History

The disappointments of a travelling history nerd

I generally plan my trips round things I want to see—and most of the time, what I want to see is historical. I can spend hours tracking down an obscure medieval gate or finding the few, sad ruined remnants of what was once a proud castle. I have recently been travelling in Spain. Málaga, Alhambra, […]

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Oh woe, my toe!

Today’s post is about an ailment, namely gout. Why? Because I discovered some months ago that Edward I, a larger-than-life presence in my upcoming rlease, apparently suffered from this disease. Now, In Sweden gout has pejoratively been known as “portvinstå” – portwinetoe – and was assumed to afflict only very sedentary, very rich, somewhat obese,

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Wandering the medieval streets of London

Here, take my hand. Come on, I won’t hurt you. Nope, just grab hold of me so that I can drag you with me, seven centuries backwards in time. What, you don’t want to? I promise I’ll bring you back. Cross my heart. (Sheesh: some people are SO unadventurous!) Now that you’ve overcome your fear,

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Celebrating the winter solstice – a reflection on sacrifices, pagan ways and little folk…

Today is the winter solstice. In many ways, this calls for a huge celebration – we have turned the corner, peeps, and slowly, slowly, the light will return to warm the frozen ground. In countries such as mine, so far north as to extend beyond the Artic Circle, winter is the season of extended nights

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The king’s lady – of Nicholaa de la Haye, defender of Lincoln, as presented by Sharon Bennett Connolly

Today, dear peeps, we’re going to be spending time in medieval England, more specifically in the reign of King John. This time and place was a man’s world where women rarely got more than a passing mantion by the (male) chroniclers. There were exceptions of course, and one such exception was Nicholaa de la Haye,

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Evil deeds and their grisly consequences – of crime and punishment

During the past summer, I did something I’ve been planning to do for years: I visited Kalmar Castle, which is one of the older castles in Sweden. Initially built in the 13th century, it reached its full glory as a Renaissance Palace in the 16th century, but nothing really lasts for ever does it? The

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The miser’s money put to good use – a walk through history inspired by Southwark Cathedral

Once upon a time, there was an avaricious gent named John. Our John was in the logistics business, more specifically, he transported people back and forth across the Thames. Okay, so this is a looong time ago, and while the intrepid and savvy Romans managed to span the river with the first ever London bridge,

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The hidden past – in which Christina Courtenay follows in the steps of the Vikings

Lately, my reading has included several books set in the 9th to 11th century, a period of time that comes to us as vague echoes through the mists of time. One of my recent reads is Hidden in the Mists, Christina Courtenay’s excellent dual time line book (more of that below) Her book made me

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When the light at the end of the tunnel winks out – a somewhat sad story

Some weeks ago, I was at Marstrand. Most of you have never heard of this little Swedish gem, but should you ever make it to Sweden, I would recommend a visit. An hour or so north of Gothenburg, Marstrand was once a heaving, bustling place, an important harbour city that thrived due to the herring.

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Adding a dash or two of ice to history

I have spent the last few days thinking about ice. Partly, this is because it’s been very, very hot—so hot, I wouldn’t have minded a pile of crushed ice to roll around in. And then, of course, there are all the news reports about the disappearing ice—in the Artic, in the Himalayas, in Antarctica. Everywhere,

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