Monday, September 04, 2006

Unusual Words / Clarke Shooed

Unusual Words

Sunset in Chester, UKLewes Garret The holidays are over; Edinburgh Fringe 2006 is all packed up. . . back to harsh reality! To soften the blow, here are 30 of my favourite unusual words:

1. Wantwit - stupid person,
2. Disendow - to take away,
3. Bilbo - sword (or penis),
4. Dastard - despicable coward,
5. Nog - beer,
6. Tangletalk - nonsense,
7. Irenic (or eirenic) - doing something for peace or the common good,
8. Braggart - vain boaster,
9. Mortalled - drunk,
10. Creps - trainers,
11. Glabrous - hairless, bald as a coot,
12. Worldling - worldly person,
13. Parlous - perilous,
14. Mien - air, look, manner or bearing,
15. Lushhouse - lowly public house,
16. Mendacious - lying,
17. Porrect - to hold out for acceptance,
18. Scribacious - tending to write,
19. Leam - to gleam or shine,
20. Jen - compassionate love for all humanity,
21. Dipsomania - alcoholism,
22. Ballyrag - to play jokes on,
23. Cloying - disgusting, distasteful,
24. Summerset - to somersault,
25. Unctuous - greasy, slippery or obsequious,
26. Cuckquean - female cuckold (woman whose man is cheating on her),
27. Litherless - without moral backbone,
28. Choplogic - scatty person,
29. Misyoked - unhappily married, and
30. Popinjay - parrot figure set up to be shot at.

I enjoyed that! My holidays were also fun. Here are some of the places I visited after leaving Edinburgh:

Isle of Wight: Went surfing for a day at a lovely place called Lake, and witnessed a remarkable incident. Someone jumped, fell or was pushed off the passenger ferry, plummeting some 60 feet into the cold water. A lifeboat and a helicopter were scrambled, and the ferry stopped. The survivor was winched out of the sea by the chopper and lowered onto the lifeboat. The passengers and crew of the enormous ferry ship looked on.

Brighton: Superb time, shopping, relaxing and lunching at my favourite seafront cafe. On a sunny day Brighton is one of the best places in the world to be.

Chester (pictured above and below): Walked the Roman wall and rowed on the river. I read The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford, who was nine and living in Lewes when she wrote it in 1890. We saw a very good production of it in Lewes last year, performed by an excellent company of actors including a neighbour. It is great fun and unusual, relying on a child's take of the adult world and its manners for its comedy.

And I saw Van Morrison - for nothing. Van the Man was performing at the race course. Tickets were expensive. But you could hear him perfectly well from the road overlooking the course - you did not even have to look at the guy! It was good, although Van Morrison hardly set the crowd on fire. They only woke up at the end when he played Brown Eyed Girl, shortly before he vanished without a word. Nevertheless, a great man!

Steam train in Snowdonia, Wales North Wales: Travelling by train, bus and on foot, I did a wonderful little tour of Snowdonia and the rest of northern Wales. Highlights including the steam train journey from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Minffordd, a journey I had done more than 20 years before with a mate and two Irish nurses whose names – Jackie Cronin and Monica Healion (pictured below, Monica Healion, now Monica Stone, top) – are forever etched on my memory.

This time it was sopping wet when we got to the fabulous Portmeirion, one of the world's great follies, but we managed to enjoy the extraordinary architecture.

Monica Healion in Wales in 1983 Two more trains and a long hike up the hill from Betws Y Coed and we overnighted at the Youth Hostel at Swallow Falls Hotel. I really liked it there. It offers an excellent bar and inexpensive room rates - and you can borrow from their collection of old books.

The next day, I have never seen the falls, swollen with the torrential rain, so beautiful.

Jackie Cronin in Wales in 1983 We took an open top bus to Pen Y Pass (very spectacular) and another bus down the mountain again. The rain had kicked in with the vengeance, so we forked out to take the traction railway up Snowdon. You could see very little but the railway is a remarkable piece of Victorian engineering.

We gradually made our way back to Chester where two drunken rugby players were wresting on the station platform, egged on by a dozen others!

From my travels, here are 10 Welsh words (with their English translations):
1. Lifft - lift,
2. Gwesty - hotel,
3. Seidr - cider,
4. Llety - accommodation,
5. Siop - shop,
6. Thacsis - taxis,
7. Preifat - private,
8. Marmaled - marmalade,
9. Tost - toast,
10. Salad – salad.

Clarke Shooed (Flashback to Friday, 5 May 2006).

8.01am. Lewes Garret. The green and yellow of the South Downs are overcast - not at their best. On a more positive note, the Government has been given a thrashing in the local elections. Yet, John Prescott clings on his job by the skin of his teeth.

7.46pm. Garden, Lewes Garret. A few minutes ago my substitute chiropractor hoisted me up and down on what looked like a Hannibal the Cannibal transportation trolley. You could hear my neck bones being crunched into position. They still feel strange.

The chiropractor was a middle-aged Australian woman. A useful session. Afterwards, I walked around Lewes, as recommended, and went to see the manager at my bank to complain about the pathetic lack of progress in the probe into the theft of my money in a Leamington petrol station debit card fraud.

'I saw the story in the Sun,' she chirped.
'Yes, I leaked it to the media,' I explained.

We had a terse conversation which resulted in her offering to ask the bank's fraud investigation unit to get a move on. Later, she called to say I should get my money back within 10 days. A victory of sorts! I am not, however, counting my chickens. . .

Later I bumped into a mate from the Lewes salsa class SalsaMagic who told me he was chancing his arm as a stand-up comic, a trade I had tried for five years. He told me about his first two gigs and I asked: 'Have you got a fail-safe opening gag?'

'Well,' he said, 'I think it's funny. I say, "You look like an attractive audience - you should be at home having sex. Except you, sir [pointing at a man on his own]. YOU'RE A VIRGIN!"' No comment.

It is beautiful here in the garden. Although the sun is almost down and the half-moon bright above me, the sky is the deepest blue, the birds performing their evensong for free.

11.15pm. Bed. Charles Clarke has been sacked as Home Secretary, and Prescott has lost his department and most of his workload, but not his job as Deputy Prime Minister, his large salary, ministerial Jags, central London flat (at Admiralty Arch), or free estate in Buckinghamshire. Nice work if you can get it!

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