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Showing posts from June, 2014

Evidence that being in one's fifties gives rise to a range of anxieties

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I have some questions about ageing.

1. If my lips get thinner as I age, and I started with thinnish lips in the first place, will they eventually disappear into my face so that people will stare at me and say, 'What a funny place to have a wrinkle!'?

2. If it's true that ears are the one thing that get bigger as you age, whereas everything else shrinks and shrivels, am I likely to be mistaken for a baby elephant while out shopping?

3. If there comes a day when I start to cut my toenails but then can't make my way back up, is there a way to eat and drink upside down?

4. If things are preserved by putting them in the fridge, would doing an hour's stint in there once a day keep me from ageing, if I could make enough space on the meat shelf?

5. If my sight is likely to get worse, is it worth having a regular place to put my spectacles at night, so that the day I wake up not being able to see them, I'll definitely know where they are?

6. If it's true that every …

Evidence that it's never too late to give old songs new life

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Tonight I busied myself finding out what happens if you type one letter wrong in a Beatles song.  Voila! A nature theme emerges!

What do you mean, have I nothing useful to do?  I have PLENTY useful to do.  That is the point.




Hay Jude - a mournful ballad advising someone who's letting someone else get under their skin to take refuge in a barn.

All My Lowing - another farm-based tune in which cows pledge their undying commitment to other cows.

Nowhere Map - This song has a line that goes, 'Knows not where he's going to' and ends up with someone lost in a field because the Ordnance Survey people messed up and produced a blank.

Hay Tripper - the one-way ticket involved in this song is a ticket to the police cells after being found with illegal substances and as high as the Burj Khalifa during the harvesting.

With a little Kelp from my Friends - a happy little lyric all about someone whose social circle introduced them to natural homeopathic remedies.

Kelp! - the enthusiastic son…

Evidence that dog hair, football and Daphne du Maurier have more in common than they thought

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A strange man offered me a handful of his dog's fur this morning while I was walking to church.  Am I right in thinking you can't say the same happened to you?

I'd been watching him while I approached.  He was standing with his two young children, and had bent down to groom his big hairy dog with the palm of his hand.  I heard him saying, 'Look at all this moulting fur, boys.  Look at this.'  As I walked past the group, the dad obviously thought I was his wife (who was in fact walking behind me), so he stood up suddenly and thrust a large clump of fur right into my face, saying, 'Will you look at all that?'

It's only after the event, isn't it, that you think of all the things you could have said in reply?  I wished I'd said, 'I will, if you like, because I haven't had such a kind offer in ages' or 'No, thanks.  I've already had my dog fur fix for the day' or 'Only if you promise I can show you my treasury tag collecti…

Evidence that Fran's definition of a piece of furniture may not fully match the dictionary's

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I have 450 exam scripts to mark and have just done number 130.  That will tell you everything you need to know about why I am taking a break to write a blog post.

I thought I'd tell you about my desk, the one I've been using while I mark my scripts.

When I say the word 'desk', are you thinking along these lines?...


You were?

Don't worry.  It's not your fault.  You are a normal human being and have nothing to be afraid of.  It's my problem, not yours.

In our house, 'desk' means this.




As I said, it's not your fault.  Did any of you study Saussure and his ideas about the completely arbitrary link between the signifier and the signified?  If you did, you'll know why that's relevant to this blog post.  If you didn't, be grateful.  I found those lectures so confusing that my brain was like a knitting bag that's been ravaged by three cats.

This art book is what they call a 'coffee table' book.  Only, in the case of this one, i…