Lighthearted Talks

Hey Diddle Diddle - History & Meaning of Nursery Rhymes
Passed down through the generations, from parents to children, nursery rhymes have been part of our childhood. Many are veiled commentaries on political events and people in power, using subtle references and clever word play. Some nursery rhymes have it all, like a good film, royal scandal, illicit love affairs and bloodshed. 

Mad as a Hatter
- Origins of Sayings

Some people might say that I’m as mad as a hatter because I’m fascinated by the origins of the sayings we use in everyday conversation. There are more sayings than you can shake a stick at and for any doubting Thomas' out there, I'll let the cat out of the bag and pull out all the stops to entertain you, with stories of how the sayings we use all the time, came about.

New Moons, Black Cats & Ladders - Origins of Superstitions
A belief in luck and fate are the key components of superstitions and that they can be controlled by various actions of human beings. Do you throw salt over your shoulder if you spill it; know that it's good luck if you see two magpies together; wonder if things didn't go as planned because it was Friday 13th and touch wood for good luck? But where did these beliefs originate?

What's in a Name?
Your surname links your family across generations and each has a story to tell. It may tell you where your forbears originated from, what their work was or social status or even if they had a distinguishing feature. It was the Normans who insisted we had one and Henry VIII who decreed that the father's surname went on a child’s birth certificate. We use them every day, take them for granted and yet they are one of our most personal and interesting possessions.

Hidden Meanings of Place Names
Place names give us a fascinating insight into Britain’s past history. Some place names come from the earliest inhabitants of Britain but many are associated with our invaders who have left their mark. Did you know that Nottingham used to be called Snotengham (Snott's Settlement)? Some place names have evolved over the centuries and others have stayed the same and some aren’t what they seem.

The Bishop's Finger
The British public house started life as a Roman Wine Bar and dates back over 2000 years. Ale was central to the Anglo Saxon sense of community, the place to get a drink, often marked by using a bush as a sign; by 1577 it is thought that there were 17,000 alehouses, 2000 inns and 400 taverns in England many of the original names are still being used today.