Archive

woman on laptop with houseplant next to her

Houseplant Week

This week is #houseplantweek. What a glorious thing to celebrate and counter that potential post-Christmas psychological slump. When so little plant life stirs outside, it’s time to turn our horticultural gaze indoors. But what exactly constitutes a ‘house plant’? The Collins definition is broad: ‘a plant that can be grown… Read More

Christmas or Yule: the lexicon of the holiday season

’Tis the season to be jolly,Fa-la-la-la-lah, la-la-la-lah. Ah, carols! Doesn’t everyone love them? They really lift our spirits: belting them out in company certainly gets me in the Christmas mood. I expect many of us will have a favourite. What’s yours? Hearing carols piped in shops or singing them… Read More

Bonfire or Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember, the fifth of November Gunpowder, treason and plot. We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. On the night of 4 November 1605 Guy Fawkes, a Catholic, was discovered in an undercroft of the House of Lords guarding a hoard of gunpowder intended to explode the following day at the state opening of Parliament Read More

COP26

November brings a momentous gathering to Glasgow, Scotland, namely COP26. It’s the twenty-sixth and latest in a series of UN-led annual conferences to agree measures to combat climate change. Why the name ‘COP’? The initials stand for ‘Conference of the Parties’. The parties are the 197 countries now signed up… Read More
talking red

Celebrate National Poetry Day

This year’s annual National Poetry Day, the thirty-eighth, falls on Thursday 7 October. National Poetry Day (NPD) was founded in 1994 by an arts charity – the Forward Arts Foundation – and has gone from strength to strength, boosting, inter alia, sales of poetry: the graph… Read More
research yellow

Is the autumn equinox the start of a new season?

There are just a handful of astronomical events that non-specialists like me know of, and one of them will be upon us very soon: the autumn equinox. On 22 September 2021, day and night will be equal in length across the whole world. How so?… Read More
talking red

New Conversations Day

Conversation had a very precise meaning for Dr Johnson, he of dictionary fame and a conversationalist par excellence. When his biographer, Boswell, asked him whether there had been good conversation at a dinner party, he declared: ‘No, Sir; we had talk enough,… Read More

World Music Day

‘If music be the food of love, play on’ must be the second best-known quote from the Bard. These words uttered – or crooned in some performances – by Duke Orsino, who is in love with love itself, constitute the very first line of Twelfth Night. 21 June marks not… Read More