Tag Archives: vocabulary

Two New Words

I have a Word of the Day sent to my email every day, and don’t normally open the message as they aren’t often new words to me. Yesterday I got the word canicular. I wasn’t familiar with it so I clicked to read. It means “of or relating to the period between early July and early September when hot weather occurs in the northern hemisphere”.

So that would be “summer”.

I’m not sure I can think of a use for canicular. Apart from the sentence “I’m not sure I can think of a use for canicular”.

That might be the last time I use it unless I need a rhyme for funicular and have already used particular. That is, realistically speaking, an unlikely scenario. For several reasons.

I do have another new word if you want one – shitsuren. It’s Japanese and it means “broken heart”, “unrequited love” or “disappointed love”. It’s probably as useless as canicular, but much more fun to use. And if I ever write my Limerick cycle on the US Presidents, I will have a rhyme for Martin van Buren.

More Planters

We managed to get one of the waste bins partially dismantled, which gives us the basis for a planter trough.

There were eight screws on the hinge and five came out easily. Two came out less easily. And the final one wouldn’t budge. I applied my jemmy. It still didn’t budge. Eventually I had to drill the head of the screw, which finally worked. Only two more to go, plus a bit of internal remodelling.

I feel a bit retro using the term jemmy, it’s one of those words from the world of pea soupers and mysterious foreigners in Limehouse, along with rozzers, darbies and petermen. A lifetime of reading classic crime has certainly broadened my vocabulary.

It’s an on-going process, and we’re going to have a bit of work to do yet, but it seems a shame to throw them out.


Knowledge, wisdom and an anagram

Someone once told that if you learn a new thing every day you will end up as the wisest man in the world.

As we’ve discussed previously, (notably in relation to the dik-dik episode) there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. It’s likely that you may end up as the most knowledgeable man in the world, but wisdom may still be beyond your grasp.

Anyway, unless you are Stephen Fry or a quiz champion there isn’t necessarily any money in knowledge. Quite honestly, if the price of riches is becoming Stephen Fry I’m not sure the price is worth it. Same goes for quiz champions – I really don’t want to cram my head with sporting trivia and I’m quite happy with my patchy knowledge of the Kings and Queens of England. Having a few gaps in the list is a human failing I can endure, and knowing that Louis VIII of France was also briefly King of England (a fact overlooked by school history books) gives me a slight tingle of smugness.

So what have you learned today Simon? I hear you ask, knowing full well I am setting you up for something.

I have learnt the meaning of the word sempiternal. I take no pleasure in knowing it as I will probably never use the word, but will have to leave it on a mental shelf alongside rictus, jeremiad and obfuscate. All fine words but not really usable in 2015.

It’s also a bit embarrassing because it’s used in T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding (a poem I have read and a village I have visited) and I hadn’t bothered to look it up. That doesn’t look good for a man who likes words and learning things. However, I was a teenager and I have changed since then (perhaps even improved).

Talking of T. S. Eliot, did you know that his name is an anagram for “toilets”?

My father-in-law (who wrote light verse and had a reasonable facial resemblance to Eliot) never tired of pointing that out. In fairness to my father-in-law, who might be seen as coming off second best here in intellectual terms, his verse may not have attracted the critical acclaim of Eliot’s, but he did read on stage with a number of well-known performance poets and he did always put a smile on your face.

On top of that, with my father-in-law, having been a physiotherapist all his life, was a sound man to consult if you had nagging joint pain.

I’ve never felt that Eliot would have offered much comfort once the damp weather drew on and your knee started to creak.

As for tomorrow’s learning – I need to find out how to grow coffee plants and why we need the word sempiternal when eternal looks like it will do the job just as well.

Has anybody out there in hotter places grown coffee plants?

Now I’m merely simmering…

OK, no more ranting, I’ve been comprehensively lectured on being nice by my wife, I’ve filled up on tea and I’ve just bought the bacon for my breakfast sandwiches so I’m in a mellow place. I’m far from booking my place at the Pollyanna School of Business Management but I can now type without shouting at the screen.

It’s also, accidentally, well over a day since my last post, which is good for calming down.

We had 62 kids making pizza yesterday (amongst other things), which isn’t easy. It called on all my depths of calmness, particularly as the final group seemed to contain the most irritating children of the day. At that point you have to remember that they are only young, and that to say what you really want to say to them would probably result in another complaint from the parents…

After we waved them off and had a welcome cup of tea I reflected on a day spent standing uncomfortably close to four fan ovens blasting out 200 degrees C. Maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself and not told my wife and another colleague that their day spent out in the open air prodding bees and flowers was easy compared to my day with washing up and timings and an edible end result to produce. At least the resulting atmosphere allows me to use the welcome word “frosty”.

Then the explosions occurred.

The first one was quite small, more of a bang, and the electricity went off.

The electricity returned and we were just saying “I wonder what…” when the big one happened. My wife nearly fell off her chair and the poultry started making a commotion. It occurs to me that I’ve lived all these years and I don’t actually know the word for the noise a flock of agitated chickens makes. Then again, there are lots of words I don’t know, though I can’t tell you how many, as I don’t know them.

Outside on the lane the box on one of the poles was producing sparks like a Roman candle.


Generator and jump leads – high tech!

And that was why I had no electricity to blog until I got home. When I did get home I had to go shopping for the Wednesday evening visitors, a process made more complex by the failure of the freezers in my local supermarket. Then I had to eat ice cream. It was only at that point that I was able to power up the netbook before falling asleep in my chair.

So that is why the blog is late and I have calmed down since that last one.