UK and Ireland and European land mass
A – By looking at the rate of continental drift we think until about 250-300 million years ago the land on Earth was one great continent which has been called Pangaea.
Then it began splitting up, eventually forming the continents we know today.
Ireland has slowly been drifting north and east and was probably joined to France until 200 million years ago but the separation of Britain from the land mass to the east is far more recent.
The latest view is it happened 8,000-10,000 years ago in the Mesolithic (Middle Stone) Age as sea levels rose bringing a huge tsunami which formed the North Sea.
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain lands back in Britain declaring, ‘Peace for our time’
When prime minister Neville Chamberlain landed back in Britain in 1938, waving a piece of paper declaring “Peace in our time”, or words to that effect, what was the name of the airport he landed at? Was it Blackbushe?
John Reed, Hinckley, Leicestershire
A – Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire had not yet opened. Chamberlain’s flight from Munich landed at Heston Aerodrome near Hounslow, Middlesex.
His precise words were, “Peace for our time” which in the light of history was seen as bitterly ironic as the Second World War broke out less than a year later.
Curiously, “Peace for our time” was also declared by Benjamin Disraeli on his return from the Congress of Berlin in 1878.
The very common misquote, “Peace in our time” comes from the much older Book Of Common Prayer with the words, “Give peace in our time, O Lord”.
Last Saturday the clue for 22 Across in the Small Crossword was “Filbert”. I had to look it up but the answer was “hazelnut”. Before Leicester City FC moved to what is now called the King Power Stadium they played at Filbert Street, what is the connection with hazelnuts?
Barry Jordan, Colchester, Essex
A – I suspect there is no real connection. After all, Filbert Street in Leicester is close to Walnut Street, Brazil Street, Chestnut Street, Almond Road and Hazel Street.
They were all built in Victorian times and I imagine there must have been a developer or city councillor who liked nuts.
Many years ago I had an old snooker book and I remember reading about a game which contained an extra two balls, a purple and an orange I think. Can you enlighten me further?
David Garbutt, by email
A – The game was called Snooker Plus and was invented by former world champion Joe Davis in 1959 adding an orange ball (eight points) and a purple ball (10 points) to the usual ones, bringing the possible value of a maximum break up to 210 points.
The new version, Davis said, “will make scoring possibilities far greater for the average player and will greatly increase the technique required of the top-grade player”.
Joe Davis won a professional Snooker Plus tournament in 1959 ahead of his brother Fred Davis and John Pulman but the game never became popular and was soon abandoned.
What are empty empty tins and cans worth to a scrapyard?
For a while now I have collected empty tins and cans. I open both ends, wash them, clean them and flatten them, or simply crush them. Eventually I will accumulate a ton. What is this worth to a scrapyard? Similarly I have been saving “silver” paper or foil and empty takeaway containers. I think it is the word “silver” that attracts me. What is this worth?
BW Johnson, Rugeley, Staffordshire
A – Rather varying prices are being offered by scrap metal merchants so it pays to shop around.
The rate for aluminium cans has varied between around £800 and £950 a tonne but since there are around 55,000 tins in a tonne that works out at less than 2p per tin.
Many merchants will not buy quantities lower than a ton or two.
As for foil and metallic takeaway containers, such a collection is likely to contain a mixture of metals, so prices are liable to be lower.
Were did the expression ‘going Dutch’ come from?
Please can you tell me where the expression “going Dutch” came from?
Mary Starke, Chertsey, Surrey
A – There are various theories concerning the origins of “going Dutch” for sharing the bill.
The Oxford English Dictionary suggests it may come from a tendency to describe anything inferior or otherwise disapproved of as “Dutch” which took hold during the Anglo-Dutch wars of the late 17th century.
“Dutch courage” and “Dutch auction” are examples from that era. “Going Dutch” however is a much more recent expression, dating back only to the early 20th century.
Since early examples are from America it probably referred to the Pennsylvania Dutch, who had a reputation for fairness, not running into debt and paying for themselves.
Another, perhaps less likely explanation, is that it comes from “Dutch doors” which were doors divided into upper and lower sections which could be separately opened and closed.
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