The telephone rang last night annoyingly in the middle of Pointless as I was trying to figure out which was the most obscure town with ‘on’ or ‘upon’ in its name.

The line was silent for a few seconds then, as if we were speaking on either end of two tin cans and a piece of string, a heavily Indian accented voice announced that he was David speaking on behalf of the Telephone Preference Service. Read more ›››

In the wilds of North Yorkshire you will find Newby Hall, a place of fun and frolics for all the family, but it is also home to the church of Christ the Consoler, a permanent memorial to a murdered son, Frederick Vyner.

The young man was the son of the widowed Lady Mary Vyner and they were a well-connected family, her daughter, Henrietta, being married to the Earl de Grey, a prominent member of Gladstone's Liberal government and later Viceroy of India. Read more ›››

On the Carpet

I've been rather busy of late, too busy to do much by the way of blogging, except for my ABC Wednesday and Sunday Round-up posts, and too busy visit other people's blogs as often as I would like.

It all started when Mrs P decided we needed a new carpet in the hall. She had a point if I'm honest, the old one looking rather worse for wear after so much heavy traffic over the years. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Branded: When a café came up with a new smoothie they called Nutzy they thought it sounded enough like Nazi to include a swastika on the label. Big mistake.

But even Nazis have a heart: Former Waffen SS soldier has left £364,000 to the Scottish village where he was held as a PoW. Uncle Heinz as he was known to villagers has been repaying the kindness shown to him since he was released. Read more ›››

One of the most popular paintings at the National Gallery is the portrait of ‘An Old Woman’ by Flemish artist Quentin Massys, also known as The Ugly Duchess which inspired illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Painted in 1513, it was long thought to be a caricature ridiculing older women who foolishly try to recapture their youth by dressing inappropriately for their age. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Sweet theory: It has been scientifically proven that you are likely to get fewer red Smarties in a pack than any other colour.

Old technology: Forget email and even the fax machine, the Foreign Office still relies on telegrams and ‘secret’ ones at that, although they are hardly that when they are published on the front page of The Times. Read more ›››

T is for Walter Tull

Wars often bring about social change, or at least mark the start of a change in attitudes, and the First World War brought many, including the first black officer in the British army – Walter Daniel John Tull.

Tull was born in Folkestone, Kent, in 1888, the son of Daniel Tull, a Barbadian carpenter, and English-born Alice Palmer. His grandfather had been a slave in Barbados. Read more ›››

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