“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Almost every morning I wakeup with BBC Radio 4 news. When there is a lull in the news, I imagine the mad clamour in the news room to get hold of the latest obscure findings of some crazy new study.
Science is useful of course, but I’m amazed that our nation’s brains have the time or money, for example, to don their white coats and spend hours in a lab conducting experiments with a sofa and a remote control.
Voice: BBC news reader
A new study has found that …
- there’s a nearly 50 percent chance that your lost remote control is stuck between your sofa cushions;
- one in four UK adults is obese (triggering a squiz at friends and colleagues, followed by a resolve to visit the gym after work);
- speaking in a Birmingham accent gives a worse impression than saying nothing at all. 76% of travellers say they would not be at ease if their pilot had a Brummie accent.
- around 16 per cent, or 5.2 million adults in England, are illiterate;
- to rid your brain of an irritating song, sing ‘God Save the Queen’ instead;
- yawning may be an empathy-related response and as psychopaths lack empathy, they are less likely to experience the urge to yawn (watch out for those potential axe murders, my dear single ladies);
- British people drink 165 million cups of tea every day;
- people in Sheffield have the most filings and missing teeth.
Helpful or not, many of these announcements will be taken seriously by us Brits, who will go into a frenzy of discussion, analysis and often paralysis until we vow to change our lives accordingly.
In news this week…
“A new study has found that 45% of Britons will spend Easter and the May bank holiday weekends doing DIY and gardening, however over half of them will result in botched efforts.”
Determining how these BBC prophesies affect human behaviour may be the topic of another study, perhaps?
Whether it’s something in the air as Mole sensed in The Wind in the Willows or the brighter mornings and longer days, the promise of an Easter holiday, or the urge to shed my winter insulation, or even an announcement on BBC Radio, spring is finally here and I have the proverbial spring in my step.
Hubby says that he noticed spring was in the air when I started “burbling”, or maybe he said “verbaling“?
I believe the first symptom came when I announced after the meal that I was “never going to eat again”. Poor Hubby had to endure more of my burbles on the train, and on our midnight stroll home from the station along the moonlit Thames.
Luckily for Hubby, he has the ability to tune me out. He just squeezed my hand, carried my bag and mumbled the odd supporting statement.
Earlier than predicted, the season of DIY, cleaning and gardening has commenced in the Nyamazela household.
In full spring mode, Hubby and I spent a productive weekend trimming our hedge (massacred might come closer to the truth), visiting the garden centre, and planting tomatoes, carrots, radishes, broad beans, chillies and strawberries. Hubby went on a mission for gooseberries (red and green) which are now in pots on our terrace. Indoor and outdoor plants have all been watered, fed and de-aphid-ed. Our baby lemon tree that got a bit frost-bitten in January has been moved back outside, and honestly looks far happier.
And the pièce de résistance, Hubby baked his very best loaf of bread to date.
There’s something really therapeutic about working with your hands and having a productive time at the start of a new season. It’s been a challenging beginning to 2016, but here’s to watching our seeds grow and flourish, and hoping to bear some fruit.
P.s. A squiz is South African English for ‘a quick look’. I discovered shortly after my arrival on these beautiful isles that squiz is not British English. The question is how on earth do they do without it?
P.p.s. Our trip to Barking enabled us to conduct a study of London transport, specifically what it’s like to ride the Hammersmith and City line from end to end. The findings: I managed to make a good dent in my book.
P.p.p.s. That pesky cold wind is still blowing, but I live in hope for real warmth in the coming weeks.
P.p.p.p.s. If you find yourself chattering away excitedly on multiple subjects and jumping vaguely from topic to topic in what seems like a series of unrelated caveats without waiting for a reply or encouragement from your audience, you have probably caught the ‘burbles’. Careful, it’s going around.
P.p.p.p.p.s. This is my 50th blog post on Nyamazela.com