The long hot summer is forgotten, the grass is green and straggly again and there is a distinctly autumnal nip in the air.
The horse chestnuts seem to have really suffered from the drought – rather than turning colour with the season, their leaves are all shrivelled and mottled – and I’ve hardly seen any conkers, though there are at least some sweet chestnuts.
There’s also more beech mast than I thought possible, and a fair number of acorns, too, so hopefully the squirrels should have a reasonable chance of surviving the winter.
Continue reading “beginnings and endings”
Mushrooms, toadstools, fungi, moulds, yeast… neither plant not animal, whatever they are, they are quite fascinating and often strangely attractive.
Perhaps I like them because I was an urban child and never came across anything more exotic than the button mushrooms and flats that we could buy at the greengrocer’s. Anything that was found in the wild was labelled as potentially poisonous, so had to be avoided.
As I got older, the flat mushrooms in supermarkets got larger and larger, perfect for stuffing and serving as the inevitable home dinner-party starter of the Seventies.
Continue reading “parenthetical”
I mentioned recently that I sometimes need to ‘top up’ my supply of words by reading voraciously just about anything I can get my hands on. It doesn’t have to be anything of any great literary value; indeed, I think what I’m really looking for is not so much words as such, it’s colloquial and fluent usage and phrasing that can perhaps be repurposed so that not all the clients I work for in a particular sector end up with the same wording on their websites and marketing collateral.
Since then, I’ve been wondering generally about vocabulary knowledge and learning: how many words do we know? Do adults continue to learn new words and, if so, how many?
Continue reading “words and birds”
There are certain things we take for granted in life.
Like the fact that certain fruit – cherries, apples, oranges, peaches etc. – are more or less round; and the fact that others – lemons, mangoes, kiwi fruit, strawberries – aren’t. And that there are fruit like plums that can be round or not, and others, like pears, that are so special and specific that they have their own shape name: pear-shaped.
Sometimes the things we take for granted are in fact not true.
Continue reading “fruitful thinking”
It’s a long time since I first came across Sydney Smith’s comment to his brother, “We have reversed the law of nature: you have risen by your gravity, and I have sunk by my levity.” And probably just as long since I first heard it suggested that we should repeal the law of gravity.
Somewhere in the same space in my brain where I access those ideas is a link to the idea of climate change, in particular to scientists’ warnings that, despite its name, global warming will bring harsher winters.
Continue reading “eternal sunshine”
The August bank holiday weekend is just about at an end.
Despite it having been the longest, hottest summer in who knows how long, yesterday we had torrential rain and today has been as grey and breezy as might have been expected if global warming had never been invented.
Essentially, there are no more national fiestas now until Christmas.
Continue reading “things worth celebrating”
I don’t know what the ideal length is for a blog post, but some weekends I seem to spend a heck of a long time writing.
Today, though, I’m going to settle for posting this screen shot, taken from a local pub website. There’s definitely something about those last two words that makes me wonder what they put in the biscuits.