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Friday, 6 January 2012

On a lighter note...

Alfred: You can get 2 more years of cover
    for just £49.99 extra
Guthrum: Er, no. I'll be OK I think, thanks.

After yesterday's heavy seriousness, here's a little trip down Nostalgia Lane.  In Leamington Spa Oxfam Bookshop I came across this gem.  I've been searching for it in second-hand shops for years.  It was one of the first two books on 'Dark Age' history I ever owned - although mine was a very old edition with separate dust-jacket - but I lost it long ago.  Now, for the princely sum of £3.49 (a 2,629% increase, no less, on its marked price of 12 1/2 p or 2 shillings and sixpence) I own a copy again.

I love L. Du Garde Peach's 'Adventures from History' volumes (especially when, as here, illustrated by John Kenney); certainly they played a huge part in making me a historian.  This had a role in drawing me towards what I later found out was called early medieval history.  Du Garde Peach had a PhD and a DLitt.  I wonder what it was in. [Update: apparently it was in the relations between English, French and Spanish Drama in the 17th century.  He began his career as a humorist for radio, it seems.  Thanks to Dave Petts and Katherine Lewis for this info.!]

Here are the closing words (written in 1956, only a decade or so after the end of the war, which I think goes some way towards explaining the tone!):
'So England became a free country and we should always remember that it might have been very much less free if Alfred the Great had not lived and ruled, a thousand years ago.'


Hurrah!  It's enough to bring a tear of pride to the eye of any member of ASNAC!  Well, maybe not the ones who work on Norse, I suppose.