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Showing posts from May, 2017

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.

On This Day

29th May

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 mo…

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…

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 Fact - Packaging

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According to the Recycling Association, Lucozade sport drink bottles, and Pringles crisp tubes are the worst products for recycling.

(It's not just about how much plastic is used; the variety of materials that go into the packaging is key.  Pringles with its distinctive tube is one of the worst: it has a metal base, plastic cap, foil tear off lide and foil-lined cardboard sleeve.  The association described it as a nightmare.

I'm not sure which bin they should go into, but luckily I don't drink Lucozade, and I don't eat Pringles.)


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…

Interesting Word - Museum

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The word ‘museum’ comes from classical Latin where it meant a place holy to the Muses.


(In Greek mythology the Muses were the goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts.

The 9 muses were each protectors of a different art and symbolised by a different item; Calliope (epic poetry - a writing tablet), Clio (history - a scroll or book), Euterpe (lyric poetry - an aulos (a Greek flute)), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry - a comic mask), Melpomene (tragedy - a sword), Terpsichore (dance - a lyre), Erato (love poetry - a cithara (a Greek type of lyre)), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry / hymns - a veil), and Urania (astronomy - a globe and compass).

Nowadays, the word "muse" can  be used to refer to any person who inspires an artist, writer, or musician.)

Today

18th May

International Museum Day

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.


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…

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.

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.

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 Fact - Eating Out

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According to research carried out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and water filter company Brita UK, Brits are needlessly buying bottled water in restaurants and pubs because they feel too awkward to ask for free tap water.

(Many people are unaware of the fact that, in England, Scotland and Wales, licensed premises such as bars, restaurants and theatres are required by law to provide free drinking water on request (although they can charge for the use of a glass).

Of course there is nothing worse than an awkward Brit, and I fully understand our reluctance to dare to ask for something for nothing.)

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.

Interesting Fact - Facebook

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According to researchers from Vrije University in Amsterdam,  Facebook is as addictive as (if not more addictive than) cigarettes and chocolate.

(Seemingly just seeing the blue and white Facebook logo is enough to give an addict a buzz, making it impossible for them to resist logging on.  I'm sure Mr Zuckerberg is glad to hear that, but "impossible".  Really?
Check yourself, and if you find it irresistible, switch your device off and go for a walk.)

Interesting Fact - Cold Calling

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A nuisance call company, Keurboom Communications Ltd, has been fined a record £400,000 for making nuisance calls.

(The company often masked who was making the calls, which ranged from road traffic accident claims and PPI compensation, with some people receiving repeat calls, sometimes on the same day and during unsociable hours.

Nuisance calls have been a problem in the UK for years, and what usually happens is when they are caught the firm declares bankruptcy, and avoids paying any fine.

In 2016 the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) issued fines totalling £1.923 million for nuisance marketing, but according to the Telegraph, out of 20 firms penalised, 15 went bust or declared themselves insolvent.
I wonder if the courts will see a penny of this fine?)

Today

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9th May

National Teacher Appreciation Day

I'd like to thank Mrs Hunt, who was one of the few teachers who tried to inspire her pupils to bigger and better things.

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.

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.

More Interesting Stuff