Bill Bryson and Yorkshire
Jul31

Bill Bryson and Yorkshire

What is it about Bill Bryson and Yorkshire? I really think that he seems to be a good bloke. I can imagine sitting in a pub with him and having a great chat. I’ve read a couple of his books and he has a nice turn of phrase that made me smile quite often. I will most probably read more. But what is it with him and Yorkshire? He lived there for a while, that’s true. (As you know, Yorkshire is the biggest and best county in...

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The Independent: Henry Ford’s strange magazine
Jul30

The Independent: Henry Ford’s strange magazine

Henry Ford’s Anti-Semitism Henry Ford could be called the father of the modern motor vehicle. He was also a huge patriot. But he did have some weird ideas. His anti-Semitism is often mentioned but even that took a rather strange form. It seems that personally, he had no objections to Jews. One of his closest friends was Rabbi Leo Franklin and Ford’s factory designer was Albert Kahn, a Russian Jew; the two were friends for...

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The Most Beautiful Villages & Towns of the South
Jul29

The Most Beautiful Villages & Towns of the South

The Most Beautiful Villages and Towns of the Southern USA by Bonnie Ramsey This gorgeous book features some of the finest architecture and scenery in the southern United States. It is part travel guide, part art book and part photography extravaganza. It shows some of the finest home you’ll ever see – everyone with its own character and charm. But you’ll also see quirky cottages, old bridges, churches and other...

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The Empire State Building
Jul28

The Empire State Building

Empire State Building: Trivia. What do you know about the Empire State Building? Here’s a series of weird and wonderful facts. Bore Fascinate your friends with Empire State Building trivia 🙂 For the golden anniversary of the building’s opening in 1981, workmen opened the time-capsule that had been buried in its cornerstone. The contents hadn’t stood the test of time. The items within it had rotted away during their...

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Hungarian Goulash: Grand Prix Gourmet
Jul28

Hungarian Goulash: Grand Prix Gourmet

Hungarian Goulash. If you enjoy delicious thick stews and the taste of tomato and paprika, then this recipe is perfect! There are many different recipes for Goulash, but my dad taught me this one, and it is delicious. It is traditionally made outside in a cauldron, but this is not vital. The main thing is that you must not use flour to thicken the stew but tomato puree and potatoes. I have listed some root vegetables, but others can...

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Mashed seagull recipe
Jul26

Mashed seagull recipe

 Mashed seagull recipe First of all, let me say that this isn’t really seagull. No  seabirds were killed in the production of this tasty snack. Tasty it is, and very quick to make but I have to say that the mixture looks a little odd, hence its name. That came from my ex-husband who thought it looked revolting. Ah well… Actually, this is a recipe for: A tasty tuna melt You can also use it as a toast-topper. Sometimes, if I...

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Houdini’s Straitjacket Escape. Invented in Yorkshire
Jul26

Houdini’s Straitjacket Escape. Invented in Yorkshire

Houdini’s straitjacket escape. Invented in Yorkshire It’s true. One of the great Harry Houdini’s most impressive escape acts was born Sheffield, Yorkshire. Houdini was born in Budapest – the family later moved to the United States – but he often performed in the British Isles. It was when he was performing in Yorkshire that one of his greatest stunts was created – the famous straitjacket escape. In...

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The Mystery of Dr James Barry
Jul25

The Mystery of Dr James Barry

Dr James Barry James Barry, born in the eighteenth century, had a long and successful career as a medical surgeon in the British army. He fought and practised medicine all over the British Empire with distinction. He achieved the rank of medical superintendent general and eventually retired to London after and exciting career that even included duels of honour. A confirmed bachelor, he died in 1965. Of course, this isn’t a very...

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Alcock and Brown
Jul24

Alcock and Brown

 Who were Alcock and Brown? If you asked people to name pioneers of aviation, which names do you think you’d hear? Charles Lindbergh would be one. Amelia Earhart would probably get a mention too, as would the Wright brothers. But Alcock and Brown were the first to fly across the Atlantic non-stop. Sadly, they are largely forgotten now. Many people believe that this distinction should go to Charles Lindbergh but he was the first...

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The Yorkshireman and the Sahara
Jul23

The Yorkshireman and the Sahara

Eric Jackson: Petrol in My Blood If you’re looking for a great read, full of adventure, humour and history, then I definitely recommend Petrol in My Blood by Eric Jackson. This is the autobiography of a Yorkshireman, born in a gipsy caravan in 1924, who started life with humble origins. Written when the author was in his eighties, the book spans generations and it’s a miracle that, because of his adventures, that he...

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Andrew Morton: 17 Carnations
Jul23

Andrew Morton: 17 Carnations

17 Carnations: The Duke & Duchess of Windsor and the Nazis. Less than two years before the Second World War began, the king of England abdicated from the throne. And the Nazis wanted to use him for their own ends. After the war, the Allies spent ten years recovering secret German files that revealed their plans. That sounds like the basis for an excellent novel but this book is non-fiction. In addition, American industrialists...

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Quiz: The Beatles’ Wives
Jul22

Quiz: The Beatles’ Wives

Quiz: How much do you know about the Beatles’ wives? Just four lads from Liverpool – but between them, they’ve had a wide variety of partners. I guess this is understandable because all four are (or were) rather cute and they certainly had the money that many a girl finds attractive. Of course, some of the wives (do you know how many and which they were?) married their Beatles before they found fame and fortune....

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Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: By Trudi Kanter
Jul22

Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: By Trudi Kanter

Holocaust memoir from Vienna. Trudi is an independent young woman – a hat designer – separated from her husband and living in Vienna just before the outbreak of the Second World War. She falls in love with Walter, a charming and intelligent man. Her parents live nearby, Trudi has her wonderful man and her own flourishing business. What could possibly go wrong? Of course, we know the answer to that question now –...

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Who was Georgia Tann?
Jul22

Who was Georgia Tann?

Who was Georgia Tann? Georgia Tann was the seemingly benevolent organiser of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, starting in the nineteen twenties. However, the society was little more than a front for her black-market dealings. Georgia Tann sold babies. Back in those days, treatment for couples who couldn’t conceive,or for women who couldn’t carry a baby to term, was very primitive compared to today’s...

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Grand Prix Gourmet: German Apple Cake
Jul21

Grand Prix Gourmet: German Apple Cake

German Apple Cake. This recipe dates from 1931! And unlike other apple cakes, this features a dough rather than pastry. It’s a very adaptable recipe but I have written it below in its original version.  There are many changes you can make to suit your tastes. For example: Add a little nutmeg – I always find that it goes so well with apple dishes Top the cake with slivered almonds Sprinkle powered sugar on top before...

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Those Loftus Road Nights
Jul20

Those Loftus Road Nights

Night time matches were the best. Early evening I’d head up into the setting sun to East Acton where my young mate Hiro lived, then we’d walk back down to the Bush and join the gathering crowds. We never missed a home game and took in a few away trips too.  We’d started going to games back when Rangers were really good, “top team in London” under the guidance of coach Gerry Francis and led by the mighty...

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Microwave ovens: Yes or no?
Jul19

Microwave ovens: Yes or no?

Microwave cooking: Yes or no? It’s quite surprising how divided opinion is about microwave ovens. At one time, a microwave was an essential in my kitchen but I haven’t owned one for years. Some people say this this is food snobbery. Yet although so many people own microwaves (83%of households in the UK) surveys show that they wouldn’t want to think that meals served to them in restaurants are cooked using this...

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Plane Lost in the Andes for Fifty Years
Jul18

Plane Lost in the Andes for Fifty Years

What happened to the British South American Airways Avro Lancastrian Star Dust? In 1947, an aircraft flying over the treacherous Andes Mountains, and all the passengers and crew aboard, disappeared into thin air. The radio operator sent a strange message which has not been deciphered to this day and the aircraft wasn’t seen again – for over fifty years. The plane, Star Dust, was a converted World War 2 bomber. The crew...

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Miss Marple: Margaret Rutherford’s Family Murder
Jul17

Miss Marple: Margaret Rutherford’s Family Murder

Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple. Margaret Rutherford was a much-loved British actress and probably her best known role was that of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. And yet because of a tragic murder in her own family, Miss Rutherford almost turned down the part of the famous elderly amateur detective. The public was almost denied from seeing her in  this most memorable role. MGM, the movie studio, was planning to make Murder...

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Colour Notes: Fast food
Jul16

Colour Notes: Fast food

Colour notes: Fast food The study of colour is a huge subject. Researches have shown that certain colours affect us in different ways. Some of these are obvious; blue – the colour of a sunny sky and a clear ocean – is a soothing colour. Red, on the other hand, creates excitement – and hunger. Just think about how many fast food logos use red. McDonald’s of course, Wendy’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos,...

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Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
Jul16

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. When I was  kid, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films often used to be shown on the television on Sunday afternoons. Despite the fact that they were about thirty years old by that time, they were truly entrancing. I loved the music, the dancing, the humour and most of all, Ginger Roger’s  frocks. But it was one of those wonderful dresses – the one you see above – that cause chaos when...

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Porfirio Rubirosa: The pepper mill playboy
Jul15

Porfirio Rubirosa: The pepper mill playboy

Porfirio Rubirosa: The pepper mill playboy. Rubirosa was a well-known character in the nineteen fifties and sixties. He either married,or had affairs with, some of the richest,most beautiful women in the world. This charm was legendary. Amongst the women he attracted were heiresses and movie stars. He was something of a dare-devil, enjoying fast cars, skiing, flying,playing polo and having dangerous liaisons with married women. It was...

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Royal Feud: Wallis Simpson and Elizabeth
Jul14

Royal Feud: Wallis Simpson and Elizabeth

The royal feud between Queen Elizabeth & Wallis Simpson. The great feuds of history usually involve the desire for power. What makes this twentieth century royal feud extraordinary is that this feud of over fifty years was brought about because of unwanted power and position. This battle royal persisted from 1935 until 1986 and its protagonists were Queen Elizabeth and Wallis Simpson (later the Duchess of Windsor). The two women...

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New York City – Food Capital of America
Jul13

New York City – Food Capital of America

New York City has always fascinated me. As a small kid living on a small island in the middle of the Pacific, New York city seemed bigger than life and I dreamt of the day I would visit the iconic city. My dream finally came true when I was 21 years old. I found myself being relocated for work to Philadelphia so after I getting settled, I took a weekend trip to New York. I still remember my first sight of the New York City skyline-I...

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Who Was Mr Simpson?
Jul12

Who Was Mr Simpson?

For anyone who is familiar with the history of the twentieth century, the name of Mrs Simpson is well known. She was the American divorcée who captivated the then king of England, Edward VIII. Famously he abdicated from the throne in order to marry her whereupon they became known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Their story, somewhat erroneously referred to as the ‘love affair of the century’, has been recreated in...

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Recipe: Mushrooms in red wine sauce
Jul11

Recipe: Mushrooms in red wine sauce

This is a splendid recipe which we often have as the main dinner course. We are a non meat eating household but I’ve served this dish to devoted carnivores who love it. If you wish, it’s excellent to serve as a side dish or even as an appetizer.Because these delicious mushrooms are cooked and served in a red wine sauce, it’s quite a rich dish that is perfect to serve with pasta or rice. Its very richness also makes...

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Prince John: The Hidden Royal
Jul10

Prince John: The Hidden Royal

What is the truth about Prince John? For many years, few members of the public had even heard about Prince John. And a lot of the ‘information’ that exists about him is actually incorrect. The story that many people have heard about Prince John has often been used to ‘demonstrate’ that the British royal family are a heartless, unfeeling bunch. The myth is that John, who was the youngest of George V’s...

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Jacquard Sweaters & Jackets: So Stylish
Jul09

Jacquard Sweaters & Jackets: So Stylish

Jacquard sweaters – so fashionable We’re often told that the basics of a good wardrobe is classic clothes. And it’s true. Classically styled garments are timeless and remain fashionable for ever. They are never out of date. But this doesn’t mean that classics should be dull – so many people buy them in just black, grey or other neutrals – they can also be fun. Take this jacquard sweater you see on...

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Songs about Cities – Moscow
Jul08

Songs about Cities – Moscow

Before I start I would like to apologise in advance to my Russian friends who might be expecting Muslim Magomayev’s Greatest City on Earth, or a blast of Moya Moskva. And forgive my occasional inclusion of more general Russian songs too. I’m also writing this from a peculiarly British perspective, as most of my impressions of the city filtered through Hollywood movies, Peter and the Wolf the occasional bottle of...

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Guy Bradley: Murder in the Everglades
Jul07

Guy Bradley: Murder in the Everglades

Guy Bradley: A true story about an environmental murder. Does environmental murder seem to be strange description? This is the true story that took place in the Florida Everglades in 1905. At and before the turn of the century, there was a huge fashion in America that dictated that the truly stylish woman wore hats decorated with bird plumes. In order to satisfy the trade, beautiful birds – many endangered – were shot in...

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Summer Pudding. Grand Prix Gourmet, Britain
Jul07

Summer Pudding. Grand Prix Gourmet, Britain

Summer pudding with strawberries and blackberries. This was a popular dessert in our family when I lived in England and we still love it. It’s easy to make and inexpensive, especially when strawberries and blackberries are plentiful. In fact, you can use other berries too and the fruit will go even further if you add chopped apple. This recipe is incredibly versatile. It’s quick to prepare too. The pudding requires just a...

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Last Chain on Billie
Jul06

Last Chain on Billie

Last Chain on Billie: How One Extraordinary Elephant Escaped the Big Top. Although the title of this book seems to suggest that this is the story of one elephant, it is really a fascinating history of elephants in captivity in the United States. Using the story of Billie’s life as a background author Carol Bradley tells about the earliest days of elephants being brought into the country to appear in circuses, fairs and...

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Who Was John Bindon?
Jul05

Who Was John Bindon?

John Bindon: A true story of murder, scandal, gangsters, sex and …. royalty. Who was John Bindon and what was his connection to the aristocracy, the criminal underworld, film stars, gangsters and even members of the British royal family? It sounds like a plot for a highly fictional movie but John Bindon was a real person and he is the common denominator between the shady world of gangland England and the highest members of the...

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Speed Records at Daytona Beach
Jul04

Speed Records at Daytona Beach

Early speed trials at Daytona, Florida. The name of Barney Oldfield was making headlines on March 16th, 1907. They proclaimed that he was the ‘speed king of the world’. At that time, the public – and experts -pondered about that sort of speeds the human body could endure and Oldfield – seen on the right – had just become the fastest human being on earth. He had driven his Benz at over one hundred and...

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Hetty Green
Jul03

Hetty Green

Who was Hetty Green? Hetty Green was at one time one of the richest women in the world, certainly in the United States. She was born in 1834 to a wealthy family. She also had the advantage of being the only offspring her parents managed to bring up. She’d had a younger brother but he had died as a child. However, her parents – especially her father – had particularly wanted a son so Hetty never felt loved. But she...

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Who is Helmut Marko?
Jul02

Who is Helmut Marko?

 Who is Helmut Marko? In recent years, Formula One fans grew accustomed to the sight of Austrian Helmut Marko looking proudly on as his protege, Sebastian Vettel, was on the podium when he drove for Red Bull Racing. But who is he? What’s his background? He qualified as a lawyer but did you know that he was once a Formula One driver himself? His record comes nowhere close to that of ‘his boy’ Vettel- he scored no...

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Nicholas Winton: The British Schindler
Jul01

Nicholas Winton: The British Schindler

Nicholas Winton: War hero. In the winter of 1938, Nicholas Winton was a twenty eight year old banker living in London. He heard about the Jewish refugees in  Czechoslovakia so instead of going on his planned skiing holiday, he went to Prague and in the months to follow personally arranged for 669 Jewish children to be transported to the safety of England. And yet at the time, he told no-one about what he was doing.It was only...

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