About Me

I strongly anticipate that anyone reading this blog already knows who I am, but just in case, here is some information about me.

Almost everyone in Somerset
looks like this
I am from the West Country, which means I enjoy drinking cider and songs about farm machinery. When I was a child we used to go wassailing, which is a ritual designed to wake up the cider apple trees after their winter sleep, and drive away any evil spirits which may be hiding in the branches. Also, the vicar who used to come to our school to tell us about Jesus was thrown out of the Church of England for being a white wizard. That's the sort of thing that happens in Somerset.

I have two degrees from the University of Sheffield (a BA in History and English Literature, and an MA in 19th Century Studies). My dissertations were on 'Madness and the Paris Commune' and 'British Travellers in Iceland in the second half of the 19th Century'. My degrees are exceptionally useful and after four years of study I am now able to read poetry with confidence.

I finally got around to starting to study Icelandic in my second year of undergrad, which was 2007 / 2008. I have learnt how to ask for directions to the post office, talk about what I did in my summer holidays and pronounce Eyjafjallajökull.

Spider tie: Outstanding
Other things I enjoy include reading books, riding my bicycle, drinking tea and shouting things at Question Time on the BBC. And also, on the subject of QT, David Dimbleby's ties.

I really hate it when people eat the wrong sort of food at the wrong time of day. For example, breakfast cereal at 4 pm, or pasta for breakfast. What can they possibly be thinking?

My favourite 19th century politician is Lord Castlereagh, who fought a duel with fellow cabinet member George Canning and shot him in the leg. Castlereagh later killed himself with a letter opener, whilst Canning went on to become Prime Minister for a glorious 119 days before dying in office.

I can ride a horse, but I don't very much these days, largely because the horse that I have access to is older than me and is no fun anymore. It is illegal to be in charge of a horse whilst drunk, and this is probably the best crime I have ever committed, although it was not as fun as I thought it would be. It was just a lot more difficult.

My ancestor and his
sister-in-law, talking to
prisoners apparently.
If you look closely at a five pound note, you will see a man wearing glasses in the top left corner. That is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, the anti-slavery campaigner Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, brother-in-law of Elizabeth Fry. My great grandfather, Russell Harmer, won a gold medal in sailing at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics. There are a fair few other wikipedia-worthy people in my family tree (all on my mother's side), but those two are probably the best.

Like most people of my age and nationality, my heart's strongest desire is to own Bernard's watch.


  1. Is it as cold there as it is in Moscow. Like your blog :-)


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