Hildie and I paying our first visit today to The Quadfather, Paul's new venture.
Go and find out for yourself - it's at the A1/A19 junction near Seaton Burn,
in Northumberland
In this blogposting…
*A Problem With Words

*1,001 Buildings

*Never Never Never Do This


Our next AGM will take place at 1100 on Wednesday 27 April at Birkheads Nursery, the road to which is just a few hundred yards south of the Tanfield Railway on the Sunniside to Stanley road.

There is an agenda: see Never Never Never Do This, below.

I’ve had an intriguing email from truckshunter Peter - or should I say, another intriguing email, as any communication from him usually raises an interesting point or two.

This time, it was all about words; well, two words in particular.

1 - The first part of his email says (and I quote)..
‘One of the lads used a word the other day, describing what state he was in at a party: ‘chemist’. Or as you and I would call it - drunk.’

Peter suspects that, with this meaning, this is a Sunderland use of the word and asks for further enlightenment and/or information.

I’ve given the matter some considerable thought and have got nowhere. Is it rhyming slang? If so, what is it meant to rhyme with? If not, what is the derivation of its use by our benighted friends in Sunderland?

I’ve even txted my brother, who has lived in Sunderland for decades. He hasn’t replied as yet. Shame, probably.

Of course, I know exactly what’s going to happen now. Some bright spark is going to point the joke out to me and make me look very foolish indeed, specially if the explanation is obscene. But I’m used to that.

So, if you know - or think you know - why the word is used this way, please get in touch.

2 - The second part of Peter’s email is even more esoteric. It says…
‘That great Newcastle icon the Swing Bridge......does it ‘swing’ on its pivot or ‘spin’ on its pivot? Has it been named incorrectly for all these years?’

Peter raises a linguistic and semantic question of great profundity with this one.

I think he’s absolutely right to suggest the the Swing Bridge does not, in fact, swing at all. As far as I am concerned, something is ‘swinging’ if it’s tethered at one end and moving back and forth at the other - like a child’s swing, a pendulum or a swinging gate or door.

My dictionary’s definition seems to confirm this:

‘Swing: to cause to move to and fro, sway, or oscillate, as something suspended from above.’

The Swing Bridge doesn’t do this. As Peter says, it moves around a central point or pivot in the middle.

But it doesn’t exactly ‘spin’ either. Surely there’s an element of speed attached to spinning. Like my dictionary says:

‘Spin: to cause to turn around rapidly, as on an axis; twirl; whirl.’

To see the Bridge ‘twirling’ or ‘whirling’ would be quite an event!

No. I think that the nearest we can get to describing what the Bridge actually does is ‘swivel’.

‘Swivel: - a fastening device that allows the thing fastened to turn around freely upon it, especially to turn in a full circle. a pivoted support allowing a structure to turn around in a horizontal plane.’

So, from now on, I think all truckshunters should start calling it The Swivel Bridge - and encourage everyone we know to do the same thing.

Sir William Armstrong would be proud of us!

And, thanks again for your email, Peter.

Time once again for the next ten ‘buildings you should see before you die’, as recommended in the lovely book I got for Christmas.

The buildings in the book are in chronological order. This list brings us up to 1195.

If you’ve seen any of them (except for number 58), or plan to, please get in touch.

51 - Basilica of St Sernin, Toulouse, France
52 - Dalmeny Church, Scotland
53 - St Lazarus’ Cathedral, Autun, France
54 - Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, India (pictured)
55 - Le Thoronet Abbey, France
56 - Abbasid Castle, Baghdad, Iraq
57 - Monreale Cathedral, Palermo, Sicily
58 - Durham Cathedral, England
59 - Angkor Wat, Cambodia
60 - Minaret of Jam, Afghanistan

Durham Cathedral’s appearance in the list raises the tally of buildings I’ve actually seen to five; it also marks England’s entry to the fray for the first time.

National totals so far are:
Italy 11, Egypt 5, China 4, France 4, Ireland 3, India 3, Syria 2, Croatia 2, Iraq 2 - then 1 each for Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, England, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Isreal, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.


A couple of days ago I received an email which proves, yet again, the power of urban myth, specially in the age of the internet.

This is what it said…

A few days ago, a person was recharging his mobile phone at home.

Just at that time a call came in and he answered it with the instrument still connected to the outlet. 

After a few seconds, electricity flowed into the cell phone unrestrained and the young man was thrown to the ground with a heavy thud. 

His parents rushed to the room only to find him unconscious, with a weak heartbeat and burnt fingers. 

He was rushed to the nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. 

Cell phones are a very useful modern invention. 

However, we must be aware that it can also be an instrument of death.

Never use the cell phone while it is hooked to the electrical outlet!

My first reaction was to call to mind the many occasions on which I’ve used my cellphone while it was charging. My natural scepticism was aroused!

It didn’t take me long to discover that the ‘cellphone death’ story is a total fabrication - an ‘urban myth’ that’s been circulating on the internet for over 7 years. I’ve seen a copy of an early email which mentioned it in 2004. Interestingly, the wording is exactly the same - even the rather quaint ‘electricity flowed into the cell phone unrestrained’. Wow - unrestrained electricity! Whatever next?

I think it’s time we harnessed the power of the internet ourselves. At the next AGM, why not bring along an idea we can start circulating on the net; a spurious news story, a ludicrous explanation for something, a new ‘unsolved mystery’?

Let’s cause some trouble.

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


The Paper Boy said...

Chem-ist? is the "ist" the rhyming part?

Hildie said...

Hi there PaperBoy ... lol
I like what you say ....
clever stuff!
Just waiting for the poem now!

I had a google ......
it seems 'chemist' is
Jamaican slang for weed slanger
.... slanger meaning seller.

Thank you so much to Paul and Ian
and Christopher .... yesterday was just the most fun I've had in a long time!!