There are so many riches out there that it’s getting both easier and more difficult to pick up an interesting snippet, an extract from something or a ‘found object’ and publish it.  Easier, because the web makes it so; more difficult because where do you start?  This page, rather like John Julius Norwich’s annual compilations of such things, attempts to bring some of them up to our gaze again.

Venerable Bede

Here, to begin, is something written 1,300 years ago by the Venerable Bede in 731, but still meaningful today:

The sparrow in the hall

The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another. Whilst he is within, he is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant.

Venerable Bede  Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Ch 2

Appointment in Samarra

Clemenceau speaks

In praise of French women


Hazel’s departure

Molière breakfasts with Louis XIV

Pierre and Natasha

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