“Spring forward; Fall back.” – the mnemonic my father taught me to remember which way the clocks needed to be altered at the beginning and end of British Summer Time.
Fall back is also one of those marvellous English phrasal verbs – known by many EFL students as “frazzle” verbs, presumably because of the effect on the mind of trying to memorise them – where a main verb is combined with a particle (adverb, preposition, or both).
Continue reading “fall back”
At first glance, it may look as if the rather snazzy spider in the photo is lying on her back waving her legs in the air. In fact she was dangling a few inches above the kitchen counter, suspended from the ceiling by a thread. It’s probably just as well that I saw her before I put the mixing bowl down and started measuring out the flour to make scones.
She was the second spider I had to ask to leave the house this morning. I don’t suppose either of them really fancied being outside in the rain, but I decided I’d be happier if they left the premises, even if they weren’t.
Continue reading “de-bugging procedures”
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”
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.
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.
Continue reading “naming memories”
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.
Continue reading “more dragons”
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.
Continue reading “morning after”