Jack and Jill went up the hill…..

  Everyone knows this strange and violent little rhyme. Two children go up a hill to fetch water and Jack falls, breaking his head, or his neck, or something. Not to be left out, Jill takes a tumble after he does. There have been many attempts to source the meaning …

Elegant Basil……

  Rugby international Basil Maclear was capped eleven times for Ireland between 1905 and 1907. He was known as a snappy dresser and a man about town. It seemed that his sartorial elegance followed him onto the rugby pitch. He used to play with a pair of expensive white calfskin …

The first penthouse in London…….

  Brook House in Upper Brook Street is the location of London`s first penthouse and belonged to Lord and Lady Mountbatten. It had thirty rooms including eighteen bedrooms. The Earl however, had very modest sleeping quarters. They were modelled upon a ships cabin aboard a warship – a small bunk …

Business before pleasure…..

  During the mid 19th century Letitia Elizabeth Landon ( 1802-1838 ) was the most widely read woman of her day. A hybrid of Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton she managed to write some very successful novels, children stories, short stories and even found time to pen a few plays …

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 …