Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tapping the side of the nose

Touching or tapping the side of the nose with the index finger means "we share a secret".

It is of British origin and then was popularized in America by the movie The Sting.


Monday, 23 September 2013


Of sheep; overturned.

A heavily pregnant, broad backed ewe may roll over and be unable to right herself. She is rigwelted.

There is also a beer called Rigwelter due to the similar effect it is said to have on humans.



Riggwelter Ale takes its name from a local Yorkshire Dales farming term which has Old Norse roots; “rygg” meaning back, and “velte” meaning to overturn. A sheep is said to be rigged or “rigwelted”, when it has rolled onto its back and is unable to get back up without assistance.

It seemed the perfect name for a strong beer from the Black Sheep Brewery in Yorkshire.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Eminent v preeminent

Q: What's the difference between "eminent" and "preeminent" in usage? Would a distinguished faculty member be described as an "eminent professor" or a "preeminent professor"?

A: It's a matter of degree. Eminent means that someone or some thing has become distinguished and stands out from the crowd. There may several eminent people in a field. Preeminent means more like peerless, the most eminent of the eminent, the leading authority.

1.high in station, rank, or repute; prominent; distinguished: eminent statesmen.
2.conspicuous, signal, or noteworthy: eminent fairness.
3.lofty; high: eminent peaks.
4.prominent; projecting; protruding: an eminent nose.

eminent above or before others; superior; surpassing: He is preeminent in his profession.

From Yahoo! Answers at

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Enid Blyton

Enid Mary Blyton (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968) was a British children's writer also known as Mary Pollock.

She is noted for numerous series of books based on recurring characters and designed for different age groups.

One of Blyton's most widely known characters is Noddy, intended for early years readers.

However, her main work is the genre of young readers' novels in which children have their own adventures with minimal adult help. Series of this type include

  • the Famous Five (21 novels, 1942–1963, based on four children and their dog),
  • the Five Find-Outers and Dog, (15 novels, 1943–1961, where five children regularly outwit the local police) as well as
  • The Secret Seven (15 novels, 1949–1963, a society of seven children who solve various mysteries).


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Anscombe's quartet

Anscombe's quartet comprises four datasets that have nearly identical simple statistical properties, yet appear very different when graphed.

Each dataset consists of eleven (x,y) points. They were constructed in 1973 by the statistician

Francis Anscombe to demonstrate both the importance of graphing data before analyzing it and the effect of outliers on statistical properties.



It shows how simple statistical measures can fail to show an accurate picture without graphing.

Wikipedia describes this as "All four sets are identical when examined using simple summary statistics, but vary considerably when graphed" -


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Types of Shirt Stripes

Here are the commonly used names for the basic shirtings:

  • Hairline Stripe
  • Dress Stripe
  • Pin Stripes
  • Candy Stripe
  • Bengal Stripes
  • Awning Stripe
  • Shadow Stripe
  • Multi-Stripe

Candy Stripes approximately 1/8" equally spaced white & colour or colour & colour;

Bengal Stripes +/- 1/4" equally spaced white & colour or colour & colour, etc.

Pin stripes are usually 1 or two yarns thick and the spacing between pin stripes varies all over the map.

If you'd rather call your Candy Stripes Bengals and your Bengals Pinstripes, feel free. One person's tiger is another's kitty.

But if you're trying to communicate with a shirtmaker, use the chart at

Friday, 13 September 2013

Tea - Milk in First or Second?

We often get asked this question by customers and everyone has different views on the subject.

Scientists at The Royal Society of Chemistry (London) believe the correct way is to put the milk in first because the hot tea homogenizes the fats in the milk.

However, our theory is it is better to put the milk in second so you can tell exactly how much you will need.

See full article at

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


A amazing thing or person. {Informal}

More slang at

Monday, 9 September 2013

Fray Bentos, The Home of Corned Beef

When researching Uruguay many months ago I came across this town Fray Bentos and I could not believe that any town would name itself after a tin of corned beef!!! Fray Bentos brings back so many childhood memories for me, when at boarding school in England, tins of Fray Bentos Corned Beef sent to me by my Mother supplemented my school dinners or in many cases substituted my school dinners!!

Well here I am in Fray Bentos a small town in Uruguay on the Rio Uruguay and just across from Argentina. The town has a population of 22,000. In 1868 a German named Justua von Liebeg set up a company named THE LIEBEG’S EXTRACT OF MEAT COMPANY LTD. He along with another scientist had discovered a way of canning meat so that it would last. In the process they also found ways of using the extract so none of the animal was wasted, they say the only part that was not used was the Moooooo. He built his factory in a very small town called Fray Bentos because of the vast cattle ranches in both Uruguay and Argentina.

The products became so popular in Europe that soon the factory was exporting 90% of its production. In the UK it was marketed under two very famous brand names, Fray Bentos and OXO. During the 1st World War OXO became the drink of the trenches. 

See full article at

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Cumaean Sibyl

The ferryman Charon carries the souls of the dead across the River Styx to the Underworld in his black boat.

Live mortals could not cross unless they showed him the golden bough, which was obtained from the Cumaean Sibyl. Herakles is the only living person who managed to cross without the bough.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Creeps

To give someone the creeps

  • Meaning - To give someone a feeling of uneasiness or mild fright. 
  • Example - Walking through the graveyard late at night gave me the creeps.
  • creep someone out
  • give someone the willies
  • spook someone
  • unnerve someone



  • Meaning - A disease of cattle and sheep attributed to a dietary deficiency; characterized by anaemia and softening of the bones and a slow stiff gait

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Types of salutes

The French salute is almost identical to the British Army's.

The customary salute in the Polish Armed Forces is the two-fingers salute, a variation of the British military salute with only two fingers extended.

In the Russian military, the right hand, palm down, is brought to the right temple, almost, but not quite, touching; the head has to be covered.

In the Swedish armed forces, the salute is identical to that of the U.S. armed forces and the British Royal Navy.

In the Hellenic Army salute the palm is facing down and the fingers point to the coat of arms.