The Aintree Grand National - A View from the Grandstand

This blogpost has only one London reference in it, but it does concern a British institution, and as I get quite a number of page views from overseas (thank you), I thought I’d do a piece on this year’s event.

The race has been running for 165 years, and I have attended most years since 1983 – a boys’ weekend, although the boys today have matured with age, or so we would  like to think.

Castle Howard, Brideshead and some London connections

I am tempted to start with “It’s that place where they did Brideshead Revisited, isn’t it?” But to limit its appeal to that tag is a mite disrespectful, even though both the 1981 TV series based on Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel, and the later 2008 film, were made at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, and the stories of the filming of each are told in a special exhibition in the house.

Inside & Outside the Law - Twitter, Deceit, Dinners and Dogs

It’s been a bad time for Twitter abusers. First, in well-publicised news,  21 year old Swansea University student Liam Stacey lost his appeal against conviction for racially aggravated public disorder as a result of tweets he sent following Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsing on the football field with cardiac arrest.

Charles Dickens, Mayfair and Little America

From the evidence of his writings, Charles Dickens did not like Mayfair. More precisely, he did not like what, socially, it represented. Given that Dickens was prone to write more about what he disapproved of in life, than about what he approved of (no doubt that approach made business sense) it is no shock that Mayfair, when picked on, got the great man’s treatment.

A Prosperous Lawyer, and a Red House and Red Lion Connection

James Beale was a prosperous solicitor, with a town house in London’s Holland Park and a country house at Standen in Sussex, built in 1892-4 and now owned by the National Trust.