Sunday, December 20, 2020

Monday, November 30, 2020

Christmas 1817

 This year we are celebrating a very different sort of Christmas. It has happened before because of wars, and other pandemics and plagues. In 1817, it was a different Christmas in England because the much-loved heiress to the throne had recently died. Nevertheless, Christmas went ahead and was celebrated in some old and some new ways.

Richard Rush, a visitor to London as the new ambassador from the United States of America, recorded Christmas Eve 1817 in his diary and recounted it in his book "A Residence At The Court Of London".

December 24 [1817].--Go through several parts of the town: Bond Street, Albemarle Street, Berkeley Square, Piccadilly, St. James's Street and Park, Pall Mall, St. James's Square, the Strand, and a few others. Well-dressed persons, men and women, throng them. In the dresses of both, black predominates. It is nearly universal. This proceeds from the general mourning for the Princess Charlotte, late heiress apparent to the throne, who died in November. The roll of chariots, and carriages of all kinds, from two until past four, was incessant. In all directions they were in motion. It was like a show--the horses, the coachmen with triangular hats and tassels, the footmen with cockades and canes--it seemed as if nothing could exceed it all.  ....
Being the day before Christmas, there was more display in the shops than usual. I did not get back until candle-light. The whole scene began to be illuminated. Altogether, what a scene it was! The shops in the Strand and elsewhere, where every conceivable article lay before you; and all made in England..

The Ladies' Monthly Museum posted fashion notes of the aforesaid black clothes. They were certainly a  visible, notable difference in the season that year.

The Liverpool Mercury posted one of the typical offerings of amateur poetry that filled newspapers and journals of the time.

And the Suffolk Chronicle; or Weekly General Advertiser & County Express recorded the usual school treat:

The Bury and Norwich Post offered two happenings that illustrated that human nature does not alter, despite the changes that might occur in circumstances from year to year.

Wherever you are this year, whoever you are with, I hope that you can celebrate Christmas and the holiday season in a way that is meaningful to you. Change is not always bad and hardship engenders gratitude for that which we do year will be better.

Stay safe, and have a Happy Christmas,

'Til next time,


Friday, September 25, 2020

The Complete Weather Guide

My apologies for not providing a monthly blog in the past three months. Certainly the challenges of Covid-19 have thrown me off my stride, and also I am working on a couple of large projects which are distracting me, and keeping me busy. Please bear with me as we continue through these difficult days of 2020. In the new year, I should have more information about my projects. In the meantime, I offer this blog on a very interesting book. Stay safe and well...


 In the Regency era, as now, everyone wanted to know what the future held in terms of the weather.

"The Complete Weather Guide" published in 1813 by Joseph Taylor, offered numerous ways of predicting the day's weather and forecasting conditions for the days and weeks to come. Mr. Taylor discusses in detail making predictions from appearances of nature, and appearances of atmosphere, and using barometers, hygrometers, and thermometers.

And then there is this:

The Shepherd's Rules are based in observation, and are probably as valid as any forecast our modern weather people offer. They are sometimes expressed in wonderful, ancient couplets.

If red the sun begins his race, be sure the rain will fall apace.

The evening red, and the morning grey, is a sign of a fair day.

In the decay of the moon, a cloudy morning bodes a fair afternoon.

Interspersed with the weather details, are useful facts and fanciful fictions.

Even more interesting than the text, I think, are the handwritten notes and newspaper clippings that generations of the book's owners have added in the back of the book.

There are no dates on the information, or sources for the author's research, but the notes are interesting and possibly very useful!

The Complete Weather Guide may be found on Google Books by a simple search, and is available for free download. 

'Til next time,