Filed: QI

English Under Pressure

Can't Write

Im begining to feal that Im definately on a role with all this Inglish spellin, punktashun and grammer stuff. It all goes to pot when you is under preshure.

If you don’t believe me, you need to try your hand at You Can’t Write Proper English Under Pressure which starts easily enough but soon has a pedant’s heart pounding as the time limit speeds up… Read more ›››

Beyond the Shoe

Ultracrepidarian

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 ›››

W is for James Wyld

James Wyld

James Wyld was an eminent Victorian geographer and map maker, Member of Parliament and businessman who also turned the world inside out with his ‘Great Globe’.

Wyld was born in 1812 and named after his father, the geographer royal James Wyld who had introduced the art of lithography to England, using it to create his maps for the quartermaster-general’s office. Read more ›››

U is for Jamie Uys

Jamie Uys

There is a popular notion that elephants and other creatures get themselves drunk by eating the fermented fruit of the marula tree, but it is a complete myth created by the South African film maker, Jamie Uys.

Uys was born in Boksburg, SA, in 1921 and began his career as a mathematics teacher in his hometown. Then he married Hettie, a fellow maths teacher, and they took to farming and opened trading posts on the Palala River. Read more ›››

T is for Ignáz Trebitsch-Lincoln

Ignáz Trebitsch-Lincoln

Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln was one of the most remarkable adventurers, scoundrels and fraudsters of the 20th century, or any other century come to that.

At times in his life he was an actor, arms dealers, oil speculator, British Liberal MP, vicar and German spy. At prayer he moved from Judaism to Presbyterianism, ending up as a Buddhist abbot monk. And along the way he possibly saved the life of Adolf Hitler. Read more ›››

G is for James Graham

Many dismiss James Graham as just another 18th century quack, while others believe he was the world’s first sex therapist. But whatever your view, there can be no denying that he had a genuine genius for the grand gesture.

Born in Edinburgh in 1745, the son of a saddler, Graham trained in medicine, but left medical school without taking his degree and set up as an apothecary in Doncaster in Yorkshire. Read more ›››

F is for Richard Feynman

Feynman at the Challenger Commission

Not only was Richard Feynman one of the most famous physicists of the 20th century, he was also someone who believed that life should be fun and lived to the full. His last words probably sum him up best: ‘I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring’.

Feynman was born in New York in 1918, the son of a Jewish Byelorussian car polish salesman. Read more ›››

E is for Anthony Ettricke

Ethelred of Wessex

This post is as much about a place as a person and the letter E takes me to Wimborne Minster in Dorset and the rather eccentric Anthony Ettricke.

Ettricke was a 17th century barrister who was called to the bar in 1652 and from 1662 to 1682 served as the Recorder and Magistrate of Poole and Wimborne. Read more ›››