Early Lawnmower

Apologies for the poor quality of this portrait, but it was the only one I could find that purports to be of Edwin Beard Budding whose claim to fame is that he created the notion of respectable suburbia, or at least the exterior ideal of the well-manicured lawn.

Born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1795, Beard Budding was the inventor who in 1830 set about solving the problem of achieving an evenly mown lawn that didn't involve either a flock of sheep or a man skilled enough to use a scythe without amputating his own leg. Read more ›››

One of my favourite sayings of the moment goes like this: For every action there is an equal and opposite, plus a complete media overreaction. Which just about sums up the birth of Prince ?????? of Wales.

The Daily Mail managed to rush out its souvenir royal birth edition, devoting twenty pages to the new mouth to feed which must be a record because they didn't name him once because he hasn't got one yet. Read more ›››

The Grey Hornet

I'm beginning to think that I'm playing up to the sure signs of ageing that I wrote about last month. Another one, of course, is being able to remember exactly what you were doing at the age of twelve even though you can't recall what you had for breakfast.

I'm not sure what it was that sent me off down memory lane the other day, but my thoughts fell on the Hornet which was my comic of choice when I was a lad. In particular the character William Wilson, the 300 year old wonder athlete. Read more ›››

Bust of Artusi

Long before the likes of Heston Blumenthal brought scientific method into the kitchen and Jamie Oliver churned out his endless cookery books there was Pellegrino Artusi leading the way with his book 'La Scienza in Cucina e l'arte di Mangiare Bene' in 1891.

Artusi was born in 1820 in Forlimpopoli in what is now the Molise region of Italy, the son of a wealthy pharmacist. He was named Pellegrino in honour of Saint Pellegrino Laziosi of Forlì. Read more ›››

It’s a Puzzle

Forget about Trent Bridge and England closing in on a first Ashes Test win, you'll find the fiercest competition in Newmarket today with the first ever British Jigsaw Championship.

I'd never really thought about jigsawing (if that's the right word) as a spectator sport, but then I suppose it makes as much sense as bog snorkelling or worm charming. Read more ›››

Beyond the Shoe

After all these years of finding out what is passing through my clockwork driven thought processes by reading my blog, Mrs P is toying with the idea of starting one herself.

It isn't certain to happen, but we have got as far as choosing possible blog titles and she is leaning towards 'The Ultracrepidarian' - or 'someone who doesn't know what they're talking about'. Read more ›››

Jan Žižka 'the One-Eyed' is one of that elite band of great military commanders who never lost a battle and the man who invented the tank 500 years before World War One, and yet in death he chose to be eternally beaten. But more of that little riddle later.

Žižka was born in 1360 in the Bohemian village of Trocnov, in what is now the western half of modern day Czechoslovakia, and spent his early years attached to the court of Queen Sophia. Read more ›››

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