The word ALPHABET is derived from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, ALPHA and BETA.
When it was first introduced into English, some purists, or nit-pickers, thought that the word should be used purely to describe the Greek version. The English version should be referred to as the ABC, or the abece. An [more…]
A cravat is a wide neckband and was the forerunner to the modern tie. It is still occasionally worn but where did it come from?
Many people associate the word cravat with France but in fact it originates in Croatia.
Croatian mercenaries in the French army in the 17th century wore linen neckcloths.
The word cravat comes from [more…]
In 1773, the citizens of Boston called for three ships of the British East India Company to be sent back to England without their cargo of 342 chest of tea being unloaded.
This was in response to what were seen as unfair taxes on imports, being imposed by the British. Their request was denied and [more…]
If a punishment is considered Draconian you can be certain that it is particularly or overly harsh.
As any parent knows, meting out penalties is always difficult. No video games for a month! Grounded for a year!
For schools, businesses and governments it is also a vexed question of what ‘punishment fits the crime’. Too harsh [more…]
Very few people realise that the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was based on a true story.
Robert Louis Stevenson based his story on William Brodie, a respected Scottish businessman.
Born in 1741, Brodie was the son of a well-to-do cabinetmaker. He was a city councillor leader of the masons guild and yet he [more…]
We all know about Friday the 13th it is supposed to be a day of bad luck, doom and danger. The question is, why a Friday and why Friday the 13th?
It may surprise you but there are millions of people around the world suffer from Triskaidekaphobia, which is the fear of the number [more…]
Most people have heard of the explorer Marco Polo but do you know much about him?
This Italian traveller journeyed to the Far East with his merchant father Nicolo and uncle Maffeo in 1271, when he was 17 years old.
They crossed Persia to the Chinese border, went on through the Hindu Kush and the Pamir [more…]