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In my last post, I mentioned that Halloween was quietly replaced in the seventeenth century by Guy Fawkes Night, because it was seen as suffering from the double whammy of being both pagan and catholic. The fake sacrifice on the …

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It’s Halloween today, so here’s a very brief history of the holiday. A complete history would probably run to several volumes.

Halloween’s a lot more than just a modern excuse for kids to get sweets. It goes back to the …

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A spellchecker is a great tool – as long as it’s used in conjunction with a human brain. It’s main shortcoming, of course, is that it can’t read your mind. It doesn’t know what you meant to say; it can …

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I don’t suppose most people are aware that today, 29th September, is the feast of Michaelmas. It doesn’t loom large in modern life, but at one time it was one of the most important days of the year.

In the …

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Some years ago, I went on one of those tourist-trap boats on the Thames. The guide kept up the usual cheery chatter, and one of the pieces of “information” he gave us was that the word wharf is actually an …

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I’ve just had an eye-test. I have them every two years, and this time, as usual, they’ve slightly updated the glasses I use for reading and screen-work. Since I spend a large proportion of my time staring at a computer-screen, …

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Copyright is everywhere. We all know what it is – more or less – but exact details are harder to pin down, especially since the internet has thrown up extra challenges and uncertainties. In essence, it says that the creator …

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Most of us want to be as ethical as possible, in our businesses as well as our personal lives. For some businesses, it’s easy enough to identify areas where that’s possible, even if achieving it isn’t always quite as easy. …

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Needless to say, we all have interests that we’d like to concentrate on, whether that’s football, quantum physics or the wheel configuration of classic steam locomotives. For me, it would be a mixture of history and literature, perhaps with some …

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I consider myself lucky to live and work in the beautiful Lea Valley in Hertfordshire. In spite of urbanisation and some rather questionable architectural choices in the 1960s, we have the nature-rich marshlands on either side of the river, an …

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Random Fact #2

Copywriting is a very old profession. Historically, copywriters have tended to be known as scribes and have been employed in a wide range of contexts. Scribes have kept records and accounts in palaces and temples, written correspondence …

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I wear two hats as a writer. Figurative hats, that is. I’ve worn some spectacular literal hats in the past, but mostly as a performer, rather than a writer.

I’m both Nick Blatchley the copywriter and Nyki Blatchley the fiction …

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Local or global? That’s a question that faces many businesses. Not all, of course: in some cases, the nature of the business will determine the answer. A baker’s shop necessarily has to serve the local community, as does a hairdresser-unless, …

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Random Fact #1

Like many people with a small business, I’m proud to be called a freelancer, but the word was originally more sinister than it is now. It meant a mercenary.

A “freelance” was, quite literally, a knight whose …

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You know what it’s like when you meet a potential new customer. You smile, shake hands, say a few words of greeting—and, by that time,  they’ve already decided what they think of you. Estimates range from three to seven seconds …