Study

Bookish Nooks, Cultural Crannies
Studies serve for delight, for ornaments, and for ability (Francis Bacon)

Back Pain

Way back in August, I noticed a new outbreak of ‘back’ in the news. It’s been creeping in gradually, but it’s now getting critical and must be stopped. Basically, news people have completely lost the ability to mention a date…

If You Knew Wood Pigeon Like I Know Wood Pigeon

The garden’s full of rowdy wood pigeons at the moment. They’re fat and noisy, like the frightening people who come out of the Stone House nightclub at 2am. Sometimes they (the pigeons) go – COO COOOOOO COO COO COOOOOO COO…

Want To Be On Radio And TV?

click image to enlarge flyer Whether you’ve got some experience or none at all, my Developing Your Media Presence course on 4 July is for you. I’ll give you loads of tips, then you’ll be professionally recorded and filmed, with…

Every Day Is The Best Day In The Year

Write it on your heart That every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day Who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every…

Oxford Commas

Who gives a f**k about an Oxford comma? asked Vampire Weekend, inspired by a Columbia University Facebook group called Students for the Preservation of the Oxford Comma. Well, I do. I’m very fond of commas, and I’d rather use them…

Rat

I’m learning Spanish (as if you didn’t know) and I’m quite good at animal names. But I messed up badly today (and offended the entire Hispanic mouse community) by translating ratón as ‘rat’. No. A ratón is a mouse. Preposterous.…

Do Moths Have Ears?

Cute Moth Mum’s favourite cashmere jumper has been savaged by a moth. But it’s turned its nose up (do moths have noses?) at her woollies. Apparently this is normal. Moths have expensive tastes. They prefer cashmere to wool and synthetic…

New Year’s Eve Eve

New Year’s Eve – Allendale, Northumberland Gosh. It’s New Year’s Eve Eve already. In these wild and woolly northern parts, New Year’s Eve itself is still pretty eccentric and some families still insist on the ritual of ‘first-footing’. It basically…

Graveyard on New Year’s Eve – Talca, Chile

Bureaucrats

I was amused to stumble on a little-known book by the late astronomer Sir Patrick Moore – a guide to getting revenge on jobsworths. I met him several times – at the Cat of the Year Show and his house…

Happy Wren Day (Unless You’re a Wren)

Wrenboys It may be Boxing Day in England. But in Ireland, it’s Wren Day. Until the 1930s, Irish ‘Wrenboys’ would hunt for a wren, kill it and stick it on a pole. Then, wearing weird straw hats, they’d process round…