Holidays

“What shall you do all your vacation?,” asked Amy. “I shall lie abed and do nothing”, replied Meg.”

Little Women by Louisa M Alcott

She sat on at the dressing table, feet dangling a few inches from the floor. She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, adjusted the cushion under her bottom, and pulled herself up tall. Flecks of sunshine danced across her face. The light played across the table in front of her, catching a string of glass beads and throwing a rainbow of colour around the room. Continue reading Holidays

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

A Christmas Tale and a 2017 Calendar

“”Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”

Little Women by Louisa M Alcott

Little Women Louisa M AlcottA Christmas past. Muddy roads and rain. I had 3 nieces rather than 4. Dad was still alive. We’d been cooped up inside for too long and the cracks were beginning to show in tantrums and whining.

“Okay, this is what we’re gong to do,” I ventured, placing each niece in seclusion with a sheet of paper and a pen.

“I want each one of you to write a letter to Father Christmas. Tell him if you’ve been good or not, and write him a list of things you’d like for Christmas.”

For a few blissful minutes they took to their task enthusiastically. The adults breathed a sigh of relief and I padded over to the awaiting kettle. Continue reading A Christmas Tale and a 2017 Calendar