All Posts (649)
Nos 311 to 320
Edward German
Lives of the Saints
Bread from Heaven
Cuthbert trusted that keeping his promised fast would not do him any harm.
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow
(672-735)

AT ten o’clock one morning, Cuthbert stopped off in a village, hoping to find something for his horse to eat; as it was a Friday and Cuthbert liked to fast until three, he declined all offers of food himself, though he had no idea when he might eat again.

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No. 311
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
Kate gets a Dressing-Down
Kate Nickleby must bite her lip as she experiences snobbery for the first time.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

SHE was awkward — her hands were cold — dirty — coarse — she could do nothing right; they wondered how Madame Mantalini could have such people about her; requested they might see some other young woman the next time they came; and so forth.

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No. 312
William Boyce
Liberty and Prosperity
The Great Chessboard
If Britain is a chessboard, then politicians should remember that the ‘pieces’ are alive, and they generally play a better game.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

THE man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it.

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No. 313
Muzio Clementi
Music and Musicians
Muzio Clementi
From performance and composition to instrument-making, Clementi left his mark on British and European classical music.

PETER Beckford, on a visit to Rome in 1766, was so impressed with fourteen-year-old Muzio Clementi that he engaged him to play concerts at home in Dorset.

He also paid for his musical education, eight hours a day studying the music of Handel, Scarlatti and Bach. By 1780, Beckford’s protege was performing for Marie Antoinette in Paris.

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No. 314
John Field
Lives of the Saints
Wulfstan and the Seal of Approval
William the Conqueror’s purge of the English Church was halted by a humble bishop and a dead king.
Based on an account by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)

THINKING all Saxon bishops rustic and unworthy of their sees, Archbishop Lanfranc summoned Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, to a synod in the Abbey at Westmister, and ordered him to give up his pastoral staff and ring to a better man.

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No. 315
Muzio Clementi
Greek and Roman Myths
The Sword of Damocles
A reminder that those with extreme wealth and power have everything but the peace to enjoy it.

DIONYSIUS, lord of Syracuse, listened willingly enough as Damocles praised the king’s army, the splendour of his court, and the lavish hospitality of his table. But when the gushing courtier declared that Dionysius was the happiest of men, the king stopped him.

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No. 316
Richard Jones
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Cerynaean Hind
Eurystheus sends his cousin on another labour, this time hoping the task is too delicate for the big man.

EURYSTHEUS scolded Heracles for soliciting the help of Iolaus against the Hydra, and declared the Second Labour void.

He now realised, however, that Heracles could kill any monster, so this time he commanded him to bring back, alive, a delicate, fleet-footed hind from Cerynaea, for his own private collection.

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No. 317
Frank Bridge
The Second World War
The Evacuation of Dunkirk
The fate of the British army hung by a thread in May 1940, but ships large and small, military and civilian, came to the rescue.

AFTER Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, the British Expeditionary Force, a thorn in the German side during the Great War, was again deployed to France.

This time, however, the speed of the enemy’s advance through Holland and Belgium, bursting into France by the Ardennes, caught everyone by surprise.

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No. 318
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
A Proper Education
Harriet Smith’s school gave her a grounding in good sense that even Emma Woodhouse could not quite overthrow.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

MRS Goddard was the mistress of a School — not of a seminary, or an establishment, or any thing which professed, in long sentences of refined nonsense, to combine liberal acquirements with elegant morality, upon new principles and new systems — but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school.

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No. 319
Muzio Clementi
Discovery and Invention
The Lessons of Nature
Samuel Smiles shows us two great achievements inspired by two tiny creatures.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

WHILE Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown was occupied in studying the construction of bridges, with the view of contriving one of a cheap description to be thrown across the Tweed, near which he lived, he was walking in his garden one dewy autumn morning, when he saw a tiny spider’s net suspended across his path.

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No. 320
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1878 The death of Alfred Bird, Birmingham pharmacist and confectioner
From our Archive
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
It’s hard when messed-up people treat you badly, but if you take it personally it only makes it worse.
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
The 14th century Mayor of London owed his fortune (and his wife) to his cat.
By The Revd Alexander Scott
(1768-1840)
High praise from someone who knew him better than most.
A Turkish official was itching to know the secret behind a Russian slave girl’s personal charm.

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Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Grebe’
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.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘outrage, public disgrace’ (7 letters), and ‘King David of Israel’s third wife’ (7 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with WIND and finish with CASH.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.