A short history of Robin Hood…

Our eponymous hero makes his debut in writing in the late fourteenth-century poem Piers Plowman, which is commonly attributed to William Langland, a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. It was a timely moment for the outlaw to enter literature: English literature as we know it was starting to emerge, and the …

A short history of the “F” word …

No other word in the English language gets more colloquial usage than the notorious F-word. The word and its host of variations could and would fill a small dictionary. It is still extraordinary to consider that this short, graphic, four letter swear word is one of the most used nouns, …

The history of the Mile High Club…

The first authenticated shag in an aeroplane took place on November 10th, 1916. Lawrence Sperry ,under the guise of giving flying lessons to the wealthy socialite Mrs Waldo Polk, became the first couple to join the fraternal order of the Mile High Club.They were indulging in a version of physical …

To steal your thunder…

When someone steals your thunder they are taking credit for something that you should properly be credited for. The phrase was in regular use by the 19th century, especially by jealous politicians claiming their brilliant and original ideas had been stolen by another. The expression itself, however, was coined in …

Toe the line….

When somebody is told to toe the line, they are expected to follow the rules and submit to authority. Originally this phrase refers to the lines drawn along the two front benches in the House of Commons which still exists. The two lines are strategically placed at a distance far …

Mad as a Hatter and Abraham Lincoln…

Mad as a Hatter is a term used to describe insanity¬† A popular explanation of the phrase suggests that it was connected to mercury poisoning or something called Korsakoff’s syndrome which was experienced by hat-makers as a result of the long-term use of mercury products in the hat-making trade. In …

Port and other ramblings…

Sailors have a thing about winds, and to them their favourite winds are the ones that blow your ship to where you want to go, normally your final destination..the port. However, if you happen to be a sailor who speaks Latin, then you will describe these winds as ob portunus, …

A Curious Guide to London (part 2)…

I am currently at work on a sequel to my Curious Guide to London book, and have come across some fascinating stuff which I will be posting some extracts over the next few weeks.. Brook House, in Upper Brook street in Mayfair was¬†the location of London`s first penthouse and belonged …

A very short history of coworking…

What with this dreadful Corona virus disrupting normal working activity, I was mulling over the concept of working when I came across the wonderful world of coworking. It seems to have appeared from nowhere but it does have a rather interesting history. Way back in 1995, a number of bright …