“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”
I first came across the word “palimpsest” years ago, when I was training to teach English as a foreign language: in one of the classes we were given a list of words that we were not expected to know and asked to chat with a partner and guess their meanings.
Presumably, the idea was to simulate the stress suffered by the students we would encounter once we qualified, but, of course, our situation was vastly different as we were all native speakers and there was really no great pressure to get the answers right, anyway. Continue reading “roost, rooster, roostest”
I’ve written and re-written that title, putting the comma in, then taking it out, then putting it back. Flowers instead of thoughts, or thoughts of nothing except flowers? I guess if I knew which I meant, I’d know which I should have written.
The first good reason for visiting her more often is that she is really quite elderly, having celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year. The second, far more selfish reason, is that I always find ideas when I do visit. Not necessarily ideas for poems, and not necessarily useful ideas, but usually there are oddities and slantwise perspectives that amuse me.
Today I have been hearing a faint alarm sound every 30 seconds or so; I knew it wasn’t the foghorns on the estuary – not least because it has been a gloriously sunny day – and it didn’t seem to be a phone or an alarm clock. When I asked if she had any idea what it might be, my mother denied all knowledge. Eventually, though, we managed to work it out. It’s her new “solar mole repeller”.