The Importance of being Idle…

Apparently a fainéant is an idler and a sluggard. Somehow you can guess that without bothering to dig out your dictionary. Fainéants sound lazy. Why? Why, dear inactive reader, did you suspect immediately that a fainéant was a lazybones, a lie-a-bed, and a lotus-eater. Perhaps it was the suggestion of faint, with …

Pilgrims…

The Holy Land, the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome, those of St James at Santiago de Compostela in Spain and St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury were great centres of medieval pilgrimage. A pilgrim was easily identified by the way he dressed. He wore a rough grey …

Crap….

According to a popular legend, the word crap comes from Thomas Crapper, the supposed inventor of the flush toilet. The story goes that Crapper’s name was stamped on all his lavatorial devices, and when servicemen in World War I went to the latrine they would say, “I’m goin’ to the …

To cut off your nose to spite your face…..

Paparazzi and gossip columnists aren’t new. News sheets, pamphlets and  satiric  poems  have  been in existence for centuries, often stridently attacking the Establishment. In late 17th-century France  no high-profile figure  was  safe from the chatty but vicious  observations of French gossip    Gedeon Tallemant  des  Reaux.  His  targets  included  the  King,  the …