Bloody but unbowed and Long John Silver….

  A line from the poem ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley(1849-1903). Henley suffered tuberculosis of the bone and had one leg amputated when he was a teenager. The other leg was also targeted for amputation, but Henley wouldn’t allow this and remained in hospital for three years, supervised and assisted …

Poor Effie…..

  In 1848  the art critic John Ruskin, he of The Seven Lamps of Architecture – married Euphemia ”Effie” Gray a beautiful 19-year-old. The marriage was never consummated, and after six increasingly unhappy years, Effie fell in love with her husband’s protégé, Millais and set about having the marriage annulled. Ruskin`s reason for …

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

  Born around 50–45 BC, the Latin poet Sextus Aurelius Propertius in one of his Elegies pronounced that ‘Passion is always warmer towards absent lovers’ (Semper in absentes felicior aestus amantes). The phrase first appeared in English 1500 years later as the title of a poem by an anonymous writer. …

To bite the dust…..

Somewhat surprisingly the phrase did not originate from Hollywood Cowboy films but from the Greek Homer over two thousand years ago. It took many years for the phrase to make the transition into English. In 1720 Alexander Pope(1688-1744) the poet and champion of the heroic couplet translated Homer`s words as …

Flying into Everest…….

  In 1932, a manager of a woman`s clothes shop in Yorkshire set his sights on a place in history by attempting the first ever solo ascent of Mount Everest. His name was Maurice Wilson and he had a rather cunning plan. He would conquer Mount Everest by crash landing …

Beards and beef tea………

  When Matthew Robinson inherited the title of Lord Rokeby in 1793 he was already 81 years of age, As an ex Member of parliament he had strong views on just about everything. He was a fervent believer in the health giving properties of fresh air and exercise. He walked …

The Six foot high club…..

  East Thistle Street in Edinburgh was the site of perhaps one of the most peculiar clubs ever to open its doors in Scotland; namely the Six foot high club. Opening in 1826, membership was only granted to people who were six foot or over. Admittance rules were strict. Each …

Terpander and the grape….

    The ancient Greeks adored Terpander. He was without doubt the most popular musician and lyricist of his time. Originally from Antissa, on the coast of Lesbos he had settled in Sparta, where he completely transformed the whole Greek musical system. He  added more strings to the lyre, changing …