Welcome to my Desk, where you’ll find all sorts of items to hold your interest. Unlike my real office desk, which is cluttered with books, files, news cuttings and the remnants of my lunch, this Online Desk will be efficient and easy to navigate.

Learn some of the tricks of solving those weird cryptic crosswords on my tutorials page.

If you wonder about the origins of some of our wonderful English expressions, Words & Phrases is the place to find out more.

Read about the puzzling but positive effect Lovatts has on your health in Puzzles & your Health. We’d love to hear from you, so write a letter to Christine’s Mailbag. You might want to comment on my regular column @ Christine’s Hello.

There’s something for everyone here, so come on in!

Latest Posts

26 03, 2015

Hello – BIG April 2015

  • March 26th, 2015

We associate Easter with chocolate eggs and a long weekend, but once Easter was bigger than Christmas. It still is in many denominations, a far more important event to Christians.

Christmas, being our big razzmatazz celebration, when families get together, with decorations and presents, puts Easter in the shade, but Easter was once a similar celebration. Families gathered on Easter Sunday with [more…]

26 02, 2015

Hello – BIG March 2015

  • February 26th, 2015

One reason we have so many synonyms is a legacy of English history.
Anglo-Saxon was spoken until the Normans invaded England in 1066 when William the Conqueror made French the language of the courts. Anglo-Saxon was spoken by the peasants and French by the aristocracy, which is why so many English words have twins. For instance, baby from Anglo-Saxon, infant [more…]

29 01, 2015

Hello – BIG February 2015

  • January 29th, 2015

One of the big decisions I had to make recently was whether I want to be called Grandma or Nanna – or any other variation such as Nanny, Nan, Gran or even Grandmama!
Yes, I have just become a grandmother! While it’s not a life-changing decision, it made me think about why there isn’t just one name for a grandmother. And [more…]

1 01, 2015

Hello – BIG January 2015

  • January 1st, 2015

Many of the ancient pre-Christian celebrations were hijacked when Christianity arrived, and adapted – or toned down. Some of them have been forgotten altogether.
Candlemas on 2nd February was known as the festival of light in pre-Christian times. It marked the mid-point of winter, half way between the winter solstice (shortest day) and the spring equinox. One of the original Celtic names [more…]

1 12, 2014

Hello – BIG December 2014

  • December 1st, 2014

Christmas is coming and once again we prepare for the big day, as people have done for over a thousand years.

The date of 25th December was first declared by Pope Julius I, around 336 AD. The exact day on which Jesus was born was not recorded, so why was this date chosen? There were several possible reasons.March 25th is thought to [more…]

27 10, 2014

Hello – BIG November 2014

  • October 27th, 2014

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” – Mark Twain.
Calling a woman a dog implies she’s ugly. Calling a man the same thing implies that he’s uncouth or of low morals, although it could also be used as a compliment – ‘You [more…]