The Men who stare at Hens……

I am pleased to announce that my new book – The Men who stare at Hens ( courtesy of those fine people at The History Press) will be officially launched at the Clifden Arts Festival on Wednesday the 19th of September at the Atlantic Hotel. Strong drink, things on sticks …

The humble rasher…..

This morning, as I incinerated my breakfast, I was reminded of the etymology of the word rasher, as in a rasher of bacon. There are two theories on the subject. The first rather tedious one is that it’s cognate with razor and therefore means a thin strip that has been …

Die Hard ?……

I was going to write about pizzas but I have been distracted by a film on television, Die Hard . It made me think that it is a sad fact, but true, that a small minority of people can watch Arnold Schwarzenegger (or whoever it happens to be) shooting somebody …

Texting and bunga bunga….

I was in the process of sending an encouraging text message to a former student today. I was going to write “Hope everything goes well.” I never abbreviate. I typed hope, then my thumb hovered for a second over the 3def key, but everything is an awfully long word. In …

A Certain Smile and other ramblings…..

I have just returned from a few pints in my local hostelry where I had a lovely conversation with a couple of charming Italian ladies about the English language. Which made me think of something I came across a couple of days ago. In the bookshops is a newish edition …

Ultracrepidarianism…….

I was in the pub having a quiet pint and as you do, caught the end of a most peculiar conversation. Man (a) was talking to man (b). Man (b) was attempting to reply but with some of the most bizarre replies possible. No offence to the fellow involved but …

Jedward and Jedwood

You may be aware of a boy-band called Jedward who appear to be famous for having matching silly haircuts and it appears very little else. There is also an old practice called Jedwood justice which means, according to the O.E.D means: “Putting someone to death and trying them afterwards.” It …

The wonderful world of Antanaclasis…..

There’s a Chinese poem called Shi Shi Shi Shi Shi. The reason for the title should be obvious if you read the poem in Westernised script: Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī. Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī. Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì. Shì …

Misheard lyrics……..

The following is a list of the most common misheard lyrics – make of it as you will but I am ashamed to admit that for years I thought The Police`s song “So Lonely” was a paen to the former news reader Sue Lawley. 1. ‘Money for nothin’ and chips …