Top Ten Horrible Histories Songs

Horrible Histories is a popular British television series based on the best-selling book series by Terry Dreary. The show was produced for CBBC by Lion Television with Citrus Television and ran from 2009 to 2013 with an additional ‘reincarnation’ in 2015. Here in Australia, reruns are constantly being shown and the show is very popular in my home (and not just with the kids!).

The show is ‘hosted’ by a black rat puppet by the name of Rattus Rattus and stars  Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond, alongside a large supporting cast headed by Sarah Hadland, Lawry Lewin and Dominique Moore.

Each episode lasts for half an hour and covers different time periods with interesting titles such as ‘Gorgeous Georgians’ or ‘Vile Victorians’. The show consists of  Live-action sketches—which often parody other UK media or celebrities—and music videos, intercut with animations and quizzes, with Rattus Rattus explaining the facts behind each segment.

Horrible Histories was a critical and ratings success, winning numerous domestic and international awards (including being the first children’s show to win best sketch at the Comedy Awards) and has been named among the greatest British children’s television series of all time — with good reason, in my opinion. The show is entertaining for all ages, including adults, with the added benefit of being educational. Some of the most popular sketches and songs from the show have attracted more than half a million hits each on YouTube.

Frankly, I have learned more from this show than I ever did in History class. Continue reading


Rationing References

When researching my rationing challenge, I used the following websites:

  1. New Point Ration Chart
  2. Remember When…
  3. Food Investigators Episode 5: The WWII Diet
  4. 1301.0 – Year Book, Australia, 1944 – 45, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  5. John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library – Families and Food: wartime tucker
  6. Retro Housewife
  7. On the Ration
  8. Rationing Revisited
  9. Wikipedia
  10. Community and Culture in North Ayreshire
  11. Clothes Rationing
  12. Rationing and Other Controls
  13. WW2 People’s War: Rationing and Shortages
  14. Australian War Memorial: Rationing of Food and Clothing in the Second World War
  15. Consumer Rationing
  16. Australian War Memorial: Austerity Cooking Demonstration
  17. Australian War Memorial: Make Meat Go Further (some extender recipes)
  18. Brighter Breakfasts
  19. The 1940s Experiment
  20. The Supersizers Go…Wartime

All of these sites are very good and I urge you to take the time to check them out.

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Arrack and Sympathy

During the second world war two Aussie soldiers were in Damascus on leave from a camp nearby. During their perambulations around the city they sampled quite a number of noggins of the local brew, arrack, and eventually they became hopelessly lost.

The locals couldn’t understand English and were unable to direct them. Then a British general replete with ribbons and all, loomed up.

“Hey, mate,” one of the Aussies addressed him, “can you tell us where we are?”

The general drew himself up haughtily. “Do you know who I am?” he said curtly.

“Cripes, Bill,” said one Digger to the other, “here’s a bloke who’s worse off than we are. We don’t know where we are, but this poor blighter doesn’t know who he is!”

— Mr F. J. Vandenburg of Wycliffe Well (N.T.) in Bill Wannan’s Come In Spinner

The Year I Was Born

An awful lot happened the year I was born – it was quite an eventful year. People were born, people died, disasters happened and politics continued as usual. Here are some of the events that made my birth year unique:


  • Schapelle Corby
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Liv Tyler


  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Janis Joplin
  • Jim Morrison
  • Elvis Presley
  • Mao Tze Tung


  • The Australian Democrats party was launched by former Liberal MP Don Chipp
  • Margaret Thatcher won the UK elections


  • Number 96 was cancelled
  • Cop Shop began
  • The number 1 bestselling book at the time was The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Shining was published
  • The top-selling movie was Star Wars
  • The Nickelodeon channel was launched

Newsworthy Events

  • Advance Australia Fair was won the vote for Australia’s National Anthem
  • Microwaves became commercially available
  • The personal stereo was invented
  • Mobile Phones were invented
  • Granville Railway Disaster resulted in 83 deaths
  • Voyager 1 launched
  • The last natural case of smallpox was recorded
  • The Munich Olympics saw Israeli athletes kidnapped and killed by Palestinian Terrorists

I only included those events that interest my. More info can be obtained by googling 1977. What do you know about the year of your birth?

Australia: A History in Photographs by Michael Cannon

Australia: A History in Photographs

Opening Sentence: The camera is like most human beings: it sometimes distorts reality, but it usually tries to tell the truth. Synopsis: Over two centuries a great nation has emerged from the most unlikely beginnings. Millions of incidents on that … Continue reading

Herbert V Prochnow & Herbert V Prochnow Jr in Jokes Quotes & One Liners

A reporter was interviewing a man who was believed to be the oldest resident in town.
‘May I ask how old you are?’ the newsman enquired.
‘I just turned a hundred this week,’ the old man proudly replied.
‘Great! Do you suppose you’ll see another hundred?’ the reporter asked playfully.
‘Well,’ said the man thoughtfully, ‘I’m stronger now than when I started the first one hundred!’

~ Herbert V Prochnow  & Herbert V Prochnow Jr in Jokes Quotes & One Liners

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Opening Sentence: One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family’s maid – who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet – standing in his bedroom, pulling all … Continue reading

The Chemist’s War


Prohibition (Photo credit: hublera)

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.

Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.

Full Story:

Simon Winchester in ‘Krakatoa’

“Indonesia itself has and has had more volcanoes and more volcanic activity than any other political entity on the earth, in all recorded history.”

~ Simon Winchester in ‘Krakatoa’

Books I Read in May 2010

May 2010 Books

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden The Tower by Valerio Massimo Manfredi The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent Violent Crimes by Hugh Holton Hour Game by David Baldacci Darkness Creeping by Neal Shusterman Related articles Best-selling author David … Continue reading

Reverend Mr Beecher quoted in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’ by Harold Schechter

“A child dying, dies but once; but the mother dies a hundred times.”

~ Reverend Mr Beecher quoted in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’ by Harold Schechter

Harold Schechter in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’

“…there is some abiding human need to imagine the past as a paradise – a golden age of innocence from which we have been tragically expelled. But a dispassionate look at the historical facts suggests there are few, if any, contemporary problems – from gang violence to drug use to tabloid sensationalism – that didn’t plague the past. And often in more dire and insidious forms.”

~ Harold Schechter in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’

Harold Schechter in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’

‘Living at a time of pervasive pollution, we yearn for those delightful pre-automotive days when the air was free of car exhaust – forgetting that the streets of every major nineteenth-century city reeked of horse piss, manure, and the decomposing carcasses of worked-to-death nags.”

~ Harold Schechter in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

Innocent TraitorOpening Sentence:It is over.
Synopsis:Lady Jane Grey was born into times of extreme danger. Child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she was merely a pawn in a dynastic power game with the highest stakes, she lived a life in thrall to political machinations and lethal religious fervor.

Jane’s astonishing and essentially tragic story was played out during one of the most momentous periods of English history. As a great-niece of Henry VIII, and the cousin of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, she grew up to realise that she could never throw off the chains of her destiny. Her honesty, intelligence and strength of character carry the reader through all the vicious twists of Tudor power politics, to her nine-day reign and its unbearably poignant conclusion.
Genre:Historical Fiction
Comments:I have always felt sorry for Lady Jane Grey and the author of this novel clearly shares my sentiments. Her story is told with empathy and tact but with an eye to historical accuracy. Alison Weir has plenty of experience writing non-fiction about Britain’s royal families, including the book which introduced me to Tudor England – The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Weir utilises her experience and knowledge to bring us an enthralling tale of greed, ambition and political intrigue, and the innocent young woman who became a pawn of history. Fair warning to the ladies – you will end this novel in tears. I did.

More Censorship? Rudd ‘Epic Fail’ Group Goes Offline

Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd (Photo credit: nic_macbean)

Today, we can reveal that online political speech has been dealt another blow with Facebook, the popular social networking site, being accused of political censorship after it removed the group “KEVIN RUDD = EPIC FAIL”.

Before it was removed the Facebook group is understood to have had over 3000 members and focused on building a list what it described as Kevin Rudd’s broken promises.

Whether or not you agree with the argument of the group, surely in a democracy the creators have the right to express their views and people have a right to join and support that group.

The group is believed to have been banned because it criticised an individual, the Prime Minister.

Full Story:

Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

“Life spins out of control when middle-aged men refuse to accept that they are no longer twenty. It happened with Bill Clinton. It happened with Mick Jagger. Frankly, I don’t know what happened with Ozzy Osborne. But clearly something.”

Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

English: "Boomers on Wheels" at the ...

“Boomers persist in the belief that they are the most resourceful, most ingenious, most sophisticated, and most important in the history of mankind.”


  • Every Good Boy Deserves Fun (lines on a treble clef; the spaces are remembered as FACE)
  • Mites Grow Up, Tights Come Down (Difference between Stalagmites & Stalactites)
  • Spring Forward, Fall Back (Which way to turn clocks for daylight savings)
  • My Very Easy Method – Just Set Up Nine Planets (nine planets in order from the sun – of course Pluto is no longer a planet, so we’ll need to think up something else now lol)

    Image to remember how many days a month has.

    Image to remember how many days a month has. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Lucky Cows Drink Milk (larger Roman numerals in ascending order)
  • Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (colours of the rainbow in order)
  • Some Old Hippie Caught Another Hippie Tripping On Acid (for remembering trigonometry equations)
  • Kings Play Cards On Fat Girls’ Stomachs OR Dumb Kids Playing Chase On Freeway Go Splat (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species)
  • Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived (Wives of Henry VIII)
  • We guarantee certainty, clearly referring to this light mnemonic (represents the speed of light in meters per through the number of letters in each word: 299,792,458)
  • Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; All the rest have thirty-one Excepting February alone: Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine, Till leap year gives it twenty-nine. (days in a month)
  • Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Order of operations in Maths)
  • All Cool Men Prefer Having Heavy Sideburns OR Anyone Can Make Pretty Healthy Hot Stew (where human beings fit in when it comes to the order of taxonomy – Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Primatae, Hominidae, Homo sapiens)

Grim Crims & Convicts: 1788 – 1820 (Fair Dinkum Histories) by Jackie French

Grim Crims and Convicts

Opening Sentence:It was an incredible idea – to found a colony of convicts eight months’ sail away from Great Britain. Synopsis:Telling it like it really was – true-blue Aussie history! It was the craziest, wildest and most daring expedition the … Continue reading

The Little Election

The Little ElectionSynopsis:One day at lunchtime, Rory decides to become the Prime Minister because then he can do anything he wants. Before you know it, the whole class is having an election.

Who will be the new Prime Minister: Rory or Debra-Jo Woo?
Genre:Picture Book
Text:Danny Katz
Illustrations:Mitch Vane
Storm, age 4: It was good. I liked that Rory won.
Yasmine, age 4: It was good. I liked Debra-Jo Woo.
Annelise, age 7: That was really good! My favourite part was when they voted.
Butterfly, age 11:I liked it because of all it’s silly ideas and the bits where it’s gross.
Mum: This is a great way to teach kids about the election process in Australia.
Dad: This book was gross and funny.

Books I Read In June 2009

June 2009 Books

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova Lockie Leonard: Human Torpedo by Tim Winton Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion by Ahmed Osman An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma Splinter by Adam Roberts Related articles 10 of my Favourite Books ( 2013 Reading … Continue reading