Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Carking cares

Cark is the harsh noise made by a carrion crow. They do sound as though they have a lot on their minds, maybe that's why cark also means burden.

Carking is an archaic term for something worrisome. I hope nothing happens today to carken you with carking doubts.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Parergon is work that's subsidiary to your main employment, or an ornamental accessory. Parerega is the plural in either case.

As a parergon to writing, I act as a photographic assistant (and I like to think I'm Gary's parergon, although I'm usually more wondswept than ornamental)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


A gaff can be either one of two horrible sounding fishing implements, or a slang term for a person's home. Gaff can also mean a plan or secret, most often used in the phrase 'don't blow the gaff' which is similar to not letting the cat out of the bag. (English is fun, isn't it?)

Don't make the gaffe of adding an e - that's a different word.

Threave castle was once the gaff of Archibald the grim. (Upsetting him was way more than a gaffe)

I wonder if he used a gaff to catch fish in his moat?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


A pie is a baked dish with pastry on the top and bottom (just on the bottom is a tart, just on the top is a gastro pub cheat). Easy as pie means very easy (so why can't those over-priced pubs get it right?). A pie chart is a representative circle divided into sections.

Pie in the sky* is unrealistic expectations or promises (possibly made when pie-eyed which means drunk) A pie can also be a piebald (black and white) animal or bird, a chaotic mess of printers' type or a former currency unit in India.

*Not to be confused with pie in Skye which is a picnic on a Scottish island.