A jobbernowl……

According to legal statute an idiot is an individual with an IQ of less than 20, an imbecile between 21 and 49 and a moron between 50 and 70. As you cast around for insults it may be worth remembering these categories. But then again, the English language has never …

Dark Cully…….

There is a magnificent book called Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue which appeared sometime in 1811. Within it are some of the most fabulous words you will ever come across. One of them is Dark Cully – which according to Mr Grose is a  married man who keeps a mistress, …

Englishes……..

English has become a world language spoken in countries ranging from Canada to India to Australia. An ongoing battle concerns the status of local versions of English in particular countries. Must they stay as close as possible to standard British or American, or can they assert language independence as well …

To be happy as a sandboy….

“To be As Happy As A Sandboy” means that you are in a state of joyous contentment. This phrase passed into regular usage courtesy of Charles Dickens. In 1840 Dickens published The Old Curiosity Shop which includes an inn called The Jolly Sandboys that displayed a sign outside depicting three …

A very short history of crisps…..

The earliest known recipe for something similar to today’s potato crisps is in William Kitchiner’s cookbook The Cook’s Oracle, first published in 1817, which was a bestseller in England and the United States. The 1822 edition’s version of recipe 104 is called “Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings” and reads …

H is for Hospital……..

“Hospital” literally means “a friendly place to rest.” The Latin noun hospes translates as both “guest” and “host.” The Romans believed that every hospes should be hospitalis, or “friendly.” When they needed a term to designate an inn or hotel—a place where many people could stay and pay as guests …