Author’s blogs

RSS Simon Leyland Blog

  • Shut that door…..
      Much has been written about the “win at all costs” mentality of the Soviet bloc during the Olympic games of yore. Everything from chemical enhancements, blood transplants and even bribery seemed to have been tried. There is however a wonderful, if a somewhat apocryphal story about the Javelin competition …
    Simon Leyland
  • To pigeon hole someone…..
      To Pigeon Hole a person is to classify them and give them a specific identity when more than one might be more appropriate. The English used to keep pigeons as domestic birds, although not as pets, but for food. Pigeons generally do not stray too far from a place …
    Simon Leyland
  • The peculiar history of “rigmarole”
      Rigmarole is a most unusual word with a rather interesting origin. It is used to describe something disconnected, rambling and difficult to see a way through. It is now well over 700 years old and dates back to 1291 when the Scottish noblemen signed a deed of loyalty to …
    Simon Leyland
  • Chance would be a fine thing…..
      When Hindle Wakes, a play written by Stanley Houghton opened in 1912 ,it immediately caused an outcry with its depiction of non marital sex. It was banned in many theatres but its notoriety ensured that it was one of the most popular plays of the time. Apart from a …
    Simon Leyland
  • James Carr Boyle and the horse(s) with no name….
      GK Chesterton once wrote “The Victorian Age made one or two mistakes, but they were mistakes that were really useful; that is, mistakes that were really mistaken. They thought that commerce outside a country must extend peace: it has certainly often extended war. They thought that commerce inside a …
    Simon Leyland
  • How to speak Art Gallery (part 2)…..
        PUTTO (POO-toe): Putti (note the plural) are those naked, chubby babies that cavort through Italian paintings, especially from the fifteenth century on. “Putto” means “little boy” in Italian, and originally the figure was derived from personifications of Eros in early Greek and Roman art; by extension, the term …
    Simon Leyland
  • Schlep, Shmaltz and Schmooze……
      Schlep comes from the Yiddish word “shlepn,” meaning to “drag” or “pull,” and it has retained this meaning in one of its modern uses, in which it is synonymous with the English word “lug.” It is more frequently used, though, to describe an arduous or difficult journey and, most …
    Simon Leyland
  • Bull in a china shop….
      Although the expression in its current form came first  from the pen of Frederick Marryat, the idea had been around for a long time before  that – but not quite as we know it. James Boswell came close when in 1769 he wrote that the ‘delicate and polite’ Mr …
    Simon Leyland
  • The very first “Kiss and Tell”….
      Harriette Dubouchet who was one of the most famous courtesans of the 19th century.She began her career (?) at the age of fifteen, by becoming the mistress of the Earl of Craven. Many famous men entered the bed of Harriette and many more sought it out. She became a …
    Simon Leyland
  • Robert Cocking`s claim to fame …..
      Robert Cocking was the developer of an early (subsequently unsuccessful) parachute design and as a result became the first person to be killed in a parachuting accident. He was a professional watercolour artist with a keen interest in science. He had seen Andre-Jacques Garnerin make the first parachute jump …
    Simon Leyland

RSS Alex Hyland Blog

  • Hung, Drawn and Cornered
    I try not to be too overprotective as a father, but it’s a hard line to navigate. Needless to say, I want to keep my…Continue ReadingHung, Drawn and Cornered
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  • Gluten-free Weirdness
    I’ve been gluten-free for about two years now. I’ve developed a mildly apocalyptic reaction to wheat, and I do my best to steer clear of…Continue ReadingGluten-free Weirdness
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  • Lousy Lunch
    Jodie took a sip of frosted wheatgrass juice, then shook her head. ‘You wasted yourself,’ she said. I eyed her a moment. Wasted? ‘You could…Continue ReadingLousy Lunch
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  • Marilyn
    As imaginary girlfriends go, the one I probably had most trouble with was Marilyn Monroe. She just wouldn’t leave me alone. It’s a tricky situation…Continue ReadingMarilyn
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  • Amazing Millie and Northwind the Zombie
    I’ve been trying to teach my six year old daughter, Jessica, the basics of story-telling. I sat her down and talked her through a very…Continue ReadingAmazing Millie and Northwind the Zombie
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