Regular readers of this blog will know that I love ‘coins on the palm of the hand pictures’, simply because I can hone up on my fortune telling abilities. The hand is always in focus and the lines pin-sharp. Doesn’t matter about the teeny blurred coin.

A couple of years ago I published what follows. I was reminded by my Texas buddy and doppelgänger Dick Stout, Keeper of Blog Standards, who had enjoyed the post. It also gives me a great cop-out by repeating scribblings you’ve seen before.


You may not recognise the word, but I’m sure that you will recognise the genre

10 celebrities who have aged badly; 20 ways to insult someone without cursing; 15 signs that you are not a nice person, or 10 things to make out of a discarded Garrett probe boxes’.

You get the gist; the world seems to have gone list crazy. But it makes for lazy writing … and easier to do a blog post, of course! Not only that, listicles suit hard-pressed writers and time-poor readers. At the end of the day it’s a win-win situation, innit?

With this in mind, I have been looking closely at the listicles that regularly frequent newspapers, magazines and the Web. For those who don’t know, the word is made up of ‘list’ and ‘article’. Followers of Lewis Carroll will recognise the form as a ‘portmanteau’ word. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as ‘an article that takes the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list.’

Continue reading “LISTICLES”

Yorkshire Coiners & a Barbarous, Bloody MURDER

Competition Cancelled

For a a few years now, I have been working on – well, thinking about – writing an article about that notorious gang of counterfeiters known as the Cragg Vale Coiners. Maybe you have heard of them. So damaging were the activities of the coiners in the second half of the 18th century, it was said that they came close to wrecking the currency of Britain.

The leader of the counterfeiters was a man (hanged in 1770) known as ‘King’ David Hartley who lived in a remote medieval farmhouse in Cragg Vale called Bell House… and it still exists today. Bell House is now a listed building and in the past has been a museum, as well as a three-room bed and breakfast establishment. In 2015 the small house and barn were extensively renovated.

Bell House, Cragg Vale. Home of David Hartley. Picture courtesy of H. Kendall

Continue reading “Yorkshire Coiners & a Barbarous, Bloody MURDER”


Boyd’s BatteryFor ALL diseases”

Image – kind permission of the Electrotherapy Museum

Medical Quackery

This blog is a continuation of the post TONIC of DEATH published in December 2022 and another example of a‘snake oil’ surprise. I think people were very gullible in earlier times. When electricity was still a novelty and medical quackery was rife there was a guy from New York who marketed a ‘battery’ that had remarkable qualities, advertised as a generator of healing electric current for the wearer. The current was said to be produced by the reaction of the varying metals.

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