In the USA, public toilets are called “restrooms”. I can only assume that this is an example of the famous American use of irony, because there’s nothing restful about them. A visit to a public convenience is a frightening experience full of nauseous confusion and, given the option, most people would avoid them altogether. Often though, this isn’t an option. Fortunately, designers from around the world have been working hard to make our inevitable toilet visits just a little bit more exciting…
Most countries have a national alcoholic drink; a recognised tipple that represents their nation. Some of these are as you’d expect; Scotland (whisky), Russia (vodka), Serbia (slivovitz). Other countries are more difficult to guess – for example, you may think that the national drink of England is Blue WKD but no, it’s gin. Just ask my mother (who, it turns out, is surprisingly patriotic.) Here’s some more national booze for you to try – but not all at once, you silly drunkard!
Spring has sprung, apparently, and Easter is on its way. In the UK, we know the Christian festival of Easter is coming because there are Creme Eggs in the shops, and it becomes socially acceptable to gorge yourself on chocolate, provided it’s in the shape of an egg, a rabbit or a chick. However, other countries have some more interesting Easter traditions and customs.
In the UK, we have loads of wedding traditions, such as the bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, the throwing of the bouquet and the playing of Come on Eileen during the reception. We did a little bit of research and found out that other countries had some interesting wedding customs too.
Anyone who has been to a few quiz nights has probably encountered the question “what is the smallest nation in the world?” Answer: Vatican City, right? Well, perhaps not, as there is an “island” that’s been making claim to this envious title. So please stand aside, Your Holiness, whilst I investigate!
There’s a theory in psychology that all men are obsessed by size, and that they’ll compete with each other by displaying large objects to substitute for their (often inversely proportional) physical attributes. I’ve no idea if this theory is correct, so let’s try not to think about it as we take a look at some of the world’s biggest man-made structures.
If you’re a fan of religious paraphernalia, then the Hill of Crosses is definitely the place for you. Situated in northern Lithuania, just outside the city of Siauliai, the hill is home to over 100,000 crosses, crucifixes, statues and carvings brought to the site by visiting Catholic pilgrims.
I hate insects. If any are discovered in my flat, a coordinated emergency “trap and extract” campaign is put into action. Once, my mother and I spent at least an hour trying to evict a massive spider from the bathroom. This delicate operation was carried out largely unsuccessfully using a plastic beaker which we shoddily sellotaped to the end of a feather duster handle. I know spiders aren’t insects, by the way, but elephant beetles are, and if I was being accurate, I wouldn’t be able to mention my hilarious spider anecdote…
I have often stood at train stations cursing the delay of my train, or queued behind miles of road traffic and wondered if there was another way. You might have wondered this too… Teleportation devices, computer-chauffeured travel booths, time travel and hovercrafts must all be rapidly approaching our horizon, surely… But in the meantime, some wacky ideas have sprung into life to make our lives more convenient. Here are my favourite, which also happen to be the wackiest!
We all love a good old dessert to tantalise our taste buds, don’t we? Well, I know I do and if you’re anything like me, old fashioned favourites like ice cream and black forest gateaux hit the spot. But, will these bizarre sweet numbers tempt you too?