Tag Archive | humor

Megan’s UK diary: Summertime, and the living is easy at Newton-by-the-Sea

A poor woman from Manchester, on being taken to the seaside, is said to have expressed her delight on seeing for the first time something of which there was enough for everybody.

(Sir John Lubbock)

These are some photos from my visit to Newton-by-the-Sea in Northumberland.

View from up on the dunes:

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You know how folks in the West, when seeing an image of African children playing with a primitive ball on a dirt field or smiling over a slice of watermelon, are prone to say something like, ‘Ah, bless – see how happy they are with so little!’? I must say that travelling around the UK I find myself thinking things like, ‘Ah, look at them little British kiddies making the best of their cold, blustering summers to visit the beach!’

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A simple shot:

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I like the pattern of the water and the sand in this photo …

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In the photo below, it is as though someone thoughtfully placed this lifebuoy up on the hill expressly for the sake of photographers. It’s probably a clichéd pic in the opinion of experts, as it’s reminiscent of an emotional film finale where the fallen knight’s sword is stuck in the ground and the camera gives us a low-angle, sky-backdrop view, so that our hearts might soar to transcendent heights … , but I lapped it up with the freedom of the novice:

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Here we have a sparrow. I asked him to show me his right side …

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… and then I asked him to show me his left side. (He said he looks good from both sides.)

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This puts me in mind of these verses from Matthew 10:29-31:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Ah, how romantic …

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… unless that’s his mother. I really can’t tell.

A view of Dunstanburgh Castle:

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More about Dunstanburgh in a future post.

~

For more ‘Megan’s UK diary’  posts, go to The green spaces of Sheffield and Jane Austen & Edinburgh Castle at night.

For other photography posts, go to Edinburgh shows off and Buttercup view from Stirling Castle.

For a history and photography post, go to Haddon Hall (the perfect mediaeval castle & location for Jane Eyre).

A superlatively random collection of 11 very short, quotable quotes

1. I just speed-read War and Peace. It’s about some Russians. (Woody Allen)

2. Life reeks with possibilities. (Lauren Bacall)

3. Remember, candy is dandy, but fruit makes you poop. (Kim Possible)

4. It might have been […] chance, or its more flamboyant relative, destiny. (Carlos Ruiz Zafón)

5. You have a tremendous grasp of the obvious. (Wipeout)

6. Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. (L. Peter & R. Hull)

7. If you want to forget all your troubles, wear tight shoes. (Anon)

8. Whether they find life there or not, I think Jupiter should be considered an enemy planet. (Jack Handy)

9. There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good. (Edwin Denby)

10. I woke up this morning in the mood to not be awake. (23thorns)

11. I have learned from my mistakes, and I am sure I can repeat them exactly. (Peter Cook)

Patrolling the streets of this blog: The quest of a deranged cop

toonvectors-2654-460One of my jobs is editing and proof reading, and when operating in that role I have the excitable, obsessive tendencies of a crusading, steroid-popping policeman. When I sit down to edit, I am working off the grid – tasering spelling mistakes, eradicating typos, roughing up formatting evils, bombing inconsistencies, not to mention roundhouse-kicking indecent grammar and breaking the kneecaps of all other content-related bad asses.

So naturally I hate it when I hit that “Publish” button on a post, and then at some future date (often only seconds later) come across a devious typo or a word stoned out of its mind. It makes my patrol car come to a screeching stop, my coffee spills on my lap, and my mouthful of doughnut sticks in my throat.

But mostly I hate typos and their cronies because they steal the reader away from the content, rudely dragging him or her into the warehouse of linguistics, where they must endure the reality of clanking semantics swaying in the rafters, and have scar-faced goons from the wrong side of the shift button breathe heavily into their face. I work hard to maintain streets that encourage wanderers to contemplate the beauty of the green words on the trees, lose themselves in the lyricism carried in the wind, and relax into the encouraging warmth of the environment. A kidnapping detracts. Always.

So while cruising through yesterday’s avenue of thought (WWII, Socrates, Rwanda & personal boundaries) in an historic part of the local campus, what do I see but this sly malfeasant of a letter sidling up next to an innocent Private Eye:

“It do not consider it necessary or even helpful for me personally in my lifetime […].” What?! Hands up, you low-life, you stinking interloper of a ‘t’! I arrest you on the spot for trespassing on the property of Prof. Reader.

So this is my proposal to all my readers: I will be keeping an eye out for any typos or mistakes in my neighbourhood, but if any of you (citizen of the blog or tourist) should spot one and point it out to me first, then that person will receive the honour (?!) of having a ditty written either about them or with their name in it. I will make a post of it. Your fame will reach to all of my half dozen readers!!

I have no idea if I can write ditties on command (I’ve only ever written one ditty-ish thing that I can think of – Ode to a posy of flowers sitting on my desk), but should the occasion arise, I will do my best, and then we can all muse over the outcome.

So now that I’ve invited you to partner with me in my cop car, hopefully we’ll clean up the streets of Living my write life in no time, and we will all be able to take pleasant Sunday-type strolls anywhere we want, enjoying the peace of mind that comes from a world completely free of typographical thuggery.

~~~

A note: I am not inviting a traditionalist/prescriptivist scrutinising of my grammar – I don’t want to hear about sentences that start with a conjunction, etc. Sometimes artistic concerns must prevail. I am, however, inviting you to alert me to typos and mistakes because I want those to be as foreign to my streets as tanned legs are to a Scotsman.

How to ruin a pleasant morning jog in the bush

How best can you ruin a pleasant morning’s jog in the bush, aside from incurring an injury? Well, for me, you post this sign on the door of the little outhouse alongside the foot trail: “Please keep this door shut unless you want to meet the 1.5 metre python”. Boom. Done. My petit exertions in the gorgeous autumn […]

Shorty on the ski slopes

Until the age of 15 I was a head shorter than all my friends. I just hated not looking my age. It led to all sorts of gross injustices, like forever being told I’m ‘cute’, even by girls younger than me! Oh, the silent fuming! The most memorable occasion when my height did me in […]

Favourite quote #6: The trouble with real life …

“The trouble with real life is that there is no danger music.” ~ Chip Douglas  South Africa has some pretty serious crime. It affects us all, in more ways than we probably realise; a lifetime of looking over your shoulder is not without effect. But we’re pretty good at making fun of things, and I […]

Post Office Queues (the daily dental operation of life)

There’s nothing quite akin to a POQ (post office queue) to force you into an untimely examination of your life. Have you ever noticed that there is always a large clock placed up front? The effect being that in that hushed atmosphere typical of post offices, one can hear its loud ticking, driving home the […]

Smug

Malika felt the smug self-satisfaction of knowing she’d been witty. The little gathering on the patio overlooking the lake had dissolved into laughter, and it was all her doing. They had been in a fun mood already, sparring with and heckling one another, and chuckling over this and that. Things had then somehow turned to […]

Favourite quote #1: “Authenticity is the most disingenuous form of narcissism.”

Lord Whimsy This quote (which I’m sure you’ll agree is a winner) comes from the most delightful little green hardback that I bought as a gift for someone but then ended up refusing to part with. The book is entitled The Affected Provincial’s Companion, Vol. 1 (2006), and is authored by Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy. […]