Ching Shih, The Pirate Queen of the China Sea.

Piracy in the South China Sea, early 19th Century gives a good impression of massed pirate fleet in action

From Canton across the South China sea to the edge of the Philippines the Red Flags of Pirate Junks waved in the fragrant breeze. These were the ships of the greatest pirate fleet ever to sail the sea, the only true pirate confederation to actually exist and it was all headed up by one very mysterious woman named Ching Shih. There’s allot of information out there about Shih, and most of it is either unrealistic, unprovable, tentative or just wrong. If you believe most internet sites then you will come off with the impression she took on the world and won. Well it didn’t quite happen that way and the it’s time for the Internet to step back from sensationalising her. This (so far be understood) is the real story. Continue reading “Ching Shih, The Pirate Queen of the China Sea.”

The Duke and the Tsar part 1.

The Duke of Wellington by Lawrence.

I’ll bet allot of you don’t know about the Duke of Wellington’s mission to St Petersburg in 1826. Well I wasn’t too familiar with it either, so I looked into it and found a great story, so after having my Adventure I had to let you all know about it, this is the story of the Duke and the Tsar, or more accurately of the St Petersburg Protocol, mysterious isn’t it? Continue reading “The Duke and the Tsar part 1.”

Waitangi, A Beginning.

Good modern painting of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Kia Ora adventurers!

Today is the 6th of February, and in New Zealand that means Waitangi day. A celebration marking the founding of this mad, crazy adventurous country, that is the home of legendary mountain climbers, the best lamb and honey you’re likely to taste, championship Rugby teams who do enviously cool haka’s that make everyone else look lame, small furry creatures with long noses and bird feet, scenery that reminds you of mythical worlds and the home of Bungee Jumping. So here’s a little history to the event starting with a few New Zealand dates. Continue reading “Waitangi, A Beginning.”

Veterans of Aliwal 1846-1896

I’ve just found this web page, I suppose that’s the right word? And it’s got photo’s from 1896 the jubilee, so it says with wonderful Victorianity, of the Waterloo of India, Aliwal, were one of Wellington’s most successful Peninsular officers, Sir Harry Smith, showed he at least had learned something about fighting during those years in Spain. Voted 5th Greatest Battle in the 2013 National Army Museum poll.
To be specific they are soldiers of the 16th Lancers who broke the Sikh squares, or rather triangles as the case may be, at the decisive battle during the first Anglo Sikh War. A little know commander, a little known battle and a little known war, -and photo’s of the men who were there, what more could you want?


A very Russian Crimea.


Every Crimean War enthusiast knows that a chap named Roger Fenton kind of went berserk taking photos of the British, Turkish and French troops stationed outside Sebastopol between late 1854 and 1855. There are enough images of the allied armies and generals to fill several large coffee table books. But though this war was the first to be properly covered by the “Media”, shall we say, there is a large chunk missing from the coverage: The Russians. So I went on an expedition and dug up some, it wasn’t an easy mission and I very nearly didn’t make it out alive, what between the Cossacks and that low battery light blinking every now and then it could have gone either way.Seriously though the Crimean War has been so monopolised by the allied powers that sometimes you forget that this is one of those wars were there is no reason, apart from national prejudice, to look at things from the Russian side, so here take a look. Continue reading “A very Russian Crimea.”

Recuerden El Alamo.

Alamo Church San Antonio

The city of San Antonio sprawls shimmering in the heat of southern Texas. During hot summer days it is surrounded by a milky halo of haze that dirties the bottom edge of the endless roof of cloud flecked blue above. Traveling down the US 281 southbound towards the downtown area, the glass of it’s skyscrapers glint like diodes in the distance. 2.23 million people live in the greater metropolitan area making it the 2nd most populous city in Texas, it is 130 miles from the Mexican border across the Rio Grande and it is bisected by the San Antonio River that flows through the city. The watercourse is usually choked by ferries of tourists and pleasure boats motoring slowly under it’s many bridges. The idyllic setting of modern architecture, hot sun and the iron blue water chugging it’s way towards the Guadeloupe River, that pours into San Antonio Bay and the Gulf of Mexico over 100 miles away from the city, has attracted a fringe of fashionable Cafe’s and Restaurants to its twin concrete banks. The city also has a thriving tourist industry, every year 26 million people come from all over the world to see the sights, and not a few of these will be heading there because of one thing, they remembered that the Alamo is in San Antonio. Continue reading “Recuerden El Alamo.”