The Death of a Saint and the Start of a Romantic Tradition – The Martyrdom of St Valentine
Feb12

The Death of a Saint and the Start of a Romantic Tradition – The Martyrdom of St Valentine

Monday 14th 270 AD was quite a day for Bishop Valentine of Interamna (now Terni in Umbria), for on that day, in Rome, he was stoned to death and then beheaded on the orders of Emperor Claudius II Gothicus.

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Bet you can’t say that in English – Some Untranslatable Words From Around The World
Feb09

Bet you can’t say that in English – Some Untranslatable Words From Around The World

Thanks to the British Empire and laterly the rise of the American hegemony English is pretty much THE World language. By some estimates the English language has more than a million words and it’s generally agreed that no other language has nearly as many. So you would think that English must have a word for everything, right? No – Not even close. In this article we look at some words in other languages that just seem to defy...

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The Vocabulary of Winter – 8 Unusual Wintry Words
Jan19

The Vocabulary of Winter – 8 Unusual Wintry Words

Having a wide vocabulary is always a good thing. In this article we’ve pulled together some of the more unusual words that the English language has to offer us that relate to wintertime.

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Why do Boomerangs come back?
Jan05

Why do Boomerangs come back?

Boomerangs are commonly thought to be the invention of Aboriginal Australians but over the years they have turned up at archaeological sites as far apart as Arizona and India with the oldest known specimen, around 23,000 years old, but how do they fly ?

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So Why do the British Traditionally Eat Turkey at Christmas ?
Dec25

So Why do the British Traditionally Eat Turkey at Christmas ?

Christmas is probably the time of year when there is an overwhelming plethora of traditions and practices that we all enthusiastically embrace. In this article we look at one of the most enduring of British traditions … the Christmas Turkey.

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The Meaning of 12 Days of Christmas Carol
Dec22

The Meaning of 12 Days of Christmas Carol

There’s one particular Christmas Carol that continues to baffle people – “The Twleve days of Christmas”. What in the world do ‘leaping lords’, ‘French hens’,’swimming-swans’ and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

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Some Christmas Tree Factoids
Dec18

Some Christmas Tree Factoids

Today the Christmas Tree is a pretty ubiquitous symbol of the yuletide season. It wasn’t always so. In this article we look at a few historical Christmas Tree factoids.

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What Does Yule Really Mean?
Dec15

What Does Yule Really Mean?

Christmas is traditionally also known as “Yuletide”. Indeed the lyric from “Deck the Halls” goes “Troll the ancient yuletide carol.” Amidst all the fa-la-la-ing, did you ever ask yourself exactly what yuletide is?

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The Christmas Tree
Dec08

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is a ubiquitous image of the season. Trees were a symbol of life long before Christianity. In this article we look at a very short history of the Christmas tree.

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Party Games For Christmas – The London Underground Game
Dec01

Party Games For Christmas – The London Underground Game

Christmas is a traditionally a time for family fun and games so why not try out this London Underground game. See how many London tube stations you can guess from this cryptic graphic we found on the internet.

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Origins of Some English Eponyms : Chauvinist , Draconoian, Hooligan, John Hancock & Mentor
Nov27

Origins of Some English Eponyms : Chauvinist , Draconoian, Hooligan, John Hancock & Mentor

Eponyms are one of the most fascinating examples of how the English language gains new words. In this article we take a colourful look at the phenomenon some eponyms like : Chauvinist , Draconoian, Hooligan, John Hancock & Mentor.

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Where do the Space Station Astronauts get their Air?
Nov24

Where do the Space Station Astronauts get their Air?

Astronauts first moved into the International Space Station in October 2000 and since then they have been supplied with oxygen created by a process discovered by the chemist William Nicholson over 200 years ago : Electrolysis

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The Poppy and the Bleuet – Symbols of Enduring Rememberence
Nov10

The Poppy and the Bleuet – Symbols of Enduring Rememberence

“In Flanders Fields” is a poem which contains some of the most famous lines ever written about the Great War. In it lies the seeds of why we use the Poppy as the symbol of remembrance.

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Do Goalkeepers Stand a Chance Against a Penalty Kick?
Nov06

Do Goalkeepers Stand a Chance Against a Penalty Kick?

If you’re a football fan then you’ll be able to relate to the agonies of watching penalty shootouts when used to decide a game. But does a goalie ever stand a chance and what can he do to help himself ?

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When did the US start dropping the U from words such as colour?
Oct20

When did the US start dropping the U from words such as colour?

Did the American’s hi-jack the English language and have applied what seems, on the face of it, some rather arbitary descions to spell various words differently. Why remove the U from words like colour? In this article we look at the rather querky reasons for this.

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