Seventeen Things I never knew about Ireland

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Fuchsia grows wild in hedgerows

Fuchsia grows wild in hedgerows

I’d been wanting to go to Ireland for most of my life, it seemed and I finally got to spend a fortnight there this summer. What a wonderful place: full of history, charm, friendly people, good accommodation and wholesome food. Here are some of the things I found out:

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When were they invented? Stationery

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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!

1. Post-it note
2. Paper clip
3. Ballpoint pen
4. Tippex
5. Stapler
6. Elastic band
7. Pencil sharpener
8. Pencil
9. Typewriter
10. Scissors

If that’s not enough of a challenge, you can try to guess the dates they were invented and in which country.

When you’re ready, you can find the answers to “When were they invented? Stationery” by clicking here

Famous Last Words

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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?”

Answers can be found here

And here are a few people whose last words were really quite.. well. ordinary:

“Wait a minute.” (Pope Alexander VI)
“No.” (Alexander Graham Bell)
“Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.” (Johannes Brahms)
“Hello.” (Graham Chapman)
“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” (Steve Jobs.)

Do you have any other good examples of famous last words?

How’s that for a coincidence!

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Sometimes it’s peculiar how small random things in life line up and coincide. They may have no special significance but just leave you thinking, “Hm, that’s strange.” Today was a bit like that – and what’s more, I ended up knowing a lot more about Earl Grey than I did before. Continue reading

Did Napoleon have a small man complex?

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/www.flickr.com/photos/the-o/2072005360

/www.flickr.com/photos/the-o/2072005360

Every day I find another good thing about winding down my day job. Today’s good thing is having the time to pursue and investigate a pointless piece of information.

When I was working full time, there was just about time in my life for work, food and sleep. When I sat down, there was always either more work to be done or, when I was fooling myself that I was enjoying some “me” time, I would be gently nodding off in front of the TV. Never before now did I have the time to follow up a silly newspaper article in the manner I have today. Continue reading