The Political History of the UK

March 11, 2019

As some readers will recall, I am a great admirer of data visualizations and their educational use in history. I was very pleased, therefore, to come across this fascinating video by Ollie Bye and made available on You Tube.

In less than 8 minutes, this map shows the political divisions into which the United Kingdom and Ireland have been divided for every year from 54 BC to 2016.

It is particularly useful in those confusing years between when the Roman Empire collapsed in the 400s through to the Norman Conquest of 1066.

The small Scottish “kingdoms” of those years are represented by numbers rather than names and are equivalent to the following:  1. Caithness 2. Sutherland 3. Ross 4. Small Vassals 5. Buchan 6. Mar 7. Atholl 8. Angus 9. Stathearn 10. Fife 11. Dunbar 12./13. Galloway.

Image: Curved Bench

March 11, 2019

Poem: Fireside

March 11, 2019


The tension seemed to fuse

his spine to his neck

and he found he couldn’t move,

bracing himself for the words he knew

must emerge

from the smudge-faced fireman.

His brain felt hollow,

as if all the matter had been extracted

to make space

for the cascade of new information,

fragmentary and wounding as it would be

at first,

that he anticipated momentarily.


“Your wife, sir.”



Even as he answered, he recoiled with imminent horror;

and even as he recoiled

he hoped – inanely – that his reaction

would not form part of his

permanent record.


“Your wife, sir,

said to tell you,

she’s at her mothers.”


He wondered if he’d ever move

his neck again.