The case of the Pumpkin Soup and the problem with British politeness

“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

soup Guest: “What exactly is in this soup?”
Me: “It’s pumpkin soup.”
Hubby (encouraging): “It’s an early spicy pumpkin soup.”
Guest: “Unusual taste.”
Me: “Yes. I’m afraid something went wrong. You don’t have to eat it.”

It was almost a case of ‘Nyamazela-at-the-Church-do-with-the-pumpkin-soup’.

I pride myself on being a better than average soup maker. But as the old adage goes, and Hubby pointed out rightly when we were destroying the evidence later that night, pride comes before a fall. Continue reading The case of the Pumpkin Soup and the problem with British politeness

Being a grown up

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Birthday cakeBrain: There’s that animal I’m very familiar with, with mane and big teeth!
Brain’s word identification software: Lion!
Mouth: Goat.

True story. Continue reading Being a grown up

Smile Therapy

“To tell you the truth, I was considerably upset and worried. I am not going to pretend that at that moment I foresaw the events of the next few weeks. I emphatically did not do so. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead.”

The Murder of Roger Achroyd by Agatha Christie

Next to The Golden Girls, one of the best old ladies of film – Ms Ellen Albertini Dow (1913–2015) of The Wedding Singer (1998)

On Easter Sunday Hubby and I had lunch (Easter Lamb – delish!) at a friend’s house. I was sat next to our friend Floz (not her real name). Floz is a part time conspiracy theorist, a full time intellectual and in the evenings works as a companion to 3 old ladies.

“Do you know the key to happiness in old age?” she asked me as I prepared my roast potatoes with butter, salt and a good dose of gravy.

I leaned in for the holy grail of advice. Continue reading Smile Therapy

February S.A.D.s

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

In September 2012 I stood on a floodlit off-West End stage. The final act of a play called ‘Life Begins‘ and my most challenging scene.

“When it comes to it,” the director had told me some weeks before, “You’re going to have to find your anger. You’d better find it, pull it out of somewhere deep and let it go!”

The scene was a hospital waiting room.

“How dare you!” I tore across the stage at a fellow actor and had to be held back from hurting him. The audience was on the edge of their seats because no-one knew yet whether or not the lead character was going to live or die. Continue reading February S.A.D.s

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