Remembering Dr. Leonore Goldschmidt May 11, 2024 by Una O'Connell - Buildings are vessels of history and Folkestone is a town rich in historical buildings. On the corner of Earls Ave and Shorncliffe Road stands a handsome brick and stone-dressed residence, once the summer home of the Boddam Whetham family. Since the late 19th century, however, it has served as an academic institution. In 1895, the… Read More
A Brilliant Disguise August 12, 2023 by Una O'Connell - In 2007 I attended the memorial and burial of the writer and philosopher, Douglas Edison Harding. My presence at his graveside that day was a co-incidence and not due to any personal connection to the family. To be honest, I had never heard of the man C.S. Lewis once described as a writer of ‘the… Read More
A Renaissance Man June 20, 2023 by Una O'Connell - The term ‘Renaissance Man’ is rarely used today. It appears to have fallen away in this 21st century of self-appointed authorities and experts. Of course you’d never describe yourself as a Renaissance Man (or Woman). This would be the preserve of others, most likely after your death, perhaps in an obituary or eulogy. A Renaissance… Read More
A Good Man is Hard to Find June 11, 2023 by Una O'Connell - One of my mother’s favourite television programmes in the 1960s and 70s was The Val Doonican Show. Doonican was an Irish singer, known for his soothing baritone voice,  knitted sweaters and signature wooden rocking chair. I think my mother secretly wished she’d married a man like Val Doonican, rather than a man like my father.… Read More
The Footsteps of a Thousand Years May 21, 2023 by Una O'Connell - On May 17th, 2023 Sotheby’s New York auctioned The Codex Sassoon. Acknowledged to be the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew Bible, it was written on sheepskin parchment more than a thousand years ago. Although the Dead Sea Scrolls are older, they are incomplete. The Codex Sassoon is a world treasure, on which all our… Read More
A Good Brew April 30, 2023 by Una O'Connell - 'Bless ordinary every day afternoon tea' Agatha Christie The Swiss have long been a nation of coffee drinkers. It is perhaps no co-incidence that in 2001 Starbucks chose Zurich, rather than say Vienna or Milan, for its first venture into continental Europe. When I land at a Swiss airport, before I even check the train… Read More
Catching Your Death April 10, 2023 by Una O'Connell - In 1973 I went to a Dustin Hoffman double bill at the Cannon cinema in Folkestone. The Graduate was a 15 certificate and Straw Dogs was today’s equivalent of 18+ (R/Restricted Viewing). Nobody had IDs back then and my friend and I must have looked older than our 14 years. Straw Dogs was subsequently banned… Read More
Roadside Assistance March 31, 2023 by Una O'Connell - In 2014 I attended a one-week course at Schumacher College in Devon with the poet, David Whyte and the activist Satish Kumar. Satish was born in India and, in 1962 when he was 26, he left Delhi on a peace walk to Washington DC, covering 13,000 miles over a two and a half year period.… Read More
The Heroes We Worship March 18, 2023 by Una O'Connell - In his memoir, Undercover University, Frank Bell writes: In the friendly co-operation that is found in study and learning lies the greatest hope for the future of mankind. As in no other sphere of life, enmity and jealousy cannot flourish when the welfare of common humanity is in view. Peter O’Connell at the School of… Read More
Swallows and Amazons in Post-war Dover February 16, 2023 by Una O'Connell - 'Sam thought about Grandad being ten or eleven at the end of the war. It was very hard to think of him as a boy' * Jane Phillips’ book The Clarendon Boys* was inspired by her husband, John’s childhood growing up in the Clarendon district of Dover. John Buss was born one month before Hitler… Read More