Fruit flies! Where do they come from? What purpose do they serve (to the non-scientific community)? This week, my writing was disturbed by a great plague of the sodding things in my kitchen. Just when I thought I was on top of the problem by killing a bucket-load of them, I would go out there a few hours later and there they all were again! I eventually found the source after turning my kitchen upside down – a long forgotten kitchen caddy full of nicely decomposing peelings! Ugh! So, that went outside and I settled into happily executing the rest of the winged felons. Problem over.
Or was it? This morning I was about to have some toast from a sealed pack of bread I’d left out when…. I spot 3 of the little b******s inside! Groan! Is there no end to them?
On a positive note, last Friday I was lucky enough to go and hear a talk by the esteemed medieval history professor J.R.S. Phillips. For those who haven’t heard of him, he specialises in the reign of Edward II and has written many articles and a couple of books too –one of which is Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, 1307-24: Baronial Politics in the Reign of Edward II – a brilliant treatise on the career of one of the most moderate magnates at Edward’s court. It was a really interesting talk, focusing mostly on the issue of Edward’s survival (or not) after 1327 and the involvement of the Fieschi family. To cut a lot of notes short, Phillips believes that the man who travelled around Europe and ended up meeting Edward III in Germany was an impostor and that somehow the Fieschi family and the pope engaged in some sort of conspiracy (no, I didn’t quite understand it all either). When asked at the end what he thought really happened to Edward in September 1327, he replied that he thought the king really had died – probably murdered but not necessarily by the red hot poker method.
It was strange because at the time, probably because I was slightly in awe of his reputation, I was fairly swayed by his reasoning (apart from a few niggles of doubt on one or two of his points). However, after later talking with Alianore, the arguments fell apart somewhat. But to his credit, he did say that alot of what he was proposing was pure speculation. Which then led me to make another observation: being a historian on a subject so far away in time is a bit like being a creative writer. OK, imagination has to be tempered by objectivity and credibility but imagination is still important to make those little leaps and bridges between the actual information available.
By the way, I should say, Professor Phillips has an Edward II biography coming out sometime next year – it should be an interesting – an controversial read. And also – he mentioned Alianore’s web site as containing lots of interesting information!!! So she’s now famous!
Finally, as I start my lectures at uni, I shall be taking a little break from long blog posts (for a couple of weeks) so that I can get my head around the reading list and lesson plans – and enjoy the late sunshine. However, I will still be around on the Tattered Quill and the Edward II forums in the evenings.