Human life

Why it is important to choose your dining companions with care

My sister shared an interesting little story with me about a well-travelled man who decided to drop in on a tribe of cannibals – not my first choice of people I’d like to have dinner with, let me tell you. Apparently, the first major hurdle in getting to Cannibal Land was to find someone to …

Why it is important to choose your dining companions with care Read More »

Ring out the old, ring in the new – YES PLEASE!!!!

New Year’s Eve is a date imbued with hope. It is also host to a variety of traditions, all of them meant to ensure a happy future—or at least give us a glimpse of what is to come. Eating twelve grapes at midnight is one of those “let us hope things go well next year” …

Ring out the old, ring in the new – YES PLEASE!!!! Read More »

The bride wore white for the first time ever. Meet a15th century trendsetter

Quite some time ago, I wrote about Margareta of Denmark, a rather impressive woman who ended up as the de facto ruler of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. When Margareta died in 1412, her adopted son Erik of Pommerania took over the reins of government, and I suspect this thirty-year-old man was more than thrilled to be …

The bride wore white for the first time ever. Meet a15th century trendsetter Read More »

When life becomes a numerical exercise

Today, I am stepping out of my comfort zone (historical posts with a little Anna spice) to share something rather personal. Oh, God: I can see some of you yawning at the thought—as you should, perhaps, seeing as my life is not exactly the stuff of which novels are made. Well, okay, I once balanced …

When life becomes a numerical exercise Read More »

Dying for his king – or how a would-be Parliamentarian ended up a dead Royalist

There is a picture in the National Portrait Gallery that I have always been particularly fond of. Originally, I was drawn to it more because of the formal garden in the background than the sitters in the foreground (this was when I was thinking BIG when it came to garden design), but every time I’ve …

Dying for his king – or how a would-be Parliamentarian ended up a dead Royalist Read More »

Jan Frans van Dael, Roses in a glass vase

Sometimes love is not enough…

…which, one would think, is not the best of topics on Valentine’s Day, but hey, love is love even when it isn’t quite enough, isn’t it? Today’s post is rather personal. I think (hope) it speaks for itself. ****************** She was fourteen the first time she saw him. He was a year older, a cocky …

Sometimes love is not enough… Read More »

In Memoriam – of graveyards and mothers

A recent survey here in Sweden has concluded that a majority of Swedish people feel we should spread the ashes of those that have died in the great outdoors. A gust of wind and what little remains of a human after cremation would soar upwards, spread and eventually settle back on the ground. No need, …

In Memoriam – of graveyards and mothers Read More »

Of golden camels and shortchanged heiresses

In 1204, a certain Marie de Montpellier married King Pedro II of Aragón. This was her third marriage, and I dare say we can safely conclude Marie was rather unlucky in love—or at least in marriages. But before we start dissecting her marital unions, we need some background. Marie was the daughter of Guillaume of …

Of golden camels and shortchanged heiresses Read More »

Is she Violent? No, she’s Violante

Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder what our dear ancestors might have been high on when naming their children. Take, for example, the royal custom in medieval Castile of naming their little princesses Urraca. Urraca is Spanish for magpie, and my main objection to the name is how harsh it sounds. Urraca is an onomatopoeic …

Is she Violent? No, she’s Violante Read More »

The male footnote – of a young man in Tudor England

History as we know it is like a very large, very incomplete embroidery, where some of those who have lived and breathed before us have ended up as a minuscule little stitch or two while the vast majority of our ancestors have lived and died without leaving as much as a wrinkle on the tapestry …

The male footnote – of a young man in Tudor England Read More »