A visit to Charles Dickens’ house

Sonya's Stuff

Charles Dickens Doughty Street London Sonya Heaney February 2017

The view down Doughty Street.

Charles Dickens lived in many different places in his lifetime, but this house near my old home in Holborn, London is the one that has been turned into a museum about his life (and was recently – expensively – renovated).

Even though I lived and worked within a short walk of this house for a couple of years, I never actually visited. And so one chilly day at the end of February, on a short break in London on the way home from Italy, I marched from Covent Garden to pretty Doughty Street to finally pay a visit.

It is an interesting house in its own right, a recreation of middle class life in the Victorian era. I am not a fan of Dickens, the family man (or should I say, Dickens, the man who abandoned his family!), but there is no denying the impact he…

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On this day: the bombing of the USS Franklin

The USS Franklin, an American aircraft carrier, was struck by a Japanese dive bomber on the 19th of March, 1945.

While many on board were thrown into the water or killed, some stayed voluntarily and saved the ship.

It is thought over 800 people were killed in the attack.

Attack_on_carrier_USS_Franklin_19_March_1945The USS Franklin, an American aircraft carrier, was struck by a Japanese dive bomber on the 19th of March, 1945.

Brought to bed of a daughter? Try again!



One of the things a medieval queen was expected to provide her husband with was a male heir – and preferably a spare. For a medieval king to have only female heirs caused a number of problems, primarily that of convincing the male barons to swear allegiance to a woman. Plus, from a purely dynastic perspective, whatever children the female ruler had would belong to their father’s house.

So when, in 1254, the heir to the English throne, Edward, married Eleanor of Castile, one of the expectations on the (very) young bride was that she ensure a continuation of the Plantagenet dynasty – a dynasty she herself belonged to through her great-grandmother and namesake, Eleanor of England. (Yet another young bride, this daughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine married Alfonso VIII in 1174)

I’d have liked to present you with some wedding pics, but seeing as all this…

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Back to Work

I’m back home, after a nightmare journey that lasted two and a half days thanks to an airline mess-up! I’ve been through England, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand simply to get to Sydney, after which I had a connecting flight to Canberra.

And I’m doing it all over again in August when I travel to Spain for a month! Now it’s straight back to regular programming. I have a lot to catch up on in a short space of time.


On this day: a dictator and his pet

Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini photographed with his pet lion cub, Ras on the 16th of February, 1924. He would run Italy for another twenty-one years before being captured and executed alongside his mistress Clara Petacci. His wife was elsewhere at the time.