There are so many small items of stationery that we take for granted. But when were they invented?
Your task for today is to put these items in the correct order of when you think they were invented, starting with what you think is the earliest. Only after due debate and discussion are you allowed to click on the link which gives you the answers!
I am an expert dieter. You can tell this by looking at my bookshelves: I’ve got just about every book on dieting you could think of as well as a number of others that you might not know about. Over my many years of dieting I’ve always found it’s a lot easier to buy a book about dieting than to make radical changes to my eating and exercise regimes.
The diet books I especially like are those which give you advice on losing weight without focusing solely on what goes in your mouth. Of course l know that the best way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than I eat. That means I need to do more exercise and be very careful about what I swallow. Unfortunately, though, none of that addresses my weighty issues of human weakness in lacking both motivation and the strength to resist temptation.
It would be good to think that the last words you utter in your life would be something profound. I’ve even considered writing mine in advance and carrying them round with me – just in case of emergency. The trouble is, I haven’t yet decided what my last words should be.Perhaps I’ll pinch William Hazlitt’s last words: “Well, I’ve had a happy life” or Harold Macmillan’s: “I think I’ll go to sleep now.” They’ll do if I don’t think of anything better in the meantime.
Here are some last words said by famous people. See whether you know who said them – then try them out on your friends and family:
1. “Let not poor Nelly starve.” 2. “I’ve never felt better.” 3. “How is the Empire?” 4. “Et tu, Brute?” 5. “Does nobody understand?” 6. “Kiss me, Hardy.” 7. “I am just going outside and I may be some time.” 8. “Die, my dear doctor! That’s the last thing I shall do.” 9. “I have a terrific headache.” 10. “Go away. I’m all right.” (He wasn’t….) 11. “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.” 12. “Is it my birthday or am I dying?”
Because he was one of the greatest novelists who ever lived. His novels feature really ingenious plotting; a vast range of exceptionally colourful and memorable characters of all kinds – many of them eccentric and humorous (although there are some great villains too); interesting insights into life and human nature; many funny episodes; a breath-taking prose style; memorable expressions and witty comments.
Traditionally, Dickens is not seen as an easy read, and in some ways he isn’t. Unfortunately, though, many people have been introduced to Dickens at school when they were too young to understand his prose style and this has had the effect of turning them off Dickens for life. Because children are quite familiar with simplified versions of stories such as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations, there is a mistaken perception that these books were written for children, but they remain very much adult novels. The original full-length versions are far too dificult for children yet, if you return to Dickens’s books as an adult, you’ll find them much more readable than they were when you were fourteen!
Nevertheless, it’s worth bearing in mind that in the twenty-first century we’re saturated with instant messages and easy readability, but Dickens does have to be worked at a bit – not something we’re used to. But if you’ve never managed to enjoy Dickens before but you’re prepared to make the effort now, he more than repays the toil you put in .
So there I was in Rome. The eternal city; the city of echoes; the city of illusions; the city of yearning; the city overwhelmed by its own greatness. Hm, a lot of people have said a lot of stuff about Rome. But what should I be doing while I was there? Ah, of course: “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” I simply had to find out what the Romans do, then copy it. Clearly there was a need for some close observation of the Romans. During my three-day stay I reached some obvious conclusions about what Romans do, then gave careful consideration as to whether I would be able to do this do too – or, indeed, whether I would want to. Continue reading
My mum used to – and so did all the other mums of her generation. Apparently, when people got proper decent homes after the war they were so pleased with them that they wanted to keep them spotless and so that’s just what they did, even though it meant women spent all their time cleaning, polishing, dusting, sweeping, buffing, washing, starching and ironing.
People took a pride in all this. If you hadn’t coated your doorstep with red polish for two weeks and if the brass pokers on your fire grate weren’t gleaming, then you weren’t fit to hold your head up. When you heard that relatives were coming next week, your first thought was to wash the nets with a blue rinse and shine up the windows, before embarking on a really major spring clean of the whole house. Continue reading