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Kiss Me Hardy OR Happy Trafalgar Day

October 21, 2015



I had something of a Nelson obsession as a child.  Part of it involved having annual holidays on the Isle of Wight – which meant that pausing to visit the HMS Victory on the way was something of a ritual.  As a child, this ship struck me with a sublime rush of intoxicating immensity.  I’d walk the quarterdeck and try to imagine what the chaos all around.  When we toured the gun decks I imagined myself as a powder monkey scuttling back and forth amid the insane blasts, the screaming, heaving pandemonium of wood and metal, salt water, sweat and blood.  Around the same age,  I was also given a copy of a book called The Nelson Touch by David Howarth – a popular historian who also produced very accessible treatments of Waterloo and Hastings.  I’ve a very great affection for popular historians who seem to me to occupy a…

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