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Is That Really What You Mean?

Language is a code. Like all codes, if you know the rules, you can understand what’s being said or written. At times, however, some people don’t want you to understand what they’re saying and employ techniques to deceive or keep secrets from you.

They use obscure jargon and complicated technical terms knowing full well that their vocabularies are beyond us. They deliberately use new words to cause confusion whilst allowing their own little cliques to understand what is meant. Teenagers are particularly good at doing this to conceal from their parental generation exactly what they’re up to. Just think of the slang names given to drugs, sex and music and you get the picture. Continue reading →

Logs Are Not Just For Fires

If you have ever had to complete a medical questionnaire, you’ll know how difficult it is to remember all the details. For example, were you six or seven when you had mumps, how many times have you had tonsillitis, was it your left or right arm that was broken on that skiing trip. When it comes to prescribed medication, you’re bound to miss out the odd course of antibiotics or anti-inflammatories. Fortunately, your doctor’s records should have your complete medical history so you can access this information if required. Continue reading →

Under The Plate of Fruit & Veg

Before the Second World War and right up to the late 1960s, most of the fresh fruit and vegetables consumed in this country were grown here and harvested seasonally. Strawberries appeared at this time of year just in time for Ascot and Wimbledon, ready to be doused in lashings of cream.

The asparagus season has always been short: it started in May and whilst featured on restaurant spring menus, asparagus slipped into our kitchens often to be over boiled, ending up rather mushy. Jersey Royals were anxiously awaited at the end of April and were greeted just as enthusiastically as the French welcome their Beaujolais Nouveau in November. Some produce such as potatoes and apples have long been safely stored to give almost year round availability Continue reading →

Michael Graves, 1934-2015

Four years ago this month, the architect, designer and academic, Professor Michael Graves died aged 80.

In Britain, he’s probably most famous for his iconic bird whistle kettle, made by Alessi with his signature mid blue handle and maroon red bird flying out of the spout. Designed in 1985, this has  consistently been one of Alessi’s best selling products for thirty years,. He had become Professor of Architecture at Princeton university in 1962 and held that post until 2001 and last year was honoured when the Michael Graves School of Architecture was established at Kean University in New Jersey. Continue reading →

In Or Out?

As the Brexit negotiations reach a climax, it’s a good idea to reflect on the way that “internationalism” has changed our everyday lives. Long gone are the days when virtually everything in our homes was made in Britain.  Continue reading →

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