Showing posts from 2016

On This Day

18th December

1946 - Stephen Bantu Biko was born.  


16th December

Is Christmas Jumper Day - In the UK, for the last 3 years, people wear a Christmas themed woolly / pullover / jumper / sweater to work on this day, and donate to Save the Children.

On This Day

19th December

1948 - The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


9th December

Christmas Card Day - In honor of the first commercial Christmas card from Sir Henry Cole (1818 - 1874).  If you haven't posted your cards yet, you'd better get a shift on.

On This Day

8th December

1980 - Former Beatle John Lennon was shot to death outside his apartment building in New York City. He was 40.

On This Day

1984 - The world's worst industrial disaster took place when 42 tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the Union Carbide subsidiary pesticide plant in the city of Bhopal, India. More than 500,000 people were exposed to the toxic gases, with the symptoms bearing all the hallmarks of cyanide poisoning.

The first official death toll was 2,259. A more probable figure is that 8,000 people died within two weeks. It is estimated that around 20,000 people have died from gas-related diseases since the disaster.

1992 - The first text message was sent.

On This Day

29th November

2008 - Playwright, William Gibson died.

On This Day

26th November

1865 - Lewis Carrroll (Charles Dodgson) published the book Alice in Wonderland (aka Alice's Adventures in Wonderland).

1984 - US troops withdrew from the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

1987 - The Church of England's General Synod voted by a huge majority in favour of the ordination of women priests.

On This Day

23rd November

2006 - Russian dissident and writer Alexander Litvinenko died in London of radiation poisoning.

On This Day

22nd November

1963 - John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth U.S. President, was assassinated (murdered) in Dallas.


21st November is World Hello Day. Say "Hello" to at least 10 people.

Hello. Bonjour. Guten Tag. Hola. Ciao. Ola. Szia. Namaste. Salaam. Marhaba. Zdras-tvuy-te. Konnichiwa. Merhaba. Jambo. Ni Hau. Halo.

Interesting Food - Coffee

Mathematicians from the University of Limmerick are working out a mathematical formula for the perfect cup of coffee.

(They have found that size does matter, and flavour is linked to the coffee grain's surface are.  The method of extraction describes the movement of the coffee from its solid form as a bean into its liquid form when it dissolves into hot water, and they have found that small grains give a more bitter taste, whilst large grains result in a weak brew.

Earlier in 2016 some chemists got together to create this video:-

Reactions goes on a quest for better coffee through chemistry.


Interesting Fact - Television

The first TV licence in the UK cost 10 shillings (that's 50p in today's money).

(The licence was originally known as a wireless licence, and today it costs £145.50 for a colour TV. That's inflation for you.)

On This Day

2nd November

1936 - The BBC opened the world's first regular high-definition (not HDTV) television service, from Alexandra Palace (affectionately known as Ally Pally).

On This Day

1st November

1956 - Premium Bonds came into being.

(You buy some bonds, you get entered into a monthly draw, you win - or not - as the case may be. The great thing about them is that you don't lose your initial investment.)

On This Day

1958 - Paddington Bear first appeared.

(Sitting on his suitcase at Paddington railway station in London, wearing a duffel coat with a note attached, which read, "Please look after this bear. Thank you.)


7th October 2016
World Smile Day.


Today is balloon day.

Interesting Food - Marmite

Marmite is quintessentially British, but did you know it wasn't invented by a Brit? It was invented by a German.

(Justus von Liebig was looking for an inexpensive nutrition source for the poor of Europe, and his discovery that yeast could be concentrated and eaten, led to the manufacture of Marmite.

I'm not sure if that should be celebrated, or not.)


Today is Marmite Day!


Is ask a stupid question day.

Interesting Words - Dictionary Additions

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has added over 1,000 words.

(New entries include air-punching - the act of thrusting a clenched fist into the air in elation or triumph.

Agender for designating people who do not identify themselves as a particular gender.

Bovver - part of the catchphrase of comedian Catherine Tate's teenage character Lauren (Bovvered?)

Budgie smugglers - close-fitting swimming trunks

Dudettes - the female form of dude.

Fro-yo - the short form for frozen yoghurt.

Starter marriages are short-lived first marriages.

*Stupid o'clock - used to describe a time outside normal waking hours.

*See!  I told you it would make it in eventually.)

A couple of new abbreviations were added too:-

ICYMI (in case you missed it)
FWIW (for what it's worth)

Interesting Fact - Families

According to a report by Sainsbury's bank, daughters are more expensive than sons.

(This isn't due to any costs of getting married, dowries etc., it's purely on the basis of raising the children.

Girls cost thousands of pounds more than boys to bring up
0 to 5 boys cost £5,475 a year, and girls £5,7676 to 13 boys cost £6,414 a year, and girls £7,79414 to 18 boys cost £7,172 a year, and girls £7,747  The biggest issue is that clothing costs more for girls, so I would say from the ages 0 to 13, it's the parent's fault.  Pink stuff probably costs more than blue stuff.)

Interesting Fact - The Chilcot Report

The Chilcot report into the Iraq war cost £10,375,000.00. It consists of 12-volumes containing 2.6 million words.

(The inquiry was launched on 30 July 2009, to cover the period of 2001 to the end of July 2009.  Over 100 witnesses were called.

The findings of the report were that British military action was not the last resort, that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence that was never challenged, and that the overall severity of the threat posed by Iraq, particularly the existence of weapons of mass destruction, was grossly overstated, and presented with a certainty that was not justified.)

The whole report can be downloaded here:


6th July 2016

The Chilcot report was published.


1st July

The nation remembers those who died and were injured at the Somme during the First World War.

At 7:28 am The Lochnagar mine, which had been placed under the German lines, was detonated, creating the largest man-made mine crater created in the First World War. At 7:30am a whilstle was blown and hundreds of soldiers "went over the top" in what is now called Zero Hour, only to be mown down by machine gun fire.  No one seems to know how many German soldiers were killed in the explosion.

By the end of the day thousands had died, and the Battle of the Somme continued for 141 days, at the end of which an estimated million soldiers were killed and wounded. The bodies of 72,000 men were never recovered.

You can read more about the Lochnagar crater here.

Interesting Fact - Marriage

Christina Estrada, a former model, is claiming nearly £200million in her divorce from Sheikh Walid Juffali, a Saudi multi-billionaire.

(In a divorce settlement case that has more twists and turns than a game of snakes and ladders, he actually tried to prevent her claim in the British courts on the grounds that he was entitled to legal immunity because of his diplomatic status as permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of the Caribbean island of St Lucia, she is demanding such a huge sum as it "reflects the standard of living she enjoyed during her marriage to the Sheikh".

She is trying to justify her rather large claim for the following expenses:-

£55million for a new London home with annual staff costs of £335,558, which would cover a live-in butler, housekeeper, chauffeur, a nanny for the London home together with two cleaners, a chef, a reserve nanny and an office manager.
£4.4million for a second house at Henley.
£2.1million annual tra…


30th June

Social Media Day

Celebrate by sharing.

Interesting Fact - Drugs

An advert for Nurofen painkillers, has been banned in the UK for falsely claiming it targets specific types of pain.

(The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints about TV adverts that suggested that Nurofen could target back pain. In one ad which showed a woman experiencing back pain, a voiceover said: “Just a single dose of Nurofen Joint and Back provides you with constant targeted pain relief for up to eight hours.”

In an interesting use of language RB UK Commercial, which owns the Nurofen brand, said the advert did not state or imply specific pain could be targeted and that it was “disappointed” with the ruling. A spokesperson said: “Nurofen pain-specific products were introduced to provide easy navigation of pain-relief options for consumers experiencing a specific type of pain." Please note, they didn't use the word "targeted pain relief".

Actually the term painkiller is misleading.)

Interesting Fact - Shopping

A couple of shopping centres in the UK are going to trial the removal of mirrors in the changing rooms.

(Their rather twisted logic for a mirror-free shopping experience is that 71% of women in the UK decide not to buy an outfit after they see themselves in the mirror!

What? That's because the outfit either doesn't fit them, or doesn't suit them!

I can see a big #fail coming here.)

Interesting Fact - Smoking

According to a Freedom of Information request from the BBC, since the introduction of UK legislation in October 2015 that bans anyone from smoking in cars with children present, no fines have been issued.

(Of course this does not mean that people have suddenly stopped blowing smoke into their children's lungs, it simply means this is yet another unenforceable piece of legislation.)

Interesting Fact - Technology

Brits are spending more more than £900 million a year simply keeping our smartphones and tablets charged.
(If that's not bad enough, we waste £134 million a year by overcharging them: According to research commissioned by insurance provider, part of the problem is overcharging which happens when users plug in their devices overnight.

A massive nine in ten owners keep gadgets on permanent charge, often unaware that overcharging batteries can reduce their lifespan, and under certain conditions lithium-ion batteries can pose a safety hazard. The figures suggest that around 85,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved if people disconnected as soon as charging was complete.)

Average charging times:-
Mobile Phone - 2 hours Laptop, with Express Charge - 2 hours Hand-held vacuum cleaner - 3.5 hours Mp3 player - 4 hours Digital Camera - 2 hours


The UK voted to leave the European Union.  (It wasn't announced until 24th June, but it was on this day that the polls closed and the seal was set on the breakup of the UK. Watch this space.)

Interesting Food - Cake

According to the Professor Nigel Hunt at the Royal College of Surgeons, “cake culture” in the UK workplace is fuelling the obesity epidemic and contributing to poor dental health.

(As a healthy alternative they are suggesting that workers should bring fruit platters into the office instead of doughnuts, cookies and biscuits. He said, “Cake culture poses difficulties for those who are trying their hardest to lose weight or become healthier - how many of us have begun such diets only to cave in to the temptation of the doughnuts, cookies or the triple chocolate biscuits?”

I agree in principal, but I wouldn't want to be the one to bring a box of apples to work on my birthday, I don't want to be known as Lynney no friends.)

On This Day - 1314 to 1972

23rd June

1314 – The Battle of Bannockburn began.

1532 РHenry VIII and Fran̤ois I signed a secret treaty against Emperor Charles V.

1713 – The French residents of Acadia were given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada.

1757 – 3,000 British troops under Robert Clive defeated a 50,000 strong Indian army under Siraj Ud Daulah at Plassey.

1758 – British forces defeated French troops at Krefeld in Germany.

1794 – Empress Catherine II of Russia granted Jews permission to settle in Kiev.

1845 - The Congress of the Republic of Texas agreed to annexation by the United States.

1860 - The U.S. Secret Service was created.

1868 – Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for Type-Writer.

1894 – The International Olympic Committee was founded at the Sorbonne, Paris, at the initiative of Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

1942 – The first selections for the gas chamber at Auschwitz took place on a train load of people from Paris.

1955 - The Queen Elizabeth ocean liner s…

Interesting Date - Fathers Day

According to research company Mintel, Britons spend around £510 million on Mother's Day gifts in 2015, but only £350 million on Father's Day gifts.

(Poor dads!)

Interesting Fact - Physics

According to researchers at Kyoto University cats have a rudimentary understanding of physics.

(The researchers showed how cats would react differently when they shook boxes with something in them, than when they shook empty boxes.

Amazing! Cats reacted to a rattling sound? I don't suppose it occured to them that the shake of a cat  treats container has preconditioned cats to this.)

Interesting Word - Flip Flops

The term flip-flop is an onomatopoeiac word based on the sound made by the sandals when walking in them.

(Flip flops are no heel strap sandals, and although this style of sandal has been worn for centuries, the modern day flip flops have been worn in America and Britain since the 1970s. Sometimes the word is written flip-flops, and flipflops.

They are called thongs in Australia, jandals (originally a trademarked name derived from "Japanese sandals") in New Zealand, slops in South Africa, and tsinelas in the Philippines.)


17th June

Flip flop day.

(This one is for +april sis+Im Bubbly ,  +Marianne Heredge , Natasha, Shiny et al.)

Interesting Food - Food Waste

Anyone who was attended the sessions on food waste in Kitely will not be surprised to learn that supermarket giant Tesco has revealed that it generated 59,400 tonnes of food waste in 2015.

(To put this into perspective this is the equivalent of nearly 119 million meals.

In their defense, they are the only supermarket to publish the figures, and they have pledged to redistribute all edible food waste from stores to charities by the end of 2017.)


June 15th

Happy Beer Day Britain

Interesting Fact - Work

According to a survey by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) 1 in 10 Brits are walking from home - in bed!

(19% work from the sofa on their laptop, but now chiropractors are warning against the impact this could be having on the health of their back.

Now, as some of you know, I work from home, but I get up and go into the office when I'm running sessions. 

PS - I am writing this on the sofa.)

The BCA have put together a video on computer posture:

Interesting Fact - Sleep

According to the Sleep Council, the average Brit goes to bed at 11:15pm and gets just 6 hours and 35 minutes sleep per night.

(Yes, not all Brits are lightweights like me.)

Interesting Animal - Fish

According to research published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, fish can remember faces.

(By training archerfish with food pellets as a reward,  with a random sequence of 44 faces, scientists were able to teach them to spit at a particular face, with an average accuracy of between 81 and 86 percent.  A researcher Cait Newport said "Obviously the first takeaway is that they could do it. They were distinguishing something really complicated. This also shows that the fish have surprisingly good memories. It certainly challenges the whole idea of a fish with a 30-second memory."

Did she really use the word takeaway?  I hope she hasn't trained her fish to recognise English.)


Interesting Food - Red Wine

According to wine expert Jancis Robinson, author of The 24 Hour Wine Expert, any open bottle of wine – even a red – should be kept in the fridge.

(Seemingly the old adage of serving red wine at "room temperature" was coined before the advent of central heating. Nowadays room temperature tends to be too warm, and we are drinking tepid red wine. According to the experts, refrigerating lighter reds such as beaujolais and pinot noir brings out all their fresh fruit flavours, and full-bodied reds such as cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and malbec benefit from being served cooler (around 17 or 18°C).

Of course, it's unlikely we have any left in the bottle to store, but I'm going to try out this advice this weekend.)

Interesting Fact - The Common Good

In a survey that examines the good each country does for humanity as well as what it takes away, Britain has ranked 4th.

(The Good Country Index placed Sweden first, Denmark second, and the Netherlands third, but the UK came above France and Germany because Britain does more “good” and less harm than more than 150 countries around the world.

Britain came top for its global contribution to science and technology, thanks to the high number of journal exports, Nobel prizes and international publications it has produced,  was ranked 2nd on its global contribution to health and wellbeing, but it scored poorly on international security and peace, coming 64th out of 163 countries.

Simon Anholt, who created the Good Country Index, said that while countries must serve the interests of their people it should not be at the expense of other populations.  I think we could apply that to ourselves as individuals too.)

Interesting People - Gillian Scott

Maybe the title of this should be boring people, as Ms Scott, an English teacher, has been struck off the teaching register in Scotland for two years after pupils and parents complained about her “boring” lessons.

(She has been removed following a seven-day hearing in Edinburgh where it was reported that she had spent three lessons reading a novel to one class without allowing them to ask questions, set the same essay task - titled "what I did in activities week" - for several different year groups, and shown one class a clip of Jurassic Park before making them copy what she said about characterisation in relation to the film.

Pupils at the school dubbed the lessons the "puni class" due to the disproportionate number of punishment exercises handed out.

To be fair, her lesson plans sound very similar to the ones I had to sit through in English literature.)

!Note - if you are struck off you are removed, from a position of power or responsibility after having done so…

Interesting Food - Coffee

According to the British Coffee Association around 2,000,000,000 cups of coffee are consumed worldwide every day.

(According to market researchers, Mintel, in the UK we drink over 70 million cups a day, but 3/4 (74%) of all UK adults drink instant coffee, compared to around 1/2 (48%) who drink fresh coffee.

I stopped drinking instant when I left England, and I've never wanted to go back to the brown sludge.)


31st May

World No Tobacco Day

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.

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.")

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.)

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.)

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.)

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…

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

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…

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.)

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.

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…

Interesting Fact - Clothes

If we ever needed proof that Brits are getting bigger, here it is:  High street retailer Debenhams is now stocking clothing in sizes up to XXXXXL.

(Debenhams say they have begun to stock the 5XL size in male ranges to meet demand.  The new big and tall range goes up to a 64-inch chest and a 20-inch collar.

The previous largest size was 3XL, but demand for larger sizes of shirts, suits, tops, casual jackets and trousers has soared by 170% over the last 2 years.

If you go to their Big and Tall website, they even list XXXXXXL - 6XL!

Now all I can think about is what clothing size the Hulk is.  Does anyone know?)

Interesting Fact - Time

According to researchers from the Sao Jose Faculty of Medicine in Brazil, time goes by more quickly when you're over 50.

(In the study people were asked to close their eyes and mentally count the passing of 120 seconds.  They all counted too quickly.

On average, men and women in the 15 to 29 age group counted down the 120 seconds in 115 seconds.  In the 30 to 49 age group they took 96 seconds, but the over-50s took just 86 seconds. This meant the oldest group perceived time as passing 25 per cent more quickly than the youngest did.

The researchers believe it is possibly due to age-related changes in levels of brain chemicals involved in concentration and memory, both of which are involved in estimating the passage of time.

I think it's more likely that at 50+ you simply have more to do, and feel you have less time to do it in.)


PS -If you want to be able to count in seconds more accurately, say the number plus the word elephants.

Interesting Fact - Family

According to research carried out by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’.

(The unamed monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe.

Previous genetic research has found that 16 million men across the world could be related to Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who died in 1227.

So, who's your daddy?)


Interesting Date - 23rd April

William Shakespeare was probably born on April 23rd, and he died on this day in 1616, 400 years ago. It is also St George's Day in England, and according to the Arden Shakespeare Miscellany, St George is mentioned 16 times in his plays.

(The most famous mention is in Henry V: "Cry 'God' for Harry! England and Saint George!")

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nost…


22nd April is Earth day.

(It's also Jelly Bean day, which makes it a great day to be on planet earth.)

Happy Earth Day Earthlings.  :)


21st April

Queen Elizabeth turns 90. This is her "real" birthday. She was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London.

Happy Birthday

Interesting People - Queen Elizabeth II

When Queen Elizabeth was born she stood third in line of succession to the throne after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), and her father, The Duke of York.

(She has 9 royal thrones - 1 at the House of Lords, 2 at Westminster Abbey, and 6 in the throne room at Buckingham Palace.

It was never expected that she would become Queen.)

90 pictures

Interesting Fact - Finding Money

According to a study conducted by TopCashback website, on average, in 2015 pedestrians in the UK picked up £5.45 each in dropped change, and one in 20 managed to find £20.

(However, millions of Brits would not stoop to pick up anything less than 50p dropped on the floor: only 4 in 10 people would bother to bend down to pick up a penny, and most would ignore anything that wasn't silver. 

1 in 3 people said they would not pick up any cash dropped as in their eyes it would be stealing, however 8 in 10 Brits applied the finders-keepers rule, but they were unsur about how much they would pocket if no-one was around.  Most agreed that anything over £10 and they would hand it into the police, or give the cash to charity or a homeless person.

6 in 10 would hand in money left at a cash point by mistake, but only a fifth would run after the person who absent mindedly walked off without it.  Scarily 1 in 10 would quietly pop it into their purse or wallet.

I will admit, I picked up a 50p pie…


20th April

National look alike day.

Who do you look like?

Interesting Fact - Toilet Paper

According to consumer watchdog Which?, loo rolls in the UK have shrunk in size.

(The best selling brand Andrex has reduced the size of its Classic White by 8% (from 240 to 221 sheets per roll), but of course prices have remained the same.
If they keep going, they'll just be selling the cardboard roll.)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to research from Japan, people over 40 perform best at work if their working week is restricted to 3 days.

(They found that a part-time job keeps the brain stimulated, while avoiding exhaustion and stress.

The bad news is that not working also damaged brain function. However, working extremely long hours was more damaging than not working at all.)


13th April

Scrabble Day

Interesting Food - Liquorice Allsorts

Licorice Allsorts are a very popular sweet in the UK.  They are a colourful mixture of liquorice, sugar, coconut, aniseed jelly, fruit flavourings, and gelatine.

(They were first produced in Sheffield, England, by Geo. Bassett & Co Ltd, under the name Bassett's Allsorts, but the idea of mixing up several sweets came about by accident.  According to Basset's own marketing, in 1899 a sales representative for the company, Charlie Thompson, supposedly dropped a tray of samples he was showing a client in Leicester, mixing up the various sweets. After he scrambled to re-arrange them, the client was intrigued by the new creation.

All I know is they are delicious, and thankfully there isn't one bit of salted liquorice in them.)