Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Latest
Flodden Edge
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
The Scots paid a heavy price for honouring their ‘Auld Alliance’ with France.

EARLY in the 16th century, Pope Julius II of Rome and King Louis XII of France were at war, and King Henry VIII of England had sided with the Pope. So Louis begged the Scottish King James IV to invade England, reminding him of the ‘Auld Alliance’, the Scots’ long-standing friendship with France.

Continue reading ›
Six Posts
Fiddler Tam
Music: Thomas Erskine, 6th Earl of Kellie
An 18th century bon viveur and virtuoso violinist, Thomas Erskine is currently being ‘rediscovered’ by the classical music industry.
Music by
Thomas Erskine, Earl of Kellie

AS a young man of twenty Thomas Erskine, Sixth Earl of Kellie, was passionate about music, but scarcely able to tune his own violin.

A four-year visit to Joseph Stamitz in Mannheim changed all that.

On his return in 1756, his new-found virtuosity earned him the nickname ‘Fiddler Tam’.

Continue reading ›
Brahms: Three Intermezzi Op. 117
A Scottish widow’s lullaby for her fatherless child inspired his music, but Brahms’s message struck closer to home.

JOHANNES Brahms’s Three Intermezzi, composed in 1892, were inspired by the Border Ballad Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament, in which a bitter young mother tells her uncomprehending son how his father left them, on the very day his child was born, to die in a pointless war.

Continue reading ›
The Tragedy of Macbeth
two-part story
Music: Sir Arthur Sullivan; Richard Strauss
Macbeth becomes wound in spells, and finds that one murder leads to another.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)

JUST before Edward the Confessor came to the English throne, two Scottish generals, Macbeth and Banquo, saved the throne of their king Duncan by repulsing a Danish invasion.

On their way home, three witches accosted them. They told Macbeth that he would one day be a king, and Banquo that he would be a father of kings.

Continue reading ›
The Battle of Glen Shiel
Music: Richard Jones
King Philip V of Spain sent a second Spanish Armada against Britain, but it suffered much the same fate as the first.

WHEN Philip V of Spain, in preparation for his larger assault on France, annexed the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, a British fleet led by Sir George Byng upset his plans by defeating him at the Battle of Cape Passaro on 11th August, 1718.

Continue reading ›
The Ladder with Twenty-Four Rungs
Music: Thomas Erskine, 6th Earl of Kellie
The Duke of Argyll was pleasantly surprised to find one of his gardeners reading a learned book of mathematics - in Latin.

THE Duke of Argyll was puzzled one day to find a copy of Newton’s recently-published ‘Principia’ lying on the grass. He summoned a passing gardener, an eighteen-year-old named Edward Stone, and instructed him to return the wandering book to his library.

Edward, however, replied that it was his own personal copy.

Continue reading ›
The Law of the Innocents
Music: Richard Jones
St Adamnán worked tirelessly to secure protection, rights and dignity for the women of Ireland.

IN 7th century Ireland, the lot of women was unenviable. Serving women were a form of coinage: fines were calculated in cumals, or maidservants, each equivalent to three milk-cows.

Continue reading ›
All Posts
Tagged Scotland (7 posts)
page 1
1 Flodden Edge
The Scots paid a heavy price for honouring their ‘Auld Alliance’ with France.
2 The Battle of Glen Shiel
King Philip V of Spain sent a second Spanish Armada against Britain, but it suffered much the same fate as the first.
3 The Tragedy of Macbeth
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
Macbeth becomes wound in spells, and finds that one murder leads to another.
4 The Law of the Innocents
St Adamnán worked tirelessly to secure protection, rights and dignity for the women of Ireland.
5 Brahms: Three Intermezzi Op. 117
A Scottish widow’s lullaby for her fatherless child inspired his music, but Brahms’s message struck closer to home.
6 The Ladder with Twenty-Four Rungs
The Duke of Argyll was pleasantly surprised to find one of his gardeners reading a learned book of mathematics - in Latin.
page 2
7 Fiddler Tam
Music by
Thomas Erskine, Earl of Kellie
An 18th century bon viveur and virtuoso violinist, Thomas Erskine is currently being ‘rediscovered’ by the classical music industry.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Confusables

Compose your own sentences to show the difference between these words:

Must. Ought.

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Once’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SEED and finish with GROW.
Try writing complete sentences using these adjectives in the attributive position.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘a river, part of the Bristol-London waterway’ (6 letters), and ‘e.g. D minor’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: Longest Word (Letters Game) Games with Words

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic