The Religous Potato…..

  Britain in the seventeenth century was quite an unsettling place to live, what with Puritanism and superstition being the norm. Women in particular were still being persecuted for witchcraft as depicted in the 1968 film The Witchfinder General starring a wonderfully snarling Vincent Price. It seems that a certain …

Foolscap…..

What exactly is Foolscap? Foolscap paper is one of those things that I’ve never really been sure about and to which I have never really thought about. I had never, for example, noticed that it’s a contraction of fool’s cap. But it is. That’s odd because foolscap is an old …

Turnips, Germans and Sex…..

  In many western European languages, the turnip, like many other ostensibly sexless objects, possesses gender — masculine in French (navet), masculine in Spanish (nabo), feminine in German (Ruhe). This linguistic curiosity once led the touring Mark Twain to remark  “In German, a young lady has no sex, while a …