Posted in October 2016

Tireless Swifts

Tireless Swifts

Swifts are fascinating animals.I used to  go to a patch of open parkland where the birds would swoop down from the trees and dart across the grass catching insects. I loved lying on my back and watching them streak past a few feet above me. Here’s an article on recent discoveries from Thursday’s i paper: … Continue reading

Lessons from History – Transatlantic Problems

The problems of Brexit and the impending US Presidential elections seem to be tearing the UK and USA apart. As is so often the case, these problems are nothing new – England suffered 2 centuries of discord following the Reformation, when church power collapsed, plunging the country into a time of ignorance, mismanagement and the … Continue reading

Celebrities Changing the World?

Here’s a piece by the brilliant Grace Dent in the i paper on the impact of celebrities opposing Trump. It’s also a lesson for politicians here, of course. When William Morris wrote “Nothing useless can be truly beautiful” he patently had never visualised an anti-Trump public service announcement starring the thinking woman’s crumpet Mark Rufallo … Continue reading

How English Became English by Simon Horobin

Originally posted on Vulpes Libris:
A Short History of a Global Language. (TRIGGER WARNING: Some of what follows could cause high blood pressure, nose bleeds and red haze in sensitive individuals.) Some people get terribly heated about the English language – its use and abuse, falling standards, the wreckage of the language of the Bible…

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

After my disappointment at Liverpool Anglican cathedral, I thought I’d balance things out with an account of Durham Cathedral, a place I’ve never been, but the wonderful music journalist Stuart Maconie has. This is from his book ‘Pies and Prejudice’ in which he cites Pevsner with: Durham is one of the great experiences of Europe … Continue reading

Writing Non Fiction

Writing Non Fiction

Writing fiction or non fiction requires the ability to get inside a story, and inside the heads of characters. But non fiction has to go further – it has to be checkable, you need to protect yourself from challenges. But the process of research and writing can change you for the better. I am a … Continue reading

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Most cities have a cathedral, you can expect it to be biggish, ancient and full of dead worthies and their memorials. But Liverpool was a small town until the 18th century when  it became a major port, and since then there have been a lot of Irish immigrants, so they have a catholic cathedral, so … Continue reading

Second Person Pronouns

Atlas Obscura is a great source of obscure information, though often flawed by lack of research, but here’s an article that got me thinking. http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/yall-youuns-yinz-youse-how-regional-dialects-are-fixing-standard-english?utm_source=Atlas+Obscura+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=76063a5aad-Newsletter_10_17_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f36db9c480-76063a5aad-63056749&ct=t(Newsletter_10_17_2016)&mc_cid=76063a5aad&mc_eid=377570eee9 For all its history and variety, English has no plural form of the second person pronoun. Unlike other European languages, it also has no polite/informal forms. AO find the latter … Continue reading