Castles – The Motte & Bailey

Castles. Camelot. Soaring stone towers. Damsels in distress. Jousting. Or if you are a gloomy soul; prisons, torture chambers, oppressive hulking grey monsters on the skyline. Well, both have elements of truth but most castles were much more humble. In England the vast majority of castles were in fact, for the longest time, wood. Simple… Continue reading Castles – The Motte & Bailey

Doors…an odd obsession!

I had thought I was a little strange being so interested in doors. I often take pictures of them when I am visiting a new town. They are largely neglected in the modern era, I think. Historically doors have been a building's bling and quite right too. I am apparently not alone in this nuttiness… Continue reading Doors…an odd obsession!

Requiem In Pace…

Passing the cathedral on the last warm evening of autumn I heard the choir practicing. The building towered away into a bright starry sky and the sound of the organ drifted on the breeze, an echo of the ages. A cathedral has stood here in one form or another since the time of Alfred The… Continue reading Requiem In Pace…

Fortification – A Brief History… Part 1

Given my previous post about war and questioning the representation of it maybe it is a little perverse to set down to write a brief canter through the history of fortifications. However, defensive structures can, and have, prevented conflict for millennia. They have also be the focus of conflict, resistance, survival and defeat. Many castles… Continue reading Fortification – A Brief History… Part 1

Ancient Food… Part 2

flatbread naan

Since I can't beat this one, I will join them - I loved this article on grilled flat breads, baked over an open fire. This is definitely something that people did in the past all over the world and still do today. The Romans and the Vikings both made flat breads this way when on… Continue reading Ancient Food… Part 2

After The Deluge… Part 4: Dance

ballet dancer

I have made use of dance in my plot, because, well, it has a long tradition of appearing in literature. Dancing allows people to be intimate, almost private, in a public space, it is a good opportunity to converse - used to great effect by Jane Austen for one. All very convenient for moving a… Continue reading After The Deluge… Part 4: Dance

After The Deluge…Part 3: Food

grilled sardines on metal plate painted wood background

Post-apocalyptic food. Is it ever mentioned? Rarely, except where it has been reduced to a joyless protein pill that meets all a human's nutritional needs or the terrifying Soylent Green. Speaking personally food is one of the great pleasures. I am sure, even in these neurotic times, I am not alone. Why should a recovering… Continue reading After The Deluge…Part 3: Food

Italian Inspiration Part 2

ponte vecchio bridge Florence

From the home of Machiavelli I have drawn the way in which an individual, without necessarily officially having power, can control the State. Lorenzo the Magnificent ruled early Renaissance Florence through a mixture of patronage, place men, rigged ballots and calculated violence. Yet he officially held no political office. Bronzino and workshop artist QS:P170,Q4233718,P?,Q7803, Lorenzo de Medici,… Continue reading Italian Inspiration Part 2