In the hope that joviality might atone for a lack of ideas, hello! As a brand spangly new recruit, I confess to being slightly in awe of the veritable treasure trove that is the Shire archive. It is home to a copy of every book ever published by Shire, from the very earliest local history guides to the new Living Histories series. I\'m happy to say we\'re certainly not in danger of running out of reading material.My twitter followers (@ShireHistories) will know that I have a particular penchant for social history, where the everyday sits happily hand in hand with the slightly odd. I can\'t help it, that\'s just what happens to catch my eye. Fortunately for me, therein lies the beauty of Living Histories.

Green bloke

For example, what on earth is this fellow doing, tucked away on the margins of the Tudor England cover? Where else could I have been directed to some wonderfully silly public health films about controlling sneezes in the 1940s? I have been pleasantly surprised at the reception of my twitter ramblings, and it is a comfort to know that I am not alone in my historical inclinations. While I try to give glimpses into the books themselves, I also cheerfully raid the internet for related websites, from databases of historical sources and places to visit to the most entertaining blog posts.It has certainly been interesting to see which themes have proved the most popular. The history of beer and boozing is quite clearly a front-runner, but overall there seems to be a nice blend of scholarly and silly. This bodes well, but I wonder what it reflects about current interest in matters historic? Below are the most popular links in ascending order, draw what conclusions you will:

10.  The Importance of Foundation Garments: A Peep Up the Skirts of Georgian England - from blogger Lucy Inglis

9. Great examples of Norman/Romanesque art & architecture of Oxfordshire churches   

8. Moustaches Throughout History has been a little male-centric so far. So here are some bearded women in Early Modern England

7. Amazing resource from the National Archives. Search and download local info from the Domesday Book

6. “Give little, give seldom and above all, grudgingly” - Sex Tips from the Victorian era? From blogger Jen Newby

5. Tudor fashion - A Brief History of the Ruff, from blogger DaintyBallerina

4. King John kept over 176,400 gallons of wine dotted about 15 royal houses, just to make sure he had enough on his travels.

3. It doth make a man fat and doth inflate the belly" - One Tudor physician's assessment of beer, an increasingly popular drink in the C16th.

2. Get a snapshot of your life as it might have been had you been living in 1905

1. Another roaringly good link for vintage advertisements and ephemera of the 1920s