A Grand Day Out

Cold and wet with a blustery wind: that’s what we woke to this morning. The forecast did not suggest any improvement for the rest of the day.
After that lovely spell of hot Spring weather a week or so ago, we have returned to normal Easter Bank Holiday weather, here in Oxfordshire.

What to do?
With two boys disinclined to join in (understandably as both have major exams in the coming Summer term, and both need to revise) we three adults, Cyclomaniac, his mother (Milly) and me, decided to visit a National Trust property.

We are members of The National Trust and as such pay an annual fee and receive in return a regular newsletter, a handbook and free entry to many properties around the UK. Some of them quite spectacular.

Today’s trip was to Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, only about a half an hours drive away. The house is managed by the National Trust, but the gardens, grounds and other aspects are still in the hands of the Verney family, who live in a wing of the house.

After wandering around the outbuildings where we found arty shops and galleries, plus the cafe for a quick lunch we considered the garden tour, but given the biting wind and the earliness of the season, we decided to come back to investigate another time. We went next to a small bookshop… second-hand books in a warm snug room, with comfy chairs and several families enjoying the books. It was completely unmanned, and to pay  there was a small posting slot in a door. All done on trust at the National Trust!
We came away with garden books, novels, a hardback copy of AA Milne’s ‘When we were Six’ and spent about £15 in all!

Next the house. Continue reading “A Grand Day Out”

Mystified Marxist Mouse

I have recently been involved in an interesting discussion Elsewhere on the subject of Cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt School. Simplistically, Political Marxism morphed into Cultural Marxism from there to Political Correctness and Multiculturalism. Thus Marxism is responsible for all the ills of the Western World today.

But that is just the background. I have made mention on this site that I studied history, and I was intrigued by the views of Marxist Historians. Very simply, it was a way of looking at historical events which gave more importance to underlying socio-economic factors.

Continue reading “Mystified Marxist Mouse”

It is the Sixth of June

And do I see any sign in the press that, sixty-seven years ago today, the greatest sea-borne invasion in history took place on the beaches of Normandy, beginning the end of the Great Patriotic War, excuse me, World War Two? I see that Hugh Bonneville is up for the Gentleman’s Club role, whatever the hell that may be, that Bob Geldoff has been rocking them in the aisles with his tales of love, that Wayne Rooney has had a hair transplant…

I’d like to revive a post I put up some time ago…

Counter-factual History.

What might have been had the Romans developed the steam engine? By the late 3rd century AD, all of the essential elements for constructing a steam engine were known to Roman engineers: steam power – Hero’s aeolipile, the crank and connecting rod mechanism in the sawmills and marble quarries, the cylinder and piston in metal force pumps, non-return valves in water pumps and gearing in water mills and clocks. Suppose that the Roman Empire emerged, as it did, from the crisis of the third century with all its administrative and military institutions changed, bureaucratic, rigid, and constantly geared for war, with its capital no longer in Rome but in Constantinople – and with steam power. (Such a development might have occurred not in Italy, but in the Eastern Empire – the stirrup was first put into wide use there, and reserves of coal and other minerals are available without deep mining in, for example, Dacia, Moesia and Thracia – present-day Romania and Bulgaria.)

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What might have been