plep

plep Archive

8th February
Peace party in the park. 'Well done, Tessa Jowell (Peace march to go ahead, February 5). By banning the Stop the War rally from Hyde Park, suggesting other venues, then permitting it, you have kept the issue in the headlines for more than a week and given everyone a chance to mark February 15 in their diaries. '

Leo Africanus: Description of Timbuktu, from The Description of Africa(1526).
'El Hasan ben Muhammed el-Wazzan-ez-Zayyati was born in the Moorish city of Granada in 1485, but was expelled along with his parents and thousands of other Muslims by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. Settling in Morocco, he studied in Fez, and as a teenager accompanied his uncle on diplomatic missions throughout North Africa and and to the Sub-Saharan kingdom of Ghana. Still a young man, he was captured by Christian pirates and presented as an exceptionally learned slave to the great Renaissance pope, Leo X. Leo freed him, baptised him under the name "Johannis Leo de Medici," and commissioned him to write in Italian the detailed survey of Africa which provided most of what Europeans knew about the continent for the next several centuries. At the time he visited the Ghanaian city of Timbuktu, it was somewhat past its peak, but still a thriving Islamic city famous for its learning. "Timbuktu" was to become a byword in Europe as the most inaccessible of cities, but at the time Leo visited, it was the center of a busy trade in African products and in books. Leo is said to have died in 1554 in Tunis, having reconverted to Islam.'

Sutra Manuscripts of the Nara Period. 'The teachings of Buddhism were transmitted in written form by way of scriptures called sutras. Even slight errors in the transcription of these sacred texts were prohibited, for which reason sutras were always copied in standard script (kaisho), considered most formal and easy to read. During the Nara period (710-794), however, the tremendous number of sutra manuscripts produced exhibit Chinese characters with not only excellent clarity but also great beauty.'

Treasures of Chisaku-in Temple.

Sakamoto Ryoma: Ryoma and His Contemporaries. 'Sakamoto Ryoma (1835-67) is one of the most famous figures in Japanese history. He was born in the province of Tosa in 1835, the son of a lower-level samurai serving under the lord of Kochi Castle. In 1862, Ryoma left his lord to become a disciple of the politician Katsu Kaishu (1823-99) in Edo and began establishing the first Japanese navy. He later started a trading company in Nagasaki called Kaientai ... '

Our common responsibility.Impact of war on Iraq's children.
'A team of experts in health, nutrition, child psychology and emergency preparedness arrived back in Canada on January 28th following an assessment mission to Iraq to investigate the impact of a new war on the more than 13 million Iraqi children. '
Iraqi children are even more vulnerable now than in 1990; 16 million people are 100% dependent on central government for food in Iraq; there is only one month's supply of food in Iraq, and the health system is also run down; 500,000 Iraqi children are acutely malnourished.
Via War Child, a charity that works in conflict zones.

Christian Aid trade campaign: send a letter to Tony Blair. 'Thanks to your campaigning the UK government are acknowledging the importance of trade justice. But they continue to actively support and promote a trading system that keeps almost half the world's population in poverty. You can help change this. '
More Christian Aid campaigns.

Field Adventures in Paleontology. 'Let me take you on a personal tour of some of the digs I've gone on in recent years, both scientific excavations and personal collecting trips, and show you some of the fossils that are found there. Click on the green location on the map that you'd like to visit ... '

Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest.

Robota Dolls. 'The ROBOTA dolls are a family of mini humanoid robots. They are educational toys. They can engage in complex interaction with humans, involving speech, vision and body imitation. The Robota dolls exist since 1997. New prototypes are in constant development. '

Goya - The Black Paintings.

Goya & His Women. 'An exhibition at Washington's National Gallery of Art takes a fresh look at one of Spain's most celebrated artists and the women he painted.' (April 2002)

Goya at the Prado.

Origins of American Animation.

The British Museum: Our Top Ten British Treasures. 'In most people's minds, the word 'treasure' is linked with images of gold and silver worth huge amounts of money. But the BBC was surprised by some of the choices that the curators made; for the British Museum what makes a treasure valuable can not be measured in pounds or dollars, but in what it can tell us about our past. Curators selected not necessarily the most expensive 'treasures' found on British soil, but those whose discovery had made the most significant contribution to how we understand British history.'

Agatha Christie and Archaeology. 'Many years ago, when I was once saying sadly to Max it was a pity I couldn't have taken up archaeology when I was a girl, so as to be more knowledgeable on the subject, he said, 'Don't you realize that at this moment you know more about prehistoric pottery than any woman in England?' - A. Christie, An Autobiography (1981), p. 546.

Animals in the British Museum.

Country Views. 'From 1 January 2002, twelve European countries exchanged their national currency for the euro. In Britain debate over the single currency has highlighted the role of banknotes as a symbol of sovereignty. But what image do they convey? The exhibition Country Views: Place and Identity on British Paper Money (13 September 2001 - 17 February 2002) celebrated the diversity of British notes, from the exquisitely engraved vignettes of local banks in the nineteenth century to the colourful national emblems on modern notes. Over the past 300 years, paper money in Britain has been adorned by views of the country evoking a pride in the land still evident in the distinctive note issues of Scotland and Northern Ireland ... '

Iron Age Britain.

The Presidents of the United States. White House official site.

Presidents and Baseball.
White House Easter Egg Roll.

Obituaries: the Columbia seven.
Email from astronaut Laurel Clark on day before Columbia disaster.

Brandon Carl Vegas.
'On January 12, 2003, Brandon Vedas, AKA "ripper," died of a massive overdose of prescription drugs while onlookers cheered him on in an IRC chat room.'
'This site is dedicated to the memory of Brandon, and to the education and prevention of future tragedies. Despite all his knowledge, Brandon made some poor choices that night. Like many addicts, he hid his abuse from many who could help. Like many who struggle with drugs, he thought he was always in control. Like many who fall into the dark world of serious narcotics, he thought it was all a game that he could always beat. Tragically, this time he lost.'
'Many of rippers friends saw the warning signs before and either didnt know how to help or simply turned a blind eye. This site is a reminder that whether in person or online, we as humankind are given the task of looking out for those we care about. While each person will ultimately make their own decisions in life, we all need wise counsel and love to help guide us in the right direction. My hope is that maybe someone reading this will recognize a Brandon in their life, and make an effort to help before its too late.'

The Smallpox Protection Project.
'Smallpox was eliminated from the world in 1977 by a World Health Organization campaign. Despite this, stocks of the variola virus are known to exist and its use as a weapon of bioterrorism remains a frightening possibility. With vaccination having ended in 1972 the population is highly susceptible. The availability of drugs to counter the virus would be a major defence. '
'There is a possible molecular target whose blockade would prevent the ravages of an infection, and we intend to use desktop grid computing to screen millions of potential anti-smallpox drugs against this target. This will involve the use of the United Devices Global Metaprocessor, which we have successfully used to target twelve proteins implicated in cancer and against an anthrax protein. The project can muster almost two million personal computers belonging to people in over two hundred countries, all of whom would benefit from protection against smallpox. '

Albumen Photographs. Thx, hama7.

Wembley National Stadium. The twin towers are being demolished. Among other things, the place hosted the 1948 Olympics, the 1966 World Cup and Live Aid.
A more jaded view. 'The place was an absolute hole. Thankfully, as the Fiver writes, someone's grinding the last bits into the ground. '
Wembley webcam and slideshow.
Several of the links above via Metafilter.

Why Google loves weblogs.
California Nana.
Via Enigmatic Mermaid.

' Downing Street was last night plunged into acute international embarrassment after it emerged that large parts of the British government's latest dossier on Iraq - allegedly based on "intelligence material" - were taken from published academic articles, some of them several years old. '

The return of McCarthyism? 'Paul Weyrich, widely recognized as one of the founding fathers of the Christian Right, is advancing his own McCarthy-like "modest proposal," bridging the gap between the Cold War witch hunts and TIA. Weyrich wants the Department of Homeland Security or Congress to launch an investigation into the funding sources behind the "neo-Communist" groups involved in the anti-war movement. While Weyrich's charge that Communists are leading the movement is nothing new -- the Center for the Study of Popular Culture's David Horowitz beat him to that by several months -- he is the first to openly call for widespread investigations into the peace movement that are eerily reminiscent of the dark days of the House Un-American Activities Committee. '

Not In Our Name. The (UK) Mirror's anti-war petition.

' Nelson Mandela returned to his place of imprisonment to unveil a series of sketches portraying life on Robben Island where he was detained for 18 years in apartheid South Africa.'
Robben Island Museum.
link

7th February
Pencils of Light: The Albums of the Edinburgh Calotype Club. 'These two albums of the Edinburgh Calotype Club, the first photographic club in the world, are among the earliest photograph albums in the world ever assembled. They contain over 300 images by a group of pioneering Scottish photographers working in Edinburgh and St. Andrews.... '

The Fox Talbot Museum 'commemorates the life and work of William Henry Fox Talbot - one of the greatest figures of the 19th century - mathematician, physicist, classicist, philologist, and transcriber of Syrian and Chaldean cuneiform texts. In late September 1840 he invented the positive / negative process and he is known as The Father of Modern Photography. '

The Journal of Syms Covington, Assistant to Charles Darwin Esq. on the Second Voyage of the HMS Beagle. Fascinating stuff.

Coco. An ape-like robot.

Some Early Microscopes from the Optical Institute in Wetzlar.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. Good site.
From the schilling to the euro. 'On the occaison of the end of the Schilling and the introduction of Euro banknotes, the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) present an exhibition dedicated to the history of the Schilling from 1924/25 until 2002.'
Guatemala: Land of the Quetzal. 'In 1524 the Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado named the region inhabited by the Mayans Quauhtemalln, which is the Aztec word for "Land of the Trees" ... '

Musee Jacquemart-Andre. 'The most sumptuous residence in Paris.'
History. 'When visitors cross the museum threshold, they enter what was the private residence of a pair of inveterate collectors who devoted their entire lives to building their artwork collection.'
'Edouard Andr, the scion of a Protestant banking family, devoted his considerable fortune to buying works of art which he then exhibited in his new mansion, built on the new Boulevard Haussmann and completed in 1875.'
'He married a well-known society painter, Nlie Jacquemart, who executed Edouard's portrait. Every year, the couple would travel in Italy, amassing one of the finest collections of Italian art in France as they went ... '

Six Centuries of Painting.
The Napoleonic Collection.
Via Musee Fesch, Ajaccio, Corsica.

Canadian Children's Museum.

Imperial Adventure. 'The Canadian War Museum is proud to commemorate the South African War with a special exhibition entitled Imperial Adventure.'
'Although largely forgotten today, the war marked the first occasion that Canada despatched troops to an overseas war. It was the precursor to our participation in two world wars, the Korean War and dozens of peacekeeping missions. Over seven thousand Canadians, including twelve women nurses, served in South Africa, and their experience led to important reforms of Canada's modest armed forces on the eve of the First World War.'

Nineteenth Century Pottery and Porcelain in Canada.

America Singing: Nineteenth Century Song Sheets. 'For most of the nineteenth century, before the advent of phonograph and radio technologies, Americans learned the latest songs from printed song sheets. Not to be confused with sheet music, song sheets are single printed sheets, usually six by eight inches, with lyrics but no music. These were new songs being sung in music halls or new lyrics to familiar songs, like "Yankee Doodle" or "The Last Rose of Summer." Some of America's most beloved tunes were printed as song sheets, including "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Song sheets are an early example of a mass medium and today they offer a unique perspective on the political, social, and economic life of the time, especially during the Civil War. Some were dramatic, some were humorous; all of them had America joining together in song. The Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress holds 4291 song sheets. Included among these American songs are ninety-seven British song sheets from Dublin and London. The collection spans the period from the turn of the nineteenth century to the 1880s, although a majority of the song sheets were published during the height of the craze, from the 1850s to the 1870s. '

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress. 'The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Washington documents in the world. Document types in the collection as a whole include correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries, journals, financial account books, military records, reports, and notes accumulated by Washington from 1741 through 1799. The collection is organized into eight Series or groupings. Commonplace books, correspondence, and travel journals, document his youth and early adulthood as a Virginia county surveyor and as colonel of the militia during the French and Indian War. Washington's election as delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses and his command of the American army during the Revolutionary war are well documented as well as his two presidential administrations from 1789 through 1797. Because of the wide range of Washington's interests, activities, and correspondents, which include ordinary citizens as well as celebrated figures, his papers are a rich source for almost every aspect of colonial and early American history. In its online presentation, the George Washington Papers consists of approximately 152,000 images ... '

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals. 'This collection presents twenty-three popular periodicals digitized by Cornell University Library and the Preservation Reformatting Division of the Library of Congress. They include literary and political magazines, as well as Scientific American, Manufacturer and Builder, and Garden and Forest: A Journal of Horticulture, Landscape Art, and Forestry. The longest run is for The North American Review, 1815-1900. '

American Environmental Photographs. 'This collection consists of approximately 4,500 photographs documenting natural environments, ecologies, and plant communities in the United States at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. Produced between 1891 and 1936 by a group of American botanists generally regarded as one of the most influential in the development of modern ecological studies, these photographs provide an overview of important representative natural landscapes across the nation. They demonstrate the character of a wide range of American topography, its forestation, aridity, shifting coastal dune complexes, and watercourses. Comparison of early photographs with later views highlights changes resulting from natural alterations of the landscape, disturbances from industry and development, and effective natural resource usage. The photographs were taken by Henry Chandler Cowles (1869-1939), George Damon Fuller (1869-1961), and other Chicago ecologists on field trips across the North American continent. '

Window of the Sacred World 'is the title of this catalogue, presenting a fine selection of authentic art of India, The Himalayan regions and Southeast Asia. Focusing only on the highest artistic quality, it aims to represent the beauty and spirituality of sculpture through the camera's eye; a modest contribution towards the understanding and appreciation of Asian religious art which still contains many secrets ... '

Kesi Silks. 'Silk tapestry weaving known as kesi in Chinese, is an old and rarely practiced art form. It entails the intricate weaving by hand of decorative designs and brocades, sacred iconography or calligraphy.Creating silk tapestries, our workshop hopes to revive and preserve this rare art form and create truly unique art works of outstanding quality and craftmanship, producing what will become the antiques of tomorrow.'
Calligraphy.

Japanese Incense.
History.
Tale of the Genji.

Cote d'Ivoire, October 2000. Photo-diary of a revolution.
'The people of Cote d'Ivoire wrote a notable chapter in their history October 22-30 as the country, inspired by events in Serbia, underwent unprecedented upheavals akin to the 'velvet revolutions' of eastern Europe. Urged on by Laurent Gbagbo, the candidate who won most votes in the election, a coalition of civilians resisted efforts by incumbent dictator Robert Guei to cling to power ... '

Anarcho-Syndicalism 101.
Via Diminished Responsibility.
link

5th February
Early British Computers and Analog Computer Museum.
Via the Apothecary's Drawer.

The American Museum of Natural History Congo Expedition, May 1909- November 1915.
Introduction. 'A decade after Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness first depicted the mysteries and agonies of the area, Herbert Lang and James Chapin set sail for the northeastern Belgian Congo. They knew they were launching an extraordinary adventure, but they could not have imagined what those years would hold. By the time they sailed home five and a half years later, they had collected tons of precious zoological and anthropological specimens representing one of the most comprehensive collections of the day ... '
Expedition gallery.

Treasures of the Asia Collections. 'The exhibition, Treasures of the Asia Collections, is designed to showcase some of the many items in the Cornell University Library's collection documenting the cultures of Asia. Cornell pioneered in the teaching of Asian studies, with a one-year course in Chinese offered as early as 1870. Cornell's first Japanese student came in 1870, the first Chinese student graduated in 1901, and six Indian students entered in 1905. After 1900, international students attended in increasing numbers, and many Cornellians went to Asia to work and travel ... '

Mekong Photo Gallery.
Yunnan Photo Gallery.
Asian Rice Terrace.

Vietnam Interactive Portfolio. 'When I went to Vietnam in June of 1969, I was assigned to the 221st Signal Company (Southeast Asia Pictorial Agency) as a First Lieutenant in charge of a photo detachment. Initially, I was stationed at the sprawling military base in Long Binh. I was later stationed in Pleiku and Saigon. '
'In addition to pictures taken for the government, I took many more of the Vietnamese civilians, particularly children--probably over 1500 images. Recently, I've been reviewing the bulk of this portfolio in an attempt to determine their relevance to the culture and history of the period. My hope is to preserve these photos as documentary material, recording this era in Vietnam's history on CD-ROM in the form of a self-guided multimedia presentation. The theme underlying the portfolio is the effect of the war upon the Vietnamese people and how the war uprooted their lives ... '
Children - Montagnards - military - Vietnamese people - protest - shrines

The Invisible Library. 'The Invisible Library is a collection of books that only appear in other books. Within the library's catalog you will find imaginary books, pseudobiblia, artifictions, fabled tomes, libris phantastica, and all manner of books unwritten, unread, unpublished, and unfound.'

Paper, Leather, Clay & Stone. 'The visual and tactile aspects of the written word are explored in this exhibition. Although the subject is words, we have avoided textual content in favor of physical context. In presenting written texts that differ from the familiar, we intend to show that, far from being a uniform box of rows and columns, the written word has been recorded historically in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Books were embellished, handsomely illustrated, jealously guarded, and moralistically expurgated. When the contents were too charged, impious, or explicit, the book might even be destroyed-ample indication of how content depends upon the physical vehicle for survival. With the printing press and mass production, formats became more standardized, losing in the process some of their former whimsy and splendor. But the question of how a text is "packaged" is once again an issue, as computers change our assumptions about the permanence, ownership, and privacy of words ... '
Cuneiform tablets - the Book of the Dead - Palmleaf manuscript - Life of Buddha - the Lombard Gradual - Gutenberg Bible - Encyclopedia Maxima - tombstone - history & travel - banned books - Cosmographia

Web Exhibits and Guides from the French Revolution Collections at Cornell University.
Lafayette. 'Hailed in his time as "the friend of Washington," "hero of three revolutions" and "defender of liberty," Lafayette played a significant part in the American and French Revolutions, and worked to bring the newly United States to the consciousness of Europe. Through his voluminous correspondence, Lafayette sustained a lifelong conversation with political leaders, social reformers, writers, and ordinary people who were, like him, ardently engaged with the liberationist struggles and liberal ideas of the day. '
Maurepas. 'As naval minister and liaison to the king, Maurepas served as a clearing-house for a great quantity of often detailed information relayed from all over Europe and the Americas, from land and shipboard, and from men of diverse occupations, rank, and social status. '
La Forte. 'Benoist La Forte was a high-level government official in France's newly nationalized gunpowder industry during the volatile early years of the French Revolution, which were also years of war with Prussia. '

Leonardo da Vinci. Virtual exhibit from the Museum of Science, Boston.

The Dance of Chance. 'The Dance of Chance exhibit is a collaboration between the Center for Polymer Studies and the Boston Museum of Science. The exhibit is based on current research pursued by CPS scientists and collaborating scientists around the world. The focus of the exhibit is the emergence of patterns in Nature from physical and biological processes which on the microscopic level appear to be dominated by chance ... '
Music of the heart - frozen lightning - erosion - viscous fingering - bacteria - metal deposition - termites

Virtual Insectary. 'Welcome to The Virtual Insectary! Just like insect zoos and butterfly gardens, you've found a unique place to study and observe a few insects. The Virtual Insectary not only provides images of some common insects, but includes information on the foods which they eat as well as the habitats where they can be found. As you visit The Virtual Insectary, take time to follow the links and learn how insects are part of this "much bigger picture".'

Colour Printing in the Nineteenth Century. History and many images.
Intaglio processes - relief processes - lithography - nature printing
Alphabet cards - The Fruits of America - seaweed - The Art Album

Built St. Louis. 'A site dedicated to the historic architecture of St. Louis, Missouri -- mourning the losses, celebrating the survivors.' Lots to see here; there's also a weblog.
East St. Louis. Always the bridesmaid, never the blushing bride.
Struggling North Side. Ruins and urban decay. In contrast, there's also the sparkling North Side.
Wondrous anachronisms. 'Throughout the United States, there are reputed to be a total of seven surviving historic standpipe towers, such as those shown here. One of them, located in downtown Chicago, is famed and revered as a cherished city landmark. '
'Eat your heart out, Chicago. St. Louis has three of them -- all well-preserved and exquisitely beautiful. '

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis.
The site has an interesting Lewis & Clark section.

Historic Asylums of America. 'America's Vanishing Historic Asylums, State Hospitals, Sanitariums, County Homes, Medical Hospitals, and Other Institutions. '
'This web site is an attempt to catalog and present America's historic state hospitals (insane asylums) founded in the latter half of the 19th century. The site focuses on the facilities built on the "Kirkbride plan", but it is not necessarily limited to the Kirkbride hospitals ... '
'To some, the asylums of the 19th century represent a darker period in mental health care, with involuntary incarceration, barbaric and ineffective treatments, and abuse of patients. '
'However, there is also a legacy of progressive institutional treatment left by Dorothea Dix, Thomas Story Kirkbride, John Galt, and others represented by these buildings and sites: treatments and philosophies which seem rather outdated today, but at the time were a great improvement in the treatment of the mentally ill. '
'A large proportion of these historic institutions are no longer mental hospitals. What remains are the magnificent castle-like buildings wrought of brick and stone in incredible detail, a legacy of an attention to detail in architecture which seems to have been long forgotten. '
Pontiac State Hospital, Michigan.

Cupola 'offers galleries of cupolas, historic architecture, art, & picturesque landscapes. '
Cupolas of capitalism. 'This portion of Cupola site chronicles the rich and often colorful architectural history of the American State Capitol Buildings. Perhaps no other secular building type is so closely affiliated with dome and cupola designs, or use them as effectively as symbols of unity and power.'
'States with Capitol Buildings featuring prominent exterior cupolas are highlighted in yellow. These include former Statehouses still standing in the current capital city. Former State Capitol Buildings existing elsewhere are not covered here. States possessing Capitol Buildings with other cupola-like forms like domes, drums, and towers in their designs are so noted in their building descriptions ... '

Building Big. Site accompanying a PBS series: bridges, dams, domes, skyscrapers and tunnels.

Eileen Gray, designer and architect, 1878-1976.
'Paris, in the early part of the 20th Century, provided a fertile ground for artists of all media and genres in visual arts as well as literary and scientific fields. The names of Joyce and Beckett, Picasso and Dali, Corbusier and Debussy ring with an air of familiarity. Yet laying at rest in a quiet corner of the famous Pere Lachaise cemetry among such notables as Oscar Wilde and James Morrisson you will find the name of Eileen Gray; a woman who by virtue of her gender, personality, or social constraints of her times, has never received the acknowledgement and credit she deserves. As one of the finest lacquer artists, inventive designers and competent architects of her day, the story of her life illuminates and personalizes the world of art of her time as well as giving fascinating glimpses of this Victorian girl in transitioning to a modern woman ... '

Irving Gill Central. 'California architect Irving J. Gill (1870-1936) had the misfortune to do most of his work in a city that cares little for its past. This will not be a sugar-coated Chamber of Commerce site and will offer no refuge for ignorant city governments. This site is not just about delighting in past beauty, but also about discovering and preserving what is left.'
Bungalow Manifesto.
Eloise Roorbach writes about Irving Gill.

Ship Log of Jonas Eastwood Woodhouse, May 1st-August 14th, 1863, Passenger aboard the New Great Britain.
'Jonas Eastwood Woodhouse, a 21 year-old Yorkshireman, kept a daily log of life on the sailing ship New Great Britain as she made her way from London to New Zealand in 1863. The journal is reproduced here as it was written. Spelling, punctuation and syntax have not been altered.'
'Jonas Eastwood Woodhouse (1842-1897) was born, married and died in Netherthong, a village near Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England. His father was Thomas Woodhouse, innkeeper of the Clothiers' Arms in Netherthong. Jonas' mother was Ann Eastwood, born in nearby Austonley.'
'As a teenager, Jonas worked as a spinner in a local mill and helped in the pub. At 21, he sailed from London to New Zealand. The voyage lasted from May 1, 1863, to September 27, 1863. There is no indication as to why he made the trip, although family lore says that it had "something to do with the wine trade." ... '

Big Fat Blog.

Hyde Park anti-war march back on again Saturday. 'The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, caused outrage among campaigners when she suggested that the park should not be used because the ground would be too soft and wet to cope with the number of marchers - predicted by organisers to reach as many as half a million. '
Guardian special report: UK and Iraq.
link