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On this day of remembrance for the casualties of our World Wars, I'm also sparing a thought for the fallen of an older conflict: the Battle of Flodden, fought by Kings James IV of Scotland and Henry VIII of England. I'm now the proud owner of a signed copy of Fatal Rivalry, TBS member George Goodwin's splendid new book on the subject (left), which is well-written and deeply engrossing - and while I don't want to give the end away to people unfamiliar with it, suffice to say that an estimated 14,000 combatants lost their lives at Flodden on 9th September, 1513.
I'll post a review as soon as I've finished the book. Meanwhile, if you get the opportunity to hear George lecture on the subject, do go and see him - he's an excellent speaker - and enjoy this fine, evocative image of Flodden battlefield by another talented TBS member, Rae Tan.
Flodden, copyright Rae Tan
Now the season of on-line Christmas shopping is upon us, here's a note to warn you about another tedious phishing scam doing the rounds: the bogus PayPal message. I've been getting a lot of these lately (along with the inevitable trickle of strangers calling me 'Dear Friend' and begging for my personal details so they can present me with zillions of pounds). They look a lot more convincing than the average ill-spelt, ungrammatical attempt to get you to click a link to 'upgrade your security details' with an organisation you don't bank with, for instance - or another recent round of scams claiming that your Paypal account will be suspended unless you take immediate action (ie clicking their link to let them hack into your data). These latest ones are presented in the right PayPal format, sent from 'service@papypal' and titled 'you sent a payment'. The text addresses you as 'Dear Member', tells you there's a query about a payment you made to someone you won't have heard of - with the warning, 'this may not show up on your account yet' - and asks you to log onto a link to sort it out. DON'T PANIC AND DON'T DO IT!! If you're at all worried that an unauthorised payment has gone out of your PayPal account, log into it in the usual way - not through the dodgy message - and check, then forward the bogus email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Genuine PayPal emails will address you by your full name or the business name you signed up as, NOT 'Dear Member/User' or anything else generic - the latter are just attempts to steal your personal data.
You'll find a lot more information on spotting scam messages in the security section on the PayPal site - meanwhile, shop safe!
This year's run-up to Christmas is certainly being busy for Herstory Lectures, with two talks for historical societies delivered last week, and another three booked in the first fortnight of December. I particularly enjoyed the ones I've just delivered for Sherburn-in-Elmet and Fairburn (I hope the audience did, too!) because they were on a couple of my favourite subjects - Richard III (left) and The Medieval Kitchen, for which I took along a selection of replica 15th century cooking and tableware (right) for people to handle. (I also took the Fairburn people a platter of 'kick in the head' medieval gingerbread, which in most cases seemed to go down well). The next ones coming up are perennial favourites too: two Histories of Chocolate and a Battle of Wakefield... the only problem I'll have is resisting the temptation to eat all the sample chocolate before it gets to the venue!
Meanwhile (unfortunately for us) Henry Wowler has been busy too - bringing more mice in, as shown in the pictures below! That the little horror's latest
victim had taken refuge in the 'Mouse Motel' under the living room fire soon became apparent thanks to Henry's behaviour (left). But so cunning and evasive was this particular mousie that we had to buy a new and more cunning trap to catch it: the Pest-Stop Multicatch (centre). That did the trick within 12 hours, whereupon I hauled the fire out to see what kind of mess it and the previous incumbent had made (right). Disgraceful - I'd provided a nice clean tissue to be shredded for bedding, and they poo'd in it! Shame, really. These incontinent habits are the only reason I can't tolerate mice round the house... otherwise I think they're sweet little things and would happily feed and shelter them if they didn't evacuate with such gay abandon! Anyhow, the motel is now fully cleaned out and resupplied with fresh bedding and a side-dish of pumpkin seeds ready for the next one that finds its way under... and if you'd like to read the full story of the latest resident, I've just put a blog 'Of Mice and Men (and Cats)' on Helen Rae Rants!
Facial reconstruction, image courtesy of Phil Stone, Richard III Society