for writers and readers….

A recipe for Christmas Pudding from Jane Austen’s mother

I know it’s too late to even think about making a Christmas pudding, but  you can always put the recipe away for next year if you fancy a literary yuletide. … Continue reading

December 22, 2016 · 5 Comments

DO YOU KNOW where the word spam comes from?

An actor named Kenneth Daigneau won a competition to name the new tinned meat product. His suggestion is supposed to be a blend of spiced and ham. Then, in the 1970s, the … Continue reading

November 5, 2015 · 2 Comments

7 things you didn’t know about FACEBOOK (probably) + 3 rules I’ve made up

One in every 13 people on Earth is on Facebook Most Facebook users live in Asia But only about 35% of people who live in Asia use Facebook Australians spend … Continue reading

June 22, 2015 · 2 Comments

HAPPY JUNE 16th – a special day

A bit of background (from a 2013 post I wrote on the subject) Bloomsday celebrates Leopold Bloom, the main character in James Joyce’s Ulysses. The story takes place takes place … Continue reading

June 16, 2015 · Leave a comment

Names invented by Writers

Just back from a wonderful and very productive writing residency in Portugal . As I need to catch breath, unpack and get to grips with unanswered emails I thought I … Continue reading

May 19, 2015 · 24 Comments

Test your knowledge of English…and weep

Which of the following is the “correct” plural of octopus?  Which are acceptable variants?  Which are “wrong”? octopuses octopi octopodes This old blog (the original post was written five years … Continue reading

May 16, 2015 · 8 Comments

A free dating service for Doctor Who fans

Who’s your favourite Doctor Who? (For me it has to be Tom Baker, although David Tennent comes a close second). That’s the kind of essential information a new dating service … Continue reading

April 15, 2015 · 8 Comments

DID you know…that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day and the same year… 206 years ago today

On 12 February 1809, Charles Darwin was born in Shropshire to a wealthy family: his father was Dr Robert Darwin and  his mother Susannah was the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, … Continue reading

February 12, 2015 · 2 Comments

It’s official – the creative industries earn £146,000 every single minute for the UK economy

New figures published yesterday – January 13th –  reveal that the Creative Industries are now worth £76.9 billlion per year to the UK economy – an all-time high. That figure … Continue reading

January 14, 2015 · Leave a comment

DID YOU KNOW…nope can be a verb, an adjective and a noun…

…and lots of other things, especially when used online. I discovered the flexibility of this term when reading Sentence First, the blog of an Irish scientist and linguist who has … Continue reading

January 12, 2015 · 4 Comments

Do you know where Dickens got the character Scrooge from? It was a bit of mistake actually…

It is clear from any Dickens’ novel that the great man enjoyed names. His friend and biographer, John Forster, said that Dickens made “characters real existences, not by describing them … Continue reading

December 30, 2014 · 23 Comments

Do you know…where George Orwell got the idea for Room 101?

In Nineteen Eighty Four room 101 is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love. This is  where the all-controlling Party breaks prisoners by exposing them to their own worse … Continue reading

June 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

Do you know…which country reads the most books, watches the most TV, listens to the radio and uses the internet most often for pleasure…?

TELEVISION Folk in Thailand spend  22.4 hours in front of the television each week. The USA is in 6th place with 19 hours per week and the UK is 9th … Continue reading

April 12, 2014 · Leave a comment

You just don’t get it, do you?

Stephen King – who only joined twitter at the beginning of December – used this new method of chatting with fans to discuss cliches in movies. He suggests that the … Continue reading

December 24, 2013 · Leave a comment