Sunday, 14 April 2019

Finding the right words.

For the last week and a half, at least, my normally quiet routine has been all over the place. Between errands of mercy to ensure that my grandson had a passport to go on holiday, family and friends coming to stay with us, a family wedding and goodness knows what else, I don’t know whether I am coming or going. One consequence of this is that I have been getting up early most days and going to bed late some days.

So this morning, instead of getting up and running, I decided to combat the bags under my eyes, set my alarm an hour later than usual, and caught up on my sleep. Then we got ourselves organised to catch a train to London and visit offspring number one, but that is a different story.

One of our visitors was my Spanish sister. She has not as yet applied for Spanish citizenship but she is seriously considering it. After just over forty years in the south of Spain, she sometimes speaks rather odd English. Her grammar is fine. Like me she can be a bit of a pedant about it in fact. Both of is cringe at certain common mistakes but we have agreed to ignore the “less or fewer” debate, and we long since gave up on “whom”. (I had a teacher at school, by the way, who would ask us, “With whom are you going to the cinema?” and other such things.)

No, what my sister does is mix up expressions and occasionally vocabulary. She complained about the cost of certain things, telling me they cost “an eye and a tooth”, a direct translation for the Spanish expression for costing “an arm and a leg”. And then, at the family wedding mentioned earlier, a younger member of the family was asking who would be around for her 21st birthday party. My sister said she would have to consult her “agenda”, Spanish for “diary”. Several of us pointed out that the word she was grasping for was “diary”!

So it goes !

Now, Meg Keneally, daughter of Thomas (Schindler’s List) Keneally, may be able to write novels but her grasp of grammar is annoying. She write, or maybe says, talking about her father in an interview, “It being the days before iPads, he used to spend time on long road trips telling stories to stop my sister and I killing each other.” My sister and I would take her to task on that. Such mistakes are offensive to my sister and me.

On the getting-up routine, I am never as strict with myself as certain famous people, such as Jennifer Aniston, who apparently gets up to do spinning at six in the morning. That’s spinning on a static bike, not actual spinning with a spinning wheel. Others are more extreme and get up to exercise at 3.00am. Madness!

Toyah Willcox, the musician, was in the Q&A feature in the Guardian weekend magazine yesterday. One of the standard questions is “when were you happiest?” She replied, “Between 2000 and 2006. I had a large white rabbit called WillyFred. I was happiest pressing my ear to his fur and hearing his heart beat.”

Okay. I suppose that If you are an “artist” you can be a bit quirky! But I can think of things that make people happier.

We just have to tolerant of the oddnesses in the world!

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