Quafftide

quaffing viking

Well my dears, another day and another word. This time it’s “quafftide”, from 1881, in “A supplementary English glossary” by T Lewis O Davies, and referring to a time for drinking.

Quaftyde approacheth, and showts in nighttyme doo ringe in loftye Cithaeron

So not as in a “tide of drink,” pleasing as that image may be; more like eventide or yuletide. I am particularly pleased that it therefore derives from Old English tid, meaning  period or division of time, as Bosworth-Toller , the on-line dictionary of Anglo-Saxon, explains:

tíd e; f. Tide (as in Shrove-tide, etc.), time, hour; tempus, Wrt. Voc. i. 52, 39: hora, 53, 17. I. marking time when, time at which anything happens, time or date of an event, time, hour Be ðam dæge and ðære tíde nán mann nát . . . Gé nyton hwænne seó tíd ys, Mk. Skt. 13, 32, 33.Ðá com his tíd ðæt hé sceolde of middangearde tó Drihtne féran, Bd. 4, 3; S. 567, 13: 4, 9; S

http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz/finder/3/tid

My Chambers dictionary says that “quaff” means to drink or drain in large draughts, and that its origin is obscure. I would have liked to think of the old Saxons or even Vikings celebrating quafftide after gathering on a harvest or putting the Picts to rout, or whatever.

Nevertheless, it seemed highly appropriate for a Friday.

However, it did start me thinking, always a dangerous event, about how malleable the language is. I am quite a fan of neologisms, and anticipate the shocking revelations of new words included in the dictionary each year with keen interest. I was very taken with “omnishambles” back in 2012, for example.

What it actually made me think was that people have forever made language fit the occasion, and then reinvented terms in later generations. I need a term for having a bout of drinking so I will reconfigure two relevant words and Bob’s your aunty’s live-in lover. There are lots of terms for  this in English: pub-crawl, out on the lash, painting the town red, having a bevy, booze-up, bash, or piss-up to name a few. In fact there is a whole sub-language relating to the consumption of alcohol: getting a round in, or having one for the road, a swift jar, a tipple, nightcap or nip. It must be a minefield for foreigners. Meanwhile, my grandparents used completely different words for describing similar activities. In this sense language unites and divides us. I celebrate the notion that we are so alike in our habits, and yet confused by the strangeness of each other’s words. It’s like remembering that, for example, Iron Age people were just as clever as us but didn’t yet have the tech to live like us; the distinction matters.

Anyway, I muse enough.

Your homework is to tell me your terms for quafftiding like it’s 2015, and ideally also to relate an anecdote about such a party. It may involve Pan-Galactic Gargleblasters if you wish, and be purely hypothetical. No photocopiers should be harmed in the production of your story.

Post a link to any such tales in the comments below, and/or tag with EBLWords.

Bottoms up and Namaste!

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Scraping off the rust

rusty chains

That’s how it feels anyway, although it would make me some kind of RoboBagLady, rather than a mere Electronic one. I’m not sure I’d be keen on it, honestly, because I’d probably have to adhere to Asimov’s Laws and I’m not sure I’m that kind of person.

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence, except where such protection would conflict with the First or Second Law.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

Still, rejoice, oh gentle reader! I have found my way back to the keyboard and hope to enter into constructive dialogue through the medium of the Blogverse. Let’s go!

Things got a little overwhelming back in the summer, both for good and less good reasons, but now that is over. The thing is I finally had to take a break from normal routine and allow myself a rest. I eventually recognised that I had been struggling to balance work, family and community, and that if I was someone else, I would be telling them to stop. So for once I listened to my wiser self and did indeed stop.

Guess what? It worked and I feel much better so here I am, bothering your eyeballs as you scan my words. In due course I will be scanning and chatting away just like the old days.

Ah, the old days! Things were better then. We were cleverererer, the sun was brighter and policemen were kindly and compassionate adults rather than arsy adolescents with acne and snotty noses. There were fewer television channels but we made our own entertainment and wrote about it in letters to the local paper – the equivalent of the blogging world I suppose.

Right then, I’ll remove the rose-tinted optical devices and get back to reality, but allow me the odd excursion to a fantasy land.

On a slightly related note, I heard that there is a film in the making of the Magic Faraway Tree, by far my favouritest book of all childhood, and I am half desperate with anticipation and half terrified in case of disappointment. It was the same with Lord of the Rings, my favouritest book of post-childhood, but Peter Jackson was in charge of that and talked to the fans so it was all OK. In the case of TMFT, as it will inevitably become known, I doubt the same rigour will apply. Oh woe to the world!

So here is your EBL-homework until we meet again:

  1. How do you feel about your favourite book being “interpreted” by film? Be honest.
  2. Would it/did it work? Be polite.
  3. And really, who is going to play the part of Moon Face? Be creative.

Namaste

Freshly Pressed

I am shocked to announce that I have been Freshly Pressed.

What? What just happened?

I don’t know. I don’t quite understand how posts are chosen, but chosen was one of mine and for that I am entirely unable to respond in a sensible or meaningful way. I have been babbling in a dark corner since I found out.

Anyway, thank you to WordPress, and welcome to any visitors – I am the Electronic Bag Lady (EBL for short). Please come on in and find a chair. People will shuffle up to make room. We’re a friendly bunch and very snuggly. The kettle is always on, and there are biscuits in the tin. Or fruit if that’s your poison. If it is, I’ll have a word with you later when things get quieter.

What is life like in EBL Towers? If you fancy any or all of the following you may want to come by more often:

  • I try to post at least monthly in support of Bloggers for Peace organised by Kozo over at everydaygurus.com
  • I tend to ramble meaninglessly about life as an IT Project Manager in the UK Public Sector
  • I live in God’s Own County of North Yorkshire (northern England) so that will regularly appear in posts as well. Just so you know – you never ask if someone is from Yorkshire. If they are, they soon tell you; if they are not, there is no need to humiliate them.
  • I suffer from depression so may appear a little dark and sombre at times. Be gentle. I hope one day to contribute to the Mental Health Awareness blog project but am not there yet.
  • I care for a demented mother. I may have a moan about that now and then. I need to let it out.
  • I acquired a partner (Sigoth) and Offspringses earlier in life and they have made living worthwhile.
  • I also suffer from nostalgia so keep telling stories about my younger days. Often the same one repeatedly. I am currently 51 in case you care to put that into perspective.
  • You will not then be surprised to learn that I also enjoy researching my family tree.
  • I am participating in the Quaker Alphabet Project 2014, reflecting on life as a British Quaker in (you’ll never guess) 2014! What – you did guess? Great, I like smart people. They give me hope. Please stay.
  • I knit, so the occasional knitted product is presented to my grateful audience – enjoy!
  • I am teaching myself Old English, what was spoke by the likes of Alfred the Great and the Venerable Bede. Because I can, in case you ask.

So have a look around my other posts and see if you want to be friends. It would be great if you called by more often. Say hello in the comments and tell me a bit about you too.

Namaste.

Blog Awards

Well, EBL is red-faced with embarrassment. Two blog awards have pinged my way recently and I am lost for words. In fact the reason I didn’t respond immediately was that I was lost for words. Enjoy that while it lasted, gentle readers: normal drivel is now resumed!

liebster-blog-awardFirst up, I accept with delight and with intense amazement.the Liebster Blog Award from Authentic Talk at: http://leazengage.wordpress.com

Thank you very much!

Secondly, I am thrilled and somewhat shell-shocked to accept the Reality Blog Award from Ponderings at http://ponderingspawned.com/category/ponderings

realityaward

I never thought I would be the recipient of one of the blog awards that go around, so I am more than a little stunned to receive two almost at once. It feels like something that happens to other people.

I know many people whose blogs I read are old hands at such things, but then their blogs are better, so that is as it should be. Seriously I am quite shocked.

Anyway, I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

Liebster Blog Award Rules

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 bloggers who you feel deserve to be noticed. These blogs must have 200 followers or less. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated by you.

4. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog. Post all the items listed in item 2 on your blog also.

My Answers to the 11 Questions from AUTHENTIC TALK:

What is important to you?

Honesty. It’s going to make the next 10 answers difficult.

Why do you blog?

I have always liked writing and I find that it is good for my mental well-being. By committing to a blog I am more likely to write, mainly because other bloggers comment and inspire me further. Surprisingly this did not happen with my paper journal.

Do you like art, music, fitness, nature?

Why yes, I do! They are Good Things. However, my appreciation is often very basic, and I find keeping fit very hard in particular, being of Middle Age and Genetically Undextrous. The things I like even better than those things, as in really like, are literature (unless that comes under art – but then so much does that I feel the need to draw a line), learning new things, playing games, being with family/friends, knitting, and making soup. Not necessarily in that order and rarely all at once.

What has surprised you recently?

Blog awards!

The other surprise was running out of wool when finishing a jacket. I am at an impasse trying to work out how to sew it up now because I am terrible at sewing up and the stitching will show with different wool. <Frowny face>. This may genuinely represent an occasion when eBay is a Force for Good in the world.

Are there any other online communities, besides the blogger world, that you belong to? Do you like them? Why? If you’d like, feel free to provide links.

Actually I’m not a huge fan of the on-line world, although I do enjoy the new experiences it brings and the people I meet virtually. I use other social media to keep in touch with friends from the meatspace. I like to look stuff up or download a programme I missed on TV or order items to be delivered. However, I prefer to interface with compatible fleshware in co-terminous time/space coordinates over a glass of something unsuitably alcoholic whenever possible. I am EBL, and I am retro.

When are you happiest?

Friday night at home with a glass of wine, my Significant Other, and a sense of another week achieved.

What is your favorite food?

Balti palak paneer. It is unfailingly delicious. There is nothing else to say, unless it’s “Seconds? Why, thank you!”.

What is your favorite season?

Autumn: intense colours, conkers, mists and mellow fruitfulness, that back-to-school feeling, new beginnings (strangely, but probably due to the school thing), nearly Christmas, bonfires and fireworks and pumpkin pies, proper dark nights, frost on spider webs, pale blue skies, hot chocolate, snuggly jumpers, home made soups, new Dr Who starting, ghost stories, a real fire….

Do you own indoor plants?

I share my life with a few friends of the vegetable persuasion.

I have a Christmas cactus grown from my aunt’s plant, which she gave me when I was about 13 or 14. That would make it almost 40 years old. There is also a spider plant dating back to a similar time. Those plants have been with me through thick and thin.

We inherited a fern from Sigoth’s Granny when she died and it thrives on our window sill, keeping her a place in our home too. I also adopted a cordyline when a friend changed jobs and had to leave it behind. It reminds me of her.

There are a couple of other plants which were gifts more recently, and we are getting to know one another. I am pleased to say we have reached a good rapport.

Who has inspired you in your life?

My father, and an extraordinary teacher I had at primary school.

I wrote a post about the latter recently in fact.

Do you like answering these kinds of questions?

Not really. I find them difficult. I am sure my answers are not of much interest, although I enjoy reading other people’s responses so feel obliged to do my best. It is not my normal blog style, but it’s interesting to try something new. I thought quite hard about whether to accept these awards, but the main point of them is to share other blogs more widely so I decided they were a good thing.

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I love getting older. It feels like I am breaking free because I care less about what other people think and more about living a life I am proud of, no matter how insignificant.
  2. I work in IT but dislike desktop computers immensely. They are badly designed and confusing and expect humans to adapt to them, when it should be the other way around.
  3. I was born by emergency caesarean a month early. My dad built the nursery furniture in the month my mother and I were in the hospital.
  4. My children are better people than I will ever be.
  5. I want to go into space and see the earth from the outside and the stars without interfering atmospherics.
  6. I learned to play classical guitar at school but cannot strum.
  7. I keep my hair long because I still have a crush on Mary Hopkin after 45 years.
  8. I love science fiction because it allows us to examine questions about what it means to be human, plus who can resist a roaring good space battle, a split in the fabric of the space-time continuum, or a Grandfather Paradox?
  9. I love science but studied languages, which I found easier.
  10. I went to watch England play South Africa at Twickenham once and screamed so loudly I lost my voice, although it was worth it because we won the match. For those unsure, I am referring to rugby union.
  11. I once won First Prize in the Village Show Photo Competition.

The 11 Questions for my Nominees to Answer:

  1. If you were reincarnated, who/what would you like to be?
  2. What is your earliest memory?
  3. What is your favourite music?
  4. What three words would your best friend use to describe you?
  5. How do you feel about the place you live?
  6. What would be the one thing you would do if you were World Ruler for a day?
  7. What is your favourite story?
  8. Do you prefer the mountains or the sea?
  9. If you were stuck for 18 months in a space capsule going to Mars, what would you miss the most from home?
  10. Who is the greatest person in history?
  11. What is your favourite word?

My 11 Nominees are:

  1. http://alisonmay.wordpress.com/
  2. http://backontherock.com/
  3. http://elappleby.wordpress.com/
  4. http://adifferentdaylight.wordpress.com/
  5. http://farawayinthesunshine.wordpress.com/
  6. http://bloggers4peace.wordpress.com/
  7. http://ellengreycarter.wordpress.com/
  8. http://cpgutierrez.wordpress.com/

There is a Quaker Blog Project in 2013 to look at an A-Z of Quaker Experience. And three bloggers I enjoy reading as part of it are:

  1. http://stumblingstepping.blogspot.co.uk/
  2. http://brigidfoxandbuddha.wordpress.com/
  3. http://www.stephanie-blog.co.uk/

Please go and say hello to these lovely bloggers!

Now for the Reality Blog Award! from Ponderings

The rules of this award are as follows:

1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Display the award on your blog somewhere
3. Acknowledge the blogger on your blog and link back to them.
4. Answer the 5 simple questions about yourself.
5. Nominate as many as 20 bloggers for this award and notify them.

Here are the five questions set for me:

What encouraged you to begin blogging, and how has the experience affected your life?

I started blogging to keep in touch with my eldest child when he went to university. It was a way of holding a more in-depth conversation without long, expensive phone calls or timing issues. I liked writing anyway so it was not a great leap; I was mainly concerned that other people might read it and tried not to be found. More recently I have ventured further afield and made new blogging friends, and am enjoying the whole experience!

What is your favorite wordpress feature?

I like the Daily Prompt. I used to use Plinky but it got silly although I found some great bloggers that way.

To date, what would you say you are most proud of having posted, and why (don’t forget to include a link)? 

I think it’s the post where I admit to my own depression. It’s not cheerful but I was scared to put that in the public domain and have been grateful for the responses.

https://electronicbaglady.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/black-dog/

What role does writing play in your life?

Writing is good for my mental well being, as I said in the earlier question. Plus I like the sound of my own voice. What’s not to enjoy in blogging?

If you had to do a character sketch based on yourself, would you like the character? Is there anything you would change?

I’m not very positive about myself, so a character sketch might not turn out well. At best I’d feel sorry for me, for being so timid and slow to change and risk-averse. I see little to celebrate.

More blogs to read:

http://grandmalin.wordpress.com/

http://knockedoverbyafeather.wordpress.com/

http://cardcastlesinthesky.wordpress.com/

Show them some bags of love!

For those of you still with me – I salute your stamina. Namaste!

Hopefully

Hopefully, my dears, I will be posting this to you soon. I travel in hope as I write this, as WordPress has decided to block my ability to post because my blog content is causing concern.

Well, how very exciting! I haven’t felt this excited since being phone-tapped in the 1980s for being undesirable. It makes me feel positively young again. The phone tapping thing was because we were caretakers at the local Quaker Meeting House, and I also worked at Friends House in London. I suspect they just listened in automatically. They would have been treated to some very mundane conversations, but obviously it was all code.

“Hello, Someplace Friends Meeting House.”

“I’d like to book the hall for Saturday 5th all day please, in the name of Someplace Embroiderers.”

“Oh, hello, you’ve booked before, haven’t you? That’s fine, it’s free then. Is that all day or just half a day?”

“All day please, with access to the kitchen.”

“OK, that will be an extra £10. Please be aware we do not allow alcohol on the premises.”

And so on. Clearly all a deadly plot against HMG. At no point did we discuss the geese flying south for the winter, or the clouds hanging low over London, although it was tempting.

The Embroiderers are not a joke though. We also hired out meeting rooms at Friends House and the National Front was always trying to book the large hall because it was cheap, capacious and handy for various stations. We had them blacklisted but they remained hopeful too. They booked once as an Embroidery Guild and we only realised when lots of shaven-headed young men in bovver boots arrived for the meeting. Now I don’t mean to be stereotypist here, but generally such sartorial elegance is negatively correlated with a keen interest in artistic sewing. Upon challenge it turned out they were, in fact, not the Embroidery Guild and so were asked to leave.

So here I am, writing to you from the equivalent of Solitary Confinement until WordPress respond to my cries for help. If they take too long there will be a mighty storm of posting to catch me up. I look on it as a way to learn patience. I’m learning as quick as I can! Hopefully.

Namaste.

And thanks to the Kindly Elves at WordPress my account was restored in under 24 hours. Thanks, guys! Although can I say I am slightly disappointed not to be considered a radical threat to society after all…

EBL’s One and Only Style Guide

Lately my mind has been distracted by thoughts of writing. Ooh, look, pretty, pretty writing!

In particular, by thoughts about my own writing, why it is so rubbish, whether I have the capacity or intention to improve it.

Let me take you, back, dear friends, to last November. I finally succumbed and signed up for NaNoWriMo because an idea for a novel had been rumbling in my brain and I had managed to work out what that novel was. I wrote like a demon, in the sputtering glare of candles made from the tallow-grease of bankers, my quill dripping scorching acid on the vellum of politician hide. I wrote my quota, oh yes. It was all about the numbers.

Now I would quite like to turn my carefully numbered words into beautifully crafted words, but I don’t know how. I read and re-read. I am occasionally struck by a passage and think, “Not too bad, that bit!” Then I remember Johnson’s sage advice:

“I would say to Robertson what an old tutor of a college said to one of his pupils: ‘Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.'”
Boswell: Life of Johnson

My heart sinks. How can I know what is good?

I read all the advice and guidance, I read the blogs. So many of you write so beautifully and so wisely about how to write. I yearn to emulate your creativity. I started to try to write every day, and to read more, paying attention to the structure and craft as well as the story. I bought John Banfield, for heaven’s sake!

What I have learned is:

  1. Writing here almost every day is fun and means I can avoid my novel
  2. Writing here almost every day relates to my novel very little
  3. I enjoy writing here more than writing my novel

I write in this blog in a stream-of-consciousness, conversational, devil-may-care way. It’s not supposed to be great literature (which is just as well), and it’s not supposed to be eternal (also just as well, although ironically thanks to Internet caches it may well outlast some novels). It’s a bit of fun, a playground to try out new things occasionally, and a chance to share toys with other kids.

I have written in a number of styles: academic texts and papers; work reports and strategies; letters; teenage poetry (not so much a style as a hormonal imbalance). I can do them all fairly well (except the poetry), and have been told so directly so I am confident of it.  I have never written a novel, although I have read thousands.

The styles, my dears, are not at all the same. This is not a Huge Revelation, but what I am learning is that I may prefer blog-style, and may never finish my novel. I am a little sad about that because I am still quite passionate about the story and I would like to share it. It still perturbs my thoughts and prods me to pay it attention.

I have too many hobbies, and no matter how I structure my life I must decide whether to focus on a Great Work, or dabble at the water’s edge, tracing lines in the sand. My confidence suggests dabbling is less risky; I can’t really fail badly at it, or if I do, it doesn’t matter. This approach has driven my life, but lately I am more inclined to take greater risks and reap greater rewards; I am starting to grow into my purple.

Fear, as we know, is the source of conflict (hey, bloggers4peace – got you in again!), and I am conflicted.

And I enjoy your company so very much.

Namaste.

 

Share the love

I have been messing about in the blogosphere for some time, and only recently started to take it more seriously and build it into the fabric of my routine. Well, I say “routine”. Anyone who visits EBL more than once will realise that I am using the term in a very loose sense here, as in “not really a routine at all”.

There are a few blogs I read regularly which I find interesting or inspiring or just downright entertaining. Recently one of these writers suggested writing a post about why I read her blog regularly, what I liked and what I wanted from her in the coming year. Step forward, bottledworder!

It seemed a great idea to spend time thinking positively about other blogs rather than whinging about my own. So here we go.

The main reason I enjoy reading BW is that the posts are well constructed, clearly signposted, planned and full of good ideas and suggestions I can consider for my own writing. The failure to translate this wealth into quality blogging is all my own, but I have been adapting some of those posts for the Great NaNoWriMo Endeavour, and generally taking posting a bit more seriously. Some of us are born to blogging, others have it thrust upon us. I just kind of fell into a blog-pit and am planning to build an escape ladder with words. Life, eh?

Back to the purpose of this post, though. I like it that BW writes about her writing in an accessible way and shares her experiences generously with the rest of us. She engages readers very directly and pertinently – something I am yet shy to do as I am still nervous of blogging. I love you all for reading, but am terrible at telling you so.

So far, so fan-girl, and a bit dry. Honestly, just go read it. It’s good.

And yet – there is something else I enjoy about blogs that I would like to see more in BW in 2013. It is present, but not as extensively. It is this: more emotional intelligence. Don’t get me wrong, it’s there. Just not as often as the helpful, but factual and relatively unemotional, tips on blogging. Give me passion, BW, with ripped bodices, heaving bosoms and heart-stopping tension. Well, maybe not all those, but as the most popular stories to share are allegedly positive and emotion-rich, perhaps it is a strategy worthy of pursuit and conquest.

I enjoy reading bloggers for their ability to share experience of life, of how they feel, how they perceive the world (good or bad) and how they resolve the questions of existence. They might not put it like that, but that is how I, in turn interpret their writing.

The reason I pick up on this is because recently BW’s readers were commenting on what they like about blogs, and again the emotional connection was a recurring theme.

By reading a blog regularly and potentially by engaging through comments I start to meet new people and find new perspectives. I do a fairly mundane job, live a privileged life in a comfortable house with a great partner. Generally I am pretty OK. There are challenges, as with any life. Dementia, depression, redundancy, social conscience, people not doing what I want, lack of time, lack of ability, lack of choice, lack of cash, lack of public transport, not always getting my own way.  Blogging connects me to others going through or having survived all these and more. It can give me hope or strategies or tools to get through the day.

In fact, my dears, the more I think about it, writing a blog feels like trying to meet the needs of others, but it’s the reading of other blogs that’s all about me and what I need. I would have thought it was the other way round before I began this journey.

So, BW, I enjoy sucking your soul dry. In exchange, you are welcome to consume my little aura if it should please you.

And not one to shirk a challenge, what can EBL offer you, dear, patient reader, in 2013?

The great thing about blogging is that, like love, the output is infinite, if variously effective: if one reader takes it all away to read, yet still it is left behind for everyone else to consume as well. It’s a kind of magic.

Namaste.