Category: QuoteUnquote

Commonplace Book

Commonplace Book

As our dear visitors can see in the title heading of our blog, we describe it as being a Commonplace Book.

What is a commonplace book?!!!

It has a very long history; the first commonplace books are believed to have been compiled from the 14th century and continued to be popular onto the19th century.

They can be regarded as a kind of scrap book where the compiler noted and collected scraps of information, etc. Entries are made only in handwriting and if needed illustrated by hand too. These were what differed a commonplace book from a scrap book –  no cutting and pasting bits of paper!.


commonplace book

The  subjects of interest can be diverse; such as poems, prose, short essays, tracts, critique, prayers, observations,academic, thoughts/ideas on subjects, drawings/illustrations, myths, folklore, quotes, news, lists, recipes, facts on various subjects, etc.

Collecting items like this to record in a book was called  commonplacing.

Commonplace books were first known in fourteenth century Italy. They were known as zibaldone.   The books were referred by Italians as “salads of many herbs.”

They often included sketches and cursive written scripts. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio kept such books.

17th-century-commonplace book

17th century commonplace book

Later among others, Thomas Hardy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Francis Bacon,Mark Twain  and John Milton all kept commonplace books.

A Commonplace book is not a diary or a journal,

Commonplace books contained notes and sometimes drawings on subjects, which were of particular interest to the collector and compiler. The collector may have copied/sketched or made notes of articles, tracts etc., from rare and not generally available books. Public access to libraries were rare too in those days.

These compilers may even had contributed to the social media of their age when showing or lending out their books to others.

We think  today’s 21st Century internet blogs serve as a type of commonplace book.

The blogger collects items of interest to themselves from various sources the internet, newspapers, reference books (as we do) etc., and which they think might interesting to others by sharing on line.

Humans have an insatiable thirst for the varied and diverse topics that make up our modern lives.

Welcome to our commonplace book, welcome to


Beer, Ale, Lager & Malt

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
– Benjamin Franklin

Beer, Ale, Lager & Malt

What is the difference?

Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink for fellows whom it hurts to think,
A.E. Housman

Singja Thai lager Beer

Singja Thai lager Beer

Do not cease to drink beer, to eat,to intoxicate thyself, to make love and celebrate the good days.
– Egyptian Proverb

God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer.
– Anne Sexton

He was a wise man who invented beer.
– Plato

Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer.
– Frederick the Great

Teetotallers seem to die the same as others, so what’s the use of knocking off the beer.
– A. P. Herbert (British author & politician)

The best beer in the world is the open bottle in your hand.
– Danny Jansen

Where does one not find that bland degeneration which beer produces in the spirit.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Hobgoblin extra strong ale

Hobgoblin extra strong ale

Malt does more than Milton can to justify God’s way to man.
– A.E. Housman (1859-1936)

Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw)

Harvard_Theatre_Collection_-_Josh_Billings_TCS_1.2486_-_croppedJosh Billings was the pseudonym of Henry Wheeler Shaw.  He was a 19th century American writer, humorist and writer.  A contemporary of Mark Twain.

Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw)


Adversity has the same effect on a man that severe training has on the pugilist – it reduces him to his fighting weight.
– J Billings

As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.
– J Billings

As a gemeral thing, when a woman wears the pants in a family, she has a good right to them.
– J Billings

Every ;man has his follies – and often they are the most interesting things he has got.
– J Billings

It is a very delicate job to forgive a man, without lowering him in his estimation, and yours too.
– J Billings

It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient too.
– J Billings

Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over, and showing it principally in one spot.
– J Billings

Most men would rather be charged with malice than with making a blunder.
– J Billings

My advice to those who are about to begin, in earnest, the journey of life, is to take their heart in one hand and a club in the other.
– J Billings

Nature never makes any blunders; when she makes a fool she means it.
– J Billings

Pity costs nothin’ and ain’t worth nothin’.
– J Billings

The happiest time in any man’s life is when he is in red-hot pursuit of a dollar with a reasonable prospect of overtaking.
– J Billings

There are some people so addicted to exaggeration that they can’t tell the truth without lying.
– J Billings

There are many people who mistake their imagination for their memory.
– J Billings

To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.
– J Billings

We hate those who will not take our advice, and despise them who do.
– J Billings

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE

AgathaDame Agatha Christie is a popular British author; Guinness Book of World Records lists her as the bestselling author of all times.  She had written 66 detective novels, 14 short stories, and even had time to write 6 romantic novels under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott.  I think she would probably be best known for her creation of the brilliant but rather busy-body Jane Marple and the Belgian Hercule Poirot.

Agatha Christie’s play called The Mousetrap is the longest running show of the modern age.  It opened in the West End in 1952 and it had continued to run eversince.

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE

I learned that one can never go back, that one should not ever try to go back – that the essence of life is going forward.  Life is really a one – way street.


Love, Unknown

loveSome of my favourite quotes about love and romance are from unknown authors and sources.

In a way, the anonymity of the ‘quoter/s’ makes these sayings the more inspiring as you or I could have easily have said them.

Below is a collection that would perhaps makes one smile, nods in agreement and makes one feel giddy with the feeling it evokes.

Here are some of these quotes by unknown sources:


Happiness is falling asleep next to you and waking up thinking I’m still in my dreams.


I dropped a tear in the ocean and whenever they find it I will stop loving you.


If you think missing me is hard, you should try being me missing you.


I love you not because of who you are but because of who I am when I am with you.


I thought I forgot you, but I guess I forgot to.

Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with everything they’ve got.


Love is the shortest distance between hearts.


Love does not consist of gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same directions.


Never frown because you never know who might be falling in love with your smile.


Showing someone you’re in love with them is jsut as important as loving them.


The only way out of emotional pain is through it.


You need to trust love but first you need to love in order to trust.


You know it’s love when forever is not enough.


You don’t love a woman because she is beautiful.  She is beautiful because you love her.

Robert and Elizabeth Browning

Love doesn’t make the world go round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
– Elizabeth Browning

What I do and ehat I dream include thee, as the wine must taste of its own grapes.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Robert and Elizabeth BrowningElizabeth Barrett Browning & Robert Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning & Robert Browning

Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true.
– Robert Browning

Ignorance is not innonce but sin.
– Robert Browning

Take away love, and our earth is a tomb.
– Robert Browning

Thought for the Day: Laughter

Always laugh when you can.  It’s cheap medicine.
– Lord Byron

Go On

Go On

Laughter is the best medicine but if you laugh for no reason, you need medicine 🙂

Joy of Laughter

Just the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
—Carl Sagan

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”
— Anthony Burgess (Author of Clockwork Orange)
Thought of the Day
2 Jan 2014
Laughter is the nearest you can get to God.
– Sarah Miles
Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.
—Cullen Hightower

Animated Quotes

Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
~George Eliot



Man’s Best Friend & Other Animals

Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.
~Martin Buber

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being.
~Henry David Thoreau

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.
– Mark Twain

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.

The kind man feeds his beast before sitting down to dinner.
~Hebrew Proverb

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
~Anatole France

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