This article includes a description of the Christian festival of Christmastide and the customs, old and new, associated with the last day of the celebration: Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night marks the visit of the three kings—Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior—to the newly born Christ.
A contextual analysis of Robert Browning's poem Meeting at Night. The poem, published during Browning’s courtship of his future wife, Elizabeth Barrett. has been described as the most sensual poem he had written up to that time.
This article describes how Constance Penswick Smith campaigned during the early 20th century for the revival of an ancient Roman Catholic Church service historically held during Lent. Her mission led to the celebration and honouring of mothers on what is now celebrated in the UK as Mother's Day.
Pancake Day races and tossing the pancake, linked to Shrove Tuesday, are ancient English customs that date back to the fourteenth century and are still observed today. Find out about the origins of Pancake Day races and how to make a foolproof English-style pancake in this article.
A Middle Eastern dish of complex flavours, combining health-promoting butternut squash with sweet apricots, honey, intense and piquant preserved lemon, tomatoes and fragrant spices. Quick and easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge for up to four days. Serve with herby couscous or crusty bread.
An analysis of ‘Silver’ (1913) by Walter de la Mare. Exquisite visual imagery sparks the senses of the reader by evoking the effect created by the phenomenon of a silver moon in a slumbering rural environment. Particularly noteworthy is the skilful use of alliteration and repetition.
For over 400 years, the night sky above England has been lit by fireworks on November 5th, and the smell of bonfires has lingered in the air. It’s Guy Fawkes night, a.k.a. Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night. Find out the history of the commemoration and how the date is celebrated in the 21st century.
A Shropshire Lad, a cycle of 63 poems by A.E.Housman, was published in 1896 and became a bestseller. Set in the half-imagined pastoral county of Shropshire, England, the collection is now a modern classic.This article explores the context in which the poems, by a deeply secretive poet, were written.
Explore Bury St Edmunds, a small market town close to Cambridge, and a jewel in the crown of the rural county of Suffolk. Visitors make their way there to visit the magnificent cathedral, see the beautiful municipal gardens in the grounds of the ruined abbey, go shopping and much more.
Take a literary tour of the English Lake District—an area long admired for its beautiful landscape. The unspoiled beauty of this walkers' paradise has provided inspiration for some of England’s most loved writers and poets including, most famously, William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.
'The Cold Earth Slept Below' is an example of Shelley's interest in both the sublime and in the Gothic tradition in literature. The poem has parallels with a tragic event in his personal life.
Easter is a fun-filled time for children, as well as the most important festival in the Christian calendar. This article relates the pagan history of some Easter customs, how the focus on eggs at Easter started and continues, and describes some ancient Easter customs.
An analysis of Max Ehrmann's didactic prose poem "Desiderata." The wise advice in these calming lines from 1927 still holds strong in the twenty-first century. The advice given in “Desiderata” is an excellent focus for the practice of mindful meditation at the start of each day.
'Come live with me and by my love' by Christopher Marlowe is one of the most loved pastoral poems of all time. This article gives an explanation and contextual analysis of this 16th-century appeal to a sweetheart to join the speaker in a country idyll.
'To My Valentine' by Ogden Nash is a charming, unconventional love poem that casts aside cliches in favour of unexpected comparisons. Elizabeth Barrett Brownings' sonnet is conventionally romantic
Enjoy a snapshot of the opulence and extravagance of a Buddhist Temple in Chinatown. Completed at a cost of S$75 million, and opened in 2007, it is high on the list of must-visit places in Singapore.
Robert Burns is Scotland's National Poet. On the 25th January, his birthday is celebrated by Scots around the world, often at formal dinners that follow a time-honoured format incorporating haggis, the skirl of bagpipes, the swish of kilts, poems, and a wee dram. Find out more in this article.
Analysis of Tennyson’s Ring Out, Wild Bells, a New Year's poem published 1850. The sentiments about the need to let go the past, the unfair inequalities in society,and wishes for a better future for everyone,are still relevant in the twenty-first century.
'Christmas' was written by one of Britain's most loved contemporary poets, John Betjeman. It is an evocative poem about Christmas customs, preparations, and the Christian faith.
A Christmas poem by England's Great Nature Poet, William Wordsworth. The poem is about an old Christmas Eve custom of village musicians visiting homes in the Parish to entertain and offer good wishes
Step out of the MRT station in Singapore's Chinatown and enter a different world. The cosmopolitan city and the modern blocks filled with high-rise offices and apartments will feel a world away.
Analysis of "London Snow" by Robert Bridges, a poem that creates an image of the transformational enchantment of snowfall in London; which at the time the poem was created (1890) was noisy, crowded, and heavily polluted.
Trick-or-treaters hoping for a gift of candy might be surprised to be given these soul cakes instead. Baking and giving them observes a medieval Catholic tradition of payment to the poor to pray for the souls of the dead. Find out more in this article. Read on for a recipe!
An analysis of one of England's best-loved evocative, lyric poems, Ode to Autumn; the last poem written by the English Romantic poet Keats before he died at the early age of 26.
This article discusses the context of Yeat’s wistful poem about unrequited love and offers an analysis of the poetic form and techniques in the text
The Dirge by Christina Rossetti is an intensely personal poem about grief and regret following the death of someone who has led a life too short. It compares the human life cycle with the cycle of the seasons.
A recipe for a traditional British casserole dish of succulent and economical cuts of lamb slow-cooked with layered onions and carrots in a rich gravy, and topped with sliced potatoes. Comfort food for a chilly day.
This article covers events and relationships that led to the short marriage and the scandalous separation of Lord Byron and his wife that resulted in Byron’s consequent self-imposed exile from England.
These two beautiful poems are perfect for a funeral service that aims to celebrate the life of the loved one who has passed. They emphasise hope and comfort and suggest that life goes on both for the deceased and the bereaved.
Chickpeas, commonly known as garbanzo beans, are a nutrient-dense, low-fat food—a healthy, budget-friendly substitute for expensive meat. This is a quick, cheap, and tasty recipe for chickpeas in a sauce made from onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, paprika, and a little (optional) meat.
Which plants are essential in a traditional English garden? Roses, hollyhocks, foxgloves, lupins, pinks, and more, with a sprinkling of fruits and vegetables.
Visit the Benedictine Cathedral at Montserrat, set high on the Catalonia mountain after which it is named. There you will find the shrine dedicated to Santa Maria de Montserrat, the Black Virgin
A shabby kitchen can be quickly updated on a limited budget with a super-fast, minimum-disruption, installation of Quartz worktop over. It is the ideal solution for a fast update. These worktops are hygienic, easy to clean, and durable. Thin enough to install without damage to existing tiling.
Immerse yourself in the rich history of Newark-on-Trent, a Royalist stronghold besieged three times during English Civil Wars (1642-1651), a delightful small market town with a wealth of buildings of historic interest, and home to England's Civil War Centre.
Venice is amazing, unique and wonderful, but can be very expensive. This article gives lots of tips about how to have a long weekend visit from the UK reasonably economically.
Grantham Gingerbread arose in 1740 through a lucky mistake by William Eggleston, a baker in the English town of Grantham. The unique biscuit that he produced has never lost its local popularity. Read about the history and find a recipe in this article.
Does the play Antony and Cleopatra have a subtext that undermines James’s regime, offering a warning about the iniquity of state absolutism? If so, Shakespeare was treading dangerous ground.