Posts tagged: U

U is for James Ussher

James Ussher

The subject of my ABC Wednesday post this week is James Ussher, polyglot, prolific scholar, man of the church and perhaps the man responsible for what we know today as ‘creationism’.

Ussher was born in 1581 to a well-to-do Anglo-Irish family living in the Pale of Dublin (that’s ‘pale’ as in the phrase ‘beyond the pale‘). Read more ›››

U is for Sir Thomas Urquhart

Sir Thomas Urquhart

We all like to think that there is an ancestor with a claim to a title or was notable in some way, but few people can have taken his family history as far as Sir Thomas Urquhart when he published his Pantochronachanon in 1652.

Subtitled ‘a peculiar promptuary of time’, it claimed to trace the Urquhart genealogy back through 153 generations in an unbroken line to the Garden of Eden, taking in Methuselah and Noah along the way. 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 ›››

U is for Stanley Unwin

Stanley Unwin

If there is a universal language misunderstood by all it’s gobbledegook and there was no greater exponent of the art than ‘Professor’ Stanley Unwin.

Unwin was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1911 since his parents had emigrated there in the early 1900s. But his father died in 1914 and Unwin and his mother returned to the UK. Read more ›››

U is for Donald Unger

Donald L Unger

‘Mother, I know you can hear me. Mother, you were wrong! And now that I have your attention, can I stop eating my broccoli, please?’

Those are the words of Donald L Unger after he proved his mother wrong – that cracking your knuckles as a child does not cause arthritis in later life as she claimed. Read more ›››

U is for Umuzi Photo Club

I want to use the letter U of ABC Wednesday to promote the Umuzi Photo Club, a project that my daughter became involved with during her stay in Cape Town.

Despite the success that is the modern South Africa, it still has its sinister side of townships, grinding poverty and crime. The Umuzi Photo Club encourages children to take photos of their world so that the rest of us can be made aware. Read more ›››

U is for Uniform


Uniform is the twenty-first code word in the phonetic alphabet for many international organisations, including NATO, the Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization. And CB radio enthusiasts.

But the uniforms I have in mind are of the more traditional variety from the Latin uniformis meaning “one shape” and associated with the military, emergency services, school children and paramilitary organisations. Read more ›››

U is for Universe

If I was a pre-Copernican, I would believe that the Earth was at the centre of the universe. More specifically, I would imagine that Tameside was at the heart of everything. Of course it isn’t, but it did once boast a Mr Universe.

John Lees was born in Stalybridge and was crowned the Overall Winner of the Mr Universe competition in 1957, having taken part in the competition since 1950. Read more ›››