Monthly Archives: March 2011

“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” –Marie-Antoinette, Queen Consort of Louis XVI (1755-1793)

We humans share an innate liking for sweetness –perhaps a relic of our early career as arboreal fruit-eaters – and as we shall see, this biological heritage has been a real force in human history. Equally notable is its prominence … Continue reading

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the droghte of March– spring fasting in Lambeth

Besides the cleannesse of sweet abstinence, Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense, A face not fearing light: Whereas in fullness there are sluttish fumes Sowre exhalations, and dishonest rheumes, Revenging the delight. George Herbert (1593-1633) Spring is associated … Continue reading

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moving out of london

In the middle ages, red kites were protected by royal decree,  killing them was a capital offence. They kept the streets  clear of human debris, dead animals and dark oily filth.  They were known as shitehawks, a straightforward job description. … Continue reading

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Thomas Mann and a little girl on the train from Prague

The scene of little Herr Friedmann’s first encounter with Frau von Rinningern was the main street of the town, a street lined almost entirely with shops and offices. He was vouchsafed this first sight of her at midday, just after … Continue reading

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