Burned, buried and brought back to life

A look back (first published 17 February 2015): discovering the secrets of the papyrus scrolls of Herculaneum, now in the National Library in Naples, Italy.

The Phraser

Library of Naples Library of Naples
Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli

It’s never a good idea to judge anything by appearances.  Here’s an example.

Mid-autumn of last year I was new in Naples.  The language was a challenge and I still didn’t know my way around.  The city seemed hectic and disheveled.

Then, on a wet Wednesday in November, I was invited on a trip to the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli.

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London and the life beneath its feet

Copyright Transport for London

Copyright Transport for London

A great city depends on the energy of its people – London is a great city and it’s thriving thanks to Londoners.

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Changing names is never easy.  St Dunstan’s has had to move very carefully.  Nearly a century old and trusted by the blind it shed its name in February to become Blind Veterans UK.

The charity was set up in 1914 by the founder and owner of the Daily Express, Arthur Pearson, who had lost his own sight through glaucoma.  He wanted to establish a rehabilitation and training centre for the soldiers who had lost their sight in the First World War.

The American banker Otto Kahn lent his house, St Dunstan’s Lodge in London, to the charity.  By the end of 1918 the charity had helped over 1,500 soldiers, or St Dunstaners as they came to be known.

In 1938 the centre at Ovingdean, near Brighton, was opened.  It was intended originally to be a convalescent and holiday home for St Dunstaners.  This centre is still there.  It sits alone on the edge of the village in an unapologetic building whose front facade is like the side of a great ship streaming footpaths down towards the shore.

In 1940, just as the charity extended its services to those blinded while serving in the auxiliary services, women’s services, munitions factories, the police, the fire services and civil defence,  the war forced it to evacuate its residents from  Brighton to Shropshire.

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The whys and whats of the school governor role

What’s needed?  Time and enthusiasm should probably be top of the list as they are vital if governing bodies are going to help their schools attain at the highest level possible.

What else?

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Space for your thoughts

There are stories, poems, whole worlds stuck in drawers and notebooks.  Chances are many of them may never climb out into the sunshine.

Well, if anyone’s notebook or drawer is starting to overflow, let me know.  There is space on The Phraser and room to grow.    Anything posted would always remain your work and your copyright – the Phraser would just give it an outing.

Two important points to note:  1) the decision as to whether or not to publish any piece is the editor’s, and 2) no payment is possible for submissions.







Ten tips to help with the house move drama

  • Top accessory: another pair of hands.
  • Top stress buster: shelve all work deadlines for at least a week.
  • Big question: would it be more fun not moving?
We have moved house over 12 times in the last two decades.  Five of the moves have been with three children and a dog and, of those five, two have been international.
We are not known for logistical finesse but our moves have stockpiled some knowledge.  Here are a few top tips.

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