feeling positive

Although I understand that they simplify the process of marking tests and correlating results, I have never been fond of multiple-choice-style questions: all too often there are ambiguities that force you to second guess what the examiners want you to answer.

This shouldn’t be a problem when the question is just asking you to rate how you feel about something, but the following question from a recent YouGov survey had me confused:

YouGov survey screen shot
Just what is the difference between “very positive” and “strongly positive”? And which is the right choice for those who feel emphatically negative?
Continue reading “feeling positive”


I took this picture a couple of weeks ago and was looking for an excuse to post it to the blog.

snake's head fritillary Fritillaria meleagris
When I was checking what the flowers are – Fritillaria meleagris, the snakes-head fritillary – I discovered that tomorrow, April 27th, St Bartholomew’s Church in Ducklington is celebrating Fritillary Sunday. There will be “Morris dancing and musical interludes”, as well as cream teas and ploughman’s lunches in the village hall.

L.P. Hartley was wrong: the past is not a foreign country; it is where I was born and I’m feeling quite homesick.


students playing football, Midlands, England
I don’t often get involved with topical news stories on the blog, but this photo of lads playing football in the Midlands, taken on a glorious autumn afternoon a couple of weeks ago, seems doubly appropriate now as the Football Association celebrated their 150th anniversary yesterday and storms are forecast across the country today.

melon yellow

yellow gourd flower
I commented last week that there are very few flowers in the garden at the moment, but it would be wrong to say there were none at all.

Each morning, I dutifully water the patch of ornamental gourds I planted in an attempt to cover some of the chain link fence between us and the neighbours. And each day I am amazed at the size and colour of the flowers.

Since the flowers first appeared a couple of weeks ago, a line of poetry has been running through my head. I’m not sure whether it’s triggered by the suspicion that gourds and melons must be related, by the brightness of the flowers or by the similarity of the sounds of gourd and gaudy…
Continue reading “melon yellow”

royal oak day

A message in my inbox tells me:

It’s the 29th of May, Royal Oak Day:
if you don’t give us a holiday, we’ll all run away !

oak leaves

Strange how even the most ardent socialists are willing to consider becoming monarchists when there’s a holiday involved.

Still, I’ve talked in the past about the complications of political labelling as well as about the difficulties in talking about oaks and acorns in Spanish. So, since I seem already to have dealt with the obvious follow ons, and it isn’t actually a holiday, perhaps I’d better get on with some work!

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