January 2021

The Controversial Count, the railway he built, and the poem

My great-great grandfather, Count Pyotr Andreevich Kleinmichel is apparently still quite well known in Russia (one might say infamous rather than famous), despite being dead for over 150 years. He is not an ancestor I am proud of but, as the saying goes, you cannot choose your family… Pyotr Andreevich

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For the sake of a great, spiritual, cosmic whole…

I have written previously about my grandfather, Peter von Fircks (above), here and here and how he was a follower of Rudolf Steiner. My grandfather’s belief in Steiner and Anthroposophy, the philosophy Steiner founded, were to colour his and his children’s lives. All I know about my grandfather, and his

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A Rounded Education; languages, humanities and the universe

If I were ever granted three wishes, my first would be to understand every language in the world because I would then be able to comprehend all of the family history documents I have inherited. Not that I would need to know more than German, Russian, French and Latvian, but

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This is America – unfinished and unpublished

“In the dreadful condition the world finds itself in today, we in America are fortunate enough to be able to lead a normal life, to bring up our children in the principles and traditions handed down to us through many generations, and to watch them enjoy all the many advantages

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Not Just a Salad but a Dish to Celebrate the New Year

What do you get when you mix boiled potatoes with pickles and peas? Well if you add boiled eggs and mayonnaise – lots of mayonnaise – you have a basic Olivier Salad. I have been assured this is a salad which Russians serve on New Year’s eve and at any

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