How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!

  Poor old Pope: He was a hunchback,barely five feet tall, and he was a Catholic. On account of the latter  he sits forever on the naughty step of the (read Protestant) Tradition of English poetry. His revenge: being more epigrammatic than anybody ever (with the possible exception of Oscar …

The race meeting that never was…….

  Racing has always attracted trickery, schemes and coups. But what follows is without doubt is the most delicious con of all time. The greatest sting in the history of horse racing took place on August 1, 1898. It was without doubt the most audacious scheme ever thought up. A …

The Armadillo and the Missionary position….

  All through the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church through its priests and bishops consistently preached that there was only one form of marital sex: husband above and wife below; and it was only for procreation. But what about the armadillo`s I hear you ask? Read on and all will …

Martin Luther – The constipated hypocrite

  One of the great images of history is that of Martin Luther (1483-1546) lighting the blue touch paper starting the Protestant Reformation by nailing his famous ninety-five points to the doors of All Saints Catholic Church in his hometown of Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. This image is still …

Kissing through the centuries…….

1. Herquebus (c.1566) The noun buss, meaning ‘a kiss, especially a loud or vigorous one – a smacker’, is first found in the mid-16th century, according to the wonderful people responsible for the OED. It may be a variant of the earlier bass (‘a kiss’ or ‘to kiss’), or be …

Huckleberry Finn`s Dick

This is priceless ! Put your hand up if you know the story of Huckleberry Finn`s dick. No? Then kindly read on….. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain was published in 1885. Twain’s masterpiece has everything a reader could ever want: adventure, humour, controversy, tenderness, the hypocrisy of …

The Middle Ages

Today I was listening to a radio programme where various talking heads were chatting about the Middle Ages. It got me thinking that the “Middle Ages” is rather an odd term. Created by nineteenth-century academics and historians, it more or less means the “middle” period between the fall of Western …

The joy of brown sauce….

A couple of days ago I popped into my local shop for some milk, and I had a sudden yearning for a bacon sandwich with brown sauce. Whilst in the queue I fell into conversation with someone who I had not seen for a while and subsequently I missed the …

How to enjoy a Chick Flick…..

No chap really wants to look at Renée Zellweger, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Meg Ryan for ninety minutes unless they’re featured in a desperate, career-saving centrefold spread in a naughty magazine. There may be times, however, when your wife/girl friend/partner suggests seeing one of them in their latest film, you are …

Let`s talk about Cabbages…..

I am currently researching various vegetables for a proposed new book.This week I have been looking at the seemingly, terminally dull cabbage. But all is not as it seems, as somewhat surprisingly the cabbage appears in the writing of two of the most influential and eminent writers of the 16th …