Thanks to Chris the Story Reading Ape’s Blog. A most useful list.
A most thoughtful and thought producing blog by Billy Blogged.
Racism – The belief that all members of each race possesses characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
Racism? Here? In the UK? Don’t be daft mate. We’ve got an egalitarian society that isn’t prejudice, nor do we discriminate. We defeated the Nazis. Go Russia or something mate. Then you’ll see real racism.
I understand that the title may be unequivocally alarming to you, and so it probably should be. Is it just an exaggerated view-point consciously crafted to generate this sad little teenager a couple more views on his stupid, pretentious, worthless, sad, egoistic, biased, bigoted blog? Yeah, a bit.
However I cannot, and I will not (sassy), ignore something that I have noticed recently. Perhaps it is nothing, but I’ve just noticed, that in an incredibly small minority of the…
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How well do you use words? Read this blog and answer a few simple questions. (1)
There are quite a few common errors in the use of words in English. We have grammar rules for a reason. Without the use of correct grammar, misunderstandings can easily occur. I once heard something like this on the radio. (I cannot quote the exact situation as it was a long time ago, but this is more-or-less what was said.)
A man was sentenced to 3 years in jail for stealing money in court today.
Now I’m quite sure the man did not steal the money while in court, but that is what was said.
A correct sentence should have said,
‘A man was sentenced in court today to 3 years in jail for stealing money.’
This is just one example of many. Unfortunately, many of the culprits are journalists who should know better.
When I was at school we did lots of exercises of this kind, having to correct the sentence.
Another thing that does not make me laugh, but causes me to shout at the radio or TV and that is the misuse of Amount and Number.
Amount/number. I frequently hear people using the word ‘amount’ when they ought to be using the word ‘number’.
A simple rule is “If you count it, then you say ‘number’ but if you measure it you say ‘amount’.”
Thus it would be: ‘The number of people at the music festival exceeded all expectation,’ or ‘The team needed to score a greater number of goals in order to win the match.’
And: ‘The amount of rainfall this month was above average,’ or ‘The amount of time required for the task is greater than that allowed.’
Another way of thinking of it is that if you are talking about things that come in whole numbers (e.g. people, goals etc. You can’t have half a person or half a goal!) then you say ‘number’ but if you can have fractions, then it would be amount. (e.g. time, weight, length etc.)
Some people might like to think of it in terms of analogue and digital. ‘Number’ is used for digital numbers, and ‘amount’ for analogue.
I will leave you to consider this with these few simple exercises. I will post the correct answers in my next post, which will likely be next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Correct the following sentences:
1. Bulldog for sale. Will eat anything. Very fond of children.
2. The dog growled at me as I was passing in a very aggressive manner.
3. Caroline’s bag was found by a man full of groceries.
4. The wool was found by the playful kitten in a complete tangle.
5. Man saved from being killed by train on rail line.
This last one is on I’ve just seen on BT.
Put the correct word, Amount or Number into these sentences.
1. There was a greater ———- of rainfall than usual last month.
2. There was a greater ———- of people at the match than usual.
3. The girl put a large ———– of sugar in the cake she was making.
4. If you look at the window you can see the ———- of raindrops that have hit it.
5. We need to score a greater ———– of goals than that if we are to win the league.
I started thinking about National Anthems when I read the prompt.
Here in the UK we have a dreadful one. God Save the Queen.
Firstly it isn’t really a National Anthem. It is a request to God to protect our sovereign. To me, a National Anthem ought to bring some idea of national pride. This doesn’t.
Secondly the tune. It’s terrible. It is a dirge, especially when played slowly, as it often is. It doesn’t inspire at all, which is what a national Anthem should do. Compared with the Marseillaise, the Italian anthem (which does go on a bit) or The Star-Spangled Banner it’s terrible.
The United Kingdom is made up of four countries, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all ruled by the government in London, and with the Queen as Head of State, so it’s fine for all of them to have this request for the sovereign’s protection as an over-arching anthem. However, all the countries except England have a separate anthem for use when the country is acting separately. England only has God Save the Queen, which covers all the nations. That doesn’t seem right to me.
There have been several suggestions for an English National Anthem. The first, and seemingly most popular is Jerusalem. Now it does mention England, but it isn’t really about patriotism. It’s asking if Jesus walked on ‘England’s green and pleasant land’. What is more, the title is ‘Jerusalem’ for goodness sake. I admit it’s a good tune though, which I think is largely why it is favoured by many people.
Another one that has a good tune, and this time is patriotic, is Land of Hope and Glory. It’s a great patriotic song and has a tune that stirs the blood. The problem with that is the line which says ‘Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set’. is this appropriate in this day and age?
The final one that is sometimes suggested is Rule Brittania. This is sung with gusto at the Last Night of the Proms every year. The problem I have with this one is that it refers to Brittania, which is not England.
My favourite for a National Anthem is I Vow to Thee My Country. The music is from the Planets Suite by Holtz and the words are patriotic. I think that not many people know of this is because it is used and a hymn in church and few people go to church these days (at least in the UK).
I am attaching the words here. As it would be likely that only the first verse is used ( as is the case with God Save the Queen) it would be suitable. I looked it up on Wikipedia and found a second verse that I never knew existed. We only sang the first and last when I sang it. That verse is maybe a little much for nowadays, but, hey, what about the Marseillaise?
- I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
- Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
- The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
- That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
- The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
- The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
- I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
- Across the waves and waters, she calls and calls to me.
- Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
- And around her feet are lying the dying and the dead;
- I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns;
- I haste to thee, my mother, a son among thy sons.
- And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
- Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
- We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
- Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
- And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
- And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
- Please make any comments about this post. I would be interested to hear what people think, especially Brits.
Glow. A beautiful artwork from Beth Stranahan.
The boy looked up.
Above him a dragon flew on wings that reflected the blue sky.
It was so beautiful that he wanted to watch it all day.
The dragon landed. It looked towards the boy.
‘Come inside the walls’, called his mother. The boy sadly entered the castle.
A 50 word short story inspired by the 50 word story of https://musingsofanotherworld.wordpress.com/
Here is Chapter 3 of The Wolf Pack
The birds were beginning to sing as Asphodel rolled over in her blankets. She half-opened her eyes. Suddenly she was wide-awake and sitting up. There on a log, feeding the fire with some fresh twigs, was a dwarf. He had chestnut brown hair and beard, his eyes were a light brown and he was wearing leather armour. He had a grey cloak folded neatly on the floor by his side. She looked round, panic rising, for Carthinal. She saw him lying slumped against the log on which he had been sitting. Immediately she jumped to her feet in a fighting crouch, ready to use her unarmed combat skills. She quickly took in the dwarf, and noticed that his crossbow was lying on the floor by his side with the bolts next to it. Also lying there was a dwarven battle-axe. She also realised that she could smell cooking meat, and saw that there was a rabbit on the spit over the fire.
‘Well, are you going to fight me or eat with me?’ said the dwarf in a gruff voice. ‘I’m not impressed with your choice of travelling companion though,’ he went on. ‘Falling asleep on watch is one of the worst things you can do in the wilds. If I hadn’t come along to look after the pair of you, who knows what might have happened.’
Asphodel looked around quickly, but his tone suddenly softened.
‘Don’t mind me, lassie,’ he went on. ‘Come and sit down and have something to eat. The rabbit’s fresh. It came sneaking into camp while I was sitting here waiting for you to wake up so I took a shot at it and got lucky.’
The smell of roasting meat was making Asphodel’s mouth water. She was very hungry. She and Carthinal had hardly had enough to eat the last couple of days. She glanced over at him then back at the dwarf.
‘He’s all right,’ he said. ‘Just asleep. I’ve not harmed one hair of that lad’s head.’
At that moment, Carthinal stirred. ‘I thought I heard voices,’ he muttered, almost to himself.
‘Carthinal, we have a visitor,’ said Asphodel, ‘And he’s brought breakfast.’
Carthinal sat up and looked over to where the dwarf sat. ‘How do we know we can trust him?’ he said in a low voice.
‘We don’t,’ whispered Asphodel in reply, ‘but I think that he has the upper hand. He has his weapons at his side. We’d better go along with him. Anyway I’d like to eat some of that rabbit, wouldn’t you?’
Carthinal turned to the dwarf. ‘You now know my name. Do we have the honour of knowing yours?’
‘I’m sorry,’ replied the dwarf, standing and bowing to each of them in turn. ‘Most remiss of me. I’m Basalt Strongarm. My friends call me Bas. Now what about the beautiful young lady? What is your name, my dear?’
‘Less of the “my dear”, if you please, I don’t know you, sir. As to my name, it is Aspholessaria.’
Carthinal blinked and looked at Asphodel, a fact that did not go unnoticed by Basalt.
‘But you’re not known by that name here in the human lands are you? You didn’t give that name to your companion, whom I take it hasn’t known you for very long or he wouldn’t have looked so surprised when you gave me your elven name.’
He turned to Carthinal. ‘Surely you realised that the name she gave you was not elven, you being a half-elf and all?’ He turned back to Asphodel. ‘Come on now, you know I can’t get my dwarven tongue round that outlandish name. What are you called outside your elven lands?’
‘Usually people call me Asphodel.’
‘And it suits you well. Pretty girls should always be called after flowers. Well now that the introductions are over, how about eating some of this rabbit with me? It’s just about ready, and since I took advantage of your fire, it is only fair that I share it with you.’
The talk stopped while they ate the rabbit. It was delicious, doubly so since they were so very hungry. Basalt could not help but notice the way they relished the food, and licked every drop of juice from their fingers.
‘These young folk need some help,’ he thought to himself. ‘They are trying to conserve their food. They have the injured man to tend to as well. That is probably why the half-elf fell asleep if he’s been pulling that contraption.’ He went on aloud, ‘Where are you headed? To Hambara?’
Asphodel and Carthinal looked at each other, each trying to seek the other’s thoughts as to what they should tell this dwarf. Neither was sure whether to trust him or not. Carthinal gave a slight nod to Asphodel, indicating that it would not do any harm to tell him where they were heading.
‘Yes,’ she replied. ‘We are going that way. We lost our companions in a flash flood at the ford over the Brundella. We were the only ones lucky enough to survive, although Mabryl was seriously injured. We were left with only what we were carrying. Which is precious little.’ she added to emphasise that they were not worth robbing.
‘Yes,’ replied Basalt. ‘I was in the flood too. I was further back in the caravan and I was swept away downstream. Isn’t it unusual for the Brundella to flood at this time of year? The floods don’t usually come until after the start of the New Year, as I understand it. There’s a month to go until then.’
‘Yes, it is,’ replied Carthinal. ‘The warmer weather usually starts to melt the snows in the mountains after the Equinox. Why it should be different this year only the gods know. Although it was the dark of both moons, Lyndor and Ullin, the night before the flood,’ he added. It was considered a bad omen when both moons were dark at the same time.
Asphodel got up while this was going on and went over to tend Mabryl. She gave him some water and did the first of her daily healing rituals on him. She thought he looked a little better this morning.
Then she heard Basalt say, ‘I’m heading in the same direction as you, my lad, so if you will accept the company of a dwarf, I will be willing to accompany you. If we run into any trouble I have my cross-bow and axe, and I am not called Strongarm for nothing; I’ll take my turn with yon contraption.’
Carthinal was tempted to say “yes” immediately. He had taken to the dwarf, and he would welcome the help. He also thought that it would be a good idea to have someone with them that could use weapons. They had been lucky so far, but their luck may not hold out. However, he owed it to Asphodel to consult her and to consider her feelings.
The dwarf noted his hesitation and said, ‘Go and consult your friend. I’m not offended. I know you both need to agree. I’d feel the same in your position. After all, you know nothing about me.’
Carthinal went over to Asphodel, after a hurried conversation, came back, and told Basalt that she agreed with him that they should accept his kind offer.
Carthinal extended his hand. ‘Welcome to our little band,’ he said.
Basalt took it, and the two shook hands, exchanging a warm smile. ‘I’ll take the first turn with yon contraption,’ he said to Carthinal. ‘You can carry some of the things on it.’
Carthinal did not argue. He had not relished tying himself to the travois again. He realised now how tired and stiff the pulling had made him. They were a little later than before in setting off, what with meeting Basalt and the extra food at breakfast, but they would probably make up the time with two of them to take turns with the pulling.
The sun was well in the sky now, not just coming up, as it had been the previous day. It was still cold, but not as cold as usual a month before the start of the year.
The year started at the vernal equinox on Vimar, when the buds of the trees were starting to break, and the birds beginning to nest. The last few weeks of the year were now passing. Carthinal had hoped that his apprenticeship would have ended with the year, but now he was not sure that he felt up to taking his tests so soon with Mabryl so ill. Still, he would take them sometime. He had promised Mabryl that he would do so. Anyway, to become a fully-fledged mage was his greatest ambition. Maybe he would wait until Mabryl was up and about again, then see about them. He tightened the harness on Basalt’s shoulders and made sure that he was comfortable, then picked up his and Mabryl’s packs. He lifted Mabryl’s staff to put it beside the injured man, and as he did so, it seemed to him that a tremor passed through it and he felt a sight tingling where his hand rested on the heavily carved wood.
‘I’m imagining things,’ he thought to himself. ‘I’m probably still tired.’
They trudged on along the road for nearly two hours, with one brief stop. Basalt and Carthinal had decided to take two-hour stints each at pulling the travois, so at this point they changed.
Basalt rubbed his shoulders and circled them a few times. ‘You are tougher than you look if you did this for a whole day on your own.’ he observed.
So they continued on their journey heading towards Hambara, and sharing the hard work of pulling Mabryl. By the time they stopped for the night, the three had become friends.
If you enjoyed this extract, please feel free to comment.
Who is my target audience? I could write for those that I hope will read my books, but that’s difficult. There is such a wide range of people who may read them, many of which may not be interested in the procedures of writing. I could write for a potential agent or publisher, but I think that may be futile, so I’ve decided to write for my daughter.
This is a poem I wrote. It could be for any first child, I hope some of you recognise the feelings expressed.
(I suppose I’ll have to write about the joys of a second child now to redress the balance!)
I saw beauty when I first saw you,
My little girl, so small, so new.
Little toes and fingers small
All wrapped up within your shawl.
At first you crawled, and then you walked.
It wasn’t long before you talked.
The funny little things you said
Are all stored here, within my head.
Your big brown eyes, your curly hair—
I feel such love, you are so rare.
Never was another born
Not at evening, nor at dawn.
My little girl, you are unique
So small, dependent and so weak.
But not for long, my little one:
The years fly by and then you’re gone.
Now you have your own children
The miracle starts once again.
The love I feel for you is passed
By you, to yours, it is so vast.
The love of Mother for her Child
Is never one that’s meek and mild.
It lasts forever and a day.
It never dies, come what may.