Showing posts from December, 2023

John Milton's Paradise Lost

  In 1665 John Milton dodged the Great Plague in London by moving to a small house in Chalfont St Giles, near Amersham. He’d had a varied career, agitating against the Monarchy and then supporting Cromwell’s Parliament in several capacities, including as the gloriously named “Secretary for Foreign Tongues”!   The cottage is still there. You can visit. Link: Milton's Cottage The plague was not his only problem. The demise of Cromwell and the restoration of Charles II to the throne, effectively finished his career and, to make it worse, he was going blind. Opting for a quieter life, he dedicated himself to finishing his epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’, a retelling in ten short books of the biblical account of the fall of man;  the Adam & Eve stuff, Eden, apples and serpents. The First Edition  The first two books cover the descent of Satan and his ‘horrid crew’ into Hell and the plotting of their own restoration. I love them. His account of the deliberations

3. Mud

This is a pause in our trudge through the stygian gloom of geological history, to take a closer look at mud, mud, glorious mud, in all its various flavours, gloopy, crumbly and hard in the form of rock. The stuff of Golems.  Apologia. The passively interested reader might find this the most stultifyingly tedious post on this blog, with  graphics that are awe-inspiringly uninspiring. And  I am aware that there is some competition. It is here  for the sake of completeness and  because, worryingly, I think that mud has a story to tell. But you might find it helps you to doze off.    While tootling around the planet on its way toward its current position on the globe, South East England often found itself in a liminal zone between land and sea, sometimes one and sometimes the other, depending on the sea levels. The foundations of our landscape are the compacted sediments of sand, gravel and biological detritus that slowly accumulated on the old sea floors. In short, they began as as mud, w