Save Lichfield Record Office

Jan 19

Save Lichfield Record Office

Last week I met with a helpful member of staff from the Library of Birmingham to ask what could be done with the archive at Aston University. To call it an archive is slightly grand – it is in fact a selection of papers, negatives and prints stuffed into boxes – but there is still a lot of valuable material that is urgently in need of preservation. I was...

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Vintage Specs

Dec 07

Vintage Specs

    I bought these frames from a vintage shop for £20. When I got them home I saw that they had “Sigvard Bernadotte” inscribed on the inside of one of the joints. A little Googling revealed that they had been designed by Count Sigvard Bernadotte of Wisborg, originally known as Prince Sigvard, Duke of Uppland. He was an industrial product...

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Notebook: Magical Iceland

Dec 04

Notebook: Magical Iceland

For those on mobile devices, view my Iceland Flickr set here >> Ah, Iceland. My husband and I took our fifth trip to this wonderful country in September. One of the reasons it’s taken me so long to blog about it is that I took a week’s worth of pictures that took at least a month to process and upload to Flickr, and also because I’d hatched a...

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Notebook: Trieste

Aug 11

Notebook: Trieste

  Last month, just as the heatwave waned, we decided to take a break in Trieste. Up the coast from Venice, on the border with Slovenia, it’s not the most obvious place to take a holiday, but it is fascinating. Jan Morris, the travel writer, has rightly observed that the city “offers no unforgettable landmark, no universally familiar melody, no...

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Chinese Twitter for Beginners (Part 2)

Jun 18

Chinese Twitter for Beginners (Part 2)

Some of you might remember that, ages ago, I wrote about my experiences setting up a profile on Sina Weibo: China’s popular social network. It is perhaps best described as the love-child of Twitter and Facebook, and is currently amongst the most popular social networks in China, with a reported 500 million users. Recently, having started a new job at Aston...

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Notebook: Easter in Salzburg

Apr 08

Notebook: Easter in Salzburg

This Easter we went to Salzburg for 48 hours. Yes, hardly the most languishing trip to this beautiful Austrian city, but we made the most of it. Our first full day was Good Friday, and I was struck by all the lavish Easter shop displays, and the sight of Austrians carrying catkins tied with ribbons, which is the Eastern European version of the palm cross that we use...

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Meeting Dr Sacks

Apr 03

Meeting Dr Sacks

A few weeks ago I had the very great honour of meeting neurologist Dr Oliver Sacks and interviewing him about his new book Hallucinations for the Knowledge Centre at the University of Warwick, where he is  currently a visiting professor. Although he claims to be gauche and sometimes even slightly cross in company, I found him to be modest, gentle and witty, not to...

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