Henry Yule

English is a rather predatory language that snatches words and phrases from other tongues, making them its own. and few cultures have added more than India and the Asian sub-continent.

The man who chronicled the words loaned to the English language was the geographer, Orientalist and travel writer Sir Henry Yule whose Anglo-Indian dictionary has never been out of print. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

The George Washington effect: Chances are that have never and never will be asked to take a lie-detector test, but if you are there is one sure fire way you can beat the polygraph.

Grand theft avocado: Three men in Southern California have been arrested on charges of grand theft of fruit and vegetables, specifically the unauthorised sale of up $300,000 worth of avocados. Read more ›››

X is for Xenophon


Another repeat of an earlier ABC Wednesday post in the soldier and philosopher, Xenophon, who wrote seven books, the most famous of which is Anabasis which tells the story of one of the great Greek military adventures.

The action took place in 480BC when Xenophon joined the 10,000 strong army of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger who planned to seize the throne of Persia from his brother after the death of their father, Darius II. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

In the dog house: The British company Hecate Verona is marketing a range of luxury ‘dog manors’ for the pampered pooches of the wealthy, including a grand colonial villa, a Roman imperial mansion and a Spanish Palacio, with prices ranging from £30,000 to £160,000.

Spying between the lines: Be careful if you are an aspiring leaker of secrets – you may be betrayed by your printer. Read more ›››

This week I give you another of the remarkable women who operated in Europe during World War Two in the shape of Nancy Wake, also known as The White Mouse.

Wake was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1912, the youngest of six children. Two years later the family moved to Australia only for her father to return to New Zealand leaving his wife to raise the children alone. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Burger it: The world’s most expensive burger is on sale in Rotterdam containing ingredients that include Japanese dry-aged Wagyu and Black Angus beef, lobster infused with gin, foie gras, white truffle, Japanese fruit tomatoes and caviar.

No way down: Residents of an apartment complex in Georgia found themselves stranded this week when they woke to find that the owners had removed the stairs. Read more ›››

Espionage can be a dirty business of duplicity, double-crossing and general skullduggery but one case that stands out is that of Erwin Van Haarlem also known as the spy with no name.

His story begins in occupied Europe in 1944 when Johanna Van Haarlem gave birth to her son Erwin in the Netherlands. His father was a Polish Nazi who was killed soon after in the fighting around Caen. Read more ›››

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