books

Edward Thomas in Swansea

February 24, 2019 0 Comments
Edward Thomas in Swansea

Killed by a shell, a year short of his fortieth birthday, on 9 April 1917, at the start of the Battle of Arras, after seventeen years as a prose writer and a mere two years as one of the twentieth century’s finest poets.  The bare facts of Edward Thomas’s life conceal a complex character and […]

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Lying diagonally in bed

January 18, 2019 0 Comments
Lying diagonally in bed

Book 6 of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy contains an insight that few, if any, novels – or indeed any works of non-fiction – published before or since, have achieved. In chapter 39, a message reaches the house of Tristram’s parents that Uncle Toby, his father’s brother, a veteran injured in the groin in the siege […]

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Dilyn Iolo

January 13, 2019 0 Comments
Dilyn Iolo

Bore mwyn, di-haul o Ionawr, a dyma bedwar ohonon ni’n cychwyn ar Daith Gerdded Treftadaeth Iolo Morganwg.  Taith gylchol o ryw bedair milltir a hanner yw hon, un o gyfres o deithiau cerdded wedi’u dyfeisio gan Gyngor Bro Morgannwg, gyda help Valeways, Ramblers Bro Morgannwg a’r Undeb Ewropeaidd (cofio hwnnw?). Taith berffaith ar gyfer canol […]

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An unusual will: Laurence Sterne’s ‘The fragment’

December 28, 2018 0 Comments
An unusual will: Laurence Sterne’s ‘The fragment’

As far as I know, my father produced only one publication.  Its title was Notes on making a will and it was a pamphlet of just four pages (a single leaf folded with a white card cover).  The publisher, according to the cover, was ‘Bury & Walkers, Solicitors, Barnsley, Wombwell & Leeds’ (Dad was a […]

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Architecture in Wales: a dying art?

December 21, 2018 1 Comment
Architecture in Wales: a dying art?

John B. Hilling has just published a new book, The architecture of Wales, from the first to the twenty-first century (University of Wales Press, 2018, £27.00).  It’s an updating and rewriting of a book he produced in 1976 called The historic architecture of Wales.  I bought my copy for £5.50 in Cardiff in December of […]

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Making Hay: diary of a first-time speaker

December 1, 2018 2 Comments
Making Hay: diary of a first-time speaker

1   Talk of the Devil An invisible voice apologises: Marcus Brigstocke regrets he’s unable to be with us tonight. Instead, a cloaked figure bursts on to the stage. There’s a white flash of outsize teeth and ghoulish eyes. Yes, It’s Satan, and he’s in talkative mood. By the end of the hour his biting […]

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Indexing Gilbert White

November 10, 2018 0 Comments
Indexing Gilbert White

Selborne, Hampshire. Why we’ve never been there before I don’t know. The village isn’t far from Winchester, familiar enough territory. It’s a bit off the beaten track, though a busy B road passes through the village, channelling noise and people through the narrow main street that would have been quiet in the mid-eighteenth century, when […]

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In search of 100 objects

September 30, 2018 0 Comments
In search of 100 objects

September 2018 has turned out to be a month of personal endings. Three weeks ago, after five and a half years of sporadic legwork, we finished the last mile of the Wales Coast Path. This week saw the publication of two books I’ve been working on for what seems almost as long, Wales in 100 […]

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Sgythia

September 22, 2018 3 Comments
Sgythia

Pe bawn i’n nofelydd hanesyddol, byddwn i’n meddwl dwywaith cyn dewis Dr John Davies Mallwyd fel ffigwr canolog fy llyfr. Ysgolhaig oedd John Dafis (Davies) – yr ysgolhaig disgleiriaf o oes y Dadeni yng Nghymru, ac un o’n hysgolheigion amlycaf erioed.  Ei brif gampau oedd diwygio Beibl William Morgan a chyhoeddi gramadeg a geiriaduron Cymraeg […]

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The sore feet of Ursula Martin

June 11, 2018 1 Comment
The sore feet of Ursula Martin

When I first heard about what Ursula Martin had done I found it hard to believe.  Over a period of seventeen months she set out to walk 3,300 miles around Wales – in the end she walked 3,700 – including all the recognized long distance paths and other, river-long walks, she devised herself.  Now she’s […]

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