San Rocco

Five centuries or more ago in Christians would be fervently praying to San Rocco, the patron saint of plague. He is usually painted as a scantily dressed pilgrim with a staff and sores more or less prominently painted over his body, and he is particularly popular in...

The Decameron

Historians expound many themes and often disagree, but none can deny that a plague devastated Christendom in the first half of the 1300s. It was just when literature in the language of the people – – the ‘vulgar tongue’ emerged at the same time as the new...

The Alcove

After Easter Britain’s country houses or ‘stately homes’ will open their doors to curious visitors intrigued by the scale of the rooms and the treasures on display, but they rarely look into the alcoves. They could be small, once cherished retreats from the grander...

Aura

Aura – a breath of golden hue around a special person. We can all feel it at a particular place or in unusual circumstances, when the intensity of the lived moment thrills one almost into a momentary state of extasy close to fainting. The mind blanks out for a...