words and birds

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?
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sick as a dog

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.

Text from pub website "dog biscuits on the bar and plenty of water bowels"

naming memories

On a visit to south Wales this week, when I stepped outside the back door, I found the iridescent creature pictured above sunning itself on the rosemary bush. Without doubt, it was one of the most eye-catching beetles I’ve ever seen.

I don’t claim to recognise all the insect life of the UK, but I was surprised just how unfamiliar this one seemed: I was pretty sure that even if my Observer’s Book of Common Insects and Spiders were not stuffed in a box at the back of a storage locker somewhere in rural Spain, it would not help me to identify it.
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more dragons

I mentioned recently that there are certain words and phrases that I use over and over again: “rather lovely” occurs in a dozen posts here, while a search on “glorious” brings up 11 pages – over 50 posts. But it’s not just language that repeats; it’s also the topics.

There are daisies and dandelions scattered across these pages almost as liberally as the actual flowers occur in the neighbour’s garden, while bees bumble between posts, swallows swoop down and swans glide through at irregular, but fairly frequent, intervals.
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morning after

I went for a walk in the park the other morning before breakfast. It was early enough that the only other people out and about were dog-walkers and joggers.

The light wasn’t very special and the grass was decidedly damp. We have had some lovely weather recently, but also some tremendous storms, so I’m not sure the plants actually know what season it is, but there were still plenty of flowers and blossoms worth taking pictures of.
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dog days

Last week I talked about choosing love poems to read at a local event. In the end, I think I found nine short pieces that I ran together to produce a story of a kind, which seemed to go down reasonably well.

One of them has a dog in it, albeit unseen and at a distance, so makes a good piece to include in this first blog post of the new Year of the Dog.
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looking ahead

It’s New Year’s Day, so if I intend to continue with my aim to update this blog at weekends and on public and bank holidays, I’d better find something to post.

I should probably clarify that that isn’t a New Year’s resolution, it’s just something I’ve been trying to do for the last few years. But blogging takes time and commitment and doesn’t reap much of a reward. I’ve been writing here for ten years now and there are nearly twelve hundred posts – more posts than followers! – including heaven knows how many original poems and photographs.
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