L is for Ruby Loftus

World War Two was a time for heroes, both on the battlefield and on the home front, and one of those was machine operator, Ruby Loftus.

Loftus was born in Llanhilleth in South Wales and in 1940 she and her sisters were assigned to work at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Newport. She proved herself to be exceptionally skilful in operating a lathe and was chosen to work on the breech-ring component of the 40-millimetre Bofors anti-aircraft gun. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Fashion victims: Fashion designer Christopher Kane’s latest creation are shoes made out of sponge. And despite costing £800 a pair they’re selling like hot cakes. Mind you, not as daft as $530 pre-scuffed and taped sneakers.

A penny for them: £1,000 worth of pennies were stolen from an artwork in Cambridge. But the artist hailed this a success as it ‘was there for people to interact with as they saw fit’. Read more ›››

K is for Noor Inayat Khan

Noor Inayat Khan was a most remarkable woman. She was a beautiful Indian princess, children’s author, poet, accomplished musician, pacifist and spy, and one of the bravest women of World War II.

Khan was born in Moscow in 1914, the eldest child of an Indian father and an American mother. She could trace her royal heritage to Tipu Sultan, the 18th-century ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

I’ll be bark: A sculptor and Arnold Schwarzenegger fan has spent six months carving a six-foot-two-inch statue of his hero out of a solid chunk of oak. (Arnie gag)

Punctuated: Cornwall Council spent ninety minutes debating whether or not to add an apostrophe to the name ‘Lands End‘ and if so where to put it. They eventually plumped for ‘Land’s End’. Quite right too. Read more ›››

J is for Joseph Jagger

I have written previously about ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’ but in fact, there was more than one man to claim this feat and one of the earliest was the Yorkshireman Joseph Jagger and he achieved this quite legally.

Jagger was born near Halifax in 1830 and worked as an engineer at a mill in the village of Shelf and it was his knowledge of engineering that was to make his fortune. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Ships of the desert: The Star newspaper got in a tizzy over the fleet of large ships found in a Kazakhstan desert, miles from the sea, that is ‘baffling scientists’. In fact, the mystery is no mystery at all and hasn’t been since 2015 as the Business Insider explains.

Jurassic larks: A hotel in Japan has solved its staffing problems by employing robots including animatronic dinosaurs at the check-in desk. Read more ›››

I is for Charles Isham

Sir Charles Isham

Sir Charles Isham was a member of the landed aristocracy who lived a fairly blameless life tending his gardens, other than that he is also credited with introducing the ornamental gnome to the gardens of Britain.

Isham was born in 1819 at the family estate of Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire, the manor house built by his wealthy wool merchant forebear, John Isham, in 1568 Read more ›››

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