One of my maybe-someday projects is a collection of clippings which might interest lads learning to read.  I once did a bit of teaching with some and was struck by the shortage of suitable material.

If I was a professional teacher, I would be bookmarking the impressive bit of research which enabled the Guardian to run a story  on 12.2.14 saying:

When British forces pull down the union jack for the last time in Afghanistan this year, it will be a hugely symbolic moment. It is not just that the departure marks the end of 13 years of British involvement in combat in that troubled country. The surprise is that it could also signal the end of a century or more of unbroken warfare by British forces.

Next year may be the first since at least 1914 that British soldiers, sailors and air crews will not be engaged in fighting somewhere – the first time Britain is totally at peace with the rest of the world

The back-up material, offering opportunities for reading and research, is all at


In the Telegraph 15.2.14, Laura Pullman gives a fairly detailed description of how to skin and stuff a mouse, based on a best-selling £75 course at the London Taxidermy Academy.  Next-stage courses are £250.  You can buy a mouse-stuffing kit for £25.  One of the taxidermy tutors tells Laura the job has put him off cured meat:  “I had some Parma ham after working on a bird and they smelt exactly the same.”




Also of possible interest, some illustrated extracts in the Sunday Telegraph 16.2.14 from Peter Doyle’s book, The First World War in 100 Objects




And, same publication, but not yet online, Theodore Dalrymple on killer girl Joanna Dennehy and why kids from nice families choose to live on the wrong side of the tracks.  He quotes a nice French phrase for it – “nostalgie de la boue, or yearning for the mud”.






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