Weather, history and the origins of words

Note: This post originally appeared on Wordscience, a now defunct writing-focused blog of mine, on September 2, 2009. I was recently flipping through that blog’s archives and came across this post, which I thought would be neat to share here too. Two things I like (after writing) are history and the weather. So it would come as no surprise that a book called Blame it on the Rain: How the Weather Has Changed History would be a lot of fun for me. Thank you, discount book… (READ MORE)

Ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, York

In 2010 I visited York, England. I’d always wanted to go there, primarily because I was excited about all the historical sights in the town. My site’s header comes from that trip – it’s a small bit of what remains of St Mary’s Abbey, a Benedictine abbey established in 1088. As a Canadian, finding a structure that old and still standing was amazing. And it was made no less amazing by the fact that it was a short stroll from my B&B, and in the middle… (READ MORE)

Who was Perkin Warbeck? About the pretender to the English throne

Note: I wrote this article for another site in 2009. As the site seems now to be defunct, I’m re-posting it here. Since writing it, I’ve developed a small fascination with pretenders to the throne – in the time before photographs, when even nobility may not have been commonly recognized, it seems like a halfway decent strategy to try out, if one had designs on swindling their way onto a throne. I may write about more, later. During the reign of King Henry VII, Perkin Warbeck claimed… (READ MORE)

Napoleon complex

For Christmas, my husband got me a print of my favourite Kate Beaton comic, above (though this is actually a photo of her book, Step Aside, Pops, which is great). We’ve moved twice since Christmas, and the fact that I still have yet to get the print framed is becoming embarrassing. Napoleon’s height is my favourite historical fact, and part of me is considering not framing the print. Maybe I should carry it around with me and unfurl it whenever I feel the need to interject the fact into an… (READ MORE)

The finality of history, and escapism

I’ve been reading a lot of historical fiction lately, which is something I surprisingly haven’t read too much of in my life. But I’ve been enjoying it, returning to it regularly, with the same urgency I often feel about certain history and biography books I read. I am indeed an adult who deals with her problems, but at the same time, I’m also quite prone to escapism. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit fatalistic about the state of the world and the direction it’s heading in.… (READ MORE)

Pretty much why I love “everyday” history.

“Well now, history is not just the tale of the victors,” he said, “It’s the tale of the privileged. The men in the mud of the battlefield didn’t leave much of a story behind, and the stories they did tell were mostly ignored or forgotten.” – A Desperate Fortune, Susanna Kearsley. Strangely enough, I never really read historical fiction. This book might just convert me, however.

Turku Castle/Turun Linna

Last month, my husband and I spent a couple of weeks visiting family in Finland and Germany. The historical site we were both most excited to see was Turku Castle, in southwest Finland. Turku was the capital of Finland until 1812, when Alexander I, thinking Turku was a little too close to Sweden and too far from Russia, gave Helsinki capital city status instead. However, the castle itself is much older than all that – construction began in the 1280s, when Finland was under Swedish rule. In… (READ MORE)