Showing posts from 2017

On This Day

26th April

1949 - Heads of government from Australia, Britain, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs signed the Declaration of London and the modern Commonwealth was born.

Interesting Word - DNA

DNA is commonly used as an abbreviation of deoxyribonucleic acid, but as usual it all depends on context. It also stands for Does Not Apply, Did Not Attend or Data Not Available


25th April

DNA day.

On This Day

25th April

1719 - Daniel Defoe's famous book, Robinson Crusoe, was published.

1886 - Sigmund Freud opened his practice at Rathausstrasse 7, Vienna.

1953 - James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA.
1967 - The first law legalizing abortion in the United States was signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Arthur Love.

2005 - A Japanese commuter train crashed near Osaka, killing more than 70 people and injuring more than 300 others.

On This Day

23rd April

1564 - The Bard, William Shakespeare, is said to have been born on the 23rd of April. So, if he were still alive, he would be well over 400 years old today. Of course no one really knows the exact date of his birth because these things weren't so well regulated back then, but this date has been chosen for him, and it's the thought that counts.  Happy Birthday Will!

We do know that he was baptised on April 26th, and that he died on April 23rd 1616.

On This Day

21st April

753 B.C - Legend says Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, founded Rome.

1509 - Henry VIII became King of England.

1782 - Friedrich Froebel German educator and founder of the kindergarten, was born.
1789 - John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.

1816 - Charlotte Bronte, author of "Jane Eyre, was born.

1838 - John Muir, the father of the environmental movement, died.
1910 - The author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died.
1918 - The German fighter ace Baron von Richthofen, "The Red Baron," was shot down.

1926 - Queen Elizabeth II was born.

1945 - The Red Army entered the outskirts of Berlin.

1959 - Robert Smith, musician from The Cure, was born.

1960 - Brazilia became the capital of Brazil, taking over from Rio de Janeiro.

On This Day

20th April

1653 - Oliver Cromwell, puritan, revolutionary, Lord Protector of England and the man who banned Christmas, dissolved Parliament to rule by decree.  (Of course he did.)

1999 - Two teenage boys murdered 12 fellow students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., before turning their guns on themselves.

On This Day

19th April

1587 – Francis Drake sank the Spanish fleet in Cádiz harbour.

1775 – The Battle of Lexington and Concord began, which started the American Revolution against the British.

1839 – The Treaty of London established Belgium as a kingdom.

1961 – The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba ended.

1984 – Advance Australia Fair was chosen as Australia's national anthem, and green and gold as the national colours.

1987 – The Simpsons premièred as a short cartoon on The Tracey Ullman Show.

1989 – Daphne du Maurier, British novelist died.

1992 – Benny Hill, and Frankie Howard died. They were both English comic actors.

1995 – A bomb in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, killed 168 people.

1999 – The German Bundestag returned to Berlin.

2005 – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave.

On This Day

18th April

1506 – The cornerstone of the current St. Peter's Basilica was laid.

1909 – Joan of Arc was beatified in Rome.

1783 – Fighting ceased in the American Revolution, eight years since it began.

1924 – Simon & Schuster published the first crossword puzzle book.

1945 – Over 1,000 allied bombers attacked the small island of Heligoland, Germany.

1955 - Albert Einstein died.

1980 – The Republic of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) came into being. Canaan Banana was the country's first President.

1983 – A suicide bomber destroyed the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people.

1996 – At least 106 civilians were killed when the Israel Defense Forces shelled the UN compound at Quana, Lebanon, where more than 800 civilians had taken refuge.

On This Day

17th April

1397 – Geoffrey Chaucer recited the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II. (And it's been torturing British schoolchildren ever since.)

1521 – Martin Luther spoke to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.

1961 – A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.

1984 - WPC (Woman Police Constable) Yvonne Fletcher was shot and killed outside the Libyan embassy in central London.

1986 - British journalist John McCarthy was kidnapped, by the militant group Islamic Jihad, in Beirut. He spent more than five years in captivity.

1986 - Three bodies of murdered hostages, were found on the streets of Beirut. They were Leigh Douglas, Philip Padfield from the UK and an American, Peter Kilburn.

1986 – The 335 Years' War (1651–1986) between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly officially ended. It was both one of the world's longest wars and the …

On This Day

15th April

1452 – Leonardo da Vinci was born.

1755 – Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in London.

1802 – William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy saw a "long belt" of daffodils, inspiring "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud".

1892 – The General Electric Company was formed.

1912 – The RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, after hitting an iceberg two and a half hours earlier, killing over 1,500 people.

1923 – Insulin became generally available for use by people with diabetes.

1941 – 200 Luftwaffe bombers attacked Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing over 1,000 people.

1942 – The George Cross was awarded to "to the island fortress of Malta – its people and defenders" by King George VI.

1945 - British troops liberated the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen.

1984 – Tommy Cooper died.

1989 - 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough Football Stadium at the FA Cup semi-final between Li…

On This Day

14th April

2014 - 276 female students, who were sitting their final exams in the village of Chibook, Nigeria were abducted.

Most are still missing.

Interesting Fact - Science

Researchers have worked out how shoelaces come undone.

(Seemingly "knot failure" happens in a matter of seconds, and is triggered by a complex interaction of forces:  These include the stomping of the foot, which gradually loosens the knot.  The movement of the foot creates a whipping force which acts like hands tugging on the ends of the laces. Then as the tension in the knot eases and the free ends start to slide, a runaway effect takes hold whereby the knot suddenly unravels.

They offered some advice to those plagued by this issue: The square knot is less likely to come unravelled compared with a granny knot.

All in all it is a knotty problem.)

On This Day

11th April

1945 – The Buchenwald concentration camp, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil, was liberated.

1951 – The Stone of Scone, the stone upon which Scottish monarchs were traditionally crowned, was found on the site of the altar of Arbroath Abbey. It had been taken by Scottish nationalists from its place in Westminster Abbey.

1957 - Britain agreed to self-rule in Singapore.

1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing. One week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

1968 – German student leader Rudi Dutschke is shot in Berlin.

1976 – The Apple I was created.

1979 – Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was deposed.

1981 – A huge riot in Brixton, South London, resulted in almost 300 police injuries and 65 serious civilian injuries.

1987 – Primo Levi, Italian chemist and author died.

2001 – Harry Secombe, Welsh actor and comedian died.

2002 – T…

On This Day

10th April

837 – Halley's Comet made its closest approach to Earth at a distance equal to 0.0342 AU (5.1 million kilometres/3.2 million miles).

1512 – James V of Scotland was born.

1606 – The Virginia Company of London was established by royal charter by James I of England with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.

1710 – The Statute of Anne, the first law regulating copyright, came into force in Great Britain.

1829 – William Booth, the English minister who founded The Salvation Army was born.

1858 – The original Big Ben, a 14.5 ton bell for the Palace of Westminster cracked during testing and was recast into the current 13.76 tonnes (30,300 lb) bell by Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

1912 – RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England on her maiden and only voyage.

1925 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published.

1932 – Omar Sharif was born.

1953 – Warner Bros. premiered the first 3D film from a major American studio, entitled House of…

On This Day

9th April

1413 – Henry V was crowned King of England.

1483 – King Edward IV of England died.

1413 – Henry V is crowned King of England.

1626 – Francis Bacon died.

1860 – Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville created the oldest known recording of an audible human voice.

1940 – Vidkun Quisling seized power in Norway.

1967 – The first Boeing 737 made its maiden flight.

1969 – The first British-built Concorde made its maiden flight from Filton to RAF Fairford.

2005 – Charles, Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles.

On This Day

8th April

1820 – The famous statue, the Venus de Milo, was discovered on the Aegean island of Melos.

1886 – William Ewart Gladstone introduced the first Irish Home Rule Bill into the British House of Commons.

1904 – The French Third Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland signed the Entente cordiale.

1908 – Harvard University voted to establish the Harvard Business School.

1994 - Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, 27, was found dead in his Seattle home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

1995 - British-born Nicholas Ingram was executed in the electric chair.

On This Day

7th April

1795 – France adopted the metre as the basic measure of length.

1827 – John Walker, an English chemist, sold the first friction match.

1947 – Henry Ford, the American automobile manufacturer and industrialist died.

1948 – The World Health Organization was established by the United Nations.

1994 – The massacre of Tutsis began in Kigali, Rwanda.

On This Day

6th April

1199 – King Richard I of England died from an infection following the removal of an arrow from his shoulder.

1320 - The Declaration of Arbroath was signed to declare Scottish independence.

1652 – At the Cape of Good Hope, Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck established a resupply camp that eventually becomes Cape Town.

1772 - The beard tax was lifted in Russia.

1814 – Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to Elba.

1869 – Celluloid was patented.

1917 – The United States declared war on Germany.

1919 – Gandhi ordered a General Strike.

1930 – Gandhi raised a lump of mud and salt and declared, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire," and he was right.

1994 – The aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down, beginning one of the most shameful moments in history.

1998 – Tammy Wynette, American country singer died.

Interesting Fact - Crime

Police in the UK only solve 1 in 10 burglaries.

(According to crime statistics, £2 billion worth of goods have been stolen over the past 6 years, but only £137 million worth recovered.

Some newspapers are blaming the cuts in front-line-officers over the past 6 years, but there is no surprise for me here. We were broken into 4 times, and no one ever got back to us on any of the cases, including the one where the burglars left a knife covered in oily prints. (We also lived just down the road from a police station.) People being quoted in the press are saying things like "They just don't seem to care", well my friends, they didn't care in the past either.)

On This Day

5th April

456 - St. Patrick returned to Ireland as a missionary bishop.

1614 - In Virginia, Native American Pocahontas married English colonist John Rolfe.

1621 - The Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts on a return trip to Great Britain.

1722 - The Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island.

1904 - The first international rugby league match was played between England and an Other Nationalities team (Welsh & Scottish players) in Central Park, Wigan, England.

1923 - Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company began production of balloon-tyres.

1930 - In an act of civil disobedience, Gandhi broke British law by marching to the sea and making salt.

1955 - Winston Churchill resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.

1956 - Fidel Castro declared himself at war with the President of Cuba.

2008 - Charlton Heston died.


4th April

International Carrot Day

Interesting Fact - Exercise

According to a report by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Britons spend two-and-a-half months a year sitting down.

(The study revealed that most Brits only walk half a mile a day and nearly half of women and a third of men are inactive. The average man is sitting for 78 days of the year - a fifth of his lifetime, and although women tend to me more on their feet than men we do far less exercise.)

Interesting Fact - Dating

According to The Wright Stuff 80% of people will use social media to find out more about potential partners.

(What do they check? What you post about . . . the quality of the pictures . . . your grammar . . . your teeth and smile . . . and your clothing.

According to a survey from Pew Research in 2013 it was just 41%.)

On This Day

2nd April

1932 - Charles Lindbergh left $50,000 in a New York City cemetery in hope of regaining his kidnapped son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. Sadly the infant was later found dead. Bruno Hauptmann was convicted of kidnapping and murder and executed by electrocution on April 3, 1936.

On This Day

1st April

1318 - Berwick-upon-Tweed was captured by the Scottish from the English.

1826 - Samuel Morey patented the internal combustion engine.

1867 - Singapore became a British crown colony.

1873 - The British steamer RMS Atlantic sank off Nova Scotia, 547 people died.

1891 - The Wrigley Company was founded in Chicago, Illinois.

1918 - The Royal Air Force was created by the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

1924 - Adolf Hitler was sentenced to five years in jail for his participation in the "Beer Hall Putsch". However, he spent only nine months in jail, during which time he wrote the book Mein Kampf. (Just shows you prison is no deterrent.)

1949 - The twenty-six counties of the Irish Free State became the Republic of Ireland.

1976 - Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

1979 - Iran became an Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.

1981 - Daylight saving time was introduced in the USSR.

2001 - S…

Interesting Words - Gender

One of Britain's biggest banks, HSBC, is going to offer its customers an extra 10 gender neutral options for people who do not wish to be identified by gender.

(Usually you get the choice of "Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms", but they have now added the following titles:

Mx (pronounced "mix" or "mux")

Ind (an abbreviation of individual)

M (unspecified, but a bit James Bond really)

Misc (an abbreviation of miscellaneous)

Mre (an abbreviation for "mystery")

Msr (represents a combination of Miss/Sir)

Myr (unspecified)

Pr (prounced "per". An abbreviation of person)

Sai (pronounced "sigh")

Ser (pronounced "sair")
I like Ser.  Which do you prefer? )

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.

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.


29th March

2017 - The UK is going to trigger Article 50 to begin negotiations to leave the European Union.

2017 - Germany is switching off its current terrestrial TV signals to allow the broadcast of HD signals.

On This Day

29th March

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.

I wonder if he's ever read the 5 people you meet in heaven.

2017 - The UK triggered Article 50 to begin negotiations to leave the European Union.

2017 - Germany switched over its terrestrial TV signals to allow the broadcast of HD signals.

On This Day

28th March

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

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..." Yes, he also claimed the title King of France.

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).

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

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.

On This Day

26th March

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.

1973 - The London Stock Exchange allowed women on to the trading floor for the first time in the institution's 200 year history.

1979 - President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel ended 30 years of fighting with a handshake, after the signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.  Mr. Begin said, "No more war, no more bloodshed, no more bereavement, peace unto you, shalom, saalam, forever."  ("Shalom" and "salaam" are the Hebrew and Arabic words for "peace.")
1995 - The Schengen Treaty went into effect, creating a borderless zone between many European countries.  (But not the UK - never the UK. Pull up the drawbridge!)

On This Day

25th March

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

24th March

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.

On This Day

23rd March

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.

Interesting Place - Norway

Norway has been named the world’s happiest country, according to the World Happiness Report 2017.

(Norway moved up 4 places, and knocked Denmark off the top spot into second place, by ranking highly on the main factors found to contribute to happiness: “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance”.

Iceland and Switzerland rounded out the top four. Sadly The UK sits in 19th place, beaten by Germany in 16th and the US in 14th. Poor old France is a miserable 31st in the standings.

So much for Hygge. Although I guess to really experience Hygge, this sort of thing shouldn't matter.)

On This Day

21st March

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.


20th March

International Day of Happiness

On This Day

20th March

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.

On This Day

19th March

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

18th March

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

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."

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.)


15th March

The Ides of March

True Confessions Day

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.

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.

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 Yor…

Red wine compound can slow brain ageing

A substance found in red wine can help keep the brain young in a similar way to exercise and a low-calorie diet, scientists have discovered.
Resveratrol, which occurs naturally in the skin of fruits including grapes, blueberries and mulberries, can keep muscles supple and help protect connections between neurons in the brain, according to researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
Tests on elderly mice showed the compound significantly slowed brain ageing by preserving synapses called neuromuscular junctions, which relay movement signals from the brain to the muscles. Mice who had been given resveratrol from one year of age had more youthful neuromuscular junction synapses at two years old than those who had not.
“I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits,” said the study’s primary author, assistant professor Gregorio Valdez. 
Source  - Independent


8th March

International Women's Day.   (To be honest we don't wish each other "Happy Women's Day".  It's just a day the media feel obliged to look at the contribution women make and have made to society. Then they can ignore us for the rest of the year.)


7th March

Unique Name Day

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…

Interesting Fact - Work

According to the TUC (Trades Union Congress) 5.3 million people in the UK work an average of 7.7 hours of overtime a week.
(Chief executives topped a list of those doing the most unpaid overtime, at an average of 13.2 hours a week, followed by teaching staff (12.1 hours), finance managers (11.3 hours) and managers in production and health care workers (10 hours).

The TUC has called on people to take their full lunch break and go home on time, asking managers to set an example by leaving on time too.
Oh dear, I never leave a session on time, but then I don't get paid either. The TUC would hate me.)


On This Day

5th March

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

Interesting Words - Gender-neutral Terms

It seems that Cardiff Metropolitan University is trying to stop lecturers from using phrases they deem sexist; such as 'right-hand man', 'gentleman’s agreement', 'man in the street', 'housewife' and 'forefathers' in favour of gender-neutral terms.

(The following gender-neutral terms have been suggested:-

Forefathers - Forebears
Gentleman's agreement - Agreement based on trust.
Girls (for adults) - Women
Housewife - Homemaker
Manpower - Labour force / Human resources
Man / Mankind - Humanity
Man-made - Artificial
Man in the street / common man - Average citizen
Right-hand man - Chief assistant
Sportsmanship - Fairness / Sense of fair play

We will all be 'sering' before we know it.)

On This Day

4th March

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

Interesting Fact - Swimming

Scientists in Canada have been able to prove what we have all suspected; people pee in the swimming pool.

(Whilst it is not possible to find the actual  culprit (the colour of the water doesn't change), after monitoring two public pools in Canada the researchers found that a typical large swimming pool (a large pool (about one-third the size of an Olympic pool) contains 75 litres of urine – enough to fill a medium-sized dustbin.

If you don't swim in public pools, but you enjoy a spa experience, they also tested hot tubs, which were found to have far higher urine levels. 

In one anonymous survey, 19% of adults admitted to having urinated in a swimming pool at least once. And it seems professional swimmers are the worst offenders, as they don't have "time" to get out and use the facilities.

Please!  Eew!  I can swear, with my hand on my heart that I have never peed in the pool.  I always go before I swim (I honestly believed the water would change colour), and I shower…

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 Fact - Literacy

On World Book Day I thought I would share some scary facts about the land of Shakespeare and Dickens. According to the OECD, young people in England have the lowest literacy levels in the developed world.

(One term used is "functionally literate", and around 16 per cent, or 5.1 million adults in England, can be described as functionally illiterate, in that they would not pass an English GCSE and have literacy levels at or below those expected of an 11-year-old.

Another study conducted by the Royal Society of Literature showed that 1 in 5 Brits cannot name a single author of literature, and that 15 per cent of those surveyed believed that literature is too difficult to understand.

Happy World Book Day!)


2nd March

World Book Day (In the UK children dress up as their favourite character - as inspired by Disney films).

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.

Interesting Words - La La

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the use of "la la" as an adjective (as in La La Land), dates back to 1800s, and means so so.

(Los Angeles (LA) was given the nickname La La Land around 1979, to express how out of touch with reality the whole Hollywood scene was (is).  I think the latest Oscar winner is a great example of this, but that's just me.

"La la" is also the sound you can make when you don't know the words in a song, and the Online Etymology Dictionary says la-la is imitative of babbling speech in many languages: Greek lalage "babble, prattle," Sanskrit lalalla as an imitation of stammering, Latin lallare "to sing to sleep, lull," German lallen "to stammer," Lithuanian laluoti "to stammer.")
Have you ever sung along to a song with la la la la?
This is the ultimate la la la la la song:-

On This Day

27th February

1902 - John Steinbeck was born.

On This Day

25th February

1964 - Boxer Cassius Clay was crowned heavyweight champion of the world.

1972 - The miners strike was called off.

1982 - The European Court of Human Rights ruled that beating schoolchildren against their parents' wishes was a violation of the Human Rights Convention. Luckily my mum was against corporal punishment.


23rd February

Digital Learning Day

Interesting Fact - Age

According to a study carried out by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization, South Korean women will be the first in the world to have an average life expectancy above 90.

(The study predicts we will all be living longer by 2030 and the gap between men and women will have started to close in most countries. South Korea wins the race because South Koreans are better at dealing with hypertension, the country has some of the lowest obesity rates in the world, and in general it offers better equality, education, and nutrition, which has benefited most people.)

On This Day

22nd February

1774 - The House of Lords ruled that authors do not have perpetual copyright.
1797 - The Last Invasion of Britain by the French began near Fishguard, Wales.
1900  - Hawaii became a US territory.
1928 -  Australian aviator Bert Hinkler completed the first solo England to Australia flight.
1943 -  Members of  the White Rose were executed in Nazi Germany.
1958 - Egypt & Syria formed the United Arab Republic.
1968 -  Rock group Genesis released their 1st record "Silent Sun".
2006 - At least six armed robbers staged the biggest cash robbery in Britain, stealing £53m (about $92.5 million or 78€ million) from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent.


22nd February

Walk the dog day.

(Every day is walk the dog day in our house.)

PS - I am assured this is fake, but don't try it anyway:-

On This Day

20th February

1962 - John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.

1986 - The Soviets launched the Mir space station.

On This Day

19th February

1878 – Thomas Edison patented the phonograph.

1861 – Serfdom was abolished in Russia.

1674 – England and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transferred the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, whereupon it was renamed New York.

On This Day

18th February

1478- George - Duke of Clarence, who had been impeached for treason by his brothers Edward IV and Richard III, was, allegedly, drowned in a gigantic vat of Malmsey wine at the Tower of London.

1517- Mary I, Queen of England was born.

1678 - John Bunyan'sPilgrim’s Progress was published.

1946- Sailors of the Royal Indian Navy mutinied in Mumbai harbour, from where it spread throughout British India.

1949- Opportunity Knocks, the forerunner to the X factor and other talent shows, was presented for the first time (on BBC radio) by its creator, Hughie Greene.

1991 - One man was killed and 43 people injured by an IRA bomb at Victoria Station, London.

1996 - An IRA bomb detonated prematurely on a bus travelling in central London, killing Edward O'Brien, the IRA member who was transporting the device. Eight other people were injured.

On This Day

16th February

2005 - The Kyoto Protocol, initially adopted for use on 11 December 1997, came into force.

On This Day

12th February

1809 - Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  (But only after a few million years of evolution.)

On This Day

11th February

1990 - Leading anti-apartheid campaigner, Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in South Africa after 27 years incarceration.

Interesting People - Samuel Plimsol

Samuel Plimsoll was an English politician and social reformer: He is best remembered for having devised the Plimsoll line, which is the line on a ship's hull to show safe loading limits.

(He is credited for having saved thousands of lives, through tireless campaigning against shipping interests, and became known as the "sailor's friend".

Plimsoll Day on 10 February is marked in various parts of the UK, and there are memorial statues of him on Victoria Embankment in London and in Bristol. A blue plaque marks one of the houses where he lived in Folkestone, and 15 towns around the UK have streets named after him.  That said, most Brits have never heard of him.)


10th February

Plimsoll Day - no not the footwear.

On This Day

10th February

1763 - The Seven Years' War between Britain and Spain ended when The Treaty of Paris was signed.

2014 - Shirley Temple died.

Interesting Food / Word - Pizza and The Pizza Effect

Pizza is thought to have been created over 1,000 years ago in Italy.

(Of course it's now a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, the pizza effect is a term used to describe how elements of a nation or people's culture can be transformed or at least more fully embraced elsewhere, then re-imported back to their culture of origin.

Some aspects of the change are not really something to celebrate though. For example, in the UK Pizza Hut created the Cheeseburger crust pizza with a staggering 2,880 calories. Whilst in New York the 24k pizza has been created with gold leaf, caviar, stilton cheese and truffles, a bargain at £1,600.  (It's gone up since its invention in 2012.))

Some people will buy into anything.)


9th February

International Pizza Day

On This Day

8th February

1974 - The Loch Ness Monster was allegedly photographed in Scotland.

1996 - Francois Mitterand died.   Seemingly for his last meal he decided to eat a tiny little yellow songbird called an ortolan, which is illegal, even in France.

A typical ortolan weighs only 55 g and is about the size of a man's thumb. Depending on the preparation, the diner is sometimes required to first bite off the head of the bird and discard it on the plate. Then, the rest of the bird is eaten in one mouthful, including the bones and internal organs. A napkin is worn over the diner's head to prevent the aroma from escaping (or to cover their shame).

God grant me the grace to have something more interesting to do when I am dying.

On This Day

7th February

1812 - Charles Dickens was born.

On This Day

6th February

1945 - Bob Marley was born.

1952 - King George VI died in his sleep aged just 56 and Princess Elizabeth became sovereign of Great Britain.

(She wasn't declared Queen until February 8, and wasn't crowned Queen Elizabeth II until June 2, 1953.)

1958 - British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at the Munich-Riem airport in Munich, West Germany. On board the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the Busby Babes, along with a number of supporters and journalists. Twenty-three of the 44 passengers on board the aircraft died in what was to be called The Munich Air Disaster.

Interesting Words - Swear Words

According to research presented at the Sociolinguistics Symposium, children start swearing at a much earlier age than they did a few decades ago.

(Seemingly in the UK kids start swearing at the age of 4! In the 1980s most children didn't start to swear until they were 13.  (I don't think I swore until I was about 21).

They also swear more often nowadays, and they have lots of choice: There are over 70 different common swear words in the English language (some of which also vary from English-speaking country to country), 10 frequently used words account for over 80 percent of common swearing.  

Of course I am far too polite to tell you what they are, but they include the "F" word, and sh1t (which isn't even a swear word in Germany). You can learn more here.)

Interesting Fact - Pollution

Diesel drivers in the UK are facing a congestion charge in 16 UK cities from 2020.

(Dubbed the "T tax" (here T stands for toxic), the first cities to receive approval are Birmingham,  Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, London, and Southampton.

Cities that are considering clean air zones are Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield, and Stoke.

Diesel fumes are blamed for 12,000 deaths a year, but many people are accusing councils of using diesel drivers as cash cows.)

On this day

4th February

1789 - George Washington was elected the first president of the United States.

(He was from Virginia, and was the commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He was elected by all 69 presidential electors who cast their votes.)

1913 - Rosa Parks was born.

1959 Barbie was created, by Ruth Handler, who was one of the founders of the Mattel Company. Barbie was named after Ruth’s daughter. Later on, when the Ken doll was made, it was named after Ruth’s son.

On This Day

3rd February

1959 - Buddy Holly died.

On This Day

2nd February

2007 - Hundreds of scientists who had taken part in a U.N.-sponsored study concluded in a report that human activity was to blame for global warming, largely through greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.

On This Day

30th January

1948 - Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by an extremist.

1933 - Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.

On This Day

27th January

1945 - Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated.

On This Day

26th January

1950 - The independent republic of India was officially born, after nearly 100 years of British rule.

1998 - In response to allegations that he had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, President Bill Clinton declared: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

On This Day

22nd January

1521 – Emperor Charles V opened the Diet of Worms. (Not as disgusting as it sounds.)

1561 - Francis Bacon was born.

1879 – The Battle of Rorke's Drift: 139 British soldiers successfully defend their garrison against an onslaught by 3 to 4 thousand Zulu warriors.

1901 – Edward VII was proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

1905 – Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg began the 1905 revolution.

1924 – Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1927 – The first live radio commentary of a football match was broadcast.
2002 – Kmart became the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

On This Day

20th January

2001 - George W. Bush was sworn in as the 43rd president of the United States.

1993 - Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States.

1987 – Church of England envoy Terry Waite was kidnapped in Lebanon.

1986 - Soviets launched the space station Mir.

1981 - Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president of the United States.

1962 - John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth.

1961 - John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States.

1958 - The UK government announced the naval dockyards at Sheerness were to close.

1936 - Britain's King George V died and Edward VIII became King of the United Kingdom.

1841 – The island of Hong Kong was occupied by the British.

1783 - Great Britain signed a peace treaty with France and Spain. Officially ending hostilities between the countries in the American War of Independence.

1649 - Charles I of England went on trial for treason and other "high crimes".

On This Day

18th January

1882 - A.A.Milne was born.

(18th January is designated Winnie the Pooh Day in his honour. Yes the bear with little brain (aka the great philosopher) has his own day. And why not?)

On This Day

15th January

1929 - Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

2001 - Wikipedia was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.

On This Day

12th January

1895 - The National Trust was founded in England. Within days it was given its first place - five acres of cliff top at Dinas Oleu in Wales.

On This Day

11th January

2008 - Sir Edmund Hillary died.

(In 1953, he took part in John Hunt's expedition, in which he and Tenzing became the first to reach the summit. Interestingly there's only a photo of Sherpa Tenzing at the top, Tenzing couldn't take Sir Edmund's photo, but seemingly he didn't mind.)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to research conducted by Nationwide, office workers in the UK spend an average of £40,000 during their careers on treats, traditions, whip rounds and equipment associated with the job.

(All those tea jars, after work drinks, leaving presents, highlighters etc. add up. In fact tea and coffee clubs alone cost £66.36 a year.)

On This Day

10th January

1920 - The Treaty of Versailles came into effect, officially ending World War I.
1927 – Fritz Lang's futuristic film Metropolis was released in Germany.

1954 - Thirty-five people died, after a BOAC Comet jet airliner crashed into the Mediterranean off the Italian island of Elba.
1957 - Harold Macmillan officially became prime minister following the sudden resignation of Sir Anthony Eden.
2016 - Starman David Bowie died.

Interesting Fact - Young People

According to a survey carried out by (of all people) Hillary Blinds, having access to the internet is more important to young people in the UK than daylight, hot water, the NHS, or a good night's sleep.
(So, it looks like we will end up with a generation of pasty faced, smelly, tired young people in poor health.)

On This Day

9th January

2008 - Iwao Takamoto, the US animator who created cartoon dogs Scooby-Doo and Muttley, died aged 81.


4th January

Fat Cat Wednesday - This is the day when, according to the High Pay Centre, UK bosses will have earned more by midday than typical workers (with an average UK salary of £28,200) earn in the entire year.

Interesting Food - Sugar

According to Public Health England, kids in the UK eat more than half of their recommended sugar intake - at breakfast!

(The culprit?  All those sugary breakfast cereals with cartoon characters on the packaging.  (Are you listening Tony?)  What is even more worrying is that 80% of parents think sugary cereals are healthy.)

Interesting People - Politicians

In the UK the most popular search term on Google for politicians was no surprise. The D word.

On This Day

January 1st

45 B.C. - New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1 for the first time in history as the Julian calendar took effect.

1600 – Scotland began its numbered year on January 1 instead of March 25 for the first time.

1651 – Charles II was crowned King of Scotland.

1772 – The first traveler's cheques, which could be used in 90 European cities, went on sale in London, England.

1801 – The legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland was completed to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1808 – The importation of slaves into the United States was banned.

1833 – The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

1863 – The first claim under the Homestead Act in America was made by Daniel Freeman for a farm in Nebraska.

1877 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was proclaimed Empress of India.

1898 – New York annexed land from surrounding counties, creating the City of Greater New York. The four initial boroughs, Manhattan…

More Interesting Stuff