Inner peace...In this blogposting…
* The Price of Gas in France
* Inner Peace
* We Shall Meet Again
* John Knox
* Not an E in Sight
* This Week’s New Word
Carry on, truckshunters…
At the end of each posting there’s always a note that says Contact Me - and thankfully, many of you do exactly that. Which means that, once in a while, I can gather together the contents of a few emails and produce a posting which has virtually written itself.
So thankyou Dave, Peter and Martin!
The first two snippets are from Dave...
THE PRICE OF GAS IN FRANCE
This viral email obviously originated in the USA - ‘gas’ in this little bit of fun is ‘petrol’…
A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre.
After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van.
However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas. When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, 'Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings.'
I had no Monet
To buy Degas
To make the Van Gogh.
I sent this to you because I figured I had nothing Toulouse. See if you have De Gaulle, send this on to someone else.
Inspirational! I’ve just concocted a similar scenario but based around composers, thus…
No, I’m not Haydn - I’m quite Bizet today actually. I have Chopin to do - I’ve got my Liszt with me so I’ll soon be Bach…
When I worked on London’s buses, me and my driver (who was Norwegian, oddly) played a similar game: Songs for Swinging Londoners. The only ones I can remember now, though, are What Kind of Fulham I? and Wembley Red Red Robin Comes Bob-bob-bobbin’ Along…
I’d love to know if you can do any better - perhaps with local names. You’ll Never Get To Hebburn...
If you can start the day without caffeine;
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains;
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles;
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it;
If you can understand that your loved ones are sometimes too busy to give you any time;
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment’
If you can conquer tension without medical help;
If you can relax without alcohol;
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs -
Then you are probably the family dog!
WE SHALL MEET AGAIN...
The wonderful Peter in South Shields sent me this. It’s part of a letter from US Army major Sullivan Ballou to his wife and is dated 14 July 1861….
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more. …
Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm.
But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night — amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours — always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.
He never sent it.
It was found in his trunk after he was killed in the First Battle of Bull Run at the start of the American Civil War.
Thankyou Peter. That is one of the most moving things I've read in a long time.
I’m glad to say that Martin in Houghton-le-Spring still emails me occasionally. Here are three language-related gems he sent me recently.
The first is a short poem - author unknown - written without the letter E. Which is by no means an easy thing to do.
John Knox was a man of wondrous might,
And his words ran high and shrill,
For bold and stout was his spirit bright,
And strong was his stalwart will.
Kings sought in vain his mind to chain,
And that giant brain to control,
But naught on plain or stormy main
Could daunt that mighty soul.
John would sit and sigh till morning cold
Its shining lamps put out,
For thoughts untold on his mind lay hold,
And brought but pain and doubt.
But light at last on his soul was cast,
Away sank pain and sorrow,
His soul is gay, in a fair to-day,
And looks for a bright to-morrow.
There’s actually a word for any writing which deliberately excludes a particular letter - but I don’t know what it is.
Martin also sent me this, which he describes as ‘a self-descriptive sentence’. But be warned - the more you think about it, the more mind-mangling it is.
In this sentence, the word and occurs twice, the word eight occurs twice, the word four occurs twice, the word fourteen occurs four times, the word in occurs twice, the word occurs occurs fourteen times, the word sentence occurs twice, the word seven occurs twice, the word the occurs fourteen times, the word this occurs twice, the word times occurs seven times, the word twice occurs eight times, and the word word occurs fourteen times.
And finally, he drew my attention to a word which, he says, he has just discovered and which he uses whenever he can because ‘it’s so pretty’.
It’s apricity, which means ‘the warmth of the sun in winter’. He's right - it's lovely, isn't it?
Thanks Martin. You’re a star!
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