Live, Laugh AND Eat Cake!

"And I go to my bed with a heaviness of heart at having lived so long, and to so little purpose." Two hundred and thirty two years ago - Lord Byron made his appearance and even though he shuffled off this mortal planet in 1824 - I still intend to enjoy a large slice or three of this delicious cake in his honour...

Still Life at Newstead Abbey…

On this very day in 1811, our Poet was firing off a letter to his close friend John Cam Hobhouse as he languished inside his crumbling ancestral seat at Newstead Abbey – home to the notorious and profligate Byron family since the Reformation and which lies in the heart of Sherwood Forest in Nottingham. Some years later and with my own life having undergone a recent and dramatic change, I returned to Newstead Abbey on a beautiful September afternoon - albeit with less despondency...

A Proposal of Marriage – Possibly?

With pages marked by my 'Pride & Prejudice' bookmark, a hastily bought souvenir from Bath and as I was reading the letter written by Byron on this very day, September 9 1814 - I confess that my attention wandered to the alluring and haughty figure of Mr Darcy in conversation with a certain Miss Bennet...

Marilyn and a Million or Three!

I have been reading the book by Ghislaine McDayter which places Byron and the heady years of stardom as the patriarch of all of our modern celebrities and so in addition to being a brilliant and irreverent poet, and despite his own cynicism on the matter - Byron is also honoured as the first ever celebrity...

Let Me Have Implora Pace! Please?

On this day, July 16 and an incredible 24 years ago I celebrated the safe arrival of my youngest son Tom and in 1824 a further 195 years ago - the church of St Mary Magdalene in the town of Hucknall in Nottingham welcomed the safe arrival of Byron's remains for burial after his death at the age of 36 on April 19 in the town of Missolonghi in Greece...

Stone Me! Such a Pretentious Poseur!

John Cam Hobhouse inspired by his love of classical antiquity had commissioned the fashionable Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen to make a portrait bust of his 'dearest friend' during their visit to Rome in May 1817. One wonders if he had to try hard to persuade his 'dearest friend' to actually sit for Thorvaldsen as the first meeting between the artist and Byron was one of wry amusement on the part of one and studied indifference by the other...

MAY You Marry in Haste?

"Mr Farquar of Doctor’s Commons has a copy of the certificate of my marriage which he got from Bath…..I was married however on the 12th or 13th May (I don’t know which..." It is interesting that Byron’s mother should have been unsure as to the precise date of her fated marriage to John Byron in the year 1785. With her Scottish ancestry for omens and superstition perhaps Catherine’s confusion is understandable for she did indeed marry ‘Mad Jack’ Byron on Friday May 13 and by all accounts their brief marriage was a disaster.

A Visit to the Pilgrim of Eternity…

It was as I was photographing the wonderful tribute to Byron that I suddenly became aware of a huge, crashing noise and which turned out to be the most torrential thunderstorm and as the storm threatened to bring down the very rafters of the church, I thought it all rather prophetic that I should find myself confined to a place within feet of Byron who had breathed his last as mother nature had raged around the town of Missolonghi on this very day in 1824...

A Pinch OR a Punch St Patrick?

Céad Míle Fáilte! I wish you one hundred thousand welcomes in Gaelic for today is St Patrick's Day! On St Patrick's Day in 1814 some 205 years ago and on this very day, it is likely that Byron would also have enjoyed some alcohol consumption during the course of the day; however, as delightful as the idea is, we cannot be sure if he actually 'pinched' anyone. But what we do know is that he was without any doubt 'punching' somebody on that day!

A Rage Against the Machine…

Today, February 27 was the day that my mother was delivered of me some years ago and a few years before that, Lord Byron delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords. Yes, indeed on this very day some 207 years ago, our poet spoke out in 'A Rage Against the Machine' as he identified with the Luddite cause and claiming to be as penniless as those he supported, he sought the support of Lord Holland as the leader of the Whigs to address the House and to voice his opposition to the introduction of the death penalty...