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Just ask; Posers and puzzlers.

QMY friend is going to Paris and plans to visit a certain cemetery.Why would a graveyard be seen as a tourist attraction? - A.R., Perth.

ATHIS probably refers to the Pere Lachaise cemetery - reckoned to be the most visited cemetery in the world.

It has a long history and is the final resting place of many rich and famous people including Moliere, Sarah Bernhardt, Maria Callas, Chopin, Isadora Duncan, Stephan Grappelli and Jim Morrison.

It is named after Pere Francois de la Chaise, the confessor to Louis XIV.

QWHAT is the basis behind speculation that the world will end on December 21, 2012? Does this have any scientific backing? - L.F., Cumbernauld, near Glasgow.

AA TOTAL lunar eclipse will occur on that date, triggering a wide range of unfounded beliefs that there will be some sort of cataclysmic event - hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions.

These beliefs are based on the ancient Mayan calendar which comes to the end of a 5125-year cycle on that date and it coincides with other scenarios which suggest the earth will be hit by a passing planet around that time.

Modern Mayan scholars have dismissed the calendar theory completely and astronomers and other scientists say there are no observations to support it.

QWHAT was Sir Walter Scott's first published work? - B.M., Ayr.

ASCOTT is reckoned to be the first English language writer to have truly global appeal. He studied law at the University of Edinburgh and at the age of 25 began to dabble in translations of German ballads by Gottfried August Burger.

This prompted him to compose his own and his first published work was a three-volume set of collected Scottish ballads, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.

He continued to write poetry but, following financial difficulties, he decided the only way out was to write a blockbuster and, in 1814, he published Waverley.

It was very successful and led to a series of Scottish historical tales over the next few years, which became known as the Waverley novels.

In 1819 he branched out with Ivanhoe, set in England, and this was followed by the Bride Of Lammermoo, made into an opera by Donizetti.

Scott's fame and prestige grew but his finances did not and in 1825 he suffered severe money problems as well as increasingly poor health, which led to his death in 1832.

?If there is a question nagging you, write to Just Ask, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow, G3 8DA, or send an email to mailbox@sundaymail.co.uk. Sorry, we cannot send personal replies.

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Graveyard: Jim Morrison
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 10, 2011
Words:431
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