So we all know about the (selective) online interactive manuscript of Les Miserables, with commentary, translation and attached relevant videos, right?

I thought it looked really cool and hadn’t seen anyone else talking about it yet.

Find it here (x)

More information here (x)

You can visit the Victor Hugo: Les Miserables – From Page to Stage exhibition at the State Library of Victoria (Australia) 18th July until 9th November.


Robert Wood. The Ruins of Palmyra, otherwise Tedmor, in the Desart (London, 1753).

The Western world became aware of the art and architecture of Palmyra through the explorations of two British travelers, Robert Wood and James Dawkins, who visited the ruins of the fabled ancient city in the Syrian Desert in 1750-51. The lavishly illustrated book they published about their discoveries became a prime inspiration for the neo-classical architectural style in Britain and North America

The book has also been a resource for scholars who study the heritage of Palmyra and of the world cultures that have met and interacted over the centuries in this oasis city, known as the “Venice of the Sands.”

The Fine Arts Library’s copy of this work was donated to Harvard in 1764 by the Boston merchant Nathaniel Rogers. It is among the earliest books in our collection documenting the art and architecture of the Middle East.

Photo taken by @stevemccurryofficial // “Burma is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, with decaying infrastructure and an economy that is just now starting to pick up after decades of stagnation, yet, it boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the region.The reverence for reading is evident when you visit. In Yangon, bookstores or book- lending shops are prominent on seemingly every street. Street vendors bide their time between customers reading news magazines. Book clubs are popular. Libraries such as the American Center and British Council Library have robust book club programs.” - Wendy Rockett, The Asia Foundation @theasiafoundation by natgeo


Research Visit to the Royal Armouries

Today I had the privilege to handle some firearms I never thought I’d ever have the opportunity to see let alone rack the bolt of.  I’m in the preliminary phases of research for my masters dissertation and was able to visit the National Firearms Centre and the Royal Armouries’ library in Leeds. They have a truly amazing collection of several thousand rare and unusual firearms everything from prototypes to custom made guns. Sadly, I was unable to take any photographs as all electronic devices are surrendered before entering.  However, the above are photos of some of the weapons I was able to examine.

I was primarily visiting to look at the numerous prototype EM-2 rifles (see image #2) held in the collection but could not resist browsing the rest of the racks. I’ll bullet point some of the other rifles I handled below:

- Korsak EM-1, a British 7.92mm experimental bullpup design developed in the late 1940s, one of the first true bullpup designs, compared to the later EM-2 it was weighty and had one or two ergonomic issues with the positioning of the magazine - it was possibly an early prototype example.

EM-1 (Thorpe), developed at the same time as Stefan Janson’s EM-2, a little heavier and perhaps not as balanced but with much the same layout with similar early optical sites.  (Image #1)

.280 FN-FAL, a trials rifle chambered in the British .280 intermediate cartridge, much lighter than the later 7.62mm FALs. After handling the EM-2 to which it rivalled in trials in the early 1950s the shift of weight to the front of the weapon is notable.  (Image #3)

- StG-45(m), the late war German design which would later evolve into the CETME and G3, very handy and robust, interestingly it had its 10-round testing magazine.  (Image #4)

MKb 42, early German intermediate cartridge rifle which eventually succeeded by the better known StG-44. I sadly forgot to check whether it was a Haenel or Walther model.

VG 1-5, it was an unexpected surprise to be able to examine a Volkssturm weapon, it was surprisingly robust and didn’t shoulder as awkwardly as it appears it might from photographs.  (Image #5)

FG-42, very excited to see one of these, the angled grip has always fascinated me and was surprisingly comfortable. I was lucky enough to see a later model which has the wooden stock piece and I was surprised by how much bulkier it appeared. The integral bayonet was quite formidable if short.  (Image #6)

G11 (mock-up), an interesting mockup made during the design process, sadly not the real thing.

Chinese Type 86, a fascinating commercial AK bullpup made in limited numbers by Norinco.  (Image #7)

Gold-plated Sterling sub machine gun, custom made for Saudi-Arabian royalty, garish but beautifully made, complete with golden cleaning kit tin and leather carrying case. (Photo here)

Nock Volley gun, a very rare original 8-barrelled volley gun commissioned for the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic War. It was in beautiful condition.   (Image #8)

1842 Pattern Percussion musket, one of the first British service weapons to be fitted with a percussion lock although still smoothbore.

Beretta BM59, Italy’s improved version of the M1 Garand with a 20 round box magazine and selective fire.

1800 Pattern Baker Rifle, the famed British light infantry rifle of the Napoleonic Wars carried by the 95th Rifles among many others. Beautifully made - a real treat to handle. (Sadly they didn’t have an example of the earlier Ferguson rifle available to view).

Enfield-Martini .303, a gun not many people realise existed. This example was in amazing condition with a very crisp action.

STEN MkI, another weapon I never thought I’d handle, the early STENs are fascinating, their wooden furniture was quickly discarded in the more recognisable MkII.  (Image #9)

BSA 1949 experimental machine carbine, a fascinating design which lacks a charging handle and instead uses a pump action in the fore grip. Very compact and ergonomic with a fearsome looking ‘apple corer’ bayonet which could be stowed in the fore grip flush with the barrel.  (Image #10)

Just a small portion of the documents relating to the EM-2 held by the Royal Armouries’ library (Author’s photograph)

It was incredibly exciting to be allowed to handle and examine these firearms and I have to thank the staff of the National Firearms Centre and the curator of firearms Jonathan Ferguson who patiently showed me these amazing weapons and was a wealth of information. I also had the pleasure of visiting the Royal Armouries’ library which houses the museum’s collection of documents and books the library staff were also very helpful and I look forward to visiting both again.


So sorry for this long post - but London was absolutely amazing!

(Here, have some photos!)

My heart broke when we had to leave! </3


Happy National Hot Dog Day! Summer is the perfect time for a hot dog, whether it comes at a baseball game, during lunch, or from a barbecue grill. 

In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth dined with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt in their Hyde Park home. It may have been a special occasion, but FDR still served his guests hot dogs and beer. 

The two featured images are of the menu for the picnic and a picture from the picnic showing King George VI, Sara D. Roosevelt, New York State Governor Herbert Lehman, and Elinor Morgenthau. Photo Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. To find out more about the British Royal Visit in 1939 visit:http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/aboutfdr/royalvisit.html