259In this blogposting…
*A Simple Little Question
A SIMPLE LITTLE QUESTION
The picture above (which was sent to me by Eric and Jean, who run The Commercial in Tantobie) was shown to a sample of infant-school children in the UK. They were asked to say which direction the bus was travelling in: to the right or to the left.
90% of them said that it was travelling to the right.
They were correct. And my ‘simple little question’ is...why?
(Answer in blogposting 260, unless I receive a rush of brilliance and prespicuity in the meantime.)
...will take place at 1100 on Wednesday 23 March. Possible venues this time round include Gateshead Library, Saltwell Towers or the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, which is currently hosting an awesome exhibition of the work of John Martin, the immensely popular Victorian painter from Hexham.
If you have a preference, or another suggestion, get in touch.
And remember, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.
A big Thankyou to Martin, from Houghton-le-Spring, who has sent me a list of his favourite local words (see postings, passim).
clarts - mud
snaggers - turnips
spuggy - sparrow
spelk - splinter (also one of my favourites)
lowp - jump
gansey - jumper
cuddywhiffler - left-hander
I know the definite origin of only one of these words: gansey is derived from Guernsey, the sheep from which the wool came, presumably.
As for the others...spelk looks vaguely Viking and lowp seems to be a corruption of ‘leap’.
Cuddy has a complex presence locally. On its own, it used to be the word for a pit pony; there was a pub playfully named The Kicking Cuddy. In compound words, it’s usually a reference to St Cuthbert, as it is in ‘cuddy ducks’, the local name for eider ducks, which were supposed to be under the saint’s special protection.
I’m not sure, though, whether he was left-handed or not. And even if he was, whence whiffler?
Here goes with the next ten ‘buildings you must see before you die’. If you’ve seen any of these buildings, or have plans to go, please get in touch.
They take us from 550AD to 715AD
21 Skellig Michael, County Kerry, Ireland
22 The Hanging Monastery of Xuan Kong Si, Datong, China (pictured)
23 Church of St Hripsime, Vagharshapat, Armenia
24 The Great Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
25 The Great Kyz Kala, Merv, Turkmenistan
26 Ise Shrine, Japan
27 Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel
28 St Domnius Cathedral, Split, Croatia
29 Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Suzhou, China
30 Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria
So far, that’s Italy 8, Egypt 4, China 3, Syria 2, Ireland 2, Iraq 1, Greece 1, France 1, Libya 1, Turkey 1, Armenia 1, Saudi Arabia 1, Turkmenistan 1, Japan 1, Isreal 1, Croatia 1
As the list progresses, one of its most though-provoking aspects is how few of these buildings I’ve even heard of, let alone visited.
It raises other issues, too. Such as...who were Sts Domnius and Hripsime?
Dave Shannon has emailed me to say that this year - 2011 - July has five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. Apparently, this happens only once every 823 years. Dave also says (and I quote) ‘Gawd knows who sits and works these things out but he /she has more patience than me!’
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