Flowers for the she-wolf or for Saint Valentine?
From ancient times the Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia around the Ides of February – the 13th. It was a festival to purify the city and promote health and fertility. Lupus is Latin for wolf and Lupercus was the god of shepherds. The Lupercal was the [more…]
Old Grogram was the nickname of British Admiral Edward Vernon.
He acquired this name because of the grogram coat he always wore.
In 1740 Admiral Vernon started serving a mix of rum and water to sailors in the Royal Navy instead of the neat rum handed out previously.
This became known as grog.
This grog ration was [more…]
To kick the bucket is one of the many euphemisms meaning to die. Its origins are fairly gruesome!
A likely source of this phrase comes from pig farming. One method of slaughtering a pig used to involve hanging it upside down from a beam in the barn designed for the purpose and called a “bucket.” [more…]
Where would we be without electricity? If you ever have a blackout it is a reminder of how reliant we are on plugging things in!
Early scholars like Thales of Miletus (600 BC) and Pliny (AD 70) made the observation that amber, when rubbed, had the power to attract light objects like bits of straw [more…]
This describes a heavy cloudburst and there are different theories as to how the expression came to be, the first of which is from Norse mythology.
The cat was supposed to have great influence on the weather and witches that rode on storms were said to assume the form of cats. The dog and wolf, [more…]
Is it the Real McCoy? – Is it the genuine article?
This phrase stems from a story about the world class welterweight boxing champion Charles ‘Kid’ McCoy. Supposedly he was at some time challenged to prove that he was who he said he was and so he knocked out the inquirer! When the man came [more…]
This phrase sounds like it has its origins in crosswords but it originated from the early days of radio broadcasting of football matches.
So that listeners could follow the match more easily, a diagram of the pitch was published in the radio programme.
The diagram was divided into numbered squares and of course, the numbers started [more…]
If something is a load of old codswallop it is nonsense or of no value. Where does this odd word come from?
One theory speaks of Hiram C Codd, who in the 1870s, went into business selling lemonade in green glass bottles with marble stoppers.
‘Wallop’ was a nineteenth century slang term for beer and [more…]