Saturday, 17 February 2018


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In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a time of rapid change and thanks to the Industrial Revolution it saw the country evolve from a mostly rural environment to an urban, industrialised one. Almost every aspect of life changed over the course of these sixty years including politics, attitudes to women, health, science and manufacturing. The Industrial Revolution definitely changed life in the Victorian era. Technological advances in the development of machines and steam engines lead to an increase in mass production and improved productivity. The building of railways, canals and roads meant that raw materials and goods could be transported more quickly and cheaply than ever before. Living standards were said to have improved due to an increase in wages, although towns were becoming so overcrowded that many families lived in squalor. Chronic hunger and malnutrition were common for many, a situation that didn’t improve until the end of the century. 
Indeed, the Victorian period was a time of contradiction, often referred to as "the Victorian compromise": on the one hand there was the progress brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the rising wealth of the upper and middle classes and the expanding power of  Britain and its empire; on the other hand there was the poverty, disease, deprivation and injustice faced by the working classes. Read here.  

Thursday, 1 February 2018


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"Go to the winter woods: listen there, look, watch, and “the dead months” will give you a subtler secret than any you have yet found in the forest."
Fiona Macleod, Where the Forest Murmurs

Wednesday, 31 January 2018


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O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, 
       Alone and palely loitering? 
The sedge has withered from the lake, 
       And no birds sing. 

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, 
       So haggard and so woe-begone
The squirrel’s granary is full, 
       And the harvest’s done. 

I see a lily on thy brow, 
       With anguish moist and fever-dew, 
And on thy cheeks a fading rose 
       Fast withereth too. 

I met a lady in the meads
       Full beautiful—a faery’s child, 
Her hair was long, her foot was light, 
       And her eyes were wild. 

I made a garland for her head, 
       And bracelets too, and fragrant zone; 
She looked at me as she did love, 
       And made sweet moan 

I set her on my pacing steed, 
       And nothing else saw all day long, 
For sidelong would she bend, and sing 
       A faery’s song. 

She found me roots of relish sweet, 
       And honey wild, and manna-dew
And sure in language strange she said— 
       ‘I love thee true’. 

She took me to her Elfin grot
       And there she wept and sighed full sore, 
And there I shut her wild wild eyes 
       With kisses four. 

And there she lulled me asleep, 
       And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!— 
The latest dream I ever dreamt 
       On the cold hill side. 

I saw pale kings and princes too, 
       Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; 
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci 
       Thee hath in thrall!’ 

I saw their starved lips in the gloam
       With horrid warning gaped wide, 
And I awoke and found me here, 
       On the cold hill’s side. 

And this is why I sojourn here, 
       Alone and palely loitering, 
Though the sedge is withered from the lake, 
       And no birds sing.
John Keats 
Here you can find an analysis of this handsome ballad which is considered an English classic. It is a narrative of an encounter that causes both pleasure and pain. It avoids simplicity of interpretation despite simplicity of structure. Composed of twelve stanzas, of only four lines each, with a simple ABCB rhyme scheme, the poem is full of enigmas, and has been the subject of numerous interpretations.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018


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Dolores O'Riordan passed away suddenly at the Hilton Park Lane hotel in London on Monday  15th January at the age of 46. She was an Irish musician and singer-songwriter. She led the rock band The Cranberries for 13 years before the band took a break starting in 2003, reuniting in 2009. The Cranberries - who have sold 40 million records with hits including Zombie and Linger - said her family has been left "devastated" by the loss.

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Tuesday, 16 January 2018


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Jane Austen’s present-day popularity derives chiefly from the fact her heroines, although two centuries old, act as romantic beacons for the modern age. With a universal message of marrying for love rather than money, they provide examples, though fictional, of women choosing husbands due to strings of the heart and not of the purse. Read here
Here you can revise Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice.

Thursday, 11 January 2018


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We all have heard about zodiac sign astrology. However, Celtic tree astrology is something that is not so much known. Read here.

Sunday, 31 December 2017


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I don't wish you all sorts of gifts.
I just wish you, what most people don't have:
I wish you time to be happy and to laugh
and if you use it, you can make something out of it.
I wish you time for your doings and thinking,
not only for yourself, but also to give away to others.
I wish you time - not to hastle and run,
but time to know how to be contented.
I wish you time - not to pass just like that.
I wish that some of it may be left for you
as a time to marvel and to trust,
instead of just looking at the time on your watch.
I wish you time to reach for the stars,
and time to grow, to mature.
I wish you time to hope and to love.
There is no sense in putting this time off.
I wish you time to find yourself,
to see the happiness in each day and each hour.
I wish you time also to forgive.
I wish you: time to live.

Elli Michler (1921-2014) wrote this beautiful poem in the year 1987.


Tuesday, 26 December 2017


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Boxing Day is celebrated every year on 26 December. It became an official holiday during the reign of Queen Victoria, though some historians trace its origins back much further - to medieval times. Today, it's basically an extension of the Christmas holiday and a big day for sporting events and shopping.  Read here.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Saturday, 16 December 2017


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Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 in the village of Steventon in Hampshire. She was one of eight children of a clergyman and grew up in a close-knit family. She began to write as an adolescent. In 1801 the family moved to Bath. After the death of her father in 1805  Jane Austen, her sister Cassandra and their mother settled in Chawton, near Steventon.
Her first novel, “Sense and Sensibility”, appeared in 1811. Her next novel “Pride and Prejudice”, which she described as her "own darling child", received very favourable reviews. “Mansfield Park” was published in 1814. “Emma”, published  in 1816,  was dedicated to the Prince Regent, an admirer of her work.
In 1816 she began to suffer from ill-health, most likely due to Addison's disease. She travelled to Winchester to receive treatment,  and died there on 18 July 1817.
Two more novels, “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey” were published posthumously in 1818. Her novels have rarely been out of print, although they were published anonymously and brought her little fame during her lifetime.
Jane Austen’s novels, set among the English middle and upper classes, are outstanding for their wit, social observation and insights into the lives of early 19th century women. They often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her use of biting irony, along with her realism and social commentary, have earned her everlasting praise among critics and scholars.

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Friday, 15 December 2017


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Here you can download a PowerPoint presentation to revise this Shakespearean tragedy.