de-bugging procedures

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.
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background conversation

It’s nearly thirty years since Douglas Adams wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and introduced the Electric Monk to the world:

The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

I remember reading that and feeling a kind of recognition.
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a green scream

Undecided what to post today, I had a quick look on twitter, only to find that it is International Translation Day.

It’s actually been quite a while since I did any translation and nothing came to mind immediately as suitable for posting. But I remembered a long time ago using Google Translate to find inspiration for creativity and thought I’d have a dabble and see what happens.
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decisions, decisions, decisions…

We had another Live Lit event last week. The theme was “Once upon a word” and, once again, the decision about what to read proved problematic.

Naturally, given the theme, my mind turned to stories and fairy tales; but fiction isn’t my strong suit and I don’t usually write what I would call narrative poetry.

It’s just occurred to me now that I could have told the story about little Johnny in class when the teacher is explaining the four elements of a good story:
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beginnings and endings

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.
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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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distracted by details

Sometimes it seems that my work involves so much talking and so many emails that I run out of words and need to top up the supply by reading. At such times I revert to my childhood habit of reading indiscriminately and almost compulsively.

My tastes in fiction are fairly catholic and it’s definitely a question of quantity not quality for these binges: I don’t really care what the genre is, I just want words and more words.
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