Category Archives: History

All four seasons in one day: Strike diary 7

After the great freeze (by British standards) of last week, the weather has turned very mild. There’s now a scent of spring in the air. On the one hand, this makes the act of picketing much more bearable; on the … Continue reading

Posted in Art, History, Wales, Walter Crane | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The art is long: strike diary 1

I am on strike. Employees at a large number of British universities are on strike over broken promises regarding pensions. However, we are striking over much more than pensions: we are striking over the ever-increasing casualisation of the workforce and … Continue reading

Posted in Ancient History, History, History of medicine, Wales | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Man in the Kitchen

On Monday, I went to the Wellcome Library for the concluding event of The Recipes Project’s Virtual Conversation ‘What is a Recipe?’ The Virtual Conversation was a new form of conference, which the co-editors of The Recipes Project (Amanda Herbert, … Continue reading

Posted in Food history, History | Tagged | 2 Comments

An apple a day

This year (I tend to think in academic years rather than calendar ones) has not been easy, for many reasons. I have felt exhausted a lot, and have lacked confidence on many occasions. As the teaching session ended, I was … Continue reading

Posted in botany, Food history, Gardening, History, Plants, Travelling | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

In Marguerite’s shadow

Prizes and awards come with weight and responsibilities. I believe they should only be accepted in full recognition of this. I can’t say I have always had this opinion, but it has matured over the years. When I was 19, … Continue reading

Posted in History, Poetry | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A yellow flag for peace

Today my native city – Brussels – was victim of horrific terrorist attacks. People on social media quickly showed their solidarity by using the Belgian flag (black – yellow – red). Less used – because far less known – was … Continue reading

Posted in Ancient History, botany, History, History of medicine, Plants | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Flower consumption

Last time I wrote, I presented to you some fabulous twentieth-century representations of classical medicine by Ernest Board. One of his paintings showed Athenian black-figure vases used as flower pots. Now, these vases would never have been put to that … Continue reading

Posted in botany, Food history, History, Plants, Wales | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Seeing with new eyes

Today, as friends have pointed out to me, is my blogiversary: Concocting History is three! I can’t quite believe it. How time flies. My baby is now entering the ‘ferocious threes’ (a phrase coined by Big Boy T) – the … Continue reading

Posted in History, History of medicine | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A perfume of Syria

As the crisis in Syria and the Middle East intensifies, and as refugees reach Europe in their thousands, Big Boy T (aged 8) has been asking difficult questions. For instance, he asked me how I could admire Hadrian’s Wall but … Continue reading

Posted in Ancient History, Cosmetics, History | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Hitting the wall (Hadrian’s Wall)

For the last few weeks, I have been proofreading and indexing my forthcoming book, Ancient Botany¬†(co-authored with Gavin Hardy). These tasks are far from my favourite. In fact, I really dislike them. Some authors would say that proofs are the … Continue reading

Posted in Ancient History, History, Roman Britain, Travelling | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment