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Interesting Fact - Small Talk

According to a documentary by Channel 4,  when they go to the pub together men are more likely to talk about their children and relationshi...

On This Day

31st March

1918 - Daylight Saving Time was adopted as law in the US.

1948 - Congress passed the Marshall Aid Act, a plan to rehabilitate war-ravaged Europe.

1959 - The Dalai Lama fled Chinese-occupied Tibet and was granted political asylum in India.

1991 - The Warsaw Pact formally ended as Soviet commanders surrendered their powers in an agreement between pact members and the Soviet Union.


March 31st

Today is World Backup Day.

So, get backing up.


On This Day

30th March

1853 - Vincent van Gogh was born.

1856 - The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War.

1858 - Hymen Lipman patented a pencil with an attached eraser.

1986 - James Cagney died.

Interesting Fact - Food

This one could have been labelled under "time" too.  Seemingly the old "5 second rule" is a myth.

(For those of you who don't know what it is, the 5 second rule says that if you drop some food on the floor, as long it hasn't beenthere for longer than 5 seconds, it's okay to eat it.

In a survey commisioned by a cleaning technology company they found that 37% of Brits would eat food dropped on the kitchen floor.

I'm not sure when the so called "rule" came into effect, but scientists are now warning people not to put their lives at risk of contracting E.coli or salmonella poisoning by eating dropped food. 

Personally (as a dog owner) if I drop food, I'm not likely to be given the chance to eat it, Laika is much faster than me.)

On This Day

1971 - Lt. William Calley was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison for his part in the My Lai massacre. He served one day in prison, before President Richard Nixon ordered him transferred to house arrest at Fort Benning, pending appeal. He subsequently served only three and a half years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning and was released on September 25, 1974, by federal judge J. Robert Elliott.

On This Day

1854 - Britain and France joined the Ottoman empire in the Crimean War against Russia, to halt Russian expansion.

1930 - Constantinople was renamed Istanbul as part of Kemal Atatürk's campaign to create a secular Turkey.

On This Day

27th March

1625 - Charles I became King of England, Scotland and Ireland. He also claimed the title King of France.

1945 - The last German V2 rocket fell on England, killing a woman on Kynaston Road in Orpington, Kent

On This Day

1309 - Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice and all its population.

1625 - Charles I, ascended the English throne, with the title "Charles, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland..."

1713 - Britain gained Menorca and Gibraltar under the Treaty of Utrecht.

1871 - The first international rugby game was played - Scotland 1, England 0.

1914 - The first successful blood transfusion was carried out (in Brussels).

1964 - The first Pirate Radio station, Radio Caroline started broadcasting.

1964 - The Great Train Robbers were sentenced to a total of 307 years behind bars.

Interesting Fact - Accents

I like accents, I think they make language interesting and varied, but all accents are not equal, and it seems supermarket chain Morrisons agrees with me.  They issued a callout for actors with northern accents to feature in a campaign for the supermarket, but they went on to specify that “nobody from Liverpool” should apply.

(The advert, which appeared on the Casting Networks International website, read:-

"These films will focus largely on people’s facial expressions. Therefore, it’s vital that their faces have character – something interesting and captivating that will make the film watchable, but nothing glaringly obvious, and we don’t want caricatures. We want quirks: freckles, bushy eyebrows, etc. They should all be warm and likeable. They should be proper working-class people, but not at all like the characters from Benefits Street. They should not sound or look posh, and we should skew towards northern accents."

It concluded: "And nobody from Liverpool, please."

Well that's me ruled out. Not because I'm from Liverpool, but I have been told I sound dead posh.)

On This Day

1812 - An earthquake destroyed Caracas, Venezuela.

1827 - German composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna.

1934 - The driving test was introduced in the United Kingdom.

1995 - The Schengen Treaty went into effect, creating a borderless zone between many European countries.

On This Day

1306 - Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland.

1807 - The Slave Trade Act "An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade" was signed. It made slave trading illegal throughout the British Empire.

"Slavery is still practised in new forms that today affect millions of men, women and children across the world."
Koichiro Matsuura

1957 - The European Economic Community was established. The members were West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

1969 - During their honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

1975 - King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was shot and killed at his palace in Riyadh, by his mentally ill nephew.

March 25th also used to be the start of the new year in England, Wales, Ireland, and the future United States until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. (The year 1751 began on 25 March; the year 1752 began on 1 January.)

On This Day

1944 - 76 prisoners of war begin breaking out of Stalag Luft III. This was later dramatized in the movie The Great Escape.

1972 - The United Kingdom imposed "Direct Rule" over Northern Ireland.

Interesting Fact - Entertainment

According to a report by BARB, the official body for collecting TV audience figures, nearly 5% of British homes do not own a television.

(That's about 1.3 million UK households with no TV, but that doesn't necessarily mean they don't watch TV: Whilst some people prefer life without the gogglebox, changing viewing habits have led to many watching TV shows on their PCs, laptops or tablets.

Nearly half of the households without TVs are people aged 16 to 44. It seems that millenials are increasingly turning to other channels for their entertainment.)

On This Day

1603 - Queen Elizabeth I of England died.

1895 - The first official match played by women took place at Crouch End in London.

(Nettie Honeyball had placed an advert in the press and persuaded about 30 young women to join the British Ladies Football Club. It wasn't a resounding success, but during the First World War it became more popular. Unfortunately women's football in England and Scotland suffered a blow in 1921 when the Football Association, in England, banned women from playing the game on Association members' pitches.)

1975 - The beaver became the official symbol of Canada.


23rd March

Is OK day to mark the date that the initials “O.K.” were first published in The Boston Morning Post. Okay?

It's also National Puppy Day, so everything must be okay. 

Interesting Place - The longest city in Europe

Krivoy Rog aka Kryvyi Rih is the longest city in Europe.

(It is situated in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine with a population of about 660,000. The distance between the two furthest districts, Terni and Ingulec, is about 75 kilometers.
Thanks to Liliana for sharing this fact.


March 22nd

Today is World Mime Day.

Set up to coincide with the date of birth of a legendary French mime artist Marcel Marceau (March 22nd 1923 - September 22nd 2007).

On This Day

1960 - More than 50 people were killed in the South African township of Sharpeville when police opened fire on a "peaceful" protest. The death toll rose to 69 and the number of injuries to 180.

On This Day

1956 - Tunisia gained independence from France.

1993 - Johnathan Ball, aged 3, died in a bomb attack in Warrington. He was in town with his babysitter buying a Mothering Sunday Card. Tim Parry, 12, was fatally injured and died five days later in hospital.

1997 - The Liggett Group, the fifth-largest U.S. tobacco company, admitted that smoking was addictive and caused health problems and that the tobacco industry had sought for years to sell its products to children as young as 14.

2003 - American launched missiles hit the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Civilian casualties were not counted.

Interesting Fact - Health

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, we Brits are ill for one fifth of our lives.

(Women suffer the most, being sick for 19 years on average, compared with men who are poorly for 16 years.

The most worrying aspect is that healthy life expectancy — the time spent feeling well — is growing at a slower rate than actual life expectancy, which means we are facing old age and ill health. )

On This Day

1932 - The Sydney Harbour Bridge opened.

(It's so iconic now, it's funny to think it didn't even exist once.)

On This Day

1922 - Mahatma Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience against the British rulers of India.


18th March

Forgive your parents day

"Forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace."
Author Unknown

Interesting Fact - Transport

According to a new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal if you want to lose weight you should take public transport.

(Seemingly you can benefit from the ‘incidental’ physical activity involved".  They'll be telling us we should walk to work next!

How much do these people get paid?)


On This Day

17th March

1861 - Modern Italy became unified under the house of Savoy.

1992 - South African whites voted to end minority rule. 2.8 million whites who cast ballots, slightly more than 1.9 million (68.7 percent) voted to give Mr. de Klerk the mandate he had sought. In his own words "Today will be written up in our history as one of the most fundamental turning point days in the history of South Africa. Today we have closed the book on apartheid -- and that chapter is finally closed."

Interesting Food - Sugar

The UK is about to introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks, which will add at least 18p a liter to sweet fizzy drinks.

(The tax will be levied according to how much sugar is added to a drink. According to the BBC, there will be two bands - one for total sugar content above 5g per 100 millilitres and a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8g per 100 millilitres. Analysis by the Office for Budgetary Responsibility suggests they will be levied at 18p and 24p per litre.

It is estimated that it will raise around £520m a year, which the government has pledged will be spent on increasing the funding for sport in primary schools.

So, does this mean people will drink less sugary pop? Probably not, they'll just have less money to spend on fruit.)

The sugar tax has an interesting history:-

First they said they wouldn't, then they said they might, now they have: Talk about flip flopping:-




On This Day

1968 - The My Lai massacre took place in Vietnam.

(Of the 26 US soldiers initially charged with criminal offences for their actions at My Lai, only William Calley was convicted. He served three years of his life sentence.)

Interesting Fact - Cost of Living in the UK

According to the Office for National Statistics, we Brits are no longer that keen on going to night clubs or buying CDs and DVDs.

(The inflation basket, which is used to calculate the cost of living in the UK, analyses the cost of 704 items.  It is an interesting look into trends in the UK, and seemingly many nightclubs in the UK are facing closure, and more and more people download their music and films online so these items have been removed.

However, the inflation basket will now include coffee pods and downloaded software, along with women's leggings, and strangely, cream liquers like Baileys, which must be a sign of an ageing population with very little fashion sense.)

Here is a list from the Guardian newspaper of what is "In" and what is "Out":-


Pouches of microwave rice: Joins a range of prepared foods, emphasising our love of ready meals.

Multipacks of meat: The ONS has spotted a boom in cooking cuts of meat and presenting them buffet-style.

Cooked sliced turkey/chicken: Turkey has been joined by chicken, which is becoming more popular.

Lemons: Ignored until now, lemons join oranges and other citrus fruit.

Large chocolate bars: A boom in larger chocolate bars sold in supermarkets has forced the ONS to include them.

Coffee pods: Made popular by George Clooney in his adverts for Nespresso, coffee pods are all the rage.

Cream liqueur: For some time Britons have demanded sweeter alcoholic drinks leading the ONS to include Baileys and its rival cream liqueurs.

Women’s leggings: Obviously an oversight by the ONS, as it admits when it says: “A type of clothing not currently covered but widely purchased.”

Boys’ T-shirts: The ONS said: “Replaces boys’ branded sports tops to enable representation of both casual and sportswear clothing.”

Paint, gloss/emulsion: Not so much a new item as a merger that reduces the weighting put on DIY sales.

Computer software: Software downloads replace CD-Roms in recognition of a shift to online sales and storage.

Computer game downloads: Such is the boom in sales, game downloads get their own category in an area the ONS admits is under-covered.

Restaurant main course: The last few years have seen a boom in restaurant visits, but the ONS said it is over-covered in the basket and has merged meat or fish main courses and vegetarian main meals.

Nail varnish: The rise and rise of the nail bar accounts for a boom in nail varnish sales and its inclusion for the first time in the inflation basket.


Organic dessert apples: The popularity of organic fruit allows the ONS to merge organic apples with other dessert apples.

Organic carrots: Likewise, organic carrots are removed “due to organic produce becoming mainstream with less distinction from non-organic products”.

Boys’ branded sports tops: Replaced by a boys’ T-shirt “to enable representation of both casual and sportswear clothing,” said the ONS.

Power points: Power sockets sold in DIY stores were removed from an over-represented category to make way for other items.

Prescription lenses: Removed from an over-covered area of the basket and lenses are still represented by spectacle frames with single vision lens.

Rewritable DVDs: A declining technology which is being superseded by streaming services and YouView-style personal video recorders (PVRs).

CD-Roms: Excluded in recognition of the shift to people increasingly downloading software.

Nightclub entry: A collapse in the number of nightclubs charging entry is the main reason for their exclusion.

Pub hot or cold snacks: Chips (and salad) with everything means pub customers rarely buy a hot or cold snack on its own.

Restaurant main course, meat/fish: Too much emphasis in the inflation figures on restaurant prices has triggered a rethink and merger of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes for the purpose of calculating average prices.

Restaurant main course, vegetarian: Now part of merged main meal category, see above.

On This Day

1906 - Rolls Royce was founded.

(And I still haven't been in one!)

On This Day

13th March

The Dunblane school massacre took place. It is still one of the deadliest firearms incidents in UK history, when a gunman killed sixteen children and a teacher at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, Scotland on 13 March 1996, before killing himself.

With the consent of Bob Dylan, the musician Ted Christopher wrote a new verse for the song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" in memory of the Dunblane school children and their teacher. 

On This Day

12th March

1930 - Mahatma Gandhi began a campaign of civil disobedience against British rule in India.

Interesting Fact - Sport

The balls used in men's and women's tennis are different.

(They are the same size, weight and pressure: between 2½ and 2 5/8 inches (6.35 and 6.67 cm) in diameter and weighing between 2 and 2 1/16 ounces (57.7 and 58.5 grams) but balls used by men have an extra-duty felt covering, which increases air resistance and slows the overall speed. Women players use regular-duty felt.

Professional tennis player Bob Bryan, who uses both kinds of balls on the men's and mixed doubles circuit, believes he can add around six mph to his serve when playing with the women's regular balls.

It is very difficult to write about this without sounding silly.)

On This Day

11th March

2004 - Ten bombs were planted on rush-hour trains in Madrid, by terrorists. Killing 191 people and injuring 1,800.

Interesting Fact - Punctuation

New guidelines for school pupils in England state that only phrases starting with "what" or "how" merit an exclamation mark!

(This means that children who use punctuation marks in written tests will be penalised unless they adhere to strict rules.

I mean, I know I ask people not to use them in every sentence, and to stick to one, but really, this is way too prescriptive.

Irk the purists!)

On This Day

10th March

1801 - The first official census was held in Britain. There was a population of approximately 10 million people.

On This Day

9th March

1009 – Lithuania was mentioned for the first time (in the annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg).

1566 – David Rizzio, private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, was murdered in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland.

1831 – The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis Philippe to support his war in Algeria.

1841 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the United States v. The Amistad case that captive Africans who had seized control of the ship carrying them to captivity had been taken into slavery illegally.

1925 – The first Royal Air Force operation conducted independently of the British Army or Royal Navy began. It was called Pink's War.

1946 – Bolton Wanderers stadium disaster at Burnden Park, Bolton, England, killed 33 and left hundreds more injured. The disaster led to Moelwyn Hughes's official report, which recommended more rigorous control of crowd sizes.

1959 – The Barbie doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

1961 – Sputnik 9 successfully launched, carrying a human dummy nicknamed Ivan Ivanovich, and demonstrating that Soviet Union was ready to begin human spaceflight.

1976 – Forty-two people died in the 1976 Cavalese cable car disaster: The steel supporting cable of an aerial tramway broke as a cable car was descending from Cermis near the Italian ski resort of Cavalese in the Dolomites. It is the worst cable-car accident to date.

1977 –  In a thirty-nine-hour standoff, armed gunmen seized three Washington, D.C., buildings, killing two and taking 149 hostage.  It became known as the Hanafi siege.
2006 – John Profumo died.  He was probably most famous for the Profumo affair, a scandal, which led to his resignation and withdrawal from politics. Nowadays no one would bat an eyelid.

Interesting Fact - Equality

I decided this one is perfect on International Women's Day: Acccording to the UK Government’s own figures, women working for the Conservative minister responsible for closing the gender pay gap are paid an average of around £2 per hour less than men.

(The department, which is responsible for matters covering equality, recently announced plans to “name and shame” companies who did not pay men and women equally. In the UK male civil servants earn £22.30 a hour on average at the Department of Education but women make just £20.54.

Yet another case of "do as I say, not as I do".)


Interesting Fact - Evil

Researchers may have discovered the ‘root of all evil’.

(Scientists, studying the brains of mice found that a distinct part of the brain fires up before premeditated acts of aggresion are carried out: A distinct part of the hypothalamus - the brain region that controls body temperature, hunger and sleep - is activated shortly before an attack.

So really, they have discovered the root of all evil in mice.)


Interesting Date - Mothers Day

According to research company Mintel, in the UK sons spend more on their mothers on Mother's Day than daughters.  Over 40% more!

(Men spend an average of 41.15 on Mother's Day gift, whilst women send just 28.97.

Sons spend more on flowers for their mums than they do for their partners on Valentine's Day.

The only catch to all this benficance is, they have to remember.  Only 57% of men remembered to buy a gift, compared with 62% of women. In addition 24% of men chose a present at the last minute, compared with just 18% of women.  Guys, if you are reading this now, if you hurry you might find a garage open.

I wonder what Laika has got me.)


On This Day

6th March

1988 – Three Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteers were murdered by the SAS on the territory of Gibraltar.

1987 – The British car ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized just outside the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, in about 90 seconds killing 193 people.

1974 -  The miners' strike came to an end following a pay increase of over 30%.

1970 - The British Government announced an indefinite ban on the importation of domestic pets to prevent rabies.

1964 – Nation of Islam's Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Robert Poole) officially gave boxing champion Cassius Clay the name Muhammad Ali.

1961 – George Formby, British comedian and singer, died.

1957 – Ghana became the first Sub-Saharan country to gain Independence from the British

1945 – Cologne (Köln) was captured by American Troops.

1899 – Bayer registered aspirin as a trademark.

1836 - Mexican forces captured the Alamo in San Antonio killing the last of 187 defenders who had held out in the fortified mission for 13 days. Famous frontiersman Davy Crockett was among those killed on the final day.

1834 – York, Upper Canada was incorporated as Toronto.

1806 - Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born.

On This Day

5th March

1770 - British troops killed five people in Boston USA. One of the events that led to the American Revolution.

On This Day

4th March

1893 - Happy Birthday (the song) was published under its original title "Good Morning To You".

Interesting Place - Miserden

Apart from its great name, Miserden in Gloucestershire is interesting because, according to cable.co.uk, it has the worst broadband in the UK.

(The fastest place in the UK was Rickmansworth with download speeds of over 77Mbps, but Miserden is a digital black hole where only 17% of villagers are able to access superfast broadband, and the rest have to make do with average download speeds of 1.3Mbps.  One poor resident recorded a "staggeringly low" speed of 0.12Mbps, it would be faster to send a letter!

At that rate the company worked out that it would take residents of Miserden 11 hours to download a high def version of the latest Bond film, Sceptre.

Amusingly, they would get faster broadband if they moved to Everest base camp!)

On This Day

3rd March

1284 - The Statute of Rhuddlan was signed and Wales became a territory under the English crown.

1991 - A home video captured three Los Angeles police officers beating motorist Rodney King.

(Four LAPD officers were later tried in a state court for the beating but were acquitted. The announcement of the acquittals sparked the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.)

Interesting Date - National Offer Day

National Offer Day (around the beginning of March) is when parents across England are told by their Local Authority whether their children will be offered a place in their first choice secondary school.

(It is a fraught time for parents with children who are in their final year of primary school. In 2015 84.2% of children were offered a place at their first choice school, but that means quite a few missed out.

Increasingly parents whose kids don't get their first choice are spending thousands of pounds to try and secure a place in their chosen school, in what is becoming an increasingly competitive environment.)



1st March

Today is St David's Day. He is the patron saint of Wales.
What a lovely flag.


It is also World Compliment Day - A day to show your appreciation to the people around you.

If you aren't sure how to pay a compliment, try looking here.  Fishing for compliments.

On This Day

1st March

1872 - Yellowstone National Park was established in the US. It was the first area in the world to be designated a national park.