I have a shower in my bathroom but I’ve never used it. I’m a bath person. I believe that shower people are feckless and devoid of moral fibre. Baths are excellent for thinking. Archimedes knew this and so should you. One of the most powerful men in the world – the chairman of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan – has a two-hour power-bath every morning at 5.30 am. Good for him.
Welcome to Peacockshock - my house on the internet. I'm Ian Peacock.
I’m based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, but I’ve lived everywhere from London to Cambridge to Austria.
I’m mad about animals and have an adorable Jackapoo, Eddie, named after the dog in Frasier.
So don't dither on the doorstep. Have a wander round. You can either just scroll down this page, or you can mouse around the house and click on the rooms. Do keep coming back for new stuff. I update my witterings regularly
Enjoy your stay.
I’ve never understood why they put labels on fruit, announcing what the fruit is. It’s like putting a label on your cat saying ‘cat’, just in case you mistake it for a sheep. I also don’t entirely get the point of these (real) safety labels…
Warning: may cause drowsiness (Nytol Sleeping Tablets)
For indoor and outdoor use only (Christmas Tree Lights)
Product will be hot after heating (M&S Bread Pudding)
Do not iron clothes on body (Rowenta Iron)
Not to be used for the other use (Japanese Food Processor)
Do not attempt to stop the chain with hands or genitals (Some Husqvarna Chainsaws)
Six Degrees is the theory that everyone in the world can be linked through just six friends-of-friends. In other words, you’re only six friends away from The Queen, Madonna, Skippy the Kangaroo, whoever. This inspired me to list my favourite personal indirect namedrops. Please send me yours too. Here goes. These are all genuine…
My friend’s English teacher’s milkman was Sting‘s dad.
My English teacher was at university with Brian Ferry.
Neil Tennant of The Pet Shop Boys went to school just down the road from my school.
I once sat opposite James Dreyfuss on the tube.
I’ve walked past Pavarotti, Elton John and George Michael in the street. They weren’t together by the way. Pavarotti was wearing a floppy (possibly unironed) white shirt. Elton looked somewhat cuboid. George seemed very short. I’ve also chatted to Elton’s other half David Furnish on the phone.
I once walked into a studio and the composer John Tavener was sitting in the corner. I was so in awe of him, I couldn’t speak.
Cliff Richard once brushed past me in a doorway.
I bumped into Joan Collins once in a corridor and said hello.
I once sat next to Julian Clary in a bar. A friend introduced him simply as ‘Julian’. I pretended I had no idea who he was. In fact he looked completely straight and was quite shy.
Melvyn Bragg, Jenni Murray, Brian Redhead and Kathleen Turner have all opened doors for me.
Lesley Judd once told me how to switch on a computer in a radio production office, but I didn’t recognise her.
My Mum has played golf with Nicholas Parsons.
I know the person who ghost-wrote Jordan‘s autobiography.
My friend Paul has met Nelson Mandela.
My friend Charles (not the Prince) has met Princess Diana.
My friend Henrietta’s parents had Margaret Thatcher round for tea. Henrietta once stood on Rachel Stevens.
My Great Aunt Jane was related to Lady Diana Manners, who apparently met Queen Victoria. Diana Manners was very much the Lady Di of her era and considered the most beautiful woman in England. She was at the centre of The Coterie – an influential set of aristocrats and intellectuals. She was also quite eccentric and, during the Blitz, she suggested that giant magnets be put in London’s parks to attract bombs.
My friend Frank was in the Queen video I Want to Break Free. He’s had tea with Kate Bush and Lemmy from Motörhead. And his friend’s piano teacher was Howard Jones.
My friend Cynthia’s godson Owain Yeoman played Lysander in the movie Troy and knows Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.
I used to chat to a chap called Mike at the gym and one day I asked him what he did. ‘I’m in Bucks Fizz’ he replied. It turned out he was their singer Mike Nolan. I just thought he looked like him.
I once worked with someone who was one of the Wombles on Top of the Pops.
I saw Alan Bennet once on Charing Cross Station concourse.
I’ve met Wittgenstein‘s landlady.
I’ve just broken yet another new CD case. Why oh why do they have such flimsy plastic hinges? And why do the little teeth in the middle, which I believe are called “nubbins”, always snap? Can’t someone invent CD cases that aren’t annoying?
Turn the sound up on your computer and watch a preposterous presidential rendition of the famous American song This Land
Hertford may look like a quiet backwater. But it was once essentially the capital of England. Hertford is also responsible for the date of Easter. It was crucial to the education of two of our greatest monarchs. It’s infamous in the history of witchcraft. And who exactly was the mysterious Elbert Wurling? Read on to discover more. Click on thumbnails for bigger pix…
The Danes invaded Hertford several times, arriving by river from London. This was pretty easy as a ridiculous number of rivers flow through the town: notably the Beane, the Rib, the Lee (or Lea) and the Mimram. No-one knows where the Mimram got its name from. According to The English Place Name Society, it’s also been known over the years as the Memeram (925) Meran (1000) Maeran (1100) Maran (1577) and Mimeram (1728). And, as if that’s not complicated enough, a 1766 map calls it the Mimerum.
In the year 678, Hertford was the venue for the first General Synod of England, organised by Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury. The Synod united the churches of the six English kingdoms for the first time and established links with Rome that survived until the time of Henry VIII. It was attended by bishops Bisi, Putta, Eleutherius, Winfred and Wilfred (who came all the way from Northumbria). They declared divorce illegal and devised a preposterous method for determining the date of Easter, which we still use (it’s the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after March 21st). Yes…Hertford is responsible for Easter changing its date every year.
Hertford Castle was a royal palace for 300 years.
Its flint walls remain, but the old castle-like building that survives in the grounds is in fact the castle’s gatehouse, built in 1463.
In 1216, it was besieged by the Dauphin of France.
In 1359, The Black Prince kept King John of France there as a prisoner.
In 1360, John of Gaunt – the most powerful prince in England – moved in.
Henry VIII refurbished the castle and stayed there with his first wife Katharine of Aragon. (I seem to follow her around. I once lived in a house in the grounds of the Cathedral where Katharine is buried).
Queen Elizabeth I lived there as a child, in the care of a governess. (By coincidence, centuries later, Queen Victoria’s tutor lived in Hertford too).
Parliament met in Hertford Castle during the Plague (hence Parliament Square).
Charles I didn’t think much of the hunting at Hertford so gave the castle to the Earl of Salisbury.