Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Either feast of famine; or, in which I apologise for too few words instead of too many

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Ah, ah, brain has nothing in it. At this point you must imagine a klaxon going off, a disembodied voice shouting: Empty brain alert, please walk calmly to the exits.

I dig and prod a bit. Surely there must be something? Could I not describe the lovely pastrami sandwich I made for lunch (oh, the fascination), or the new row about Scottish independence, or the vigilant sweetness of The Pigeon?


No, I could not.

All systems are down. I stare and squint at the screen, as if English has suddenly become my second language.

All I can say is: I am experimenting with Mung beans. (This is not code.) Wish me luck.


A few pictures for you now:

11 Jan 1 09-01-2012 10-58-32

11 Jan 2 09-01-2012 11-05-05

11 Jan 3 09-01-2012 11-05-05.ORF

11 Jan 5 10-01-2012 15-55-49.ORF

11 Jan 6 01-01-2012 14-28-39.ORF

11 Jan 6 31-12-2011 14-27-56.ORF

11 Jan 7 10-01-2012 15-56-47.ORF

11 Jan 8 10-01-2012 15-57-38.ORF

11 Jan 8 10-01-2012 15-57-48.ORF

11 Jan 9 05-01-2012 11-13-04.ORF

11 Jan 10 31-12-2011 14-24-34.ORF

11 Jan 14 10-01-2012 15-58-36

11 Jan 15 04-01-2012 14-36-37.ORF

Oh, and actually I do have one thing for you. I have a Fact of the Day. It is: the great psychologist Alfred Adler died whilst giving a lecture in Aberdeen. Aberdeen is my nearest city, and I love reading Adler, so this gives me an odd kind of slightly spurious pleasure. Even though it is, of course, rather a sad fact.

And, one very final thing: I would like someone to tell the Scottish MP, whose name I did not catch but who appeared on The World At One, that it is 'fewer voters', not 'less voters'. Tsk, tsk. If our elected representatives do not set an example for the young people, then I do not know who will.


  1. Even Auntie Beeb has seemed, of late, to have stopped insisting (whilst glaring imperiously over her pince-nez) that all her reporters and spokespersons get the fewer/less thing right, as though either can be used interchangeably and willy-nilly anywhere one fancies to denote the opposite of more.

    FEWER! I yell at the steam wireless whenever some young whippersnapper under 40 gets it wrong and says less when they ought to know better. I think we are the grammatical rear-guard, Tania. It's our bugbear, where our parents' generation shuddered at the sound of a short flat northern "a" vowel getting into the news, like in Some of Our Aircraft (not craaahhhft) Are Missing as said by Wilfred Pickles.

    Which makes us, officially, Old Farts, I think.

  2. Maddens me too. No one seems to care anymore. Also while I'm at it - the train announcement, 'We have reached our final destination.'

  3. I await the results of your mung bean trials. I experimented with them many, many years ago. I do not eat them now. For me, mung beans meant effort, virtue and wholesomeness. They were all right. But there was no joy. Not that I want to prejudice you. Indeed, if you make them work, tell me how :)

    The modern linguistic sloppiness I cannot stand is 'wait while'. Why can't we wait until things happen anymore? 'Meet with' is another one. No one meets anyone anymore. We are doomed to meet, redundantly, with each other.

    Perhaps that's enough for a Wednesday.

  4. Mung beans would make an exceellent code name though and I will keep it in mind.
    I used to have a housemate who grew Mung beans on the windowsill and when my Grandmother came to visit she took me aside to ask me if I was 'on drugs'. I hope your experimenting is good, clean fun!

  5. I first saw a copy of your book (signed) and was able to browse a few pages and can't wait to purchase one for myself...Am I able (as it would be an honor) to send it to you to also sign?

  6. Ah . . . I can relax. I am not the only one who screams in frustration when everyone from the ignoramus interviewed on the street to the advertising voiceover (whose writers, at least, should know better) inappropriately says 'less' instead of 'fewer.' In the US, 'fewer' has disappeared altogether.

    Can't wait to see what you do with mung beans. I'm sure they will taste good, but how you will find anything to say about them is tomorrow's mystery. ;-)


  7. I'm still stuck on/ at (?) "the both of us" (instead of simply "both of us" or, heck, why not "we both"???) which I lately have been told is "acceptable" (put in quotations because I STILL don't really think so!).
    Seeing the confusion, or apparent lack of concern over the differences between and correct usage of "their/ they're/ there" and "your/ you're" (in print, of course) drives me bananas.

    Waiting to be interviewed for one of the BBC's Grumpy Old Women segments...

  8. "the both of us" being "acceptable" is what I mean...

  9. I often make mistakes but they tend to be typos (which are still something I aim to avoid) but do understand the less/fewer frustration.

  10. I'm writing a book about Luggala at the moment (in the throes of doing so) and, having discovered this blog, it suddenly occurs to me to contact you (yes, very remiss). If you'd like to get back to me, my email:
    Robert O'Byrne

  11. Lovely comments; thank you. So glad I am not the only pedant about. It requires vigilance at all times.

  12. Will you be touring the USA sometime in the future?


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