“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
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 …
“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
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.
“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
Hubby: 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
“[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
Breaking 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).
“It is useless to describe the astonishing performances of the acrobats and gymnasts. The turning on ladders, poles, balls, barrels, &c., was executed with wonderful precision. But the principal attraction was the exhibition of the Long Noses, a show to which Europe is as yet a stranger. These noses were made of bamboo, and were five, six, and even ten feet long, some straight, others curved, some ribboned, and some having imitation warts upon them. It was upon these appendages, fixed tightly on their real noses, that they performed their gymnastic exercises.”
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Coated and scarfed, we trooped across the common, crunching leaves under foot. The almost-full moon brightened the autumn sky. Circusy-music drifted towards us on the breeze, promising high-wire tension and hilarity.
Some 35 years ago I’m sure I must have run, towing one of my parents behind me, across the entire dusty field to the circus entrance, a similar pink ticket stub in my small hand. White horses with plumes, the smell of damp straw, animal cages, waistcoated monkeys and hotdogs – the Boswell Wilkie Circus! Continue reading Send in the Clowns