Tag Archives: People

Visit to Rudyard Kipling’s House – Batemans

On wednesday, followinging on from yesterday’s blog, I visited Batemans, a National Trust property in Kent that was once the home of the Nobel Prize-winning writer, Rudyard Kipling – who wrote the Jungle book.

He also wrote the Just So Stories. I loved those stories so much as a child, that I ended up re-writing them to make them easier for children of today to understand.

It was a wonderful job. I could feel Kipling breathing down my neck, checking that I was doing the right thing by his masterpiece.

I removed a lot of high Victorian language and whimsy, revealing fresh, modern writing underneath. I also had to rewrite some bits which have become politically incorrect over the years, since the British Empire waned.

Kipling is often criticised these days for the attitudes expressed in some of his writing, but I honestly don’t think Kipling was racist, especially for the time he lived in. He always wrote warmly of India and it’s peoples, but there are one or two words and attitudes, that were acceptable at the time, that I had to “smooth out” for today’s sensibilities.

The Just So Stories are written for and addressed to “My Best-Beloved”. This was Kipling’s daughter, Josephine. She died of pneumonia when she was six. Kipling had pneumonia at the same time. They didn’t tell him for six weeks, until he was strong enough to hear the awful news.

That story has always affected me. Finding myself in front of things that belonged to Josephine caught me quite by surprise – a very emotional moment.

find out more about Batemans here: 

More about Oast Houses used for drying hops which give flavour to beer – and are grown all over Kent.

School Visit to Dover

I’ve been down to Dover this week, to visit Whitfield Aspen Primary School. It meant that I got to walk along the famous White cliffs of Dover. There were no Bluebirds because we don’t have Bluebirds in Britain!

Dover is the main port to France, where the Channel Tunnel goes underground and where ferries ply back and forth with trucks, cars and passnegers.

The next video tomorrow will be about my journey home where I stopped off to visit the house of the Jungle Book author, Rudyard Kipling. See it here

Archimedes – the Man who invented the Death Ray

Archimedes lived over 2,000 years ago in Syracuse on the island of Sicily.

He was a mathematician, astronomer, physicist, engineer and inventor.

Many of his great inventions came about while defending Syracuse when it came under attack from the Romans.

Click here for signed copies with free poster.

The leader of the Roman army was Marcus Claudius Marcellus. Eventually Marcellus won the war. Archimedes died in the Siege of Syracuse, even though Marcellus had given strict orders that Archimedes should be captured alive. Marcellus admired the genius and knew that he had more invention to offer the world. Who knows how history may have changed if Archimedes had lived to live the rest of his life in peaceful study and contemplation?

In this book, Marcus Claudius Marcellus looks back on his life and explains to his young son exactly why Archimedes was possibly the cleverest person that ever lived.

Here are a few videos that show you how to draw Archimedes and how to get to grips with drawing circles and spheres, the subjects that fascinated Archimedes so much, a fascination that led him to his greatest invention Pi – the number that lets us work out the circumference of circles and the area of the surface of a sphere.