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...

It’s Daggers at Dawn!

On the evening of Monday July 5 he attended a 'Small Waltzing Party - 10 o'clock at the home of Lady Heathcote despite his intense dislike for the 'fashionable Waltz' on account of his lameness and for his disdain for anything remotely fashionable. That he had attended a party only days before that had all 'the refuse of the Regent & the Red book - Bedfords - Jerseys - Ossulstones - Greys & the like' also did very little to deter him! And that he might bump into Lady Caroline Lamb, his aggrieved and furious former lover whom he had been anxiously avoiding several days earlier was yet another futile deterrent. Byron's most recent paramour Lady Oxford had sailed out of his life with her husband at the end of June and although he had been reunited with his half- sister Augusta Leigh, he was making plans to go abroad AGAIN...

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...

I Once More Remind You I Am YOUR Child!

"Lady Byron, proposed that I should accompany her to Paris, and remain with her for a time I did so.....at Fontainebleau.... Lady Byron informed me of the cause of the deep interest she felt and must ever feel, for me. Her husband had been my father..." The author of this missive is one Elizabeth Medora Leigh writing about the kindness of her aunt Lady Byron who had just informed her that her father was none other than the celebrated poet and also her uncle, Lord Byron. Born on this day April 15 in 1814, her mother was the Hon. Augusta Mary Byron who had married her cousin Colonel George Leigh and Elizabeth Medora as she was baptised was their fourth child and arguably the most notorious.