July 18th, 2009

Mild curse words needed

I need some mild Irish curse words/phrases for a character to say. They need to express surprise or exasperation and be about on the level with 'what the heck,' 'geez,' and 'criminy.' I thought of using 'faith and begorrah,' but that sounds a little stereotypical. Also, the phrases don't have to be current; they can date back as far as 1910 or so.

I could also use some similar American slang from the 1920s.

Any ideas?

British police notebook protocol

Setting is contemporary Britain, and I need to know a specific detail about the handling of the notebooks that police officers are apparently required to keep: is this something that they would have on them 24/7, or would it be left at the station when the officer goes off-duty? The documentation I'm finding when I google "police notebook" and "PNB" says "shall be carried while on-duty", etc, but doesn't say where the book is the rest of the time. (And of course it would make a big difference to how I set up this crucial bit of my plot whether it's the one or the other possibility... {sigh})

Herb to induce sleepiness, eventual death?

I need an herb that's available in a temperate forested area in Europe that will induce sleepiness and death in high enough doses. It has to be able to be easily added to either water or food. Side effects such as disorientation, discolored skin, etc. would be a bonus but not necessary.

Googled 'herbs to induce sleepiness', variations, unsure if the results meet my qualifications.

How to get into British University libraries, 1920s

I'm writing fiction about a schoolmaster with an external degree earned after service in WWI. I gather his degree would most likely have been granted by the University of London, though he sat his exams elsewhere. He needs to do primary research for a book he is writing, and the papers he needs to see (I looked up their real location) are at the British Museum, the Bodleian, and Pembroke College, Oxford. I'd rather write the Oxford trip than the London one, but have no idea how procedures for getting permission to use, say, Duke Humphrey's library have changed since the mid 1920s, when the story is set. (I looked up the modern rules on the Oxford U. site.)

Does my character need a letter? An alumnus friend? An introduction from a current fellow or professor? Would he get a pass? Would it matter that he is not an alumnus in the usual sense (was there a distinction, social or practical, between an external BA and a matriculated one)? Would he need to use gloves to handle the manuscripts? Would he be allowed to take pencil notes? Was there any security check?

Can anybody point me in the direction of something that would help? I've looked, as I say, at the university site itself; I've searched Googlebooks and found interesting memoir and biography material, but mostly in regard to OU students or sometimes people on Fulbrights, etc. Nothing I found speaks to the history of the entrance rules or procedures. Before I'm driven to make up something vaguely plausible, I'd like to take another shot at finding facts.