May 1st, 1994: Goodbye Ayrton Senna
Apr30

May 1st, 1994: Goodbye Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna: Early years. For many of us, Ayrton Senna was the greatest racing driver ever. Even those who aren’t race enthusiasts know that the World Champion Brazilian was tragically killed racing at Imola in 1994. But what about his early life?  Ayrton Senna: Ten things you might not know It’s often said that Ayrton was from a wealthy background but that’s relative. It’s true that for many people in his...

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The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car
Apr30

The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car

What happened to Bonnie and Clyde’s car? In March 1934 a roofing contractor from Kansas was looking for a new car. Jesse Warren chose a Ford V-8 and he paid $785 for it. Jesse had only been the proud owner of the car for a few weeks when it was stolen – by the notorious outlaws, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Bonnie and Clyde only enjoyed the car for a few weeks because on May  23rd they were ambushed by the police in...

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The Hitchcock Blondes
Apr29

The Hitchcock Blondes

Who were the Hitchcock blondes? They were a trademark of Alfred Hitchcock’s many movies. I should say one of the trademarks because another was his habit of appearing in tiny cameo roles Horror and suspense were Hitchcock’s true specialities and this was enhanced – deliberately – by his use of what he referred to as ‘icy blondes’. See the quote below. In the middle of the suspense, their was...

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Beef Stroganoff: Grand Prix Gourmet, Russia
Apr29

Beef Stroganoff: Grand Prix Gourmet, Russia

If you enjoy delicious stews, then this is a must! Beef Stroganoff is a traditional Russian dish made with strips of lean sirloin steak cooked in a sauce of onions, cream and mushrooms. The beef must be cut into thin strips that are half an inch thick and about 2 inches in length. All fat must be removed.   Save Print Beef Stroganoff Rating  5 from 1 reviews Prep time:  30 mins Cook time:  1 hour Total time:  1...

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Carol Burnett: America’s Laughter Queen
Apr26

Carol Burnett: America’s Laughter Queen

Carol Burnett: America’s Laughter Queen The Laughter Queen In America’s Living Rooms America tuned in by the millions to the Carol Burnett Show on CBS television from 1967 to 1978. If you weren’t fortunate enough to own a TV, you managed to “accidentally” drop in on friends who did, on the night her show was televised. Laughter was rampant both at home and at the studio. The living rooms of America were...

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Guy Bradley: Murder in the Everglades
Apr25

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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Who Was Rolf Stommelen?
Apr23

Who Was Rolf Stommelen?

Who was Rolf Stommelen? He was a successful Formula One driver whose racing life was dogged by tragedy.He raced in the days when motorsport safety was absolutely non-existent to the standards we are used to seeing today. Those were the days when Jackie Stewart (and the phrase was later borrowed by Ron Howard) said that ‘sex was safe and motorsport was dangerous’. Sadly, he is probably best known today for being involved in...

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The Rhythm Club Fire of 1940
Apr23

The Rhythm Club Fire of 1940

The Natchez Dance Hall Fire of 1940. At 11.30 pm,on the night of 23rd April, 1940, hundreds of people were enjoying listening to music and dancing at a venue called the Rhythm Club in Natchez, Mississippi. Before midnight, at least two hundred of them were dead. Fire had blazed its way through the packed single-storey building. Just a few weeks before the fire the owner,  Edward Frazier, had boarded up with windows to that people...

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George Cole
Apr22

George Cole

Actor George Cole. George Cole started his acting career when he was fifteen and continued until 2015. At the time of his death in that year, he had just finished making a movie. His first break came along in 1940 when he was cast in a film that was released the following year. George had been given up for adoption at birth and the British actor Alastair Sim took him in along with his adopted mother. George first came to the attention...

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Who Was Toby Halicki?
Apr21

Who Was Toby Halicki?

Toby Halicki: Movie tragedy Toby was a film producer who had a cult following because of his car-crash movies. He produced and appeared in the films he made, and also took part as a stunt driver. But in 1989, a stunt that he’d fought for went terribly wrong. He was filming a sequel, Gone in 60 Seconds II, a follow-up to a movie he had made in 1974. A highlight of the movie was a truck colliding with a water tower- see the video...

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Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: By Trudi Kanter
Apr20

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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Isadora Duncan
Apr18

Isadora Duncan

Who was Isadora Duncan? Although she was American, Isadora Duncan was virtually unknown in the States during her short and rather scandalous lifetime. A free-spirited dancer, she found her fame in Europe. When she first appeared on the stage in Victorian New York, the public was scandalised. One critic wrote: “This woman is an outrage, scandalous and a threat to all decent societies. She should be locked up at the earliest...

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The Lives and Loves of Violette Morris
Apr18

The Lives and Loves of Violette Morris

The curious life of Violette Morris   See this chap here? Well actually, this is Violette Morris; not a chap after all but a Frenchwoman who was born in 1893. She rose to fame as a sportswoman, excelling in those sports that require strength and power such as shot put and javelin. She was also keen on boxing, soccer  and, as you can see in the photograph here, motor racing. Violette wasn’t just a tomboy, she was a confirmed...

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Eddie Cochran
Apr17

Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran In 1959, Eddie Cochran found out about the tragic deaths of his young fellow musicians, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. They had been killed on tour when their plane crashed in bad weather. Eddie’s friends and family said that this led him towards thoughts of his own doom and that he too was destined to die young. Fourteen months later, when Eddie was on tour in England, he too was killed in an accident....

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The Great Train Robbery
Apr16

The Great Train Robbery

How the Great Train Robbers gave themselves away. On August 8th, 1963, a gang of masked men robbed a high-speed mail train. They got away with £2.6 million. That would be the equivalent of almost fifty million pounds today. The robbery had been well-planned. The self-appointed leader, Bruce Reynolds, had planned the robbery meticulously. The train was attacked when it was in open countryside, far away from any towns or villages. The...

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Myths Surrounding the Sinking of RMS Titanic.
Apr15

Myths Surrounding the Sinking of RMS Titanic.

Myths & questions surrounding the sinking of RMS Titanic. It still fascinates us, doesn’t it? And yet it seems that over the years there have been many myths and legends that have appeared surrounding the loss of the RMS Titanic. Many of these, I suspect, have been due to the films that have been made about the sinking. It’s such a good subject for a movie and it’s hardly surprising that filmmakers want to add...

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Grand Prix Gourmet:  Bahrain Chickpeas
Apr14

Grand Prix Gourmet: Bahrain Chickpeas

Chickpea Stew Recipe. This is a lovely recipe that is ideal for a family meal – or to serve to a crowd; just adjust the ingredients accordingly. It takes a while to cook but needs little attention. It’s my interpretation of a recipe from my favourite cookbook. If I forget to soak the chickpeas beforehand, I use the canned variety but it’s an amazingly value-for-money, satisfying meal. Serve with a salad and crusty...

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Percy Sledge
Apr14

Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge: When a Man Loves a Woman Did you know that Percy Sledge’s song, When a Man Loves a Woman, was based on his own experience? When he wrote the song, he had just been dumped by his girlfriend. He understood at the time that she had left him for another man. Someone had told him that was the reason why she had disappeared from his life and gone to New York. In an interview, he later said that the original title of the...

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Marthe Cohn
Apr13

Marthe Cohn

Behind Enemy Lines: Marthe Cohn The number of people who took part in the Second World War is slowly dwindling. But it’s important that we should never forget them- and the heroism that so many of them showed during that terrible conflict. You can read about many of them in this book by Marthe Cohn. Marthe  Hoffnung (her maiden name) was born in 1920 and was still a teenager when war broke out.  Yet she worked as  spy,...

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Josephine Baker
Apr12

Josephine Baker

The Joséphine Baker Story. Until I recently read a biography about Josephine Baker, I had only the haziest idea about who she was. Little did I know what a truly fascinating life she had. It’s amazing that someone who had such  a poor start in life could achieve so much. The book tells so many fascinating stories about her life – and it wasn’t always an easy one. She inherited her terrific looks from her mother,...

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‘Freaks’ in Victorian times
Apr11

‘Freaks’ in Victorian times

‘Freaks’ in Victorian times. Of all the many and varied ‘facts’ we know about the Victorian era, one is that they loved freak shows. They would queue to see conjoined twins, bearded ladies, midgets, fat ladies and other ‘freaks’ who deviated from the norm. That’s one of the things we tend to dislike about the Victorian era in today’s politically-correct world. But were those people who...

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Archibald McIndoe
Apr10

Archibald McIndoe

Archibald McIndoe was a pioneer.  During the Second World War, little was known about plastic surgery and yet for the first time, medical staff were seeing men with horrendous burn injuries due to the highly flammable aircraft fuel. Not only were doctors unsure how to rebuild these badly ‘disfigured’ men, they also had no idea that the person himself needed treatment for more than just physical wounds. Archibald McIndoe...

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Omar Sharif
Apr10

Omar Sharif

Actor Omar Sharif: Alzheimer’s sufferer. In May 2015 Tarek Sharif, the son of actor Omar, announced that his eighty-three year old father was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He reported that the first signs were memory loss. He was still aware that he was a well-known actor and remembered most of the films he made but confuses them. He couldn’t easily recall his co-stars of where the films were made. The positive...

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Charles and Camilla
Apr09

Charles and Camilla

Charles and Camilla. Can you imagine what it must have been like for the-then Camilla Parker Bowles before 2005? She knew, as the world knew, that Prince Charles wanted to marry her. Charles’ mother, the queen, knew and liked Camilla. So did his two sons. But what about the world’s public? The consensus of the British people was that he should be able to marry exactly who he wanted to and, after all, the relationship had...

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Grand Prix Gourmet: Chinese Walnut Chicken
Apr08

Grand Prix Gourmet: Chinese Walnut Chicken

 Taking an authentic recipe from 1941 to 2015 Walnut Chicken is an “authentic recipe from Shanghai”  that was found in an old edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel (April 21, 1941).  Back then the article spoke of how few recipes Americans used for Chinese cooking, the main one being Chop Suey.  They introduced this recipe as a delightful way to combine of egg with chicken.  Thankfully, we have come a long way since then! If...

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Silsden Riot!
Apr08

Silsden Riot!

RIOT! The small town of Silsden, a few miles from Ilkley, in West Yorkshire is a quiet, law-abiding place; little disturbs the peace there today. But on Saturday April 8th 1911, over 400 local people protested outside – and many attacked – their local police station, smashing every window in the building and in the police house next door. Policemen hid inside the building and the police sergeant’s wife and children locked...

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Sirio Maccioni and Le Cirque
Apr06

Sirio Maccioni and Le Cirque

The biography of a restaurateur extraordinaire.  Sirio Maccioni was born into a poor Italian family of farmers in the nineteen thirties. And yet this extraordinary man became the most important restaurateur in America, if not the world. The philosophy behind his success was simple. He believed in hard work — it’s as simple as that. He believed in the traditional Italian values that had been passed to him from his family...

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Down With Kurt Cobain
Apr05

Down With Kurt Cobain

Down With Kurt Cobain By Andy Royston Montage of Heck, a documentary film about the rock star Kurt Cobain, begins and ends with film of an adorable little boy, aged around eighteen months old. The film’s executive producer, Kurt’s daughter Frances Bean, was around the same age when her father was found dead at his Seattle home. He’d taken his own life. As a viewer one is left to contemplate the nature of...

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Who Was Violet Sharp?
Apr04

Who Was Violet Sharp?

Violet Sharp and the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Who was Violet Sharp? It was a famous and horrific crime. In 1932, the twenty-month-old son of one of the most famous men in American was kidnapped and an enormous ransom was demanded. The father of the infant, Charles Lindbergh, had come to the attention of the American public due to his exploits an an aviation pioneer. The baby had been taken from his crib during the evening...

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Viv Nicholson. The Party’s Over
Apr03

Viv Nicholson. The Party’s Over

Viv Nicholson – Spend, Spend, Spend Many years ago, I was in a perfume shop called Duty Free in the Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield. The lady behind the counter looked so very familiar. Eventually, I realised  that she was Viv Nicholson – who for one spell in the 1960s was one of the best known – and derided – women in England. Why? Because when she was twenty-five, in 1961, she and her husband won a...

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Je t’aime: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
Apr02

Je t’aime: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg

Je t’aime: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. Je t’aime – banned. You’d have thought that by the nineteen sixties people were pretty much unshockable. Mind you, I suspect that the song Je t’aime shocked very few real people, if anyone, but the stuffy BBC decided to ban it from their airwaves. I thought it was rather lovely. The title was repeated, whisperingly, to the sound of luscious organ music, by Jane...

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The Mermaids of Mapplewell
Apr01

The Mermaids of Mapplewell

The Mermaids of Mapplewell Come with me on a journey to the past. A past that was stranger than we could ever imagine. In olden times, unusual creatures inhabited the earth but don’t imagine for a moment that I am talking about prehistoric days. No, the story which unfolds below is only a little more than a hundred and fifty years old. It was then, despite the technological advances being made by the people of the Victorian era,...

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Houdini’s Straitjacket Escape. Invented in Yorkshire
Mar31

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 DeAutremont Twins
Mar30

The DeAutremont Twins

Who were the DeAutremont brothers? Twins Ray and Roy were just twenty three when they attempted one of the most daring robberies in America. Their brother Hugh, who accompanied them, was a mere nineteen. The crime they committed in 1923 would have been laughable in its ineptitude had they not happened to kill four men during the debacle. But what of their earlier criminal career? This too proves without doubt that the DeAutremont...

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Take a Walk in the Park Day
Mar29

Take a Walk in the Park Day

A Walk in the Park. You might be getting tired of all the national days that seem to keep popping up.  It makes one wonder if anyone can pick a day, name it and claim it.  Nonetheless, any day to get outside in the fresh air or to enjoy visiting a park is one we should all support. After the winter we’ve seen this past season, I bet everyone is anxious to get outside. Maybe that is why they schedule Take a Walk in the Park Day for...

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Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, A Book Review
Mar29

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, A Book Review

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, A Book Review. A Virtual Classroom? Would send your children to virtual school?  Can you picture it?  It sounds intriguing when you first think of it.  No more bullying, less distractions, right?  Yet in a virtual world would it be too isolating?  Could there be a balance?  Would class size matter then?  Would teachers like it better? That is one of the considerations you will find as you read Ready...

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Princess Mary
Mar28

Princess Mary

 Who was Princess Mary? It’s likely that you’ve never heard of England’s Princess Mary but it’s highly possible that even after all these years you are familiar with the story of her brother. For Princess Mary was the sister of Edward VIII, the English king who famously abdicated so that he could marry his American mistress, Wallis Simpson. When you look at the photograph of her on the right, you can see the...

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The Dreamland Fire of 1911
Mar27

The Dreamland Fire of 1911

Coney Island: The Dreamland Fire, 1911. Have you ever thought, like me, that places such as fairgrounds, circuses and amusement parks have a vaguely creepy side to them? At these places, much of what we see is illusion. Nothing is as it appears to be. This was especially the case in the early nineteenth century and in Victorian days. Dreamland, a huge amusement park on Coney Island, was the perfect example.In many ways, it was...

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Didier Peroni and Gilles Villeneuve
Mar26

Didier Peroni and Gilles Villeneuve

Team orders in Formula One. At time of writing (July 2016) there’s a lot of mayhem going on about imposing team orders at the Mercedes Formula One HQ.  Now team orders are a subject of a very long article, or even a book, but today I want to talk about motorsport history — and the team orders at the Grand Prix of Imola in 1982. In that year, Didier Pironi of France and Canadian Gilles Villeneuve were team-mates driving for...

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Pavlova: Grand Prix Gourmet, Australia
Mar25

Pavlova: Grand Prix Gourmet, Australia

Pavlova: Grand Prix Gourmet, Australia We know that this delightful confection was created in honour of the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. This was at some time in the nineteen twenties when she had a successful tour of Australia and New Zealand. Both countries claim the dish as their own and the reality has never been one hundred percent established but what is certainly for sure is that the dish is delightfully sinful...

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The Triangle Fire
Mar25

The Triangle Fire

Death in Manhattan: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Disaster. Thirty five horse-drawn fire fighting vehicles were dashing through the streets of Manhattan.  It was March in 1911 and the streets were quiet on that Saturday afternoon. But nevertheless, the firefighters were unable to save lives that day. They were headed towards the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where fire had broken out in the ten-storey building. The business, which made...

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John Harrison: The Yorkshireman and the Moon
Mar24

John Harrison: The Yorkshireman and the Moon

The Yorkshireman who made space exploration possible Neil Armstrong, shortly after he had returned from his historical journey to the moon, dined at 10 Downing Street – the residence of the British prime minister. In his speech, he paid tribute to the Yorkshireman who had made space exploration possible; John Harrison. As you can see from his portrait above, John Harrison was born in the seventeenth century.  This was in the...

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Joan Crawford
Mar23

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford: Loves and private life. Legendary Hollywood actress Joan Crawford was the subject of  vitriolic exposé book written by her adopted daughter. Whether these revelations are true is a matter of conjecture but Christina claimed that her mother had adopted her and other children to enhance her fame, rather than because of maternal feelings. The book reveals stories of abuse and tells of Joan’s affairs – with both...

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Karl Wallenda
Mar22

Karl Wallenda

 The Flying Wallenda Family Karl Wallenda was born in Germany in 1905 to a circus family. He was the patriarch of the famous – and often tragic – performing Wallenda family. His descendants are still performing to this day. He started performing when he was just six years old. This is a family tradition that has been continued. When he was still a teenager, he formed his own act which included his brother and a young girl...

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How to Hull Strawberries
Mar21

How to Hull Strawberries

The best way to prepare strawberries. It’s so very easy to hull strawberries to prepare them for your favourite recipes. Use this method and you’ll have even more recipes at your fingertips. By removing that hard central core cleanly, you’ll be able to make strawberries stuffed with ice cream or chocolate or any other inventive ideas that will surely occur to you. See the image above – aren’t those...

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Dr Buck Ruxton
Mar21

Dr Buck Ruxton

Dr Buck Ruxton. Murderer. When we were kids, we used to sing a daft little song about Dr Buck Ruxton. We had no idea what it was about really. It was only later that I discovered that Ruxton was actually a murderer whose case had caused a sensation in England in the nineteen thirties. Ruxton was born in India and given the somewhat elaborate name of Buktyar Rustomji Ratanji Hakim. He studied medicine in India and then went to...

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Fresh Lobster and Salmon Ravioli
Mar20

Fresh Lobster and Salmon Ravioli

Fresh Lobster and Salmon Ravioli recipe. This recipe is extremely delicious and very special. They make these ravioli in Genoa, on the Ligurian coast in Northern Italy, where my parents were born. If you’re looking for something really impressive for a special occasion, then this is the perfect dish. The very special main ingredients, lobster and salmon, speak for themselves, and anyone who loves seafood will love these. If you...

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Who Was Ruth Snyder?
Mar20

Who Was Ruth Snyder?

Who was Ruth Snyder? When you realise that the image above shows the final moments of Ruth Snyder’s life, then it becomes evident that she was a murderer. She was executed on January 12th, 1928 at Sing Sing. She was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair. Her lover, Henry Judd Gray, suffered the same fate. Together, they had murdered Ruth’s husband. The story had begun ten years before the executions....

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Chicken Dijon with Snap Peas
Mar19

Chicken Dijon with Snap Peas

A Delicious, Fast Chicken Dijon Dinner Tender, moist chicken breast with fresh sugar snap peas and mushrooms in a tasty light sauce. Sound interesting? It tastes wonderful! My husband was the creative cook in our household. He made a dish very similar to this. We would seriously sigh through every bite, it was so delicious. This recipe is similar only I’ve added vegetables and a slightly different flavor with dijon. I was so...

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Who Was Edgar Rice Burroughs?
Mar19

Who Was Edgar Rice Burroughs?

Who was Edgar Rice Burroughs? Edgar Rice Burroughs was one of the most successful American authors of the twentieth century. Although he wrote about several subjects, he will always be mainly remembered for his Tarzan series. Burroughs was born into a wealthy Chicago family. However, he was considered the black sheep of the family.  He took to heart the advice ‘go west, young man’ and spent time working in ranches and...

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Goodbye Chuck Berry
Mar18

Goodbye Chuck Berry

To mark the passing of rock-n-roll legend Chuck Berry, Andy Royston takes another listen to the man’s first big hit. It was a spring day in Chicago’s South Side, just off 47th St, then the home of the blues. Some guy up from St. Louis walked in the door on a mission to see Leonard Chess, owner of Chess Records to see if he could make a deal. His name? Chuck Berry. The night before Berry had been watching Muddy Waters at...

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King George I of Greece and the British Royal Family
Mar18

King George I of Greece and the British Royal Family

King George I of Greece and the British Royal Family. What does King George I of Greece have to do with the British royal family of today?  Did you know that most of the royal family are descended from him? This is because he was the grandfather of today’s Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. He became ruler when he was just seventeen and remained on the Greek throne until he was assassinated. It seems strange to us today, but...

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Reinhard Hardegan, George Betts and the Sinking of the SS Muskogee
Mar18

Reinhard Hardegan, George Betts and the Sinking of the SS Muskogee

The sinking of the SS Muskogee. On March 22nd 1942, the commander in charge of a German U-boat, twenty eight year old Reinhard Hardegan, spotted an American oil tanker. It was its job to prevent America sending oil to Britain for the war effort. Slowly, he turned his submarine towards the ship. The ship was the SS Muskogee, a merchant ship that had been pressed into service to transport oil to war-stricken England. There were thirty...

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Who Was Oleg Cassini?
Mar17

Who Was Oleg Cassini?

Who was Oleg Cassini? Oleg Cassini and Grace Kelly If anyone today is familiar with the name of Oleg Cassini, that’s probably because he was the couturier of Jackie Kennedy; he designed those strange clothes she was so fond of that look so odd to us today. But what’s much more interesting – and slightly scandalous – is the affair he had with actress Grace Kelly before she became Princess Grace of Monaco. In...

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Green Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mar16

Green Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I saw this recipe I just had to try it. Mint chocolate chip is a favorite in our house. With St Patrick’s Day coming I thought I’d make a batch to see how they’d go over in case I need to make more. They turned out delish! I even shared some with my a neighbor who looks forward to my treats since I started sharing with them. These were fun to mix up. I’ve never made cookies with the green coloring in them...

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Joseph Lister Publishes Antiseptic Surgery Article on March 16, 1867
Mar16

Joseph Lister Publishes Antiseptic Surgery Article on March 16, 1867

Can you imagine going to a hospital where there were no facilities to wash your hands?  Can you imagine that for the doctor as well?  Back in the mid 1800’s that was the case.  Even a broken leg in those days would often mean infection, amputation, and a fifty percent chance of death. We take for granted that our medical staffs have sterilized equipment and their hands between patients.  So much so that it doesn’t often occur to me...

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The Museum of Extraordinary Things
Mar16

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

 The Museum of Extraordinary Things: Review This book, written by Alice Hoffman, is an exceptional fiction, bracketed at the beginning and the end with real events. It’s hard to know which are the more horrifying sections – the fact or the fiction. Set in the early years of the twentieth century. the book tells of a strange character indeed – a man who makes his living at Coney Island running a sideshow of...

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Grasshopper Pie for St. Patrick’s Day
Mar15

Grasshopper Pie for St. Patrick’s Day

 Grasshopper Pie for St. Patrick’s Day When you’re thinking of special foods for St. Patrick’s Day, don’t forget the dessert. This recipe for cool, creamy pie is perfect for your celebration table. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also green, in keeping with the festivities of the day. There are two versions of this dreamy, minty dessert to be found here; one made with Creme de Menthe and one made...

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Buy an Irish Dog Coat for your dog
Mar15

Buy an Irish Dog Coat for your dog

St. Patrick’s Day Dog Coats Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all the way. Buy an Irish Dog Coat for your dog. Make your dog a lucky dog, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style with an Irish Dog Coat. Your pup will love you when the cold March winds blow and he stays warm. There are Irish Dog Coats for every size of dog…just make sure you get the right size. If it’s too small, it won’t keep them warm, and...

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Pregnant Women on Television in the 1960s
Mar15

Pregnant Women on Television in the 1960s

Why Lucy was ‘enceinte’ in the nineteen fifties. One of the most popular TV shows in the nineteen fifties – if not the most popular – was I Love Lucy starring married couple, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. At the time, they were the most powerful people in the world of television. In 1952 the couple discovered that they were expecting a baby. This was great news for them. They already had a small daughter, born...

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St. Patrick’s Day: Books to Celebrate Ireland
Mar15

St. Patrick’s Day: Books to Celebrate Ireland

If you’ve never been to Ireland, you probably have your own image of it in your mind.  The view I see is one of green hills, windy cliffs, little cottages and villages, and smiling faces.  Hopefully one day I’ll get to see it in person and pass some time there.  Not being a city person, the wandering  roads hold much appeal. While the beauty is undeniable, it hasn’t always had a happy history.  It wasn’t so long ago that the IRA was...

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Who Was Percy Shaw?
Mar15

Who Was Percy Shaw?

Who was Percy Shaw? If you’re from Yorkshire, like me, the chances are that you know perfectly well who Percy Shaw was – and what he invented. If  you don’t know who he was,there’s still the strong likelihood that you see and use his most famous invention every day. There must be millions of them throughout the world. Although you see them every day, you might be so familiar with them that you don’t even...

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The Day Michael Caine Discovered a Family Secret
Mar14

The Day Michael Caine Discovered a Family Secret

The day Michael Caine discovered a family secret. When actor Michael Caine and his younger brother, Stanley, were growing up in London, on every single Monday their mother used to go to visit their Aunt Lil. The two boys never thought anything about it – it was simply part of the family routine. But many years later, in 1991, the actor found out the truth.She had been going somewhere very different indeed. Michael Caine was in...

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Pie recipes – for Pi Day!
Mar13

Pie recipes – for Pi Day!

Pie recipes – tried and tested    CLICK HERE FOR PIE RECIPES Articles are added to JAQUO every day and many of those are recipes – because we love to eat. And we love to share our favourite recipes with you. There’s nothing like homemade food and that seems to apply particularly to pies. Twenty years ago,it was no longer fashionable to cook – we ate out or we zapped frozen meals in the microwave. Those...

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Irish Ice Cream and Chocolate
Mar13

Irish Ice Cream and Chocolate

Irish Ice Cream and Chocolate recipe This is our absolutely favourite dessert. And that’s not just because it’s delicious. It takes only a few minutes to make and yet it’s elegant enough to serve at your next dinner party. It’s also a wonderful finale to a romantic dinner a deux. You can make this ahead by assembling the ice cream and the chocolate in attractive glassware and then keep them in the fridge...

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Honoring our Military and Police Dogs
Mar13

Honoring our Military and Police Dogs

Today is National K9 Veteran’s day.  As much as we love our pets, it’s a day we should all honor.  The tasks our military and police dogs take on are some of the worst, and some of the most effective.  Today, I’d like to honor them with some excellent books that feature these K9’s. While they’ve been used, probably throughout time, for various tasks from carting things, patrolling boundaries, etc., today they are honed into such...

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Odette Sansom: WW2 Spy
Mar13

Odette Sansom: WW2 Spy

Odette Sansom Hallowes: Odette was tortured by the Gestapo in the Second World War and sent to a concentration camp where she was sentenced to death. She never gave in and managed to survive – and save others – purely by her wits. In 1942, she had made sure that her three daughters were safe and well-cared for and left England to risk her life helping others. Odette was French by birth.She had married an Englishman and...

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Don De Lion – Don Drummond and the Skatalites
Mar12

Don De Lion – Don Drummond and the Skatalites

Andy Royston takes another listen to one of Jamaica’s pioneer musicians and the scandal that shook the music. Extrovert, eccentric and self-taught Don Drummond’s trombone style has an earthiness and songlike quality that makes it immediately identifiable. His melodies are so simple, so perfectly constructed and memorable. Don Drummond was able to channel emotions from gentility to absolute rage through his music with as...

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The Great Sheffield Flood of 1864
Mar11

The Great Sheffield Flood of 1864

The Great Sheffield Flood of 1864. At about 5.30 in the afternoon of 11th March, quarryman William Horsefield  noticed a crack in the embankment of the Dale Dyke Dam, part of a recently built reservoir near Sheffield in Yorkshire. It was only a small crack, he reckoned that he’d be able to slip the blade of a penknife into it and that’s all but nevertheless, he alerted some of the men who worked at the dam. Just over an...

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Was Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol: The Real Pink Panther?
Mar10

Was Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol: The Real Pink Panther?

Was Victor Hervey, 6th Marquess of Bristol: The Real Pink Panther? He was born into money. He was titled. Yet Victor Hervey became a jewel thief and was the person who masterminded several robberies of a high-class nature. When he was only twenty three years old he was sent to jail. Two years before he was sentenced to prison, he had been declared bankrupt – he had squandered the family money. What was he to do? Well, his...

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George Burns
Mar09

George Burns

The Day I Met George Burns How Did I Manage to Meet George Burns? Read on….. In the 1980s I met Entertainer and Legend George Burns at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He was signing his book, “Gracie: A Love Story,” and as the Assistant to the Entertainment Director of the Las Vegas SUN, I went to greet him and have a chat. My department did all the SUN newspaper advertising for Caesars, and we wanted to give the red...

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International Women’s Day: The Origins and Future
Mar08

International Women’s Day: The Origins and Future

International Women’s Day: The Origins and Future International Women’s Day has been an annual celebration since 1911 and each year reminds us to dedicate time to celebrate those women who have played a part to improve the world we all live in. From looking at achievement we can reflect on how far we have come and how far we have yet to climb. It began as a Socialist political event, first organized by the Socialist Party of America...

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The Adventures of Poon Lim
Mar08

The Adventures of Poon Lim

The amazing survival story of Poon Lim. On 5th April, 1943, the crew of a small Brazilian fishing vessel spotted a life raft off the coast of Brazil. When they approached it, they found that it had a single occupant – a young Chinese man called Poon Lim. He had left his homeland several years before to work on a British merchant ship as a steward. But of course, this was now the Second World War and on 23rd November, 1942 his...

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The Police Search for Charlie Chaplin’s body
Mar07

The Police Search for Charlie Chaplin’s body

Who stole Charlie Chaplin’s body? Charlie Chaplin, the Little Tramp,  died on December 25th, 1977. He was buried in Switzerland, where he had lived since the nineteen fifties. In March 1978, his body disappeared from its grave. The grave had been marked with a simple, engraved oak cross which the police took away to fingerprint. They did not reveal whether prints had been found. It’s assumed none were because the police...

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British Prince Charles Edward: Nazi
Mar06

British Prince Charles Edward: Nazi

The British prince who was a Nazi official. The grandson of Queen Victoria who was a top Nazi. Born in 1884, Prince Edward Charles was a member of the British royal family. His father, Prince Leopold, had been Victoria’s youngest son. Nevertheless, during the Second World War he was a top-ranking member of the Nazi Party. Because of this, you’re unlikely to find details of him in most history books, especially those...

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Comparing ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ & ‘The Shadow of the Wind’
Mar06

Comparing ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ & ‘The Shadow of the Wind’

Can we really compare Carlos Ruiz Zafon to Gabriel Garcia Marquez? I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude a long, long time ago and I’ve re-read it many times since then. In April 2014, I read The Shadow of the Wind. One of the things that attracted me to the book is that the blurb on the back cover compared these two books. I enjoyed Shadow and, on the evening I finished the book, was determined to read more of Carlos Ruiz...

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She Captains by Joan Druett
Mar05

She Captains by Joan Druett

She Captains: Heroines of the Sea. Prize winning historian and author Joan Druett has created a fabulous book which is chock-full of fascinating about women at sea throughout history. Seafaring was a dangerous business in times gone by and yet many women were attracted to life aboard. Some were captains – and even pirates – in their own right.Others went to sea with their husbands. All their stories are fascinating....

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BOAC Flight 911
Mar05

BOAC Flight 911

BOAC Flight 911, Ninjas and James Bond What is it about the number 911?  As well as the obvious connotation that we know nowadays, it was also the number of a scheduled passenger airliner that crashed in 1966. Then there was also the mysterious disappearance of Flight 19  just after World War Two. The numbers 9 and 1 are beginning to get a bit spooky to me. The BOAC crash was certainly tragic. The plane, which had only been airborne...

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John Lennon: The Beatles are bigger than Jesus
Mar04

John Lennon: The Beatles are bigger than Jesus

John Lennon: The Beatles are bigger than Jesus. In 1966, John Lennon was interviewed by Maureen Cleave, a friend of his, for an article entitled How Does a Beatles Live? John Lennon lives like this. In the lengthy article she spoke about his reading matter, Indian music, his Siamese cats, where he bought his clothes, films , games, his family and other trivia. The article, which was published in the Evening Standard on March 4th that...

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Hollywood’s Finest Redheads
Mar04

Hollywood’s Finest Redheads

An appreciation of big screen redheads by Andy Royston “I would always hesitate to recommend as a life’s companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous.” P.G. Wodehouse – Very Good Jeeves “Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.”  ― Lucille Ball In 2014 something extraordinary happened. A rubescence of...

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What is a Ponzi Scheme?
Mar03

What is a Ponzi Scheme?

What is a Ponzi scheme? A Ponzi scheme is a type of fraud. Investors are encouraged to hand over their money being told they will get fabulous returns. The problem is, that there is actually no company making money to back up the claims. Charles Ponzi This scheme is named after Italian Charles Ponzi and a business venture he started in America round about 1920. As you can see from his photograph on the left,  he ended up in jail....

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Von Trapp Family Singers: The Truth
Mar02

Von Trapp Family Singers: The Truth

 What is the truth about the von Trapp Family? There can’t be many people who are unfamiliar with the story of the von Trapp Family Singers. They were immortalised in the film, The Sound of Music. How true is the story that we know so well? I have another question too – one that I’ve never heard anyone ask. We know from the film that Captain (or Baron) von Trapp was a widower who had several children. In the film, a...

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Lou Reed: A True Transformer
Mar02

Lou Reed: A True Transformer

Written on October 27, 2013 I learned, just now, that Lou died today. I never met him or even saw him perform. But in so many small ways he made my life bigger and brighter and sharper and more inspirational. I was just eleven years old and living in a small Yorkshire village miles from Lou’s great New York City. He opened my eyes to a new world. It took just one song –  Walk On The Wild Side – to opened my ears to...

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Was Carmen Nigro King Kong?
Mar02

Was Carmen Nigro King Kong?

Carmen Nigro: The man who thought he was King Kong In the early 1980s, Mrs Evelyn Nigro was thoroughly fed up of having a gorilla costume in her Chicago basement apartment. The thing was over fifty years old. It had mildew and it was getting smelly. She told her husband, Carmen – a seventy seven year old security guard, that it had to go. It was either the costume or her. It was playing havoc with her allergies. Reluctantly,...

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Yellowstone Named the First National Park on This Day in 1872
Mar01

Yellowstone Named the First National Park on This Day in 1872

The World’s First National Park On March 1, 1872  Yellowstone was named the first national park.  It was the first national park world wide, not just in the United States. It pleases me to realize that in the midst of those trying years when US Grant was president, he realized the importance of setting aside national lands for all to protect and enjoy.  To think it happened about 7 years after the civil war ended gives it...

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What Does ‘Dord’ Mean?
Feb28

What Does ‘Dord’ Mean?

What does ‘dord’ mean? Well, it was in the dictionary but nevertheless, ‘dord’ means nothing. I don’t mean by this that it means ‘nil’ or that it means ‘zero’ – it simply isn’t a word. No such word exists. So why was it in Webster’s Dictionary for five years? And what’s more, how did a non-existent word get in there in the first place? It must be  pretty...

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Who Was Barbara Payton?
Feb27

Who Was Barbara Payton?

Who was Barbara Payton? There are some strange and often sad stories that have come out of what was called the Golden Era of Hollywood. Barbara Payton’s is one of them. Blonde and attractive Barbara, seen here with Gregory Peck, was sure of her own stardom. She bought into the Hollywood press releases about herself. She thought she was a huge star. Yet today, hardly no-one remembers the name and she died alone aged only thirty...

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The Curious Love Life of Fabulous Fanny Cradock
Feb26

The Curious Love Life of Fabulous Fanny Cradock

The curious love life of bigamist Fanny Cradock Fanny Cradock was known as the first TV celebrity chef. She appeared on her show along with her ‘husband’, Johnny. Although he was her real-life partner, they were not married – a fact that could have scandalised some viewers when their show started in 1955. In fact, Fanny had first been married at the age of seventeen – to an RAF pilot. Accounts vary regarding...

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Murder in Miami: Christopher Wilder the Beauty Queen Killer
Feb26

Murder in Miami: Christopher Wilder the Beauty Queen Killer

Murder in Miami: Christopher Wilder the Beauty Queen Killer. Christopher Wilder was rich. His friends described him as charming and gallant. He lived a playboy life in South Florida, living well and racing sports cars. He was particularly fond of beautiful young women. In the nineteen eighties he was still in his thirties and living in Boynton Beach in Florida. Murder at the 1984 Miami Grand Prix This was the second motor racing event...

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Concert for George
Feb25

Concert for George

The George Harrison Memorial Concert. On the first anniversary of George Harrison’s death, his family and friends took part in a huge concert to celebrate his life and his music. Hundreds of people attended the event which was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Millions more have seen it since. You can see the full, two hour plus video below. The concert had been organised largely by Eric Clapton who acted as musical...

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Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti
Feb24

Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti

42 Years Ago – Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti At 4pm every weekday evening the parade across the fields began. The schoolkids from the village south of town would walk the two miles down into the hill, past the burned out coal mine and up the other side. In age they ranged from 11 to 18; all in school uniforms of black,gray and navy blue, with a hint of the fashions of the day. In February 1975 Maggie Thatcher had been...

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Art Matters: L.S. Lowry on Match Day
Feb23

Art Matters: L.S. Lowry on Match Day

Andy Royston’s back on the terraces with one of England’s most beloved painters, L.S. Lowry. One cold and rainy evening in West London I found myself wandering towards a set of bright floodlights shining above the houses. Brentford FC were playing Gillingham in some cup game and Griffin Park was offering tickets on the turnstiles. So in I went, picked up a cup of Bovril from the Ealing Road end and, as the drizzle faded...

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Who Was Kenneth Williams?
Feb22

Who Was Kenneth Williams?

Who was Kenneth Williams? Kenneth Williams was a much-loved British actor and comedian. But somehow, he was so much more than that. It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that he was an institution. He was certainly an original, that’s for sure. Starting his career in the theatre, he first found fame on the radio in the nineteen fifties. And one absolutely hilarious character he portrayed in the early sixties...

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Jeanne Louise Calment
Feb21

Jeanne Louise Calment

Jeanne Louise Calment: The oldest woman. You might have read my colleague Merry’s recent article about what’s supposedly good for us and what is damaging to our health.The article is called Food for Health. It’s a great read – why do scientists and nutritionists keep giving us conflicting advice? Instead of listening to them, let’s take a look at Jeanne Louise Calment, until her death she was the...

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Britain’s Got Opera!
Feb20

Britain’s Got Opera!

Britain and opera. In 1990. I still lived in the UK and a friend from America was visiting. I remember him being amazed because the most popular song at the time – it was in the charts, played on the radio and was a favourite on pub jukeboxes – was Nessun Dorma performed by Luciano Pavarotti. ‘Only in England’ he would say ‘could the most popular song be an aria from a Puccini opera’. But was this a...

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World Cup Heroes: Jimmy Greaves
Feb20

World Cup Heroes: Jimmy Greaves

From the point of view of a ten year old in the thrall of World Cup football it was hard to believe that Jimmy Greaves – that amiable joker on Saturday lunchtime telly, where he presented a football show called ‘On The Ball’ – was a genuine England football legend. Dad was sanguine. “You should have seen him play back in the day. He was amazing. He would have been playing in that 1966 World Cup Final if...

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Omega-3 Supplements for your Dog’s Health
Feb19

Omega-3 Supplements for your Dog’s Health

  Dogs need Omega-3 in their diets too We give our little dog a splash of Welactin’s Natural Omega3 Supplement every day with her meal. A veterinarian first suggested it to us as a supplement, and we love it. Actually, so does our dog! It is part of the reason she still looks like a puppy when she is ten years old. We first got it as an overall health supplement. It is made of salmon or fish oil, so we know it is good for...

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Was Karen Silkwood Murdered?
Feb19

Was Karen Silkwood Murdered?

Who was Karen Silkwood? Many people believe that she was murdered. Let’s look at her background first. She began working at an Oklahoma chemical plant in 1972.  The facility was responsible for producing plutonium pellets for use in nuclear reactors. Yes, frightening. As did her colleagues, she joined the union and became concerned about the levels of safety for the workers employed in the factory who were exposed to dangerous...

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Vintage Television: Bill Cullen
Feb18

Vintage Television: Bill Cullen

Vintage television: Who was Bill Cullen? Bill Cullen was a well-known and very popular television personality during the sixties and seventies in the USA. He was a game show host and was often featured as a panellist on other shows, once of which was his appearances as part of the panel on I’ve Got A Secret. But Bill Cullen had a secret of his own When he was just a small child, he contracted polio. This meant that he had...

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Tom Keating: Art Fraud
Feb17

Tom Keating: Art Fraud

Tom Keating: Criminal or hero? In the nineteen sixties and seventies, Tom Keating made a very handy living as an art forger. But was he a criminal or was he simply exposing the shady side of the art world? He painted fakes in the style of several well known painters (whose works were valuable and in demand) and sold them without exactly revealing that they were ‘home made’. How much of a crime is that, exactly? Well, in...

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