What exactly is a balance sheet?….

  Well, it is an accounting convention, first recorded by the Franciscan friar Dominic Luca Pacioli in his 1494 blockbuster, Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità. Pacioli didn’t invent the set of accounting techniques he described, which were in use in mainly Venetian banking circles, but he was the …

A very short history of the modern bra…..

The very first modern bra was introduced to the ladies of New York by Mary Phelps Jacob (1891 -1970), a prominent socialite. Her primary concern was not comfort, bearing in mind corsets were still in vogue, but appearance. In 1913, in preparing to go to a swanky ball, she decided …

A Eulogy…….

The internet is truly a wonderful thing. I came across a most peculiar book – The Early Civilization of China  by an Arthur Coterill. In it he tells a rather odd story.  “A most distinguished scholar died and found himself standing before the King of the Underworld. When the monarch accidentally …

Express and Expresso….

  If you have ever expressed yourself on an express train, you may have wondered about the origin of the expression and why it should expressly mean that. You may then have settled down with an espresso and an Iarnrod Eireann soggy sandwich and forgotten all about it. Once upon …

To be at loggerheads……

  People at “loggerheads” are considered to be confronting each other. In the 15th and 16th centuries a ‘logger’ was the name given to a heavy wooden block fastened to the legs of grazing horses, enabling them to move slowly around a field but not to jump fences or stray too …

Eavesdroppers…….

  Eavesdroppers are people who deliberately try to overhear another’s conversation without detection. Centuries ago houses in England had no gutters and drain pipes. Instead the roofs extended far past the walls of the house enabling rainwater to drip to the ground away from the building. The area between the dripping …

To thread your way….

  For example, to thread your way through a crowd. This a lovely old phrase dating back to the mid 16th century. Back then the good and the great would entertain themselves for hours in a new , rather modern puzzle called mazes. However, many people soon realised it was just …