Friday, 23 October 2009

Still here - alive and kicking!

Thank you to those readers who sent me an e mail yesterday evening to see if I was alright as I hadn't blogged yesterday. Remember what I said about blog friends (almost wrote fiends there!) the other day - isn't it heart-warming that people should see I had missed a day. The reason for this was that my computer decided to go slow. In fact slow is an understatement - it hardly moved. Luckily Dominic called and de-fragmented it for me (is that the right word?) I am ashamed to say that I had 756 items in my recycle bin! This morning it seems back to normal. If I have to get the doctor to it I have his number on my desk.

So - what to write about today? Because I wasn't blogging I decided to start a piece of textile work. I sat down at my Bernina sewing machine. It is so long since I used it I had forgotten how to thread it let along use it. So I took it to pieces, cleaned it, oiled it and read the instruction book - and today I am all ready to go.

This week has seen a huge fall of leaves, particularly ash. At the moment it is foggy here and not light enough to see without artificial light in the house. The leaves lie damp along the lane but the sun is scheduled to come out later today so maybe they will crisp up so that Tess and I can walk through them making our Autumn noise. As it is they smell beautifully of Autumn - that and bonfire smoke symbolise Autumn up here in the countryside.

We have harvested the walnuts from our two forty year old trees and have the magnificnet total of 36 walnuts, all very small and sad-looking. The horse chestnut fruits (conkers) have fallen and their prickly green coats have split to reveal the shiny brown conkers inside. The leaves on the horse chestnuts are at their best this week and really glow. There is a row of them in front of The Manor in our village. If the sun comes out later I will take a photograph to show you.

I see it is almost time for the New York Marathon. I hope our New York bloggers will be out with their cameras on the big day. One of the doctors from our practice (Dr Julia Brown) is running in it for charity (Marie Curie Cancer Care) so we have an interest in it this year.

This year several people have been killed in UK by being trampled on by herds of cows while crossing a field. I read the inquest report on one lady in today's Times. She had a dog, of course, and was holding it by the collar in an effort to restrain it from going near the cows. Sadly she was pulled over and trampled. The farmer who owned the cows gave a sound piece of advice. If you walk across a field of cows, stick to the footpath and if you have a dog, let it off the leash so that the cows can investigate the dog rather than you. On the other hand, if the field is full of sheep then keep your dog on the lead. Sound advice I would have thought.

Finally today sees the publication of The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary - it has been 44 years in compilation. I see that the longest entry is for the word "immediately".
Apparently there are 265 different ways of saying immediately (a lot of words that used to mean immediately now really mean soon). I bet you really wanted to know that!

But there are some lovely words which have gone out of usage. Apparently in Anglo Saxon times (when interestingly, medical knowledge only covered the outer body) there were two foot diseases called Deawwyrm and Fotgeswell. The word for carrot didn't appear in English until 1533 (from French carotte) and before that the carrot was called a tank. Fancy a piece of tank cake anyone?

If I was an Anglo Saxon and I wanted to be rude to you I would have called you a wyrmlic. In Shakespeare's time I would have used Shack-rag and, according to the book, in the twentieth century I would have used tripe-hound. All I can say is that I would never use such language - so I will sign off by saying have a lovely day my bloggy friends.

PS My pumpkin has arrived (it is my birthday on Hallowe'en) so the farmer has a whole week in which to sharpen his pumpkin-carving knife and be creative with its face.

24 comments:

Poet in Residence said...

You've got me thinking with those word origins -
Karroten (carrots)
and
Kartoffel (spuds)
seem to me to have the same root 'Kar' -
and it's NOT French. We must look further, perhaps?

ArtPropelled said...

Very interesting post Weaver. Smiling at wormlyc and shack-rag ...I might borrow them if pushed to the limit :-)

Doctor FTSE said...

Equally interesting . . . "Branston Pickle" refers to TURNIP (or possibly SWEDE) as "Ruta Berga" in their list of ingredients. Perhaps this is to make their bottled sludge (Ooops, sorry!), their pickle, sound more exotic? In the North East, older folk still refer to turnips as "bergies" - from "berga" - presumably Scandinavian? When commenting, I always tell the postee the characters I have to type in order to authenticate the comment. Honest - it's GROOLE today!

Amanda Sheridan said...

Glad to have you back and interested to hear you've dusted off your machine. Looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Poet in Residence said...

The words for the following vegetables:
carrot,
cauliflower
potato
are in German
KARrot,
KARfiol,
KARtoffel
so the clue is KAR
KAR is of course GREEK
and KARyon is Greek for nut.
There you see, it's true the old saying, yes the Greeks have a word for it! And the word is KAR-ROTEN which means literally RED-NUTS!

MarmaladeRose said...

Don't you tease me like this, where are the photos of the Bernina creativity? Have I got to wait until tomorrow?

Golden West said...

Yes, it will be nice to see what you make!

Pondside said...

Blogger was slow here yesterday, and at one point shut down altogether - perhaps some sort of international blogger flu!

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

My father would occasionally use the term 'tripe-hound' but usually in a gently teasing way rather than rude!

When I worked in South Africa, I was astonished to learn that if you asked for something to be done "now" it was taken to mean some time later and you had to say "now, now" if you meant immediately!

Leenie said...

Fun post. Shakespeare had quite a way with insults.

Hildred and Charles said...

Oh, I did miss you Weaver and glad that it is only your computer that is ailing. Nice to read your interesting post again this morning.

I am today wrapping a book present to send to our oldest Great-grandson who will be three on the 31st of October. I hope it is a happy day for both of you.

Titus said...

That's so nice that people got in touch after the previous post about blog friendship - it's like people noticing your milk hadn't been taken in in the "old days".

Historical Thesaurus of the OED is the whole of my Christmas letter to Santa.

The Abbot said...

Please publish a photograph of the pumpkin face.

Kim said...

Gald to hear you infernal internet access machine is up and running again. Isn't it funny how we miss them when they aren't working! Hard to believe the book has taken so long to compile but now I really want to browse this one! Love all those fuuny words and am curious to find out their histories.

Jane Moxey said...

Hope you enjoyed playing on your Bernina today! Look forward to seeing what you did! I'm a Bernina Babe too, and my machine has been sadly neglected of late. Delicious words!

Red Clover said...

I'm almost convinced that Fiends would be the right word...

I also wonder if we have so many words that have built up regarding immediacy because we continue to ratchet up the pace of life higher and higher and higher, and nothing can come soon enough:)

I would like tho see those autumn pictures!

Cloudia said...

A lovely post of Autumn and archaic words!


Aloha, Weaver


Comfort Spiral

The Weaver of Grass said...

FTSE' comment on turnips is interesting. Up here, what I call a swede the farmer calls a turnip. Ruta baga is a vegetable - I bought some seeds one year but they came to little - rather like kohl rabi - sounds wonderful but doesn't really flourish here in the wild north.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Regarding my Bernin machine - I am taking it slowly and getting to know it again. Typical of me - I can be obsessively tidy - I spent two hours tidying bookshelves in my study, trying to find the instruction book for my Bernina. When I finally found it it was in a box clearly marked "Brochures, catalogues and Instruction Books."

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derrick's comment on the word "now" is also interesting. It made me think of other words with different meanings. Up here if you say that someone is only moderate - you really mean they are dying, whereas I would think moderate meant not just one hundred percent well.

The Weaver of Grass said...

As usual, when I read through the comments you have posted here, I realise how much content you have added to the original post - it is lovely to get such discussions going - thank you all for taking the effort. Have a good weekend.

PurestGreen said...

Hi. I was blog hopping and I found your blog today. How very lovely it is! You are a natural storyteller. Big smile from this Canadian in Edinburgh.

steven said...

hello weaver - a lovely telling of the unfolding of autumn. i'm interested in what you'll create on the sewing machine. i tried to use one a few times when i was younger and ended up with a wild zig zag of tangled cotton thread on an otherwise lovely piece of material!!! have a lovely day in the dale. steven

C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson said...

How interesting, and sad, that so many people have died from stampeding cattle. Your postings are always so interesting and bring such wonderful comments. It seems your weather is doing much the same as mine. Today is sunny and cool so we will venture out to the woods to see what we can find. I love crafting from Birch bark and mosses. It's so fun to create holiday decorations. Hope you enjoy your day and are blessed with sunshine.