New Moomin museum opens in Finland

Tove Jansson never took her family of fairytale characters too seriously, but they now have their own museum in Tampere, attracting Moomins fans from around the world

The retreats where famous authors found inspiration – in pictures

Former president Barack Obama is to journey to the South Pacific island of Tetiaroa, once owned by Marlon Brando, to write his memoir. Here’s a look at where other famous authors found the inspiration to write

Slipknot’s Corey Taylor: no aliens would interact with a culture this stupid

Corey Taylor is the frontman of Slipknot and Stone Sour – but he is also a writer. His third book, You’re Making Me Hate You, a cantankerous critique of pop culture, is out this month, and here is an excerpt
[Warning: includes strong language]

Carrot and Stick Festival – Wimborne Minster

An excerpt from this book – 40 Humourous British Traditions

The carrot and stick approach has been defined as combining a promised reward with a threatened penalty although other people believe that the phrase should read “carrot on a stick,” which is purely an incentive with no implied threat.

Both phrases have been incorporated into the Carrot and Stick festival at Wimborne Minster in Dorset, which has been an annual event since the days of Thomas More.

There are two main events at the festival as well as other attractions such as the “Look at my Big Stick” peepshow and the ‘Interestingly Shaped Carrot” tent.

The first event is the Carrot and Stick throwing event. People taking part in this contest gather on the local green dressed in peasant clothing and carrying a stick with a nail in the end. This stick, which is checked by the measuring judge, must be no more than six feet in length. The idea is that carrots are catapulted into the air every five seconds via one of the siege engines used in this event. If a contestant manages to catch a carrot on his stick before it hits the ground then the contestant is through to the next round.

If a carrot falls to the ground and is then pierced by a competitor that person will be disqualified for cheating. People are not permitted to throw their sticks at a carrot in flight as this could be dangerous. Carrots are fired until there is only one person left without a carrot on the end of his stick. This person is eliminated. This process is repeated, often over several days, until either one person is left in the contest or the local supermarket runs out of carrots.

An excerpt from this book – 40 Humourous British Traditions

Quiz on TS Eliot

One of the 20th century’s most influential poets, Eliot died 50 years ago this month. He often wrote of the fragility of memory, but much do you recall about his work?