O is for Annie Oakley

Having been to the premiere of Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old last night – a film I thoroughly recommend – it seemed appropriate that my offering this week should have a connection to World War One.

You may not know the name Phoebe Ann Moses, but you will recognise her by her stage name – Annie Oakley, sharpshooter and star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Sharpen up: A pencil obsessed man in Pakistan has set a world record for crafting the largest swing made entirely of pencils.

Tasty: Looking for a fun day out for all the family? Try the Disgusting Food Museum in Malmö, Sweden, which includes mouth-watering exhibits such as spicy rabbit heads, three penis wine and a goat kid’s rennet cheese described as tasting of gasoline and ammonia mixed with wax. Read more ›››

N is for Horatio Nelson

Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson is a great national naval hero, at least in the UK, probably less so in France, but famous though he is, many of the things we think we know about him are wrong.

Where to begin? Well, he didn’t hold a telescope to his blind eye at the Battle of Copenhagen and say: ‘I see no ships’ as is often quoted. What he actually said was: ‘I really do not see the signal’ when he chose to ignore the recall signal issued by Admiral Parker. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Back to the ’50s: Teresa May’s plans for a Festival of Brexit Britain echoing the 1951 version did not meet with universal approval and prompted graphic artist Richard Littler to reimagine the original poster.

What a lovely bunch: Police in Rome blew up a suspicious bag only to discover it contained nothing more than a bunch of coconuts. Read more ›››

M is for Jean Joseph Merlin

Jean Joseph Merlin

Those ever so smart comedians are quick to poke fun at famous Belgians, or rather the lack of them – conveniently overlooking the likes of Eddie Merckx, Audrey Hepburn, René Magritte, Hergé and Rubens.

But my own personal favourite Belgian is the inventor, horologist, father of the roller skate and genius in the art of the clockwork automata Jean Joseph Merlin. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Packet in: The Royal Mail has been forced to issue a plea for people to stop posting crisp packets back to the manufacturers in protest at their un-recyclability.

Lightweights: Weight Watchers has rebranded itself as WW but say that it doesn’t stand for weight watchers. So for what then? Wasted Wonga? Why oh Why? Or perhaps the unfortunate ‘Double You, Double You’ when spoken aloud. Read more ›››

L is for Ruby Loftus

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 ›››

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