X is for Xenophobe

X is the most eXasperating letter of the ABC Wednesday alphabet as there not many subjects to choose from when you’re writing about the eXemplars of eccentricity, so as a matter of eXpediency I offer instead a prime eXample of a xenophobe.

Charles de Laet Waldo Sibthorp was born in 1783 and was elected as the Member of Parliament for Lincoln in 1826, setting standards for xenophobia unequalled in parliamentary history. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Naked charity: More than 2,500 women set a new world record for skinny dipping at Magheramore beach in Ireland to raise money for a local cancer charity, beating the previous record that stood at a mere 786 people.

Raising an eyebrow: Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that having thick and well-groomed eyebrows is a sign of a narcissistic personality. Read more ›››

W is for Jabez ‘Jappy’ Wolffe

Of the thousands of people who have swum the English Channel, the unluckiest has to be Jabez ‘Jappy’ Wolffe who made at least twenty-two attempts and never succeeded.

Wolffe was born in Glasgow in 1876, just a year after Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim unaided across the Strait of Dover and so sparking what has become an obsession for many wild water swimmers. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Sign of the times: In a sad reflection of the state of the high street, Toys R Us is selling everything from its US headquarters, including their mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe.

Can it: Deputies in Florida managed to take out an armed robber with a couple of well-aimed cans of Bush’s Extra Brown Sugar Baked Beans as you can see from this video. Read more ›››

V is for Étienne de Vignolles

I’m delving deep into history this week to bring you the French military commander Étienne de Vignolles who you will know better as the Jack of Hearts.

The squabble between the French and English over the throne of France called The Hundred Years War had rumbled on and off since 1337 but came to a head in 1415 when Henry V invaded Normandy. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Teaser: Another of those annoying puzzles – can you spot the lollipop hiding among the ice creams? If not, here is the solution.

Name game: I take umbrage at some of the peculiar names that people give their children these days and it seems that I’m not alone. A writer from Utah has Tweeted the dumbest names from her son’s junior high yearbook that includes the likes of Dezalin, Jaxon and Cambrie. Read more ›››

U is for Stanley Unwin

Stanley Unwin

If there is a universal language misunderstood by all it’s gobbledegook and there was no greater exponent of the art than ‘Professor’ Stanley Unwin.

Unwin was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1911 since his parents had emigrated there in the early 1900s. But his father died in 1914 and Unwin and his mother returned to the UK. Read more ›››

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