Sunday 27 December

Normally on a Sunday morning I go swimming, but everything is closed so instead I did an exercise video. Quite good in that I could do it in my pyjamas instead of getting togged up in exercise kit. So I felt quite revved up and as it was brilliantly sunny, I went out to do a few odd jobs in the garden. It always takes me a while to get psyched up for gardening but I like it once I’m out there. I started by replanting quite a few bulbs which the squirrels have excavated.

This afternoon I went for a walk in Lloyd Park, central Croydon. Usual clientele of kids, dogs, cycles, scooters. A big bonus is that the cafe has remained open for takeaways, so we were able to get some refreshment. I think now that the pandemic and the ensuing restrictions are no longer frightening, just boring. And many other people clearly feel the same. We no longer need to panic over toilet rolls or tins of tomatoes. It seems obvious that it is safe to meet people in the open air, the biggest hazard at the moment is the weather, Storm Bella, and tomorrow maybe snow. So wrap up warm and get out and meet your friends. A flask of mulled wine would come in handy.

So today’s boring challenge is to identify all the languages on the cat food packet. Yes, we linguists are reduced to this. Pretty good on side A, bit challenging on side B. No cheating now: we know what it means, it’s just which languages does Felix master?

I will raise the tone a bit by saying that I played the piano today, one of my original lockdown aims. I was going to play half an hour every day: this of course soon evaporated. But I do enjoy playing enormously and really should make more effort. The problem is I always want to take up where left off, and I really ought to admit that Brahms’ waltzes are a shade challenging when you have not played for a while. But I had a crack at it and it was such fun. My mother used to say that she enjoyed listening to me doing piano practice while she got the tea ready. I found it hard to believe that listening to me rattling up and down scales and arpeggios was entertaining but then of course I moved on to set pieces, and as I ended up at Grade 8, Beethoven and Chopin were definitely more fun. Those were the days…………

2 thoughts on “Sunday 27 December

  1. On the subject of languages –
    I received an invitation today from the NHS to be screened for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Routinely triggered because of my age and sex as apparently it’s only men who get this screen. Which is a bit odd I thought.
    But for all you linguists out there, the invitation included an A4 sheet of paper with information in different languages. English first obviously and then in alphabetical order,Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Simplified,Chinese Traditional,Farsi,Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese,Punjabi and Urdu.
    So no Spanish which I thought quite surprising considering how many people speak Spanish nor French nor German nor Italian. No N. European languages at all apart from Polish if that counts.
    Polish is the No. 1 language for immigrants in the UK apparently.
    Bengali and Punjabi look as though they’re hanging from a line. Quite pretty really.


  2. What no Welsh or Gaelic??!! I am surprised that there are not more East European languages, Lithuanian, Latvian or even Albanian or Romanian. Can one assume that they mostly speak fairly fluent English? All very discriminatory, it has to be said.
    Hope you ticked all the boxes for screening.


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