Emma Thompson has spoken out against the use of 'sloppy language', and in favour of a new era of articulacy.
I concur, though I wonder if she had anyone specific in mind...
Olive will be twenty-four months in October. I often can't believe how much you can converse with a two-year-old. Here's an exhaustive list of the words that she can say - sometimes what she says is an approximation of the intended word, occasion her version is nothing like the agreed pronounciation. But all represent consistance in her speech.
Greetings, Farewells and Pleasantries
Friends and Family
Food and Drink
Counting and Colours
Scraggy (her comfort cloth)
[That fish sound I can't spell]
Row Row Row [your boat]
Swish Swish Swish, Chatter Chatter Chatter, Waah Waah Waah (from The Wheels on the Bus song)
Twinkle Twinkle [Little Star]
That's 80 clear words and sounds, clear in this instance meaning consistant repetition of Olive's version of the word. Sometimes this is isn't obvious to the untrained ear, for example 'Ga Gak' means 'Thank You'.
I reckon that she can understand maybe three times the number of words she can say, and simple conversations are now par for the course.
We had a lovely time at my mum and dad's this weekend. Thanks, as ever, for having us.
We mainly got down to some serious R&R (that's rest and relaxation, stoopid). The only activities we undertook were to get ourselves over to Harbourne on Friday lunchtime to have lunch, and a Saturday walk along the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal from the Stewpony into Kinver. The following images are from the latter outing.
The big news from the second city is that the leader of the city council has decided that the apostrophe is a waste of time. While a small part of me thinks this is reasonable, given that language is transient, I mainly think like a pedant and would argue that currently the apostrophe is a requirement of the English language and therefore should be used. And if the story is some kind of PR stunt (as I now suspect nearly all stories appearing in newspapers and on television news are), I struggle to see who is benefiting.
On the way back to Leeds we called in on my friend, perpetual student (she's currently undertaking a PhD), and dare I say, drummer, AnneMarie. She lives on a narrowboat with her husband in a tiny village south of Derby. We had a drink in the local pub before spending a few minutes in her floating home.
Time for another link dump. Interestingly, during the course of me posting this I rediscovered the old version of the blog, when I was with Blogger. But I digress; back to the business of the hour...
Here is a snap of two G.I. Joes who have bagged a squirrel. Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality compares promotional pictures of fast food items with the real thing. I found a bunch of posts from WebUrbanist; the best is entitled 25 seriously twisted trees. Via Dark Roasted Blend, a nice collection of photographs of shipwrecks old and new. Flickr's Pixelsurgeon has made a short film entitled The Day There Was No News. Video-break now; marvel at the magic helicopter:
The Ladybird Book of Policemen is quite amusing (well, this remixed version is). There are some cool pro-science t-shirts over on Wearscience.com. Do you live in England and desire to see how much noise pollution there is in your neighbourhood? You could do worse that visit Defra's Noise Mapping England website.
Finally, not a link as such but something I think is worth sharing to wave you away from this post with, I trust, a smirk. Have you never added passages or paragraphs, perhaps from news websites, into FreeTranslation.com? Why not; the word-by-word method of translation makes for an amusing conversion of the original into nonsense. Thus, the first passage from a local news item is twisted into semi-legible:
Fire brigade rescues boy stuck in door
Firefighters freed a 14-year-old boy who trapped his hand in his front door after getting locked out at his home in Bristol. The boy went out without his keys on Saturday but when he came back to the house in Wordsworth Road, Horfield his sister had gone out. He tried to lift the catch inside with a stick but as he reached through the letterbox his hand became stuck and swollen. A friend came by later and raised the alarm. The brigade said the boy was "fine but a bit shocked and cold" and went to wait at a neighbour's house.
Passage translated to German, then back to English:
The relief boy of firemen sank in the door
The firemen liberated a 14-years the boy that took to the trap his hand in his front door after to have obtained closed to key out to his house in Bristol. The boy took out without his seizes Saturday but when it is dehumanized the house in the Road of Wordsworth, Horfield that his sister had gone out. It tried to raise the taken one to the interior with a baton but as it attained by the can to letters his hand became sank and increased. A friend came by and student later alarms it. The brigade said that the boy was "beautiful but a piece shocked and cold" and went to await to a house of neighbour.
I joined Faycebook, a group within Facebook with the aim of promoting the Black Country dialect.
Although I only just stumbled across this genius idea, it appears to have already received coverage on BBC Midlands Today; their report is worth watching if only for a brief appearance by Halesowen 'comedian' Tommy Mundon.
synopsis of my time in the land of austria - part two: taxenbach
a brief taxi journey from the airport to salzburg main train station - a bit scrutty for my liking. we find our train and an hour and a half later we’re in the pitch blackness of taxenbach. almost falling onto the tracks from the train i trundle over to the station house. lots of interesting sounds fill the air; wildlife buzz and hiss and water rushes somewhere nearby. adventures ahoy! we saw a sign to taxenbach and considered following it. we were right not to as it would only take us in the opposite direction of our accommodation. gemma enquired about calling a taxi (not the biscuit sort), but we were told that they don’t operate in the area. the station guard then made a telephone call to our austrian (only) speaking hostess and she arrived to pick us up, accompanied by her stinky dog, charlie. please charlie, don’t lick or sit by me. honestly he did stink. quite sweet though. we drove up steep hills and turned tight corners and stopped at base camp. unable to speak the lingo, it was a tad frustrating/awkward trying to communicate at times. my german language skills are very limited indeed; hello, how old are you, thanks, cheers (this one thanks to tom).
entering the chalet was very exciting; however i have to admit, i was disappointed to begin with. the main reason was that our hostess had not left us with any supplies, such as coffee, milk, bread, nor even a bottle of wine. i sent a text to my mum informing her of my safe arrival and confirming ‘first impressions, shit!’. which would later come back to bite me on my arse, as you will soon read.that night we played cards like maniacs, an activity which continued throughout the trip, and we drank boiled water, which left a white chalky substance in the drinking vessel, possibly fluoride, according to dr gemma? the boiled water idea quickly ceased and soon after we drank straight from the tap via a cup or glass and became slightly hysterical. does fluoride cause hysteria? a great night had by all. here’s where my arse gets bitten; that morning deb and lee (our heroes) awoke the earliest to buy supplies from the local shop. deb shook me and told me to look out the window at the view.
the place and surroundings were not in fact shit but in the light of day, actually quite awesome! here’s where days, events and activities merge and i’ve not really recalled them in the correct order. we walked into taxenbach town centre, about an hour, along a busy road. regardless of the traffic noise we had a lovely leisurely stroll with the sun beating down on our little english heads. arriving in town we had some refreshing beverages and i had paella for lunch. after a walk around the tiny area we went to billa, to get some groceries and booze. we all chipped in and loaded ourselves up with bags. a short journey on the bus and we stopped at the bottom of our steep hill. i didn’t realise just how unfit i was until this moment. commence ‘operation purple-sweaty-face’. that evening we chilled, talked, ate, drank, listened to ipods, played cards and laughed a lot. these moments were kinda the theme of the holiday and were my favourite times above all. another great day and night!
yet again another lovely morn with delicious meats and putrid cheeses for brecky. we took a trip to zell am see, another town centre but much bigger than taxenbach. i liked it there because, i’m sorry to say, there were tacky shops and people, but it wasn’t in-your-face busy, just pleasant.
on a downside though, never drink or eat at crazy daisy’s. my meal was a bit poo and we were over-charged. before leaving the town tom and gemma arranged for us to take a coach trip the following day up the highest mountain in austria! we then had a sinister cab ride back to the chalet. as we crossed the road to get into the first taxi, as you do, the second cabby accosted us demanding that we get in his taxi. ‘nah mate, you’re alright thanks’. i was a bit apprehensive to say the least of getting into our taxi because as we approached, a blood stained tramp vacated the front seat (where i was forced to sit) rambling on about something or another. quality service indeed! after a brief haggle of an appropriate fare we set off for home.
awaking way too early the next morning, a bit hung-over, i didn’t have time for breakfast before our daytrip. we boarded our coach and started off on our 27 hairpin bend journey. we stopped off at designated points for breaks before reaching our destination – just below the summit of the ‘grossglockner’. our tour guide, heidi, for the purposes of this summary, tried to sell us anything and everything. she tried to push on us some, ‘noice cakes and noice coffee’ in the cafe, as well as a book of the mountain which appeared to be printed in the 70’s! we arrived at the top, and frankly, even though the weather was cloudy and you could hardly see jack shit, the view was still pretty amazing. a real glacier, man! noice.
on the way back down we passed through a couple of villages/towns and rested for several minutes to take in the sea air. we stopped at a church which apparently contained some of christ our lord’s blood. does that mean scientists could clone jesus? we passed through another place which is quite close to italy. apparently, when mussolini invaded the area he wanted it to be more like italy, so he went and forced italian families to move there against their will. me, deb, john and christina had some lovely authentic italian ice-cream from there, noice. we also bought a 1gb camera memory stick for 17.99 euros each. get in! that night, after most of us went to bed, me, deb and john stayed up drinking lots of booze - wine, larger, vodka, and absinthe. a lethal cocktail in the hands of the inexperienced! i thought this was a very bold move by john as he would need to have his wits about him for the following day’s planned activity; white water rafting! ha.
me and deb decided against this for fear of our lives so we went for a walk to get pizza ingredients and stayed in the chalet. luckily, on the way back up the hill, heavy bags aplenty, our hostess and smelly charlie drove up and offered (hand gestured) us a lift. we then went our separate ways, albeit awkwardly. back to the rafting. all that needs to be said is that lee fell in the water. double ha. pour vous. the following day we ventured into zell am see one last time to check out a music festival held in the streets. we stopped at a mexican/italian restaurant for food. me and john shared our meals whilst listing to the haunting sounds of two men and an accordion, entertaining us with their rendition of hello dolly. anyway - food, we got chicken wings, spicy ribs, chips and garlic bread. marvellous! little did i know it then but tonight was going to be one of the funniest times i’ve had in ages. having supped quite a few beverages and having played several hands of shithead, we were given a pleasant surprise in the form of a visit from john’s alter ego, the austrian speaking gerhard accompanied by his translator (me). i never knew john was so fluent. i’m sure much offence would have been caused if in the company of the locals. sorry. brilliant though! the night also included an addition to the utility sock series, which made its debut appearance at the green man festival 2006. ladies and gentlemen, may i please present the utility headband:
the next day was our last in taxenbach before we journeyed to salzburg. previously in the week one of us got wind of a possible market in taxenbach. we took an alternative route this time on a cycle path through some picturesque countryside. we walked into the town realising that we got our dates mixed up and the market wasn’t happening for a couple of days. oh well. we also wanted to go on a waterfall/mountain trek but weren’t quite sure how to get there. we asked our friendly cafe waitress for directions, for the purposes of this summary lets call her ooter. i was so pleased i decided to wear my jesus sandals on this day (tsk). honestly, i mean who climbs up a mountain trek in sandals! my feet were in bulk. i was almost about to turn back but the end was in sight. we caught the bus to the chalet and made it back just in time to get some more booze from the shop at the bottom of the hill. oh the joy! another terrific night of entertainment and pizza ensued. the next morning, after uncomfortably settling our owed ‘taxes’ with our hostess, we got a lift to the train station. bye, bye stinky charlie. next stop, salzburg.
hot on the heals of tentfest, some of us caught a plane to austria. some of us being gemma and me, john and chrisina, lee, and deb and neil. we met at manchester airport a sneaky one hour early, to cater for any unforeseen delays, and then boarded thompsonfly tom5007. the flight was uneventful and even basic, but we were understandably excited to be going to a strange and distant land. it wasn’t long before we touched-down and exited into a balmy, late summer evening with amazing views of green alpine foothills.
the airport in salzburg is pretty small, and so it didn’t take long for me to establish that my bag was a no show. mmm, not a great start, but one lost baggage form later, we were in two taxis heading for the ‘hauptbahnhof, bitte’. oh yes, deb and i could still rustle up some mean gcse german. at the station, deb and christina had but a few minutes to tour the seedy district on the pretext of looking for a spar, before we caught the regional express to taxenbach-rauris.
this leg of the journey took us through the suburbs of salzburg, further into the foothills and through some beautiful scenery, on into the dark austrian night. once we got off the train, and it glided away into the darkness, we encountered our first collective difficulty (my second) – we didn’t know how to get to the chalet where we were staying for six nights. on the train, gemma had called ahead to let the proprietor know what time we would be arriving, but after talking at her for a minute, the lady on the line revealed that she spoke absolutely no english. i had a brief go at conversing with her, but she seemed to be talking in an indecipherable dialect, so we each chose to leave it there for now, danke.
luckily (and to our shame), every other european country sees fit to teach their children to speak english properly, i.e. from an early age, and also to staff train stations in the middle of nowhere with friendly and helpful staff. the man in the ticket office offered to call the chalet lady for us, and she agreed to come and pick us up. i’m glad she did – her house was a fifteen minute drive in the opposite direction from which we were contemplating walking. it wasn’t even in taxenbach; it was high on the south-facing hill of the salzach valley, in a tiny hamlet called kleinsonnberg (which literally means 'small mountain reflected'). she (let’s call her frau schucter, for that seems to be her given name) lived in the downstairs apartment with her smelly terrier (let’s call him charlie – frau schucter did, and it was certainly the only word we understood that night). we were staying in the three / four bedroom second floor apartment, although between us we could only count two bedrooms and a kind of living room with two fold-out beds.
but we had travelled all day, and were grateful just to be here. and the allocation of the magnum suite (modelled below by lee and deb) to me and gemma for the first thee nights certainly helped to smooth over the fact that i only had the clothes i stood up in.