Fort & Folly

Spurn Head Spit may now be significant as a natural habitat, but this sliver of shifting clay has military value too.  The Humber gives access to a number of major docks (though even in total they handle but a fraction of the traffic seen on the Thames) and so for an invading force coming by … Continue reading Fort & Folly

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Putting Down New Roots

Thank Marco Polo for bringing noodles back from China and inspiring all those wonderful pasta variations. Or maybe not. In a recent programme for the BBC, ancient historian Michael Scott suggested that Arabs brought strips of semolina similar to tagliatelle to Sicily a century earlier. With only a 100 miles or so of the Mediterranean … Continue reading Putting Down New Roots

Out of Obscurity

One of the things about living in the UK is that its relatively easy to map out what Winston Churchill described as A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the Celts who populated these islands were joined by the cosmopolitan militia and auxiliaries of the Roman Empire, who were in turn pushed aside by migrating Angles and Saxons, interfered … Continue reading Out of Obscurity

A Mediterranean Drinking Culture (Venezia 91)

Tony Blair believed that the relaxation of licensing hours in the UK would lead to a more mature attitude to alcohol amongst my countrymen, that by lifting the rush to drink heavily before closing time there would be less drunkenness on our streets.  I think that's still work in progress. Bars are everywhere in Italian … Continue reading A Mediterranean Drinking Culture (Venezia 91)