"Ozymandias" is one of the best-known works by the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). It is an unconventional sonnet with strong socio-political themes.
A presentation and analysis of "Before You Were Mine", a poem by former Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy
The storm petrel is a small seabird that is not often seen except out at sea
Here are brief descriptions of three members of the Potentilla family that grow wild in the British Isles
The county of Dorset, on the south coast of England, has one of the most fascinating coasts of any county, with many features of interest packed into a short distance. Here are some of Dorset’s natural wonders along this stretch of the world-famous Jurassic Coast.
The Manx shearwater is a seabird with some remarkable characteristics
A look at a short poem by Roger McGough, a contemporary poet from Liverpool
"Whaam!" is one of best known examples of Pop Art. It was created by the American artist Roy Lichtenstein in 1963.
A analysis and discussion of "The Retreat", a poem by a late "Metaphysical"
A presentation and discussion of "To Daffodils" by the 17th-century English poet Robert Herrick
The ancient city of Corinth was Greek by location but Roman in most other respects
Wyle is a small English village with some interesting features and tales to tell.
The Lamb is one of the “Songs of Innocence” by William Blake (1757-1827).
The Ritten Earth Pillars are a remarkable survivor from the last Ice Age.
The fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is a seabird that is found, when breeding, on the coasts around most of Great Britain and Ireland.
Scotland abounds with natural wonders. Here are brief introductions to some those to be found south of the Highlands.
The Great Northern Diver is a bird that is known in North America as the Common Loon.
"Nativity" is a poem in sonnet form by the "Metaphysical" poet John Donne.
A short guide to an interesting Dorset village
David Herbert Lawrence (almost universally referred to as D H Lawrence) was one of the foremost novelists in English during the early 20th century. He was also a noted poet, short-story writer and critic.
Henry Fielding (1707-54) is renowned as a pioneer of the English novel, particularly due to his best-known work “Tom Jones”. He was also a reforming London magistrate.
Scarborough in North Yorkshire (35 miles north-east of York) has a good claim to being considered Britain’s first seaside resort, but it has a much older history than that.
A Bird-Scene at a Rural Dwelling is a late poem by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) that recalls memories from his youth while living at Higher Bockhampton near Dorchester.
Reginald Scot wrote a fascinating book, published in 1584, that sought to defuse the myths surrounding witchcraft. This was "The Discoverie of Witchcraft", which also served as a history of conjuring.
Bitter vetch is a plant that grows wild in Great Britain, especially the west and north.
Graham Greene (1904-91) was best known for his novels, which included “The Power and The Glory”, “The Honorary Consul” and “Brighton Rock”. However, he also wrote a large number of short stories, of which “The Destructors” is an interesting example.
The more I look at the religion known as Christianity, the more I realise that it is far from secure, in theological/philosophical terms, having been built on very shaky foundations.
Thomas Hardy’s poem “Your Last Drive” was included in his “Poems of 1912-13” that formed part of his “Satires of Circumstance” published in 1914. The poem is dated December 1912.
Joseph Wright (1734-97) spent much of his life in his birth town of Derby and is thus often referred to as “Joseph Wright of Derby”. He was an original painter who is generally renowned for his paintings that used science and industry for their subjects. He was also a noted portraitist.
The Little Vagabond is one of the “Songs of Experience” that were written and etched by the English poet William Blake between the years 1789 and 1794.
“The Roman Road” is a short poem by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) that was published in his 1909 collection “Time’s Laughingstocks and Other Verses” in the section entitled “Pieces Occasional and Various”.
Caravaggio (1571-1610) was one of the most extraordinary characters in the history of art. His fiery temper and wild behaviour led to a sometimes tempestuous life, and this was reflected in his paintings. His treatment of light added to their drama.
St David’s Cathedral is the largest church in Wales, but its home city is the smallest in Great Britain.
“The Secret Garden” was the second “Father Brown” story written by G K Chesterton (1874-1936). It was published in his 1911 collection of twelve Father Brown detective stories entitled “The Innocence of Father Brown”.
Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Year’s Awakening” was published in his 1914 collection entitled “Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Remedies”. It is dated February 1910.
Albrecht Dürer was one of a small group of highly talented German artists who were born in the late 15th century. Dürer was particularly noted for his use of graphic art that allowed his work to become widely distributed throughout Europe in the form of prints.
Conques is a small village in southern France that is on the tourist trail thanks to the Abbaye de Ste-Foy at its heart.
This is a description and criticism of a well-known English poem that describes scenes of rural distress during the 18th century.
An Italian rail disaster in 1944 killed more than 500 people although the train in question did not crash and was not derailed. This was the “Black Market Express”, so called because of the vital role it played in getting food and other supplies to war-ravaged Naples.
“The Blue Cross” is the story in which Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) introduced his Catholic priest / detective Father Brown. The story was first published in September 1910.
English Heritage maintains six sites in Central London that might be worth visiting as alternatives to the usual tourist traps.
The Altiplano towers over the southern Andes, forming a high plateau between the eastern and western Andean chains. It covers an area of some 65,000 square miles (168,000 sq kms) and has a mean elevation of 12,000 feet (3,650 m).
There are four properties in the English county of Cambridgeshire that are preserved and managed by English Heritage.
“The Queer Feet” is the third story in the first book of Father Brown stories by G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), entitled “The Innocence of Father Brown” (published in 1911).
The English County of Bedfordshire contains four properties that are maintained by English Heritage and made accessible to visitors.
The Zagros Mountains are a snow-covered range of mountains, mainly in south-west Iran, which is normally hot, dry and barren. The range is 550 miles (900 kms) long and 150 miles (240 kms) wide. The highest point is 12,000 feet (3,600 metres) above sea level.
It is a well-respected maxim that travel broadens the mind. For many British young people this takes the form of a “gap year” before going to university. The equivalent in the late 18th and early 19th century – if you could afford it – was the Grand Tour.
South Africa’s Afrikaners (Whites of Dutch origin) regard the Great Trek as the event that marked their identity as a people.
This event, which concluded on 18th April 1521, has gone down in history with an unfortunate name that means something completely different from what most English-speaking people would assume. It was in fact a fundamental turning point in the history of Christianity.
The demoiselle crane (Grus virgo) is found in a broad sweep of semi-arid and steppe land from eastern Europe into central Asia.
Thomas Hardy is known as the author of a series of lengthy novels, which are not always an easy read. However, he also wrote a considerable number of short stories which modern readers might find more approachable. Here is an account of a particularly brief short story.
King Henry VIII's lack of luck in fathering children, and his later erratic behavior, may have been the result of an inherited medical condition.
“The Invisible Man” was the fifth story written by G K Chesterton about his priest/detective Father Brown. It appeared in his original collection of Father Brown stories, entitled “The Innocence of Father Brown”, in 1911.
Claude Lorrain was a 17th century French artist who specialized in large-scale landscapes that incorporated scenes from the Bible or mythology
A short account of the lives of England's first three kings named Henry
A short introduction to the seven sites in Northern England that are recognized by UNESCO as deserving of World Heritage status.
Leicestershire County Cricket Club has had its fair share of triumphs and disasters. Here is a short account of the journey to its sorry present state.
Printing was not invented by Johann Gensfleich zum Gutenberg, but his innovations turned the concept into something revolutionary.
On 18th September 1877 there was a daring raid on an express train at Big Springs, Nebraska. The gang got away with a fortune in gold coins, but their criminal career did not have much longer to run.
Two women killed two other women in a savage attack that shocked France in 1932.
C. T. Studd was a successful English cricketer who gave it all up to follow a completely new career as a Christian missionary in China, India, and Africa.
"Tam O'Shanter" is an entertaining long poem by Robert Burns that has been one of his most loved pieces of poetry ever since it was published in 1791.
England/Great Britain has had eight kings named Edward since the Norman Conquest. Here are brief accounts of all of them.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) is a Victorian masterpiece that has stood the test of time and is as readable and enjoyable today as it was when it first appeared in 1889.
A summary of the causes of emigration from England across the Atlantic in the 17th century
Forced marriages of under-age girls are a scandal that affects not just the Third World but the West as well. The problem is particularly bad in the USA.
The Staplehurst rail crash of 9th June 1865 was notable for two main reasons. One is that it happened because somebody failed to read a railway timetable properly, and the other is that a very well-kn
Some people have claimed to be able to communicate —in writing— the words of dead people. How much credence can be given to such claims?
Vatican City has to be the most unusual independent state in the world, apart from being the smallest. The much overused word “unique” is surely applicable here!
Stonehenge is one of the World's most famous ancient sites. But why was it built?
Most people would agree that humans rights need to be protected, but are we always clear about what counts as a violation of them?
Here is a short explanation of the term 'movement' in classical music.
William the Silent was the first head of state to be assassinated by means of a handheld firearm, but was by no means the last.
A piece of fake news nearly led to a French general deposing Napoleon Bonaparte.
Pasta is associated by most people with Italy. There is a theory that this was thanks to Marco Polo, introducing it on his return from China. Could this be true or is it a myth?
Jacques Benveniste gained the unusual honor of being awarded two Ig Nobel prizes for work that appeared to support the claims of homeopathy.
Here is a short account of the life and work of Pietro da Cortona, who was a highly influential artist during the Baroque period of the 17th century.
Despite being one of Britain`s greatest ever generals, Monty was a very difficult person to deal with.
There are few people today who would deny that the use of tobacco has been an unmitigated disaster in terms of public health and unnecessary early deaths. This was not always the general view.
John Harrison's invention solved a thorny problem in navigation and saved countless lives, but he was poorly rewarded for his effort.
During the early 20th century the “discovery” of an ancient stone appeared to prove that Scandinavians had colonised part of what is now the United States in the 14th century.
A document dating from 1937 has been used to show that Adolf Hitler planned to wage war several years before he did so. But is this a fair analysis?
The history of Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries had much to do with the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the attitude of powerful countries such as Great Britain.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg went to the electric chair on 19th June 1953, having been found guilty of spying for the Soviet Union. But was this sentence a just one?
After King Charles I failed to arrest five of his opponents in the House of Commons, there was no alternative to Civil War.
Here is an introduction to, and discussion of, one of Thomas Hardy’s less-well-known poems.
The success of Annibale Carracci as a fresco painter in Rome encouraged a number of his pupils from Bologna to follow his example and seek commissions from rich and powerful patrons in the papal city.
The Summer Triangle is the name given to an area of the night sky that contains several features of interest for the amateur astronomer.
This is possibly Tom Stoppard's best known play. It offers an amusing and thought-provoking twist on Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
Here is a short introduction to some of the world's best known examples of hot spring activity cause by volcanism.
Early personal firearms, as opposed to cannons, worked by igniting gunpowder just as cannons did. The problem was how to ignite the gunpowder reliably and safely.
The late 19th century saw a revival of British musical composition, prompted by three composers who all earned knighthoods.
Francesco Borromini was one of the three main architects of the Roman Baroque who changed the face of 17th century Rome by introducing a bold new style.
Gladstone and Disraeli are generally thought of as the two greatest British Prime Ministers of the 19th century. They absolutely loathed each other.
High up on open downland in Northamptonshire stands a remarkable building that was the brainchild of an extraordinary man. When he died in 1605 his dream died with him, but it has remained just as he
This interrupted walk takes you along the course of the Roman Empire’s northernmost limit.
Bethnal Green’s blind beggar was a legendary character who gave his name to a pub that was to acquire a much more sinister reputation in more recent times.
Nobody knows how Rome was founded, but that does not mean that later Romans were unable to come up with a good story. The myth of Romulus and Remus was the result.
In some ways, Australia offered conditions for the perfect British colony, but in other ways it was far from ideal.