Temet nosce……..

  “Temet nosce,” the Latin translation of the Greek phrase “gnothi seauton,” which was engraved in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, dates back to the fourth century. It translates as “know yourself ” and carries with it the idea that you must first understand yourself before …

A pickled herring sandwich…….

  “At 6.00 he took a shower. He boiled some potatoes and had open sandwiches of pickled herring in mustard sauce with chives and egg on a rickety table outside the cottage, facing the bridge. He poured himself a shot of aquavit and drank a toast to himself. After that …

To curry favour……

    This is odd…very odd.In fact to curry favour gets odder the more you look at the phrase. That’s because favour is not a favour……..It’s a horse. Confused? Well read on and all will be explained. Once upon a time, six or seven hundred years ago there was a …

Napoleon`s last will and testament….

    This week, the national archive has made the wills of over 100 historical figures available online. What follows is an extract of the will of Napoleon Bonaparte, written a month before his death in exile on St Helena. . This 15th April, 1821, at Longwood, Island of St …

Panache…..

    The literal translation refers to the feather worn in the helmet of King Henri IV of France, whose bravery and flamboyance gave the word its idiomatic meaning. It describes an almost reckless heroism best exemplified by French dramatist Edmond Rostand’s most famous character, Cyrano de Bergerac (created in …

The Anorak….

  The cozy, hooded “anoraq” is the garment worn by the Inuit people of the Arctic to protect them against the very harshest weather conditions. In the 1960s the “anorak” became popular in Britain as a style of jacket with a fur-trimmed hood beloved of Mods. The European version was …

namby pamby……….

  During the 18th century, Ambrose Philips was a fellow of St Johns College, Cambridge, and in addition gained some recognition as a poet. But his poetic style and political affiliations (he was a Whig) incurred the wrath of the musician and poet Henry Carey (who wrote ‘Sally in our Alley’ and was possibly …