The Secret Life of Charles Lindberg

Charles Lindbergh’s secret life. Charles Lindbergh became a hero in 1927 when he flew nonstop from New York to Paris. Five years later he gained the sympathy of the public when his young child was kidnapped and murdered. Yet he fell from grace during the Second World War and after his death, his secret private life was discovered. Lindbergh had not one but three secret families. In 1941, before the United States joined the war,...

Read More

Clark Gable’s Secret Daughter

The secret daughter of Clark Gable. In the nineteen thirties, actor Clark Gable was known as the King of Hollywood. Tall, dark and handsome, he was considered to be every woman’s dream man. Although he was married four times, for many years it was thought that he had only one child – a boy who was born four months after Clark’s death. But for many years, Hollywood insiders kept a secret – Clark Gable had...

Read More

Who Was Carrie Buck?

Who was Carrie Buck? Carrie Buck was a victim of a curious belief that was sweeping the United States in the nineteen twenties. Various powerful men were becoming increasingly concerned about the health of the general population. Strange though it seems to us these days, many people thought that the answer was the sterilisation of people who were mentally or physically imperfect. The USA had previously had an open door policy when it...

Read More

Who Was Bessie Coleman?

Who was Bessie Coleman? Bessie Coleman was a pilot. When she was born in January 1892, it was several years before the Wright brothers even began to explore the possibility of flight. For Bessie, as a child, human flight was simply an unknown. And yet she became a well-known pilot – the first woman of African-American descent to do so. When she was older, and when flying was in its infancy, Bessie knew that this was what she...

Read More

The Murder of Lord Errol

Who murdered Josslyn Hay? Joss Hay, Lord Errol, enjoyed living. He enjoyed loving too so when he was found shot in the head, most people presumed he had been murdered by a jealous husband or a spurned mistress. But which? At the time of his murder, he was involved in a curious love triangle. He was having an affair with the rather beautiful Diana – a young woman who was married to the much older Jock Delves Broughton. The trio...

Read More

The Queen’s Cousins: Scandal?

Queen Elizabeth II’s cousins. In 1987 the media uncovered what seemed to be a huge scandal. Newspapers reported that two sisters had been discovered in what they called an ‘asylum for mental defectives’ and what’s more, they were cousins of the queen, Elizabeth II. It was said that the two women were living in the most basic conditions and that they had no visitors. It seemed that this was a case of the royal...

Read More

The Last Victorian

Ethel Lang – born in the reign of Queen Victoria On 16th January, 2015, Ethel Lang passed away. She was the oldest living person in the UK, having been born in 1900, when Queen Victoria was still on the throne. Can you imagine that? Mrs Lang lived through six monarchs, twenty-two prime ministers … and let’s not forget two world wars. She had lived through a period of amazing advances. When she was born, public...

Read More

Diana Barnato Walker

Who was Diana Barnato Walker? Diana was an English pilot who worked extensively during the Second World War transporting aircraft to the Royal Air Force. By the time she reached twenty two years of age, she had delivered  240 planes that were vital to the war effort. She was the first British woman to break the sound barrier. Before the war, few people would have imagined the socialite Diana would have been involved in such dangerous...

Read More

Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary Sir Edmund Hillary is best known for being the first person to scale Mount Everest, along with his Sherpa guide, Norgay Tenzing. Tenzing was more than just his guide and companion though – he provided the inspiration for Sir Edmund to devote much of his life trying to improve the lot and the lifestyle of the Nepal Sherpas. Hillary undertook many expeditions -going to both the North and South Poles, and Everest...

Read More

Scandal in the Graveyard – L’Affaire Victor Noir

Scandal in the Graveyard – L’Affaire Victor Noir. Andy Royston tells the story of the most scandalous gravestone in Paris and the story of Victor Noir. After having outraged each of my relations, you insult me with the pen of one of your menials. My turn had to come. I therefore ask you whether your inkpot is guaranteed by your breast… I live, not in a palace, but at 59, rue d’Auteuil. I promise to you that if...

Read More

Rosemary: The Forgotten Kennedy

Rose Kennedy already had two children – Joe Jr. and John – when she gave birth to her first daughter on Friday 13th September 1918. The nurse who had been employed to attend her was in a quandary. She had sent for Mrs Kennedy’s doctor but labour was now advanced and Dr Good hadn’t yet arrived. In those days, nurses were trained to deliver babies but, inexplicably, they were not permitted to do so. Nor were they...

Read More

The Mystery of Amy Johnson

The mystery of Amy Johnson. As a pioneer aviator, Amy Johnson from Yorkshire had broken several flying records by the time the Second World War started in 1939. But once the war had begun, the Royal Air Force had no use for female pilots. So the only opportunity for her to use her flying skills to help the war effort was to join the ATA – the Air Transport Auxiliary. This organisation, as the name suggests, used female pilots to...

Read More

Mitford Marriages: Pamela Mitford and Derek Jackson

Mitford Marriages: Pamela Mitford and Derek Jackson. Pamela Mitford is probably the least known of the six sisters.  She’s often thought of as ‘the quiet one’ and certainly she was less scandalous than most of her sisters but nevertheless  she married a man who was not just a millionaire, he was also a war hero and a brilliant scientist. Pam had not been without admirers. She had been briefly engaged to Oliver...

Read More

Who Was Evelyn Nesbit?

Who was Evelyn Nesbit? When Evelyn Nesbit died at the ripe old age of eighty two, she had been in obscurity for years. But at one time, her name was well-known on Broadway and in the theatres of Europe. She became even more well known in 1906 when,openly and in public, her husband shot her lover dead in a glittering supper club in Manhattan. Evelyn was only twenty at the time and had met her much older lover, Stanford White, when she...

Read More

The Curious Life and Death of Empress Elisabeth

 Who was Empress Elisabeth? The Curious Life and Death of Empress Elisabeth. Elisabeth, or Sisi as she was known, wasn’t destined to be the Empress of Austria but that became her role, nevertheless. She was born into the royal family of Bavaria – her parents were both related to the upper-crust of Europe. It was the fact that her mother, Ludovika, was the sister of Sophie, the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph that sealed her...

Read More

Maud Gonne

Maud Gonne: English Eccentric For those who have heard the name of Maud Gonne, they probably have an idea that she was an Irish political activist. It’s true that she was pretty vocal in Irish politics but she was actually English, born in Surrey. She had a curious career but she is probably remembered most for being: The woman who had sex by her baby’s grave She had the child in 1889 in Paris. The father was her older...

Read More

Thinking of Others This Christmas

Thinking of Others This Christmas Every year it seems we all rush around shopping, decorating, baking, in the full swing of the Christmas Season. Do you stop to think how many are unable to do the same this year? If I’m honest, it’s too easy to look past the faces of those in need. Thankfully there is still time for me to have an attitude adjustment. Christmas is all about giving. It is my goal to share that fact with those who...

Read More

Thelma Todd

Who Killed Thelma Todd? On a Monday morning December  1935, Thelma Todd’s body was found. She was in a car that was parked in the garage of her lover, Roland West. It was the exhaust fumes from the Packard convertible that had caused her death. Police rushed to the scene above the Pacific Highway between Malibu an Santa Monica. They took photographs, questioned locals and discovered that Thelma had bruises and that her face was...

Read More

Elvis and Hawaii

Two years ago, my mother, sister and I were headed off to Hawaii. It was a dream trip that I never in my whole life expected to make. But it was a time of healing and renewing our shrinking family’s bonds, that made this trip what it was. My brother had passed away earlier that year. During the many site seeing expeditions along the way, I can remember thinking to myself, that these islands truly are paradise on earth. Everything was...

Read More

The Winecoff Fire of 1946

The Winecoff Fire Disaster of 1946. During the early hours of 7th December, 1946, Arnold Hardy took an iconic and award-winning photograph that was to become a symbol of the worst hotel disaster in the United States. Arnold was only twenty four years old and had just relocated to Atlanta. His great hobby was photography and to make ends meet, he was trying to get part-time work as a newspaper photographer. His camera was not...

Read More

Agnes Moorehead

Do you recognise those eyes? If you know your television history you might, especially if you were watching in the 1960s or 70s. This shows Agnes Moorehead who played the witch Endora in the TV show Bewitched. You’ll remember that the comedy series was about a beautiful young witch (Samantha) who had married a mere mortal and live a normal suburban domestic life. Endora, her mother, deemed that Samantha had married so far...

Read More

The Disappearance of the Mary Celeste

What was the fate of the Mary Celeste? The Mary Celeste became the world’s most famous ship in 1872. She had been found drifting in the North Atlantic Ocean – she was completely seaworthy and orderly but her entire crew had vanished into thin air. They were never seen again. You can read more about that here. Ever since that day, experts, the authorities and members of the general public have been speculating about the...

Read More

Behind the Scenes: Royal Wedding 1947

The wedding of Princess Elizabeth & Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The 20th November, 1947 was a day that the population had been looking forward to. The recent war was still fresh in everyone’s memory. Rationing was still enforced. Towns and cities still showed the battle scars inflicted by the German bombs. So everyone was looking forward to the royal wedding – a happy occasion full of pageantry and romance -to bring...

Read More

My old friend Malcolm X

A teenage Andy Royston picked up a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X and it made a huge impression. Almost 40 years later, and now living in Florida, he revisits the book to figure out if it still impresses. “Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising...

Read More

SS City of Cairo

The sinking and discovery of the SS City of Cairo In 1942, the SS City of Cairo was steaming from Bombay towards England. It was carrying a cargo of 1000 tonnes of silver. The money was headed to His Majesty’s Treasury to bolster up the war effort. But on November 6th, it was spotted by a German U-boat. As a result, the ship was torpedoed and sank to the ocean floor – complete with the silver. Almost seventy years later,...

Read More

Did You Know? Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth II: A few facts you may not know. Do you know how the queen starts her day? At 8 am her dresser enters the royal bedroom and places a tray with Earl Grey tea by the bedside. At the same time, the corgis rush into the bedroom. Then the dresser opens the heavy curtains wide to ensure that the light streams in. At 9 am the queen walks through her sitting room and into her dining room and enjoys a comparatively frugal...

Read More

The Red Cross

There isn’t a symbol more recognizable in the world than that of the Red Cross. Today we have the Red Cross and the Red Crescent but both of these formidable institutions all started out under the banner of the Red Cross. In 1864, Jean-Henry Dunant, a Swiss national, and humanitarian began what would become the Red Cross. But the start of the Red Cross was much earlier than that. Dunant was a business man and he travelled throughout...

Read More

Will we ever know the truth about Wallis Simpson?

It’s a famous story, of course. In the 1930s the King of England was the unmarried Edward VIII. When he ascended to the throne, he had a long-time mistress, Wallis Simpson. Although many members of the public believed that the king should be able to marry whoever he wished, the establishment were horrified at the possibility of their monarch marrying an American divorceé. Famously, the king announced his abdication, declaring...

Read More

The Charge of the Light Brigade – an eyewitness account

On the 25th October 1854, during the Crimean War, a brigade of British officers and cavalrymen, commanded by the Earl of Cardigan, rode into a Balaclava valley, seemingly to reclaim artillery cannon captured by their Russian enemies. However, because of a miscommunication, they rode into the wrong valley – and into slaughtering cannon and musket fire on three sides. Of the five regiments involved, making a total of 670 officers...

Read More

The Love Life of the Eleventh Duke of Marlborough

The love life of the eleventh Duke of Marlborough. The eleventh Duke of Marlborough died on October 16th, 2014. The chances are that few people – apart from his family and friends – noticed it in the news. I mean after all, wasn’t he just some boring English aristocrat? Well, I suppose the answer is yes, but his life – and his love life – was really quite fascinating.   The story of his life –...

Read More

Sheila Chisholm

Sheila Chisholm: An ingenue’s introduction to high society. Words by Lyndsy Spence In a distant corner of the Empire, in the “Land of the Wattle and the Gum”, Sheila Chisholm, a sensitive and imaginative girl with large hazel eyes and a pale, heart-shaped face would take London society by storm. But that would have to wait for two decades; in the meantime she was busy growing up on Wollogoron, the family’s sheep farm where...

Read More

Edward Guillaume – the murderous clown

Edward Guillaume – the murderous clown. On 9th October, Edward Guillaume, known as Polidor the Clown, could stand it no longer. He was sixty nine years old and his forty nine year old girlfriend claimed that he was too old for her. He took and ax and buried it in her throat. He then stabbed her repeatedly with kitchen knives.I guess he was upset. Once a famous clown, he had reached the end of his tether. In the 1930s he had...

Read More

R101: Disaster in the air

R101: The disaster that ended the British airship programme After the First World War, it was clear to see that despite Germany’s losses, one of their strengths had been the dirigible or airship. Their Zeppelins, virtually silent monsters, had been able to fly unseen over British land and drop bombs in places which were otherwise inaccessible. This technology was embraced by other countries. Air travel had many advantages but in...

Read More

What Really Happened to the Mary Celeste?

In 1872 a Canadian ship, the Dei Gratia, spotted another ship close by in the North Atlantic Ocean. The crew thought that there was something odd about the ship so they approached and boarded. They found a mystery that still endures. Although the ship, the Mary Celeste, was fully seaworthy, there was no-one on board. There were no signs of a struggle or attack, no damage and very little was missing from the craft except its lifeboat...

Read More

Richard III: The Final Battle

Richard III: The Final Battle. In 2012 the battle scarred bones of Richard III were unearthed. Three years later the sealed tomb has finally been unveiled at Leicester Cathedral. This event followed a week long funeral-fest which included a procession from Bosworth Field to Leicester Cathedral for a ceremony with everything from speeches to songs to second cousins 16 times removed and ending with an eye roll from Ashdown-Hill –...

Read More

Bonnie and Clyde: Myths and and Legends

The real Bonnie and Clyde. In 1967, a film was made called Bonnie and Clyde. Although it’s based somewhat on fact, it has coloured a generation’s views about this outlaw couple. Gorgeous Faye Dunaway and handsome Warren Beatty inaccurately portrayed the couple. They were not the cunning and intelligent criminals they appeared to be. They were also youngsters. When they were ambushed and killed,  Clyde was only twenty five...

Read More

Monaco: The Prince and the Cabaret Singer

Princess Charlotte of Monaco: the illegitimate heiress to the Grimaldi family The Grimaldi family, who have ruled the tiny principality of Monaco for hundreds of years, have a chequered past. But one of the most interesting characters is Princess Charlotte. In the 1890s, the ruler of Monaco was Prince Albert I. He was a fascinating chap and his particular interest was the emerging study of oceanography. He was very much a pacifist but...

Read More

What Happened to the Von Trapp Family Children?

The von Trapp family from ‘The Sound of Music‘. Like many people, I was just a kid when I first saw this classic movie. It’s true that it’s a sickly-sweet film – the oldies loved it – but nevertheless it had its own charm for kids. It was the idea of Mary Poppins coming to rescue a gaggle of kids from their overbearing father that did it. Now of course, we know that the story was only very loosely...

Read More

Woolf Barnato

Who was Woolf Barnato? When Woolf was just two years old, he became the heir to a vast fortune. His father had been a Jewish shopkeeper made good – he made a fortune from South African diamonds and gold. Unfortunately Barnato Senior did not enjoy his wealth for long as in 1897, he was lost overboard off the coast of Madeira at the age of forty six. Just what happened will never be known but foul play was suspected, as was...

Read More

Who Killed Elsie Frost: Man Arrested

Fourteen year old Elsie Frost was murdered on October 9th, 1965. Almost fifty one years later, on September 27th,2016, police announced that they had made an arrest. Elsie’s brother and sister had contacted the BBC in 2014 asking them to help them to have the unsolved case re-opened. BBC journalist and broadcaster Jon Manel took up the cause. The West Yorkshire Police re-opened the case and assigned fourteen officers to...

Read More

Why Airbnb is not Illegal

Airbnb is not illegal – anywhere. It seems that everyone has been writing about Airbnb for some years now. And because the company is often in the news, it’s certainly a good way to get hits to your website. But that’s not why I’m writing this…. The reason for this article is that, because I am an Airbnb host, I’m often hearing statements such as ‘Airbnb is illegal where I live’ or...

Read More

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

Deborah Mitford: The Duchess of Devonshire

Deborah Mitford: The Duchess of Devonshire. The famous Mitford sisters, born in the earlier part of the twentieth century, are endlessly fascinating. You may have read about Unity Mitford and how it’s said that she gave birth to Hitler’s illegitimate child. The other sisters were equally fascinating and, in some cases, equally scandalous. Deborah however,was the youngest of the sisters and although she didn’t totally...

Read More

Sophia Loren and Cary Grant

 Sophia Loren and Cary Grant. The gorgeous Sophia Loren met Carlo Ponti, the man who was to become her husband, when she was seventeen and he was thirty nine. That was in September, 1951. She was at his bedside when he died aged ninety four in 2007. But Carlo was a married man when the couple met and by the time Sophia made her first film with Cary Grant, in 1957, he was still married and it wasn’t certain where their...

Read More

Pirates: Myths and and legends

What were pirates really like? ‘Pirate’ – what do you see in your mind’s eye when you read the word? Do you imagine a chap like the one on the right? The wooden leg, the obligatory parrot perched on one shoulder, the cutlass, the hook hand, the cutlass, – were pirates really like that? (I prefer the Johnny Depp look myself, but never mind that….) For many of us,our idea of what pirates were like...

Read More

Margaret Lockwood

Margaret Lockwood. A Modern Woman from a Bygone Age by Lyndsy Spence At the height of her fame as Britain’s ‘queen of the silver screen’, Margaret Lockwood exuded brains, beauty, and a bawdiness which threatened to undermine the censorship board across the Atlantic. Yet, despite her exotic pairing of dark hair, light eyes, and a strategically placed beauty spot on her cheekbone, she was lamented as having...

Read More

Queen Elizabeth II: The longest serving monarch

Queen Elizabeth II: Longest serving monarch On 9th September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II  became the longest-reigning monarch in British history. On the date, she had been on the throne for almost sixty four years. At that time, she was eighty nine years old. She surpassed the current record holder, her great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who was on the throne for 63 years 216 days. You might admire the royal family or it may be that you...

Read More

Who was Sarah Winchester?

The mysterious Winchester House. When Sarah Winchester was widowed, she started to create one of the most bizarre homes ever seen in America. Why? It’s quite simple, it was to keep evil spirits away. Obviously really, isn’t it? No? Well, it was to Sarah. Sarah’s late husband was William Winchester, the man who made rage rifles ‘that won the West’. The distraught widow, who had discovered spiritualism some...

Read More

Songs For New Orleans : Katrina

New Orleans is my essence, my soul, my muse, and I can only dream that one day she will recapture her glory – Harry Connick Jr.   All the songs - Spotify playlist A catastrophe like Katrina changes everything. The harsh and painful realities are so hard to bear. The experience losing your home and possessions, of enforced exile, of desperate choices forced on families, on entire communities can be a massive challenge to...

Read More

Lady Anne Savile

Who was Lady Anne Savile? Actually, she was Princess Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg but Anne Savile, her maiden name, is considerably less effort to type. She was a rather eccentric aviator in the times when flying was still new and extremely dangerous – as she discovered. Lady Anne was born into a wealthy and titled British family. Her father was the Earl of Mexborough. When she married Prince Ludwig of...

Read More

The Short and Sad Life of Lady Catherine Grey

The short and sad life of Lady Catherine Grey. Catherine Grey was born in 1540 and was in direct line to the English throne. When she was born, King Henry VIII was still alive and ruling the country. When the throne passed to his son, Edward VI, the young king named his cousin, Lady Jane Grey – Catherine’s older sister – as his heir. Queen Jane’s reign only lasted for a couple of weeks before Henry’s...

Read More

What Was Squidgygate?

What was Squidgygate? On 23rd August, 1992, the Sun – a British tabloid newspaper – published the transcript of  phone call between Diana,Princess of Wales and her then-lover, James Gilbey. The call lasted for thirty minutes and during that time, Gilbey called Diana ‘Squidgy’ or ‘Squidge’ fifty three times and ‘darling’ fourteen times. Therefore, latching onto the Nixon Watergate...

Read More

Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend

Princess Margaret’s married lover Peter Townsend. Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, when thirteen when she first saw Group Captain Peter Townsend. He had arrived at Buckingham Palace to be interviewed for the position of equerry to her father, the king. He was twenty-nine, a war hero, good-looking … and married. He had married a woman called Rosemary – a woman who was attractive, fun-loving and...

Read More

A Few Yards — And Three Feet

Three human feet found. Subtitle: What’s afoot in Bath? Yes, I have to report even more bizarre news from the UK, this time concerning severed feet. That’s right. Well, it’s not because the first two were left. Oh I’m confusing myself already so let’s start at the beginning. Foot number one In February 2016, a couple of blokes were out dog-walking in the rather gorgeous southern English town of Bath. They...

Read More

The Last Men Hanged in Britain

Gwynne Evans & Peter Allen: The last people to be hanged in the UK. A double hanging for murder. The men you see here both have the dubious distinction of being the last person to be hanged in the UK. Why? Because they were both hanged for murder at exactly the same time – eight o’clock on the morning of 13th August 1964. Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans had committed a senseless and brutal murder and despite the fact that...

Read More

Joe Kennedy Junior

The love life of Joe Kennedy Jr. This is the story of two members of the Kennedy family who both had tragic love affairs in England. Coincidentally both of them, Joe Junior and Kathleen, were to die at an early age in aircraft. They were the brother and sister of John Fitzgerald Kennedy who became president of the United States. Both Joe and Kathleen had relationships when in the UK with people who their strict Catholic parents...

Read More

Who Was Grace O’Malley?

Who was Grace O’Malley? What were women like in the sixteenth century? Well, not many were like Grace O’Malley but nevertheless, her life shows that women in those days certainly had spirit. She was an Irish queen, a chieftain and also a pirate. Yet she was presented to Queen Elizabeth I as the image here shows. She was born on the west coast of Ireland. Her exact date of birth isn’t known but the year is believed to...

Read More

Who Was Jackie Cochran?

Jackie Cochran: The mystery. Jackie Cochran isn’t as well known as her counterpart and contemporary, Amelia Earhart.  But nevertheless she was the first woman – and in some cases, the first person – to achieve an enormous number of aviation feats and challenges. But who was she and what was her background? For many years, this was the accepted story. She did not know exactly when she was born, or where. She had no...

Read More

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About the Queen Mother

Ten things you didn’t know about the Queen Mother. Elizabeth Bowes Lyons was the mother of England’s Queen Elizabeth II. She was one of the most popular members of the royal family until her death in 2002 at the age of one hundred and one. Even though 2002 doesn’t seem too long ago, it seems that she is largely forgotten these days but she was a very popular and influential woman in the twentieth century. She is, in...

Read More

Today in history: August

What happened on this day in August? 1st Riot Act established 1714 Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen 1774 Niki Lauda crash 1976 2nd First skating rink opened in the UK 1875 Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany 1934 Star Dust disappeared 1947 Cilla Black died 2015 3rd Record high temperatures in the UK 1990 Enid Lindeman married Lord Furness 1933 4th Elizabeth Bowes Lyon born 1900 Jeanne Calment died 1997 Dennis Lehane born 1965...

Read More

Who Was Louis Strange ?

Airman Louis A Strange: Daring exploits. Louis Strange was an exceptionally brave and talented pilot and served in both the First and the Second World Wars. He also is the subject of one one the most bizarre stories in this history of wartime aviation. He took his pilot training before the start of the First World War and soon proved his skills. He joined the Royal Flying Corps and when war was declared in 1914 he developed various...

Read More

The Life of Margaret Whigham

The Grit in the Pearl: The Life of Margaret Whigham. Words by Lyndsy Spence She was always a headstrong woman, always used to getting her own way. This character trait, or flaw (depending if one were a friend or a foe), was apparent in girlhood. Born Ethel Margaret Whigman in 1912 in Newton Mearns near Glasgow, she dropped her parents’ choice of Ethel and insisted on being known as Margaret. Margaret was the only child of Helen...

Read More

Dr. Frances Kelsey

It was the 1950’s and everything was becoming safer and easier in many areas of our lives. The end of the Second World War saw a prosperity that hasn’t been matched since. While life was getting easier, the after effects of the war were still being felt. Many people who lived through terrible bombings, night raids and such were having trouble falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest. Drug companies were doing a great business...

Read More

Lettice Curtis

Who was Lettice Curtis? During the Second World War the Air Transport Auxiliary was formed to move new, damaged or repaired aircraft to where they were needed by the Royal Air Force. Civilian pilots were used so that the trained fighter pilots could concentrate on winning the war. One hundred and sixty six of the pilots employed by the ATA were women and Lettice Curtis was one of the first to join up. By the time the war was over, she...

Read More

The Curious Life of Rosemary Leveson-Gower

The tragic story of the girl who almost changed the course of British history. In fact, had circumstances turned out differently, Rosemary Leveson-Gower could have changed the course of world history. But it was not to be. The story has its true beginnings in the First World War. It is a love story that involves tragedy and includes the people who were the main players in what was called ‘The Love Affair of the Century’....

Read More

To the Moon

To the Moon. When you mention the date: July 20, 1969, most people in North America will remember right away that this date had a significance that made the world stop and take notice. The late 50’s and early 60’s were possibly one of the most prosperous times in the century and because the world was currently at peace, the attention of our scientists, physicists and engineers (of all stripes) had turned to the prospect of harnessing...

Read More

Will Camilla be Queen?

Will Camilla be Queen? In 2005, it was announced that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker -Bowles would be married. They had been living together for quite some time. The queen and the practically-minded royal family approved wholeheartedly. Princes William and Harry had come to know her well and were delighted. And yet a poll showed that only seven percent of British people wanted her to eventually be queen. Yet ten years later, as the...

Read More

Who Was Julia Stanley?

Julia Stanley: Which version do you believe? Julia Stanley will go down in history. But her life is surrounded by myths and legends. What is the truth? Let’s look at the facts. She was born as one of five sisters in Liverpool in 1914. She wasn’t from a wealthy family but they were not poor either.  After the death of the girls’ mother, the father ruled over the household with an iron fist. When Julia was fourteen,...

Read More

The Bobbed Haired Bandit

The Bobbed Haired Bandit. In 1989 it was clear to Ed Cooney Jr that his mother, now aged eighty five, was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Ed had been a computer programmer and had moved to Florida when he retired. His mother Celia, having no other family except Ed and his brother, had also moved from New Jersey to the Floridian sunshine. Ed didn’t realised that his mother had lived in Florida before – or anything...

Read More

Amelia Earhart

The making of Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart became world famous for flying planes. Lots of other women were flying at the time, but Amelia became the  female pilot. Today, she is known for her mysterious disappearance but during her lifetime, her popularity was largely due to the skilled promotion and public relations created by her husband, George Putnam. Amelia was always an adventurer and was a tomboy as a child. She’d...

Read More

Derek Bentley & Christopher Craig

Derek Bentley & Christopher Craig. True and tragic story. Derek Bentley was hanged in England on 28th. January, 1953. Derek, who had learning difficulties, was nineteen when he was hanged – and he was innocent of the crime. What’s just as bad is that everyone knew he was innocent – and that included the jury who had found him guilty and the judge who sentenced him to death also knew. This was due to the...

Read More

ISIS Flag at London Gay Parade

US reporter gets it wrong ….. again. Oh dear. Poor Lucy Pawle. This CNN reporter happened to come across the Gay Pride Parade in London and saw an ISIS flag. Horrified, she immediately reported this to one of the parade’s officials and to a police officer. To her dismay, they were unconcerned. Shock, horror. The inept London police are unconcerned about ISIS. So she took photographs, called CNN where she and an anchor...

Read More

Queen Victoria’s Daughters

Queen Victoria’s daughters Queen Victoria had nine children and understandably, the one who is the most well-known was Albert Edward, her eldest son who became King Edward VII when Victoria died in 1901. Little is generally known about her daughters however. In most cases,they married into European royalty. Queen Victoria wanted her daughters to marry for love – as she had done herself – but that didn’t mean...

Read More

Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley

Robert Dudley, the lover of the Virgin Queen Queen Elizabeth the First went down in history as the Virgin Queen, simply because she didn’t marry. But if we’re talking about virginity as a physical state, rather than a euphemism for ‘unmarried’ then it’s highly unlikely that it was the case. Elizabeth was strong minded – even as a girl. She inherited this to some extent from her father – King...

Read More

Royal proposal: William and Catherine

How did Prince William propose to Kate Middleton? William and Catherine were secure in their relationship. It had survived a great deal and William was not sure that Catherine was the girl for him. But before he proposed, there were two important issues to sort out first. The first was, like all members of the royal family, he had to get permission to marry from his granny – or as we know her, Queen Elizabeth II. She queen had...

Read More

The Murder of Kitty Genovese

Kitty Genovese and the apathetic bystanders. Catherine Genovese, an attractive twenty-eight year old, was murdered as she walked through the streets of Kew Gardens, NY, in March 1964. Her murder became well-known not just because of its brutality but because of allegations that almost forty bystanders saw her being attacked but did nothing to prevent her death. Her murderer did not know her. The attack wasn’t premeditated....

Read More

Prince Philip’s letter: After Diana

Prince Philip’s letter: After Diana. In February, 2015, a letter was sold at auction. This was highly significant in the history of the British royal family.It was written by Prince Philip, five days after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Eighteen years previously, Diana had been killed in a car crash in Paris. Prince Philip,pictured on the left with Queen Elizabeth II, wrote the letter to his niece expressing his feelings...

Read More

Who Was Ottoline Morrell?

The curious life of Ottoline Morrell. When Ottoline Morrell grew to womanhood, she was six feet tall. She had striking, flowing red hair and a strongly-featured face. Knowing that she would turn heads, she dressed flamboyantly. She also led a flamboyant and somewhat scandalous life. She was also the sort of woman that was often caricatured – even by her several lovers. She was born in 1873 into an aristocratic English family of...

Read More

Fordlandia: Henry Ford’s Forgotten Amazon City

Fordlandia: Henry Ford’s Forgotten Amazon City Henry Ford was without doubt a great industrialist. But he had several unusual passions and two of them converge, rather ironically, in the story of Fordlandia. Ford liked his automotive business to be as self-reliant as possible. He disliked being dependant on outside suppliers. He always feared that he was at their mercy. They could put up their prices or take advantage of him in...

Read More

The Liberation of Auschwitz

 The liberation of Auschwitz On 27th January 2015, hundreds of survivors of the Holocaust met at the Auschwitz concentration camp to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of its liberation. There were three hundred in total, mostly in their eighties and nineties. The very fact that there are still three hundred survivors of that terrible experience who are still fit and well enough to travel there shows just how huge the...

Read More

The Honesty Shop Burglary

Canna, Inner Hebrides: Honesty shop burgled. Have you ever lived in a community where there’s no need to look your doors? There are still communities like that on the remote Scottish Hebrides islands. One of them is the island of Canna which at time of writing has a population of twenty six. But their neighbourly way of life is now under threat. The island runs an honesty shop which was burgled in June 2015. It is the first...

Read More

34 Shambles Street, Barnsley

Yorkshire: 34 Shambles Street, Barnsley. Regular readers – all three of you 😉 – know that I was brought up in Barnsley in South Yorkshire. I’ve recently been looking into the history of a certain address, the reason being that in the 1950s my dad used that address as part of his business. Here’s a photograph from those days. That’s my old man’s business on the right of the picture – Service...

Read More

Rehabilitating Brian Jones

Review: Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones. One a summer’s night in 1969 in the wilds of East Sussex, Brian Jones was found motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool. No one knows for sure what happened to the Rolling Stones founder and guitarist. This was just 3 weeks after being fired from the band, and instantly he was at the center of outlandish conspiracy theories. Jones, just 27, drowned while under the...

Read More

Maida Vale Tube Station

Maida Vale: The tube station with an all-female staff. When the Maida Vale tube station opened in London on June 6th 1915, it was less than a year after the outbreak of the First World War. This meant that because of the lack of available men, who were all either fighting in the forces or working towards the war effort, it was staffed entirely by women. There were 17,000 workers from London Transport who were now overseas fighting in...

Read More

Who Killed Amy Dudley?

Did Queen Elizabeth I murder her lover’s wife? Queen Elizabeth the First was known as ‘the virgin queen’  but it’s unlikely this was the case. It’s true that she never married by most historians believe that she had a long-time affair with Sir Robert Dudley. Elizabeth and Robert had known each other since childhood and were the very best of friends.When she became queen she appointed him to her court and...

Read More

Detective Sergeant Stanley ‘Steve’ Moore

Great Train Robbery Detective, Steve Moore. Stanley Moore, always known as Steve, was one of the members of the Flying Squad team who were responsible for the capture of the men who had undertaken the Great Train Robbery of 1963. The robbers became famous – folk heroes – and many members of the British public secretly hoped that they’d get away with their haul of £2.6 million that they’d stolen from the Glasgow...

Read More

Is Hitler’s son alive and living in England?

Hitler and Unity Mitford. Did Adolf Hitler have a child with an English girl? And could that child still be alive? It sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it? But there are many historians who believe that this is the case and there is some evidence to show that the possibility exists. Unity Mitford was from an aristocratic English family. She and her sisters were the most colourful characters around in the pre-war era. They were fun...

Read More

The Dionne Quintuplets

Who were the Dionne quintuplets? When Elzire Dionne discovered that she was pregnant in 1933, she already had five children. By May the following year, she had doubled the size of her family. And she was only twenty five She and her husband Oliva lived in a farming neighbourhood in a French-speaking area of Canada. During the early part of her pregnancy, Elzire thought she might have had a miscarriage (I won’t go into details)...

Read More

The Montrose Ghost

The Irish Apparition. On 27th May 1913 Irishman Desmond Arthur was killed when his plane was flying over Montrose in Scotland. Three years later, his spirit returned to the scene to haunt it. The ghost disappeared in January 1917 and was never seen again. But why? First, let’s look at the fatal accident. Arthur was an experience flier and on his last flight he had taken his BE2 biplane to a height of 2,500 feet. People on the...

Read More

Zoran Music: Dachau Artist

Who was Zoran Mušic? There are hardly the words to describe what happened at the Nazi concentration camps. But Zoran Music, an artist from Austria, was incarcerated in Dachau and secretly drew the horrors of life there. After graduating after studying art, he decided to travel. He was arrested by the Nazis when he was making sketches of buildings. They assumed he was a spy. Story has it that he was tortured and then interrogated by an...

Read More

Morrissey: Militant Vegetarian

I don’t eat meat. For various reasons. But my question is, does that give me the right to insist that others don’t eat meat too? My diet is my life choice and my own business, wouldn’t you say? After all, I wouldn’t want militant carnivores insisting that I eat meat. But Morrissey (pictured) doesn’t think that way. He believes he has the right to be as militant as he wants regarding vegetarianism....

Read More

Michael Llewelyn Davies: The Real Peter Pan

Who was Michael Llewelyn Davies? There can’t be many people who aren’t familiar with the story of Peter Pan. But did you know that the inspiration for the book was a young boy called Michael Llewelyn Davies? And Davies, pictured on the right, suffered a mysterious death when he was only twenty years old. Michael was one of five Llewellyn brothers – he was the fourth son – and the boys first met the Peter Pan...

Read More

Abraham Zapruder

Who was Abraham Zapruder? Abraham Zapruder filmed a 26.6 second movie clip on a nineteen sixties 8mm camera. That piece of film has probably been analysed more than any other in the world – ever. That is because it was the only live footage of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. But who was the man who captured this tragedy on film?  Why was he there on that day and what happened to his short movie clip?...

Read More

George VI: The Unprepared King

George VI: The Unprepared King. The problems of King George VI. George didn’t expect to be the king. He was the second son and therefore it was his older brother who was brought up to know that one day, he would be the sovereign. And just as expected, when their father died, Edward ascended to the throne and became King Edward VIII. Just as is the case with Prince Harry today, George had no desire whatsoever to become the...

Read More

The Hindenburg Disaster

Hindenburg Airship Disaster. 1937 When the British R101 Airship crashed in 1930, the public began to lose confidence in this supposedly luxurious mode of travel. Passengers were transported in a ‘gondola’ – a capsule fitted out to be somewhat like  luxury ocean liner. The R101 disaster sowed seeds of serious doubts about the safety of airships but the events of May 6th, 1937,confirmed them. The German Hindenburg...

Read More

Samuel Morse

Dot, dot, dot, dash, dash, dash, dot, dot, dot. Who does not know what that stands for? Whether you are in the information gathering line of work or not, I’m sure that everyone knows that this is Morse Code for S.O.S. But did you know that April 27th is also the birth of the inventor of Morse Code, aptly named after him. Samuel Morse born in 1791, helped to develop this system of communication. Yes you read that right. 1791 a mere 225...

Read More

Electrophobia!

Andy Royston looks into the darker side of this newfangled electricity fad. I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak . . . and so soon as the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. . . . I eagerly inquired of my father the nature and origin of thunder and lightning. He replied, “Electricity.”- Victor Frankenstein 1880, New York City. The metropolis...

Read More

Auschwitz: The Monster Within

Auschwitz: The Monster Within. And so, I’ve arrived. Polish bus PK97 gallops off into the distance. The old girl has delivered me to the location on my ticket – a place I’ve wanted to visit for quite a while. Like most people, I’ve got a wishlist: Elvis’ Graceland, The White House, The Grand Canyon, The Pyramids and possibly the Paris tunnel where Diana was killed. Half expectedly, a slow churning in the...

Read More

If Jeremy Clarkson offends you, don’t watch him

If Jeremy Clarkson offends you, don’t watch him Have you heard about the current Top Gear malarkey? Just a quick explanation – Top Gear is a British television show which combines humour with information about cars.(Do not confuse this with the watered-down US version). It has been described as ‘edgy’. This is because its presenters, the foremost of which is Jeremy Clarkson, are normal blokes. Their so-called...

Read More

Evelyn Waugh & Diana Guinness

Evelyn Waugh & Diana Guinness. Words by Lyndsy Spence. Evelyn Waugh had made up his mind to dislike Diana Guinness, the third-born and most beautiful of the six Mitford girls. As the young wife of the brewing scion Bryan Guinness, Diana had already established herself as a dazzling society hostess. She was the epitome of what Evelyn (at that time) despised: rich, frivolous and, as he privately imagined, not very bright. During...

Read More

Headline of the week: Prince Charles on tits

Great tits no guarantee of success in the bedroom, says Prince Charles. The above headline was seen in the Daily Express on April 7th, 2015. Readers were surprised to see that the prince has extended his career to include that of sex expert. As the future sovereign, then it’s true to say that he should have the welfare of the people of Great Britain at heart. But isn’t becoming a sex counselor over stepping the mark a bit?...

Read More

Did Lana Turner Murder Johnny Stompanato?

Eric Root claimed that Lana Turner murdered her lover. In a sensational and highly publicised case in 1958, it was claimed that small-time gangster, Johnny Stompanato, had been murdered my his mistress’ daughter. His mistress was the famous Hollywood actress Lana Turner. The court ruled that Lana’s daughter,Cheryl Crane – then fourteen years old – had been responsible for the fatal stabbing. It was ruled as...

Read More

Who Was Maria Callas?

Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis. One of the richest men in the world, Aristotle Onassis, was married twice. His first wife was Tina Livros, the seventeen year old daughter of a shipping tycoon. (Onassis was forty when he married her). His second wife was one of the most famous women in America at that time — Jackie Kennedy, the widow of the assassinated president JFK. But one woman was with him for longer than either of his...

Read More

Nicole Hughes Maxwell

Who was Nicole Hughes Maxwell?  Nichole Hughes Maxwell transformed herself from a Californian socialite into a South American explorer and ethnobotanist. She later said that the wild animals,the witch doctors and the swamps held no fear for her – not,that is, compared to her pre-expedition lunch with top executives of  pharmaceutical company.”I hate asking for money’ she said. But she did receive a grant to continue...

Read More

Who was Mary Garden?

Who was Mary Garden? Her name is unknown today but had we been around in the earlier half of the last century, we’d definitely know it. She entertained kings and princes – indeed King George of Greece reportedly presented her with a necklace worth $100,000 Mary was born in Scotland in the 1870s – the exact year varies depending on the accounts you read. When she was just a girl, her parents emigrated to the United...

Read More

Who Was Timothy Evans?

Who was Timothy Evans? Timothy Evans was twenty five years old when he died in London in 1950. He was hanged for the murder of his wife and their baby daughter. But it was later discovered that there was one big problem. Timothy Evans was innocent. Evans was illiterate. He had suffered various illnesses as a child and had hardly no education. When he was still a boy, his family moved from their native Wales to London.  When he was old...

Read More

Atlas and Vulcana

Who was Vulcana? Vulcana was the stage name of a young woman from Wales. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, she performed in the music halls as a strong-woman. She was born with the more likely name of Kate Williams in 1875. She was interested in acrobatics and fitness and her father, a local preacher, encouraged her to become fit and strong. When she was in her early teens she started attending a gym. She soon...

Read More

Who was Catalina de Erauso?

Who was Catalina de Erauso? Catalina was born into a highly-ranked Basque family in 1585. Like many girls of her day,she was expected to live the cloistered life of a nun. She entered the convent when she was just child. She was desperately unhappy and determined to escape from the dreary future she saw before her. It was arranged that she should take her vows when she was fifteen. As the date approached, she became even more...

Read More

Today in history: February

What happened on this day in February? 1st Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction 2004 Clark Gable born 1901 Lettice Curtis b 1915 2nd Nathan Lane born 1956 Gisele Pascal died 2007 Arnold Hardy born 1922 Lux Interior died 2009 Robinson Crusoe rescued 1709   3rd Buddy Holly died 1959 Three parent bill passed 2015 Nancy Kulp died 1991 Norman Rockwell born 1894 Lord Lucan declared dead 2016 4th Liberace died 1987 Charles Lindberg born...

Read More

Who Was Lillie Langtry?

 Lillie Langtry’s royal illegitimate baby. At various times in her life,Lillie Langtry was an entertainer, a racehorse owner, an American citizen, a resident of Monte Carlo and most notably, a mistress of members of the British aristocracy and royal family. But what is often forgotten is that she had a royal illegitimate daughter whose descendants are related by blood to today’s heirs to the British throne. Lillie was born...

Read More

John T Betsch & Bessie Coleman

John T Betsch & Bessie Coleman John T Betsch’s grandfather was the first black millionaire in Florida. John himself was, in his daughter’s words ‘a race man’ who promoted the black community in the area. In 1930 he, as a member of the Negro Welfare League, sponsored and promoted aviator Bessie Coleman who went to Jacksonville to appear in an air show. You can read about Bessie Coleman here. If you’ve...

Read More

Lana Turner & Johnny Stompanato

Lana Turner & Johnny Stompanato. Lana Turner was a Hollywood actress and pin up girl. She had a tempestuous life – she was married eight times – but probably her most famous relationship was that she had with Johnny Stompanato. Between husbands number four and five, Lana took Johnny to be her lover. He had underworld connections. According to Lana, Johnny was desperate to marry her but she objected to his life on the...

Read More

Elsie Frost: Fifty Years After Her Murder

On the afternoon of October 9th, 1965, fourteen year old Elsie Frost was walking along a country footpath not far from her home in Wakefield, Yorkshire. A few hours later her body was found, sparking off a huge police investigation. A man was arrested and accused of the murder but the court decided he was innocent. The murderer remains at large fifty years later. In the early months of 2015, as the fiftieth anniversary approached,...

Read More

American Beach, Florida

American Beach, Florida American Beach is  located in Amelia Island in Florida. Of course, Florida is well-known for its wonderful beaches – so what’s so special about this one? It was founded in 1935 by a local millionaire. It was intended to be a resort for the people he employed in his Jacksonville insurance company – plus others, of course. But not everyone. This was an exclusive beach. Why? The photograph below...

Read More

Zora Neale Hurston

Who was Zora Neale Hurston? The nineteen thirties were a strange time in the USA. When most people were struggling with the effects of the Depression, Zora Neale Hurston was travelling and living in Florida, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Haiti – studying voodoo. She is remembered today as a folklorist, anthropologist and writer, yet she came from a childhood which featured deprivation an segregation in the rural southern states. She...

Read More

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day We are fast approaching that day where some people either look forward to early signs of spring or they are dismayed by the forecast that they are about to hear. In North America, we have this February holiday called Ground Hog Day, falling on the 2nd and causing usually normal people to act in ways that are to say the least peculiar! Canadians wait for Wiarton Willy and our American Neighbors look for Punxsutawney Phil...

Read More

Today in history: January

What happened on this day in January? 1st Blanche Barrow born 1911 First edition of the Time of London published 1788 Victoria became the Empress of India 1877 Alcatraz became a federal prison 1934 J.D. Salinger born 1919 Maurice Chevalier died 1972 R.T. James born 1914 Constipate goldfish’s operation 2015 R. T James born 1914 2nd Yorkshire Ripper arrested 1981 Robbie Gordon born 1969 Cuba Gooding Jr born 1968 Isaac Asimov born...

Read More

Princess Vicky & Prince Frederick William: Royal Romance

Princess Vicky & Prince Frederick William: Royal Romance. Princess Vicky was the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was a lively and intelligent girl and was well-trained by her parents to occupy a regal position. They expected her to marry well into another European royal house. They didn’t exactly arrange her marriage but they tried their best to facilitate it. When the Great Exhibition took place in...

Read More

London at War: Black Americans

Black American soldiers in London in the Second World War. During WW2, many American soldiers were stationed in London and there’s one curious aspect of this that is very rarely mentioned in history books – the treatment of black American soldiers. In the 1940s racial segregation was a fact of life in the USA but not in Britain. This caused various problems. These had been anticipated by Britain’s foreign secretary,...

Read More

Dawn Langley Simmons

Gordon Ticehurst was born in England in 1922. He was the illegitimate child of a sixteen year old servant girl. The father was the household’s chauffeur and the pair were employed by homosexual author Harold Nicholson and his lesbian wife Vita Sackville-West. Now that is some start in life. But it was just the beginning of a remarkable life story. Gordon’s early life is something of a mystery. Although it seems that he did...

Read More

Al Capone: The Man Who Created Scarface

How did Al Capone get his ‘Scarface’ nickname? Al Capone hated that nickname. And of course it developed because he had knife scars on his cheek but who did this and how did it happen? In fact, he was only eighteen when he received the injury that he would hate for the rest of his life. It was August 1917 and Capone was working at the Harvard Inn on Coney Island.  The place was owned by Frankie Yale, a minor mobster....

Read More

What Do Americans Think About Britain?

Raping nuns in the street, Muslim-only cities,vigilante police … The latest American to put his foot firmly in his mouth was a chap called Steve Emerson. You’ve probably never heard of him – I hadn’t either until recently. He is some sort of journalist or something. But apparently, this person went on Fox News and declared that the city of Birmingham in the UK is an entirely Muslim city and that non-Muslims...

Read More

The Capsize of the Prinz Valdemar

The end of the Florida Land Boom: 1926. In the middle of the nineteen twenties, a single ship ran aground on a sandbar and capsized. No-one was killed; no-one was hurt but this simple accident brought about the end of the infamous Florida Land Boom. Since the beginning of the decade, investors had flocked to South Florida. They could buy land cheap and sell it again and make fabulous profits. How could they go wrong? South Florida had...

Read More

Who is Aileen Getty?

Of course, if you guessed from her surname that she is one of the fabulously rich Getty family, you’d be correct. Has it often occurred to you that often the richest families are the ones who seem to have the most tragedies and disasters in their lives? The Onassis and Kennedy families come to mind. Aileen Getty was one of these people who suffered because of her family’s enormous wealth – yet she’s a survivor....

Read More

George Harrison attacked at home

In 1999, Beatle George Harrison was attacked in his own home. We like to think that we are safe in our own homes but in the early hours of December 31st, 1999, George Harrison and his wife Olivia were brutally attacked by a man wielding a knife in the Friar Park home. George said later that he was sure that he would die. George and Olivia had been watching television that night and had gone to bed at about 2am. Their son Dhani was...

Read More

Earth’s Amazing Meteorite Impact Craters

Why so few craters on Earth compared with the moon?   It’s well-known that the surface of the moon is covered with many thousands of impact craters. However, Earth appears to not have nearly as many. The reason for this is that the Earth’s weather and tectonic forces make most craters eventually disappear. Also, Earth’s surface is 71% water, and so many meteors, asteroids, or comets that have hit the Earth, have splashed into the...

Read More

Aliens – Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All?

Aliens – Do They Know It’s Christmas Time At All? Well no, because they’re aliens. But what if we have to explain it all to them? Just as we have many questions for them, they surely will have for us. If we believe the reports… aliens have been appearing in our skies for a very long time. Some of these sightings have occurred at Christmas time. So one day – maybe even one Christmas Day – an alien...

Read More

Keeping Safe: Is it a Choice?

Help me out – Can you remember a time in the recent past few years, that there were not so many acts of senseless violence and killing and gun shootings in the USA? I wish someone could tell me if these mass shootings and senseless acts of terrorism have become the “norm”. What’s happening in our world, that killing has become such a focus of sensationalism and a common topic in the daily television news...

Read More

Lady Ursula d’Abo

Lady Ursula d’Abo: The girl with the widow’s peak. Words by Lyndsy Spence Born into an aristocratic family in 1916, Lady Ursula d’Abo (née Manners) was interrelated with some of the most powerful and interesting figures of the 20th century. She counted the famous beauty and hostess Lady Diana Cooper as her paternal aunt, and among those famous aunts were Laura and Margot Tennant, part of the Victorian intellectual...

Read More

Are You There God? It’s Me, Danny

Are You There God? It’s Me, Danny. No answer! He never answers me. I probably use His name more than I use my own, and always endearingly: “Oh my God”. “Good God”. “Dear God”. Yet still He stays away from me. Is it because I have done something in my life that has got up His nose? Then where is the forgiveness? And shouldn’t He at least let me know what it is so that I can apologise for...

Read More

Who was J. Habakuk Jephson?

In December 1872, an American ship was found sailing off the Azores in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was in good condition, but its lifeboat was gone — and there was not a soul on board. The ship was called the Mary Celeste and for years there was speculation about what had happened to the ten people aboard. They had vanished into thin air. There was no sign of a struggle or fight. Other than the lifeboat nothing seemed to be...

Read More

SS Mohegan

The Mohegan disaster The SS Mohegan sank off the coast of Cornwall in 1898. Although this maritime disaster has been largely forgotten, the cause remains a mystery and of course, there is a conspiracy theory regarding the loss of the ship. And it’s a mysterious story indeed. The ship was built in the Yorkshire port of Hull. Her original name was Cleopatra and she didn’t get off to a good start. On her maiden voyage, which...

Read More

Sometimes We Forget to Say Thank You

Here is a great true story of one man’s way of saying thank you. It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean. Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden...

Read More

Did Alice de Janzé murder her lover?

Did Alice de Janzé murder her lover? I’m inclined to think that she did. But read about the case below and let me know what you think. Alice was American and a wealthy heiress. She was born in 1899. She lived a scandalous life, which ended when she took her own life t the age of only forty two. She was incredibly beautiful. Surviving photographs of her do not do her justice. in those days, rich American families often arranged...

Read More

Who Killed Elsie Frost: Latest News

In September 2015 there were further developments in the almost fifty year old case of the murder of this fourteen year old schoolgirl. Elsie’s brother and sister, along with the Wakefield police and aided by the BBC, have been looking into this unsolved case. (You can read the details here). Elsie was murdered in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday in October in 1965. She was a quiet and happy young girl and despite...

Read More

Who were the Duplessis Orphans?

From Orphanage to Asylum While I was reading Asylum recently, a fine mystery that incorporates the past and the present, it made me very curious to know the details of that terrible time.  Actually, the book included so much truth, that I wanted to know what was fiction and what was fact. The book is a work of fiction, a mystery that revolves around the Duplessis orphans in Montreal, Canada. My own memories of the 50’s were so mild...

Read More

Songs For New York – 21st Century

Andy Royston concludes his three part Songs for New York with a look at Millennial recordings featuring this great city. You can read part one here, and part two here. New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village – the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying this way is up. EB White Here Is New York, 1949 Now you’re in New York, these streets will feel brand new, the lights...

Read More

Royal Scandal: The Prince of Wales

The question on everyone’s lips; would the Prince of Wales be a good king? Everyone wondered. Of course, he was born with certain advantages like any member of the royal family but he had a strict and somewhat domineering father. His mother of course was  the Queen of England and concerned with her duty. Both parents seemed to expect so much from their eldest son. It’s said that his childhood wasn’t happy and went he...

Read More

The Kennedy curse?

The Kennedy curse? Did Jackie Kennedy take the curse to the Onassis family? Many people believe that the Kennedy family was cursed. It’s certainly true that they suffered many tragedies. But only three of these alleged ‘curses’ took place before the nineteen fifties – on other words, before Jacqueline Bouvier married John Kennedy in September 1953. The first tragedy was actually brought about largely by the...

Read More

What’s wrong with having red hair?

When did red hair become wrong? What’s wrong with having red hair? Truly, I want to know. In recent years, this has become something of a prejudice – since when did people start discriminating against people with lovely red locks? Of course,I’m biased. My maternal grandmother had red hair so therefore I, and four of my cousins, also do. So why is it now subject to phrases like ‘the red-haired stepchild’?...

Read More

Tribute to Mum and Dad – Joan and Colin

Andy Royston celebrates his parents, Joan and Colin, Yorkshire born and bred. Inspired by Sam Monaco’s moving tribute to his own parents.   The older I get, and the more people that I meet, I’m beginning to realize that I must be the luckiest man in the world. I didn’t think so when I was a kid, growing up in a small farming village at the heart of the South Yorkshire coalfields. I didn’t think that I was...

Read More

Best of British – Night Mail

Andy Royston celebrates Night Mail, one of the most influential documentary films of all time. “If you wanted to see what camera and sound could really do, you had to see some little film sponsored by the Post Office or the Gas, Light & Coke company.” J.B. Priestley For much of the time between the wars the General Post Office (GPO) was the largest employer in Britain. It was at the leading edge of business practice...

Read More

Who Was Harriet Mordaunt?

The Harriet Mordaunt Scandal. A Royal Scandal: The Prince of Wales and Harriet Mordaunt. It’s not really unusual to hear of an older man marrying a much younger woman. But in the case of Harriet Mordaunt, it became a scandal that fascinated Victorian society. Harriet was young and attractive and her story involved British royalty and led to Harriet being locked up as insane for the rest of her life. Was a conspiracy at work?...

Read More

The 2003 Northeast Power Blackout

Those who were there that hot, humid Friday still remember clearly what they were doing when the power failed on August 14th, 2003.  Especially those in the big cities.  Big cities such as New York City.   Affecting over 45 million people in the Northeast United States and over 10 million in areas of Canada, it was the second worst power outage in history. While some back up generators worked effectively, nearly all of New York City...

Read More

Daft Historical Facts

From the first use of OMG occurring in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917 to a Prussian Emperor kidnapping tall people to realise his dream of having a tall army; history is full of amusing, daft and fascinating facts. The less likely to turn up in history books the better and though they may be hard to slip into a general conversation, if the opportunity does arise, you’re sure to be able to entertain – so here are a few of...

Read More

Prince Charles and Lady Diana tie the Knot!

For many years, the world was wondering when and if the Prince of Wales was ever going to marry and give the British People and the Monarchy some good news. Prince Charles was the most eligible bachelor in the world, and rumours were all around about who might be the “lucky” lady, that would be the next Princess to be and be with her husband the next in line to the throne. Well on this day in 1981, Prince Charles indeed had the whole...

Read More

Parents’ Day

Tribute to my Dad. A special memory tribute of a dear man in my life, my Dad. He had a great love for sax music. He was a musical guy with various musical instrument talents but his favorites were the accordion and saxophone. He loved to play religious, jazz and polka music. He played the sax in his younger days right up until about 6 months before he passed in January 2002 with leukemia. He was 89 when he went. One of my most...

Read More

Elsie Frost murder: Ian Spencer’s family

The family of the accused man, Ian Spencer. The latest news about the 1966 murder of Elsie Frost is encouraging, thanks to the investigations of the BBC and their reporter, Jon Manel. If this is the first time you have heard of this case, previous articles are linked below. Police reinvestigation The first news comes from the West Yorkshire Police. The BBC interviewed Detective Chief Inspector Elizabeth Belton who said that the case...

Read More

So, Prince Philip swears

And this is news? In July 2015, the newspapers and the internet were full of the news that Britain’s Prince Philip had ‘appeared to use’ the f-word during a photo shoot.  Have they nothing better to report? Blimey. Royals today are no longer expected to don suits of armour and go jousting. Neither do they live in fear of being usurped and sent to the Tower to have their heads cut off.  But it does seem a little...

Read More

Language Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

When the Voyager Space Probe set off into space on the ultimate adventure, it needed to say hello. So it was equipped with audio files etched onto a gold plated record intended to be heard by whatever form of life it might come across. This fascinating video is one of these files and it contains greetings and welcome messages in 55 different languages. How many languages did you identify? We will probably never leave planet Earth, but...

Read More

Today in history: July

What happened on this day in July? 1st Olivia de Havilland born 1916 First day of the Somme 1916 Diana Spencer born 1961 Alice Guy Blanche born 1903 Last Ford Thunderbird produced 2005 George Sand born 1804 Peggy Sue recorded 1957 Nicholas Winton died 2015 2nd: Live Aid 2006 Helmut Marko accident 1972 Amelia Earhart disappeared 1937 Val Doonican died 2015 3rd: Sebastian Vettel born Carrie Buck born 1906 Hettie Green died 1916 Franz...

Read More

The Life of the Princess of Wales

The Life of the Princess of Wales. She was incredibly unhappy. The Princess of Wales had only been married for a short period of time but she was fully aware that her husband, the Prince of Wales, was still seeing his long-time mistress. And what’s more, she rather suspected that he was seeing other women too. She knew that he’d had plenty of women when he had been single and now it seemed that he hadn’t changed in...

Read More

Elsie Frost murder: Memorial service planned

Latest news from the BBC’s investigation into the murder of Elsie Frost. I was eleven years old and at school in Wakefield when fourteen year old Elsie Frost was murdered in that city in 1965. In recent months, as the fiftieth anniversary of Elsie’s murder approaches, BBC reporter Jon Manel has been helping Elsie’s brother and sister, Colin and Anne, try to discover more about this unsolved case. In previous articles...

Read More

Victim culture: Cry-baby society

The victim culture: A disturbing part of today’s society? In Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied countries free speech was censored by jack booted thugs. Today, we are censored by victim culture and the fact that we don’t want ‘to offend’. Offend others and they become the victim and you become branded as a racist, sexist or some other variety of ‘ist’. This was demonstrated in June 2015 when seventy...

Read More

Elsie Frost murder: The police typist

Police typist Liz Weaver and the murder of Elsie Frost. The people of Wakefield in West Yorkshire were stunned and horrified when fourteen year old Elsie Frost was brutally murdered on the outskirts of the city. This terrible event took place on Saturday October 9th, 1965. The murderer was never found. Fifty years later her sister Anne and brother Colin discovered that the police files about Elsie’s death were sealed. Their...

Read More

Lunatics

Lunatics. Lunatics. An ugly word now, but was the common description given in the 19th and early 20th century to people with mental illnesses. A few miles from my home stood a large psychiatric hospital. It opened in 1888 as ‘The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ and housed a large population of people with mental illness. For many detained there, it was where they lived – and died – their bodies abandoned and...

Read More

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...

Read More

Memorial service for cow

Memorial service for cow shot by police. Okay, I’m prepared to admit the the police might have over-reacted a little. When three cows escaped onto an English road, police were concerned for the safety of the public. I’ve researched this and oddly, cows escaping is not an unusual phenomenon. Cows being shot by the police is hardly unusual either. In the most recent case, two of the three escapees were successfully captured...

Read More

Pirates, Treachery – and Murder: a true story

Pirates. In 1981 I was on holiday in Suffolk, England, when I found a commemorative stone with an intriguing story carved on it, in the churchyard of St. Edmund Church, Southwold. The inscription on it led me to a history trail that stretched from the coastal town of Southwold to the Gulf of Florida in America, and on to Charleston in South Carolina. It led to a tale of piracy, betrayal, murder – and eventually retribution for...

Read More

Royal Baby: Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

Royal Baby: It’s a girl! May 4th: The new princess has been named. It seems that the British punters were right when they placed their bets. (I got only one right). Welcome to Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. May 3rd: We have a conspiracy theory! A Russian newspaper is claiming that the duchess actually gave birth a few days before. They say that this is because Catherine looked too well-groomed and gorgeous when she appeared...

Read More

Should the throne go to William and skip Charles?

Should William be king instead of Charles? Every time the press bring up the idea of the queen abdicating – as they do increasingly as she was born in 1926 and getting no younger – there are invariably those who say that if she was to do so, the throne should go directly to Prince William and miss out Prince Charles altogether. Why? I simply don’t get it. Quite apart from the fact that succession simply doesn’t...

Read More

The king, the prince and the caterpillar

Edward VII and his grandson Edward VIII Edward VII, before he became king, was known as the playboy prince. As the eldest son of the long-lived Queen Victoria, he had a long wait before he ascended to the throne. And he spent much of that time to his own advantage. Well-dressed, fun-loving and wealthy, he enjoyed his earlier manhood to the utmost. He enjoyed parties,gambling … and his mistresses. His parents had regarded him as...

Read More

Is the Clean Reader a good idea?

Is the Clean Reader a good idea? It sounds like a good idea but is it really? couple have developed an app which censors out certain words from books that you are reading on a phone or device. These words are mostly what some would describe as ‘profanities’ but are also body parts – for instance, in one example I saw, the word ‘breast’ was replaced by ‘chest’. The app,say the developers, allow...

Read More

What names would you choose for the new royal baby?

What names would you choose for the new royal baby? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – William and Catherine – are expecting their second child in April, 2015. This baby will be the sibling of George Alexander Louis, born in the summer of 2013. In the UK, bookmakers are taking (and will presumably make) a fortune as people bet on a) the birth date b) whether the child will be  boy or a girl and c) what the names will be....

Read More

Will you still watch Top Gear?

Will you still watch Top Gear? You have probably heard that  Top Gear presenter, ‘bad lad’ Jeremy Clarkson, has been fired by the BBC. Or, as they put it, they are ‘not renewing his contract’. If you missed the original story, I wrote about it here. This popular and controversial presenter was in what was described as ‘fracas’ in a pub (not at work) with another BBC employee. The latest reports say...

Read More

Those fat people with no heads…

Those fat people with no heads… You know the ones I mean.Every time you see an article about how as a society we are getting more and more overweight, there’s going to be a photograph of someone’s middle section. Or someone with no head (well, not a visible one, anyway) like the one you see here. And I’m getting a bit concerned about them… I mean, you’d recognise yourself, wouldn’t you? I...

Read More

William & Kate: Baby number two

William & Kate: Baby number two On March 20th, 2015, it seems that American magazine were tired of waiting the required nine months for the expected royal baby. Not one but two of them reported that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, had given birth to a girl in dramatic  circumstances. See the screenshot below from the Daily Mirror, a British newspaper. As you can see, it was announced that the baby had been born, that it was a...

Read More

Love thy neighbour?

Love thy neighbour There are several things about modern day life than have the ability to annoy me, if I let them. Old people – and I suppose I’m definitely getting there – regret that we have lost our sense of community. Sadly, this is true. Even in my wonderful neighbourhood. There was a perfect example today. A certain discarded item found its way onto the parking lot of our building. It had been spray-painted...

Read More

Okay, who did the ‘smelly poo’?

British Airways and the ‘smelly poo’ Yes well, sorry, but that how the BBC described it and if it’s good enough for the BBC, it’s good enough for JAQUO. This is because of the news story that broke on March 12th, 2015. A British Airways flight from London to Dubai had been in the air for about half an hour. The captain put out a call saying that he needed to see a ‘senior member’ of the cabin crew....

Read More

Fugu Fish: Last meals

What is fugo fish? Most cities in Japan have at least one restaurant that serves fugo fish almost exclusively. The problem is that, unless it’s prepared extremely accurately and professionally, this fish is poisonous. The most poisonous part of the fish – which incidentally is a type of puffer fish- is the liver. But other organs can contain the toxin too. For this reason, the fish is not for sale to the general public and...

Read More

Last Meals: The Lusitania

The last meals before the sinking of the Lusitania Unlike the Titanic, that struck an iceberg in the middle of the night, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sank by a German U-boat just after lunchtime. We know what the final dinner consisted of on board the Titanic but lunch menus weren’t generally recorded in the same way as the lavish evening meals. But we do know that the meals were equally luxurious on both ships. Here’s...

Read More

Who was Dodi Al Fayed?

Who was Dodi Al Fayed? In 1997 Dodi Al Fayed, aged forty two, died in a car crash in Paris. With him was his new love, Princess Diana. But how had this relationship started? Largely, it was engineered by his father, Mohamed. Mohamed Al Fayed had been a friend of Diana’s father, Earl Spencer. Diana didn’t know him well at that time but later, when as the Princess of Wales she shopped at Harrods in London, Mohamed would be...

Read More

Another day in paradise?

Another day in paradise? Well… Subtitle: A bucket, a skipping rope and a coconut Yes, but today was a day in paradise with a difference. The phrase is one that we Floridians use a lot – after all, we live in one of the most beautiful places with wonderful weather. But this morning was an interesting one… I get up before it’s light – I like to get an early start on the day – and I don’t know...

Read More

As American as apple pie?

As American as apple pie? In our tiny apartment I can often hear the TV when I’m cooking and the other day, on an ad, I heard someone say “It’s as American as apple pie”. Hang on, I thought. Where did that come from? Apple pie isn’t American. I happen to know (oh the trivia that rattles around in my head) that the first literary reference to apple pie was in Chaucer (would that be the thirteenth century?)...

Read More

Small Town, America: Can it survive?

 Small Town, America: Can it survive? Traveling down the coast in the state of Oregon, I am always struck by the busy-ness of some towns over others.  Some appear small, stifled, without activity.  Some seem so busy and active. That made me consider several things.  Is part of it by choice?  Is a community able to choose to lessen tourism and growth?  Can it survive that way?   If tourism is what makes a town busy and active, is that...

Read More

David Rosenfelt’s Real Life Tara Foundation

David Rosenfelt’s Real Life Tara Foundation If you are a fan of David Rosenfelt’s wonderful mystery series, you will recognize the Tara Foundation. The series, featuring attorney Andy Carpenter, has a loyal and growing following. I sure wouldn’t miss one! In the first book of the series, Open and Shut, when Andy comes into a bit of money (about twenty-two million), he and a new friend set up the Tara Foundation, named after...

Read More

Queen Elizabeth II and her corgis

The queen’s dogs: Corgis In many ways, it’s a bit of a joke and a cliché. These Welsh dogs were first introduced into the royal family by Elizabeth’s parents. She grew up with these cute little dogs. She has owned more than thirty corgis during her years on the throne. She even took one on her honeymoon. But this tradition may be drawing to a close. We have to remember that the queen was born in 1926. By any stretch...

Read More

Bilbury, Gloucester: Clever ad campaign?

Bilbury, Gloucester: Clever ad campaign? Twitter has been a-tweeting this week about a yellow car that has been ‘spoiling the view’ in the Cotswolds village of Bilbury. Bilbury, a sleepy little place, is a known tourist attraction. There are some lovely photo opportunities and one of the most popular is the Arlington Row of cottages. But tourists are taking to Twitter en masse to complain that a yellow car which is parked...

Read More

The end of the traditional British police helmet?

The iconic British bobby’s helmet. Soon to be obsolete? The traditional police helmet has been worn by British bobbies on the beat since 1862. It has become an icon of the British way of life. Generally, it was only worn by policeman who were patrolling on foot. For many years officers have also been issued with a police cap – far more suitable for wearing in patrol cars and soon. But gradually, various forces throughout...

Read More

A day at Sandringham

A day at Sandringham House in Victorian times Sandringham House in Norfolk is a royal residence. You can visit the house these days – it has a museum,splendid grounds, a restaurant – but what was it like in Victorian times when it first came into royal possession? Today’s royal family prefers Balmoral for their family get-togethers and holidays but in Victorian times it was a favourite of the family and the residence...

Read More

Anti-rape pants – really?

Pants that prevent rape – really? I suppose that the two women who started this company have their hearts in the right place but really, anti-rape pants? Yes, I know that wearing the modern equivalent of a chastity belt might seem like a good idea but what on earth does it say about society? We’ve all heard the old excuse ‘well, she was wearing a very short skirt and a low cut blouse so she was asking for it’....

Read More

The Queen’s Fool

The Queen’s Fool From the 12th to 17th century, most English monarchs paid jesters and fools to amuse and entertain them at court. Jesters were the equivalent of stand-up comedians today – they would clown around and joke; make people laugh (or sneer) at their antics. Royal fools could do these things too, but they often had a closer, more subtle relationship with a king or queen. Royal fools fell into two groups. There were the...

Read More

So, the Sun was just fooling?

 The Sun newspaper publishes page three topless photo On 20th January, 2015 I wrote – as did thousands of other people in the world – that the Sun newspaper had decided to stop publishing its regular ‘page three’ feature. That is, photographs of topless girls. There had been campaigns and questions. There were those who thought that breasts were somehow ‘indecent’ and shouldn’t be published in...

Read More

Can Paris sue Fox News?

Does Paris need to sue Fox News? In case you’re unaware of the furore, recently an ‘expert’ proclaimed on Fox News that there were cities in Europe (Paris, Birmingham and London were specifically mentioned) which are Muslim strongholds into which non-Muslims cannot set foot. This was clearly nonsense and the British prime minister referred to the buffoon as a ‘complete idiot’. See more here. (Or the video...

Read More

Gotterdammerung: Lost Chariots of the gods…

Gotterdammerung: Lost Chariots of the gods… Somewhere south of seventh heaven, north of the ninth ring of hell is in an undisclosed location in the next world. It’s the abode of forlorn, forsaken gods. Once they commanded worship, sacrifice and devotion of countless acolytes. Now, they sit in the dustbin of religious history. Zeus is boltless, baffled. Baal bewildered. Thor is flummoxed. Quetzalcoatl’s feathers are ruffled. Horus is...

Read More

The Sun newspaper stops topless page three feature

The Sun newspaper stops topless page three feature I just don’t get it. The Sun, in case you don’t know, is a British tabloid newspaper. It is not necessarily a paper for the intellectually superior. For the last forty-four years – which is more or less for as long as many people can remember – page three of the newspaper has featured a glamour shot of a topless model. On 20th  January 2015, it was announced...

Read More

Fox News apologises for Birmingham slur – eventually

At last, Fox News apologises for broadcasting appalling lies about Birmingham In January 2015, an American person on Fox News – an alleged ‘expert’ – declared that the City of Birmingham in England is totally Muslim and a complete no-go area for non-Muslims. The British Prime Minister remarked that the man was ‘clearly a complete idiot’. I wrote about it here and you can also see the full video....

Read More

Seth Godin: You are what you share

Seth Godin says ‘You are what you share’ As a reader of Seth Godin’s blog, I couldn’t resist writing about his latest article. (You’ll find the link below). Isn’t that a wonderful quote – ‘you are what you share’? When you think about it, isn’t sharing the natural way of human beings? Would the human race still be here if our ancestors hadn’t shared food, warmth, love?...

Read More

Modernity’s Torments, Trials, Travails

Modernity’s Torments, Trials, Travails I was attempting to purchase produce. “For me,” I said to the unhearing automated check-out device at the grocery store as I frantically searched for the for a pic of the apposite avocado cultivar (Hass? Florida?) “this self-service is getting a bit too selfie.” As a youngster, I had calculatedly observed that ringing-up and bagging groceries was not a ticket to the top. Aptitude with an NCR...

Read More

British pub receives Prince Charles’ gas bill

The Prince of Wales pub receives power bill allegedly intended for Prince Charles The English have always been fond of naming pubs after royalty and in January 2014, this caused an embarrassing mistake when British Gas sent the Prince of Wales pub a gas bill that was actually that of Prince Charles. Except it wasn’t. All very confusing indeed. Inns and pubs have been a feature of the British Isles since Anglo Saxon times and...

Read More

Why Ghost Stories Snare Us

“Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses” “Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses”, asserts the prolific writer, Neil Gaiman, author of ‘The Graveyard Book‘. He says: “You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re still here, still safe.” Ghost stories have an enduring...

Read More

Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Think about your war hero

Stop messing about with Creme Eggs. For our sake and Major Cadbury’s Britain is in revolt. This is nothing to do with politics or any of that nonsense. This is far more important. No, England is outraged by the changes made to Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. I agree wholeheartedly. How can they do this to us? We have grown up knowing that there is one constant in life. Things change. Fads may come and fashions may go but the one...

Read More

Secret Pinterest boards for bloggers

Bloggers: Using a secret Pinterest board Brands were quick to grasp the marketing potential of secret Pinterest boards. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make the most of them too. And they are  perfect way for bloggers to collaborate. Secret boards are an excellent way for individual bloggers to join together to co-promote each others work  – it’s quick, easy and effective. It works best if you have at least...

Read More

Royal Scandals

Prince Andrew: Royal Scandals. In January 2015, the press had a field day reporting that Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth II, was under investigation for child abuse. Of course, this has been denied wholeheartedly by the palace. The ‘abuse’ evidently refers to the allegation that he had sexual encounters with a minor. That does sound pretty bad, doesn’t it? But the ‘minor’ in question was...

Read More

Hook-up how-to! Japanese acting student?

Hook-up how-to! Japanese acting student? Anyone can split an occasional infinitive or confuse an adjective with an adverb. To more than merely say, one should not feel too badly. It happens. In the course of daily life, these are but minor infractions. An inter-office e-mail containing a confusion of the case or tense amounts to naught. Yet, as with most things, it all depends on context. In the wrong place, at the wrong time, a...

Read More

The three husbands of Clara Davis

Clara Davis and her three husbands Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Clara Davis – she wasn’t famous and she wasn’t a celebrity but I was drawn to her story because of the three men she loved and lost. She was just an ordinary girl but had such bad luck in the marital department. She was the daughter of a gas superintendent from Dulwich and rather liked the idea of a career on the stage. Her first...

Read More

Cuban Immigrants or Robinson Crusoe?

Homemade boat found on Fort Lauderdale beach On 2nd January, 2015, just at the break of day, Fort Lauderdale photographer Andy Royston was enjoying his everyday morning routine -walking on the beach. He has been doing this for several years now,capturing the beauty of the  dawn as the sunrises over the ocean. That Friday morning though, it was an unfamiliar sight that greeted him.   Yes, a battered and abandoned homemade boat....

Read More

Political incorrectness?All in the mind

Jeremy Clarkson, the Porsche and the Argies Whoops. I’m probably not supposed to say ‘argies’ am I? Is that politically incorrect? I have no idea any more what is and isn’t. ‘Argy’ is a four-letter shortened version of Argentinian. ‘Brit’ is a four-letter shortening of ‘British’. Most people are happy to call me a Brit (and I’m not going to object) so therefore I...

Read More

Prince William’s secret lover

Prince William: the wrong royal choice At one time, European royalty would marry for what we would consider the wrong reasons. Marriages were arranged to consolidate lands, to gain wealth or for purely political reasons. And members of any royal house was supposed to marry someone of equal standing. Luckily, in those days,there were plenty of them to go round. But as time went on, things became more relaxed.There’s little doubt...

Read More

King George VII: The king that never was

The search for a king Many years in the future, it’s likely that England will have King George VII. If the ascension to the throne follows true to form and tradition Prince Charles will follow Queen Elizabeth II. She was born in 1926 and her mother lived to be one hundred and one years old so it’s unlikely to be imminent. Following that, Prince William will take over and then, many years into the future, his son Prince...

Read More