Monday 30 December 2019


At this time of the year fairy lights, candle lights and glittering tinsel-adorned decorations are everywhere we look so we can ignore the weather with its dull dreariness. Last night all the Chanukah candles were alight...

...not only in our houses but in public spaces too. There’s a giant Menorah (candelabra) with all its lights blazing to brighten up an area of Victoria Park.

Last week the Rabbi lit candles on a giant-sized Menorah at the Civic Chanukah Service in the Town Hall while outside, in the Town Hall Square, multi-coloured Christmas decorations were hanging from every tree and lamppost. Even the Lion Fountain sported glitzy blue lights. (The fountain was donated to the town in the 1870s by Sir Israel Hart, President of the Synagogue.)

It's been a busy week. Friends know how I feel about distance driving but sometimes it's unavoidable - especially to visit family and so I was once more on the motorway, driving down to Hertford for a three day visit to Daughter. I added my own bit of bling and glitz to the day. I wore a Santa Bear Christmas jumper for the journey. I had a slight attack of 'cold feet' when we stopped at the services but thankfully I was not the only festively adorned driver in Costa. On the drive home we passed that house that says, 'Our house has more Christmas lights on it than any other house in the street!' Every neighbourhood has at least one. They're certainly eye-catching but I can't help wondering about their electricity bills.

It may have been a busy week but it's been an even busier year. It began on a high when I was awarded a Masters Degree with Distinction from the University of Leicester (Sorry for repeating this but I'm still rather proud of myself) The year has seen perhaps more than its fair share of ups and downs, of ill health and worries. We're now heading for another New Year, another new decade, another chance to say,
'It's going to be better. I won’t get anxious. I will enjoy the moment, each moment.' 
Well, I can try anyway, and so...

Thursday 5 December 2019

I Love Words

Are you an etymologist? Do you enjoy talking and reading about words? Have you ever listened to Michael Rosen's Word of Mouth? It's on BBC Radio 4 and, although there is no current series, the Listen Again page on the BBC website has almost 200 past episodes that can be listened to at your leisure. I confess to being addicted to them. I listen to at least one an evening while I'm getting ready for bed. Some of them I know almost by heart and some talk about things that I'd forgotten or hadn't picked up on in the first airing.

Some links: Topics range from language and writing e.g. Philip Pullman in 2017, to metaphors for the pastto a discussion with Countdown's Susie Dent on her love of words. There's even an episode on T-shirt slogans.

If you're still reading this then you must love words as much as I do and so, in case you hadn't already discovered him (but I bet you have), I recommend you read some of Robert Macfarlane's work. His books include Underland, Landmarks and The Lost Words and are a feast for word lovers. We used some of his material in the Masters in Creative Writing that I did last year - did I mention how much I enjoyed that course?

And if you love words I dare say you've discovered the website and Twitter feed called Haggard Hawks.

Have you got any word lovers' links to share? If you have do let me know in the comments. Thanks.
p.s. I just created my first ever word cloud - see above. I downloaded an app called Shapego. It's fun. I feel a new obsession coming on!