high streets

Have you nerticed  the quirkyness of English? Not the people; the language.  It’s the most significant on the planet and yet it is just about the most irregular, polyglot, rapacious (in its ability to borrow), adaptable, frustrating and evolving language mankind has ever known. Despite its influence it is almost certainly one of the hardest to master because of its many peculiararities.  And we speak it every day and rarely trouble ourselves with its intricacies. But as regular readers will know that’s a dead cert subject for me to reflect upon. The Eurozone’s in crisis, austerity beckons and yet I  about words when I ought to be hard at work.  Take that word ‘work’. It’s innocuous isn’t it? As we all know it means to toil or be employed. But have you noticed how it is pronounced – like werk?  Nothing funy on the face of it but look at a host of other words spelt the same way like pork, cork and fork. In dozens of cases it’s an ‘or’ sound in the middle. Why is work pronounced differently? Don’t you find it odd? And here’s something odder; there’s already a word beginning with a and pronounced like ‘pork’ but it is spelled ‘walk‘. Interesting, the letters ‘al‘ as in ‘pale’ or ‘talc’ or ‘real’ are pronounced as ‘or‘? Is this what they mean by perfidious Albion?  How on earth do foreign students ever grasp our language? But they do with seemingly apparently ease, and yet after 5 years in Italy, which has an almost perfectly constructed language, I probably know no more than 10 phrases and 100 words, sigh.

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All I want for Xmas is…….

Well, I’ve written before about the mass of junkmail we receive each morning with several top up deliveries intermittently during the day. In fact it was on 8 December 2009 when I wrote about it last (see posting Location, location, location), and if I’d kept all the direct mail crap that had been posted through our letter box since then I could have opened my own paper mill. But this morning something plopped through the letter box so awful it could become a classic of the junk genre. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Xmas gift catalogue from some mob called thebrilliantgiftshop.co.uk. Oh what a claim. Now ordinarily I’d chuck this out without a glance but something made me have a sneek and what joys are contained therein. It’s not that the gifts are of stunning quality; there are literally thousands of them and they are almost all utterly crap. I’ve seen carney fairground stall holders that would baulk at having to use some of this tat as prizes for punters scooping up a plastic duck with a hook on a stick or for scoring over 21 by hitting 3 different playing cards with some crappy arrows.  Continue reading

RWC 2011

So far I’ve resisted the temptation to do any postings at all on Strictly CD; so much candidate material but the knighthood for the stumbling, bumbling old goat Forsyth has done it for me nor  for X Factor – I’ve just had too much of that highly-processed  sausage machine for talentless wannabees. But after 4 weeks still no blogs on the Rugby World Cup; the project I was brought back into BT to handle in 1999 and, in doing so,  had the best time of my career. I must have written more about the 2003 and 2007 tournaments than I ever did about my first love football but 12 years on what’s not grabbed me?

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broken windows and promises

OK so my last posting was a bit self-indulgent but I am proud of my roots. So I’m a Lanc, from Manc, get over it. I know I have. I thought I’d get back to some less personalised stuff but fact is everything on here is my opinion so…. I thought I’d do another in the occasional series on really crap and incronguous buildings/architecture  in my local, leafy, lovely area of SW London, which is at least 300 miles from Old Trafford cricket ground. I can mix it with the rugger bugger yummy mummies when I need to.

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