Did you know ....

In our newsletter we have a feature called 'Did you know?'  You can find the answers here ...

All of a sudden it's New Year!

Penguins are the symbol of love. Humans give flowers and candy when wooing a lady. Penguins give rocks. Not just any rocks, though -- male gentoo penguins search through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest, most perfect ones. When a penguin has selected his pebble, he presents it to his intended companion. If she approves, she puts the stone in her nest and the two are well on their way to becoming mommy and daddy birds. Pebbles are so important to the penguins that males often fight over the prettiest selections.

The circles on the Olympic flag are coloured the five colours, red, green, yellow, blue and black because at least one of those colours is found on every flag on the planet.

Although scissors are popularly thought to have been one of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions, earlier examples of the device have been dated to between 3000 and 4000 years ago. While a single original inventor is not known, the earliest scissors are attributed to people of the Middle East. Ancient Egyptian scissors were made of bronze and incorporated a spring-like mechanism that kept the blades apart until squeezed together.  The modern pivoted or cross-blade scissors are thought to have been a Roman invention, appearing around 100 A.D. Like the Ancient Egyptian scissors, these were also commonly made of bronze or iron. This pivoted design was adapted for mass-production in 1761 by the Sheffield, England-based manufacturer, Robert Hinchliffe.

Prepping for Christmas-November 2016

Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.  

In A.D. 350, Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25 the official celebration date for the birthday of Christ

Wood for warmth this winter 2016

  • The average UK family throws awa 6 trees of paper in the household bin each year.
  • It is estimated that the standard wooden pencil writes 45,000 words or a line that is 35 miles long before the lead is finished.
  • Woodpeckers have zygodactl feet which means that they have toes facing the front and toes facing the back to help them grip trees and poles vertically.

Half Term / Halloween Newsletter 2016

  • Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
  • The moving of the clocks was first introduced during World War One by Germany and Austria, and then by the allies, to save on coal usage.

    It was invented by George Vincent Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist in 1895, while British businessman William Willett is also credited with the idea as a way of getting up earlier and so having more daylight hours after work.

    While the UK has always had daylight savings time since it was first introduced, it came into widespread use across the world during the 1970s because of the energy crisis

  • An estimated 1 million spiders live in one acre of land. The number might be closer to 3 million in the tropics. It is estimated that a human is never more than 10 feet away from a spider—ever.

University Newsletter 2016

The academic year at Oxford runs from October to June. The year is divided into three terms: Michaelmas (autumn), Hilary (spring), and Trinity (summer).Michaelmas Term derives its name from the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, which falls on 29 September.

The dot on top of the 'i' is called a 'tittle' 

The word testify derives from testicles as they were under the threat of severance if the truth not be told!

August 2016

The University of York is famous for its duck population. It is suggested that 14 ducks inhabit every 1/4 of an acre on campus. Students have even named a particularly aggressive red and yellow head duck ‘Beer Monster’. And one horror story involves a student rumoured to have caught, killed and ate one of the campus ducks, discovered when a cleaner found a pair of the ill-fated bird’s feet in his bin.

Led Zeppelin played their first ever gig in the Great Hall at the original Surrey University site in Battersea on Friday 25 October 1968.

In the 19th century the poet Lord Byron tried to keep a pet dog while he attended the University of Cambridge but was made to get rid of it. In protest he got himself a pet bear instead and as there was nothing in the statute to state that he couldn’t have one, the university had no legal argument against him.

July 2016

The way to stop your furniture scratching when moving house is to unscrew the handles and screw them back on the inside - not only do you not lose the handles but they also won't scratch other pieces of furniture.

To stop your shirts creasing when travelling, use vacuum pack plastic bags and roll your clothes - they stop friction which means your shirts are less likely to crease.

The best way to get a room upgrade is to stay for short amounts of time in hotels, they are more likely to upgrade you if they can't sell that room in the next few nights.

June 2016

A human will eat an average of 70 insects and 10 spiders whilst sleeping.

89% of respondents in one survey said they experienced a significant drop in stress after one day of travel.  Here are some other ways to reduce your stress levels. 

Brazil gives 30 paid vacation days + 11 paid holidays (the equivalent of our bank holidays). Not only do Brasileiros get the highest number of vacation days, they also have their country essentially shut down every February for what is arguably the world's biggest annual party: Carnival.  Ahh, to be Brazilian!

May 2016

The best place to find airline error fares for cheap flights is airfare watchdog and secret flying.

The best way to stop yourself crying when peeling onions is by chewing gum.

The country that consumes more coca cola per capita than any other country is Iceland.

April 2016

The best way to get a table at a fully booked restaurant is to use Open Table online reservation, book for noon, 1415 or 2100, ask to dine at the bar or have concierge connections!

Les Terrasses Bleu is a French pop-up club that started as a pop-up dining experience and everybody must wear blue. 

Cambridge’s award winning pint shop is opening in Oxford. Specialising in meat, bread, gin and beer – who else thinks this will be a good place to watch next year’s Boat Race?!