Monthly Archives: January 2010


Silly me. I misidentified the birds in the garden at the weekend. Thank you to Christian from Hertford for kindly pointing out that they were redwings. Apparently, they’re now on Folly Island.


Professor Saifuddin Soz
Following my fulmination about ‘laters’, thank you to my friend Franklin for pointing out that the term ‘soz’ (meaning ‘sorry’) is even more infuriating than ‘laters’. I agree.
Even more ruffling is the usage ‘soz lol’, meaning – ‘I’m sorry but not really. In fact, I’m laughing.’
Please note that the photo of Professor Saifuddin Soz (a politician from Kashmir) has no connection with the irritating term ‘soz’ whatsoever. I just found him while Googling the word and thought he had a friendly face.
Soz if this caused any confusion.


When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.
Actually, I didn’t. When I was a child, I didn’t like children. I preferred pets, inanimate objects and adults – in that order. And I wasn’t taught Babyspeak, so I used to correct grown-ups from my pram.
‘Would you like a choccy biccy?’ asked one unsuspecting old lady when I was two.
‘No thanks,’ I replied. ‘But I would like a chocolate biscuit.’ True story.
I must have been unbearable. I’m surprised my parents didn’t give me away to a passing linguist.
To this day, I find hypocoristic forms really irritating. I refuse to eat sarnies and never knowingly give pressies at Crimble.
And so you can imagine my response when someone at the gym said ‘laters’ to me this afternoon.
Laters? Laters??? According to a reliable source, ‘laters’ is derived from diminutive forms such as ‘Gramps’, ‘Wills’, ‘Babs’ or ‘Bolls’ (OK – I plead guilty to that one). But this preposterous word should no more be sported by a person over 25 than a backward-facing baseball cap.
Such infantilist Cutespeak even applies to decades nowadays. Just when I thought we’d escaped from the Noughties or Naughties, we were plunged headfirst into the Tennies, Tenties, Teenies or Tweenies.
Stop this childishness now, or I’ll scweam and scweam until I’m sick.

Baffling Bird Blitz

At first I thought they were thrushes. Then giant mutant robins. Then I realised the flock of birds on my mountain ash tree were … fieldfares. I’d seen them in books, but never in real life. About ten fieldfares spent most of Saturday devouring all the berries. Soooo cute and fluffy.

spot the odd one out

Cat in Sheep’s Clothing

Hi. Bolly and I are back home.
Boll behaved impeccably on the journey. Not a single miaow all the way from Newcastle to Hertford.
I put her woolly fleece in the catbox for her to sit on. But she decided to use it as a sort of duvet, disguising herself as a small sheep for the entire trip.