Showing posts from May, 2016


31st May

World No Tobacco Day

On This Day

31st May

1578 – King Henry III* laid the first stone of the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), in Paris. It is now the oldest bridge there.

1669 – Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys recorded the last event in his diary.

1946 - Heathrow International airport opened for civilian use.

1985 - The Football Association, supported by Margaret Thatcher, banned English football clubs from playing in Europe following the Heysel stadium tragedy.

*Henry III of France of course.

Interesting Place - Bristol

The Theatre Royal, (home to the Bristol Old Vic) is the oldest continuously working theater in the English speaking world.

(It first opened its doors on 30th May 1766, the same year that Bonnie Prince Charlie became a claimant to the throne of Great Britain.)

On This Day

30th May

1766 -  The Theatre Royal, Bristol opened.

On This Day

1660 – Charles II was restored to the throne of Great Britain. (It was his birthday too.)

1913 – Igor Stravinsky's ballet score; The Rite of Spring premiered in Paris, France, provoking a riot.

1914 – Ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence; 1,024 people died.

1919 – Einstein's theory of general relativity was tested (and later confirmed) by Arthur Eddington's observation of a total solar eclipse in Principe and by Andrew Crommelin in Sobral, Ceará, Brazil.

1942 – Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", the best-selling Christmas single in history.

1953 – Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on Tenzing Norgay's (adopted) 39th birthday.

1968 - Manchester Utd Football Club won the European Cup becoming the first English club to do so.

1972 – 26 people were killed and dozens more injur…

Interesting People - Dr Henry Heimlich

Dr Henry Heimlich, the surgeon who gave his name to the simple but dramatic procedure used to rescue people from choking, managed to save someone’s life using the technique himself for the first time since he invented it in 1974.
(His technique, called the Heimlich manoeuvre, is used for dislodging food or objects caught in people’s throats, and has been credited with saving thousands of lives around the world: On noticing a fellow resident at the senior assisted living centre where he lives, choking on a piece of meat, Heimlich, a spritely 96-year-old, calmly stepped in.

After her brush with death, the resident in question, 87-year-old Patty Ris, wrote Dr Heimlich a note, saying: "God put me in the seat next to you.")

On This Day

28th May

1503 – James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor were married according to a Papal Bull by Pope Alexander VI. A Treaty of Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England signed on that occasion resulted in a peace that lasted ten years.

1533 – The Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declares the marriage of King Henry VIII of England to Anne Boleyn valid.

1859 – Big Ben was drawn on a carriage pulled by 16 horses from Whitechapel Bell Foundry to the Palace of Westminster.

1934 – The Glyndebourne festival in England was inaugurated.

1937 – Neville Chamberlain became British Prime Minister.

1942 – In retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Nazis in Czechoslovakia killed over 1800 people.

1952 – Women in Greece were given the right to vote.

1959: Two monkeys, Abe and Baker, became the first living creatures to survive a space mission. (Able died from the effects of anesthesia given for removal of implanted electrodes.)

1964 – The Palestine Liberation Organizati…

Interesting Fact - Studying

According to a study by Bournemouth University schoolchildren who don't wear shoes in their lessons are likely to obtain better grades and behave better than those who do.

(Experts believe that by leaving their shoes outside the classroom pupils feel more at home, and relaxed.

An added bonus is that it cuts down on cleaning bills.  No more muddy floors, although holey socks might be an embarrasment.)

Next session online, everyone must take their shoes off.


25th May

Towel Day

Interesting Fact - Religion

According to research carried out on the 2014 census study 48.8% of the population of England and Wales say they don't identify with any religion.

(The number of 'nones' is now above 50 per cent, almost double the figure of 25% recorded in the census just three years earlier. People defining themselves as Christian, including Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations, made up 43.8% of the population.

The Church of England expects congregations to continue to fall for another 30 years as the population ages and younger generations shun faith.

I just think they should put a reply on the census that says, "Mind your own business". )

Interesting Fact - Housing

According to a study by Pew Research Center, more young Americans are living in their parents home than for the past 130 years.

(The most common living arrangement for young adults in America aged 18 to 34 is to live with their parents: 32.1% live with their parents, 31.6% live with a partner, and 14% live alone.

So now we have the bank of mum and dad, and the hotel of mum and dad.  I guess it's fine, as long as everyone is happy with the arrangement.)

On This Day

23rd May

1701 - Capt. William Kidd was hanged in London for piracy and murder.

1977 - More than 100 children and six teachers were taken hostage in a primary school in Northern Holland (The Netherlands).

1984 - At least four people were killed and dozens more injured in an explosion at a Lancashire water treatment plant.

On This Day

20th May

1506 - Christopher Columbus died in poverty in Spain.

1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issued the first modern atlas.

1609 – Shakespeare's Sonnets were first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

1631 – The city of Magdeburg in Germany was seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years' War.

1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

1902 – Cuba gained independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma became the first President of Cuba.

1927 - Charles Lindbergh took off for Paris from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

1932 – Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to begin the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot. She landed in Ireland the next da…

Interesting Animal - Cats

According to a recent study of around 9,000 British pets by pet insurer Animal Friends, the number of  cats diagnosed with diabetes has skyrocketed by  1,161 percent over the past five years.

(The fact is people who feed cats human food are shortening their lives. In addition more than half of the cats kept indoors are dangerously overweight.

I've never understood the idea of an indoor cat. Spooky and Moose would never have stood for it.)

On This Day

19th May

1499 – Catherine of Aragon, was married by proxy to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales. Catherine was just 13 and Arthur 12.

1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, was beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.

1568 – Queen Elizabeth I of England ordered the arrest of Mary Queen of Scots.

1649 – An Act of Parliament declaring England a Commonwealth was passed by the Long Parliament. England would be a republic for the next eleven years.

1890 – Ho Chi Minh, the1st President of Vietnam was born.

1897 – Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Prison.

1943 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the cross-English Channel landing (D-Day). It would be delayed over a month due to bad weather.

1962 - Marilyn Monroe sang "that" birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

1984 – Poet John Betjeman, who had been Britain's Poet…

On This Day

18th May

1152 – Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine.

1756 – The Seven Years' War began when Great Britain declared war on France.

1803 – The Napoleonic Wars began when The United Kingdom revoked the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France.

1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of the French by the French Senate.

1812 – John Bellingham was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging for the assassination of British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval.

1872 – Bertrand Russell, British mathematician, historian, philosopher, and Nobel Prize laureate was born.

1944 – The deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Union government began.

1991 - Helen Sharman became Britain's first astronaut.


18th May

The State Opening of Parliament.

Interesting Fact - The Internet

According to a report from Bloomberg, Twitter is going to stop counting photographs and links in its 140-character limit.

(There is no official reply from Twitter, but the founder Jack Dorsey has been reported as saying they wanted to allow users to write longer posts. 

Don't go too far Twitter, it's your brevity that makes you unique.)

On This Day

17th May

1521 – Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason.

1536 – George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford and four other men were executed for treason.

1590 – Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of Scotland.

1792 – The New York Stock Exchange was formed.

1814 – The Constitution of Norway was signed and Danish Crown Prince Christian Frederik elected King of Norway by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly.

1974 – Thirty-three people were killed by terrorist bombings in Dublin and Monaghan, Ireland.

1978 - Charlie Chaplin's stolen body was found.

1984 – Prince Charles called the proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend," sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture.

1992 – The WHO (World Health Organisation) took homosexuality out of its list of mental illnesses.

1994 - The U.N. Security Council approved sending troops to secure…

Interesting Fact - Entertainment

After nearly 25 years, the Carry On film franchise is about to return to British cinema.

(The last film to be made was Carry On Columbus in 1992, it was the 31st film made. Carry on Films are part of British Culture, and they turned actors like Sid James, Kenneth Williams, and Dame Barbara Windsor into household characters.
In 2007 the line "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" was voted the funniest film one-liner: Kenneth Williams uttered the words as Julius Caesar in the 1964 romp Carry On Cleo.

Film company, Hereford Films, are behind the project, and the first 2 films in the pipeline are Carry On Doctors, followed by Carry On Campus.

Co-writer Tim Dawson paid respect to the previous writers of the Carry On series: "These films are a part of British culture and to be carrying on the legacy of Norman Hudis and Talbot Rothwell is a thrill and a responsibility. We intend to be sympathetic to the heritage whilst being unafraid to modernise the franch…

On This Day

16th May

1770 – 14-year old Marie Antoinette married 15-year-old Louis-Auguste who later became king of France.

1836 – Edgar Allan Poe married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia.

1920 – Pope Benedict XV canonized Joan of Arc as a saint.

1960 - The first working laser was demonstrated by Theodore Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories. (But we still don't have proper light sabers.)

1966 – The Communist Party of China issued the 'May 16 Notice', marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

1975 – Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

1990 – Jim Henson died.

Interesting Fact - Food

According to a survey conducted by Linda McCartney Foods, 12% of Brits are vegetarian.

(Each generation sees more people eschewing meat, 25 years ago only 6% of the popluation were vegetarian.

The younger generation is more likely to turn to tofu, in the 18 to 30 age group 20% are veggies, and across the country people are eating less red meat, with "meat free Monday" becoming more popular.

It seems there's gold in them there carrots, as the UK vegetarian market is worth an estimated £820m a year.)

Soure: The Wright Stuff

On This Day

15th May

1567 – Mary Queen of Scots married James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, her third husband.

1718 – James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world's first machine gun.

1756 – The Seven Years' War began when England declared war on France.

1800 – George III survived two assassination attempts in one day.

1905 – Las Vegas, Nevada, was founded when 110 acres (0.4 km²), in what later would become downtown, were auctioned off.

1928 - Mickey Mouse appeared in his first animated cartoon "Plane Crazy".

1935 – The Moscow Metro was opened to the public.

1936 – Amy Johnson arrived back in England after a record-breaking return flight to Cape Town.

1940 – McDonald's opened its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.

1957 - Britain dropped its first H-bomb.

1974 – Terrorists attacked an Israeli school, killing a total of 31 people, including 22 schoolchidren.

1988 – The Red Army began its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On This Day

14th May

1264 – Henry III of England was captured in France making Simon de Montfort the de facto ruler of England.

1607 – Jamestown, Virginia was settled as an English colony.

1796 – Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox vaccination.

1889 – The children's charity the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) was launched in London.

1955 – The Communist states signed the Warsaw Pact.

1998 – Frank Sinatra died.

Interesting Fact - Sport

According to a story in the Daily Mail, primary school children in Dundee are having to sign a 17-clause contract before they can play football in the playground.
(The 17 clauses are as follows:-

I will not deliberate foul tacklesI will not carry issues off the pitch to class or after schoolI will not argue an agreed out or an agreed foulI will not hog the ball  (They actually wrote hogg here.) I will not name call or teaseI will not chant, use banter or wahoys!I will not gloat or boastI will not, if scorekeeping be a sore loser and will congratulate the other teamI will not elbow or shoulder bargeI will not deliberately chase on the pitch or swipe the ball from peopleI will not cheatI will keep up with my school workI will demonstrate sportsmanlike conduct and apologisingI will use timeouts for myself as individual players if neededI will use supportive and encouraging languageI will take turns in positionI will ensure teams are fair and no swapping It goes on to say:-

If I can keep up…

On This Day

13th May

1958 – The trade mark Velcro was registered.

1981 – Pope John Paul II survived an assasination attempt after emergency surgery.

1989 – Large groups of students occupied Tiananmen Square in China and began a hunger strike.

1995 – British mother of two, Alison Hargreaves, conquered Everest.

Interesting Place - Norway

A Norwegian city, Trondheim, has banned adverts that show semi-naked models, male or female, in public spaces.

(The new policy says: “No advertising that conveys a false image of the model/models’ appearance and contributes to a negative body image will be permitted. As a minimum, advertisements in which body shapes have been retouched should be marked as such.”

This is seemingly an attempt to reduce the impact such adverts could have on people with body image issues.

It reminds me of the "Beach Ready" controversy on London Underground.)

On This Day

12th May

1812 - Edward Lear was born.

1926 – A 9-day general Strike in the United Kingdom ended.

2008 – An earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurred in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people.

2015 –  An earthquake (measuring around  7.3-magnitude) hit Nepal killing over 8,000 people.

On This Day

6th May

1536 – King Henry VIII ordered English language Bibles be placed in every church.

1840 – The Penny Black postage stamp was introduced for use in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1882 – Thomas Henry Burke and Lord Frederick Cavendish were stabbed and killed during the Phoenix Park Murders in Dublin.

1889 – The Eiffel Tower was officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.

1910 – George V became King upon the death of his father, Edward VII.

1937 – The German Zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people were killed.

1940 – John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1954 – Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.

1966 – Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were sentenced to life imprisonment for the Moors Murders in England.

1994 – The Channel Tunnel (aka the Chunnel) was officially ope…

On This Day

5th May

1215 – Rebel barons in England renounced their allegiance to King John — part of a chain of events leading to the signing of the Magna Carta.

1494 – Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Jamaica and claimed it for Spain. I think I'll try that next time I'm in Spain.

1821 – Emperor Napoleon I died in exile on the island of Saint Helena.

1921 - Coco Chanel introduced their famous perfume Chanel No. 5.

1925 – John T. Scopes was served with an arrest warrant for teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.

1949 – The Treaty of London established the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

1955 – West Germany regained full sovereignty.

1964 – The Council of Europe declared May 5 as Europe Day.

1980 - The siege of the Iranian embassy in London came to an end after a raid by SAS commandos.

1981 - Bobby Sands died in the Maze prison 66 days after first refusing to eat.

2005 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair was elected to a third term.

Interesting Fact - Class in the UK

According to a survey conducted by, 7 out of 10 Brits say they are middle-class, with a strong belief that middle-class people are more likely to be successful.

(Only 53% think their parents were white-collar workers, and 6 out of 10 say their grandparents were working class.

Fewer than a third of those who called themselves middle class were in a profession — such as lawyer or doctor, even though 3/4 of people believe being a professional is the top reason for being middle-class.

The poll also showed that less than a 1/3of us believe our parents’ class or family wealth determines our status, which is just as well in my case, I'd have to go back down t' mine.)

Search for "Class" if you want to learn more about the Class system in the UK.


4th May

Is Star Wars Day. Why? Well - May the fourth be with you.

On This Day

4th May

1493 – Pope Alexander VI divided the New World between Spain and Portugal along the Line of Demarcation. (No one told the New World.)

1494 – Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

1675 – King Charles II of England ordered the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

1814 – Emperor Napoleon I of France arrived at Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his exile.

1904 – Charles Stewart Rolls met Frederick Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, England. (The rest as they say is history.)

1912 – Italy occupied the Greek island of Rhodes.

1932 – Mobster Al Capone began serving an eleven-year prison sentence for tax evasion.

1945 – British forces liberated Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg.

1945 – The North Germany Army surrendered to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

1949 – The entire Torino football team (except for one player who did not take the trip due to an injury) was killed in a plane crash at the Superga hill at the edge of Turin, Italy.


Interesting Fact - Education

Hundreds of parents in the UK are expected to keep their children out of school today in protest over too stressful tests.
(The first ever "kids' strike" in the UK is in protest at what parents claim is "over-testing" at the expense of children’s happiness.

 Key Stage 1 testing (SATS) for six and seven-year-olds, have been made tougher this year in an attempt to drive up standards, but the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign, which is coordinating the kids’ strike, says that nearly 40,000 people have signed up in support of the action, and has written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan calling for an "end to SATs now".

The letter says: "Please take a long, hard look at this.

"Do you want your legacy to be the confident cancellation of unneeded and unnecessary SATS, showing you are listening to your electorate and the teachers you claim to support ... or the overseeing of a shambolic testing regime desperately unwanted by millions of people to t…

Interesting Fact - Sport

The odds of Leicester City winning the Premier League at the start of the 2015/16 football season were 5000:1. This means that gamblers thought the following things were more likely to happen:-

2,500:1 - David Moyes to be an X Factor judge

2,500:1 - Arsenal would sack Arsene Wenger and install Piers Morgan as boss

2,000:1 - Kim Kardashian will become US President by 2020

1,000:1 - Sir Alex Ferguson would win Strictly Come Dancing

1,000:1 - Hugh Hefner would admit he's a virgin

1,000:1 - Robbie Savage will be named the next James Bond

1,000:1 - Bono will become the next Pope

Interesting Fact - Money

The next English £5, £10 and £20 banknotes will be printed on plastic.

(The fiver will be issued first in September 2016, followed by the tenner, which will be issued in 2017, but the £20 note will have to wait until 2020.

Their appearance will change too. Sir Winston Churchill will feature on the £5 banknote, replacing Elizabeth Fry, ​​Jane Austen will replace Charles Darwin on the £10 banknote, and artist J.M.W. Turner will feature on the £20 not, replacing economist Adam Smith. Nothing has been said about the £50 note, which features the engineers Matthew Boulton and James Watt.

Historical characters have only appeared on bank notes since 1970.  Other people depicted on previous notes have been:
Sir Edward Elgar (composer)Michael Faraday (scientist)Sir John Houblon (first Governor of the Bank of England)Sir Isaac Newton (scientist)Florence Nightingale (nursing)William Shakespeare (poet/playwright)George Stephenson (engineer)1st Duke of Wellington (general/statesman)Sir Christopher…

More Interesting Stuff