All Posts (649)
Nos 611 to 620
Sir Hubert Parry
Stories in Short
Too Clever By Half
Mrs Tabby White thought she’d try some of the clever things her humans did.
Based on a short story by Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)

MRS Tabby White’s kittens thought their mother was the cleverest mother in the world.

She washed them and caught mice for them and taught them how to creep up on unwary things.

Continue reading
No. 611
2 two-part story
Malcolm Arnold
British Myths and Legends
The Lambton Worm
Part One. John Lambton goes fishing on a Sunday, and lets loose all kinds of trouble.

ONE Sunday morning, John, the young heir of Lambton Hall, skipped Mass and went fishing in the Wear. No good could come of that, and no good did.

That morning, he hooked only an ugly-looking worm, tossed it with disgust down a well, and promptly forgot about it.

Continue reading
No. 612
John Playford
British Myths and Legends
William of Cloudsley
William is Cumbria’s very own blend of Robin Hood and William Tell - with a happy ending, too.

WILLIAM of Cloudsley, Clym of the Clough, and Adam Bell, had been poaching deer, and were wanted men. But William could not resist a few hours snatched at home with his wife Alice, and their three children.

There William was captured, though not before shooting dozens dead, and sent to Carlisle jail.

Continue reading
No. 613
2 two-part story
Stories in Short
The Selfish Cat
A tortoiseshell laments his hard life among heartless humans.
Based on a story by Edith Nesbit
(1858-1924)

“IT’S not every trade that deserves to have a cat about the place” said the tortoiseshell cat to the grey one.

Continue reading
No. 614
Music and Musicians
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
No. 615
John Field
Music and Musicians
A Touch of Silk
A Dubliner with a roving eye and a gift for melody, John Field challenged some of Europe’s finest pianists to demand more of themselves and their music.
Music by John Field
(1782-1837)

JOHN Field made his Dublin debut as a pianist aged ten, and a year later was whisked off to London and apprenticed to Muzio Clementi, building and demonstrating pianos in Clementi’s showrooms.

Following an accomplished performance of his own Piano Concerto in E flat in the King’s Theatre, London, when just sixteen, a glittering career beckoned.

Continue reading
No. 616
Frederic Chopin
Music and Musicians
The ‘Raindrop’ Prelude
As the storm raged around him, raindrops fell like music on the pianist’s heart.
By Georges Sand
(1804-1876)

HE saw himself drowned in a lake; heavy, icy drops of water fell rhythmically upon his breast, and when I made him listen to the sound of the drops of water which really were falling rhythmically on the roof, he denied ever having heard them.

Continue reading
No. 617
George Frideric Handel
Music and Musicians
The Harmonious Blacksmith
Handel called it ‘Air and Variations’, but by Charles Dickens’s day everyone knew it as ‘The Harmonious Blacksmith’.
Music by George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)

‘THE Harmonious Blacksmith’ is the popular name for the last movement of Handel’s Suite No. 5 in E major (HWV 430) for harpsichord.

Handel did not give this name to his composition himself, though it is not clear exactly how it came about.

Continue reading
No. 618
Felix Mendelssohn
Lives of the Saints
St Nicholas of the Cats
A very unusual monastery with some very unusual protectors.
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition

THE monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats was founded on Cyprus by St Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, in the 4th century.

But the site on the Akrotiri peninsula was infested with venomous snakes, so much so that the local residents began to leave.

Continue reading
No. 619
International Relations
Peace By Free Trade
The blessing of trade free from political interference was one of most important insights in British, indeed world history.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

FREE Trade! What is it?

Why, breaking down the barriers that separate nations; those barriers, behind which nestle the feelings of pride, revenge, hatred, and jealousy, which every now and then burst their bounds, and deluge whole countries with blood. [...]

Continue reading
No. 620
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
Scottish King David I hoped to exploit the unpopularity of the Normans by trading on his own English heritage.
Admiral Lord Howe battered a French fleet far out in the Atlantic, and helped prevent the spread of bloody revolution.
A British victory at tragic cost, in which both sides had to learn a new way of fighting.
Out of a restless alliance between two 6th century kingdoms came a civilisation that defined Englishness.
The Normans conquered England in 1066, and the country would never be the same again.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (16)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Late’
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 ‘meticulous’ (7 letters), and ‘father of Goneril, Regan and Cordelia’ (4 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.