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The Unusuals


Exploring the unexplored
THE DIGESTIVE OF THE TIME OF THE WAR_Michael_of_greece_digeen temps de guerre

THE DIGESTIVE OF THE TIME OF THE WAR

My mother’s first cousin, the Duke of X, was as charming as he was jovial. During the Second World War, like so many Frenchmen, he and his whole family sought refuge in the family castle in the country. At that time, the question of where the ingredients and foods that appeared on the table came…

Elisabeth_Charlotte_de_Baviere_La_Palatine

A GHOST STORY AS TOLD BY THE PRINCESS PALATINE

Elisabeth Charlotte of Bavaria, Princess Palatine and the second wife of Louis the 14th’s brother and the Duke of Orleans, or ‘Monsieur’ (the traditional title given to the eldest living brother of a French king), is one of my favourite ancestors. Larger-than-life; sincere; courageous; she would share her thoughts with everyone; she enjoyed cold cuts,…

Pont_d'Iéna_Bridge-Paris Bridge

Louis XVIII and Jena Bridge

Louis XVIII had a feel for France whatever regime it was ruled by. In the Paris occupied by the forces of the coalition, the place names, the avenues, and the bridges served as a constant reminder to the occupying forces of their defeats. L’Avenue d’Austerlitz, l’Avenue de Wagram, and above all the Jena Bridge, reminded…

THE ELYSEE

The Elysee Palace, residence to the President of the French Republic, has a long history. It was first built by the marquis de Marigny, brother of the all-powerful mistress of Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour. I do not know by what turn of events but, during the Revolution it belonged to the Princess of Orleans,…

Francis Bannerman

BANNERMAN CASTLE

His name was Francis Bannerman. He had come to the United States from his native Scotland when he was three years old and he and his family lived in Brooklyn. He worked in trade. He had specialized in purchasing American army surplus. The American Civil War and then the Cuban war had indeed left behind…

Beresford New york

OUR BERESFORD GHOST

The Beresford is one of the most magnificent buildings in New York City on Central Park West. That is where we settled when we arrived from Europe: in a large apartment with spacious, high-ceilinged rooms. It was light-filled, with a splendid view of the park. Marina, myself, and our two daughters were very happy there….

Marie Laveau

THE QUEEN OF VOODOO Part 3/3

Briskly, he walks through the French Quarters, crosses Jackson Square, turns around the Saint Louis Cathedral and reaches the gates of the cemetery bearing the same name. Now, he is no longer in a hurry. He takes his time to dawdle amongst the graves, looking for the one on which to lie. The moon, shining…

Marie Laveau

THE QUEEN OF VOODOO Part 2/3

As luck would have it, Marie Laveau soon after met the love of her life, Christophe Duminy de Glapion. She would never marry him, for the simple reason that he was white and that the law of the time forbade such an union, but they had many children – fifteen according to legend! In any…

THE PIRATES, MELIDONI

We cross a hill near Aghia Elessa then begin our descent into the unknown. There is a dirt track, rocks and stones and the sea. Nothing else. There are no houses, no roads, no telegraph poles. The hills rise up in the distance, the sea is an intense blue and there are no signs of…

Lady Ferrers

THE WICKED LADY FERRERS

Andrew Perry was furious. On one December morning in 1970, Perry, the owner of the only stable in the region that rented its horses out to holiday-goers, discovered that somebody had broken into his stable during the night, saddled his black horse and went riding with it, exhausting it to such an extent that when…