Started Early, Took My Dog: Kate Atkinson
Jun20

Started Early, Took My Dog: Kate Atkinson

Started Early, Took My Dog: Kate Atkinson What a remarkable book. It’s always a little tricky to write about a mystery story without alerting the reader to spoilers but if you’ve read Kate Atkinson’s books before, you’ll know that you’re in for a treat. If you haven’t, then what are you waiting for? It’s certainly time you discovered this author and her current series. Kate Atkinson has always...

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The Girl in the Song: She’s Leaving Home
Jun19

The Girl in the Song: She’s Leaving Home

The Beatles’ She’s Leaving Home: The inspiration. Melanie Coe was seventeen years old when she ran away from home. The story of her disappearance was reported in the British newspaper, The Daily Mirror, and when Paul McCartney read it, he began to write the song She’s Leaving Home. What he didn’t realise what that he had met Melanie three years previously, in 1963. She had been on the television show, Ready,...

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Spicy eggplant recipe from India
Jun19

Spicy eggplant recipe from India

Spicy eggplant recipe from India Serve this fabulous eggplant dish as a side or an appetiser. It’s lovely as a meat-free meal too, served with rice and yogurt. Or serve with Indian flatbreads for a truly authentic touch.     Save Print Spicy eggplant recipe from India Rating  5 from 1 reviews Cook time:  1 hour Total time:  1 hour Serves: 6 Ingredients 1¾ pounds eggplant, cut into wedges about 2 inches...

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The Ghost and Mrs Muir
Jun18

The Ghost and Mrs Muir

The Ghost and Mrs Muir: Movie This is the most lovely film. It’s a love story, a weepie, a ghost story and a comedy all in one. Released in 1945, it has all the charm and drama of the Hollywood era. It’s set in the early 1900s and Lucy Moore has recently been widowed. Determined to start  new life away from her in-laws, she and her small daughter move to a remote rented house near the sea. She’s been warned that the...

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The Yorkshireman and the South Pole
Jun17

The Yorkshireman and the South Pole

On December 13, 2013, Major Ibrar Ali of the Yorkshire Regiment stood at the SouthPole. With him were eleven other service-men and -women, a handful of guides and organisers, oh – and Prince Harry from the British Royal Family. The entire team had trekked (although that’s far too mild a word) across 200 kilometres of punishing snow and ice, through brutally low temperatures for thirteen days, dragging their equipment...

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Demis Roussos
Jun15

Demis Roussos

 Who was Demis Roussos? Demis Roussos was the most unlikely popular singer. In the nineteen seventies, when women were throwing their knickers at the (mildly sexy) Tom Jones, along came this fat, hairy Greek who sang like a girl – and his female fans loved him. He was the most unlikely sex symbol. Demis was incredibly popular in England and he put this down to the availability of cheaper European travel. He suggested that his...

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Stephanie Hoffnung
Jun14

Stephanie Hoffnung

Stephanie Hoffnung: Just one Jew. June 1942: Every evening, German SS officers would hammer on the door of the Hoffnung family’s home in Rue Riffault, Poitiers. This was occupied France and the Hoffnungs were Jewish. Led by Adjutant Wilhelm Hipp, the officers would visit Jewish homes to ensure that they were complying with the various rules and curfews that had been imposed. Any deviation from these rules and regulations could...

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The Monsanto House of the Future
Jun12

The Monsanto House of the Future

A glimpse into the future in the nineteen fifties. I know that this sounds like something Doc Emmett Brown would say but it’s interesting to go back and see what ideas people had about the future. In 1957 the idea of the future was something that fascinated the Disney organisation and also a firm called the Monsanto Company. They thought, in common with Mr. Robinson from The Graduate, that the future could be summed up in one...

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Why Did Henry VIII Marry Six Times?
Jun11

Why Did Henry VIII Marry Six Times?

Why did Henry VIII marry six times? There was a very good reason indeed. But I was talking to someone recently who truly believed that Henry VIII married six women because he was a horny old goat who just liked to trade wives in for a newer model. Henry had a much greater goal and one that was, in those times, incredibly important to the country. In 1524, King Henry was in his early thirties. He was incredibly tall and good looking,...

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The Le Mans Disaster 1955
Jun11

The Le Mans Disaster 1955

Le Mans, 1955. The prestigious and exciting Twenty Four Hours of Le Mans race, or Les 24 Heures du Mans, is the oldest sportscar race in the world, having been run since 1923. It is also one of the most dangerous. Twenty two drivers have died there in total but this figure doesn’t include serious injury or other personnel such as marshals, track employees and spectators. The worst of these events was the 1955 Le Mans race when a...

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All Time Hero:  Jack Johnson
Jun10

All Time Hero: Jack Johnson

We learn and grow, we make heroes of our own. For me, being a child of the 60s there were astronauts and civil rights leaders, soccer stars and Olympic champs. Gran loved her music, so Nat King Cole, Paul Robeson and Ray Charles were high on my list. Dad’s a big sports fan, and Cassius Clay impressed as much by his trash talking as his skills in the ring. The undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. If someone wanted to...

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Louis de Rougemont
Jun09

Louis de Rougemont

Who was Louis de Rougemont? Louis de Rougemont achieved fame in 1898 when London’s Wide World magazine published a serialised account of his adventures.Readers were electrified. For the magazine told that Rougemont had spent thirty years living with cannibals in Australia –  as their king and leader. It all began in the 1860s when Rougemont was shipwrecked when he was pearl hunting in the Pacific. He and his trusty canine...

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Anthony Bourdain: Five Essential Kitchen Tools
Jun08

Anthony Bourdain: Five Essential Kitchen Tools

Anthony Bourdain: Five Essential Kitchen Tools Anthony Bourdain is probably one of the best known American chefs today. Having French grandparents, he claims that his love of food and cooking comes from the vacations he spent in France as a child. In his book Kitchen Confidential, he tells a great deal about the life of a restaurateur and the workings of  commercial kitchens. His stories are illuminating and sometimes extremely funny....

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Art Matters: Vincent and Paul
Jun08

Art Matters: Vincent and Paul

Andy Royston takes a look at Vincent van Gogh’s Chairs of 1888, and a fraught relationship with his houseguest, Paul Gauguin. ‘At the bottom of our hearts good old Gauguin and I understand each other, and if we’re a bit mad, so be it, aren’t we also a little sufficiently deeply artistic to contradict anxieties in that regard by what we say with the brush?‘  Vincent Van Gogh –  letter to Theo van Gogh. Arles,...

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Reginald Warneford: Reckless Rex
Jun07

Reginald Warneford: Reckless Rex

Reginald Warneford: War hero. Known as Reckless Rex because of his devil-may-care attitude, Reginald was a First World War fighter pilot. He was the first pilot for bring down one of the fearsome Zeppelins that the Germans unleashed upon Britain in 1915. And just ten days later, an air crash took Reginald’s life. He had been born in India where his father was a railway engineer. It’s said that he received no formal...

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Eva, Zsa Zsa and Magda Gabor
Jun06

Eva, Zsa Zsa and Magda Gabor

Three sisters, twenty marriages, nineteen husbands and one child. The Gabor sisters were all born during the First World War. They were born in Hungary, all three ended up in the States and between them they married twenty times. There were fifteen divorces, a couple of annulments yet only one child resulted from these many unions.   Zsa Zsa Zsa Zsa Gabor was probably the most famous of the three sisters — and she was the...

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Just Kids – Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe
Jun05

Just Kids – Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe

I first heard Patti Smith as a teenager. The song – if you can call it a song, was Piss Factory, an extraordinary conversational poem set to haunting improvised free-jazz piano by Richard Sohl. It turned out to be from Patti Smith’s first recording session, and tells a story partly related to her time working in a low paid job back in New Jersey, at a factory that made baby buggies. It was a soul destroying environment,...

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Mrs Miniver
Jun04

Mrs Miniver

Mrs Miniver: The woman who won the war. Well, not literally but Winston Churchill said that her contribution to the war was worth more than six ‘divisions of war effort’ and that she had done more for the war effort than a ‘flotilla of battleships’. So who was she? Even more surprising than Churchill’s praise was the fact that she was a fictional character. But it’s said that she affected the...

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Songs About Cities : Paris
Jun03

Songs About Cities : Paris

Ten Songs For Paris In setting out to compile a favorite list of Paris songs I admit to being totally anglo-centric. There are hundreds of exceptional songs and performances en francais and a few great blogs cover this very well (a great example is this by Paris Attitude)  so I won’t even attempt. Paris seemed to have inspired the jazz generation very much – there are enough Frank Sinatra songs about the city to fill an...

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After Queen Elizabeth II: What will happen?
Jun01

After Queen Elizabeth II: What will happen?

After Queen Elizabeth II: What will happen? The last time a monarch died was in 1952.  That is more than a lifetime ago for many of us and the world is a very different place now. Although many believe in the line from the National Anthem ‘long to reign over us’, we have to admit that, having been born in 1926, she may be coming to the end of her time as monarch. No, I don’t believe she will abdicate and it may be...

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Today in history: June
Jun01

Today in history: June

What happened on this day in June? 1st Sgt Pepper album released 1967 Nissan Motor Company founded 1934 Crete falls to Germany 1941 Helen Keller died 1968 Marilyn Monroe born 1926 Germany launched the first Zeppelin raid against England 1915 She’s Leaving Home released 1967 2nd: The Ways of the World published 2015 Reg Spiers sentenced to death 1987 Queen Elizabeth II crowned 1953 Peter Sutcliffe born 1946 Wallace Hartley born...

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A Song for Sunrise – Mary Margaret O’Hara
May31

A Song for Sunrise – Mary Margaret O’Hara

Mary Margaret O’Hara turned up in London back in 1988 to play a show at one of those old London jewel box theaters. She’d released a remarkable album earlier in the year called Miss America, which had been a fascination of mine from the off. I couldn’t wait to see if she could live up to her extraordinary record. On Mary’s music there’s nothing particularly unusual going on. Accomplished country tinged...

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Five Faves : The Florida Keys
May30

Five Faves : The Florida Keys

Key West lies 150 miles from Miami, but the drive along the route is an unforgettable experience; one of the world’s classic road trips. Making the drive off the mainland and along the long and winding ‘ocean highway’ all the way to mile marker zero is a real Florida pleasure. It’s a classic because, like all great trips it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey and what happens along...

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Who Was Buster Edwards?
May29

Who Was Buster Edwards?

Who was Buster Edwards? If you’re English and ‘of a certain age’ you’ll recognise the name. If you don’t then it might intrigue you know that he was  petty criminal who became something of a folk hero in Britain in the 1960s. For Buster was one of the men who took part in what was known as The Great Train Robbery in 1963. Although the robbers got away with a huge amount of money the general attitude of...

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Diana Dors
May28

Diana Dors

Who was Diana Dors? Diana Dors was an English actress and sexy movie star who was popular in the nineteen fifties and sixties. She was often compared to Marilyn Monroe. She was gorgeous, and rather a naughty girl but she typified the ‘tart with heart of gold’. She became a much loved British institution. When she was younger, and she became a well-known movie and television star when still in her teens – most...

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Joan Crawford
May27

Joan Crawford

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

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Simple Salmon
May26

Simple Salmon

A simple salmon recipe So many times, fish is smothered in elaborate, rich sauces. If the fish isn’t quite perfect, then a sauce can really help but sometimes fish cooked simply can be far better. That’s especially the case if you’re cooking some lovely, fresh salmon. Below is a very simple to prepare salmon recipe from Scotland that I first found published in the nineteen seventies. Scotland of course, is famous for...

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Clutter Control: The Home Lost Property Station
May25

Clutter Control: The Home Lost Property Station

Keep your home tidy – easily and quickly. When your surroundings give you joy and pleasure, life is so much better. This is especially the case in your own domain – your home. And looking round and seeing a neat and tidy environment isn’t just good for your soul – it’s been proved that clutter can damage your well-being. But it’s easier said than done, isn’t it? In fact, it can be so easy and...

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Grand Prix Gourmet: Quiche Monaco
May24

Grand Prix Gourmet: Quiche Monaco

Quiche Monaco recipe Everyone should have a great quiche recipe in their repertoire. Quiche is incredibly adaptable and you can vary the fillings depending on your taste and the ingredients you have to hand. This delicious version features wonderful goat cheese and some additional fabulous flavours. Use your favourite pastry recipe or, which is what I do these days, use frozen. The great thing about quiche is that it can be served as...

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Alberto Ascari
May24

Alberto Ascari

Ascari’s lucky racing helmet. Alberto Ascari was born in Italy in 1918. By the time he started motor racing as a young man, it was one of the most dangerous occupations in Europe. He knew this because his own father – also a racing driver – had been killed when Alberto was only seven years old. By the mid nineteen fifties, Alberto had twice won the Formula One World Championship and was looking forward to continuing...

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Fingersmith: A Victorian saga
May23

Fingersmith: A Victorian saga

Fingersmith: Fascinating Victorian tale This film is astounding. It is everything you’d expect from an adaptation of a novel set in Victorian times but much, much more. The plot has twists and turns which are totally unexpected. It tells of a girl, Sue, who hails from the seamier side of London. Imagine a Fagin-like den of thieves and this will give you some idea of her background. She is persuaded – by the promise of a...

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Ring in the Spring – Woodland Bluebells
May22

Ring in the Spring – Woodland Bluebells

It’s been a long time since I lived within walking distance of an English wood. At this time of year the best ones become a magical perfumed carpet of blue flowers and can’t help but remind me of a childhood long gone. On visits to England I always to try to take a walk through the woodlands, to breathe in that heady scent concoction: Gorse, wild garlic, Scots pine, wet woodland, hawthorn blossom, honeysuckle, stinkhorn,...

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Obsolete Words: Quiz
May21

Obsolete Words: Quiz

Test your knowledge: Obsolete words Isn’t it amazing how quickly our language changes? Today, we regularly use words that simply wouldn’t have been understood fifty years ago. Even some words we might think of as relatively ‘modern’ are outdated. Do today’s children understand words and phrases like ‘cassette player ‘, ‘floppy disk’, ‘Netscape’, ‘typewriter’...

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The Best Royal Wedding Dress – Ever!
May20

The Best Royal Wedding Dress – Ever!

I don’t know about you but royal wedding dresses are usually a disappointment for me. They are either remarkably plain (apologies to the Duchess of Cambridge but hers was boring) or they compete in fluffiness with the wedding cake (the eighties was a bad time for this – Princess Diana’s and The Duchess of York’s are good examples). But there was a royal wedding in 2011 when the dress was simply perfect. In...

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The Flight of Nungesser, Coli and the White Bird
May20

The Flight of Nungesser, Coli and the White Bird

Nungesser, Coli and the White Bird: Mysterious disappearance. In 1924 a New York hotelier named Raymond Orteig renewed an aviation challenge he had issued a few years earlier. He offered the sum of $25,000 to any ‘person or persons’ who could fly nonstop between France and the United States. His previous offer had been largely ignored because it was generally thought that such a flight was impossible. But two men took up...

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The Last of the Blonde Bombshells
May19

The Last of the Blonde Bombshells

The Last of the Blonde Bombshells: Movie If like me you’re tired of some of the films we see today and are looking to watch a movie that’s truly hilarious, a great story and a little bit of a weepie then I highly recommend The Last of the Blonde Bombshells. As a bonus,or rather two, it has wonderful music and an impressive cast including the fabulous Dame Judi Dench. The film flips between modern day (well, 2000) and the...

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Who was Pancho Barnes?
May17

Who was Pancho Barnes?

Who was Pancho Barnes? She was no beauty, that’s for sure, but she was one of the fastest-living, hardiest partying girls of the last century. She was married four times, was a Hollywood stunt pilot and spent her way through several fortunes.   The girl who was destined to escape from Mexican rebels by dressing as a man, and who could out-party, out-drink and out-everything most men she met, was born with the demure name of...

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Lipton’s tea: Victorian advertising
May15

Lipton’s tea: Victorian advertising

Lipton’s tea: Victorian advertising. One of the first exponents of what we now call guerilla marketing must have been Thomas Lipton, back in Victorian times.  This grocery store owner was the master of publicity stunts. Sir Thomas was a Scot and on 9th July, 1878, traffic was at a halt in his hometown of Glasgow, as people watched the progress of three chubby and content pigs, dressed in bright clothes, and bearing the slogan...

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King Edward VII. The truth about his death
May14

King Edward VII. The truth about his death

King Edward VII. The truth about his death. One of history’s myths regards the death of King Edward VII,  the actions of his wife Queen Alexandra and of his mistress Alice Keppel. The king was in his late seventies when he was taken ill – at first with a series of chills. He had always enjoyed what we might call the pleasures of the flesh – fine dining, splendid wines and of course, a series of beautiful and charming...

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Build a Library of Thought
May14

Build a Library of Thought

What we can all learn from Neil deGrasse Tyson. What is it that we can all learn from a man who is an astrophysicist and cosmologist? That is, apart from astrophysics and cosmology. Neil explains why we should all build a ‘library of thought’. He starts by explaining that when he was a child, he’d visit the local library. Everything he needed to know was in there. Every time he had a query, his question would be...

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Ian Fleming, James Bond and … Bob Marley
May13

Ian Fleming, James Bond and … Bob Marley

Did Ian Fleming model James Bond on himself? Ian Fleming’s most famous creation was, of course, James Bond. And to some extent, the author was the character. He had been involved in espionage during the Second World War but there are certainly other similarities. The fictional James Bond enjoyed a drink (shaken not stirred, of course) and definitely his love of women was a great feature of the 007 persona. Fleming liked a drink...

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Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce, Grand Prix Gourmet, Spain
May12

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...

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Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès
May12

Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès

Who is Princess Gabriella? You see, the thing is this. I have decided who Prince George ought to marry. OK, I know that he was born in 2013 so marriage is hardly on his list of priorities right now.  So yes, I’m a bit premature. Marriage might not be on the cards for another twenty five or thirty years by which time I might no longer be around (I’ll be amazed if I am) so I’m going to get my selection in now. I know...

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ValuJet Flight 592
May12

ValuJet Flight 592

The crash of ValuJet Flight 592. This was the worst aviation accident in Florida and happened on May 11th, 1996. The plane crashed into the Florida Everglades. There were no survivors. The aircraft took off from Dallas-Fort Worth at 8.20 in the morning. It was bound for Miami and there was a scheduled stop in Atlanta. Everything went as usual. At 2.30 in the afternoon, the plane was cleared for takeoff from Miami Airport for its...

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The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car
May11

The Bonnie and Clyde Death Car

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

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Is Eating Chicken Dangerous?
May10

Is Eating Chicken Dangerous?

Chicken health scare. Let’s look at the latest statistics from the UK. A year-long study has discovered that 73% – very nearly three quarters – of supermarket chickens contain the campylobacter bacteria. This causes over quarter of a million cases of food poisoning in Britain every year, about one hundred of which are fatal. When you consider that the population is 64 million, and that over 3 million people are...

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Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin: Review.
May09

Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin: Review.

Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin: Review. This was the latest review copy to land on the editorial desk at JAQUO HQ and I’m so glad it did. It’s very funny, it moves along at a hare-brained pace and you’ll love the quirky characters as they stumble through the strange world of Hollywood in present day. But this is not all glamour and ‘swimming pools, movie stars’ – this is the reality of a...

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Song For Sunrise – The Sopranos
May08

Song For Sunrise – The Sopranos

“Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun…” The opening titles to the most highly rated TV show of the 21st century starts with a rumbling bass-driven trip hop track, and what sounds like a southern fried pick-up trucker drawling the lyrics. A small-time mobster, who we’d later get to know as Tony Soprano, speeds out of the Lincoln tunnel and heads down the New Jersey turnpike into the setting sunshine. The...

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The Man who Sank the Lusitania
May05

The Man who Sank the Lusitania

The man who sank the Lusitania – Walther von Schwieger On Friday, April 30th, 1915, a German U-boat left a naval base in the North Sea. The submarine traveled around Scotland, then down to Ireland. She was commanded by thirty year old Kapitänleutnant Walther von Schwieger. The following day, the passenger liner Lusitania, with over fifteen hundred people aboard, left New York bound for England. The two vessels were to meet and...

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Barbara Taylor Bradford: A Woman of Substance
May05

Barbara Taylor Bradford: A Woman of Substance

Barbara Taylor Bradford: A Woman of Substance. I recently read and reviewed Ms Taylor Bradford’s latest book The Cavendon Women (which I recommend heartily) and this made me eager to reread the first books of hers that I ever read. Coincidentally, it was also the author’s first book. I can assure you that it stands the test of time admirably and reading it again now I find that it is just as absorbing as it was when I...

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Mexican Jewellery from Guillermo Arregui
May05

Mexican Jewellery from Guillermo Arregui

Stylish,original jewellery from Mexico. Guillermo Arregui creates the most wonderful jewellery in his Mexican silversmith workshop. The necklace you see on the right is a lovely example. There are more further down the page and you’ll see that  Guillermo combines traditional method sand design but brings them completely up to date. He takes much of his inspiration from nature, from the natural stones that are available in Mexico...

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Mexican Cabbage Salad
May04

Mexican Cabbage Salad

Mexican Cabbage Salad Mexican Cabbage Salad is another recipe I’ve tried to replicate from a favorite local restaurant in San Diego. Cinco de Mayo or anytime, it’s a family favorite. It brings back memories of leisurely dinners complete with margaritas, chips and salsa, and friends. We often enjoyed sharing one of these salads with our dinner order. Usually we make coleslaw with mayo, but this is so crisp and refreshing with oil and...

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The Superga Air Disaster
May04

The Superga Air Disaster

In May 1949, a man who couldn’t get his passport renewed, another who was ill with influenza and an injured footballer were the luckiest men in Italy. For they could not be on the trip when their colleagues in the Torino football team  all perished in a tragic air crash when they were on  their way back from playing a friendly match in Lisbon. When the accident happened, on May 4th, there were thirty one people in the plane....

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May the Fourth be With You: Recipes
May04

May the Fourth be With You: Recipes

Star Wars recipes! May 4th is Star Wars Day and JAQUO writer Cheryl has put together a selection of recipes especially to celebrate this day. And oh boy, are they out of this world! Smoothies from the Star Wars Cookbook May the force of baking be with you in the kitchen! I was looking for an adventurous cookbook and stumbled across this Star Wars Cookbook. I was like I gotta have it. It looked so fun when I read the reviews about it....

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Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: Review
May03

Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: Review

Sass, Smarts, and Stilettos: How Italian Women Make the Ordinary, Extraordinary. The author of this book, Gabriella Contestabile, was brought up in North America (first Canada and then the United States) but had been born in Italy. She left the country of her birth when she was just four years old and unsurprisingly, when she grew up she became more interested in the Italy she barely remembered rather than her now home country. She...

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Scandinavian Potato Cakes Recipe
May03

Scandinavian Potato Cakes Recipe

Scandinavian Potato Cakes Recipe These are a real treat for breakfast. Although the batter needs to be refrigerated for thirty minutes it could be made ahead and then each potato cake (which are actually more like pancakes) take two minutes each to cook. The potatoes add valuable nutrients to the dish and the entire recipe is low-cost. Although the original recipe calls for applesauce to serve (which is delicious and adds more...

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The Great Jacksonville Fire
May03

The Great Jacksonville Fire

Jacksonville fire: 1901. Friday, May 3rd, 1901 was a beautiful day in Jacksonville, Florida. The sky was blue and there was no wind – it was perfect Floridian weather. At the Cleveland Fibre Factory, workers were sitting outside enjoying their lunch and there was a delicious smell of food cooking on a wood burning stove from a nearby shanty. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the smell that was floating through the air –...

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Galaxy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
May02

Galaxy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Galaxy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Recipe. A fun specialty sandwich from my Star Wars Cookbook is a Galaxy Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Now this isn’t your average plain jane grilled cheese sandwich. I has pickles on it. I like pickles but wasn’t sure of them grilled with cheese but to my surprise it was super tasty after I made and tried them. It’s just basically making your grilled cheese sandwiches as you normally do...

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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...

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Citrus Chicken Recipe
May01

Citrus Chicken Recipe

Citrus chicken recipe This is a recipe that I’ve had for ages and although we no longer eat meat,I often use this recipe to make the yummy sauce when we are having guests for a barbecued meal. The recipe is very tasty when made exactly as you see it below. When I’m making it as is, I just make a couple of changes — but it’s up to you. I serve the grapefruit and kiwi in separate bowls rather than using the fruit...

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Ayrton Senna
May01

Ayrton Senna

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

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Working with text: Tables
Apr30

Working with text: Tables

Working with text: Tables Format a menu using tables I have several clients who are restaurateurs and they know the importance of well-presented menus. Therefore, I often find myself working on them. When working with almost all text jobs, creating tables and cells is an important way of layout out the information. They keep the text in a regular, tidy form with nothing to distract the eater from the menu offerings. Oh, and I always...

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Marthe Cohn & Jacques Delaunay
Apr29

Marthe Cohn & Jacques Delaunay

Love and tragedy in occupied France. In 1941 Marthe Hoffnung was living with her family in occupied France. Life was hard for them. It wasn’t just the hardships of the German occupation that made life so difficult – the Hoffnung family was Jewish. In April that year, Marthe had her twenty first birthday and her parents, who tried to make life as normal as possible for Marthe and her siblings, allowed her to have a small...

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Grand Prix Gourmet: Baku Kufte
Apr28

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...

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Viv Nicholson. The Party’s Over
Apr27

Viv Nicholson. The Party’s Over

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

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Ramon Novarro: Murder
Apr26

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...

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Tragic Truth Behind Sheffield’s Famous Graffiti
Apr25

Tragic Truth Behind Sheffield’s Famous Graffiti

The story behind the ‘I love you’ bridge. In 2001 local residents in the Park Hill area of Sheffield saw a rather amazing piece of graffiti. It wasn’t just that it was an ‘aww’ moment, it was also remarkable because of its location. It was written on the side of a walkway bridge one hundred and thirty feet off the ground. It read ‘Clare Middleton I Love You Will U Marry Me’. Everyone who saw...

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Lamb & Chicken Gabonais Recipe from Marion Preminger
Apr25

Lamb & Chicken Gabonais Recipe from Marion Preminger

Lamb & Chicken Gabonais Recipe from Marion Mill Preminger Before we get to this African recipe,I’ll just explain first that Marion Mill was the one-time wife of movie director and producer, Otto Preminger. She then fell in love with a suspected Nazi spy, unsuccessfully, and then spent many years working with Albert Schweitzer in his hospital in Africa. By 1964, she was living in New York with her husband Albert Mayer, a...

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The Mysterious Death of  Wallis Simpson
Apr24

The Mysterious Death of Wallis Simpson

What happened to Wallis Simpson after the Duke of Windsor died? Wallis was of course, the Duchess of Windsor. Her husband the duke had formerly been King Edward VIII and famously he abdicated in 1936 so that he could marry her. Their affair and subsequent marriage had tongues wagging on both sides of the Atlantic and was the constitutional crisis of the twentieth century. They had a curious, scandalous and rather sad married life but...

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Fashion Revolution Day
Apr24

Fashion Revolution Day

What is Fashion Revolution Day? On April 24th, 2013, a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed. Over 1100 people were killed and many more injured. Bangladesh is one of the countries that produces the most garments and many of the clothes that were being manufactured in the ill-fated factory were destined to be sent to the western world. In other words, they were making the clothes that you and I buyin our local stores. To mark the...

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The Duchess of Cambridge
Apr23

The Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge. On 19th July, 1981, Carole and Mike Middleton sat down in front of their television – as did millions throughout the world – to watch the wedding of Diana Spencer to Prince Charles. Little did they know that thirty years later, they would see their as yet unborn daughter marrying the son of the happy couple. At the time Charles married Diana, Carole Middleton was in the early stages of pregnancy...

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Queen Elizabeth II: The world’s oldest serving monarch
Apr22

Queen Elizabeth II: The world’s oldest serving monarch

Queen Elizabeth II: The world’s oldest serving monarch. Princess Elizabeth became queen on 6th February, 1952. Little did she know that she would become the oldest monarch in the world. On 23rd January, 2015, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died at the age of ninety making the queen the oldest sovereign. She was born in 1926. Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years, 216 days, a record the queen topped in September 2015. Victoria lived...

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Living to Tell the Tale
Apr22

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Living to Tell the Tale

The early life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Should you read this amazing book before you read his novels? That wasn’t an issue for me because I have been reading Marquez for decades so to me, this book is a wonderful way about learning more. More, not just about the author’s life but how his books and stories are crafted. I knew that basic facts of his life – born in the nineteen twenties in Colobia, a journalist in...

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Eric Jackson: The Chieftain Rally 1973
Apr21

Eric Jackson: The Chieftain Rally 1973

Eric Jackson: Chieftain Rally 1973 Rally driver Eric Jackson was strictly a Ford man. The only recorded competition car he drove that wasn’t a Ford was a Vauxhall in the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally. So it’s not surprising that when Jacko had ‘the big one’ – the rally accident that nearly finished him off – he was driving a Ford Escort. Here’s a photograph of how he managed to rearrange the car:...

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Fort Lauderdale: For the Business Traveller
Apr20

Fort Lauderdale: For the Business Traveller

Travelling to Fort Lauderdale on business? Every year studies show that business travel is increasing rapidly. And many of these travellers are looking for accommodation that offers something more than faceless chain hotels. We have just the place for you. Instead of an out-of-the-way hotel, stay at your own waterfront apartment with every facility  – that’s close to the beach and the very best shopping and dining...

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Cheese & Onion Pasties
Apr18

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...

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Florida Birds : An Osprey’s Catch
Apr16

Florida Birds : An Osprey’s Catch

The beach here in Florida that I walk daily tends to be pretty quiet, birdwise. The coastline here is smooth and clear, with unfettered lines and shallow shores. It’s a big city beach, where the A1A coastal highway runs right alongside the ocean. The backshore dunes are shallow here, and there are few patches of wilderness to speak of.  These quiet beaches support an unseen wildlife including worms, bivalves and crustaceans,...

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RMS Titanic: The band
Apr14

RMS Titanic: The band

The musicians of the Titanic It’s over a hundred years ago that the Titanic sank with such an appalling loss of life but we’re still fascinated by the fate of this ‘unsinkable’ ship and its passengers and crew. All the band members went down with the ship. Who were these men? And what is the truth about the last song they played as the ship went down?   Those of us whose first movie exposure to the story...

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Myths Surrounding the Sinking of RMS Titanic.
Apr14

Myths Surrounding the Sinking of RMS Titanic.

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

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What Does ‘Dord’ Mean?
Apr14

What Does ‘Dord’ Mean?

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

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Spicy onion fritters
Apr14

Spicy onion fritters

Spicy onion fritters – or use the vegetables of your choice. These vegetable fritters are so delicious.Part of the reason for that is the beautifully light batter. It’s truly fabulous and contains a special secret ingredient. I like to make onion fritters using this special batter – it’s really so light and tasty – but I’ve experimented with other vegetables too. Use whatever you have available...

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A song for Sunrise – The Cherokee Morning Song
Apr13

A song for Sunrise – The Cherokee Morning Song

Over looking our Fort Lauderdale beach, his eyes trained on the morning sun, is a single tree totem, the Whispering Giant. He was carved out of a single cyress log by Hungarian-born scuptor Peter Wolf Toth. His aim is always to create a composite of all the physical characteristics of the local tribe or tribes, as well as their stories and histories. There are 74 documented giants around North America, one in each state of the union....

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Top British Chefs
Apr12

Top British Chefs

Top British Chefs How did Britain get its ‘reputation’ as being a place with less than perfect cuisine? It’s a myth that’s easy to explain and you only have to look at the chefs you featured below to see that great food is alive and well in the United Kingdom. Britain has a very long history of fabulous food going back hundreds of years. Our first cookbook appeared in medieval days and the recipes are still...

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The White Van: By Patrick Hoffman
Apr11

The White Van: By Patrick Hoffman

The White Van: Review. Emily wakes up – sort of – to find herself alone in a hotel room. As she comes round, she remembers that she’d been in a bar and met a man – a Russian. No, it was nothing like that – she hadn’t exactly been picked up and there’d been no activity of the type normally associated with situations where two people of the opposite sex who met in abar ended up in a hotel room...

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The D-Day Crossword Mystery
Apr10

The D-Day Crossword Mystery

WW2: Were coded messages sent to the enemy via crossword puzzles? In the spring of 1944, Allied forces were preparing for the largest ever seaborne invasion in history. This top secret mission, which we now know as D-Day, was vital to the war.  It took months of planning and secrecy was vital. As with all military operations, code words were used for the locations, various equipment and the operation itself. As preparations continued...

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Enjoy Yourself, it’s Later Than You Think
Apr09

Enjoy Yourself, it’s Later Than You Think

Enjoy Yourself, it’s Later Than You Think: Good advice It might just be a song lyric, but it does have a ring of truth,doesn’t it? Admittedly, ‘it’s later than you think‘ might be a touch maudlin but the point is, it’s true. You see, I’m seventeen. Well, you know I’m not but in my head I am.  My dad is in his nineties. I wonder how old he is in his head? Much younger, I’ll bet. I...

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Unsuccessful? Read This
Apr08

Unsuccessful? Read This

Heroic Failures There comes a time when I get tired about reading about the great and the good. Sure, it’s nice to read about famous inventors, scientists, literary giants, artists and all the people who have added to our knowledge and enhanced our lives. Maybe there’s a bit of a green tinge to these thoughts – I know that I’m never going to join their ranks. Occasionally there’s something rather...

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Who were Charters and Caldicott
Apr06

Who were Charters and Caldicott

I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching a classic movie I’m always taken by the characters on the edge of the action. The more than curious bystander who gets caught up in the action almost accidentally. Take Alfred Hitchcock’s classic take on Agatha Christie’s novel The Lady Vanishes. Two inept and veddy British cricket fans  are amongst passengers on a train out of the European country of...

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Formatting print pages: Quick and easy
Apr05

Formatting print pages: Quick and easy

Formatting print pages: Quick and easy Transform boring print – fast If you’re a designer, you’ll be familiar with the client who sends you a Word document and a photograph and expects you to transform it – in no time. Can you please make this look better? No colour please, we can’t afford colour printing. Speaking of which,  the printer has a huge workload – can it be ready within half an hour...

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Eddie Cochran
Apr03

Eddie Cochran

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

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Oakwell Hall, Yorkshire
Apr03

Oakwell Hall, Yorkshire

Oakwell Hall, Yorkshire If you’re familiar with Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley, then you know Oakwell Hall. For Oakwell, a place she knew well, became the house ‘Fairfield’ in the novel. In the 1840s,Oakwell in Yorkshire was a school for girls. It was due to her friendship with one of the students there, Ellen Nussey, that Charlotte Bronte came to know the hall. But the building is much older than that. If you...

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Je t’aime: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
Apr02

Je t’aime: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg

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

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The Day Michael Caine Discovered a Family Secret
Mar31

The Day Michael Caine Discovered a Family Secret

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

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King George I of Greece and the British Royal Family
Mar30

King George I of Greece and the British Royal Family

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

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Princess Mary
Mar28

Princess Mary

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

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Take a Walk in the Park Day
Mar28

Take a Walk in the Park Day

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

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Didier Peroni and Gilles Villeneuve
Mar27

Didier Peroni and Gilles Villeneuve

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

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The Dreamland Fire of 1911
Mar27

The Dreamland Fire of 1911

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

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Lennon & McCartney: The final conversation
Mar25

Lennon & McCartney: The final conversation

Lennon & McCartney: The final conversation. In the final years of John Lennon’s life, the media had two major preoccupations when it came to the one-time Beatles. The first was that all four of the previous members of the group were constantly being asked if a Beatles reunion was on the cards. The answer was always in the negative. The second was the supposed animosity between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Journalists and...

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Britain’s Got Opera!
Mar25

Britain’s Got Opera!

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

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