Month: April 2020

Day 38 – Mostly

It rained for most of yesterday,
Yesterday it rained,
Today the rain stayed away,
Mostly.

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The trees at the bottom of the garden stand tall,
Tall they stand,
Still glistening with rain,
Mostly.

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The sunlight illuminates the leaves,
Leaves illuminated,
Shades of reds and purples and greens,
Mostly.

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The spider spins its thread carefully,
Carefully spun thread,
Blackbirds, robins and wrens sing in the trees,
Mostly.


The clouds in the sky pass by fast,
Fast they pass by,
Perfectly white clouds,
Mostly.

Stay poetic and stay safe.

Day 21,915 – Birthday

Yes, I’ve been alive for 21,915 days. I don’t feel a day over 18,762.

As I intend to spend the rest of the day eating cake and doing little else, I’ll just share this little photo album with you.

Click on each image for captions.

Stay feeling young and stay safe.

Day 36 – Dinge

Books

The Vocabulary of East Anglia; An Attempt to Record The Vulgar Tongue of the Twin Sister Counties, Norfolk and Suffolk, as it Existed In the Last Twenty Years of the Eighteenth Century, and Still Exists; With Proof of its Antiquity from Etymology and Authority Vol I and II

On rainy days like today there is no finer way to pass the hours than to browse through the pages of The Vocabulary of East Anglia; An Attempt to Record The Vulgar Tongue of the Twin Sister Counties, Norfolk and Suffolk, as it Existed In the Last Twenty Years of the Eighteenth Century, and Still Exists; With Proof of its Antiquity from Etymology and Authority (1830), by the late Rev. Robert Forby.

Seriously, the title of the book really is 44 words long.

It is a marvellous two volume collection (volume one contains mostly the title of the book and 156 pages of introduction) of words and phrases, or, as the introduction puts it, “a fabricated farrago of cant, slang, or what has more recently be denominated flash language, spoken by vagabonds, mendicants, and outcasts; by sharpers, swindlers, and felons, for the better concealment of their illegal practices.”

When I moved to Norwich from Manchester some eleven years ago, the first word or phrase that caught my ear was “on the huh”.

Unsurprisingly it appears in Volume I as, “Ahuh, adv. awry, aslant” and is noted as being of Anglo Saxon origin.

I now use the phrase regularly for anything that is lopsided. 

The two volumes of The Vocabulary of East Anglia; An Attempt to Record The Vulgar Tongue of the Twin Sister Counties, Norfolk and Suffolk, as it Existed In the Last Twenty Years of the Eighteenth Century, and Still Exists; With Proof of its Antiquity from Etymology and Authority are such dippers and every time I find the strength to pick them up I find new words and meanings.

Rev. Robert Forby

Rev. Robert Forby

I can’t share them all, so here’s a very small sample from Volume I.

Chop-Logger-Head, s. an intense blockhead. One who has a head, to all appearance thick and stout enough to bear a blow of a hatchet.

Chout, s. a jolly frolic; a rustic merry-making.

Dinge, v. to rain mistily, to drizzle.

Erinacle, v. A small round of leather used to stop water running out of the plughole of a metal bathing vessel.

Fen-Nightingale, s. A frog. Otherwise called a March-bird. It is in that month that frogs are vocal.

Actually, I’ve made one of those up.

Stay dry and stay safe.

Day 35 – The wooden spoon

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Spoon and bowl prior to licking

My work in the garden was temporarily halted as my presence was required in the kitchen to ‘lick the spoon’.

I take my duties seriously, so the weeding was immediately stopped.

The family tradition of eating the cake before it was even cooked goes back as far as I can remember, which suggests it’s actually a lot longer than that.

It got me thinking about all the ‘in’ things families have and how many ‘in things’ are actually done by other families too.

I suspect that licking the spoon or bowl isn’t exclusively a Fair thing, but if I mention a Taekwondo Buffet or a skeleton found in the ‘itch position’, you’d wonder what on earth I was on about.

When I was little I used to be fascinated by some of the things Mother used to say. She’d comment on the weather by saying – “there’s enough blue up there to make a cat a pair of trousers”.

If my brother and me were misbehaving* she’d say “Cut that out, or I’ll call Icky the Fire Bobby”.

Neither of those phrases have any meaning, yet at the time the logic of the first seemed reasonable, although what it forecast was neither here or there.

The second phrase was delivered as a threat. It was one step down from the most severest of threats, so we had an inkling that she wasn’t too pleased. I have since found out that Icky the Fire Bobby wasn’t a family exclusive. There’s some discussion on the Internet about the origins of Icky the Fire Bobby, from fire sprites to Ken Dodd.

The main threat from Mother was, “I’ll get the wooden spoon”. She never once hit us with it, but the thought of it was enough to make us little angles for a couple of hours at least.

As time passed the wooden spoon threat became silent as all she needed to do was reach for the drawer and we’d scarper.

Sharp thing

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Designer jeans available for £145.60

I’ve been having a play with some whittling techniques. I did a one day wooden spoon making course last year – see, that wooden spoon has haunted me all my life – and I acquired some of the tools required.

I’ll go into that more at a later date, but for now, a word of caution to anyone who thinks that it’s not a dangerous hobby.

There I was happily whittling away when the blade slipped.

Within the blink of an eye my gardening trousers were transformed into designer jeans. Fortunately no skin was damaged in the incident.

Garden update

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Garden

There’s enough grey in the sky to make a cat a pair of wellingtons.

The forecast is for three days of light rain showers so gardening may have to take a break.

I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made over the past few weeks and can’t wait to get back out there again.

There’s still so much work to be done.

Here’s a picture of how it all looks today.

Stay dry and stay safe.

*I actually never misbehaved. I was nearly carrying out instructions from my older brothers, so technically I was behaving.

Day 34 – Picture this

Right now, I should be checking into a London hotel.

Right now I should be getting all excited about going to Paris tomorrow for five days.

Right now I’m at home writing this.

I’m not in the mood to write much this evening so instead here are some photographs I took today. Click images to see captions for details.

Stay photogenic and stay safe.

Day 33 – Twins

I tried doing a live stream on the internet earlier. It didn’t go quite to plan.

Unfortunately my identical twin has let the cat out of the bag.

I’ve tried to keep it a secret, but now the world knows. My twin, who is so identical he is also called Richard, has been helping me with all the planting and landscaping.

Seriously, we are so alike, sometimes I’m not even sure which of us is which.

Basically the other Richard, who I will refer to as ‘the other Richard’, has done all the hard work, while I have been looking after all the social media and blogging.

Keeping my twin a secret hasn’t been easy. Can you imagine how difficult it is for two people with exactly the same likes and dislikes not to be in the same place at the same time?

We have to draw lots on who will go into work each day, who will go visiting family and who gets to go on holiday.

Now that everyone know our secret, I may try and convince the other Richard to introduce himself properly.

Actually, the joke is on you! The other Richard has written today’s blog!

Make mine a double and stay safe.

Day 32 – Cat Talk

I’ve been totally absorbed with Tiger King on Netflix. It’s a documentary about wild animal keepers in America. The programme blurb says, “Murder, Mayhem and Madness”. Every episode manages to out do the previous for jaw-dropping incompetence, hatred and drama.

If someone had written it as fiction, no TV company would have touched it on the grounds that it was too unbelievable.

I wouldn’t have known about it without hearing the two cats from next door chatting about about it.

Cat D

D****

D**** and M****, often sit under the spirea chatting about stuff in general, exchanging ideas and passing comment on my work.

D: I hope he’s not thinking of planting more of those white things.
M: Why?
D: They make me sneeze.
M: And what on earth is he wearing today? He looks like something out of Peaky Blinders.

M**** is the oldest and wisest of the cats. She can often be heard offering advice about cat life.

M: You know, they clean up your mess even if you don’t go to the trouble of burying it.

Anyway, I was doing a bit of weeding when I heard them talking about Tiger King.

M: It ripped off a woman’s arm!
D: Shut up! Can we rip off this blokes arm?
M: When we are a bit bigger of course we can.

Cat M

M**** – who asked not to be identified

I always though that when cats did the narrow half closed eyes thing, they were telling you that they were comfortable with you and were of no threat. Wrong. It actually means that they are carefully calculating the best trajectory for a leap and maul.

D: Have you seen the bird table at number 47? It’s right by the fence.
M: Beware the hose pipe. I’ve fallen for that trap. You think you have a perfect line for the blackbird and suddenly whoosh! You are drenched from head to tail and you have to hope none of the other local cats see you on the way home. It took me hours to get my coat anywhere near decent.

Sometimes I’m sure they know I’m listening.

M: So the old cat over the way there was telling me how a previous owner of this house buried a load of treasure here.
D: Really? Where about?
M: You see where he’s planted all those potatoes…

I’m getting my own back on them. I’m building a dog kennel right in the middle of the lawn. Absolutely no intention of getting a dog.

Keep your fur clean and stay safe.

Cat