Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields…
Everybody knew the dykes were in poor repair. Extra taxes were raised to pay for urgent maintenance work.
But the dukes of Holland, the Hoeks and the Kabaljauws, were squabbling among themselves. They spent the tax money on weapons and armies and no doubt told their subjects it was essential for ‘security’. Fixing the dykes was important, just unaffordable right now. It could wait till the threat from the enemy subsided and the economy improved.
Then came St Elizabeth’s Night, November 19th, 1421. Continue reading
If you’re lucky enough to have wifi access from the cafe across the road, you can work in the outdoor office.
It’s nice to be ‘home’ in Amsterdam, at least for a little while. Followers of this blog may have noticed that Mevrouw T and I have been getting out and about rather a lot recently.
‘When are you going to spend some time in Amsterdam?’ Dutch friends and neighbours are asking. ‘Aren’t we interesting enough for you?’
We came back this week and Mevrouw T found an article in a Dutch newspaper featuring the history and present-day delights of our part of town, the Schinkelbuurt. The writer made it sound very interesting indeed, so I took the camera out for a walk, then googled the Schinkel to see what we’d been missing.
After my post on Donald Mackay’s record-breaking ride around Australia, my correspondent John referred me to this book.
Jim Fitzpatrick surely must know more about the history of cycling in Australia than anyone on the planet. There are plenty of stories to tell, and he tells them well.
What stood out for me was the sheer impact that the bike must have had on forming our nation. Between the early 1890s when the safety bike was invented (‘ordinary’ bikes were what we now call ‘penny farthings’) and the rise of the motor car, the bike was the fastest, most efficient and most effective way to get around. Continue reading
The early game - Sculpture: Louis Laumen
The Australian rules foot-ball match played on August 7, 1858 must have been a scrappy affair.
There were 40 players a side from Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School, a field a quarter of a mile long, and the rules of the game not yet written. The game was continued over two more days and finally ended in a 1-all draw. Continue reading