make it interesting to anyone who’s not one of their children. Romie Christie didn’t have to worry about any of that; she had [...]

Making Up the Gods: a review

By |2023-12-19T06:01:27+00:00December 19th, 2023|Uncategorized|

“[T]he best families seem to be made not born.” Simone LeMay says this towards the end of a week spent cohabiting with a nine-year-old who is not her son, and coming to terms with the unexpected appearance of a stranger who purports to be her cousin. A retired widow, Simone lives on the shore of [...]

Miss Brill, by Katherine Mansfield

By |2022-10-05T21:25:28+00:00October 5th, 2022|Uncategorized|

As part of the work I'm doing on a book about my mother, who wrote short stories, I'm rereadng one of my favourite authors, Katherine Mansfield. "Miss Brill", first published in November, 1920, is, to me, the perfect short story:   MISS BRILL ALTHOUGH it was so brilliantly fine–the blue sky powdered with gold and [...]

For Such is the Kingdom: Chapter 6

By |2022-08-08T18:56:37+00:00August 8th, 2022|Uncategorized|

6. Many men simply become Guardians as a stepping-stone to the Town Council; they wish to gain confidence in speaking, and use the Board room as a practising ground . . . They are often ignorant and indifferent, and stand for other reasons than their knowledge of or interest in the poor. Report of the [...]

For Such is the Kingdom: Chapter 5

By |2022-08-02T15:39:09+00:00August 2nd, 2022|Uncategorized|

5. All the paupers in the workhouse, except those disabled by sickness or infirmity, persons of unsound mind, and children, shall rise, be set to work, leave off work, and go to bed at such times, and shall be allowed such intervals for their meals as the Board of Guardians shall, by any regulation approved [...]

For Such is the Kingdom: Chapter 4

By |2022-07-25T16:09:36+00:00July 25th, 2022|Uncategorized|

4. CAPE OF GOOD HOPE COLONIAL MAIL LINE, carrying her Majesty’s mails. – DONALD CURRIE and Co.’s LONDON LINE of STEAMERS leave Dartmouth for Capetown every alternate Friday, and Capetown for Plymouth every alternate Tuesday. Loading in London at the South West India Dock. Apply to the Owners, 4, Fenchurch-street, London E.C. The London Daily [...]

My top 15 favourite online historical research sites – and a new one

By |2022-07-24T02:55:04+00:00July 21st, 2022|Uncategorized|

If you're working on any kind of historical book, fiction or otherwise, these are some of the most helpful places to find what you're looking for. - An American genealogy company based in Lehi, Utah. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical, historical records, and related genetic [...]

For Such is the Kingdom: Chapter 3

By |2022-07-30T00:07:35+00:00July 20th, 2022|Uncategorized|

3. To each class shall be assigned that ward or separate building and yard which may be best fitted for the reception of such class, and each class of paupers shall remain therein, without communication with those of any other class. Consolidated General Order (1847) Matron put down her pen. “Now here’s what’s what. It’s [...]

For Such is the Kingdom: Chapter 2

By |2022-07-11T15:18:53+00:00July 11th, 2022|Uncategorized|

2. Remember, remember!/The fifth of November,/The Gunpowder treason and plot;/I know of no reason/Why the Gunpowder treason/Should ever be forgot! (English folk verse c. 1870) We were out gathering sticks for the bonfire. Vic had Teddy in her arms and I followed behind like always. William ran ahead looking for firecrackers. Vic said we should [...]

My Messy Bookshelf: Harrow Road sequel

By |2022-07-03T22:29:44+00:00July 3rd, 2022|Uncategorized|

Back in 2014, Gregory Rodriguez wrote an article on “How Genealogy Became Almost as Popular as Porn”. In it he traced the current obsession – or fascination, if obsession is a little too creepy – with tracing our family history to Alex Haley’s best-selling book Roots. As Rodriguez pointed out, some of us were always [...]

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