The Tree

The tree remembered being planted in the churchyard those many summers ago. For he saw the young daughter of the squire slipping in a copy of that new book on ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to wile away the long sermon. This blissful rural scene was oblivious to the battles being fought on land and sea to fence in the tyrant Napoleon. The tree brought to mind the … Continue reading The Tree

Showing Rank

Does our clothes show our wealth and status? Well it did in medieval China. Back then the garments and materials you wore were clearly laid down so that rank and social position was obvious. Those who were at the lower end of the spectrum wore clothing made from hemp and other vegetable fibres. But as you rose up the hierarchy you got to the silk … Continue reading Showing Rank

Locomotion–changed the World

It is not everyday, we see something that has genuinely changed the world. But today I did and it is called Locomotion. Nowadays, it looks distinctly ‘old hat’ yet as Pete Waterman explains, when it was first seen in action it must have been as exciting and frightening as the Space Shuttle. Nevertheless, when its inventor George Stephenson let loose this contraption on the unsuspecting … Continue reading Locomotion–changed the World

Pennies from Heaven

It’s strange how memories flood back with the smallest of provocations. One from childhood spirited itself up when I was trying to find a new idea to centre my Sunday worship’s children’s talk upon. One suggestion was to get the kids to play a real fruit machine. In other words they get handed a bag of mixed fruits and the have to draw out three … Continue reading Pennies from Heaven

Visitors from the future

This weekend I enjoyed being part of millionaires’ country house party. Not a real one – you understand. But a rather clever way of dressing up a tour of the National Trust’s Upton House near Banbury. As each visitor arrived, we were greeted as your Grace, your Worship etc by a lady in flapper-esque attire and assured that our servants would be already unloading your … Continue reading Visitors from the future

An education you can’t refuse

The problem with education these days is that it costs so much. Or so I thought until a few days ago. It was then I came across a free online resource from the Open University.  Now, since its foundation in the 60’s, the OU has been one of the jewels in the British higher education. Because, established as it was to serve the era of  … Continue reading An education you can’t refuse

Not rude at all!

Of course, by today’s standards it’s pretty mild. Nevertheless, if you told Great Aunt Sadie to ‘shut her trap” you’d probably earn a clip round the ear. Yet Juliet Nicolson in her book ‘The Perfect Summer’ tell us that this expression’s origin isn’t rude at all. Because in 1911, with motoring in its infancy, cars were for the rich who could afford chauffeurs for their … Continue reading Not rude at all!