This house north of Santa Cruz, California, was destroyed by the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, as photographed by the US Geological Survey. Neville Denson from St Bees in Cumbria was driving nearby when the earthquake struck. He recalls how it felt in the following piece, which won our Wildest Travel Story Competition.
If you’re driving from Oxford to London, as I was privileged to do as a third-year undergraduate with a car, you have two main routes: the A40 via Stokenchurch and Beaconsfield, nowadays more often the M40, or the A4130 following the river via Dorchester, on to Nettlebed and down the hill to Henley-on-Thames.
Douglas Botting, who died on 6th February, was the author of Wild Britain and General Editor of our Wild Guides series. You see him here soon after leaving Oxford, working away at his desk in Ship Alley, Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick, in London. Starting out as he meant to continue!
‘There can be no denying the importance the Victorians placed on first impressions,’ says Robin Guild in his masterful guide to home repair and decoration, The Victorian House Book. ‘It is the entrance door which captures the eye of the visitor as he waits to be admitted.’ In keeping with this tradition, we have had […]
In March we launched a Kickstarter campaign for our great big humour title Very Heath Robinson and raised £7,581 towards the costs of the book, which was published on 4th May. We are enormously grateful to all those who answered our call and helped us complete ‘Adam’s whopping (1.9 kg), wonderful new book’, as one […]
People have often criticized Mrs. Beeton for the enormous quantities she recommended in her recipes: take six fowl, two dozen eggs, 4 lbs. sugar and so on. When we started work on The Shorter Mrs. Beeton, we were pleasantly surprised to find that her recipes were mostly modest in scale and perfectly suited to a […]
Cavaliers and Roundheads Ollie Cromwell, aged just three Just loved the Diamond Jubilee, He’d wear a saucepan for a crown, But soon it stuck there, upside down. His Mother tugged, the boy turned pale, Her efforts were to no avail, The problem was, his Mother said, That Ollie had such a round head. After Harry […]
Henry’s party in the street, Would be a lovely royal treat, To celebrate the Jubilee, With flags and music, games and tea. The food was good, he could not stop, He ate until he went off pop, From looking much like Henry Eight, He ended up just Henry. Late. After Harry Graham’s Ruthless Rhymes
Royalist vs Republican A royalist simply through and through, Fred turned his house red, white and blue. It really was a sight to see, All dressed up for the Jubilee. But Mabel (maybe with good reason) Showed inclinations close to treason. Then with an axe found in the garden, Fred refused to grant her pardon. […]
Gorkhaland’s Wild West The freshly brushed floor of compacted cow dung was smooth and cool under foot. I crossed the room, climbed into the heavy wooden bed next to Jamie and blew out the candle. Night crept in through the open window bringing with it the intoxicating scent of gardenias, and quietening the moths and […]
Wild in Cressbrook Dale ‘Wake up, little fellow. It’s time…’ My child of four sat bolt-upright in bed, eyes glassy from dreams of wild things. ‘…It’s time for our wild night out,’ I whispered. It was a warm summer’s evening in June, the light of the day gently fading out; the air beginning to cool. […]
A New Year’s Hobby Margot declared, ‘new year, new me!’ Her new interest? Taxidermy. She caught and stuffed her children’s rat, Posed on a plinth the family cat. Their guinea pig she slit in half; Her husband lowered his Telegraph. ‘You’re making quite a mess, my dear. Perhaps just join the gym next year?’ After […]
Aunt thought she’d make a contribution to uncle’s New Year resolution. She put his bottles out of reach amongst the polish, soap and bleach. How on earth could she have guessed that in his alcoholic quest, without his specs his sight was dim. It was the bleach which finished him. After Harry Graham’s Ruthless Rhymes
George’s New Year’s Resolution New Year, he thought, was just the chance To buy a little place in France. When Mavis once again said no, George knew that she would have to go. His beating heart was all a-quiver, As George pushed Mavis in the river. And as she floated down the stream, George shrugged […]
Walter Crane was born in Liverpool on 15th August 1845. His prolific career reached its zenith with his brightly coloured toy books, created for children but prized by connoisseurs of design. The popularity of these books was hardly surprising, given the care that went into their production and the colours which glowed from every page.
On this day in 1845, the artist and designer Walter Crane was born in Liverpool. A Utopian Socialist, Crane aimed to bring art into the homes of the people with his designs for wallpaper, pottery, fabrics and ceramic tiles. He founded the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1888. He was also one of the […]
A front entrance with original tessellated tiles inevitably looks tired after more than a century of use, as this house in Dagnan Road, south-west London, demonstrates (above). Replacing like with like will generally produce the best result, as can be seen from the front entrance of a neighbouring house. Everyone knows how the Victorians built […]
Two of our neighbours in Cavendish Road have relaid their front paths in true Victorian style, and what an entrance they have made! They have used the right tiles with square-cut edges, not the rounded modern alternatives which never look as good. ‘I do like the traditional look,’ says the owner of the house on […]
The humorous verse of Harry Graham was an early hit with several 20th-century literary figures, including W. H. Auden, George Orwell and Agatha Christie. The hilarious rhymes they adored as children remained with them, popping up unexpectedly in their heads during their writing careers.