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A few months ago I reviewed the book Queens Consort, about the various wives of England's kings from Matilda of Flanders through to Elizabeth of York. One thing this book highlighted, for me, is that I also know very little about the Kings themselves. My history is mostly the ancient world, and what I learned at school was distinctly more modern, covering both world wars and the Russian revolution.

While I was wandering around Waterstones at the beginning of the month I spotted a book called The Plantagenets by a man named Dan Jones. As the title suggests, it covers the Plantagenet line of Kings in England, starting with Henry I and finishing with the usurped Richard II.

Image from Amazon

This book is big, it has to be since it's covering quite a lot of history. But it's also a good read. It is split into seven parts, each one then divided into much smaller chapters. It's easy to cover a couple of chapters on your lunch break, so you feel that you're actually getting somewhere and have easy stop-off points when you need a break. It's written in a way that makes it quite easy to read, key players are mentioned without you getting confused between multiple Lord Williams and Lord Edwards.

Probably my biggest gripe with it is that sometimes the focus is a little too narrow. For some Kings their problems were exacerbated by the relationship between their Queens and the public, but this is barely touched on. Except to mention the popularity of weddings as festive occasions, and the births of heirs and subsequent children, consorts and families are rarely mentioned. Obviously this isn't a huge problem, this book is about the Kings not their wives, but I can't help but feel that it would have helped give a bit more context to the problems each ruler faced.

The second biggest annoyance with this book is that my copy has completely fallen apart! All I did was read it at home and transport it to work in a backpack, but the first page through to page 357 have completely come away from the spine and the rest of the book. I'm rather disappointed by the quality, I have vintage books over a hundred years old that survived better than this, but hopefully I simply got a dud copy and all the others will be fine.

Frankly I think Dan Jones needs to do a Part 2, he finished with Richard II, but the line continued in a more muted form with Richard's cousin who became Henry IV, and the Wars of the Roses that eventually followed. Despite my problems reading a broken book, it really was a very good read and something I'd highly recommend to someone who wants to learn more about the Royal family in the medieval period but doesn't want to get something that will make them feel bogged down in details.

Have a nice evening!

Beatrix Potter

On this day in 1866, the English children's writer Beatrix Potter was born! Naturally this means I'm going to have to rewatch the film "Miss Potter" this afternoon.

Along with publishing children's books, Potter helped preserve the country landscape of the Peak District by using her money to buy up farms and their land, and when she died in 1943 she left most of it to the charity National Trust. The land is now part of the Lake District National Park, an area that I intend to visit at some point in my life.

Beatrix Potter Tales and Nursery Rhymes by VintageCuriosityShop

Most children grow up with some of Beatrix Potter's work on their bookshelves, if you search on Etsy there's quite a few vintage copies of her books (including the three above, which are from a shop located in the UK) as well as some lovely items made with fabric and prints of her artwork.

Have a nice day!

Royal Baby

Yes, it's in the news wherever you are, Great Britain has a new Prince!

Here in the UK we like a good old Royal celebration (just look at the Royal wedding), so now's the time to get ready for a party because no doubt we'll find a way to make an extra Bank Holiday out of this (and if we don't I'll be very disappointed).





Union Jack Distressed Style Bunting by AllTheTrimmingsUK

No British party would be complete without some Union Jack bunting!

Have a nice evening everyone!

Storms

I was woken up just before 6:30 this morning by a rumble of thunder overhead. This rumble was soon joined by another, and then another, until a bloody great crash went off above my head, and then got quieter again as it moved on.

It was also accompanied by a few minutes of heavy rain, which was lovely for the plants but doesn't appear to have done much, the grass is still looking very unhappy. Right now I'm watching a storm radar on Netweather to see if there's anything approaching my little corner of London.

Stormy Night Necklace by DesignsbyZoZo

Turns out there's quite a few "storm" items on Etsy but this one caught my eye because of the awesome silver cloud and crystal raindrops!

Have a nice evening everyone!

Cat Mug

The weather is finally starting to cool down a little here in London, or maybe it's just the humidity that's dropped. Either way it means that I can now drink my usual amount of tea without feeling ridiculously hot!

Cat Coffee Mug by vitaminaeu

LOOKATTHECUTEKITTY!!!! This lovely Italian shop has a collection of cute mugs, including coffee mugs and the smaller espresso mugs, with illustrations of cats, people and a really nice owl one. She's also taking part in "Christmas in July", see her shop announcements to find out how to get 10% off!

Have a nice day everyone!

10k Views!

On Thursday this blog hit the 10k views mark! I feel like it hasn't been that long since I was celebrating 7k views.

So to celebrate I've added a coupon code to TheBibliophile! Use code 10KVIEWS at the checkout to get 10% off purchases! This code is valid until 27th July (next Saturday).


The Adventures of Philip by TheBibliophile

For those who haven't used Etsy before, you can only use the code in TheBibliophile, you cannot use it in another Etsy shop.

Have a nice day everyone!

A few months ago I blogged about a notepad I bought to help me plan my shopping list and meals a bit better. The theory behind it works, once I remember to not through the paper in the bin after I've been shopping, and I really liked this notebook so I decided to return to mikiodesign for something similar but different.

A5 Day Planner Notepad by mikiodesign

I love this notepad just as much as the food one I bought! I now need to start looking up quotes for the day, and it's nice to have a space to remind myself of a reward I can have once I've done everything on the list. It was sent out nice and quickly, and the Australian postal service got it to the UK in record time.

If you need to get yourself organised, try one of these pads!

Pablo Neruda

On this day in 1904 the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was born.

I've liked Neruda's poetry (or translations of it at the very least) since I first heard one of his poems recited in the Robin Williams film "Patch Adams".

Love Quote Lavender Sachet by GaneshasRat

The quote above is from that poem. I'd recommend checking his work out, although as with all things it depends on the quality of the translation.

Have a nice evening everyone!

In a recent effort to get a little bit more organised (and an excuse to get some new pretty notepads) I bought two new notebooks off Etsy. One is coming from Australia and will be reviewed when it arrives, but the other had a relatively short trip from Scotland and arrived this morning!

Busy Bee Organiser by askingfortrouble

Yes I bought this adorable notebook! I've had my eye on it for quite a while, partly because I like the tickboxes and partly because I love the smiling tulip in the bottom left corner. It arrived nicely packaged in a cellophane bag and a waterproof envelope and had a postcard advertising some other cute products. It's a little bit smaller than I was expecting, but that's purely because I struggle to wrap my head around sizes even when the listing has them. It was posted out within the shipping dates and thanks to Royal Mail arrived very promptly.

There's more notebooks (including a food planner one) as well as badges, stickers and cards so if you're in the mood for something cute I really think you should check out this shop.

Have a nice evening!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post about Greenwich Park, I visited various bits of London during my week off. On Thursday me and my friend paid a trip to Chelsea Physic Garden.

The garden was founded in the 17th century as a way for apothecary apprentices to learn how to identify medicinal plants. It has various beds with particular themes, and the signs in front of the plants tell you the english and latin names and where the plants are normally found. A lot of them also tell you what ailments they were used to treat, but as my friend pointed out, it would have been interesting to find out if extracts from these plants are still used to treat the same problems in the modern world.

It was very interesting to see the various plants, although my friend kept laughing at the number of flowers I stuck my nose in. There were also a collection of poisonous plants, which were mostly confined to one bed with large red "Poisonous" labels around it.

After the walk around the garden we stopped for tea on the patio, which gave us a lovely view across the garden in the sunshine.

We walked from Sloane Square tube station to the garden, which also took us past the Royal Chelsea Hospital, where the Chelsea Pensioners live. It's a nice area to go for a stroll, the Garden is near the river so if you can also go for a walk along the Thames.

If you're in the Chelsea area then you really should take a look at this small green space.

Greenwich Park

I've had this week off work and as part of it I've been visiting various bits of London with a friend.

One of those bits was Greenwich Park. It's a place I've wanted to visit for quite a while, although I can honestly tell you that if you think you can walk from "North Greenwich" (where The O2 is) to Greenwich proper, then you will be in for a bit of a surprise XD Still, it was an adventure.

Greenwich itself is very pretty, you can see the Cutty Sark, newly restored after being gutted by fire a few years ago. There's also a pretty impressive church, some very quaint shops and the Royal Naval College buildings.


You can also see the Observatory at the top of the hill in Greenwich Park. The park itself is lovely, with lots of trees and paths you can wander along. My camera is still out of action, but there's lots of photos on Flickr, which is where I found the one above.

Have a nice evening everyone!

George Harris

On this day in 1917 my great great uncle, George Harris, died of wounds out in Belgium.

George was born on 10th July 1890 at Lower Sloan Street in London. He was the sixth of nine surviving children (the 1911 census notes one deceased child but I currently don't have a name) and the third of five boys. His parents, William John Harris and Harriet Louisa Farley, moved around quite a lot over the years. William was a grocer, and over the years all five boys grew up learning the same trade.

So, to put our George into a bit of context, he had five older siblings. His eldest brother William John was born in 1879, a sister Amelia came along on Christmas Eve in 1880. She was followed by Alice Maud in 1883 and James Henry (more on him in September) in 1885. My great-grandmother Kate was born in October 1887. After George came Albert Edward in 1893, with Harry in 1896 and finally May in 1898. I can only imagine how loud their household must have been.


By the time the First World War broke out the Harris family had dispersed a bit, with William and Alice married and living with their respective spouses. Family legend says that all five brothers signed up to fight, but whether they all joined together to went one by one as their consciences dictated isn't known.

What I know about George mostly comes from his medal card, shown above (image from Ancestry). He was originally in the Border Regiment, and his "Theatre of War First Served In" is listed as "2B". This means he served in Gallipoli, the date of entry for his "first theatre" is shown as the 25th April 1915, also known as the day of the Cape Helles landings. This was a brutal place to be fighting in, not helped by the high temperatures which the British lads would have been unfamiliar with. For many people Gallipoli is thought of as being mostly fought by ANZAC troops, but there were plenty of British boys fighting there too.

After the failure at Gallipoli the troops were pulled back to Egypt, where George (which had managed to survive the Cape Helles bloodbath) was transferred from the Border Regiment to the Machine Gun Corps.

WO 95/2305 at The National Archives

A lovely bloke from a first world war forum sent me the above picture, showing a certain Harris, G being part of a list of troops transferred to the MGC on 1st February 1916. He was given a new service number on the left, which matches the second service number in the medal card further up.

His particular MGC group (87th Company) was eventually moved over to help fight in the trenches, and it was here that George lost his life. I looked up the war diary for the company for the day that he died, but as with many soldiers his death is simply marked with "3 ORs dead" (OR stands for "Other Ranks", basically anyone that wasn't an officer).

He was buried at Canada Farm Cemetery out in Belgium, which me and my family visited a few years ago. It is, basically, a gravesite in the middle of a bunch of fields. Canada Farm was a farm (as the name suggests) which was turned into a field hospital

Sadly he wasn't the first brother to die, his older brother James was killed in action before him. Luckily the other three lived through it all.

If you're thinking of researching soldiers from your family here's a lot of help and guides online nowadays, you'll be surprised at what you find!

Have a nice day everyone!

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