Grin like a Cheshire cat…

The first publication to mention this eccentric image was the work of satirist Peter Pindar (the pseudonym of John Wolcot), who wrote A Pair of Lyric Epistles (1795) containing the line: Lo, like a Cheshire cat our court will grin! Seventy years later William Makepeace Thackeray in The Newcomes also …

Bad hair day….

Having a bad hair day- slang for a time when things are going badly undoubtedly had a limited currency before it reached a wider public. In an interview on Weekend Update, the American television journalist Jane Pauley mentioned having invented the term herself during the 1970s. But according to the  …

Thousand Year Old Eggs…

The origin of this Chinese delicacy, also known as century eggs, is said to go back six centuries to the Ming Dynasty, when, according to legend, a man in the Hunan province found some two-month-old duck eggs in some slaked lime that was being used as mortar in the building …

Tulipmania….

Capitalism isn’t the road to riches for everyone. Take the examples of the 1990`s dot-com boom and bust, or the 1929 stockmarket crash (as well as a series of disastrous depressions across earlier decades), not to mention the imploding speculative European market disaster known as the South Sea Bubble of …

Hair and Superstitions…

Ancient superstition decrees that a person’s hair contains their ‘essential spirit’ (this could be a forerunner of what we now call DNA). Therefore, anyone who has a strand or lock of your hair has the power to command your person and bewitch you. So should you give such a valuable …

The Victorian Internet…

Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web – which is the operating system upon which the internet runs – but what is less well known is that his invention was inspired by a forgotten Victorian bestseller. Enquire Within upon Everything was a ‘how-to’ miscellany that was first published in …