Yay for the little people

“Xenophilius Lovegood,” he said, extending a hand to Harry. “My daughter and I live over the hill, so kind of the Weasleys to invite us. I think you know my Luna?” he added to Ron.
“Yes” said Ron. “Isn’t she with you?”
“She lingered in that charming little garden to say hello to the gnomes, such a glorious infestation! How few wizards realise just how much we can learn from the wise little gnomes — or, to give then their correct names, the Gernumbli gardensi.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling

Bobbing along in the Gnome-MobileBBC Radio 4. Women’s hour. Good Friday 2017:

“Well, you see, my wife never liked my gnomes. To me they were family. I’d given them names even. They had personality. But the wife said to me one day, ‘Darling, it’s me or the gnomes.’ Simple as that. I love me wife, so the answer was simple. That’s when I heard about the Gnome Sanctuary.” Continue reading Yay for the little people

Do you speak English?

“And there was never a better time to delve for pleasure in language than the sixteenth century, when novelty blew through English like a spring breeze. Some twelve thousand words, a phenomenal number, entered the language between 1500 and 1650, about half of them still in use today, and old words were employed in ways not tried before. Nouns became verbs and adverbs; adverbs became adjectives. Expressions that could not have grammatically existed before – such as ‘breathing one’s last’ and ‘backing a horse’, both coined by Shakespeare – were suddenly popping up everywhere.”

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson

French language learning
My French reading homework this week.

Dear …
My face is politeness for You.

It’s been a hard day’s night. As to me. I guess for You too.
I must be in a harry – I”m under thumb of my wife.
I carefully exam Your docs and let You know some later. Mayby today.

I wish You unforgettable everning.
Cordially,
Mr …

This is a real email from a real client this week, though I suspect the real author was Google Translate. Continue reading Do you speak English?

Very Greek

     “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
     “Business!”cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Zeus
Temple of Zeus

The elderly Mr SM (Shipping Magnate) ushered us into his substantial office and gestured to the leather sofa. “I give you two minutes,” he held up two fingers and perched his slightly unkempt, rather portly, untucked self on the arm of a chair. “I tell you what to do if you want to work with us,” he began.

“You are shipbrokers?” He studied Hubby’s card. “It is good you visit. What bring you to Greece?” Continue reading Very Greek

Monastic musings

“There was no doubt about it. Sister Evangelina’s action had been brilliant. A masterstroke. To say that a fart cleared the air may seem a contradiction in terms, but life is full of contradictions.”

Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950’s by Jennifer Worth

Monastic mosaicsHubby: Father Zachariah, I’m taking over my father’s business next year and I wonder if you have any advice for me?

Father Zachariah: There were once three monks. One monk rose early every morning and left the cottage to work in the fields. It was back-breaking work. He only returned home as darkness fell, but he provided all the food and income for the household. The second monk was very ill and spent all day in bed, praying. The third monk remained at the cottage to care for his brother. Which one has done a full day’s work, I ask you? Continue reading Monastic musings

Brexit, Frexit, Grexit … and in true African time, Zexit!

“[South Africans] are on friendly terms with time, and the plan of beguiling or killing it does not come into their heads. In fact the more time you can give them, the happier they are, and if you commission a [South African] to hold your horse while you make a visit, you can see by his face that he hopes you will be a long, long time about it. He does not try to pass the time then, but sits down and lives.”

Out of Africa (with a bit of poetic licence) by Karen Blixen

Z-DayBreaking news this morning was that the ANC has officially decided to recall Jacob Zuma. Journalists are calling it Zexit (thanks David Cameron) and Z-Day (thanks WW2).

My poor South Africa, sunny and bright though she is, has been on a rollercoaster ride of drought and water shortages, Finance Minister hiring and firing, Gupta-leaks and Bell Pottinger-Gates, and the most politically volatile currency in the world. Are things finally looking up for SA? Continue reading Brexit, Frexit, Grexit … and in true African time, Zexit!

2018, tell me all your secrets

“If you can look into the seeds of time. And say which grain will grow and which will not; Speak, then, to me.”

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

“I believe we can rule out anything sinister,” said the radiologist. “Only … there is something rather unusual. You have right-sided hemiagenesis of the thyroid.”

I wiped the gel off my neck and sat up. I leaned in closer to the ultrasound screen. Continue reading 2018, tell me all your secrets

I would send you a bouquet of rain if I could

“Mna Ramotswe cleared her throat. ‘I’m hoping there’ll be some more rain soon,’ she said. ‘The cattle will like it.’ In Botswana, that was the most uncontroversial of comments. Nobody would disagree with any sentiment in favour of rain, nor could they express anything but sympathy for cattle. Cattle had no vote, nor words to express a view, but their feelings ranked above just about everything else in the country.”

The House of Unexpected Sisters (No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Book 17) by Alexander McCall Smith

I wonder if you’ve ever seen a ghost?

On Sunday Hubby flew to Estonia at 5am. BBC Radio 4 woke me 2hrs later. As Zebedee Soanes burbled about Brexit, I hauled myself out of bed. I padded across the room in the darkness. Suddenly, a movement caught my eye in the large mirror beside me.

I stopped walking. I stopped breathing. I forced my eyes to focus. Continue reading I would send you a bouquet of rain if I could