Mrs Malaprop and the Aussie birds

24 03 2012

So I recently finished reading Sheridan’s “The Rivals“. That snippet of information has only tangential relevance to anything that follows, but I did tell kathryningrid I was about to read it, and I just wanted to show I was sincere.

We just got back from walking the dog around Campbell Valley Park, and she was pretty well knackered. We had a good friend coming round for dinner, so I suggested a quick diversion to the local Murchie’s to see if they sold Russian Caravan – a favourite morning beverage – to enjoy the calm before the storm. Unfortunately they did not sell it for consumption at this branch, and it turns out that “Queen Victoria” (though smoked) was not in the same ballpark at all. Anyway, whilst walking up to the shopping centre, Mrs Elephant suddenly said I should look out for the Galahs.

Having travelled to Australia several times on business, I am familiar with these birds which fly free – rather like starlings do in the UK or crows in BC. The first time one sees them in the wild it’s a bit weird, as previously they’re strictly the things of aviaries and zoos. To see them lined up on a fence is pretty jaw-dropping.

Wikipedia: Galah

OK, so the more astute amongst you will have gathered that galahs are not in fact native to BC, and so this statement had me stopping dead and searching the trees for swooping parrots. Presumably escaped from some nearby condo. It took a few more seconds to join the dots and realise my long suffering other ‘arf was in fact referring to the broken bottle lying on the pavement ahead of us.

You see, in Yorkshire, “glass” rhymes with “ass”, whereas in the South of the UK, from whence she originally hails, “glass” rhymes instead with “arse”. Ignoring for a moment that a UK arse is the same as a North American ass, you perhaps begin to see the issue. The galahs were in fact glass. Not Dale Chihuly organic works, but a plain old vandalised bottle.

Lydia Languish would be amused…


Sign me up for that!

28 01 2012

Words are great. Especially in English, where the rules are at best loose and in skilled hands, quite irrelevant. (I’m thinking Shakespeare here, not elephants).

A trade name such as Google or Hoover, or a noun such as snowboard can become a verb with the simple addition of -ing. Awesome. Sometimes the nouns and verbs aren’t directly related. Let’s take “root” for an arbitrary example. It can be a noun as part of a plant, or in certain English-speaking countries (particularly down-under), it can be a verb meaning to have sex.

Back before I went to school (actually a good few years – in 1775), Richard Brinsley Sheridan wrote the play The Rivals and introduced us to the character of Mrs. Malaprop. She was there as the personification of malapropisms. This is where you mix up words that sound similar for comic effect (possibly accidentally). For example, “I prefer to buy orgasmic foods”. The more astute amongst the readership can already tell generally where this is going, I’m sure.

I drink tea. A lot of it. It’s an extremely calming, social drink, and offers much opportunity to discuss the best biscuits for dunking. Or the weather. Or indeed the meaning of life, the universe and everything. “Proper” tea has natural caffeine (i not before e), and tisanes broaden the general genre with some other interesting natural things that seem to go well with boiling water and have generally pleasing tastes (no – not molluscs and crustaceans, that’s a whole different food topic). And then, with a little help, I was lead to this product… “Organic Lovage Root Tea”: awesome! Sold!

Tea Haven: Organic Lovage Root Tea

Tea Haven: Organic Lovage Root Tea