The worst novelist in history….

Who was the worst novelist in history? A worthy candidate would be a schoolmistress from Northern Ireland whose novels were so uniquely and thrillingly terrible that, in the early years of the last century, she became an ironic cause célèbre among the cultural luminaries of her time. Step forward, Amanda …

“Lie back and think of England”……..

This famous piece of advice was supposedly given by Queen Victoria to her 17-year-old daughter, Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, on her wedding night in 1857, and has since become a catch-phrase for anything unpalatable. But it is most unlikely that the Queen ever said it; the phrase only appeared …

A very short history of the Four-Leaf Clover…..

I am currently finishing off another small book, this time on superstitions, in my new “Short History” series. So I thought that I would share with you an excerpt –  the history of the four-leaf clover… More than any other factor, the rarity of the four-leaf clover (normally, the clover …

A very short history of beans……

I have just put together a short Kindle book on the history of beans. In which you will discover the decidedly odd history of the humble bean . Discover why Pythagarus would not eat beans, why it was forbidden for nuns to eat them, how a fart from eating beans started …

A very short history of kites……

Did you know that kites originated in China as military signaling devices. Around 1200 B.C., a Chinese kite’s colour, its painted pattern, and particularly the air movements it was forced to execute communicated coded messages between camps. The ancient Chinese became so proficient in constructing huge, lightweight kites that they …

A short history of Sex-Related Words……

With the conquest of England in 1066 by William of Normandy, the Anglo-Saxon language of the British Isles underwent several alterations. As the French-speaking Normans established themselves as the ruling caste, they treated the native Saxons and their language as inferior. Many Saxon words were regarded as crude simply because …

A history of designer labels….

Dior. Blass. Prada. Givenchy. De la Renta. Von Furstenberg. Cassini. Cardin. Lauren. Gucci. History records the names of today’s fashion designers, but nowhere in its pages are the names of the tailors, dressmakers, and seamstresses who clothed royalty and nobility throughout the ages. They must have existed. Fashion certainly did. …