Entries by Michael Wills

Backwards and Forwards

As a wordsmith I have always been fascinated by quirky things about words. It was fun to compete with my school friends to find words which were spelled the same forwards and backwards. For example, civic, level, refer, solos. The real challenge was to find whole sentences which read the same forwards and backwards. In […]

The Island of Dunkirk Spirit

Here’s an article I wrote for Isle of Wight County Press, published on 22nd May, about how the Island’s little ships and their brave crews played their part in snatching some sort of victory from the jaws of defeat. (click on image for the full article)

Vikings: the great helmet hoax

How practical would it be sail on a cramped ship, to charge around forests with low hanging branches and to avoid detection by a wary enemy, with two large horns sticking out of the top of your helmet? Well, the fact is, it never was a problem for the Vikings because their helmets did not […]

Great solar eclipses

On 31st August 1030 there was a total eclipse of the sun over Norway between 13.40 and 14.53. The eclipse happened during the Battle of Sticklestad. In the battle, King Olaf was killed, he later became the patron saint of Norway. His step brother, Harald Sigurdsson later known as Harald Hardrada, survived and eventually in […]

A Real Viking Ship

Although most of the images of Viking ships are of modern replicas, some real Viking ships have survived, although they have had to be lovingly preserved and repaired to put them on display. For me, the most iconic of restored ships is the Oseberg ship which is on display in the Oslo Viking Museum. The […]