Tag Archives: trivia

A Difficult Day

I’m typing and watching TV. John Torode, the Australian cook from Masterchef (where he is partnered by greengrocer and pudding-eater Greg Wallace) is drinking mate in Argentina whilst learning about Argentinian beef.

Even Argentina, with all its open space is moving to rearing beef in feed lots.

It’s sad, but true. I was tempted to use the word “irritating” about Torode, and “even more irritating” about Wallace. But manners got the better of me, so I didn’t.

I’m intrigued by mate, but having read about the preparation I may give it a miss. I’ll add my favourite bit of mate trivia before leaving. It’s the bit about the South Africans around Groot Marisco, in case you were wondering. I have covered it before, I think, though I can’t find the post to confirm that. It’s a bit like the Burnley and Benedictine story. Or why they speak Welsh in Patagonia. Or Afrikaans.

I do love trivia. I quite like Argentina too, after watching today’s programme, but that’s mainly based on the fact that they eat a lot of meat. Even their truckstops serve barbecued beef.

On the other hand, I don’t like laundry and I don’t really care for six hours of decluttering, but it was my programme today, as dictated by Julia. (And yes, I have selected my words with care.) I did manage some deadheading, so it wasn’t an entire waste of a day.

Tomorrow we are starting our holiday, though we aren’t actually going away.  I have a blood test tomorrow and have to book an X-Ray appointment for my left hand, which will probably see off another day. I was hoping for anti-inflammatories and a steroid injection rather than another bloody visit to the hospital.

More medical discussion tomorrow, for those of you who are interested. It’s nice to be able to discuss medical matters without the necessity of removing my trousers.

 

Frank Soo

I was entering pre-war football cards onto eBay, specifically the large sized Topical Times series from the 1930’s. I find them awkward to work with and tricky to photograph, because they are nearly ten inches long with a tendency to curl. I’ve mainly used the scanner, because it flattens them nicely for the picture.

Yes, I’ve finally worked out how to use the scanner properly, though you can only fit two of these monster cards on at a time.

Ears, as you can see from the photographs, were worn larger in the 1930’s.

When I started on the colour cards, which are much less harrowing than the black and white images, I found Frank Soo.

 

The combination of name and slightly oriental features made me look again.

Frank Soo, was the first man of Chines heritage to become a professional footballer and first man of non-white heritage to play for England (in nine wartime Internationals). He went on to manage a number of teams in Sacandinavia, Italy and Scunthorpe. As a collector of trivia, I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of him.

His brother Ronald flew with the RAF in the war (Frank served in the RAF in a technical capacity) and was shot down and killed as a Lancaster air-gunner in 1944.

It’s amazing what you can learn if you keep your eyes open.

M32 – a longer journey than I intended

I’ve just added some extra information to the Bolton post, as Derrick Knight provided some insight into his Bolton Marathon experiences. I knew, from reading his posts, that he’d done a lot of running, but hadn’t realised it took him so far north.

I’m now moving on to M32, KT18, BR6 and ME8. I’m going to have to get a move on as we’ve had a busy few days and am accumulating postcodes faster than I’m finding facts.

M32 is part of the Manchester postcode area, one of the few that have a single letter.

A lazy search for M32 brings up Messier 32, also known as M32 or NGC 221. It is a dwarf “early-type” galaxy and is around 2.65 million light-years from Earth. It’s in the constellation Andromeda and was discovered in 1749 by Guillaume Le Gentil.

He has an amazing life story and, to be honest, knew more about astronomy than I will ever know, despite me having 269 extra years to learn it.

However, as he didn’t do any of this in Manchester, it isn’t relevant.

The next reference is to a motorway near Bristol – 4.4 miles long, and one of our shortest. It’s also a catamaran and some sort of audio equipment.

M32 Manchester works better as a search. It’s Stretford, a town that has many things to recommend it – a record-breaking art exhibition, a successful football team, a Jacobite skirmish and the first planned industrial estate in the world. My favourite fact isn’t even that it was nicknamed “Porkhampton” in the 19th Century due to it’s production of pork (up to a thousand pigs a week) and black pudding. I’m fond of pork…

Actually, that probably is my favourite fact, though it is run close by the fact that it used to be such a centre of rhubarb production that rhubarb was known locally as “Stretford Beef”. I like rhubarb too.

KT18 is easier. It’s Epsom in the Kingston on Thames postcode area. If you aren’t into horse racing there’s not much of interest round here. We stayed at a hotel on the racecourse a couple of years back. The breakfast was excellent and we saw parakeets over Leatherhead Crematorium.

BR6 is Bromley postcode, and just a couple of areas east of KT. BR6 covers Orpington, which is famous as the town where the Buff Orpington chicken was bred, along with the lesser known Black Orpington and Buff Orpington Ducks. Despite strong opposition from the poultry I’m going to have to nominate the Orpington Car as the interesting fact.

It was built between 1920 and 1925 and nobody has seen one since a, possibly unreliable, sighting in Crossroads during the 1970s. Somewhere in a dusty barn the last of the line may be lurking.

ME8 will be dealt with in due course…

Book Review – Elements of Murder

The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison

John Emsley

Hardcover: 436 pages

Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1st Edition edition (28 April 2005)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0641823894

ISBN-13: 978-0641823893

It has everything I want from a book – science, history and murder. It’s not a book everyone would enjoy but to geeks like me it’s fascinating to know that a broken thermometer played a part in the development of photography. I’m also intrigued to find that Pope Alexander VI  was poisoned in 1503 after dining with his son (well, they were Borgias), and that “perpetual pills” were made from antimony. When swallowed, they would pass through the gut, and irritate the gut into clearing itself out. They would then be retrieved, washed and used again. I’m not surprised their use has died out. I still shudder at the thought of what happened when I swallowed one of my gold crowns.

If you prefer environmentalism to murder you can read it as a book on the damage done to humans, fish and the atmosphere, with examples from history and from modern times.

If science is your thing, there is plenty available, possibly too much.

The book covers the poisons Mercury, Arsenic, Antimony, Lead, Thallium and “Other poisonous elements”. There are other poisons available, but these are the ones in the book – the clue is in the word “element” in the title. If you want a book on poisons in general you need a different book. If, for instance, you were interested in general poisons  (and I am making no judgement here) you may be better with a book on plants.

It’s not an easy read because the detail is quite dense, and you have to concentrate, but it is interesting and informative.

I won’t lie, it’s patchy, and there are slow bits because some of the poisoning cases are well known (like Napoleon’s death by wallpaper) and because the science sometimes goes on a bit, but I like the history and there are hundreds of items of trivia to be gleaned from a reading of the book. I’m not going to criticise a book just because of my inability to process science writing.

It’s going back on the shelf for now, but after leafing through it for examples of trivia, I’ll be reading it again soon.

 

 

 

Triviata

Yes, was surprised it was a real word too. I was looking for a title that denoted an accumulation of trivia and thought this was about right so checked it up to make sure if it was already taken, and yes it was. Shakespeare introduced 1,700 new words into English, but these days it’s not quite so easy.

There is also a Trivipedia, but no trivicumulation. I’m going to think about that…

I think it can be defined, in my sense, to denote a jumble of trivial news of the sort that makes up conversations between spouses or posts on blogs about normal life. Well, you may discuss world politics or philosophy with your spouse, but we tend to discuss children, what we did during the day, and housework. Or, more precisely, why I have done no housework.

So, his morning, after a day on the road yesterday, I drifted into consciousness just before 7.00 am, looked at the day outside and went back to bed for a while. Feeling energised I then sorted out books for charity, selected clothes for the Salvation Army (they seem to have been shrinking lately) and took a faulty kettle back to TESCO. It hadn’t been expensive but even cheap kettles are supposed to keep the water on the inside.

It’s surprising how long it takes to return a faulty kettle to TESCO. First you have to find someone to accept it, and at our branch that means going and standing at a shabby, anonymous counter at the back of the shop as everyone ignores you. Then, after finally intercepting a passing manager, you have to wait and see if they can find a replacement on the shelves or in the warehouse. They couldn’t. So I accepted a refund on my debit card.

Lunch was soup (Pea and Mint from TESCO) with fresh bread. Yes, I know I should make my own but I wanted something quick.

Blogging next – reading posts and adding bits to some posts I’m mulling over. I still have another post on Crowland Abbey to polish  (you have to ration these things out ) and a few others to develop.

Finally, gardening. I’ve been putting it off until the warmer weather came, and the warmer weather has come. As I have plenty of time this year, it really is time to get on top of the job. It’s also time to add some permaculture design and  wildlife to the garden.

I’m alternating TV, computer and cookery now. Julia is out at a meeting and when she returns she will be expecting meatballs. I’m still looking for a meatball recipe so “relaxed” and “well prepared” are words that don’t currently apply to me.

It will be different tomorrow – the Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry is already done.

Meanwhile, I’d better focus and stop browsing. I’ve just been reading this. It’s cookery, but not as we know it.

Readers of a nervous disposition may be better not clicking the link.