What exactly is a “Swansong”?

According to tradition, many ancient peoples believed that swans, creatures whose “voices” are not as melodious as those of other birds, burst into clear song when they felt death nearing. The fifth-century B.C. Greek philosopher Socrates is said to have explained that this voice transformation occurred because the swans were …

A very short history of the typewriter…….

The first known attempt at a typewriter was a 1714 British patent for the magnificently named: “an Artificial machine or Method for the Impressing or Transcribing of Letters Singly or Progressively one after another, as in Writing, whereby all Writing whatever may be Engrossed in Paper or Parchment so Neat …

The Almighty Dollar……

That great man of letters, Ben Jonson, recognised that the regard for wealth often engendered a quasi-religious respect as he wrote in his letter to the Countess of Rutland in 1616: Whilst that for which all virtue now is sold, And almost every vice, almightie gold. Two centuries later the …

An Indecent Supper…..

It will come as no surprise that Oscar Wilde had rich and bohemian tastes. “Poke him and he would bleed absinthe and clotted truffles” remarked the actress Elizabeth Robins. Wilde loved to stay and dine at London`s Savoy Hotel, but the publicity it received during Wilde`s “indecency” trial lost it …

The Lord of the Rings and tea……

Although he adored the city of Paris, JRR Tolkein hated the food. “I detest French cooking” he declared, adding that he only liked “good plain food and good tea” On the subject of tea, whilst at his prep school the young Tolkein and a few other boys formed a secret …

The affluent society……

As far back as AD 115, the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus acknowledged that Many who seem to be struggling with adversity are happy; man~ amid great affluence, are utterly miserable. So the awareness wasn’t new. After World War II, Canadian born economist John Kenneth Galbraith contemplated the growing prosperity and …

William Tell never existed…..

I was idly flicking through a travel brochure for Switzerland this morning, for no other reason other than I found it in a book I was looking for, masquerading as a bookmark. Within it were photographs of wonderful countryside, beautiful lakes and William bloody Tell. This supposed hero of the …

Caesar salad and Wallis Simpson……

This is a rather odd story that involves Caesar salad and Wallis Simpson, let me explain…. As a result of Mrs. Simpson’s extensive world travels, Caesar Salad was introduced to many of the great European restaurants by her instructing international chefs as they struggled to recreate the dressing to satisfy …

To blog or not to blog……

I recently received a lovely note from a lady called Kristy asking about blogging. Flattered as I am, I feel that the best place to start is with probably the best “how to do it ” site on the internet -by  a fellow by the name of Jeff Goins. He …