Winston Churchill
May15

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill. I don’t really remember Winston Churchill, apart from old wartime newsreels that I saw on TV when I was a kid. But there’s no doubt that he was an important part of British – and maybe the world’s – history. He was an eccentric chap,that’s for sure. He was born into wealth and was a wonderful combination of British aristocracy (his father) and American frivolous society (his...

Read More
Ramon Novarro: Murder
May15

Ramon Novarro: Murder

The sordid and gruesome murder of Ramon Navarro. At one time, he was incredibly famous.  But by 1968 he was a rather lonely old man. He lived alone in the Hollywood Hills. That year, on the night of Halloween, he was brutally murdered. The question was, why? He was – or seemed to be -nothing more than a harmless, retired man. Who was Ramon Novarro? If you’d been a movie-goer in the 1920s, you would have definitely know who...

Read More
The Race for Paris: Review
May13

The Race for Paris: Review

The Race for Paris: A novel by Meg Waite Clayton. We’ve all seen photographs taken during the Second World War but have you ever stopped to wonder about the people who took them? I have to admit that this had never crossed my mind until I read this based-on-the-facts novel. Some of the photographers were assigned by newspapers; others were official military personnel. But another fact I was unaware of until I read this book is...

Read More
Porfirio Rubirosa: The pepper mill playboy
May13

Porfirio Rubirosa: The pepper mill playboy

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

Read More
Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce, Grand Prix Gourmet, Spain
May11

Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce, Grand Prix Gourmet, Spain

  Spain is famous for its delicious satisfying cuisine, with certain dishes in particular.  Paella, gazpacho, flan, to name a few.  But there are so many other wonderful dishes, many including shrimp or other seafood.  This is a favorite featuring shrimp in a rich tomato sauce, spiced up with red chili pepper. It sounds wonderful! Since their schedule is quite different from the usual American schedule, this main dish is usually...

Read More
V.E Day: Victory in Europe
May04

V.E Day: Victory in Europe

The end of the Second World War In May 1945, Winston Churchill announced that the Second World War was over. He made this announcement in a speech on the radio. After he had done so, he went to Buckingham Palace to be with the royal family. The crowds clamoured “we want the king, we want the king” and the royals and the prime minister appeared on the famous balcony to the cheers of thousands of people. In total, the family...

Read More
Hoth Chocolate from the Star Wars Cookbook
May03

Hoth Chocolate from the Star Wars Cookbook

Hot chocolate recipe: Star Wars. Star Wars Drink Make a Star Wars hot drink on a rainy, chilly and wet day to warm you up. At least that’s what the rebellions that are hidden on Echo Base are thinking. It’s cold on ice planet of Hoth! They want to warm up with a nice chocolaty drink. Ok I bet you’re wondering where I came up with this? I have this really cool Star Wars Cookbook. It has really fun recipes in it and...

Read More
The Tasaday Tribe
May02

The Tasaday Tribe

The Stone Age Tribe: A hoax or a hoax within a hoax? In the late sixties a beautiful and heartwarming story came from the Philippines. Reports told of a cave-dwelling tribe of people –  called the Tasaday – who lived in isolation in the rainforests.  It was said that they lived in the same way as they had done for thousands of years. They were unaware of the outside world. Indeed, the twenty six people in the group...

Read More
The First and Last Voyage of the SS Gulfamerica
Apr28

The First and Last Voyage of the SS Gulfamerica

The sinking of the SS Gulfamerica. In 1942, the Second World War hardly seemed real to the many people who were enjoying their Friday evening in Jacksonville Beach. The restaurants and bars were busy, teenagers were enjoying riding the merry-go-round and sailors from the nearby naval air station were taking advantage of their weekend passes. But that Friday, April 10th, was a night they would remember. The east coast was busy with...

Read More
Who Was Rolf Stommelen?
Apr26

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...

Read More
Grand Prix Gourmet: Baku Kufte
Apr25

Grand Prix Gourmet: Baku Kufte

Kufte: Azerbaijan meatball soup. This is a fabulous soup that is really more of a main meal. It certainly makes a hearty lunch, especially when served with crusty bread to mop up the soup. A simple watercress salad is an excellent accompaniment, particularly since it is an ingredient which is very popular in Azerbaijan. Walnuts are an often-used ingredient in Azerbaijan and adding them to the watercress salad is perfect. One of the...

Read More
Viv Nicholson. The Party’s Over
Apr24

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...

Read More
Gifts for Animal Lovers: Dragonflies
Apr23

Gifts for Animal Lovers: Dragonflies

It is said that dragonflies bring success, victory, happiness, strength, courage, and adaptability. They have two set of wings but can fly with one if need be. They zip and zoom around flowers, ponds and ever around the world. They are fast. They are known for their ability to hover in one spot for a very long time as well there darting from place to place. They are amazing insects. They have a wonderful ability to adapt to their...

Read More
Cheese & Onion Pasties
Apr20

Cheese & Onion Pasties

Cheese and onion pasties recipe We used to buy frozen cheese and onion pasties from a local store – until I realised just how expensive they were and how easy they are to make at home. I don’t make pastry from scratch very often these days (when I do, this is a great recipe) and for this recipe I use ready-to bake croissant dough – it seems to be tastier that the commercial pastries you can buy. We don’t eat...

Read More
Jackie Kennedy: The Pink Suit
Apr15

Jackie Kennedy: The Pink Suit

Jackie Kennedy: The pink suit. In early November, 1963, John and Jackie Kennedy were at the White House enjoying a private dinner with newspaper columnist Joe Alsop and his wife, Susan. After dinner, John Kennedy asked his wife to show their guests the pink suit that she intended to wear during their forthcoming trip to Texas. Jackie was reluctant at first but went to her room and fetched the plain, pink suit. Yes, that one. Looking...

Read More
Who Was John Bindon?
Apr13

Who Was John Bindon?

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

Read More
Crooked Heart: By Lissa Evans
Apr13

Crooked Heart: By Lissa Evans

Crooked Heart: A review. A review copy of book recently landed at JAQUO HQ and I was captivated from the very first page. Dinner remained uncooked  (‘can’t you make do with a bowl of cornflakes?’), laundry was ignored and writing took second place to reading as I was instantly drawn into this fascinating story. It’s set in the Second World War – always a great period of history to read about – but...

Read More
Bette Davis
Apr13

Bette Davis

Bette Davis Bette Davis, who was born in 1908, was one of the most stunning and unusual actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Whereas most actresses of that era made it to success because of  their beauty, Bette Davis succeeded by sheer force of personality. Most actresses at the time wanted to be portrayed as beautiful and stylish women – Bette didn’t care about that. She took the parts of slovenly women, bitchy...

Read More
Grand Prix Gourmet: Chinese Walnut Chicken
Apr11

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...

Read More
Misheard Lyrics – What was that again?
Apr10

Misheard Lyrics – What was that again?

Driving home from work tonight I had on one of my favorite British bands, The Jam. On their album ‘All Mod Cons’ there is a lovely ballad called ‘English Rose’ which contains one of those lines that I’ve never been able to figure out. “No matter where I roam, I will return to my English rose For no buns can ever tempt me from she…” “Buns?” I’m thinking; wondering if...

Read More
Mitford Weddings: Diana Guinness & Oswald Mosley
Apr07

Mitford Weddings: Diana Guinness & Oswald Mosley

Diana Mitford & Sir Oswald Mosley. Of the six somewhat scandalous Mitford sisters, possibly the most controversial wedding was that of Diana to Oswald Mosley. It took place in Germany in October 1936 – less than three years before the outbreak of the Second World War. The marriage service was conducted in the home of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels and the guest of honour was Adolf Hitler. Both Diana and her...

Read More
The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster
Apr02

The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster

A wartime disaster in London. In 2013, two seventy year old women met for the first time. Although they were strangers, it was a highly emotional meeting. They had a common bond which involved tragedy and immense bravery. That same year, another women who was all of ninety seven years old, was interviewed about the same event – a disaster that had been covered up by the authorities for many years. March 3rd, 1943 It was the...

Read More
A day in Biarritz with King Edward
Mar31

A day in Biarritz with King Edward

King Edward VII & Alice Keppel: Annual trip to Biarritz King Edward VII was remembered with affection but he certainly enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh. He was known for enjoying fine foods, wines … and the company of his mistresses.Plural. His final mistress was Alice Keppel; the great-grandmother of today’s Duchess of Cornwall – the former Camilla Parker Bowles. For about a month every year, Edward would...

Read More
Grand Prix Gourmet:  Bahrain Chickpeas
Mar30

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...

Read More
Harry Houdini
Mar25

Harry Houdini

Who was Harry Houdini? Houdini was born as Ehrich Weiss in Budapest in 1974. As Harry Houdini, he became world famous as an escapologist and magician. He was best known for his daring and seemingly impossible escapes. Sometimes he was placed in a crate, in chains and submerged in water. Another famous escape act involved him being suspended high in the air in a straitjacket and handcuffs. Houdini never let down his audiences. His...

Read More
The Magus: John Fowles
Mar24

The Magus: John Fowles

The Magus: John Fowles. The Magus is one of my desert island books -one I can read again and again.I’ve probably read it half a dozen times – at least. My reading of this book has spanned many years. It’s a book that has been largely misunderstood, in my opinion. Many reviewers get this book completely wrong – especially the amateur reviewers at Amazon. I’d truly recommend that you don’t read them...

Read More
Succulents: Free Plants
Mar20

Succulents: Free Plants

Succulents: Free houseplants that even I can’t kill. About three years ago, I planted a tiny succulent plant in a pot outside my back door. Since that time, it has multiplied like crazy. When I recently undertook my zero-cost bathroom makeover, I decided that the room needed plants, preferably on the south-facing window ledge. But this was a no-cost renovation so there was no budget available to buy plants and anyway, I’m...

Read More
Who was Pattie Boyd?
Mar19

Who was Pattie Boyd?

Pattie Boyd, George Harrison and Eric Clapton. There must have been something special about Pattie Boyd. Actually, you might have noticed a minor pun there because Pattie supposedly was the inspiration behind George Harrison’s song Something. The Eric Clapton song Wonderful Tonight was also reputedly written about her. She was married to both men – George first and then to his best friend, Eric. She first met George in...

Read More
Pavlova: Grand Prix Gourmet, Australia
Mar16

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...

Read More
Watercress, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad
Mar09

Watercress, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad

Watercress, pecan and blue cheese salad recipe. This is probably the easiest salad in the world and can be adapted easily to suit your own tastes. One of the reasons I like this so much is that it needs no additional seasoning. The blue cheese means that no extra salt is required and the watercress has its own peppery flavour. This makes it ideal for picnics too as it means there’s no need to take condiments along.  Pack the...

Read More
Cary Grant: Early Years
Mar08

Cary Grant: Early Years

[slider] Cary Grant: An actor to remember There can’t be many people who are unaware of this debonair actor from the golden era of Hollywood. What’s particularly interesting is his background. Where did Cary Grant come from? What was his background and his career before he became a famous movie actor? Sometimes, people are surprised to find out that Grant, often seen as the epitome of the American gentleman, was actually...

Read More
Mary I of England: Phantom pregnancies
Mar03

Mary I of England: Phantom pregnancies

The phantom pregnancies of Queen Mary of England Although Mary had been born in 1516, it was only in later life that she married. Her life had been a turbulent one. As the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, she was later deemed to be illegitimate. How could this be? When Henry VIII realised that his wife Catherine would not be able to provide him with a male heir, he had their marriage annulled....

Read More
Try this Word Quiz
Mar02

Try this Word Quiz

Try this word quiz The English language is so tricky.I’m glad that it’s my native language – it must be so difficult to learn if it’s not your mother tongue. I do love words though – where they came from, what they mean, what they don’t mean… Try these Click the arrows on the right if you need extra clues. The following words are all anagrams of capital cities. PAIRS, SOLO, LOUSE, ANIMAL,...

Read More
Not Your Mother’s 7-Up Strawberry Pie Recipe
Feb24

Not Your Mother’s 7-Up Strawberry Pie Recipe

Not your mother’s 7-Up strawberry pie recipe He started this whole thing. He’d seen something somewhere (I think it was on a menu in a diner) for something called a 7-Up strawberry pie. He was intrigued. I was quite horrified. It sounded like the ultimate in junk food to me although I have to admit that just about anything with strawberries is pretty good. I looked up the recipe online (there are many) and as I’d...

Read More
The Leeds Dripping Riots
Feb22

The Leeds Dripping Riots

Yorkshire: The Leeds Dripping Riots of 1865 This is the true story of a bizarre riot that took place in Leeds in Yorkshire a hundred and fifty years ago. Although there was a death because of the riot, and hundreds of people took part, it started because of something incredibly trivial – two pounds of dripping. Here, I suspect that I have to explain to younger readers exactly what I mean by dripping <sigh>. In the north of...

Read More
Alberta Vickridge – forgotten poet and printer
Feb19

Alberta Vickridge – forgotten poet and printer

The Forgotten Bard. Alberta Vickridge? You’ve probably never heard of her. Which is a pity – because in her lifetime she was a poet of considerable talent, including poetry that won her a Bardic Crown and Bardic Chair at an Eisteddfod in 1924. She also ran her own printing press from her home in Yorkshire at a time when women in printing were uncommon. Her poetry was admired and praised by writers, such as Agatha Christie,...

Read More
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...

Read More
Augustus John
Dec23

Augustus John

Augustus John: Fryern Court, Fordingbridge. Artist Augustus John was born in Wales in 1878. He became the darling of the art world and was well-known for his eccentricities. He often wore gypsy-style clothes and lived life in his own bohemian fashion. He was married in 1900 but, because he loved women, that didn’t stop him having affairs most notably with his long-time mistress Dorothy  McNeill, usually referred to as Dorelia....

Read More
Helene Stanley
Dec23

Helene Stanley

Who was Helene Stanley? There are many people who left  an important legacy to the world of Hollywood movies but I imagine that if most of us were asked to list them, the name of Helene Stanley wouldn’t feature. But she left a lasting legacy to the Golden Era of Hollywood and it will probably surprise you. She certainly made a handful of movies but her lasting legacy was to make two films that have never been seen by the public...

Read More
Gifts for Animal Lovers: Dolphins
Dec16

Gifts for Animal Lovers: Dolphins

Love dolphins? Gift ideas. Dolphins are so popular. Is it because they always seem to be smiling? If you have someone on your gift list who loves dolphins as much as I do, then here you’ll find the perfect gifts for them to add to their collection of dolphin themed jewellery, décor items and more. I love the pendant that you see in this photograph, for example. The two dolphins are hand carved by a jewellery sculptor in Bali and...

Read More
Three Identical Strangers
Nov30

Three Identical Strangers

Why did the ‘three identical strangers’ all have sisters? Who were the three identical strangers? You may have seen the film but if you need a memory-refresh, here’s the story. And unbelievably, it’s true. The story starts in the USA in the early nineteen eighties. Robert Shafran, aged nineteen, was experiencing something strange during his first day at college. Although it was his very first day, and he knew...

Read More
1965: The Secrets of the Royal Family’s Health
Nov29

1965: The Secrets of the Royal Family’s Health

1965: The Secrets of the Royal Family’s Complexions In 1965, Mrs Alma McKee, who had spent many years working as a cook for the British royal family, revealed what sort of foods were preferred at the royal dining table. She particularly revealed the secret of the much-admired complexions of The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Princess Margaret. This, she said, was because of a simple, homemade drink that the...

Read More
Was Thomas Ince Murdered?
Nov29

Was Thomas Ince Murdered?

The mysterious death of Thomas Ince. Thomas Ince was a pioneer of early Hollywood. Yet many people haven’t heard of him, largely because of the mystery of his death. Was he murdered or did he die of natural causes? The story itself is worthy of a Hollywood mystery film. The murder, if indeed it was, took place aboard a luxury yacht belonging to a super-wealthy newspaper mogul. Aboard were actors and actresses, writers, a ballet...

Read More
Who Was Luigi Musso?
Nov28

Who Was Luigi Musso?

Racing driver Luigi Musso. Luigi was born in 1924 in Rome and by the time he was thirty years old he had joined the team that was every Italian male’s dream – Scuderia Ferrari. He was following in the footsteps of two Italian drivers who had also driven for the team – Alberto Ascari and Eugenio Castellotti. Neither Ascari or Castellotti had survived the dangerous world of Formula One racing; Ascari was thirty six...

Read More
Why Airbnb is Good for Local Businesses
Nov27

Why Airbnb is Good for Local Businesses

Does Airbnb (or similar) help the local community? We all know that the Airbnb website (and its copycat sites) are causing controversy because of the impact of ‘the sharing economy’. But can such services actually help local communities? In my experience – and thanks to various statistics – I can say ‘yes’. Before we start looking at facts and figures, let’s take a look at the average Airbnb...

Read More
Who was Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne?
Nov26

Who was Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne?

Suzanne: The girl in the song. Arguably, Leonard Cohen’s most famous song is Suzanne. But who was Suzanne and what inspired the song? Like Cohen, Suzanne Verdal was Canadian. Despite what many people believe,she was not a girlfriend  of his but they had a platonic friendship. And surprisingly, the lyrics of the song – which Cohen wrote originally as a poem – are quite literal. Suzanne really did live in a...

Read More
Victorian Food
Nov25

Victorian Food

Victorian food: Stodgy? ‘Stodgy’ is a word that is often used the describe the people who lived in the Victorian era. It’s used to describe their attitudes and also their food.But was that really the case? We’ve traditionally been led to think that yes, Victorian food meant tables groaning with stodgy pies and puddings but in fact, this is far from the reality. Take vegetarianism for example. The first...

Read More
Who Was the Girl from Ipanema?
Nov24

Who Was the Girl from Ipanema?

Antonio Carlos Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes: The Girl from Ipanema. One of the finest songs of the twentieth century is now classed as ‘muzak’ – something light to be listened to in elevators or when you’re on hold. Sadly. But who was the girl from Ipanema? Did she really exist? She certainly did – her name is Heloisa Pinto (pictured on the right). In the early nineteen sixties, when she was fifteen she...

Read More
No-Fry Falafel: Grand Prix Gourmet, Abu Dhabi
Nov24

No-Fry Falafel: Grand Prix Gourmet, Abu Dhabi

Healthier, no-fry falafel. These delicious falafel are meat-free and unlike most falafel recipes, they do not need to be fried. You can optionally baste them with a little olive oil if you wish but most times, I don’t bother – they don’t really need it. You can eat these alone for a snack but I like to serve them in pita bread. Halve and split the bread to make pockets, add the falafel and some lettuce, chopped...

Read More
November 22, 1963
Nov21

November 22, 1963

November 22, 1963 – An event that changed everyone’s life. Arriving in Dallas, Texas – November 22, 1963   John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas. Kennedy was fatally shot by a sniper while traveling with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Mrs Nellie...

Read More
Rocco DiSpirito: Cook Your Butt Off!
Nov19

Rocco DiSpirito: Cook Your Butt Off!

Rocco DiSpirito: Cook Your Butt Off! I would have really preferred Mr DiSpirito to have called this fascinating book something else, but never mind. It’s still pretty amazing and as for the recipes – wow. Yes, this is a weight loss book but it’s certainly one with a difference and something I love is that it’s incredibly easy to follow. Rocco gives a two-week eating plan, plus the recipes and shopping lists,...

Read More
Kanga: Camilla’s Rival, Lady Dale Tryon
Nov16

Kanga: Camilla’s Rival, Lady Dale Tryon

Prince Charles’ other mistress, Kanga If you look up Dale Tryon in Wikipedia, you will read that she was a ‘close friend of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales’. That is not strictly speaking true.  Dale, known by the nickname of Kanga, was actually Charles’ mistress prior to his marriage and as such, a rival for his affections. Her story is tragic. Charles loved women who were blonde, attractive and...

Read More
Charles and Camilla
Nov13

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...

Read More
Looking at Paintings (4) – ‘Trenches’
Nov11

Looking at Paintings (4) – ‘Trenches’

On the 1st July 1916, the Battle of the Somme was launched during World War One. By the end of that day alone 60,000 British and Empire troops had been killed or wounded. It should be remembered too, that the overall Somme campaign led to over half a million German casualties. Among the advancing troops on the 1st July 1916 were 2,000 members of the ‘Bradford Pals’ – men drawn together as volunteers at the start of the war from the...

Read More
The Angels of Mons
Nov08

The Angels of Mons

The Angels of Mons: Did they save British soldiers in the First World War? Many people believed so at the time. The First World War – and the following years – saw a huge increase in the belief of spiritualism and the supernatural. We can understand this. So many young men were killed in the conflict and it was comforting for their loved ones to believe that they had gone to’a better place’ — and that...

Read More
The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard
Nov08

The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard

The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard: Review  A James Maxted Thriller I was lucky in having a review copy of this book so that I could alert you to it so that you could pre-order. I highly recommend it. The story will intrigue you from the first page. Set in 1919, the book opens with James Maxted, a World War 1 flyer, sizing up a couple of planes that he intends to buy to start a flying school. But his negotiations are interrupted...

Read More
Life on a WW1 U-Boat
Nov08

Life on a WW1 U-Boat

 What was life like aboard a WW1 U-boat? You have probably never pondered this question. Neither had I until I read a book which, as part of the narrative, explained what life was like aboard for the crew of a German sub in the First World War. And it sounds like a nightmare. Hellish, in fact. Of course, life in any submarine is, or was,  likely to be claustrophobic. In the last century, it’s likely that fresh air was something...

Read More
The Perfect Chaise with Storage
Nov03

The Perfect Chaise with Storage

The storage chaise. A perfect solution for small spaces. When space is at a premium in your home, it’s wonderful to find a stylish and chic piece of furniture that is so useful, wonderfully attractive and even gives you extra storage in your room. This comfortable seat will provide you with extra seating for guests, it’s the perfect item for a reading nook and it even makes a convenient spare bed for a child. It’s 63...

Read More
Songs about Cities – Liverpool
Nov02

Songs about Cities – Liverpool

When I was old enough to know about Liverpool it was almost being talked about in the past tense.  Liverpool for three hundred years was a magnificent seaport, the second city of Empire, with a flourishing trade with Virginia and the English colonies in America. It grew even larger during the industrial revolution as most of the English north east’s trade left via Liverpool docks. During the 20th century, especially after World...

Read More
Today in history: November
Nov01

Today in history: November

What happened on this day in November? 1st Abigail’s Party shown on TV for the first time Ricardo Rodriguez died 1962 L. S. Lowry born 1887 2nd George Bernard Shaw died 1950 3rd Bert Jansch born 1943 Lulu born 1948 4th Reg Dean born 1902 Marguerite Patten born 1915 Robert Mapplethorpe born 1946 5th John Fowles died 2005 Idina Sackville died 1955 John Alcock born 1892 6th SS City of Cairo torpedoed 1942 Charles McVay died 1968...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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....

Read More
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,...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
“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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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’...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More