Gertrude Bell was one of the most remarkable women of this or any other age.  Archaeologist, linguist, writer, spy and the greatest woman mountaineer of her age, she was also the architect of the modern Iraq.

Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell was born into a wealthy family at Washington New Hall in what was then County Durham in north east England in 1868 and it was her family’s wealth that ensured her education and enabled her travels. Read more ›››

Leads for Leeds

One of the Christmas presents I gave Mrs P was a pair of tickets for the stage show Strictly Ballroom the Musical, based on the film of the same name that was the inspiration behind Strictly Come Dancing the tv show.

Mrs P is a big fan of the show and the musical featured on the spin-off Take Two programme and seemed to me to be a splendid idea for a gift a bit different from the usual scent and jewellery. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Flotsam and eggsam: Last week I reported the death of Kinder Egg supremo William Salice. News that thousands of the egg-based confectionery have washed up on a German beach couldn’t be a coincidence surely.

It’s pants: Hundreds of people went to work sans-culottes this week to celebrate the worldwide No Trousers on the Tube Day. Read more ›››


Something odd has happened to my blogroll. That’s the Regular Reads section in the sidebar on the right.

I use a plugin called WP Social Blogroll and it used to list blogs I regularly visit in the order of who had posted most recently. It also gave the title of the post and if you clicked on it a list of recent posts would drop down. But now all it does is list the blog titles in alphabetical order. Read more ›››

Busy, Busy, Busy *

I’ve been an idle blogger of late for all sorts of ‘being busy’ reasons, not least because darling daughter has been back home from Japan for the last three weeks.

That has involved quite a few outings to the zoo, the cinema, bowling and for meals etc so, what with one thing and another, blogging has taken a back seat. Read more ›››

Many of those who played an active part in World War Two refused to talk about their exploits which may be lost or come to light only after their death. One such is Hanns Alexander, the man who brought one of the most infamous war criminals to justice.

Alexander and his twin brother Paul were born in Germany in 1917. Their father was a doctor and the family lived in a splendid apartment in one of Berlin’s wealthy suburbs where they threw parties attended by well-known actors, artists and scientists, including Albert Einstein and Marlene Dietrich. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

I’m getting worried now: It seems to be a be a tradition that the New Yaer should be welcomed in with apocalyptic visions. I mentioned last week that both the US CDC and Amazon were preparing for a zombie apocalypse last year. Now comes news that students at Leicester University estimate that human kind would be wiped out within 100 days with fewer than 300 survivors outnumbered by millions of zombies. Read more ›››

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