Words about pictures, and other things, too.

Read on!

  • The Pill first becomes available to American women – 9 May 1960

    “No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother” – Margaret Sanger The most revolutionary and liberating act for women is surely the availability of The Contraceptive Pill. Before The Pill contraception was a messy, hit-and-miss, often outlawed business. Women in the Ancient World fashioned vaginal tampons from a cocktail

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • The death of Captain Robert Falcon Scott – 29 March 1912

    In the 1960s space was the final frontier. But just 50 years earlier, the final frontier was the South Pole. One hundred years ago today, his two companions lying frozen to death next to him, 43-year-old Captain Robert Falcon Scott, died in a tent in Antarctica, sheltering from a blizzard which had raged for nine days. Yes they had made

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • David Hockney with his painting the arrival of spring

    David Hockney: A Bigger Picture

    David Hockney’s exhibition A Bigger Picture at The Royal Academy blew me away. I have loved Hockney for 33 years, not just as an artist, but for his curiosity and intellect, for investigating the boundaries of seeing and perception, and for just being a bloody nice human being. He sticks to his righteous and honest principles, works hard and gets

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • John Piper at Blenheim Palace

    I was unfeasibly delighted when I heard that a number of paintings by John Piper (1903 – 1992)  were to be shown at Blenheim Palace, just five miles from my home. My mum and stepfather work there as guides so I had a guest pass to view the show. A giant of 20th century British art Although John Piper is

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  • The death of Marie Stopes – 2 October 1958

    “I have some things to say about sex, which, so far as I am aware, have not yet been said … things which seem to me to be of profound importance to men and women who hope to make their marriage beautiful.” When my grandmother married in September 1918, she knew nothing about how babies were made. She thought perhaps

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Emmeline Pankhurst

    The death of Emmeline Pankhurst – 14 June 1928

    Today, we remember one of the most important British women of the 20th century who died on this day, 1928. Sisters! If you have ever voted in an election, thank Emmeline Pankhurst. And if you have ever decided not to vote in an election, you can thank Emmeline for having that choice. And Brothers! You can thank Emmeline too: for freeing

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Joan of Arc

    The burning of Joan of Arc – 30 May 1431

    “Whatever thing men call great, look for it in Joan of Arc, and there you will find it.” – Mark Twain Five-hundred and eighty years ago today the English tied a 19-year-old French peasant girl to a pillar in the square in Rouen and burned her alive. Her executioners were so afraid of relic-hunters they reduced her body to ashes

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Rush live at the NEC

    I first saw Canadian rock band Rush live back in October 2007. We were fortunate to see them again last night at the NEC in Birmingham, this time from the third row from the front.  This allowed my husband to indulge his passion for photographing the bands he loves. The  three gentlemen that make up Rush, Alex Lifeson – guitars,

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • The beheading of Anne Boleyn – 19 May 1536

    Four-hundred and seventy-five years ago today, Anne Boleyn knelt upright on a scaffold in the Tower of London on the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII (1491 – 1547). Looming over her was expert swordsman Jean Rombaud who had been especially brought over from France for the occasion. A single stroke from Rombaud’s weapon sliced her head from her

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  • Swimming with dolphins

    Swimming with dolphins in Cuba

    Two years ago I had a beautiful encounter swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand.  A pod of perhaps 500 dusky dolphins swam wild and free around me. Their choice. When they’d had enough or didn’t find we snorkellers amusing enough any more, they buggered off. In Cuba last month we got the chance to swim with dolphins. The kids

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  • Bahama mockingbird

    The birds of Cuba

    Although our recent holiday in Cuba wasn’t the typical exploratory journey through the planet’s natural wonders that Moth and me normally take, we couldn’t but help notice the beautiful species of  common birds flying about all around us. We arrived in Cuba at night and I woke before dawn but couldn’t stay in bed for fear of missing something. I

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  • Meena Keshwar Kamal

    Remembering Meena Keshwar Kamal

    In 1989, as a 26-year-old, I first truly understood what it was like to be disrespected because I am a woman. Although I was modestly dressed, I had dared to walk down the street on my own in a village in the mountains near the Khyber Pass. I was spat at and had stones thrown at me. I felt powerless,

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  • audubon_carolina-parakeet-

    Audubon’s Birds of America

    “With the exception of the mockingbird, I know no species so gay and frolicksome” Audubon wrote of the red-headed woodpecker (Picus erythrocephalus). Yesterday a copy of John James Audubon’s  (1785-1851) epic Birds of America sold at auction for more than £7.3million.  It’s the most expensive book in the world. And arguably the most beautiful. Only 119 complete copies of the

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  • Listen to the music of the Doobie Brothers

    The Doobie Brothers have been making music with various line-ups since 1969. They combine elements of hard rock, rhythm and blues and boogie with elements of country to create a very distinctive guitar-based sound all their own. You’ve probably heard of the Doobies, but if you can’t remember exactly let me remind you: “whoa, whoa whoaaah, listen to the music…”

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  • Machu Picchu

    Machu Picchu magic

    A lifetime’s ambition is finally achieved with a visit to the ‘lost city of the Incas’, Machu Picchu, Peru.

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  • Scarlet macaws

    The birds of Peru – jungle

    After watching the birds of the coast and mountains of Peru we flew east to Puerto Maldonado, a frontier town in the jungle on the Tambopata river. The Tambopata is a tributary of the Amazon, and is absolutely vast. We were to stay a jungle eco-lodge on its banks, about an hour and half away by bus and boat. The

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