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The Cat’s Pyjamas


Did you know that Ancient Egyptians held cats in the highest esteem, and praised the creatures for tasks such as killing venomous snakes and protecting the Pharaoh? It seems that cats have never forgotten this high regard, given the stereotype of cats being haughty and contrary with their affection. I’ve never found this with [more…]

Australia’s First Languages


There is a common myth about how the kangaroo got its name. When European explorers first saw a kangaroo they asked a native Australian what it was called. The local didn’t understand the question and replied ‘kangaroo’ meaning “I don’t know” in his own language. The explorers took this to be the animal’s name. [more…]

Pass me the Termagant!


I’ve often marvelled at the journey a word takes from its birth to its present usage, and one fine example is termagant, an answer I’ve clued before in a recent MegaMix crossword.

The word termagant means a violent, overbearing person, usually a woman. Synonyms we might use as clues are shrew, virago, harridan, formidable [more…]

Christine’s Granola Recipe


About 10 years ago, when staying with my cousin in Ireland, we had homemade granola for breakfast every day. It was so scrumptious I begged him for the recipe. Now I make a batch every fortnight, and we have it for breakfast every 2 or 3 days. It’s so easy to make and you [more…]

10 Japanese words we use in English

What is Japan famous for? Quite a lot of things actually. From iconic landscapes like Mount Fuji and beautiful cherry blossoms to traditional tea ceremonies, pod hotels and bullet trains, there’s an amazing variety of exotic attractions people think of when you mention Japan.

But you may not have thought many Japanese words have crept [more…]

Subscriber Sweepstake UK March/April 2020

CONGRATULATIONS to the latest winners in our
Lovatts Subscriber Sweepstake!

These lucky subscribers have shared in £250 worth of prizes!

Dior J’Adore Eau de Parfum & Parfum Travel Spray – J Perkins, Heanor

 Neom Organics London Real Luxury Scented Candle –  S Sinfield, Maidenstone & M Such, Market Harborough

 Breville 4 Slice Toaster – J Musgrove, Ipswich

The Sweepstake is [more…]

The longest word in the English language

A puzzler recently sent me an interesting extract from Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words, listing the longest word in the English language. I can’t print it here because it has 1913 letters in it. It is a chemical term, although it’s a word unlikely to have ever actually [more…]

Esperanto, the Universal Language


Imagine growing up in a village where four separate groups of people speak only their own language, so that they cannot communicate with each other. That was the early life of L L Zamenhof, a Polish Jew who lived in what is now Bialystok, Poland. When he was born in 1859, it was under [more…]

Solstice and other pre-Christian festivals

Many of the ancient pre-Christian celebrations were hijacked when Christianity arrived, and adapted – or toned down. Some of them have been forgotten altogether. We take a look at the history of some of the well-known festivals.

Candlemas on 2nd February was known as the festival of light in pre-Christian times. It marked the mid-point [more…]