Tudorama Newsletter February 13-20

February 20, 2023

Welcome as ever to Tudorama readers.

Podcast of the Week
Dr Glycol’s advice for storing raspberries
The intrepid doctor turns his scientific mind to solving the problem of the rapid rate at which raspberries go mushy after purchase.

Blogpost of the Week

News Headlines of the Week
Monday 13 February
Balloon hunting season continues. Pentagon releases statement saying no evidence found of UFO activity.
Chiefs win Super Bowl. Radio 5 Live transmits game live overnight to listeners in The U.K.
National Trust finds fewer clothes moths feeding on treasures. [Guardian news item]

Tuesday 14 February
Earthquake one week on. Humanitarian efforts turn to the millions of survivors in need of shelter food and water.
Intense fighting continues in Ukraine. News reports given less coverage.
New Zealand’s climate extremes continue. A state of emergency has been declared due to impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Wednesday 15 February
Russia believed to have intensified its military efforts in Ukraine, readying aircraft to join the conflict. Rishi
Sunak says Britain is ‘ready and able’ to engage Russia if needed. Presumably with NATO and EU cooperation.
Least surprising news. The three mysterious flying objects shot down in Project Balloon have been assessed as ‘benign’.
Breaking news. Nicola Sturgeon to resign as Scotland’s First Minister

Thursday 16 February
Nicola Bulley went missing 20 days ago during a routine riverside walk. Lancashire Police criticised for revealing in a press conference personal details of her vulnerabilities.
Centrica (British Gas owner) reveals record profits of £3.3 billion with little evidence of them feeding into consumer bills.
More dates of railway operators strikes announced in the buildup to the Easter holidays.

Friday 17 February
Hope is developing of a resolution to the consequences of the Northern Ireland Protocol, one of the clunkiest efforts to make Brexit work.
In Turkey, over a hundred arrests have been made in connection with illegal construction on buildings, contributing the death toll after the recent earthquake.
In Ukraine, President Zelenskiy rules out any concessions over territory in any eventual resolution to the conflict.

Saturday 18 February
Rishi Sunak has to deal with the EU, America’s commitment the the power sharing in Northern Ireland and the DUP unionist party over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Of these, the DUP has gold standard intransigence in ‘no surrender’ negotiations.
Sporting headline. A Qatari consortium of unrivalled wealth states its interest in buying Manchester United Football Club. Likely to result in human rights issue being introduced by activists and football supporters.
Sunday 19 February
Sunak continues his efforts to resolve the difficulties of the Northern Ireland border repositioned in the Irish Sea by the Brexit settlement negotiated by Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson helpfully suggests how to succeed by pursuing his own uncompleted plans interrupted by his removal as Prime Minister.
China is to outline a plan for peace in Ukraine on the anniversary of the start of the conflict next week.

Tudorama Teaser of the Week

Where did the sentence ‘now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party’ originate?
Was it
Karl Marx, Revolutionary
Groucho Marx, Wit and comedian
Charles E Weller, Author of a history of the typewriter?
[Answer below]

Twitter Wit and Wisdom
I once invented a new microphone , but I received some really bad feedback

I do not believe I hold any extreme views, much of what I’ll say on here & on TV is what the majority will be thinking, many might not say it, because of jobs or fear of silly labels from accounts on here, but they’re thinking it & probably saying it around friends/family.
It’s funny how extremists always think they are talking for a ‘silent’ majority.
It’s hard for them to believe that most DON’T think like them.

Old jokes revisited.
Policeman to driver
” Excuse me sir, this is a one way street”
“I’m only going one way”
Other scenarios are available…
Policeman to driver
” Excuse me sir, didn’t you see the arrows?”
“I didn’t even see the Indians!”

Also see more from @TollyTB on our podcast
How to create great groan-worthy puns

Answer to Tudorama Teaser of the Week

The answer is Charles E Weller, author of a successful book about the early history of the typewriter.
He came up with a training exercise for young typewriters. Yes, in the early 1900s, the users of typewriters were known as typewriters. Weller came up with the sentence as a practice drill.
Later, the sentence was modified to read
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
This works out as the required seventy characters (counting the fifteen spaces between words and the full stop to give a classical full line of type.
Incidentally, another even more famous typing exercise is
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
This is an example of a pangram, a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet, and thought to be useful for typing practice.


This week the books are selected from Stockport Library readers’ choice

A Three Dog Problem. Her Majesty the Queen Investigates, by S.B.Bennett
A Gambling Man, by David Baldacci
The Innocent, by Harlan Coben

For Younger Readers and Listeners
The Cat on the Mat is Flat, Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton.
Here they come: frogs, logs, bogs, dogs, cogs and flag-waving hogs.

Next Week’s Newsletter
Don’t miss the report on peaceful resolution of a conflict involving Tudorama staff and an irate motorist.
Other world news, China’s peace plan for Ukraine, Sunak’s (and Johnson’s) plans for the Northern Ireland border.


Tudorama Newsletter Jan -February 2023

February 7, 2023

Unloved January departs with few fond memories captured in the world’s headlines.
Anyone who committed to a dry January now has the choice of continuing in abstinence, or raising a glass to a return to former drinking habits.
Research suggests the latter to be the more widely preferred option.

Podcast of the week

How I changed my social life with one simple action. Presented as a teaser for those who might like to guess how it all worked out.

Blogpost  of the Week

Puzzle of the week
From a pub quiz: 
Name the members of the Gang of Four who disrupted British politics and issued the Limehouse declaration?
Answer below

News Headlines

Monday 30 January 2023
News reflects on the damning report by Sir Laurie Magnus on Nadhim Zahawi’s conduct and his immediate dismissal by PM Rishi Sunak.
Multiple deaths at Taliban suicide bombing in Peshawar Mosque.

Tuesday 31 January 
Miserable economic news to end the month. Britain projected growth assessed as worse performing industrialised country for 2023 by the International Monetary Fund. 
Israeli-Palestine violence worsens with fears of another Intifada (uprising).
Latin American political protests are also continuing in Peru, Brazil, Haiti and Bolivia. 

Wednesday 1st February
Around 500,000 workers take strike action today. Teachers join the ranks of other Union members. 
Dominic Raab is the latest political figure facing censorship for unacceptable behaviour, through multiple accusations of bullying of staff. 
In Australia, the hunt for a tiny radioactive capsule ends successfully.  ‘Needle  in haystack job’ the newscaster said.

Thursday 2 February
Bank of England raises interest rates, but predicts a shorter shallower recession. A kind of ‘could be worse’ announcement.
Shell reports record $40 billion profits, and says it will pay tax in the U.K. for the first time for several years. 
Curious sports story. Welsh Rugby is banning the singing of Delilah during the rugby international on Saturday. The WRU is currently mired in allegations of a toxic culture of misogyny.

Friday 3 February
America monitoring a Chinese balloon over Montana as a possible spy satellite, or a wayward weather instrument.
Shell’s bumper profits result in pressure on the British Govt for tougher windfall taxes.

Saturday 4 February
Man pleads guilty to treason 
Chess errors by top players linked to air pollution, according to a study in the prestigious Management Science journal.
Man pleads guilty of treason over crossbow attempt on Queen’s life. Penalty no longer death meted out in any of various gruesome ways in past ages.

Sunday 5 February
The Chinese balloon story ended in a political incident as the balloon was designated a hostile act by a foreign power, and was shot down by the might of America’s military powers of the coast of North Carolina.
In England, ephemeral former PM Liz Truss launches her comeback campaign, saying she had the right ideas of borrowing to fund growth through tax cuts, but her plan has been sabotaged by powerful left-wing forces. 
Another hostile act from a powerful enemy?

Wit and Wisdom of Twitter

Several of our readers, some even beyond close relatives, have encouraged Tudorama to continue with this feature. So …

Breaking:  Cat eats ball of yarn, and gives birth to a litter of mittens.

‘Yes, I poured coffee on the American boss. Yes, I told him it improved his shirt. Yes, an ugly scene followed. But, no, I do not accept this outweighs my contribution to the Team Away Day in 2019 when we beat accounts at paintballing and you said I was a valued team member’

on @Nextdoor : “met a lovely woman in the cafe this morning.  Her sweet dog was very poorly. It had found the end of a joint in Kensington Gardens   Marijuana is highly toxic to dogs.  They are attracted by the smell and even a tiny amount can kill them.  Please spread the word”

Wonderful comedy sketch on Newsnight with Lord Baker defending the Prime Minister but with multiple interruptions from his phone, which defeated all attempts by Baker and the hapless presenter to turn it off.

If I boil my funny bone, does it become a laughing stock? 

Answer to This Week’s Puzzle

The Gang of Four were Labour Party moderates who broke away and formed the SDP which later resulted in today’s Liberal Democratic Party.
If you got all four you have an excellent memory, or should get out more and take up a hobby outside of politics.
The SDP was founded on 26 March 1981 by four senior Labour Party moderates, dubbed the “Gang of Four’ 
Roy Jenkins
David Owen
Bill Rogers
and Shirley Williams

Book Choices

Victory City by Salman Rushdie
As might be expected, the novel, completed before the attack on its distinguished author, is an impressive work of imagination of the ancient Indian empire of the 15th century. On my To Be Read list.

The other Bennett Sister, by Janet Hadlow
Jane Austin fans will find a new take on their favourite stories. 

Young Person’s Books

There’s nothing faster than a Cheetah, by Tom Nicoll, illustrated by Ross Collins.
Unless it’s the rhino on roller skates, or maybe the rocket-powered rabbit …

Influential, by Amara Sage
‘Internet Famous’ Almond Brown learns the hard way about being an internet celebrity and discovering how to escape from its cruel side.
YA, maybe 14+

Everyday Creativity Newsletter 5-11 December 2022

December 13, 2022

Welcome to new and earlier readers of our Newsletter sharing ideas on creativity in politics, science, the arts and everyday life. From our national base in England we try to examine news from around the world.

This week has seen attempted coups in Peru and Germany, the latter that would stretch the credulity of watchers of a Hollywood blockbuster.
In other international news, China eases its COVID lockdown approach in face of continued demonstrations.
Nationally, other news is displaced by media fixation on England’s next match in the World Cup, and the saga of William and Megan. Residual space allows mention of the assortment of industrial actions starting or threatened.

Podcast of the week

Twitter Wit and Wisdom

Blogpost of the week

News Headlines

Monday 5 December
The morning papers announce an England win with unconfined joy.
Probably unrelated, Keir Starmer announces Labour’s intention to abolish the House of Lords if the party returns to power at the next election.
Iran announces dissolution of its morality police, seen as attempt to defuse protest movement.
Reports by the UN from Haiti say the country is reduced to an uncontrollable state by rival criminal groups.
The Brazilian team shows why have become overwhelming favourites to win the World Cup. England expectations slightly diminished. But the cricket team achieved a memorable win beating Pakistan in a test match with multiple records broken for runs scored, and a last-minute finish as the light faded.

Tuesday 6 December
China makes slight reductions to its lockdown approach. Citizens allowed to stay home rather than taken to isolation centres.
Ukraine suffering further hardships with power breakdowns from missile attacks. Retaliates with drone incursions deep into Russia damaging a military fuel supply depot.
In England, accumulations of strikes as negotiations break down, a suggestion by Govt minister Nadhim Zawadi that strikers are offering comfort to Russian President Putin is widely criticised.

Wednesday 7 December
News from America. The run-off from Georgia results in a narrow Democratic win strengthening its control over the House.
The Trump organisation is found guilty of serious extended financial malpractices and faces fines finedin excess of $1,000,000. Both are indirect blows to President Trump’s political aspirations.
In the U.K., inconveniences through industrial disputes, compete for headlines with the upcoming football match between England and France, and on the further episode of the Royal soap opera Megan & Harry. Less visible is a corruption scandal surrounding new Conservative peer Baroness Mone.

Thursday 8 December
News of coups and attempted coups in Peru (left wing) and Germany (right wing).
News content of the headline story: Palace were nasty to us, say Harry and Megan
U.K. to open first new coal mine for thirty years. Politically contentious, after commitments to combatting climate change made at the last two yearly UN Cop conferences.

Friday 9 December
Multiple strikes and threats of strikes in run up to Christmas. News media show a sort of advent calendar with red crosses showing days and nature of disruptions. Postal workers into second week of picketing. Rail union discussions break down again. Nurses, Ambulance drivers, are among vital service providers also preparing for actions over the festive season.
Even England’s benign climate has given up and slumped into a below-zero sulkiness.
The media are continuing their fixation on England’s next match in the World Cup, and the saga of William and Megan.

Saturday 10 December
England lose a close game to France. One source of national headlines now dries up. Attention turns to the success of outsiders Morocco advancing the the semi-finals against France by beating another of the favourites Portugal.

Sunday 11 December
Yes, headlines filled with sad expressions of England’s defeat. Exuberant puns replaced with limp cries of anguish. ‘Football’s coming home’ indeed.
More room for news of the continuing freeze-up.

Wit and Wisdom of Twitter (continued)

Day 4 in Paris: Everyone speaks French here. The bastards, I bet they were all speaking English before we stepped foot outside of our aeroplane!

A priest, a pastor and a rabbit entered a clinic to donate blood. The nurse asked the rabbit, “What’s your blood type?”
“I’m probably a type O”, said the rabbit.

I was supposed to be travelling to see my son on Christmas Eve but thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s rail strike I’ve been forced to put him up for adoption. So now not only is Christmas ruined but I’ve got to stay looking for a new son in January. Thanks very much, @RMTunion
Yes. How is it Corbyn’s strike? He’s not even in the Labour Party or the RMT. Delete your tweet. It’s false
It’s bloody outrageous. Jeremy Corbyn’s government has asset stripped the NHS so much I will be walking to my local hospital in order to amputate my own leg today. Thanks a bunch!
Irony is not dead – just a little musty.

There are many sadnesses to your kids getting older but them no longer being in a pushchair that you can use as a weapon on rude people’s ankles in crowded events must be one of the worst.


Killers of a certain age by Deanna Raybourn
A humorous thriller featuring four female assassins ready to retire.

Animal Life by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
Thoughtful and imaginative novel with a midwife puzzling out birth to death issues through the secrets of her grand aunt’s notebooks.

At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell
Delightfully written account, leaving the reader free to make sense of it all.

Children’s books

Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
Wannabe Witches attempting to graduate to full Witchdom
By author of much-liked Ghost Squad

Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell
Overcame my suspicion of concealed moral-instruction books.

Mouse’s Wood by Alice Melville
Fun starter ‘read to and lift-flaps’ picture book.

Books which don’t need our backingUnless we receive a genuine (non-trade) recommendation, we do not give additional support to books attributed to celebrities, even if they have written them themselves. They don’t need our backing.

TudoRama newsletter 15-21 August 2022

August 22, 2022

I’ve added to my posts on LWD the newsletter sent to my contacts list. If you haven’t subscribed to the newsletter you need to contact me to receive future editions. The newsletter has been a team effort from myself, and Catherine Hull. I take responsibility for any errors of taste that may have slipped through into our final version.

Welcome back to Everyday Creativity, the brainchild of Tudor Rickards.

Each week, we (i.e. TR & CH) round up everything that Tudor has been musing, writing and podcasting about, and take suggestions from readers and listeners for new discussion topics. 

Our podcasts and posts

Give our WordPress blog posts a read on both Leaders We Deserve and Everyday Creativity.

The most popular post this week discusses the state of the England Men’s Cricket Team. 

England cricket re-enters the Stone Age

You can read that here.

The most popular podcast this week talked over the recent heat waves.
A Drought visits Manchester, the Venice of the North

Listen here.

Elsewhere, in this week’s news headlines:

Keir Starmer launches Labour’s ‘fully-costed’ plan for fuel poverty. Boris Johnson, on second summer holiday, is unavailable for comment.
Freya, the celebrity Walrus in Norway is put down for causing risk to human life; she had a habit of clambering onto boats to sunbathe.

The Taliban celebrates the first anniversary of its political victory in Afghanistan. News footage confirms that strict restrictions prevent women from returning to work. No schooling is available to girls. The country also faces a famine after withdrawal of foreign aid.

In England, inflation hits 10%. The Bank of England predicts the figure will take two years to return to its 2% target. The Chancellor is forced to defend his Prime Minister from criticisms over government inaction during his hiatus.
In interesting news from CNN, 95-year-old actress Gina Lollobrigida is running for a seat in the Italian Senate.

The main headlines focus on the national inflation rise, the ‘worst in Europe’.
Trump’s main Republican opponent Liz Cheney is defeated by a Trump supporter. The schism in American politics is deepening.

Shocking individual cases demonstrate a wider crisis in the national ambulance service.
Finnish PM Sanna Marin makes international headlines after she’s secretly filmed partying. She admits ‘rowdy’ partying, but denies ever taking drugs.

Sanna Marin takes a drug test to minimise publicity over her partying.
Another Rail Union takes its turn, with a day of travel delays and cancellations. The location of choice for media reports is a replacement picket line at Euston.

Polls suggest the problems that have beset the Government are being reflected in a downward trend in voting intentions.
Strike action is initiated by Port Workers (at Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port) and Barristers (at the Inns of Court).

The headline of the week goes to Thursday’s Daily Star:
Work harder says wannabe PM with thirteen weeks holiday a year

I’ve also been reading (TR):

Cold Sacrifice by Leigh Russell
Another murder investigation by a successful writer in this genre. I found it okay for comfort reading. It comes with the usual features; workaholic detective with wife unhappy over his work/home balance, and a few murders (all women, but that’s all too common).

Also, a review of two weighty books for students of economics:

Ben Bernanke’s 21st Century Monetary Policy, and Edward Chancellor’s The Price of Time.

Bernanke is widely considered a successful leader of the Federal Reserve bank, a position he held during the financial crisis of 2006-2014. Chancellor is an historian and financier. The Economist concludes that Chancellor offers ‘a colourful challenge to conventional wisdom… but when the time comes to appoint a central banker, choose someone like Bernanke’.
You can read that here.

Poddlers’ Corner

Our poddlers (or regular listeners) on Twitter submitted their favourite book for discussion or pleasure reading. Favourites show loyalties to classics with a dash of the contemporary. There’s a mixture of fiction and non-fiction.

Please help us strengthen this section with your personal recommendations for next week’s newsletter!

Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

NB: Where the Crawdads Sing has just been adapted into a blockbuster film which is out now in cinemas (if you’re not a big reader).

– SA

Tasha Alexander, A Poisoned Season
– AN

Jonathan Levitt, Contemplating Comedy
– JL

Antony Beever, The Second World War
– WT

Arthur Brand, Hitler’s Horses
– DM

Wallace Breen, Eagle in the Snow
– JR

Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic
– KB

Robert Harris, An Officer and a Spy
– AC

Robert Graves, I, Claudius
– AH