Abolition and string trousers…

Today is the anniversary of the death of John Conrad (1921-1987) John Conrad, the fourth Earl Russell was the son of the great philosopher Bertrand Russell. Sadly it seems that the admirable qualities of the father were  not passed on to the son. During his infrequent visits to the House of …

Baden Powell and the “rascal organ”

  Robert Baden Powell (1857-1941) Before he became a household name as the heroic defender of Mafeking and founder of the Boy Scout movement. His main claim to fame was his definitive book on pig sticking and his penchant for skin tight riding breeches covered in pearl buttons. He also …

Mr Google`s Top Twenty literary quotes…

What do you think the 20 most searched literary quotes within Google would be? Prepare to be surprised (well I was) as there are only two quotes from the Bard of Avon, and not the the most obvious ones to boot plus the rather unexpected appearance of the one hit …

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!

  Poor old Pope: He was a hunchback,barely five feet tall, and he was a Catholic. On account of the latter  he sits forever on the naughty step of the (read Protestant) Tradition of English poetry. His revenge: being more epigrammatic than anybody ever (with the possible exception of Oscar …

The race meeting that never was…….

  Racing has always attracted trickery, schemes and coups. But what follows is without doubt is the most delicious con of all time. The greatest sting in the history of horse racing took place on August 1, 1898. It was without doubt the most audacious scheme ever thought up. A …

The Armadillo and the Missionary position….

  All through the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church through its priests and bishops consistently preached that there was only one form of marital sex: husband above and wife below; and it was only for procreation. But what about the armadillo`s I hear you ask? Read on and all will …

Martin Luther – The constipated hypocrite

  One of the great images of history is that of Martin Luther (1483-1546) lighting the blue touch paper starting the Protestant Reformation by nailing his famous ninety-five points to the doors of All Saints Catholic Church in his hometown of Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. This image is still …

Kissing through the centuries…….

1. Herquebus (c.1566) The noun buss, meaning ‘a kiss, especially a loud or vigorous one – a smacker’, is first found in the mid-16th century, according to the wonderful people responsible for the OED. It may be a variant of the earlier bass (‘a kiss’ or ‘to kiss’), or be …

Huckleberry Finn`s Dick

This is priceless ! Put your hand up if you know the story of Huckleberry Finn`s dick. No? Then kindly read on….. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain was published in 1885. Twain’s masterpiece has everything a reader could ever want: adventure, humour, controversy, tenderness, the hypocrisy of …

The Middle Ages

Today I was listening to a radio programme where various talking heads were chatting about the Middle Ages. It got me thinking that the “Middle Ages” is rather an odd term. Created by nineteenth-century academics and historians, it more or less means the “middle” period between the fall of Western …