Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
Nov01

Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

My colleague, Andy Royston, recently wrote an article about the music of Carole King and Gerry Goffin. He referred to the standard of music in 1960 until the time when the King-Goffin combo came up with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. In fact, he referred to 1960 music as being ‘drivel’ and cited as an example, Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini. Now on the basis of quality music, I will admit that Bikini isn’t...

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Who was Marli Renfro?
Oct31

Who was Marli Renfro?

Marli Renfro: You know her well. The chances are that if you like movies, you know who Marli Renfro was but you might not recognise the name. What’s more, I’m willing to bet that you’ve seen her completely naked. She was in one of the most famous films – ever. But few people know her name. She was born in America in 1938. She grew up to be very attractive and she was only in her early twenties when she took...

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Giovanna Amati
Oct31

Giovanna Amati

The kidnapping of Giovanna Amati. If you were a Formula One fan in the early nineteen nineties then you’ll remember Giovanna as a driver for the doomed Brabham team. The team, which started in the nineteen sixties, had been successful but by the time Giovanna (only the fifth female driver in Formula One) was recruited Brabham was in trouble. It’s thought that Giovanna was signed up by the team not only because she was...

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Halloween Safety
Oct31

Halloween Safety

Halloween is nearly here and kids big and small are all trying to figure out just what they are going to “dress up” as, or what character they will be for October’s Fright Night. The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure that the young ones will change their minds at least a dozen times or more. What shouldn’t change though, is the need for safety, while our kids are out there having their ghoulishly good times. Safety doesn’t have...

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Halloween Trivia
Oct31

Halloween Trivia

Fun Tidbits About Halloween. Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations. For everyone it means something different whether it is something superstitious, trick or treating or having a fun dress-up party. Its always fun to learn some fun facts about Halloween. You’ll learn fun trivia facts about the tootsie roll, black cats, creepy spiders, who really believes in “The Great Pumpkin” and even when the first Halloween...

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Batley Variety Club
Oct28

Batley Variety Club

Yorkshire entertainment: The Batley Variety Club It all started with two Yorkshiremen, James Corrigan and Peter Fleming. Both were from fairground families so they knew a thing or two about entertaining the public. James was married to a girl from Batley in Yorkshire and his new wife Betty and his friend Peter joined him in their dream – to bring Las Vegas-style entertainment to the sleepy Yorkshire town of Batley. Batley was...

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Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
Oct28

Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez

Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Many race fans will be familiar with this circuit and in 2015, the Formula One series returned to Mexico. But what do you know about the brothers after which the circuit is named? Theirs is a story that shouldn’t be forgotten. Pedro Rodríguez was born in 1940 in Mexico City. He had three brothers and a sister. However, the other brother who is also commemorated in the name of this circuit was his...

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Paul McCartney: Real or Fake?
Oct27

Paul McCartney: Real or Fake?

Paul McCartney died on November 9th, 1966 Or so certain people would have us believe. And recently, it’s said, Ringo Starr confirmed this. Nonsense? I think so. But according to conspiracy theorists, the bloke you see here isn’t Paul McCartney at all. It’s an imposter who has been playing the part for almost fifty years. Yes, that’s a long time to live someone else’s life, isn’t it? What’s the...

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All the Queen’s … Pigeons
Oct25

All the Queen’s … Pigeons

The Queen and her racing pigeons. It’s widely known that Queen Elizabeth II is extremely fond of horse racing but did you know that she’s also a pigeon fancier? She keeps a stable (if that’s the right word) of racing pigeons in the grounds of the Norfolk royal residence, Sandringham. She has over two hundred pigeons and is said to be extremely knowledgeable about the birds, their care and of course, about pigeon...

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George Cole
Oct24

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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Castaway Cay: The Murky History
Oct23

Castaway Cay: The Murky History

Disney’s Castaway Cay – previously the mysterious Gorda Cay. The very thought of going on a Disney Cruise makes me shudder yet thousands of people enjoy them every day. Their four  ships call regularly at Castaway Cay – Disney’s private island and the company’s idea of paradise. There, cruisers can enjoy the amenities you would expect from the company that specialises in man-made ‘magic’ and...

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Queen Elizabeth II & Marilyn Monroe
Oct23

Queen Elizabeth II & Marilyn Monroe

The day Queen Elizabeth met Marilyn Monroe. In very different ways, the two women were destined to become icons. What many of us don’t realise is that Queen Elizabeth and Marilyn Monroe were born only ten days apart. (April 21st and Jun 1st respectively – in 1926). And they met on October 29th, 1956. The occasion was the London premiere of The Battle of the River Plate in Leicester Square. It was the only time the two...

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Why was October 21st, 2015 known as Back to the Future Day?
Oct21

Why was October 21st, 2015 known as Back to the Future Day?

Why was October 21st, 2015 known as Back to the Future Day? Because in 1989, a sequel was made to the blockbuster movie Back to the Future, somewhat predictably named Back to the Future II. In the first film. Marty McFly had travelled back in time to 1955 – in the sequel he went forward in time to – you guessed – October 21st, 2015. In 1989, I imagine that 2015 seemed to be in the distant future — yet here we...

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Photograph Fabric Printing via the Sun
Oct20

Photograph Fabric Printing via the Sun

Lumi Inkodye: Print photographs onto t-shirts using solar power. Great for kids, great for adults and a truly fabulous way to express your creativity and make gorgeous garments, décor items and gifts – that’s what Lumi Inkodye offer you with their kits and products. This is a seemingly miraculous way to add your photographs and designs to any fabric item using the sun to develop the images. You can take any photograph from...

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Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine
Oct19

Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine

Sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine. In the golden era of Hollywood, few theatregoers realised that these two top actresses were sisters. Olivia was the eldest of the two. They were both born in Japan, to British parents. Their father was a patent attorney who had moved to Japan to further his career. He taught there and also ran his own law firm. The mother of the two girls was an actress who had given up her stage career...

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Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby
Oct10

Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby

Funny Girl: A Novel by Nick Hornby Funny is quite right – laugh out loud funny, in fact. The book is set in the nineteen sixties – what an era of change that was – and features Barbara, a young woman from Blackpool in the north of England whose heroine is Lucille Ball. Barbara wants to be on television too, to make people laugh. And Barbara certainly has several assets that make her look great on television. At the...

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Royal Feud: York and Lancaster
Oct09

Royal Feud: York and Lancaster

Queen Elizabeth and Wallis Simpson: The Houses of York and Lancaster. In the fifteenth century, as all good students of Yorkshire history know, there were battles in England for the throne. The combatants were the House of York and the House of Lancaster. These were known as the Wars of the Roses as each house used a rose as its emblem; white for York, red for Lancaster. But in the twentieth century there was another ‘war of the...

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Brighten Up Your Work Space
Oct08

Brighten Up Your Work Space

Use colour to help you work. Do you remember when office items such as file cabinets, staplers and other necessities of work were incredibly boring? No longer. A truly delightful company named Poppin can brighten up your office, your home workspace or your dorm room with their fabulous work accessories. Of course, we’ve always known that an organised work area helps us to be productive but what has sometimes been overlooked is...

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Recipe: English Treacle Tart
Oct07

Recipe: English Treacle Tart

English treacle tart recipe Oh, treacle tart!  Just find me an English person who wouldn’t enjoy a slice right now. In order to make this wonderful comfort food, you’re going to need real English Golden Syrup. If you can’t buy it locally –  and it’s in lots of American supermarkets now – it’s easily ordered online. You’ll love this scrumptious dessert and if you serve it to English...

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Japanese Shrimp: Grand Prix Gourmet
Oct07

Japanese Shrimp: Grand Prix Gourmet

This is a recipe that I found in an old newspaper dating from the nineteen fifties. It had been supplied to the paper by a young Japanese woman, Reiko Takeda, who was an air stewardess flying regularly between her home country and the USA. She cooked this dish on a hibachi but I find that a charcoal grill works very well and gives the seafood that lovely smoky flavour. The shrimp need to marinate for a couple of hours before you cook,...

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Who Was Helle Nice?
Oct02

Who Was Helle Nice?

The strange story of Helle Nice. Helle Nice: The forgotten story. By 1984 Helle Nice was an old lady. She lived in a rather squalid room in Paris. She knew that she hadn’t got long to live. She’d been born in at the same time as the century. She had her memories and not much more. She kept her mementoes in an old tin trunk under her shabby bed. Nowadays, she survived thanks to charity. But it didn’t seem too long ago...

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Alice de Janze & Raymund de Trafford
Sep28

Alice de Janze & Raymund de Trafford

The day Alice de Janzé shot her lover. It was March 25th, 1927 and Alice had a date to meet her lover, Raymund de Trafford for lunch in Paris. Actually it would be more accurate to describe him as her ex-lover. This meeting, at the Maison Lapérouse restaurant overlooking the River Seine ended at the Gare du Nord, with a detour to Monsieur Guinon’s gun shop on the Avenue de l’Opera. When they arrived at the station, Alice...

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Murder in Miami: Christopher Wilder the Beauty Queen Killer
Sep27

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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Love and Sex: Edwardian style
Sep26

Love and Sex: Edwardian style

Love and sex: Edwardian style It was 1901 when Edward VII came to the throne, heralding in what we know today as the Edwardian Era. Although we sometimes think of the previous time – the Victorian Era – as being somewhat staid, that’s far from the case. The moral code inherited by King Edward had been firmly set during his mother’s time on the throne and it was considerably more raunchy than we might think....

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Princess Viktoria’s Disastrous Marriage
Sep25

Princess Viktoria’s Disastrous Marriage

Princess Viktoria of Prussia: Ruined by her young lover She was born into a privileged and wealthy royal position. And yet when Princess Viktoria died at the age of  sixty three she was penniless and disgraced – thanks to her choosing the wrong man. Her grandmother was Queen Victoria. Her mother was Victoria’s eldest daughter and had married Frederick III, the German Emperor and King of Prussia. Her brother was Wilhelm II,...

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Victoria Woodhull
Sep23

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull: The first woman to run for the US presidency. Her father was a con-man and an arsonist. He mother was illegitimate and illiterate. But that didn’t stop Victoria Woodhull from deciding that she wanted to be the president of the United States. She only went to school for three years. She was enchanted by clairvoyants and spiritualists. She was married when she was fifteen, had two children then was quickly...

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Man Removed his own Appendix
Sep21

Man Removed his own Appendix

Leonid Rogozov: The man who removed his own appendix. Leonid had little choice. He was on a Russian antarctic expedition in the early nineteen sixties when he started feeling abdominal pain. Being a doctor Leonid, who was twenty seven years old at the time, realised that he had appendicitis. He had to decide what to do. The expedition was many miles from civilisation. The team were not due to be contacted or picked up until the next...

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The Last Escaper: Peter Tunstall
Sep20

The Last Escaper: Peter Tunstall

The Last Escaper. True stories from Peter Tunstall,  Colditz prisoner of war. In the Second World War many British men, often RAF pilots, became prisoners of war in Germany. Their planes had been shot down and then men, often only in their late teens or early twenties, were captured and imprisoned by German soldiers. This is the story about one of them – Pete Tunstall. RAF pilot Tunstall was only twenty one when he was shot down...

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The Nuremberg Trials and the Jewish interpreter
Sep19

The Nuremberg Trials and the Jewish interpreter

The Nuremberg Trials and the Jewish interpreter. These trials began in November 1945 and were held to bring Nazi war criminals to justice.  It was a huge undertaking and interpreters were employed to translate – live in court – the testimonies of witnesses and the defence and comments of the most notorious and inhuman war criminals and their persecution of the Jews. Armand Jacoubovitch Imagine that you are a thirty year...

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Who Was Norman Bacchiocchi?
Sep18

Who Was Norman Bacchiocchi?

Luca Brasi’s killer: Murdered by the mob. Who hasn’t seen The Godfather? There were some pretty gruesome scenes, that’s for sure, and one of those was the murder of Luca Brasi. Fictional Brasi was the bodyguard of Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando. When Brasi was murdered in the movie, a bit player was the killer and he, Norman Bacchiocchi, was later killed by the mob — in real life. ‘He sleeps with...

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The Prince & the Showgirl: Gisèle Pascal, Prince Rainier & Marilyn Monroe
Sep17

The Prince & the Showgirl: Gisèle Pascal, Prince Rainier & Marilyn Monroe

Gisèle Pascal, Prince Rainier and Marilyn Monroe In the early 1950s,Prince Rainier of Monaco was the perfect age to marry – he had been born in 1923. He was wealthy, handsome and the ruler of a magical principality. However, he was a shy and retiring man. For several years he had been living with a French actress, Gisèle Pascal and the time was approaching when he needed to marry to produce heirs to his principality. However,...

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“Miss Bacall Did Her Own Singing…”
Sep16

“Miss Bacall Did Her Own Singing…”

“Miss Bacall Did Her Own Singing…” The scene is a bar room in French Martinique, a hot and noisy club setting where a piano player called Cricket (Hoagy Carmichael ) is playing for a gorgeous teenage singer, Slim. Slim was Lauren Bacall in her first movie role, and what a star turn she gave, singing one of Carmichael’s most memorable songs, How Little We Know. Her vocal training was coming along, but no-one...

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The Train Whistle Blows
Sep15

The Train Whistle Blows

You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles. George Bailey – It’s A Wonderful Life. It seems quite odd these days to imagine inventing the steam engine but not having any means of signalling a train’s imminence. But when George Stephenson was developing his steam engines, back in 1814, his first engines travelled so slowly and made such a racket...

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Singapore Sling: Grand Prix Gourmet
Sep15

Singapore Sling: Grand Prix Gourmet

It’s said that bartender Ngiam Tong Boon invented the Singapore Sling over a hundred years ago at the Raffles Hotel. Some say that when he retired he took the secret ingredient with him. So whether the recipe I use to create this delicious drink is one hundred percent authentic I can’t say, but I can tell you that it’s refreshing, tasty and has a bit of a kick 🙂 It’s much better if you use freshly squeezed...

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Isadora Duncan
Sep14

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 Bombing of Buckingham Palace in WW2
Sep13

The Bombing of Buckingham Palace in WW2

The Second World War: The Bombing of Buckingham Palace. Buckingham Palace was hit by bombs seven times during the Second World War. It was just a matter of sheer luck that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (know to most of us as the Queen Mother) weren’t killed or very badly injured when the third raid took place on September 13th, 1940.. Two German bombs fell in the quadrangle – the centre courtyard – and in...

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Frances Reynolds: Life on the Run
Sep12

Frances Reynolds: Life on the Run

Frances Reynolds: Wife of Great Train Robber, Bruce. Frances was just sixteen years old when Bruce Reynolds started courting her. She knew that he operated on the wrong side of the law but she was in love. She understood his rebellious character. So when he went on the run, she was with him. After Bruce and his colleagues had pulled off the Great Train Robbery in 1963, the couple had no choice. They had a small baby, Nick, but Franny...

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Dancing with the Enemy: Paul Glaser
Sep11

Dancing with the Enemy: Paul Glaser

Dancing with the Enemy: A true story of the Holocaust in the Netherlands. In addition to being one woman’s fascinating and sometimes horrific account of life as a Jew when the Netherlands were occupied by the Germans in WW2, this is also the true story of how the author found out about his family’s secret. Paul Glaser was born in the Netherlands after the Second World War and brought up as a Catholic. It was only when he...

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Seymour Worsley, The Lady in Red
Sep09

Seymour Worsley, The Lady in Red

The Scandalous Lady Worsley. In the eighteenth century, England was rocked by the scandalous story of Lord and Lady Worsley and her lover, George Bisset. There were many scandals amongst the aristocracy in those days but the case Seymour Worsley was seen to be one of the worst – certainly the most entertaining. Born as Seymour Fleming to a wealthy family, she married Sir Richard Worsley when she was only seventeen. The couple...

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Grace Darling
Sep08

Grace Darling

Grace Darling and the sinking of the Forfarshire. The story of Grace Darling is well known. It’s often published in magazines that cater to young girls, possibly being thought to be inspirational. But why did she achieve such fame? Are the stories about her true? It’s certainly the case that she helped her father – a lighthouse keeper – to rescue nine people from a wrecked ship of the coast of Northumberland in...

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Eyam Village and the Great Plague
Sep07

Eyam Village and the Great Plague

Eyam Village and the Great Plague. Eyam is a small and picturesque village in Derbyshire. If you visit, at first there is nothing to immediately distinguish it from other English villages but you’ll soon find history surrounds you. Three hundred and fifty years ago, the great plague came to the village. And the villagers decided to quarantine themselves to stop this horrible and fatal disease spreading to the rest of the north...

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The Racing Driver and the Titanic
Sep06

The Racing Driver and the Titanic

Washington Augustus Roebling II. Washington Roebling was named after his well-known uncle who had played a part in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and as a boy, like others in his family, he had a huge interest in engineering. But for Washington, that had nothing to do with civil engineering but with cars and racing. He co-created the Roebling-Planche car which he drove successfully in several races in the USA. But late in 1911 he...

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Who Was MaVynee Betsch??
Sep05

Who Was MaVynee Betsch??

Who was MaVynee Betsch, the Beach Lady? She was born into high society. Her great grandfather had been the first black millionaire in Florida. He founded the Afro-American Insurance Company in Jacksonville and the famous black American Beach resort in the days of segregation. MaVynee was exquisitely educated, as were her brother and sister. They were taught the piano, for example, at a very early age. MaVynee went onto study voice and...

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Rico Rodriguez – Ska Trombone Legend
Sep04

Rico Rodriguez – Ska Trombone Legend

Andy Royston pays a heartfelt tribute to Rico, the ‘bone man from Wareika, who died in London on September 4th after a short illness. Rico Rodriguez – Ska Trombone Legend From crucial horn breaks on the earliest ska and rocksteady songs (recorded by Coxone Dodd and Duke Reid), though session work for Chris Blackwell and Island Records (touring with Bob Marley and the Wailers) to providing the brass backline for one of the...

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Steve Fossett
Sep03

Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett: Mystery. In late September 2008, a hiker was out in the Sierra Nevada in California with his wife and a couple of friends. The hiker had heard that there was an abandoned mine nearby so left the rest of the party to see if he could locate it. He didn’t – but he found something far more remarkable, although he didn’t realise it at the time. He found a pilot’s license and some banknotes. The...

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The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935
Sep02

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935

In the mid nineteen fifties a contractor on Islamorada, one of the Florida Keys, was digging fill from a rock pit. He unearthed a gruesome discovery. He found three intact cars. Their out-of-state licence plates showed that they had been there since 1935. The skeletons of the occupants were still inside the vehicles. It was easy to explain what had happened to those vehicles twenty years before. They must have been visiting the...

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Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce. Grand Prix Gourmet, Italy
Sep01

Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce. Grand Prix Gourmet, Italy

Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe. Here’s my recipe for Italian tomato sauce taught to me by my grandma. It’s very simple but so tasty. The secret is to make sure you fry the onions and garlic well before adding the tomatoes. It’s such a versatile sauce, good for all sorts of dishes. I make a huge amount most weeks and freeze it in small containers so it’s ready to use. It’s vegetarian too. This recipe serves four with pasta...

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Lady Iris Mountbatten: Royal Black Sheep
Sep01

Lady Iris Mountbatten: Royal Black Sheep

Who was Iris Mountbatten? When she was fourteen years old,she was a train-bearer at the wedding of the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece. Two years later, she performed the same function at the coronation of George VI. She grew up to have sultry film star looks. She was a direct descendant of Queen Victoria and at one time was fourteenth in line to the throne. She was one of the most photographed debutantes of her time. Yet...

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Today in history: September
Aug31

Today in history: September

What happened on this day in September? 1st Edgar Rice Burroughs born 1875 Titanic found by Robert Ballard 1985 Lily Tomlin born 1939 Germany invaded Poland 1939 Lady Iris Mountbatten died 1982 Princess Anne announced divorce 1989 2nd George Harrison married Olivia Arias 1978 Labor Day Hurricane 1935 Jean Spangler born 1923 3rd Steve Fossett disappeared 2007 Britain declared war on Germany 1939 Denby Dale Pie 1988 4th Robert Dudley...

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The Mystery of Flight 19
Aug31

The Mystery of Flight 19

What happened to Flight 19? True life Second World War mystery from the Bermuda Triangle. The now famous phrase ‘the Bermuda Triangle’ hadn’t been coined on that day in December 1946 when, just before three o’clock in the afternoon, five planes took off on a routine training flight from Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station. The aircraft, and their young occupants, were never seen again. This is a truly fascinating...

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The Boy in the Song: Hey Jude
Aug30

The Boy in the Song: Hey Jude

Hey Jude, by Paul McCartney. Hey Jude was the first record that the Beatles released on their own label, Apple. It was released in 1968 and its original title  was Hey Jules – it was written for Julian Lennon who was five years old when his parents were divorced. John Lennon had married Cynthia Powell in 1962 and Julian was born the following April, just when Beatlemania was just starting to take off. John was on tour when...

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Nancy Kulp
Aug29

Nancy Kulp

 Who was Nancy Kulp? Nancy Kulp starred in a television show that is still being shown worldwide. Do you recognise her? Does the face look familiar? There were two hundred and seventy four episodes of the television show made and their aired in the nineteen sixties and seventies. She won an Emmy for the part she played and in 1999, her characters was deemed to be number thirty nine in the top fifty ‘greatest characters on TV of...

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Louis le Prince: The Man Who Invented the Movies
Aug28

Louis le Prince: The Man Who Invented the Movies

 Who invented motion pictures? Some people would say it was Thomas Edison who invented the movies. Others might mention the Lumière brothers. But in fact,  movies – motion pictures – were invented by the man you see on the left. Two of his films, taken in 1888, survive. But Louis le Prince is rarely credited with the invention and more than that, his story ends with his mysterious disappearance. Was this foul play because...

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Who Was Anne Morrow?
Aug26

Who Was Anne Morrow?

Anne Morrow. Anne Morrow was born in 1906 and at one time, was one of the most talked-about women in America —but not for reasons she would have wished. She was an acclaimed and prolific author but during the early nineteen thirties – when she was often in the newspaper headlines, not many readers were aware of her literary talents. Most people – then and now – when they hear the name ‘Lindbergh’...

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Prince George – The Forgotten Royal
Aug25

Prince George – The Forgotten Royal

Who was Prince George? Prince George was a member of the British royal family but his name is little-known today. He was a good looking prince – he was rather dashing and loved fast airplanes, fast cars and, as you might imagine, fast women too. There are still stories coming to light about his life – we may still find out more about this somewhat mysterious character. His life was a short one and we were left with three...

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Moules Marinière: Grand Prix Gourmet, Belgium
Aug25

Moules Marinière: Grand Prix Gourmet, Belgium

Poor old Belgium gets a bad press when it comes to its cuisine because it sits under the shadow of France. However, my husband lived there for a few years, and he enjoyed so many delicious meals and he always tells me that he would very happily eat Belgian food every day! The most famous dish must be Moules Marinière served with fries, mayonnaise, and a tankard of wonderful Belgian beer. Belgium is a small country, but it boasts about...

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The Berners Street Hoax
Aug24

The Berners Street Hoax

Theodore Hook, Berners Street and the Sanderson Hotel. For two hundred years the Berners Street Hoax has been thought of as one of the most bizarre – and certainly chaotic -practical jokes in history. If you’ve ever seen the Marx Brothers film, A Night at the Opera, this event is said to have been the inspiration for one of the funniest scenes. Theodore Hook, the man you see on the right,was the person responsible. He wasn...

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Sheila van Damm
Aug23

Sheila van Damm

Racy Ladies: Sheila van Damm. Sheila van Damm’s career was interesting to say the least. She was known in the nineteen fifties as Britain’s top woman rally driver and by the nineteen sixties she was running ‘naughty’ reviews on the London stage. Yet she arrived at both careers accidentally. You will most probably have heard of the famous Windmill Theatre in London. It shot to fame in the wartime years as it was...

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Who Was Ellen Church?
Aug22

Who Was Ellen Church?

Ellen Church: The first air hostess. In 1930, Ellen was ideally qualified to become the first air hostess. She was a registered pilot and a qualified nurse. In those days, airlines wouldn’t employ female pilots (for reasons known only to them) but Ellen persuaded them that cabin crew should be trained in nursing. Flying was a rather hazardous business in those days — you only have to think of the large number of...

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Aug21

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Who was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu? In the eighteenth century, Lady Mary was known for her sharp satiric writing about prominent personalities. Not all this work survives however, because of her daughter. Her daughter was scandalised by her mother – who she considered to be extremely eccentric –  so when Lady Mary died, her papers were destroyed. Lady Mary was renown for her wit and her beauty but there was another side to...

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Why is Fort Lauderdale called Fort Liquordale?
Aug20

Why is Fort Lauderdale called Fort Liquordale?

Why is Fort Lauderdale nicknamed Fort Liquordale? When I first came to live in Fort Lauderdale and heard people refer to it as ‘Fort Liquordale’ I thought it was a reference to the craziness that descended on our area during Spring Break – especially in the last century. But I was wrong. It was bootlegging.    Bootlegging in Fort Lauderdale In 1920 the American government, in its wisdom, decided to ban the...

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Coco Chanel
Aug19

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel: Naughtier than you might think. What do you know about Coco Chanel? Possibly most people today think of her as a couturier and the person who was responsible for iconic fashion designs – and of course, the famous Chanel N0 5 perfume. But who was she really? Her name instantly conjures up style and sophistication for most of us but she came from humble beginnings. Not only that, she had a string of fascinating...

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Vegan Pumpkin Curry Soup Recipe
Aug18

Vegan Pumpkin Curry Soup Recipe

Vegan Pumpkin Curry Soup Recipe This recipe was originally served at the BonBon Cafe in Lewiston, Maine. The recipe was published in the Sun Journal and was given by the cafe’s manager, Bonnie Loubier. The original recipe was an old one, but Bonnie had added her own touches.   Save Print Vegan Pumpkin Curry Soup Recipe Rating  5 from 1 reviews Serves: 8 Ingredients 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 large, sweet...

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Ted Hughes, An Unauthorized Life
Aug17

Ted Hughes, An Unauthorized Life

Andy Royston walks out on the wily windy moors with the ghost of Ted Hughes. Poor Heathcliff trying to tear away the veil between death and life… crying out to Cathy’s soul… to haunt him and torment him… till he died.” Emily Brontë “I have often had the fancy that there is one myth for every man, which, if we but knew it, would make us understand all he did and thought” W.B. Yeats Living as I...

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Who Was Bernarr MacFadden?
Aug16

Who Was Bernarr MacFadden?

Bernarr MacFadden: Millionaire, eccentric and health nut. He fully expected to live to be a hundred and twenty. He often predicted that he would in his health magazine and his over one hundred books. He was a bodybuilder and chose to subsist, so he maintained,on a diet of nuts, carrots and beet juice. He also recommended exercise, relaxation and that sex should be performed only for the purposes of reproduction. (He was married four...

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Princess Anne
Aug15

Princess Anne

Princess Anne: Forgotten royal. These days, we are more aware of the more ‘glamourous’ members of the royal family. In particular, this applies to the younger generation, royal babies, fashions and lifestyle. But one of the older members of the family, Princess Anne, has had an interesting life, a touch of scandal and yet is known for being one of (if not the) hardest working of the British royals today. Born in 1950, she...

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Who Was Monica Proietti?
Aug14

Who Was Monica Proietti?

Monica Proietti: Machine Gun Molly Monica Proietti was the mother of two children and old twenty seven years old when she died. This young mother was killed in a gun battle with the law. I know that sounds like a story from the Wild West but this took place  in Montreal in 1967. Monica was known as Machine Gun Molly  and was a known criminal – with a curious background. She’d been married when she was only seventeen,...

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Lunch in Paris: By Elizabeth Baud
Aug13

Lunch in Paris: By Elizabeth Baud

Subtitle: A Love Story with Recipes. As a European who has lived in the USA for many years, it was fascinating to read the culture shock experiences of someone who did exactly the same but the other way around. This is a fun book to read on the beach or on a short flight – easy to read, light and entertaining. Featuring the memoirs of an American woman who married a Frenchman, it tells of her life during the time she was getting...

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Frenchman Street Blues
Aug11

Frenchman Street Blues

I’m always a sucker for Brits who came to America on vacation and never got around to leaving. Jon Cleary turned up in New Orleans in his teens and ended up working doing odd jobs and bar work in one of New Orleans liveliest live venues. The star attraction at the The Maple Leaf back then was one of the great barrelhouse blues pianomen, James Booker, and Cleary got to watch Booker doing his own thing before the customers packed...

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Cosmetic Surgery: Yes or No?
Aug10

Cosmetic Surgery: Yes or No?

Cosmetic surgery: Yes or no?   I have a bit of a problem with this question. I’m inclined to say ‘no’ but cosmetic surgery is something I’ll never be able to afford. Is this clouding my judgement? Now don’t get me wrong.I’m not talking here about people who have serious problems with the way they look but those who endure cosmetic surgery to make themselves look younger. Or, I have to say,...

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Florida’s German Invasion
Aug09

Florida’s German Invasion

In early summer 1942 a German submarine, U-584, lay off the coast of Florida close to Jacksonville. On June 16th it surfaced and a small rubber inflatable dinghy was launched. Four men hastily climbed into the tiny craft. They wore swimming trunks and woollen caps. They each had a suitcase containing a variety of American made clothing. Also, they loaded four wooden crates into the dinghy – these contained explosives. They also...

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Scandal:  John Lennon and Alma Cogan
Aug09

Scandal: John Lennon and Alma Cogan

Yoko Ono did not break up the Lennon’s marriage. Cynthia Lennon, the first wife of John, died on April 1st, 2015. Four days later, a newspaper broke the story that she had told a reporter, back in 1989, that it wasn’t Yoko Ono that had split up the Lennon marriage. Cynthia had revealed, the newspaper said, that the breakup of the marriage was due to a once-famous but then-fading British singer called Alma Cogan (pictured)....

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The Great Train Robbery: Roy James
Aug08

The Great Train Robbery: Roy James

Roy James: Racing driver & train robber. In the early nineteen sixties, Roy James was a promising young racing driver. He was also a criminal*. In 1963 he was the getaway driver for what was referred to as ‘the crime of the century’- the Great Train Robbery that took place on August 8th, 1963. He was a good racing driver and therefore an excellent getaway driver. When he took part in the Great Train Robbery, his...

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How to Cook Rice
Aug07

How to Cook Rice

 The best way to cook plain rice I’ve found that one of the most common questions I am asked by new cooks is ‘how on earth do I cook plain rice?’ Even many experienced cooks find that their rice turns out to be soggy and not the white,fluffy deliciousness that they had envisaged on the plate. Once you have mastered cooking plain rice, there’s a whole wealth of recipe opportunities that are opened up to you....

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Tom Keating: Art Fraud
Aug06

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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Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy Family
Aug05

Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy Family

Did the Kennedys murder Marilyn Monroe? Most people are aware that there was a strong connection between Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy family, especially John Kennedy and his brother, Robert. There is also speculation that the Kennedys were responsible for her death. Could this be the case? It’s certainly true that Marilyn had affairs with both the Kennedy brothers. It’s also true that she had a serious problem with using...

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Kyle Mills, The Man Chosen to Carry on for Author Vince Flynn.
Aug05

Kyle Mills, The Man Chosen to Carry on for Author Vince Flynn.

Kyle Mills, The Man Chosen to Carry on for Author Vince Flynn. Last June, in 2014,  it was announced that an author had been selected to complete Vince Flynn’s works in progress AND to continue the Mitch Rapp series.  The decision was made my the Vince Flynn Estate and his published, Emily Bestler Books.  That author is Mr. Kyle Mills. It’s very uplifting as a fan of the late Vince Flynn, to think that Mitch Rapp will continue to keep...

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Jeanne Louise Calment
Aug04

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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The Adventures of Enid Lindeman
Aug03

The Adventures of Enid Lindeman

The Adventures of Enid Lindeman by Lyndsy Spence. Standing at six-feet tall with handsome features and platinum hair, Enid Lindeman was never going to be a wallflower. As she gallivanted through life she accumulated four husbands, numerous lovers, and during the inter-war years her high-jinx dominated the gossip columns. Evelyn Waugh satirized her set in Vile Bodies, but the workings of his menacing imagination paled in comparison to...

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Reading The Riot Act: What Does This Mean?
Aug02

Reading The Riot Act: What Does This Mean?

What is the origin of the phrase ‘reading the riot act’? Just about everyone in the English-speaking world has either said or used this phrase. But where did it come from?  For example, someone might say ‘her behaviour is terrible – I need to read her the riot act’. The phrase has its origins in 1714 in England. Those were turbulent times in the British Isles. There were riots and revolts for several...

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Yorkshire Day
Aug01

Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire. Yorkshire, as all right-thinking people know, is known as ‘God’s Own County’ and quite right too. We’re lucky here at JAQUO because we have several Yorkshire writers. (As you would expect from a magazine of such quality). This means that JAQUO has quite a few articles about God’s Own County – the people and the places, the history and the food – which you can see here in our...

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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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