New Moomin museum opens in Finland

Tove Jansson never took her family of fairytale characters too seriously, but they now have their own museum in Tampere, attracting Moomins fans from around the world

Tale of Dickens’ fight to save Shakespeare house retold in exhibition

Events in which novelist helped save bard’s birthplace from clutches of US showman PT Barnum will be celebrated in Stratford

The retreats where famous authors found inspiration – in pictures

Former president Barack Obama is to journey to the South Pacific island of Tetiaroa, once owned by Marlon Brando, to write his memoir. Here’s a look at where other famous authors found the inspiration to write

Sports the Olympics Forgot – The Skipping Games

This is an excerpt from the Skipping Games story in the book, Sports the Olympics Forgot

The Skipping Games take place in Skipton on the last Saturday of September. As the name suggests all the events require the contestant to skip rope during the race. The rope must be in use at all times and can never be carried otherwise the contestant will be disqualified.

The Skipping Games began in 1894 when one of the local worm-charmers, Agnes Smith, devised a technique for bringing worms to the surface of her fields by dancing on the spot using a skipping rope to keep a steady beat on the ground with her feet. This was quite a tiring exercise and she used to train by running around the field, skipping as she went. Her two sisters, Anne and Bronwen, used to try to keep up with her and soon a competitive edge was introduced when their father, Herbert, declared that the fastest sister over a 100-yard race would win a pint of best Yorkshire bitter. Anne won the race in 13.6 seconds and that night downed the prize in one go. Her father also had a few pints to drink and by the end of the evening had challenged all comers to a racing contest in his top field the following weekend.

So began the Skipton Skipping Contest.

Miracles and Idolatry

I have just finished reading the book “Miracles and Idolatry” by Voltaire.

I am genuinely impressed that someone can place so much knowledge about religion, history, philosophy, and the human condition on so many different subjects, ranging from ‘Apocalypse’ to ‘Martyrs’ and ‘Cannibals’ to ‘Luxury’, into such a short book.

His summation of the various important religious councils from Nicaea to Trent is funny and thought-provoking given that some councils overturned decisions made by previous councils relating to the true nature of Jesus.

The chapter on Apocalypse (Book of Revelations) gives an indication of how the authorship of this book was doubted and shows that the book wasn’t included in some of the earliest Bibles.

This is a book for people who enjoy an intelligent author lampooning believers who believe for the sake of belief rather questioning those beliefs and the assumptions held in those beliefs.

 

 

Top 10 art holidays and creative writing retreats in the UK

Getting away from it all on a writing retreat or art break offers an opportunity to combine a hobby with a holiday where it’s possible to learn new skills at beautiful and inspiring locations