Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Parbuckle is ... what I get when I ask my husband for a word of the week suggestion. He reckons it's topical because it's been in the news (as a way of righting the partly submerged cruise ship Costa Concordia). A parbuckle is a rope or sling used to raise or lower casks or other cylindrical objects.

When used to right a ship, I suppose parbuckling is the opposite of careening. I used to talk about careening in my day job, but as I don't do it any more, I'll spare you the details. When not used in a nautical context careening means to swerve about.

Here's a picture of a ship which, sensibly, stayed away from the rocks and therefore remained the right way up. I careened (slowly) up a nearby mountain to take the photo.

That's two weeks this month I've done a double word of the week. I must get a grip.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


My dictionary doesn't think fettling is a word. It's wrong.

Gary spends quite a bit of time fettling. Our friends Geoff and Edna, who often indulge in a spot of fettling, tell me it's the present participle of the verb fettle. All three of them use it to describe sorting out, tidying up and tiddlying off.

Fettle is in my dictionary. It means condition or trim - as in 'he felt in fine fettle'. It can also be what you do to tidy metal castings or pieces of pottery before firing them.

Fettler is also in my dictionary. A fettler is a person who fettles. You'd think that'd make them really spruce wouldn't you? Apparently it's most commonly used for railway workers.

I can't say for certain this pot was ever fettled, but my Black Pearl chili growing in it is in fine fettle, don't you think?

Quite a bit of fettling of my stories is needed before I'm ready to submit them to magazines or enter them in competitions. I think it's worth the effort.

Friday, 13 September 2013


I know it's not Wednesday, but today seemed the perfect opportunity to introduce the word Paraskevidekatriaphobia to those who don't already know it. As it's not Wednesday I'm not giving you the definition - but I think you can work it out.

So, how's everyone feeling today? Happy and full of enthusiasm or staying safely under the duvet, well away from mirrors, black cats and ladders?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


A valetudinarian is a person who pays excessive attention to preserving their health. Did you know that? Do you know such a person?

Maybe anything that we can do to stay healthy is simply common sense. I think it is, but then I consider eating and drinking things I enjoy and lounging on the sofa reading to be healthy activities.

Here's The Sphere getting into shape. He's doing really well, he used to look like a beach ball ...