for January, 2015

Marking Leprosy

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Yesterday was World Leprosy Day. As a volunteer with Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT) Ireland, I’ve noticed how it’s barely on the radar for many people, often regarded as a relic from the Bible, more metaphor than modern reality. But in 2013 there were nearly 200,000 cases globally – and that’s just the reported ones. It’s […]

Fine words butter no parsnips

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What a mad idea. Imagine trying to scrape words off the page with a knife and spread them on your root vegetable. tells us it dates from the 17th century when mashed parsnips were an English staple and so dull they needed ‘buttering up’. It was such a common cookery trick that the English were called butter-stinkers […]


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Hooray for Young Scientists! Walking round the main hall at Dublin’s RDS this weekend I felt like a bubble in Lucozade, carried along by fizzing enthusiasm and creativity. Before this (first) visit I’d assumed it was an X-Factor for mathema-techno-gadget-brains, all very clever and off you go. But when my daughter and friends earned themselves a […]