N is for Horatio Nelson

Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson is a great national naval hero, at least in the UK, probably less so in France, but famous though he is, many of the things we think we know about him are wrong.

Where to begin? Well, he didn’t hold a telescope to his blind eye at the Battle of Copenhagen and say: ‘I see no ships’ as is often quoted. What he actually said was: ‘I really do not see the signal’ when he chose to ignore the recall signal issued by Admiral Parker. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Back to the ’50s: Teresa May’s plans for a Festival of Brexit Britain echoing the 1951 version did not meet with universal approval and prompted graphic artist Richard Littler to reimagine the original poster.

What a lovely bunch: Police in Rome blew up a suspicious bag only to discover it contained nothing more than a bunch of coconuts. Read more ›››

M is for Jean Joseph Merlin

Jean Joseph Merlin

Those ever so smart comedians are quick to poke fun at famous Belgians, or rather the lack of them – conveniently overlooking the likes of Eddie Merckx, Audrey Hepburn, René Magritte, Hergé and Rubens.

But my own personal favourite Belgian is the inventor, horologist, father of the roller skate and genius in the art of the clockwork automata Jean Joseph Merlin. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Packet in: The Royal Mail has been forced to issue a plea for people to stop posting crisp packets back to the manufacturers in protest at their un-recyclability.

Lightweights: Weight Watchers has rebranded itself as WW but say that it doesn’t stand for weight watchers. So for what then? Wasted Wonga? Why oh Why? Or perhaps the unfortunate ‘Double You, Double You’ when spoken aloud. Read more ›››

L is for Ruby Loftus

Ruby Loftus

World War Two was a time for heroes, both on the battlefield and on the home front, and one of those was machine operator, Ruby Loftus.

Loftus was born in Llanhilleth in South Wales and in 1940 she and her sisters were assigned to work at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Newport. She proved herself to be exceptionally skilful in operating a lathe and was chosen to work on the breech-ring component of the 40-millimetre Bofors anti-aircraft gun. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Fashion victims: Fashion designer Christopher Kane’s latest creation are shoes made out of sponge. And despite costing £800 a pair they’re selling like hot cakes. Mind you, not as daft as $530 pre-scuffed and taped sneakers.

A penny for them: £1,000 worth of pennies were stolen from an artwork in Cambridge. But the artist hailed this a success as it ‘was there for people to interact with as they saw fit’. Read more ›››

K is for Noor Inayat Khan

Noor Inayat Khan was a most remarkable woman. She was a beautiful Indian princess, children’s author, poet, accomplished musician, pacifist and spy, and one of the bravest women of World War II.

Khan was born in Moscow in 1914, the eldest child of an Indian father and an American mother. She could trace her royal heritage to Tipu Sultan, the 18th-century ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. Read more ›››

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