Archive for April, 2020

Who were King Henry VIII’s six wives and what happened to them?

April 29th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

During this lockdown when children cannot be at school. I’ve been doing online history lessons for two youngsters aged nine years old – one is granddaughter no 1 and the other the son of a good friend. We started with Victorian Britain and I did four sessions on this period. To keep things fresh, we’ve […]

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A review of the 2017 film “Wonder”

April 28th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

American schoolboy August ‘Auggie’ Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is well-supported by his mother (Julia Roberts) – who calls him a “wonder” – and father (Owen Wilson) and he needs all the support he can find since he was born with a serious facial deformity called Mandibulofacial Dysostosis or Treacher Collins Syndrome Based on a novel by […]

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Think coronavirus is the worst thing that could happen to the world? Think again. It could be worse, much much worse. Feeling better now?

April 26th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Things are tough just now, right? You want to be cheered up, don’t you? Well, consider this: things could be much worse. The existence of humankind is not a given. There are a variety of existential threats out there and, put is this way, the odds could be better. I was reminded of this by […]

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A review of “The Mirror And The Light” by Hilary Mantel

April 25th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

I owe a special debt of gratitude to award-winning author Hilary Mantel for her superb trilogy of novels providing a fictional account of the life of Thomas Cromwell, chief counsellor to England’s 16th century King Henry VIII. I read the first part, the 650 page “Wolf Hall”, during a trip to China; I consumed the […]

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How do we decide who will live and who will die in this global pandemic?

April 24th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Three years ago, I did a blog posting which posed an ethical dilemma. There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next […]

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Happy St George’s Day – but he was not the character you might have thought

April 23rd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

There is nothing more English than St George, right? And today we celebrate him and all things English. St George might be hailed as a national hero, but he was actually born – in the 3rd century AD – more than 2,000 miles away in Cappadocia (modern day Turkey). He is thought to have died […]

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Word of the day: quarantine

April 22nd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The current coronaviris crisis is highlighting certain words. My last word of the day was ‘furlough’. Today I want to look at the word ‘quarantine”. The word comes from the Italian word for 40: quaranta. Originally, when a ship was suspected of being infected with some contagious disorder, it was obliged to lie off port […]

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And in other news … this year’s World Press Freedom Index is published and it’s not good for the UK or the US

April 21st, 2020 by Roger Darlington

At this time of crisis and lockdown, many of us are deprived of some basic freedoms – but hopefully this is temporary. Meanwhile media freedom around the world is under challenge. The latest World Press Freedom Index shows that the United Kingdom has slipped to 35th and the United States is no better at 45th. […]

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It is now clear that the UK is not going to achieve a “good result” in the coronavirus crisis

April 19th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

In mid March, the British government’s health advisers on the coronavirus crisis told Ministers: The modelling suggests that, without severe social distancing and isolation practices, the death toll could be around 260,000. The modelling suggests that, with the current severe social distancing and isolation practices, the death toll could be around 20,000 or lower. Days later, the UK went onto national lockdown […]

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A review of the 2014 film”Effie Gray”

April 17th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

In 1848, Euphemia ‘Effie’ Gray (portrayed here by Dakota Fanning) was 19 when she married the famous critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), but he was a terrible husband and the marriage was never consummated, a further complication being her attraction to the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). This famous Victorian love triangle is […]

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