Monthly Archives: August 2014

Russian Duck Whisperer

russian duck whisperer Loving this viral video of a duck whisperer (well, duck shouter) herding a bunch of ducks into a barn in Russia. I keep thinking it was faked using CGI and made to look like a wobbly YouTube clip. But I want to believe it’s real.


Carl Orff, who didn't say orff

Carl Orff, who didn’t say orff

I watched Bargain Hunt the other day, presented by the flamboyant Tim Wonnacott. Much as I like his colourful, well-scripted voiceovers, I do find myself fretting about his dipthongs. He occasionally sounds almost normal. But when it comes to the word ‘off’, he suffers from a weird sort of Poshness Tourettes. More orften than not, his offs turn into aawffs.

No one says ‘aawff’ nowadays. Not even the Queen. Deborah Dowager Duchess of Devonshire does, but she is a real Mitford and she’s 150 so she’s allowed to. Brian Sewell says it too. And Jacob Rees Mogg. But they’re both fictitious.

Tim Wonnacott’s aawffs do match his pink bow ties and camp specs on chains. But they do sound aawff-ully forced to my ears. I’m hoping his producers will eventually wean him aawff the habit, exclaiming, ‘Going, going gaawnn. I say, he’s lawwst his aawffs.’

Adlestrop – by Edward Thomas, written in June 1914, before the outbreak of the First World War


Yes, I remember Adlestrop –
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop – only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.