A Quandary

A quandary is, mostly, a dilemma, and that is the sort of quandary I’m talking about.

It can also be a small antelope of the genus Madoqua, that lives in the bushlands of eastern and southern Africa and the trade mark (as in “Quandry”) for a piece of Victorian picnic equipment – a combination camp kettle, spirit stove, windshield and adjustable toasting fork. They were well known at the time (c 1870 s to 1900s), particularly as the famous self-publicist Henry Morton Stanley took two on his expedition to discover Livingstone and wrote about them extensively -an early example of product placement.

I do love words. I particularly love the stranger and more obscure meanings and the way you start off in one direction and end up going in another.

This post was supposed to be about me being in a quandary about my list-making and using lockdown to write instead of doing housework. It became a discussion on alternative meanings simply because it has none and I thought it sounded like a small animal, a bit like a quagga or a quokka. After that, taking my cue from the Paradox (a combination rifle and shotgun), it seemed logical to add a toasting fork to a perfectly ordinary spirit kettle and stand, to make the “Quandry”. It nearly had a cake stand added too, but enough is enough…

It looks like, after a dip during the festive season I might be getting my sense of humour back. Sorry if I mis-led you with my spurious definitions, but I just couldn’t help myself. I may be the new Ambrose Bierce, though I will be more cautious than he was in the company of Mexicans. And following on from that, I will attempt to inject a little cheer into the lives of my American readers with one of Bierce’s more appropriate definitions.

Presidency – n – The greased pig in the field game of American politics.

24 thoughts on “A Quandary

  1. jodierichelle

    Thank you for the humor, Simon. Yesterday was a bit of a shock, and I needed a smile.

    I enjoy words, too. I have recently begun playing “Words with Friends” with my mother and father-in-law. It’s just like Scrabble, but online. I always have to look up the new words I see (LOTS of new words!) just to see what they mean.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      I hope things sort themselves out. When I started to read about allegations that Democrats were pretending to be Republicans to discredit Trump I started getting memories of the burning of the Reichstag, and that didn’t end well.


      I started playing Scrabble online but there are far too many two letter words known only to specialists. 🙂

  2. tootlepedal

    I must say that I have always thought of a quandary as being a small area about the size of my garden as I have lived in a quandary for many years.

    Three cheers for the return of the sense of humour though it hasn’t been very well hidden in previous posts.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      That would make a great addition to the rods, poles and perches that you always used to find on the back of those red covered exercise books when I was a child.

      1. tootlepedal

        No wonder that I didn’t get much useful teaching when I spent all my time at school working out how much 2 tons 3cwts and 4 quarters of animal feed at three shillings two pence and three farthings a stone would cost. I used to know what 17/4d was as a decimal fraction of a pound to three places. Much good it did me.

      2. quercuscommunity Post author

        I do sometimes wonder if working my change out in £sd made my mind more flexible. Forty sixpences in £1and all that stuff still comes naturally to me…

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      In the UK we have the problem that people no longer care. IN the USA people obviously care a bit too much. Not sure which is healthier, but I do know which scares me more.


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