Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Standardisation of English



I have been reading about life in Medieval England lately. In the course of so doing I understand much better the part the development of the printing press played in standardising the English language. How, for instance, “ye” became the the spelling for “the” and how the use of an abbreviation like “&” for “et” in the middle of a word was dropped.

Of course I went to school when rules on the use of the English language were tediously drummed into you and there was no scope for deviation. Any errors resulted in red lines in exercise books and the need to write out corrections ten times.

Recent generations of school pupils have been spared the pedantic insistence on subservience to the rules of spelling and grammar. However, in family proceedings the drafting of court documents, solicitors’ letters, laws and regulations all require the precise application of those rules. Occasionally, there can be a mismatch between what a lawyer thinks he has dictated and what he receives to check and sign.

In recent years, therefore, I have been treated to such gems as:
Baristas going into court (presumably to make coffee for the Judge);
Ships birthing (maybe that’s how baby boats are delivered);
Illicit information (when eliciting information was required);
Pecking knees (referring to a dog that sounded like a chicken with bandy legs perhaps).

My personal favourite of all time, however, was:
Higher perches (to finance the car not to provide a seat with a view for the budgerigar).


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Gone Girl



Both Little Girl and Apprentice Man have recommended that I read "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. I confess that I have chickened out and have been to see the film, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, instead.

Of course the title "Gone Girl" could allude to any separated wife but in this case the plot is more sinister. I shall not divulge it here so as to spoil it for anyone who has yet to read the book or see the film. 

Suffice to say that my sympathies instinctively rested with the lawyer who goes under the wonderful name of Tanner Bolt. He also had one of the best lines in the script when he comments: "You two are the most f****d-up people I've ever met, and I deal with f****d-up people for a living"

Thankfully I never came out with that one during my years in practice.


Friday, 7 November 2014

Heard it on the Radio



One of the best things about retirement is that I get to listen to the radio at times when previously I would have been at my office desk.

I am always amazed at the information you can pick up about divorce.

Indeed in recent weeks I have learnt that censuses in the USA show divorce as most common amongst those following arty type occupations such as dancers, actors, poets and artists.  At the other end of the spectrum those least likely to divorce are engineers and scientists. I could speculate on the reason for this but, as Outdoor Man is an engineer, think I’ll play safe and stay silent!

I also heard repeated that old chestnut that the average person has a longer relationship with their bank manager than their partner. In this day and age, I do find that a strange one; who actually meets their bank manager in person these days? Or perhaps that’s the secret to a successful relationship: keep it on-line.


Finally I was told that the average divorce costs £44,000. That’s not the lawyers’ fees by the way; they are factored in at just less than £1300 each. Instead the sum represents the amount spent by both spouses in setting up their separate lives and which, as well as the legal fees, includes the expenses for setting up a new home, purchasing clothes and jewellery, taking up new hobbies, joining a gym, acquiring dating club membership, cosmetic surgery and life coaching or therapy. Far be it for me to point out where savings could be made, but I am sure strong views will be expressed by the ex about any nose job.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Calones



Calones, as I recently learnt from an article about life on the frontier at Hadrian’s Wall, were the slaves of soldiers, one of the lowest forms of life in the Roman Empire.

Horace was a Roman poet responsible for many satirical poems in which he criticised and poked fun at Roman society, trying to persuade his audience to moderate their desires in order to live a happier life. He appears to have had little sympathy with those seeking sexual adventures especially of the extra-marital variety. Indeed he warned adulterers that they would not simply be condemned to eternal damnation but, in the course of their unending after-life, be forever urinated upon by calones.

Yuk!